Marvel Legends: Agents of SHIELD 3-pack by Hasbro, Part 2

It’s Saturday, my vacation is almost over and that makes me a sad puppy. Hopefully playing with some new Marvel Legends can cheer me up until the dark din of Monday morning hits me and my mood is irrecoverable. Yesterday, I started looking at this Agents of SHIELD boxed set with Agent Phil Coulson and found him to be a fresh and new figure. Today we’re going to be looking at Nick Fury and Maria Hill and things are not going to be so fresh and new. Reuse of parts is common in these multiplacks and that’s going to become pretty apparent today with two recycled bodies. We’ve already seen the packaging, so let’s jump right in and start with Nick Fury.

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Before I get going, let me point out that this seems to be a repack of the Legends Fury originally issued as part of the Walmart exclusive Captain America: The First Avenger line. I never saw those figures on the pegs, so I’m coming at this like a new release, or at least new to me. I like this figure, I like it a lot. I think it looks fantastic on its own. But it sure is hard not to look at it and see a head pop-and-swap from the Red Skull a few waves back because that’s almost exactly what this figure is. The only stand out difference is the coat and pants going from grey to black. Does it work as Fury? Absolutely! I think it works better as Fury than the Red Skull. Is it annoying that I can’t unsee it? You betcha! Especially so when the two figures are likely only going to be a shelf apart in my display case. It’s also the same basic body we saw with The Punisher, and that coat was not only previously used for Red Skull and The Punisher, but Fantomex as well (and did that “Marvel Knights” Blade figure ever actually come out? If so, there’s another!). But hey, I absolutely love this coat. It’s wonderfully textured and looks fantastic and next to Frank Castle, I think Fury is the best use of it.

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I’m also very fond of the aesthetics of this particular body. Again, there’s a ton of little detail work on the texturing of the pants and shirt. The sculpted and functional holster on the leg looks great and Fury makes use of the extra holster in the shoulder rig that was used with Red Skull. For a line that makes a lot of use of generic bucks and painted costumes, I can appreciate the sculpted detail here. The boots are painted glossy black to stand out from the rest of the black and there’s some fine silver paintwork on the buckles and snaps.

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The head sculpt rounds out the package quite nicely. It’s a great likeness for Samuel Jackson, at least in this scale and price range and when you put the whole thing together, I think this figure really captures the character beautifully.

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Now, you may have noted that I commented on how I like the aesthetics of this body, well the articulation is another matter. All the points are there, but the way the shoulders and hips work can be rather annoying. The arms can’t really be put down at his sides, so you’re mostly relegated to action poses. The hips can do a little better, but you really have to fiddle with those ball joints a lot and even so, this figure is really tough to stand on his own.

Fury comes with a pair of automatic pistols, which are nicely scaled (particularly when compared to Red Skull’s obnoxiously large red sidearm). They feature decent sculpts and even some blue paint apps, which makes them a little SHIELD-y to me. They fit nicely in both holsters, but unfortunately, Fury only has one hand that’s really designed to hold a gun, but that’s OK, because I can hand one off to Maria Hill. And that brings us to…

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Yes, Agent Hill is also a mostly recycled body, in this case taken from the recent Winter Soldier version of Black Widow. Again, it’s a logical bit of reuse, and in this case the body has received an entirely new repaint (blue) to make it a somewhat more distinctive figure. There are also some less added silver paint apps to the fixtures of her gear, as well as the absence of Widow’s trademark emblem on the tummy, that help separate the two. On the downside, reuse of this body means that you also get the holsters with the guns permanently sculpted into them. Still, even with its flaws, I really like that Black Widow figure and this one works a little better because I’m pretty sure that that Cobie Smulders is taller than Scarlett Johansson and this figure is pretty tall when compared to Fury or even the STRIKE Suit Cap. Ironically, Widow’s hair still makes her a smidge taller than Hill.

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Speaking of actresses, the likeness on Agent Hill is certainly passable. I don’t think it photographs all that well, but in person it’s quite good. I’m not sure I could randomly identify the head if it were given to me, but in the context of the uniform, it’s pretty easy for me to recognize who it’s supposed to be. She even has her trademark ear piece.

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Hill doesn’t come with any accessories, but as I mentioned before I believe I’ll be handing off one of Fury’s guns to her. Her right hand is sculpted to hold these guns perfectly. The left hand is sculpted into a fist, which unfortunately looks more like a ham painted in a flesh tone.

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Like I said in the opener, these sets are usually all about parts recycling, so that’s something to keep in mind. Companies like Hasbro and Mattel recycling bodies doesn’t bother me, especially if it helps us get figures that otherwise might not be in the budget and certainly not when its used to this good effect. As far as I’m concerned, every one of these figures would have been a worthy purchase on their own so grabbing all three for fifty bucks feels like a pretty good deal. Certainly good enough that I didn’t hesitate to buy it when I saw it, whereas I waited until deep clearance to buy Hasbro’s last Legends 3-pack.

Marvel Legends: Agents of SHIELD 3-pack by Hasbro, Part 1

Well, I hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s little break from Marvel Legends Week, because today it’s back to business, this time with the Agents of SHIELD 3-pack. This Toys R Us exclusive features Agent Phil Coulson, Agent Maria Hill, and Nick Fury himself. These are, of course, all versions based on the Marvel MovieVerse, which is appropriate as we are just one week away from the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron and I couldn’t be more psyched. In the wake of watching the amazing Daredevil series on Netflex, I actually thought I’d give the Agents of SHIELD series a second go, but I find myself still having to push myself to complete an episode, so I’m not sure how long I’ll last this time.

