#2619: Wolverine

WOLVERINE

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Weapon X infused Wolverine with adamantium to make him a powerful mutant with superhuman healing ability.”

Hugh Jackman’s turn as Wolverine was one of the constants of Fox’s X-Men movies, appearing in all but one of the films (Dark Phoenix, for those curious), and just generally being as much of a pop culture icon as the character’s comics incarnation.  He’s been no stranger to action figures, since he’s, you know, Wolverine and all.  The fall out between Fox and Disney meant we went a good gap of time between releases, of course, but he’s back in full force, with three different variants in Hasbro’s Legends assortment devoted to the movies.  I’m looking at the one standard release in the bunch today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Wolverine is the last of the three standard release single-packed figures in the X-Men Movie sub-line of Marvel Legends, following Domino and Mystique.  It’s an interesting selection of characters to say the least.  This Wolverine is based on his jacketed appearance, which is certainly a distinct look for the character.  That said, they’ve opted to specifically base him on Origins: Wolverine, which seems like a slightly odd choice.  I mean, the look doesn’t shift much between the films, but it feels weird to specifically base him on a far less regarded film.  Could be worse, I suppose.  The figure stands 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 33 points of articulation.  The articulation scheme on this guy is pretty impressive.  The butterfly joints on the shoulders add some nice extra posability to him, and the ball joint on the neck is great for adding a bit more expression to the figure when posing.  Wolverine’s sculpt is another all-new offering (although the legs are shared with the Amazon-exclusive Wolverine variant).  The body sculpt does a good job of capturing Jackman’s build from the movies, as well as translating all of the textures and layers of his clothing.  This guy includes two different head sculpts, giving us differing expressions.  The one he comes wearing is an intense, screaming head, which is kind of a weak offering.  The expression’s certainly got an intensity to it, but it ends up looking goofy, and the Jackman likeness really isn’t there.  The second head is a more neutral expression, and this one is definitely the stronger of the two.  The Jackman likeness isn’t spot on, but it’s still close enough for recognizability.  The paint work on this guy is a bit of a mixed bag.  The head works out well enough, and the weathering on the pants isn’t *terrible*, but it’s not great either.  The wear on the jacket isn’t really that great.  It just kind of looks like a bird pooped on him to be honest.  Not exactly the most imposing look.  In addition to the previously mentioned extra head, he also includes hands with both claws and without.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I’m still recovering a bit from some serious Wolverine exhaustion from last year, so this guy being the first of the movie figures shown off didn’t exactly thrill me.  I mean, he looked cool and all, but he’s Wolverine.  I have a lot of Wolverine.  He benefits from the fact that I got the rest of the set first, so as to cushion the whole “it’s another Wolverine” bit.  He’s a pretty solid figure on his own, and I look forward to having more figures to go with him.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this figure for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#2618: Magneto & Professor X

MAGNETO & PROFESSOR X

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

“Magneto and Professor X clash in a struggle that will impact the future of all mankind.”

This year, the X-Men movie franchise turned 20.  It may have been easy to miss, what with the world falling apart and time being an illusion for most of the year.  Also, the movie franchise having died a kind of whimpering death in the last two years.  That may have somewhat contributed.  With Fox purchased by Disney, and all of the rights for the movies back under the main Marvel branding again, we’re finally getting to see proper merchandising (outside of Minimates) for the first time since…gosh…Origins?  Yikes, that’s a sad one to leave off on.  Hasbro’s got a whole sub-set of figures devoted to the films, picking and choosing a bit from the whole of the franchise.  They’ve tried to stick with some of the broadest characters at the start, opting for characters who stuck it out the whole time, and really, whose broader than Magneto and Professor X, whose turbulent relationship has formed the back bone of most of the films?

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Magneto and Professor X are one of the pair of two-packs in the X-Men Movie sub-line of Marvel Legends.  Unlike the rest of the stuff we’ve gotten, where there’s been a single movie focus, these two are meant to cover multiple films, and indeed multiple actors.  It gets…well, it gets a little wonky, but it’s best to bring it up in the figure’s respective sections.

