#1300: Loki

LOKI

AVENGERS (HOT TOYS)

Would you look at that?  Seems I’ve made it another hundred reviews.  As I noted in my Thor review, I’m honestly getting to the point where 100 reviews isn’t that much of a milestone.  This particular review will mark the thirteenth time I’ve done it.  Still, it’s worth noting it, right?

In honor of getting though another hundred of these things, I’ll be doing another of my milestone deluxe reviews, focusing on one of my higher end figures.  Like almost all of my high-end reviews, today’s figure is from Hot Toys, and is yet another figure from their impressive Marvel Cinematic Universe subset of offerings.  For the last monumental review, I looked at Thor, and today I’ll be following up on that with a look at his mischievous brother, Loki!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Loki is figure 176 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, directly following the Avengers version of his brother and immediately preceding the Dark Knight Rises re-release of the Batpod.  The figure hit around May of 2013, a full year after the release of the film he was featured in.  As with Thor, Loki is based on his appearance in 2012’s Avengers, specifically his fully armored appearance, seen during the film’s big climactic battle.  Initially, Loki was to be done in his armored look from 2011’s Thor, and a finished prototype even showed up a few places, but in an effort of finish out the Avengers set and be a bit more timely, he was re-fitted into his later costume.  It’s for the best, really, since I think his Avengers look is his best to date, and a more fitting adaptation of his comics design.  Loki stands a little over 12 inches tall and he has “over 30 points of articulation” according to the Sideshow solicitation for him.

Loki’s head was the source of some strife amongst fans and Hot Toys.  There was a debate about how exactly his helmet should be handled.  The final solution was a removable helmet, which not everyone was thrilled with, due largely to the necessary compromises for both the head and the helmet.  The head did actually turn out pretty well.  The Hiddleston likeness is one of HT’s best, at least as far as the face is concerned.  The compromises, of course, really come into play with the hair, which ends up a little matted down to the head.  Admittedly, Loki’s hair in the movie doesn’t have a ton of volume, but it’s still a little more present than what we see here.  It’s still very well sculpted, and quite realistic, but it’s undeniably sculpted to sit best under the helmet.  He’s not really designed with an un-helmeted appearance in mind.  Which, if I’m honest, results in a bit of disappointment when you finally get the helmet placed on the head, which is no easy feat, let me tell you.  It’s two pieces that pop apart; the bottom is supposed to slide up under the head and the top goes over top and then you snap the two pieces back together.  I’ve never been able to get a perfect fit, and the difficulty involved means that you really aren’t going to be taking it off a lot. This whole two piece construction is meant to give the helmet a tighter fit (which is also true of the actual film prop as well), but due to the scale, it’s still noticeably thicker than Loki’s helmet from the film.  To be fair, it’s mostly only an issue when viewing the figure head-on; in profile or even three-quarter view, it looks pretty good.  The detailing on the helmet is the usual HT-quality, of course, which is nice.  Ultimately, it’s far from terrible, but I just really feel the figure would have benefited from two separate heads to depict him with and without the helmet (especially since in the movie the helmet just magically appears on his head; we don’t see him carrying it around or anything).  The paint on both items is up to the usual HT standards; the face is incredibly lifelike, and the helmet looks suitably weathered.

Loki’s outfit is something of a mixed media effort, though not quire so much as Thor.  Most of the base clothing is actual cloth, with plastic boots and armor plates.  The plastic bits are all exquisitely sculpted, and the cloth sections are generally pretty well tailored.  The coat(s) sit really nicely, and I really love the way the cape hands.  Easily the best cloth cape I’ve ever seen.  My one real complaint is the weird bead things that line the edges of the coats.  In the movie, they look to be a zipper or something, but this figure uses these needs that look like those things that banks use to make sure you don’t steal their pens.  It’s not bad from far away, but looks rather hokey when you get up close.  I’m not sure why they were handled this way, rather than the way most zippers are handled at this scale.  I mean, they don’t ruin the figure, but they do just look weird.

Loki includes the following accessories:

  • 11 interchangeable hands
  • 2 versions of this scepter
  • 2 daggers
  • Shackles
  • Muzzle
  • Display stand

The hands come in relaxed (R and L), fists (R and L), dagger holding (R and L), gripping (R and L), gesture (R and L), and larger gesture (L).  All of them are very nicely sculpted and they suit the character.  They swap out pretty easily, but there’s an extra set of wrist pegs as well, just in case something goes wrong.

The scepter comes in both short and long configurations, which is nice, I guess, but in this get-up, he really only needs the larger one.  Still, both are very nicely sculpted, and it’s nice to have the option.

The daggers are both the same piece, and are just as well sculpted as the scepters.  They don’t get much use in the film, but they’re still a cool extra to have.

The shackles and muzzle allow for Loki’s look from the final scene of the movie, when he and Thor go back to Asgard.  It’s nice that they included them, and they allow him to pair up nicely with Thor and the contained Tesseract.  Technically, like the short scepter, they don’t really go with this costume, but the inclusion’s still nice.