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Much like that far more questionable Captain America, Radioactive Man, Ms Marvel set that I featured a couple of weeks back, these figures come in an elongated window box showing off the goods. It’s totally collector friendly as all you need do is open up one of the flaps and slide out the tray. I thought this set was going to be impossible to get a hold of, but it turned up on TRU’s website fairly quickly and surprisingly enough did not sell out immediately. Quite the contrary, it shortly went on sale. Today I’m going to check out the packaging and Agent Coulson and tomorrow I’ll swing back around to look at Fury and Hill.

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Agent Coulson was a great choice for the Marvel Legends series as he’s been one of those common threads trailing along through the films from the beginning. Coulson comes sporting a brand new suited body, which I hear tell was actually created for the up and coming Chameleon figure and yet somehow managed to land on the shelves first here on Coulton. It features the usual vest-style of jacket with the arms sculpted to look like sleeves. The tie is also a separate piece and features a crisp blue and silver diagonal stripe. The paintwork is rounded out with some sharp silver paint on the belt buckle and glossy black for the shoes. I think they could have done a better job matching the black on the sleeves and jacket, but otherwise this body is a really nice piece of work and I can imagine there’s a lot of potential for Hasbro to repurpose it quite a bit. Just think of how much mileage Mattel got out of some of their DCUC suited bodies, eh?

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You get two different heads with Coulson, one with sunglasses and one without. The regular head is a fairly good portrait. It’s a little stylized, but I’m pretty sure I could have recognized it as Clark Gregg if I didn’t already know who it was supposed to be. The features are quite well definied and he has a little bit of a smile. The other portrait is possibly even a little closer in likeness. The sunglasses are very neatly painted and this one features a more serious expression. Hasbro rarely has to deal with real actor likenesses in the Legends line, but it’s nice to see they can do it right when they have to.

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As for articulation, The Son of Coul is a surprisingly agile figure. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles are hinged with lateral rockers. Phil has a swivel in the waist, a ball joint in the torso, and both a hinge and balljoint at the neck. For a guy in a suit, Coulson is all sorts of limber.

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Besides the extra noggin, Phil comes with the weapon he briefly wielded in the first Avengers movie. It’s the one that SHIELD retro-engineered from The Destroyer technology and the one he shot Loki with. It’s a big gun with some really intricate sculpting and a little orange paint on the barrel. He can hold it comfortably in both hands.

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Oftentimes these Marvel multipacks, whether they be Legends or Universe, feel like quick cash grabs with thrown together figures, but that’s definitely not the case with Agent Coulson. I would have been totally happy to buy this guy off the peg for the usual $20. He’s an excellent figure and feels fresh and new. The likeness is good, the articulation is great, and the extra head and the weapon just sweeten the pot. We’re off to a great start with this set, so join me tomorrow and I’ll be back to look at Nick Fury and Maria Hill.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Breakdown by Hasbro

If you follow the day-by-day doings here at FFZ, then you know I’m in the middle of a Marvel Legends Week, but I’m still going to observe the tradition that is Transformers Thursday around these parts. Afterall, I’ve got me some Stunticons to look at!!! A couple of weeks back I looked at Dragstrip and today we’re pressing on with Breakdown.

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Once again, I’m so happy to see that Hasbro is carrying the Comic Packs over to this new line. Sure, I still prefer the packaging deco used for Generations, but when you toss me a free funnybook, I’m libel to forget all about superficial things like what the package that I’m about to throw away looks like. Breakdown comes packaged in his robot mode, but as you’ve probably already guessed, I’m starting out with his alt mode.

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Just like the good ol’days, Breakdown is an off-white Lambourghini and a fairly good one too. There are the inevitable seams running around the body of the car and some of those gaps never seem to close up as much as I’d like no matter how much I fiddle with it, but all in all I’m pretty pleased with what we got here. The black paint on the windows looks great, as does the red on the hood with the Decepticon emblem prominantly displayed. I love me my Decepticon cars and I love them more when they proudly advertise what they are. Breakdown also sports some blue striping on the lower edge of his sides and there’s some silver paint for the lights and part of the front bumper. I could have probably done without the “15RACING” printed on the windshield, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me.

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Unlike the other two Combiner Wars Deluxes that I looked at, Breakdown actually makes great use of his combiner part in alt mode. It pegs just behind the spoiler and creates an external engine thingy that does a good job of mimicking the cannon that pegged into the original toy. Or if you prefer, you can leave that off and just plug Breakdown’s weapon into the roof. Either way, if you like weaponizing your cars, you have options!

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Breakdown’s transformation has a few neat things going on. I like the way the legs fold out and the way the chest plate folds under to form the front bumper is pretty cool. Unfortunately, the result is a robot mode that has some issues. You should note that he comes mis-transformed in the package, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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Let’s start with the good stuff! Breakdown is among the minority of the CW Deluxes that doesn’t show their combiner port as part of their chest and I like that. The plate that covers it up is nicely sculpted and the blue and silver paint look really good on him. The tiny off-center Decepticon emblem is a tad disappointing, but even still I like the makeup of this guy’s torso. Also well worthy of praise is that head sculpt, which I think actually outshines the one Fansproject used for their own Not-Breakdown. The squared off “helmet” and red face really sell the character to me. Good stuff!