MAGNETO

As Ian McKellen, Magneto was decently served by prior X-Men movie toys, getting coverage from both the first film and X2, but as Michael Fassbender, he’s only gotten Minimates up until now.  This figure is actually pretty targeted in terms of design, at least at his core, being based on Magneto’s fully geared up appearance from the ’70s portion of Days of Future Past.  It’s not just a good look, it’s arguably Magneto’s best look in the movies, and one of my favorite designs spawned from the whole of the X-films.  It’s also very toy friendly, so that’s always a good starting point.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall and he has 31 points of articulation.  The articulation on this guy is a little bit stiff compared to other recent Legends figures, notably in the shoulder and elbow area.  It’s not terrible, but I did have a little difficulty getting him into some poses.  The sculpt on this guy is all new, and makes use of the new “pinless” style joints for the elbows and knees, which certainly do make it look more cohesive.  Generally, I quite like how this sculpt turned out.  The costume is well-crafted, and replicates the various layers and textures of the costume from the movie, and translates them pretty well into plastic form.  The actual build on the body under said costume isn’t quite as spot-on.  The body’s generally just a bit bulkier than Fassbender in Days, which makes the arms look a little bit stubbier than they should.  The head also sits a touch higher on the neck than it should, as well, which requires some more careful posing to not look goofy.  All that’s pretty minor, though.  My biggest issue with the figure lies with the primary, helmeted Fassbender head.  The helmet’s great, and the Fassbender likeness on the head beneath it’s not bad either, but for some reason, they opted to give him a weird teeth baring expression, which doesn’t really feel right for Fassbender’s take on the character.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not quite what I want.  In terms of paint, the figure’s actually pretty solid.  There’s not a ton going on, but what’s there is a good replication of the film design.  Magneto includes two sets of hands in open in closed poses, as well as an alternate un-helmeted head.  The second head is a nice piece, with a strong Fassbender likeness, and a much calmer expression.  I kind of wish the helmeted head matched, and I’m tempted to try and find extras of the two heads to kitbash my own.  This set’s big claim to fame when Hasbro showed it off at Toy Fair this year was its ability to double as multiple versions of the two characters, across their multiple actors.  To facilitate this, there are also two Ian McKellen heads included, one helmeted and one not.  And, would you look at that?  They both have the same expression, unlike the Fassbender heads.  Why couldn’t they just keep that consistency across the board?  In general, the McKellen heads are a bit of a cheat, of course, since he never wore anything remotely like Fassbender’s costume in the movies.  That said, what he did wear is rather easy to approximate on your own, so just getting the heads is still a nice touch.