Then there’s the stand, which is the same basic stand we’ve seen over and over again.  There’s a logo for Avengers and Loki’s name is on the front.  It helps him not fall down.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When the Thor version of Loki was first announced I was really excited, because I really like Hiddleston as Loki, and was bummed he wasn’t one of the first two released.  When that figure was re-worked into this one, I was initially uncertain about getting it, but ultimately decided he still looked cool enough that I’d kick myself if i didn’t get him.  In the ensuing months between pre-ordering him from Sideshow and his release, I grew to like the Avengers design even more, and I’m ultimately pretty happy that this is the one they went with.  The figure is not without his issues, but I think he’s still one of the coolest HT figures in my collection.  He’s just hard not to love.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0013: Quicksilver

Hey ho, it’s Friday at The Figure in Question, so welcome to another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today I once more dive back into my extensive archive of Marvel-centered reviews, taking a look at Quicksilver.  Quicksilver was originally reviewed in May of 2015, a month that is notable because it’s a month that was completely made-up of Marvel reviews.  Not even on purpose either!

Countdown to Avengers: Age of Ultron: 7 days remaining.

Alright, we just took a look at Scarlet Witch and Hawkeye, two of the most important Avengers in my books. They both joined the team back in Avengers #16, along with the subject of today’s review, Quicksilver. They were led by Captain America and dubbed “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” Yeah, it was the 60s. Anyway, Quicksilver is an Avenger of moderate importance, though he’s not quite on the same level as the other two. Still, he’s an important guy, and seeing as he’s Scarlet Witch’s twin brother, it’s a little difficult to have one without the other. Plus he had that fantastic scene in X-Men: Days of Future Past, so he’s going places. Let’s look at one of his action figures!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Quicksilver was released in ToyBiz’s 90s X-Men line as part of their infamous “Muntant Armor” series. The figure was available in two possible decos: his classic blue and white and his current (at the time) white and grey. This one, in case you hadn’t already noted, is the white and grey, which, for those interested, was designed by legendary artist George Perez when he helped re-launch The Avengers in the 90s. The figure is 5 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation. Quicksilver was built on one of ToyBiz’s recurring male bodies of their 5 inch lines, which first popped up in the sixth series of ToyBiz’s Spider-Man line. It’s a pretty decent sculpt, with a nice, lean look, and a decent amount of movement. The only real downside is the left hand, which was hastily retooled from a web-shooting pose, resulting in a rather strange looking fist. In addition to the base body, Quicksilver features a head that is sort of new. The facial structure is the same as that of the “Battle Brigade” series Archangel, but the hair is completely new, giving us Pietro’s signature ‘do. The face is actually a lot better for Quicksilver than it was for Archangel, and the hair is very nicely handled, so it works very well. The figure’s paintwork is generally pretty well-done, though mine has taken its fair share of wear and tear. The lines are a bit fuzzy in some places, but overall the figure is pretty decent. The semi-metallic sheen on the dark grey parts is actually pretty cool, so there’s that. Quicksilver was packed with a stands shaped like a dust cloud and some sort of strange machine gun thing. Most intriguing about this is that he doesn’t actually have any armor, not even of the “Muntant” variety.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I got Quicksilver at a local toyshow, which my dad took me to, probably about 15 years ago. I remember that I was never able to find either of the Quicksilver figures when they were at retail. My dad had the blue and white version, but my collection was sadly Quicksilver-less. So, when I found this guy, I was pretty excited. I didn’t have a choice in deco, but I actually like this one, so it worked out. This figure’s still a pretty strong figure, even after almost 20 years. I’m certainly glad I found one!

Oh man, this review was part of my rather lengthy countdown to Age of Ultron’s release.  I was very excited for that movie.  It’s funny to see my line about him “going places” seeing as the MCU Quicksilver won’t be going much of anywhere.  You didn’t see that coming?

My actual review for this guy is pretty solid, I think.  It’s worth nothing that, despite this being the fourth figure I reviewed on this body, I do believe it’s the first time I actually reviewed it.  I kept referencing the Fallen figure’s review, but I never actually discussed the body there at all.  Pro tip, guys: re-read the reviews you reference.

During The Find, I dug up this guy’s little dust cloud base thingy.  It was re-used from the X-Men 2099 line’s Mean Streak figure.  Quicksilver’s feet slide into the two slots, and he looks like he’s running.  I guess.  There are also wheels on the bottom, so you can push him around like he’s a parade float or something.  Nifty.

I still like this guy a lot.  One of these days, I’ll need to track down the other costume.