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Alas, that brings us to the not so good stuff. Those legs, for starters, are pretty rough. The lower legs are way too bulky and having that much hollow space on display doesn’t work for me. It makes him look stocky. I’ll admit it’s actually falls in line with the original G1 toy design, but I’d rather have more of a Sunbow aesthetic with my Generations figures. Is it just my personal preference? Sure, but that’s what these reviews are all about. The arms also seem rather flimsy to me, especially in relation to the boxy chest and bulky lower legs.

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Lastly, there’s the backpack. I’ll concede that it tucks away nicely enough so that it’s all but invisible from the front and that’s something that fixes a major concern I had when viewing the figure in the package where it’s flipped up and visible from the front. On the other hand, it still looks rather bulky from the side or behind. And, so long as I’m getting crazy nit-picky here, it sure would have been cool if the whole thing could have been raised just a bit to put those wheels on his shoulders like the G1 design.

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Breakdown comes with a cool weapon that can double as either a rifle with a bayonet or a sword. It’s a great design made all the better because Hasbro coughed up the cash for a silver paint app on the blade.

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If you absolutely want to get that combiner part stowed away on Breakdown, you can peg it into his back. It does add a lot more bulk to what is an already rather unsightly backpack, but it works better for me than the way awkwardly Dragstrip’s pegged onto his shoulder. Either way it’s a moot point for me because I’m perfectly happy leaving the combiner parts separate from the figure when they’re not in use.

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I picked Breakdown to go first because I honestly thought I was not going to like this figure at all and I wanted to get the bad out of the way. Surprisingly, even with all my many gripes, that’s not at all the case and I actually find myself liking him quite a bit. He’s not at all a bad Transformer, but he does strike me as being rather dated. The issues I have him with him feel like issues I would have if I were looking at a figure from the Unicron Trilogy era, particularly those hollow legs and the backpack. That having been said, there’s still plenty to love here and I do believe I can overcome the rough spots and embrace this guy as my Generations Breakdown.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Batroc the Leaper by Hasbro

With the last wave of Marvel Legends behind me, it’s time to jump right into the most recent assortment… The Thanos Wave! This one is split between three straight up comic characters and three figures form the Age of Ultron movie. I’m probably going to get into the Avengers 2 figures next week, what with the movie coming out, so I thought I’d start with something from the comic side of the fence and you can’t get more comic than Batroc. Yes, folks, you know it’s a miraculous time to be a comic book fan and toy collector when you can walk into a Target or Walmart and buy a Batroc the Leaper right off the peg. Holy shit, whoever thought this would be possible!

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There’s not much new to be said about the packaing. You get the now standard window box with the Marvel logo up top and Batroc’s name down the bottom. The back of the package has a single sentence about Batroc, which is fine because I would imagine that if you don’t happen to already know who he is the only reason you’d buy this figure is to get the Thanos pieces. Included are Thanos’ torso and shoulder armor and between those and Batroc there isn’t much space left in this box. Batroc, of course, made a drastically altered appearance in The Winter Soldier as one of the French mercenaries who hijacked the SHIELD vessel and took hostages leading to a pretty bad ass fight between Cap and The Leaper. Besides the name, however, the only thing that really survived the transition to big screen was some purple on his clothing and a pencheon for French kickboxing.

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Of course, you’d have to be a kickboxer, veteran of the French Foreign Legion, and all over badass to walk around looking like this! With his purple and gold outfit, Batroc is clearly not afraid of having his fashion sense challenged. Batroc’s costume is achieved exclusively through paintwork on a generic figure buck, but it works perfectly fine. There’s a little bit of gold spray on the purple of his left arm, but otherwise the paint lines are nice and clean. The colors are absolutely gorgeous too. This figure really pops on the shelf, even when surrounded by a legion of equally brightly colored costumed heroes and villains.

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Ah, but Batroc is all about that face and Hasbro did a wonderful job with it. They pulled no punches with his goatee, classic stereotypical villain mustache and that cheesy grin. Even the nose is so superbly defined. I think this may go down as one of my favorite head sculpts in the modern Legends era, and there have been some great ones, so that’s really saying something!

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The articulation here provides plenty of poseability. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and there are swivels in his thighs and the tops of his boots. The ankles feature both hinges and lateral rockers. Finally, you get a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. The lateral shoulder crunches that we saw in Iron Fist a few days ago would have been welcome here, but I’m still happy with what we got.

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Batroc is a great example of why I’m so excited about what Hasbro has been doing with the Legends line. Here we are on the cusp of Avengers 2’s release and rather than simply stack the deck with movie figures to cash in on that huge media cow, they are still managing to blow a kiss to those of us that read comic books. You have to figure that tossing in an Age of Ultron Hawkeye or an Ultron Drone would have had to sell better than Batroc, and that’s why I consider releases like this to be such a welcome love letter. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love to see those other figures, along with a MovieVerse Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but I’m more happy to see a balance struck between movie and comic book characters on the pegs.

