MARVEL LEGENDS (TOY BIZ)
Can you believe that Toy Biz handed over the reigns to Marvel Legends (and all the other Marvel toys) almost 10 years ago? That’s pretty darn crazy. It also means that it’s been long enough since every single one of those Legends figures was released that updates are pretty much a given. This year in particular, Hasbro seems to have put some serious effort into redoing some of Toy Biz’s efforts. While the Juggernaut series was perhaps the most evident case of this, it’s seeped into some of the other line-ups as well, including the recent Abomination Series. Like I did with the X-Men figures, I’m going to be looking at the originals and the updates in tandem with each other, and I’ll be kicking things off with Toy Biz’s take on Captain Britain!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Captain Britain was released in the (first) Giant-Man Series of Marvel Legends, alongside Havok and Kitty Pryde. The set was the first Walmart-exclusive series and would prove to be one of the last three series during the Toy Biz run. Captain Britain is based on Brian’s second costume, which is the one he’s best known for, and is, quite frankly, his best look. It’s worth noting that prototypes for this figure showed him in both this and his look from later in the Excalibur run pretty much interchangeably, so it was kind of down to the wire as to which particular look was getting released (in fact, the figure pictured on the box for this guy was painted in the other costume, prompting some to wonder if it would be some sort of running change). The figure stands 6 inches tall and has 35 points of articulation. The body that Brian is built on was initially sculpted for the Series 10 Black Panther figure, before being ever so slightly re-tolled for Series 11’s Wonder Man. The good Captain gets most of the Panther pieces, with the slightly tweaked upper torso from Wonder Man, as well as Wonder Man’s hands. He also gets a new head, forearms, and lower legs, which are mostly sculpted to match up with the pre-existing pieces. The head is nice, and is probably one of the better head sculpts we got out of the TB Legends. The helmet/mask even matches up with the rest of the body’s texturing, which shows that real effort was put into making the piece match up. The forearms are fine; basic flared gloves. The boots/feet are the real weak part of the new pieces; we were well into TB’s duck feet phase at his point, and it was something that they never really got past. The lower legs are also completely un-textured, which feels rather weird compared to the rest of the body. And, speaking of the body, that’s where we hit the next snag. The Panther body was actually pretty cool for the time; it had a nice, sturdy build, and the added texturing to make it clear that he was wearing a costume, not just prancing around in body paint. It hasn’t aged particularly well, but it was a reasonable piece for the time. So, it’s not a bad base, generally speaking. Except, of course, for the fact that Brian Braddock is canonically half a foot taller than T’Challa, which is a bit of an elephant in the room, if I’m honest. The proportions of the new pieces have been kept internally consistent with the body, which means Captain Britain is, as a whole, in a scale that is completely his own. There’s pretty much no other figure in the line you can put this guy with. Captain Britain’s paintwork is decent, certainly on par with other offerings from the line. The base work is mostly pretty clean. The white piping on the red details is a little sloppy (because painting a textured base is a bit hard to do consistently), but not awful. He’s also got some accent work, which feels like it goes a little overboard, especially on the white, or should I say light blue, areas of the costume. TB never quite grasped how difficult it was to translate this sort of detailing from a custom-painted two-up to an actual production figure. Captain Britain had no character specific accessories, but he did include the right leg (JUST the leg. No foot. That came with another figure…) of Giant-Man.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Giant-Man Series as a whole was rather difficult to acquire, thanks to Walmart’s trademark spotty distribution. I eventually found this guy (and a few others from the series) while on a trip to visit some family in North Carolina. Because the small mountain town definitely needed a large stock of this exclusive series of figures that most of the general public had never heard of. This is a flawed figure. There’s no denying that. And, unlike so many Legends from this era, it’s not simply an age thing; he was always flawed. The weird thing is, as hyper critical as I’ve been of this guy, and as many things that are wrong with him, I still have a soft spot for this figure. And I’m not even that much of a Captain Britain fan!