#1235: Ultron

ULTRON

MARVEL AVENGERS PLAYMATION (HASBRO)

Hey, look, it’s another Playmation review!  If you don’t know what Playmation is, consult yesterday’s review, which I hope explained the concept well enough.  Anyway, I’ve got another one.  This one’s an Ultron, and I’m pretty much obligated to by Ultron figures, especially when they’re vaguely classic in design.  So, here he is.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultron was another of the later additions to the Marvel Avengers Playmation line.  This guy was a deluxe offering, so he’s a little larger in size than Super Adaptoid and the other basic-sized figures.  The figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has joints at his neck, shoulders, and mid-torso.  No hip movement for this guy, mostly due to both legs being affixed to the base.  Like the Adaptoid, Ultron isn’t really based on one singular design from anywhere in particular.  He’s probably the closest to the design Ultron had in the second season of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which wasn’t too far removed from his classic design.  As is fairly typical at this point, the head, and the antenna in particular, have changed in shape a bit.  Also, he’s got tendrils now because of reasons I guess.  Maybe he was jealous of Brainiac 13?  The general quality of the sculpt is pretty good.  I like the pose quite a bit, even if he did steal it from his son Vision’s first appearance cover.  Nevertheless, it’s appropriately menacing.  Ultron benefits from being mechanical in design, and thereby leaning into the curve of what this line was good at doing.  Some of the details feel a bit on the soft side, but he’s about on par with the rest of there figures in that regard.  The base piece is really the coolest part here, with a greatly battered Captain America shield, and even a little Mjolnir.  It paints a nice picture of Ultron’s assumed defeat of the Avengers.  In terms of paintwork, the base figure is mostly molded in a grey plastic, which is rather drab.  The head is painted silver, in order to help facilitate the light-up head feature exhibited when this guy is used with the game.  A lot of good that does me.  The base is the highlight again, featuring a great bit of weathering on Cap’s Shield.  Very cool.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Wanna guess where I got Ultron?  I’ll give you a hint, it was the same place where I got yesterday’s figure.  Yeah, I was picking up the Super Adaptoid from Ollie’s and they had this guy there too.  He was like a dollar more, but that’s not really a huge difference.  I’m always happy to see a new (vaguely) classic Ultron figure, so was a cool find.  He’s not the sort of thing I would have grabbed at full price, and he’s little more than a plastic statue, but he looks cool on the shelf.

#1234: Super Adaptoid

SUPER ADAPTOID

MARVEL AVENGERS PLAYMATION (HASBRO)

Man, the toys-to-life thing sure imploded fast.  After the success of Skylanders and Amiibo, everyone and their mother wanted in on it.  While Lego’s Dimensions attempt seems to have taken off in much the same way as the first two, Disney’s Infinity was discontinued in fairly short order (despite early success).  Somewhere along the line, Hasbro also tried their hand at the concept, creating their Playmation line, which I think most people were unaware even existed.  It got a handful of the figures out there, but its far more limited scope (they only did Avengers characters) and overlapping with the already failing Disney Infinity meant that never really took off or got any sort of notoriety.  It did manage to offer a few somewhat unique items, including today’s focus, the Super Adaptoid, an Avengers foe that had, up to this point, gone without any action figures.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Super Adaptoid was released in the second round of basic Marvel Avengers Playmation figures.  The Playmation figures were bigger than most other toys-to-life items, being a just slightly smaller scale than Hasbro’s Marvel Legends and the like.  The Adaptoid stands just shy of 6 inches tall (which, with his slight kneel, means he’s close enough that you can fudge the scale, should you want to display him with your Legends collection).  Another change that Playmation offered was giving the figures some articulation; it’s not a lot, but the Adaptoid can move at the shoulders, neck, mid-torso, and a little bit at the hips.  You’re not going to get a ton of variety in how he can be posed, but it’s enough to make him more than a statue. The Super Adaptoid has had a few looks over they years, with his most prevalent being an all-green amalgamation of Cap, Hawkeye, Iron Man, Wasp, and Thor.  This figure isn’t quite that design, but it’s a slightly modernized take on it, I guess.  It’s sort of like they married his classic design with his design from Avengers Assembled.  It’s not a terrible look, and probably a lot less goofy looking than his original design, while still keeping a lot of the basic traits.  It’s workable, and I certainly prefer it to his last comics appearance design.  The figure’s sculpt is actually pretty cool; a lot of this line’s figures looked sort of odd or strangely inhuman, but for a character like the Adaptoid, it’s not a bad thing.  The various stolen hero details are petty cool, and you can pretty clearly discern what came from whom.  As far as the pose goes, it’s not too extreme a pose, but also not as boring as a simple standing pose.  The legs seem a little odd, but they aren’t terrible, and at least he can stand.  I also appreciate the small little base, which has him standing on the remains of one of the Ultron drones.  It keeps him standing steady and looks cool to boot.  That’s the way to do it.  Now, Hasbro could have taken the easy way out on the paint and just done him in mostly solid green.  However, they didn’t do that; they actually used a nice variety of greens, which keeps the consistency from the comics, while also providing some nice depth to the look. 