Marvel Legends (Allfather Wave): Odin Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Ah, the Build-A-Figure! On the one hand it gives you an extra reward for being a good little collector and completing a Marvel Legends wave. On the other hand, sometimes you’re beholden to buying figures you don’t want just so you can get an arm or a leg. In the case of The Allfather Wave, I was perfectly happy buying all the figures in the assortment so that I could could build me an Odin. And yes, I said Odin as opposed to King Thor. You do get two different choices on how you want to go with this figure. The “Maidens of Might” variants gave you different heads, capes, and weapons and the “Avenging Allies” variants gave you the two different sets of arms. The obvious choice is, why can’t I have both? Well, if you’re welling to do a little boiling and popping, you could probably have your Asgardian cake and eat it too, but without applying some heat, it’s pretty tough to get those arms out once they’re in. I’m mainly only interested in Odin here so that’s the route I’m going. Of course, there’s no packaged shot, but let’s take a look at the pieces instead.

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If you’ve completed the wave then you have all eight pieces needed for the build. That’s a head, a torso, two arms, two legs, a cape, and a staff. Everything locks together beautifully and the resulting figure is as solid as any of the individually boxed releases. Most of the time I tend to associate BAFs with larger figures that wouldn’t have been cost effective as a single release, but in this case Odin would have had no problems fitting into a Marvel Legends box. Then again with past precedents like Rocket Raccoon and Hit Monkey, Hasbro has certainly been redefining what it is to be a BAF and these days it isn’t just all about size anymore.

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This is possibly my favorite look for The Allfather to date. It’s a nice cross between comic book style with some groundings in gritty historical garb. The plate armor that makes up the torso, shoulders and lower legs is just gorgeous. Not only is it sculpted with all sorts of different plates and rivets, but also with scrapes and weathering. The paintwork here is also quite amazing and creates a convincing patina that makes it look like genuinely well used armor. It’s hard to believe that this is the same company behind some of the shoddy or non-existant paintwork we’ve been seeing in the Transformers line, although I concede that it’s been getting better. In addition to the armor plate, you get a soft plastic “leather” skirt with a detailed belt, wraps for the wrists and a blue cape that pegs into the back. The shoulder pieces peg in pretty securely while still offering the luxury of detaching rather than breaking if you put too much stress on them.

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And then you have this wonderful head sculpt. Odin oozes personality with the tip of his grey beard gathered into a… what is that, a beard pony tail? Honestly, I have no idea about the proper terminology here, but it looks great. The winged helmet is cast in a somewhat dull goldish plastic with two mighty ram horns coming off the sides. Odin sports a fierce expression with one eye patched and the other narrowed on his foe. Brilliant!

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Despite being a BAF, the articulation here is more or less in line with what I’ve come to expect from the current Legends line. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, as well as swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, and double hinged at the knees. There are swivels in the thighs and the ankles feature hinges and lateral rockers. The is a ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. I expected the costume to impede articulation a lot more than it does. The slits in the “skirt” actually allow for a decent amount of leg movement and if you cast off the cape, you can get more in the shoulders.

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Of course, Odin wouldn’t be complete without his kingly staff and one included certainly fits the bill. It’s a great sculpt, although I can’t deny I would have liked some more paint apps on it. Maybe they blew the budget on that beautiful armor.

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If you decide to go for King Thor Odinson, you get all the great work that went into the body with just a few changes. The Thor head is excellent, albeit not as elaborate as Odin’s. You also get the artificial left arm with the right one being identical to the one used for Odin. Finally, the cape is the same sculpt only red in keeping with Thor’s traditional color of garb, and instead of the staff you get his Axe. The Axe is probably the only thing I would consider disappointing here. It looks too scrawny to me. It’s definitely going into the Masters of the Universe armory.

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There’s no better way to wrap up a fantastic wave of figures then by following it with a fantastic BAF and Odin is certainly that. He was a great choice of character and I think they did an absolutely… dare I say it? Marvelous job on him. He also means a little something special to me as I still kick myself every once and a while for not picking up the Hot Toys Odin when he was first released, but at the time Hot Toys were just something I admired from afar. Obviously, that version of Odin is a whole nother beast entirely, but it’s still nice to fill that Odin shaped hole in my collection, even if it is in a different scale.

Marvel Legends (Allfather Wave): Iron Fist by Hasbro

Happy Monday and it is indeed a happy one because it kicks off a glorious week of vacation for me where all I will have to do is lounge around the house, read comics, play video games, and obsess over toys. I’m also kicking off a Marvel Week, which marks one of the first themed weeks I’ve done in a long time, although I’ll still be breaking it up on Thursday for Transformers. Anyway, today we’re here to look at the final boxed figure from the Marvel Legends Allfather Series and it is indeed Iron Fist. I’ve been looking forward to getting this guy onto my Legends shelf for a long time, so let’s jump (kick) right in!

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The packaging should hold no surprises by now. It’s the simple window box that we’ve been seeing all along. It displays the figure nicely whether standing on a shelf or hanging on a peg, and while the deco isn’t as wonderfully obnoxious as the packaging from the first couple waves of Legends’ return, I still dig it. I truly hope that Iron Fist is going to work his way into Disney’s Marvel plans at some point in time, ideally as a supporting character on the up and coming Luke Cage Netflix series. I’ve been so damn impressed by the Daredevil show that I’d love to see Fist go down this route as well and it seems like the perfect format for the character.