PROFESSOR X

Much like the McKellen/Fassbender split on figures above, Patrick Stewart’s Xavier got some toy coverage early on in the X-Men movie run, but James McAvoy’s take wasn’t quite so lucky.  Unlike Magneto, this figure’s a far less targeted offering when it comes to the design.  In fact, it’s…well, it’s a bit of a mess.  I’ll get into the “why” in a moment.  The figure is 6 1/4 inches tall standing (obviously less sitting, of course) and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s built on the Coulson-style suit body, with a new jacket piece that’s got the vest underneath.  There are also two heads included, one of McAvoy and one of Stewart.  Both likenesses are pretty strong, so I’ve definitely got to give Hasbro credit on that.  McAvoy’s is bald, indicating that this figure is supposed to be post Apocalypse version of him.  The blue suit set up of the figure supports that, and is also sensible given that it’s the same style of suit that Stewart’s version of the character typically wore.  It’s a little weird from the perspective of it meaning that he doesn’t at all match the Magneto he’s packed with, but if we’re going for iconic looks, I guess this makes more sense.  The new jacket/vest piece is pretty nice, and is actually sculpted to allow a more proper seated position as well, which is a nice touch.  In terms of paint work, he’s again pretty basic, but also pretty good.  Both heads look pretty life like, and I can certainly get behind them.  Okay, now let’s tackle the rough stuff: the accessories.  So, remember how I mentioned the whole thing about this being a post-Apocalypse McAvoy?  Or even a movies 1-3 Stewart?  You know what completely wrecks that set-up?  The chair.  Stewart has the same chair in the first three movies, and the same chair is used by McAvoy in First Class and Days of Future Past, and then again at the tail end of Apocalypse when he’s got the fully classic Xavier look again.  That’s not the chair included here.  Instead, we get a more generic wheel chair, which is in fact shared with the Old Man version of Charles from the Logan two-pack.  Logan is the only time that Stewart’s Xavier used such a chair, and he’s obviously not in the full suit and tie.  McAvoy’s Xavier uses such a chair in the climax of Days, but he’s wearing a tweed jacket and sweater, and is also still sporting the hair and beard.  So, this chair matches nothing about the figure.  I also found it interesting that, while the Magneto gets four different heads, Xavier only gets the two.  If we got a McAvoy head with the hair and beard, we could at least sort of approximate Xavier from the climax of Days (which would also help him match Magneto), thereby making the chair less inaccurate.  Generally, the lack of McAvoy heads covering his evolving hair styles from the films kind of takes the wind out of the sails of this whole “cross movie” thing this set was sold on.  At least the chair is a nice chair, I guess, even if it’s inaccurate.  He also gets a selection of extra hands, which do make for some good posing options.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set is by far the piece I was most looking forward to out of all of the X-Men movie stuff.  Days‘ take on Magneto is, as noted above, a favorite of mine, and I’ve been wanting a proper figure of it for a while.  This one’s not without his flaws, and I’m definitely not big on that helmeted facial expression, but the overall figure is still pretty cool, and certainly better than not having him at all.  The McKellen heads aren’t really meant for this body, but they do look really cool, and make for an easier time building your own.  Xavier’s shakier than Magneto for sure.  The core body’s fine, and both heads are pretty nice, but that chair’s just wrong, and the fact that he doesn’t line-up with the Magneto at all in terms of looks makes the whole two-pack aspect of this pair seem slightly forced.  Still, it’s not a bad pair, and there’s certainly a lot more good than bad in this set.  Overall, it’s still my favorite piece out of the bunch, so I can’t really complain.

Thanks to my sponsors at All Time Toys for setting me up with this set for review.  If you’re looking for Marvel Legends, or other toys both old and new, please check out their website and their eBay storefront.

#1467: Rogue

ROGUE

X-MEN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

“The genetic abilities of the young drifter known as Rogue are both a blessing and a curse. The young mutant has the power to absorb the memories and powers of others through the slightest touch, but because she has no control over this talent, she must keep even those she cares for at a distance. She first met Wolverine when he saved her from an attacking angry mob and feels a special kinship with him because she once used her powers to absorb his mutant healing factor and memories in order to save her life. As a result, she understands why the mysterious loner has such a troubled soul.”