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I didn’t pay much attention to Playmation when it was hitting retail, mostly due to owning lots of the characters presented lots of times over, and typically in a superior form.  That being said, I caught this guy’s image on the back of one of the packages and was moderately intrigued.  I even thought about picking him up at full price a few times, but I just never got around to it.  Eventually, I ended up finding a whole bunch of them at Ollie’s.  This guy was like $3, which was good enough for me to finally pick him up.  I’m glad I did.  I still don’t really have any interest in the actual game these guys were attached to, but a cool Super Adaptoid is a cool Super Adaptoid.

Flashback Friday Figure Addendum #0006: Ultron

0040

Alright, it’s time for another Flashback Friday Figure Addendum!  Today’s figure is another Toy Biz Marvel entry, though this one’s from a bit later in the reviews.  Let’s have a second look at Avengers: United They Stand’s Ultron!

Ah, yes, Avengers: United They Stand.  Poor A:UTS. it gets a lot of hate and I’m not certain it deserves it.  Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest depiction of the Avengers to grace the small screen(That honor goes to the more recent Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), but I didn’t think it was all that bad.  The designs and animation may be late 90s over complication at its finest, but I thought the characterization was actually nicely done, and I loved the fact that the focus was on the slightly lesser known Avengers instead of Cap, Iron Man, and Thor.  One of my other favorite things was the tie-in toyline, which is what I’ll look at today.  In particular, the toy counterpart of the shows recurring antagonist: Ultron!  This isn’t the first time Ultron’s been mentioned on this blog.  I previously mentioned him in passing in my Vision review, where I mentioned Ultron was the creator of Vision.  Ultron himself was the creation of Avengers founding member Hank Pym, aka Ant-Man, aka Giant-Man, aka Goliath, aka Yellow Jacket, aka Wasp, aka Dude with serious identity issues!  Ultron rebelled on his creator and became a powerful Avengers foe.  He’s also set to be the villain in the upcoming Avengers sequel.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Ultron was released as part of the first wave of Toy Biz’s Avengers:United They Stand tie-in line.  Ultron had several different looks over the course of the show, but this one seems to be a bit of an amalgam of the various looks, with the largest portion of influence coming from his appearance in the show’s first two episodes.   He stands just over 5 inches tall, and features 11 points of articulation (13 if you count the moving knee-pads).  Ultron is a completely new sculpt.  It’s well done, and quite detailed, especially for its time of release.  In particular, the head really captures the look of the character.  The paint is pretty well done, being mostly all one color; a nice bluish silver.  There’s a wash over the whole figure to help bring out the details.  The figure also features a light-up feature.  By pressing the button on Ultron’s waist, you could make the figure’s eyes and mouth light up.  It’s a neat feature that helps to further simulate the look of the character from the show and comics.  At one point, Ultron had a large cannon that hooked onto his right arm, but I’ve since lost that piece.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My dad bought Ultron for me when he was initially released.  We happened to stop at a Toys R Us and there he was.  He was one of the last figures I acquired from the line.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want one, but because the A:UTS figures were quite difficult to find initially, so I kind of got them when I saw them.  Growing up, he was the closest thing I had to a classic Ultron.  Because of that, I have quite the soft spot for him.

Okay, now we’re getting somewhere!  This review is from my second month writing reviews, and you can start to see some of the regular review features coming into play.  Height, articulation and paint are all actually addressed this time.  And I even made it past 500 words!  Granted, most of it was the intro, but still.  Also, this is my first Flashback to a post-random review period. Cool.  Cool cool cool.

My actual review was pretty on point for this guy.  The only thing missing was his big ol’ arm cannon, which was amongst the many items excavated during The Find.  It’s goofy, but also manages to match pretty well with the rest of the figure stylistically, and, amazingly, it doesn’t impede his movement when attached (of course, the shoulder’s still a bit restricted thanks to the wiring that allows it to light up).  Also, I neglected to mention in my original review that Ultra’s sculpt, was an early product of the fine folks at Art Asylum, who would later launch one of the best Trek lines ever put into plastic, as well as creating my favorite brand of all time, Minimates.

I’ve actually got a story about this one! As a kid, I lost this figure around Christmas time and couldn’t locate him for a whole year.  Come the next Christmas, I put on my robe I wore one a year on Christmas morning and found this guy in the pocket.  Seems I’d stowed him there for safekeeping the prior year and total forgotten.  To date, this figure remains my favorite figure of Ultron, so I’m happy he wasn’t missing for too long!

#1200: Thor

THOR

THE AVENGERS (HOT TOYS)

thorht1

Well, it looks like I made it another hundred reviews.  That’s cool, I guess.  Admittedly, we’re getting to the point where 100 reviews doesn’t feel like that big a deal anymore.  I mean, I’ve done it 12 times, so, maybe I should up the interval again.  I don’t know.