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Iron Fist comes in his white and gold outfit, which is probably less iconic to many out there, but I really dig it. The white plastic hasbro used here is great and while the gold does have some of that swirly effect that I’m not crazy about, I’m still very pleased with the way the deco on this guy turned out. The dragon emblem on his chest is a crisp tampo and aside from the head sculpt and the waist sash, there’s not a lot of unique sculpting on this figure.

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The portrait here is serviceable, although it doesn’t blow me away. He has a nice firm jawline and the mask looks good, complete with the two tails running off the back where it’s tied on. The black paint around the eyes is clean and sharply applied.

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This body strikes me as being from one of the crossovers from Hasbro’s first attempt at Marvel Legends and the articulation is identical to the Yellowjacket figure from that initial wave. That’s mostly a good thing because while it does involve those rather annoying rotating hinges in the hips, you can still get some great movement out of this guy thanks in part to those extra lateral hinges in the shoulders. And let’s face it, Iron Fist is all about being limber! The rest of the articulation includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the knees and ankles, hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles, hinges and swivels in the wrists, swivels in the biceps and thighs, a waist swivel, an ab crunch in the torso, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. Nice!

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Little by little, Hasbro has been including extra hands in with select Marvel Legends release, but Iron Fist is the first time that I can recall them going full Figuarts on our asses. Iron Fist comes with no less than four pairs of hands and all of them are great. You get a pair of fists, clutching hands, palm strike hands, and karate-chop hands. All of them are easily swapped out with a post and peg method. I’m not usually one to go crazy over extra hands, but in this case they’re definitely adding a lot to my play value.

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Iron Fist will definitely be hanging out on my desk for a while because he’s so much fun to pick up and play with and the extra hands really go a long way to make a solid figure even better. He also rounds out what was an absolutely stellar wave of figures. Not only was the character selection great but every figure in this wave was well executed. In fact, I’d dare say I can’t remember a wave of Legends that has delivered this consistantly and that’s coming from someone who is more often then not quite satisfied with this line. But we’re not done yet! Tomorrow I’ll be back to pick all the loose BAF pieces out of my tote and assemble The Allfather himself!

Captain America The Winter Soldier: Falcon 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

While my favorite Marvel Movie to date is still a running tie between Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, my second pick is easily the superb political action thriller that was The Winter Soldier so it’s only natural that I’m going to be close to All-In with Hot Toys’ figures from this flick and that brings us to today’s feature: Falcon! Portrayed by Anthony Mackie, Sam Wilson’s treatment in the film was just one of the many things that clicked perfectly for me in this movie. Every time I doubt they’ll be able to bring a certain character to the “realistic” Marvel MovieVerse they still manage to pull it off beautifully. It’s a shame that Hasbro didn’t get us a Marvel Legends version of Falcon. With those huge wings, he would have made an interesting BAF. Nonetheless, Hot Toys has never been one to walk away from a challenge (or a chance to charge fanatics like me $250 for an action figure) and so they honored Falcon with the ultimate action figure treatment. And they certainly did him justice!

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I absolutely adored the style used for Winter Soldier’s packaging and Falcon’s is no slouch either. It’s tasteful and exciting and features a great picture of Falcon soaring on the front of the box. Lift off the top and you get an illustrated overlay, which in turn lifts off to reveal the tray containing the figure, the huge flight stand, and all the other bits and bobs we’re used to seeing with Hot Toys’ releases. The back of the box has a cast of all the talented people that worked to bring this figure to our greedy mitts. While the presentation of the packaging will never make or break a figure for me, I prefer this high class route over the somewhat cheesy route they took with the Guardians figures. This feels a lot more like the kind of box a $250 collectible should come in.

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I love the designs of all the tactical shit that appears in the Marvel films and this figure makes a great showcase for all that great stuff. Falcon comes donning the tactical gear that he wore for the final battles of the film. He has a pair of gray camo pants with all sorts of stitching and pockets, an American Flag and a set of hard plastic knee guards. The pants look great and are just roomy enough to get a wide range of movement out of the figure’s legs without having to worry about tearing the stitching. Up top, Sam is wearing a padded zip down vest with short sleeves, hard plastic shoulder armor, and the somewhat elaborate series of belts and straps that hold on the Falcon jetpack. The fixturing on all the buckles and straps look great and the combination of that and the gold zipper really makes the figure’s otherwise drab military deco pop. As with the loose pants, the lack of sleeves frees up Sam’s arms for a great deal of movement. Indeed, this is one of the most easily poseable Hot Toys figures I’ve had in a while. Yeah, the elbow joints are exposed, which is something Hot Toys likes to avoid to keep from dispelling the realism of these figures, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

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The portrait provides a great likeness to Mackie. This is an absolutely fantastic head sculpt on every level. And while there’s only one portrait, the addition of the goggles gives you the options of displaying him with the goggles down or worn up on his forehead. They’re loose enough so that getting them on and off in either position is easy. I prefer them on his forehead just because the paintwork on the eyes look so good that it’s a shame to cover them up. In addition to the great head sculpt, Falcon comes with four pairs of hands. You get the regular relaxed hands, fists, a pair for holding his guns, and a pair for holding the grab-bars of his wings. You also get an extra pair of wrist posts in case you break or lose the main set.

