Collecting Hot Toys is not a hobby for the impatient and this is not news to me. Figures can go up for pre-order eight months to a year before they’re expected to ship, and even then you can almost always expect delays. This can be frustrating when you’re buying figures that are tied to movies. It’s doubly so when you’re trying to complete a team from a movie. My first HT figures from the original Guardians of the Galaxy (Star-Lord and Gamora) arrived more than two years ago. Rocket and Groot showed up a few months later. And ever since, I’ve been waiting for the arrival of Drax the Destroyer. Well, the Guardians sequel has come and gone and finally this cardboard shipper turned up on my doorstep, almost a year since I pre-ordered him.
Granted, Drax’s road to release has a more troubled history than most, and I can’t say as I know any of the details. I’ve heard rumors that point to Hot Toys having issues with the likeness approval and for a while it looked like we might never get a Drax at all. Fortunately, all parties were eventually satisfied enough to ink a deal and the figure was produced, allowing us to finally complete our original MCU Guardians team.
Despite the long delay between figures, the presentation here is identical to the rest of the HT Guardians. I love the package art design on this series and they all look great when lined up on the shelf. Unfortunately, HT has really been skimping on some of their packages lately, and that trend hit the Guardians series big time. What we have here is basically a pretty flimsy window box with an illustrated sleeve around it. Granted, I just use the packaging to store the extra accessories, but it upsets me when Hot Toys takes away premium packaging while continuing to raise prices. It’s extra annoying when the figure in question is rather light on the accessories, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The tray inside the box is exactly what we’ve been getting all along. The figure is surrounded by his extra hands and weapons, and there’s a figure stand nested between his legs.
For the most part, Drax almost looks like he jumped right off the screen… almost. There’s something about the upper body that just doesn’t click with me. I’ve spent some time comparing him to screen caps (something I almost never have to bother doing with Hot Toys figures) and while some look pretty close, others look far off. In the end, I’m still undecided on the torso. From head on it looks fine, but if turned to profile it looks too thin. Either way, I’m certain that the arms needed to be beefier.
On the other hand, I think they did an amazing job on his raised “tattoos” Normally, there isn’t a whole lot of opportunity for detail on a shirt-less figure, but they really did a nice job here. Coupled with this raised detail, the speckled skin looks pretty close to the body paint used by Bautista in the film. Realistic skin tones has never been a problem for Hot Toys, even when it’s an alien color. Of course, the bare arms mean exposed joints, and that’s always a downer on these figures. The rotating hinges in the elbows really make this feel more like a run-of-the-mill action figure. Hot Toys did a beautiful job with the seamless elbows on their Hulk figure, but it probably wasn’t an option here because of the sculpted tatts. On the plus side, there’s virtually no restriction on Drax’s articulation, which makes him a lot more fun to play around with than most Hot Toys.
The portrait is excellent. If they really did invest all that extra lead time in the likeness, I think it paid off in spades. Once again the skin tone is spot on and the sculpted tatts look great. His eyes feature that eerie spark of life that I’m used to seeing in my Hot Toys figures. Alas, I think this is a character that really needed an extra portrait showing some emotion. If this were a Guardians Vol.2 version, I’d say a laughing portrait, but in this case, rage would have done nicely. Still, for someone like me, who tends to pose these figures in fairly subdued stances, this neutral portrait works fine in context with the rest of the team.
Drax’s outfit is pretty simple, as it amounts to just a pair of trousers and some boots, but HT packed a lot of detail into them. The trousers include all the detailed belts and straps and fixtures that really look fantastic. The boots are also very intricately designed right down to the sculpted treads on the soles. You also get a second pair of red trousers, which I was not expecting. I’m not sure that I’ll ever bother to change them out, but I love that they were included as a bonus.
Besides the change of pants, Drax comes up really light on the accessories. You do get the usual assortment of hands, in this case there are three pairs (fists, relaxed, knife-holding) and one specialized right hand. His knives look amazing. The hilts are beautifully sculpted and the blades feature some red inscriptions. These have a nice weight to them and the silver finish is quite striking. The boots have molded sheathes for his knives, but these are a real tight fit. Plus, for reasons I cannot explain, the blades are designed to detach from the grips, so when trying to remove the knives from his sheathes the handles often just pop off.
Drax also comes with the bazooka he had on the Kree Warship, The Dark Astor. They did a particularly nice job with the rusted finish on the tube, and even the areas that are black have a little wear and tear painted on, as well as a blue lens over the scope. Overall, this is a pretty nice sculpt, but it has no moving parts and it feels really light. The specialized right hand that I mentioned earlier is designed to hold this weapon and it does that quite well. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough range of motion in the elbow to get the shoulder rest onto his shoulder. He can still hold it very convincingly and even line up his eye with the scope.
The final stop on any of my Hot Toys reviews is always the stand. In this case it’s the exact same design we saw with the rest of the Guardians team with an illustrated base that looks like the deck plating of a space ship. My OCD give thanks to the Supreme Intelligence that they did change this up, because I like my bases to match.
So, here’s the thing: Drax is an excellent figure… by anyone else’s standards. But, I collect Hot Toys to be blown away and Drax here doesn’t quiiiiite make it to that “blow me away” level. I still can’t say I’m disappointed in him. I needed to complete my MCU Guardians and I’m very happy that I no longer have a Drax-shaped hole on my shelf. And to be fair, he looks fantastic with the rest of the team. I just feel that there are several opportunities for improvement here. If he were a one-off standalone figure, I might come down a lot harder on him in the end. I will, however, unequivocally declare that at $220, the value just isn’t here. Sure, Hot Toys releases at or under $200 are getting almost non-existent these days, but here’s one that should have been.
On an administrative note, I am now officially FOUR waves behind in Marvel Legends. I have the Warlock and Mantis waves stacked in the corner, I’m piecing together the Sandman wave, and the Spider-Man: Homecoming wave is hitting stores now. I don’t know what I’ll be jumping into next Marvel Monday, but I’ve got to start coming up with a plan to get all caught up!