Anyway, it’s an ’00 review, which means it’s time for another high-end figure review.  Once again, it’s a figure from our friends over at Hot Toys.  More than a few of my Hot Toys figures hail from the MCU, and today’s entry is no exception.  Yes, it’s the God of Thunder himself, Thor Odinson!  Is the last name too much?  It sounds goofy, doesn’t it.  But, well, that’s his name.  So there it is.  Onto the figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

thorht2Thor is figure 175 in Hot Toys’ Movie Masterpiece Series, which puts him smack dab between the Avengers versions of Captain America and Loki, which is sensible.  Like those two, he’s based on his appearance in The Avengers, specifically his fully armored up look from the film’s climactic battle.  He hit in early 2013, which was actually pretty good turnaround for a HT figure of the time, arriving less than a year after the movie he was based on.  The figure stands about 12 1/2 inches tall and has “over 30 points of articulation” going by the blurb on the Sideshow website. 

First off, let’s have a look at Thor’s noggin.  When this figure was first shown, there was quite a bit of contention over the likeness on the head, due to the prototype shots looking less than stellar (he looked more like Leonardo DiCaprio than Chris Hemsworth, and those two don’t particularly look similar).  The final product showcased a marked improvement.  The final sculpt isn’t a spot-on Hemsworth likeness, but it’s very, very good.  A lot of it depends on the thorht3angle; when viewed from the right, as seen in the close-up shot, it’s clearly Hemsworth, but flip over to the other side and the likeness gets off pretty quickly.  You can always tell who he’s supposed to be, but it’s not always very convincing.  Likeness aside, the actual detail work is solid regardless; his face has tons of subtle little wrinkles and such, which really make him look like a real person, and the detailing on the stubble of his beard is surprisingly well-rendered.  Thor has long hair, and no matter how you handle that, there are always some compromises.  HT opted to go sculpted for this figure, which I think was the right call.  The hair is decent enough, but there are definitely some section s that are more convincingly hair than others.  Also, there’s a seam running near the front of his head, which is more present than I’d like.  As far as paint for the head, it’s the usual HT standard of insanely lifelike.  Really, it’s quite impressive how well down they have this.  The eyes in particular are what really sells it for me; there’s just so much life behind them.

Thor’s costume more of a mixed media effort than usual for HT.  The vest, pants, cape, and the red sections of the wrist bands are all cloth pieces, and are mostly tailored pretty well to the body.  The pants look a little odd in certain poses, almost looking backwards at times, but they’re not bad.  I like the brightness of the cape, and it’s a good, sturdy material, which is always a plus.  The rest of Thor’s costume pieces (the outer vest, sleeves, wrist guards, and boots) are constructed from various sculpted elements.  By and large, they do a good job capturing the movie’s designs.  The sleeves are a rubber cover for the arms, and do most of the work to give the arms actual shape.  They look good, but end up being very limiting when it comes to posing the arms; the elbows barely have even 45 degrees of movement, and even then, they have a tendency to slowly return to a straighter pose, due to the heaviness and thickness of the material.  Later Thor figures tackled the sleeves/arms by just putting a joint on the outside, but they were still figuring everything out for this guy.  The boots are each two pieces: a foot and a slip-over piece that covers the shin.  This is nice from a movement perspective, but ends up looking a little goofy in practice.

Thor isn’t super heavy on the accessories, but he does have a few fun pieces.  He comes with:

  • 9 hands
  • Mjolnir
  • The Tesseract in its fun little carrying case from the end of the movie
  • Display stand

thorinventoryThe hands come in relaxed (L and R), fists (L and R), tight grip (L and R), loose grip (L), and wide gesture (L and R).  They’re all very nicely sculpted, and look like real hands.  They’re a bit difficult to swap out, but do ad some nice expressiveness to the figure.

Mjolnir is definitely the main highlight here.  It’s made from metal, which gives it some really nice heft, and there’s even a little leather strap at the bottom, just like in the movie.

The Tesseract is definitely the most unique of the pieces. It’s sort of fun, and allows Thor to be posed with the Loki figure, like at the end of the movie.  It also continued the trend of giving us all possible variations of the Tesseract, after the normal one from Red Skull and the one in the metal case from Nick Fury.

Last up is the stand, which is the same basic stand we’ve seen tons of times before.  There’s a logo for Avengers and Thor’s name is on the front.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I pretty much have Thor because I was getting the rest of the Avengers line-up from the first movie, but what’s kind of amusing about him is that he was really the lynchpin of me getting the whole set.  Initially, I had just planned to get Black Widow and Hawkeye to put with my Mech Test Tony Stark and First Avenger Captain America.  Then I realized I would have most of the team, so I went ahead and pre-ordered Thor, which eventually led to me picking up both the Mark VII and Hulk, and realizing I might as well get Cap as well.  So really, it’s Thor’s fault.  Silly Thor.