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Falcon comes with a pair of Steyr SPP submachine guns. In the movie he bypassed the use of traditional holsters in favor of a pretty nifty spring-loaded wrist delivery system that puts the guns right into his hands when he needs them and Hot Toys did a nice job recreating that here. The guns themselves are everything I’ve come to expect from Hot Toys’ amazing arsenal of Sixth-Scale firearms. They’re beautifully painted and feature removable magazines. They also work perfectly with his gun-holding hands.

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The Hot Toys version of the wrist holsters doesn’t feature a working mechanism, which is understandable considering that even the film crew had problems getting the real ones to work. Instead, the figure includes two sets of swappable wrist holsters, one with pegs to hold the guns and one without. The guns peg in securely and the plates that they fit on to will slide forward and back so you can still simulate the action.

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Of course, Falcon’s trademark feature is his winged jetpack and Hot Toys spared no expense bringing this thing to the life as a Sixth-Scale accessory. Hell, it’s hard to even refer to something this big and cool as an accessory. The backpack clips firmly onto a plate on the figure’s back, which makes it look like it’s held on by the harness. It also includes a light up feature that causes the thrusters to glow yellow. There’s a removable cover on the top of the backpack that reveals the on/off switch. The retracted wings are side pieces that simply pull out to be replaced with the fully extended wing pieces. Swapping the parts out is quite easy.

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The wings are absolutely majestic and so beautifully detailed with every segment splendidly defined. Each wing is about the length of the figure itself, so it probably goes without saying that you need a lot of room in that display case if you’re going to display Falcon with the wings fully extended. The wings are, however, hinged in two places so angling them down  gives you some nice options if you’re pressed for space. The wings also include two grab bars that work with one of the sets of hands. You unpeg them from the wings, slip his hands into them and peg them back in.

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Finally, Falcon comes with a huge flight stand. It features a hexagonal base that’s dressed up to look like the deck of a SHIELD carrier and has a plate on the front with Falcon’s name and the title of the film. The base includes a heavy duty flexible bar with a spring loaded grab arm that clutches the figure around the waist and supports it in various flight modes. I have to admit that I was skeptical about using this thing at first, but it’s remarkably sturdy and stable and as long as the arm is secured around the figure I don’t foresee any problems with using it indefinitely. It’s remarkably versatile and can be used for all sorts of great poses. As wonderful and value added as this base is, I still would have liked to the standard one that comes with the other Winter Soldier figures. Right now I can afford the space to keep Falcon fully deployed, but I could see a time where I may need to ground him and having a matching stand like the others would have been cool.

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Falcon is an absolutely amazing figure, perhaps made all the more impressive by the fact that Hot Toys would pour this much attention into a secondary character. Then again, if they’re prepared to go all out for some of Stark’s armors that were seen for a few seconds in Iron Man 3, there’s no reason that a great character like Sam Wilson shouldn’t get this kind of love. Falcon is also one of the first times in a while that I can honestly say that the price tag on a Hot Toys figure feels like a solid value, at least when grading on the Hot Toys curve. I can almost always justify the money I spend on these things, but here’s one where I don’t even need to try. Considering that most HT figures are starting at the $220 range these days, the added majesty of Falcon’s backpack, plus the robust flight stand makes it easy to see where the money went in this release. That’s two Winter Soldier figures under my belt. Next time I circle back to Hot Toys will be to check out Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy and after that we’ll look at the ridiculously delayed Captain America in his STRIKE Suit.

Transformers Combiner Wars: Air Raid by Hasbro

If it’s Thursday it must be Transformers time and today I’m ripping into a Hasbro’s second wave of Deluxes from their Combiner Wars line. Hasbro made the maddening decision to mix up the waves by including one Stunticon in the first case and one Aerialbot in the second and that means while I was mainly after the Stunticons here, the convenience of getting them all in one shot meant I had to pick up Air Raid. You may have expected me to jump right into the Stunticons, but I’m actually going to get Air Raid out of the way first. I’ve avoided buying any of the Hasbro Aerialbots in favor of Takara’s Unite Warriors version, but this will give me a little idea of whether that was the right choice or if I should just bite the bullet and pick up the Hasbro versions that are all available now.

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What’s this? A comic pack??? I honestly had no idea that Hasbro was going to be incorporating the comics into the Combiner Wars Deluxes, but I’m beside myself with joy that they are doing this. Here all along I was thinking that this delightful duo of comic and toy was getting retired with the Generations line. Needless to say that while I’m still not overly smitten with the packaging deco of this series, tossing in the comic as character art makes up for a multitude of sins. You could wrap the figure in a paper back and as long as there was a comic included, I’d be happy. Air Raid comes packaged in his robot mode, but as usual I’m going to start with his jet mode.

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Air Raid’s alt mode is what I believe to be an F-14 Tomcat and I sincerely hope someone will correct me if I’m wrong. With his black paint job, striped wings, and Autobot emblems on the wings, I think he looks pretty close to his G1 namesake, even if the model of aircraft may have changed. In fact, apart from his tail fins being a little too close together, I’ve got no complaints. Sure, he’s a jet with a brick of robot kibble hanging under him, but that is as much part of the homage as anything and I love it. Yes, I will concede a little disappointment that the entire story of this figure’s engineering can pretty much be summed up by flipping the jet over and seeing the robot with his arms and legs tucked in, but there’s enough here tugging at my nostalgia strings to make me very happy with this alt mode. Of course, newer fans who cut their teeth on the more complex Deluxe Transformers of recent years and expect more expertly crafted alt modes may find their mileage varies.

