Way back when, the Iron Man 2 version of Black Widow very nearly became my first Hot Toys purchase, but she sold out before I could get the funds together and she was going for ridiculous prices on the second hand market. And so that honor eventually fell to Captain America. But some things happen for a reason, and one look at Widow’s second version from Hot Toys and I found myself actually glad I missed out on the first, because I can’t say as that figure has aged well. Needless to say I pre-ordered The Avengers version as soon as Sideshow put her up. It was a long wait until December and then, as is often the case with Hot Toys releases, she was delayed and delayed again until finally arriving fashionably late here in the middle of March.
The packaging is nowhere near as flashy as my previous Hot Toys purchases, but it certainly gets the job done with just enough style to boot. The figure comes in a window box with a cardboard sleeve over it. The sleeve has a newsprint-style photo of Widow on the front with the Avengers logo in foil print. Apart from the fine print on the back, the only other printing on the sleeve are the two hourglass emblems on the sides.
The interior window box is silver with the same hourglass emblems on the sides, the Avengers logo on the front and “Black Widow” in big print on the top and bottom. The back panel has the usual Hot Toys credits listing the people who worked on the figure. The window shows off the figure, but until you open her up and clear all the plastic and wrap away, you won’t really get a great look at her. Inside the window box, the figure rests in her tray, flanked on both sides by her accessories and extra hands. Her stand is positioned at the bottom of her tray, between her legs. Sometimes less is more, and in this case I think there’s a certain minimalist grace to Widow’s package. Nonetheless, long time Hot Toys collectors may feel let down by the lack of flashy presentation here. But enough about the packaging, it’s time to get her out and see what we’ve got…
Let’s deal with the elephant in the room… rooted hair! ROOTED HAIR!!! Widow’s rooted hair was the only thing that made me think twice about ordering her. I am not a fan, because it’s often hard to manage and quite frankly the idea of sitting at my desk and brushing and styling the hair on an action figure comes dangerously close to making me reconsider my hobby. It’s one of those things that when successful, it looks amazing, when unsuccessful it looks terrible. It’s a big risk to take on a $200 figure. But even more so, I have a real problem with inconsistencies, meaning if I have one Hot Toy figure with sculpted hair, I think they all should have sculpted hair. That’s my borderline OCD talking. Either way, I was a little bit terrified to open her up and see what I was going to be up against.
Fresh out of the box, it certainly looks rather frazzled, but I don’t think it’s as bad as it could have been. There are inevitably going to be some stray hairs, but even those are usually easy to get under control. Most of the problem comes with when you’re manipulating the figure and her hair gets mussed as you can see in some of the photos. On the other hand, if she’s going to be on the shelf and left alone for a while, spending five minutes to get it under control is worth the pay off. Besides, I always thought Widow’s hair was a little too perfect during the intense battle scenes of the movie, so a few flyaways here and there don’t bother me all that much. I’m not going to say Widow converted me to an advocate of rooted hair, but in this case Hot Toys knew what they were doing and in retrospect, I probably wouldn’t change it.
As for the portrait itself, this is a solid representation of Scar-Jo, but not a perfect one. It’s not one of those instances where I marvel at whether or not I’m looking at a figure or the actual person. The nose and mouth and overall face structure are great, but I think maybe the eyes needed to be a little bigger? I’m not sure. I do know the paintwork is so good that it’s downright eerie. I thought the head sculpt on the Iron Man 2 version was passable, and I think this is an improvement over that release. In the end, it’s still an amazing sculpt and I’m perfectly happy with it. The body is a huge improvement over the train wreck that was the Iron Man 2 release. Some may argue that the proportions still aren’t quite right, but I think she’s pretty spot on.
I wasn’t expecting to have a lot to say about Widow’s outfit. I mean there’s only so much you can do with a leather body suit, right? Well, in hand I really am impressed. The material has just the right weight and pliability. It fits the figure extremely well and yet it hardly inhibits her articulation. Although, granted there’s only so far I’m willing to go with her hip joints, because I don’t want to pull the stitching. The blue piping looks great and there are even more subtle “panel lines” running throughout, plus the SHIELD patches on the shoulders are superb. The stitching is all neat and clean and sculpted rubber boots blend wonderfully with the legs of the suit.
Widow features a regular belt with her hourglass belt buckle and a second weapons rig which rests on her hips and secures her two thigh holsters around her legs. The straps are all tight and look amazing and I absolutely love the minimalist approach to the holsters. They basically just hold the muzzle of the weapons and yet they are totally secure. The weapons rig also has four sculpted pouches with non-removable throwing discs, two front and two back.
Widow comes with a lot of hands! These are all easily swapped out, and you also get an extra set of posts in case you snap the ones that come on the figure. She comes packaged with a set of fists attached, you also get a set of pistol hands, you get a right hand designed to rest on her hip, and you get a right hand that is designed to hold her throwing discs. I don’t often do a lot of hand swapping with my figures, so the gun hands will spend the most time on my figure. You also get a set of “tazer effect” fists to allow her to show off her “Widow’s Sting.” These come in a separate tray and accompanied by a second set of bracers. These parts have some blue paint to show off the electrified effect of the sting. It looks Ok on the fists, but it’s barely noticeable on the bracers.
Accessories… Assemble! On paper, it looks like Widow comes with a lot of goodies, but in reality once you get through all the hands (so many hands!) there’s not a lot here that I’m interested in. I’ll start with what I considered essential and that’s her guns. She comes with a pair of Glock 26’s. These compact little beauties were great choices for her in the film and Hot Toys really nailed their 1:6 versions. Not only do they look great, but they actually have spring loaded action and removable clips with painted rounds showing at the top. These pistols fit perfectly in her holsters and in her set of gun hands.
Next up is the Chitari rifle. The Chitari were the only thing I didn’t like all that much about The Avengers, so I certainly didn’t consider this piece essential. On the other hand, it is a pretty cool looking alien rifle and I am very glad they included it with the figure. It’s nicely sculpted and beautifully painted, but it doesn’t have any moving or removable parts. Will I ever display it with the figure? Probably not.
Lastly, you get a pair of her teeny-tiny throwing discs. I don’t scoff at extra accessories, but it’s hard to justify the point of these little things. She can barely hold them and I can’t imagine many people choosing to display her with them.
Black Widow set me back $189 and there are no regrets here. She’s a fantastic looking figure and well worth the wait. I know some people have been grousing about the cost. She is, without a doubt, what would be considered among the basic assortment of Hot Toys figures and yet she was $20 more than the last Marvel Hot Toys I bought (First Avenger Cap was $169), but if you take into account the rising costs of everything, I don’t think the increase is all that bad. I mean if Deluxe Transformers can jump a third more in price in a year, the extra Andy Jack it cost me to get Black Widow doesn’t seem so bad.
I’m not setting out to pick up a full set of Avengers, but rather just cherry picking my favorites. Indeed, the next Hot Toys purchase I make will be doubling back to pick up Red Skull. On the other hand, if Thor hangs around long enough at any e-tailers, I might be tempted enough to pick him up at some point.