#1186: Falcon & Tigra

FALCON & TIGRA

MARVEL MINIMATES

falcontigra1

Following yesterday’s lead, today I’ll be looking at another set of figures from the latest comic-based series of Marvel Minimates, which is heavy on the classic Avengers theme this time around.  Today’s set gives us another take on one of my favorite parts of the Captain America mythos, Falcon, as well as recurring Avenger and all-around under-appreciated character Tigra.  Yes, that’s right, they packed the bird person and the cat person together.  Clever DST.  Clever.  Onto the figures!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Falcon and Tigra are both part of Series 69 of Marvel Minimates, officially dubbed the “Most Wanted” series.  These two are something of an odd pairing for their main universe counterparts (aside from the cat and canary gags), but it’s worth nothing that the two were sort of an item in the 1999 Avengers: United They Stand cartoon, for what that’s worth.  It’s worth a lot to me, but probably not much to others, since I think I’m like one of two people in existence who even remembers that show.

FALCON

falcontigra2Man, remember when it was a really big deal when Falcon finally got his first ‘mate in Series 54?  In less than three years, he’s gone from no Minimates to a whopping 6 of them!  Not bad!  So far, most of Falcon’s ‘mates have skewed more modern, but this one goes back to his early days.  Well, not his earliest days, with all the green and yellow and the total lack of wings.  No, this would be Falcon’s second costume, which is the one that set the tone for all costumes to follow.  Falcon stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation.  Structurally, he’s the same as his Series 54 counterpart.  Same hair, same wings.  He’s the same person, so that makes sense.  Plus, the parts were a good fit the first time, so if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?  The main difference here is the paintwork, which I have to say, is really well handled.  All of the important details of his classic costume have been translated very nicely into the Minimate form, and the details are all nice and sharp.  They’ve managed to choose the least tacky red/white combo available, which is certainly a good thing, and I really like the nice, friendly smile on his face.  Falcon’s always been characterized as a pretty easy-going guy, so I’m happy we got a more jovial expression for him (and in general, really.  Minimates can sometimes get a little on the stern side).  There are a few spots that could probably stand to be a little cleaner (the hands in particular are rather uneven), but the paint is by and large very good, and better than most of Falcon’s previous ‘mates.  Falcon is packed with his sidekick Redwing, a flight stand, and a clear display stand.

TIGRA

falcontigra4Falcon may be raking in all the Minimates these days, but Tigra here makes her Minimate debut with this figure.  Poor Tigra doesn’t seem to get much respect these days.  It’s a shame, because she’s an awesome character when written the right way, but almost none of the current crop of writers seem to be able to do that, so she’s either reduced to simple sex appeal or just shoved off to the side and totally ignored.  Perhaps she’ll make her way into the movies and get some respect there.  In the meantime, she’s got this pretty sick Minimate!  She makes use of Dazzler’s hair and Cheetah’s claws and tail (they went waaaaaay back for those parts!).  It makes for a pretty good match for Tigra’s usual depictions, showing that some times, re-use really is the best way to go.  The paintwork on Tigra is downright amazing if you ask me.  She’s one of those rare ‘mates that’s completely painted, which always looks better if you ask me.  The orange really makes her pop and the sharpness of the linework, especially on her stripes is just great.  Her facial expression is a much more intense one than Falcon’s, but it’s well-rendered and works quite well for the character.  Tigra’s only accessory is a clear display stand, but I can’t really think of any accessories she’s incomplete without, so it’s enough to make me happy.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s Black Knight and Enchantress, these two were a Christmas gift from my parents.  Black Knight may be my favorite figure from this series, but boy do these two give him a solid run for his money (if this were the first Falcon ‘mate, he’d have definitely come out on top).  Tigra is a fantastic new addition to the Avengers line-up, and Falcon is a more than welcome replacement for the Series 54 version.  Another winning set to be sure.

#1185 Black Knight & Enchantress

BLACK KNIGHT & ENCHANTRESS

MARVEL MINIMATES

blackknightenchantress1

It’s Day 18 of the post-Christmas reviews, and we are officially in the home stretch.  Just one more week of these things left.  You know, until I…get back to reviewing action figures after three and a half weeks of…reviewing action figures.

For today’s review, I’m getting back to one of my all-time favorite toy lines, Marvel Minimates.  Now, I must admit, I’ve been a little down on the line the last few years.  Not that the figures have been bad by any stretch (because they haven’t) but more because almost all of the focus was either totally current, event-driven stuff (like AvX, Axis, Infinity, and of course all of the movies) or heavy on the ‘90s X-Men side of things.  Series 68 was definitely a breath of fresh air, offering up a really great assortment of classic X-Men, but I was really longing for some good comic Avengers.  The last comic-based Avengers series was way back in early 2012, and even that only offered two new characters (and one of them possessing a marginal connection to the Avengers at best).  68 was great, but I wanted an Avengers series that rivaled that.  Well, as it just so happens, DST was way ahead of me.  Let’s begin with the Series 69 reviews!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Black Knight and Enchantress are, as noted, part of Series 69 of Marvel Minimates, officially dubbed the “Most Wanted” series, which I certainly think is appropriate.