For 2000’s X-Men movie, Rogue was somewhat refitted into a focal point character, through whom the audience could be more easily introduced to the titular team of mutants.  Since it’s not a role the character had previously filled, she was refitted with some traits from the last two characters to fill this role, Kitty Pryde and Jubilee, which ended up making her a little less Rogue-like.  Still, she got to be a very central figure in on of the franchise’s most visible offerings, so it’s hardly the worst thing ever, right?  And she got toys out of the deal, which is always a win in my book.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Rogue was released in Series 2 of Toy Biz’s X-Men: The Movie tie-in line of figures.  The first two series of the line were actually released simultaneously, something Toy Biz did with a few lines at the time.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  Most of that articulation is rendered essentially inert, thanks to some very low range of motion.  The neck has the hair to contend with, the cuffs of the jeans restrict the feet, and the hips are v-hips that are so shallow they barely even count as v-hips.  Essentially, she’s good for standing, and that’s about it.  Oh, and she can also wave her arms around.  That’s fun!  The sculpt was an all-new venture, and it’s decent enough for the time, I guess.  The body seems a little skinny for Anna Paquin, and the head doesn’t really look all that much like her, but it’s decent enough from a purely aesthetic standpoint.  She looks like an actual person, which is always a good thing.  The paint work is passable, if maybe a little basic for a figure that’s supposedly based on a real person.  There’s at least some fun detailing on her blouse and undershirt.  She’s got a streak of white in her hair, showing that she’s supposed to be from the end of the movie.  It’s only in the final film ever so briefly, and even the prototype didn’t have it, but one can certainly understand why Toy Biz would want Rogue to have at least one recognizable trait.  Rouge included an overcoat and scarf, both cloth, which completed her look from the film.  They were both rather over-sized and goofy, but better than nothing, I suppose.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After rushing out to get Cyclops and Jean Grey when they were first released, I patiently waited for my 8th birthday to get the rest of the line.  Rogue was near the top of my list, but she and Toad were both short-packed, meaning they weren’t found for my actual birthday.  However, I did get a little money, which I immediately took to the nearest Toys R Us, where I found both Rogue and Toad in one fell swoop.  Nifty! Rogue is perhaps not the most thrilling figure, but she’s a pretty solid standard civilian, and you don’t get many of those.

#1318: Logan

LOGAN

X-MEN: THE MOVIE (TOY BIZ)

“Logan is a loner by nature and a hunter by trade.  Dressed in civilian gear of jeans, leather jacket, and flannel shirt, no one would ever know this ordinary looking man possesses the untamed savagery of a wild beast combined with the battle-skills of an international secret agent.  His power to heal virtually any wound in minutes combined with his superhumanly keen animal senses and razor sharp adamantium claws and skeleton make him the perfect fighting machine called Wolverine”

Who wrote this bio?  And did they have any idea who the character was going in?  Or what figure this bio would be going with?  I enjoy that the bio describes a completely different set of civilian clothes than this figure is actually wearing, but I think my favorite part may be “battle-skills of an international secret agent.”  That’s one specific descriptor, let me tell you.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Logan was released in Series 3* of Toy Biz’s X-Men: The Movie line, which tied in with (big surprise here) 2000’s X-Men film.  The figure stands a whopping 7 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  The X-Men: The Movie figures were already pretty out of scale at the time of their release (being Toy Biz’s very first 6-inch figures), but Wolverine takes this to ridiculous levels, being about an inch out of scale with even the figures from his own line.  He’s larger than Sabertooth for pete’s sake!  Why is he so freaking huge?  Because of re-use, that’s why.  He’s built on the body of the Power Slam WCW Wrestlers Hak figure.  The WCW stuff was always much larger than the Marvel stuff Toy Biz did, and Hak was even pretty sizable for his own line.  I’m not entirely sure why Toy Biz opted to re-use this particular body.  I guess they felt they just had to have another Wolverine in there?  Completely divorced from the line that spawned him, I guess Logan’s sculpt isn’t terrible.  He got a new set of lower arms and feet, and what appears to be the Series 1 Wolverine head sculpt scaled up.  The pieces all mesh okay together.  The head definitely resembles Jackman as Wolverine, though it’s not quite as good as later figures would be.  The build seems rather on the bulky side for Wolverine as seen in the movies, and his proportions in some spots look like he’s trying to smuggle meat in his clothes or something. You’ll note that my figure is missing three of his claws; this isn’t by design, they just fell off, because this figure had some of the most easy to tear claws of any Wolverine figure.  In addition to the sculpted parts, Logan also has a cloth jacket.  It’s kind of thick and oddly shaped, and makes him look even puffier than he already was.  Paint on this guy was okay, but nothing tremendously exciting.  The colors are well chosen, and the jeans in particular have some nice accent work.  This Logan is from post movie release, so he’s after Toy Biz started adding the goofy painted on sideburns to all the movie Wolverines in an effort to make them more accurate.  It looks really goofy.  Super goofy.  Crazy goofy.  The figure was packed with a small dog tag that isn’t even remotely close to proper scale.  He’s also got the “action feature” which I think is supposed to swing his arms back and forth when the torso is turned, but it never looks like anything more than panicked flailing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Series 3 X-Men: The Movie figures were rather hard to come by at first, even Logan.  He was one of the last ones I got, courtesy of my parents, who bought him for me while they were on a weekend trip to the beach.  I know I really wanted one at the time, but boy is this figure odd in retrospect.  Not only does he feel rather redundant (he was the fourth civilian version of the character in the line), but he’s also just laden with strange design choices.