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About the only thing disappointing to me about Air Raid’s jet mode is the lack of any fun modular weapons. He is pegged under the wings and on the sides to take weapons, and yes you can peg his double gun into any one of those, but the result is a rather lopsided looking jet. It sure would have been cool if the gun pulled apart to form two guns to mount under the wings or on the sides of the undercarriage. Ah, well. There is a peg on the top of the jet’s back where you can mount the gun and make it look a little balanced, but I’m not a fan of the giant cannon mounted on the back of my F-??. It just doesn’t work for me.

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As peeking under the jet suggests, Air Raid’s transformation is as simple as pulling the arms out, unfolding the legs, flipping the jet up into a backpack, turning the head around. You can do it in just a few seconds, which definitely adds to the playability. As a kid, I always enjoyed being able to change my bots back and forth quickly.

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In robot mode, Air Raid is superb update to the old G1 toy. And yes, once again that entails having a robot with a jet on his back. I wouldn’t have it any other way! The proportions on this guy are just perfect and the way the combiner port on his chest is hidden in plain sight works beautifully. For whatever reason, I wasn’t a big fan of it on Dragstrip, but I love it here. You even get the same intakes on his chest that the G1 toy had, only here a little more pronounced and stylized. Even the head sculpt here is pure G1 love. Like all of these Combiner Wars Deluxes, Air Raid is a pretty good sized figure. In fact, he’s not all that much smaller than TFC’s take on the character.

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One of my early complaints about the official pictures of these guys was the lack of paint apps, but in hand I have absolutely no problems with Air Raid’s deco. The red and white deco is another great homage to the G1 character and the white plastic Hasbro is using here looks and feels great. The extra bits of red and gold are more than enough to carry the day. I only wish they had tampo’d the Autobot symbol on his chest instead of putting a tiny one on his shoulder.

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Air Raid’s solid articulation makes for a very fun action figure. You get ball joints in the shoulders, hips, and neck. The elbows and knees are hinged, and he can rotate just below the waist. It’s not mind blowing poseability, but it gives me just what I need. He’s a solid and chunky figure too with great balance.

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The accessories include the aforementioned double barreled gun and a combiner part. The gun works much better in robot mode as you can have him hold it in either hand or just mount it to one of his arms. Some paint apps would have been nice, but we all know how that goes these days, right? The combiner part isn’t so useful in robot mode, but we’ll see it again when I finally get some more of these figures and combine them into Superion.

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While new fans may wonder what all the fuss is about, I think Air Raid is one of my favorite Deluxes to come around in a while. He’s the perfect update to the old G1 character and toy, taking everything that makes me nostalgic for that design and crafting it into a modern action figure. He’s fun to play with and transform and it’s nice to finally have some Aerialbots that are in scale with my other Deluxes. So did Air Raid win me over to the Hasbro route? Will I be cancelling my Takara Unite Warriors Superion? It’s still too early to tell. Air Raid has certainly impressed me enough that I want to get more and in the end it may just be my eagerness to get all the Aerialbots that leads me down the Hasbro path.

S.H. Figuarts: Sailor Saturn by Bandai Tamashii Nations

I last visited with The S.H. Figuarts Sailor Moon series back in February with Sailor Jupiter and I’ve gotten a few of these figures in since then. I do have a couple of points worth noting here: First, while I’ve been going in order of appearance, I am obviously skipping over Sailor Venus because I haven’t picked her up yet. I will be eventually getting her to complete my set, but her similarities in appearance to Sailor Moon made me pass her over for the more distinctive designs of the later Sailor Scouts. Secondly, we’re into relatively unknown territory here starting with Sailor Saturn. Nearly all my exposure to Sailor Moon comes from the anime and Jupiter and Venus were more or less the last Pretty Sailor Soldiers that I am familiar with. Of course, being an obsessive plastic addict I wasn’t about to stop collecting this line and so in addition to Saturn and Venus, I still have Neptune and Uranos ahead of me. Will I be picking up Super Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask… probably. As for Sailor Pluto… We all know she’s coming, I just don’t understand what’s taking so long!

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There’s the packaging and we’ve seein it multiple times, so I’m not going to dwell on it too long. It’s a wonderfully compact little window box that shows off the figure and features a deco colored to match the colors of the Sailor’s outfit, in this case mostly purple and blue. The box features lots of photos of the figure, but no artwork from the manga or anime. The lettering on the box is fairly bi-lingual but does feature quite a bit of Japanese lettering. And always remember to check your boxes for that little foil sticker of authenticity. I got stuck with a bootleg once… hopefully never again! The side panels of the box also feature images of the figure so you can line these all up on your bookshelf and still be able to grab whichever figure your looking for without having to pull them all out. That’s a big help considering most collectors will be storing the extra parts in the boxes. Inside the box, you get the standard clear plastic tray with the figure, three additional portraits, four additional pairs of hands, her Silence Glaive, and her figure stand.