BLACK KNIGHT

blackknightenchantress3First up, it’s Black Knight, specifically Dane Whitman, the heroic incarnation of the character.  For me, this guy is hands down the star attraction of this series.  Something about Black Knight’s always appealed to me, and up until recently, he hasn’t really been done justice in action figure form (Hasbro’s Marvel Universe version being the one exception).  He’s based on his classic costume, which makes me very happy.  No offense to his other designs, but they always felt like rather pale imitations of his original look.  The figure stands a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and has 12 points of articulation.  He’s built on the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for his helmet, cape, glove cuffs, and boots.  The gloves and boots are re-used pieces; they’re just basic flared gloves and boots, which work well for the character.  His helmet and cape are both new.  The helmet is spot-on to his comics helmet, and sits very nicely on the head.  The cape is okay, but could be better; it seems to lack some of the dramatic flare usually seen on Dane’s cape, and it looks like something was lost during the transition from control art to final product.  Rarely do I point out something that’s missing on a Minimate, but I was slightly disappointed that Dane just had a painted on belt, with no scabbard for his ebony blade.  It’s a fairly consistent feature of his design, so it’s a slightly odd omission.  That being said, it’s likely a cost thing, and if something was going to be cut, that was the easiest thing.  Black Knight’s paintwork is pretty standard fare for a ‘mate; the colors are all nice and bold, and most of the application good and clean.  I really like the subtle work on the scale mail.  I also quite like the face; it’s intense expression is a good match for Dane’s look on the cover of his first appearance, and it’s always great to get some variety in expressions.  Black Knight is packed with his Ebony Blade (which is the same sword included with the animated Taskmaster ‘mate from a little while back.  It’s a good enough fit for the character), a spare hairpiece for his un-helmeted look, and a clear display stand. 

ENCHANTRESS

blackknightenchantress2It hasn’t been all that long since my last Enchantress review.  It seems 2016 was a good year for her.  Maybe Marvel’s trying to stick it to DC for pushing to get their version of Enchantress to the big screen first?  Regardless of rationale, Amora’s a pretty prominent member of the Thor’s supporting cast, as well as a founding member of the Masters of Evil, and an all-around pretty cool character.  It’s about time she was given her due!  Like Black Knight, she uses the standard ‘mate body, this time with add-ons for the hair and skirt.  The skirt looks to be a standard piece, but the hair is new.  It’s a decent enough sculpt, though it does feel a tad lifeless when compared to some of the other hairpieces in this set.  Still, it looks like Enchantress and that’s really the point.  Enchantress’s paintwork is actually quite impressive.  All the details are very sharp, and there’s a lot of really cool small detail work, especially on the arms and legs.  The face does a really nice job of capturing that alluring, yet still devious look that she’s prone to sport in the comics, and really sells just who this ‘mate’s supposed to be.  Enchantress includes two green effects pieces and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Black Knight and Enchantress were a Christmas gift from my always supportive parents.  As I noted above, this is a series I was really looking forward to, and this set in particular was my most anticipated.  Black Knight’s been pretty high on my Minimates wishlist for a good long while, and I’m beyond psyched to finally have him.  He certainly didn’t disappoint.  Enchantress is no slouch either.  While she may not have quite the same coolness factor as Dane, she’s an essential character, and DST did a great job translating her into ‘mate form!

blackknightenchantress4

#1153: Black Widow & Dark Avengers Iron Man

BLACK WIDOW & DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

MARVEL MINIMATES

widowdaim1

Hey ho, it’s another Minimate review. They kind of come in clusters, I guess. Of course, where yesterday’s focus figure came from way back at the beginning, today’s is a more recent addition to the line. So, without further ado, here’s Black Widow and Dark Avengers Iron Man!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair is part of Series 2 of the Walgreens-exclusive Marvel Minimates. As with all the Walgreens ‘mates, these two are animated series-based, specifically Avengers Assemble.

BLACK WIDOW

widowdaim2Black Widow is one of the main members of the team in Avengers Assemble, so her appearance here isn’t a huge shock, especially since they’ve been steadily working through the animated incarnation of the team. The figure is a little under 2 1/2 inches tall and she has 14 points of articulation. Widow is based on her second costume from the show, which is a bit more distinct when compared to the same basic Widow we’ve gotten a few times, so definitely a good choice. Her only add-on piece is her hair, which she shares with the previously reviewed Gamora ‘mate. It’s a nice enough piece, and I guess it matches well enough with her animated design. The rest of her design is rendered via paint work, which is pretty solid. As I’ve noted a few times before, the animated designs really do translate pretty well to the ‘mate form, and Widow definitely fits that trend. The colors are nice, bright, and bold, and all of the line work is nice and crisp. The figure is packed with a pair of batons and a clear display stand.