*Though this series was dubbed “Series 3” by Toy Biz, it was effectively Series 2 of the line, as the first 2 series were released simultaneously in order to have all of the main characters on shelves for the film’s release.

#0127: Jean Grey

JEAN GREY

X-MEN MOVIE SERIES (TOYBIZ)

 

In the 90s, the 5 inch scaled ruled to toy aisle, due in no small part to ToyBiz’s gargantuan line of Marvel toys, specifically those based on the 90s mega-giant X-Men.  It looked like that was where we’d be staying for a while.  But then, the X-Men movie was released in 2000, and they were released in… 6 inch scale?  It wasn’t the first time we’d seen such a scale, but it certainly wasn’t prevalent.  Coupled with ToyBiz’s continued release of other 5 inch product, it looked like this might just be a blip on the radar.

If you’ve followed the action figure industry in recent years, you would know that the 6 inch scale was far from a blip on the radar.  It went on to become the ruling scale on the market for over ten years, which was impressive.  And a lot of its owed to the X-Men Movie line making a bold jump.  Today’s review is a two-fer, looking at both versions of Jean Grey from the line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Jean was released as part of the first series of the X-Men Movie Series.  She stands about 6 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation.  I feel it necessary to point out that only about 6 of those points are really useful, and even then it’s iffy, thanks to the odd cut joints and strange pose of the figure.   Anyway, the sculpt is a bit of a mixed bag.  Sculpturally, the only difference between the two figures is the hair style.  The original release had it down, the second had it up in a ponytail.   They both look fine, though the ponytail look is more accurate to the character’s appearance in the movie.  The facial sculpt is actually a pretty decent approximation of Famke Janssen.  The body’s where things start to fall apart.  It has some really nice details on the suit, with some great work on the zippers and folds and such, but the proportions of the underlying body are just weird.  The arms are too long, the waist is too thin, and her legs are in this odd sideways crouch sort of thing.  All in all, just very strange.  The paint on these two is pretty good for the time.  I think I like the work on the first release a bit more, as it looks a bit cleaner.  There is one notable change between the two on the paint front.  The second release has a black t-shirt painted on under the uniform.  Apparently, this was the main reason for the second release, as there were some complaints from a few concerned parents about the pulled down zippers and total lack of any kind of covering on the two female characters in uniform.  Honestly, it’s a perfectly reasonable point to make, and it’s actually a bit odd that they had their uniforms zipped so far down, given that Jean has hers zipped up just like her male compatriots in the film proper.  Both Jeans included an incredibly creepy mutated Senator Kelly as there only accessory.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The first version of Jean was my second figure from the movie line.  She, along with Professor X were purchased for me by my Nana as an end of school gift.  Yeah, I had the option to get anyone in the line, and I bought a girl and a guy in a wheelchair.  I was a strange kid.  Anyway, I held onto that one for a while, and remember the controversy and subsequent rerelease of Jean, now with t-shirt and appropriate hair style.  I was happy with my first release version, and thanks to the reissue thing, it was actually quite rare.

Then, I came home one day to find that my dog had gotten into my room and pretty much destroyed my Jean figure.  The first release was fairly difficult to find at that point, so I had to settle for the reissue.  Fortunately, a few months ago, my comic book store got in a large selection of older figures loose, and the first release Jean was amongst them, allowing me to once again have the figure!