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Here she is, and might I say she’s pretty cute for being the wielder of the Scythe of The Goddess of Death! Saturn features the most sculpted changes to the Sailor Scout outfit over any of the other Sailor Soldiers. Her pleated skirt is the same, but her top features ruffled shoulders and the centerpiece on her bow is far more elaborate, like a diamond star burst. She also features high boots with sculpted laces running all the way up to her knees. The new costume isn’t a huge departure over the other gals, but it’s just enough to make it distinctive after seeing the same basic thing for the last four figures. The top is the same pearlescent white that we’ve been seeing all along. Her boots, skirt, and trim are all pearlescent blue, and her bows are a rich, deep purple.

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The portraits are all pretty standard for what we’ve been seeing. Saturn isn’t known for her bubbly and outgoing personality and the extra faces reflect that. The head that comes on the figure does feature a hint of a smile. The others include shouty face, solemn face with closed eyes, and slightly perturbed face. As always the portraits are easily swapped out by removing the front hair piece and old face and pegging the new one in and reattaching the hair piece.

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And it wouldn’t be a Figuarts feature without talking about a bunch of extra hands. If you read my two Figma reviews, you may recall my lamenting the fact that the Figuarts line doesn’t use a similar sprue system for storing the hands when not in use. Well, now they do! Each set of hands is pegged onto a piece of plastic, which I can only describe as like a white LEGO Minifigure head and each one of these can peg into each other so you can chain all the hands together in a modular fashion. I like it!

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Of course, one of the most unique things about Sailor Saturn is her Silence Glaive. It’s a large pole arm with an elegantly curved blade. She can hold it perfectly with the special set of hands and she looks damn good wielding it. And last, but not least, the stand is the same style we’ve been seeing since this series began. You get a clear heart shaped base with the name of the Sailor on it and a hinged grabbing arm that is articulated in three places.

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Despite moving into relatively unknown territory when it comes to the remaining Sailor Scouts, I’m still totally in love with this series and I’m looking forward to getting the line complete and set up on my shelf. Nothing could possibly reflect that more then the fact that I ponied up extra to get Neptune and Uranus, each of whom ran about ten dollars more because they were exclusives. I’ll try not to wait so long before getting back around to looking at them. Now let’s just hope we see some progress on Sailor Pluto by the time SDCC 2015 rolls around!

Marvel Legends (Allfather Wave): Sentry by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday again and I’m down to the last two figures from the Allfather Wave. Today I’m a little pressed for time, so I’m taking a look at Sentry, because honestly, I don’t have a deep running relationship with this character. He’s certainly got some interesting stuff going on in his backstory, but I just don’t often bump into him in the books that I choose to read. Sentry was originally scheduled to appear as a running variant way back in the 2013 Hit Monkey BAF Wave, sharing the slot with Hyperion. As was often the case back in those days, the running variants didn’t always happen (although there are plenty of pictures of carded samples of this figure in the old style packaging floating around the InterTubeWeb) and so Hyperion was the only one of the “Conquering Heroes” to hit the pegs. This time around, Sentry is once again sharing a slot, this time with Machine Man as one of the “Avenging Allies.” Thankfully, Hasbro is doing things differently now and the variants are now being included as part of the standard case assortments.

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I’ve got nothing much new to say about the packaging. It has the “Marvel” logo on top rather than the “Avengers” one and as already mentioned, the front of the package is labeled “Avenging Allies,” with Sentry’s name only appearing on the back panel with Machine Man’s and a very generic blurb about the two characters. Sentry is a pretty big boy and when you toss in Odin’s BAF arms, this tray comes packed with a lot of plastic.

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Sentry appears to share most of the body that was used for Hyperion, which works for me. The only real changes to the costume sculpt are found in the boots, Sentry doesn’t have the cuffed tops, the cape, and Sentry sports his gigantic self-promoting belt buckle. The hands are also reversed between the two figures. Hyperion had the fist on the right and the holding hand on the left, wheras here it’s the other way around. I probably would have preferred both fists for Sentry. I really don’t need him holding anything, just punching. Anyway, the coloring on this figure is quite good. I always liked the pop of Sentry’s yellow and blue costume and it is most definitely well reproduced here. Hasbro sometimes has a habit of using some pretty shitty yellow plastic, but that’s not the case with Sentry’s buck and the paint apps are all nice and clean.

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I really dig what Hasbro did with portrait here. It’s very detailed and loaded with personality. The hair is quite well done too. This is far better than what we got with the 3 3/4″ release, and I’m not just saying that because of scale change and quality of sculpt, but also from an artistic standpoint.

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If you have Hyperion then you should know what to expect from Sentry’s articulation, but let’s run through it anyway. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and fists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels at the thighs and boots, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles. There’s an ab-crunch in the torso and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged.

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Despite not being the biggest fan of Sentry around, my Marvel figure collecting addiction is all about universe building so I’m still very happy to get this guy in my collection. Sentry was also released a little while back in the Universe line as part of a New Avengers Comic 2-Pack, but that one passed me by so it’s nice to at least have him in the 6-inch scale. Sure it helps that I also get two more of the parts I need to build Odin, but I probably would have happily picked up this figure even if he wasn’t part of a BAF series.

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Next week is going to be almost a straight Marvel Week. On Monday I’ll wrap up the individual figures in this wave with a look at Iron Fist. Tuesday, I’ll check out the BAF Odin, Wednesday I’ll look at the first figure from the Legends Thanos Wave, we’ll break for Transformers Thursday (Hey, Marvel used to do their comics, right?) and then Friday and Saturday I’ll feature the TRU Exclusive Agents of SHIELD 3-Pack.