DARK AVENGERS IRON MAN

widowdaim3The second season of Avengers Assemble introduced frequent Marvel fixture the Squadron Supreme, who are the Marvel equivalent of the Justice League. They took advantage of the Squadron’s alternate universe to also introduce the Dark Avengers, evil counterparts to the main heroes. DST decided to take advantage of these new designs to offer some slightly more unique designs for the characters we’ve all seen so many times before. The first one was Iron Man, whose design swaps out the red portions of his armor for black, because everyone knows black = evil, I guess. Construction-wise, he’s got add-ons for his helmet, gloves, and belt, as well as special upper arm pieces. Everything is reused, which is generally okay. The Mark 42 arms still aren’t among my favorites, mostly due to serious limitations they place on the shoulder movement. Aside from that, though, he does a decent enough job of capturing the look of the armor on the show. The paintwork on this guy is passable, but nowhere near as nice as some of the others in this subset. He’s rather drab, being a dark blue and a rather cold yellow. Ultimately, he ends up looking like a slightly blander version of the Marvel Now Iron Man from a few years ago. Under the helmet, there’s a Tony Stark face, which is a bit angrier than the usual Tony. The flesh tone on the face is kind of thin, so he ends up looking rather bluish. Also, the figure’s paint just seems rather sloppy in general. The figure is packed with a flight stand and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two were given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who bought them from a Walgreens during a trip back home over the summer. Apparently, she likes to buy things for me when she’s stressed. Widow’s a pretty solid ‘mate. Dark Avengers Iron Man is…well he doesn’t feel like the most inspired choice. Of all the Dark Avengers designs, his is really one of the less interesting, and to top it off, his paint work is noticeably lower in quality than others in the series. Overall, I think Widow’s enough to save the pack, but it would have been nice if her pack mate had been more exciting.

#1144: Wonder Man – Energized Emissaries

MARVEL’S WONDER MAN — ENERGIZED EMISSARIES

MARVEL LEGENDS (HASBRO)

wondermanhas1

Remember that bio I ran with Captain Britain that was no help as an intro?  I don’t think it’s any more help for Wonder Man.  That’s okay, I think I did an alright job of introducing the guy yesterday.  So, without further ado, here’s another Wonder Man figure!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

wondermanhas2Wonder Man is the fifth figure in the recent Abomination Series of Marvel Legends.  His official name is “Energized Emissaries,” which he shares with Captain Britain.  It’s…well, it’s not really a name that works particularly well for either of them.  They seem like an odd pair to share packaging really, since it’s not like they really have anything at all in common.  Ah, who cares about the names, it’s the figures that matter, right?  This figure stands about 6 1/2 inches tall and he has 32 points of articulation.  He’s based on Wonder Man’s most recent costume design, which he was sporting in Uncanny Avengers.  Admittedly, it’s a design I have some issues with.  Most notably, the swapping out the belt for the straps on the upper arms and legs just feels like change for the sake of change.  Still, it’s far from the worst costume the guy’s ever worn, and at least it’s current.  Wonder Man is built on the Grim Reaper body, a fitting choice, given that Grim Reaper is Simon’s brother Eric.  It’s also the same body now being used for Captain America, who is canonically the same height as Simon, so it’s a good fit all around.  Certainly a better choice than the last ML Wonder Man!  Wonder Man gets an all-new head sculpt, which is a decent enough piece.  I personally would have liked the hair to be a touch longer, but this matches up with most of the character’s depictions while in this costume.  He also makes use of the bracer-wearing forearms we saw on the Walgreens-exclusive Namor figure, which are a great bit of re-use.  Honestly, it wouldn’t shock me to find out the pieces were deliberately designed for use with both of them, given how close the figures are in terms of release.  Wonder Man continues the trend of very clean paintwork that we’ve been seeing from Hasbro as of late.  There’s a little bot of slop on his leg bands, but aside from that, the work is very clean.  There’s even the slightest hint of blue on his hair, which adds a nice bit of pop.  Also of note: they actually got his logo right!  Finally!  The last few Wonder Men have all had the Ionic powers represented by a separate figure, but this time around they’ve just been rolled into the main figure, by way of some extra hands and some effects pieces.  He gets a pair of fists (slightly underscaled due to being outsourced from the Bucky Cap body.  How has Hasbro not yet sculpted fists for the Reaper body?) in translucent purple, along with the effects pieces from Havok done up to match.  It’s admittedly not a bad way of showcasing the powers, though I certainly wouldn’t say not to a fully Ionic re-paint.  I’m not sure the effects pieces work quite as well for Simon as they did for Havok, but they work well enough that they don’t bug me.  In addition to the Ionic pieces, he also includes the right leg of the BAF Abomination.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As I noted yesterday, Wonder Man’s always been one of my favorites.  That, coupled with his last Legends figure being somewhat lackluster, meant I was pretty excited for this guy.  I ended up grabbing him off of Amazon at the same time as Captain Britain and Scarlet Witch.  Aside from not being my ideal costume choice, he’s a pretty solid take on the character, and a much worthier rendition than the last figure.  Wonder Man gets to be part of the default Avengers set-up again!

wondermanhas3