Welcome to Marvel Week: Day 3, also known as Hydra Humpday! I’m super excited because I just got this Hydra two-pack and can’t wait to dig into it. I’ve got to tell ya’s, I was so damn excited when Hasbro revealed this set, because the Hydra Soldier, previously released as part of the Mandroid Wave, never turned up in my area and went for crazy money online. I never ponied up a premium for him, and part of me always regretted not having him in my collection. Same goes for that AIM bastard! Getting another crack at this Hydra hooligan with a ‘roided out buddy and a bunch of extras was almost too good to be true. But here it is! I have a lot of stuff to cover today, so let’s dive right in… HAIL HYDRA!!!
When it comes to packaging, if you’ve seen one Marvel Legends two-pack you’ve seen them all. This one is characterized by a cool Hydra insignia on the front and a shiny Toys R Us Exclusive sticker. Thanks to a Twitter tip, I ordered this set the moment it dropped onto TRU’s website. They then proceeded to sit on the order for three days and then cancelled it because it was “Out of Stock.” Thanks, guys! Have fun with that bankruptcy… you’ve earned it! I hope it buries you! I subsequently put the set on my Amazon Wish List where it sat for a week or so at $65+ before finally dropping to around $50 and I just sucked it up. There’s surprisingly little in this box that we haven’t seen before, and yet so much to look at! While there is certainly room to share between the figures, for organizational purposes, I’m going to treat them as two separate entities. Let’s start with the Hydra Soldier first!
So, this is pretty much the same figure that we saw released in the Mandroid Wave. Like I said earlier, I don’t own that one, but when I compare it to the tear-stained picture that I carried in my wallet for the past couple years, I can’t see any differences. He features a dark green buck with bright yellow boots and gauntlets. Additional sculpted parts include a belt and a shoulder rig, both of which are cast in bright yellow to match his outfit, and both can be removed fairly easily. The belt and rig each include some sculpted pouches, you get a little silver paint on the belt buckle, and the rig has a shield over the left side of his chest painted black with a silver H. I think I would have preferred a red Hydra emblem there, but the H is fine.
Especially since you get a pair of yellow Hydra emblems printed on his shoulders. And just look at that head sculpt! It looks like Protector’s much angrier brother. This really is the perfect noggin for a comic book henchman. The hood gives him a little bit of stooge anonymity. The red eye globes are a nice touch. He just looks so angry and deranged, and perfectly willing to bring on the pain by charging in to attack Captain America. It’s everything I’m looking for in my Hydra soldiers! But… variety is nice too! And as such, he comes with a couple of other recycled noggins to choose from.
Look familiar? Remember Taskmaster from the Red Onslaught Wave? Well this is indeed his Udon head, and who would have guessed that this would work so well for a Hydra Soldier. Not me, but I sure do dig it. The hood is cast in green plastic to match the uniform and the mask is painted yellow and given some narrow red eyes. Still want more options?
Here’s the masked SHIELD Agent head that came with Nick Fury from the Giant Man Wave. Who says SHIELD and Hydra can’t order their goon helmets from the same catalog? This one gets a fresh coat of black and green paint and a red visor. I think this is my least favorite of the three options, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. And if swapping heads doesn’t scratch that customizing itch, how about an entirely new outfit for your Malibu Hydra Ken?
Well, more like a slightly different outfit? OK, dammit, it’s a vest. But it’s a snazzy yellow vest and it can replace the shoulder rig. Holy shit, they dug all the way back to 2013 for this one, as it’s a recolor of Ultimate Cap’s vest from the Hit Monkey Wave! So, I like the way this looks on the figure, I just wish it was branded for Hydra. It does have a little bit of silver paint on the waist buckle, but that’s it. Not bad at all, but unless I get extras of this set, I think I’ll stick with the shoulder rig and the stock head. I will, however, experiment with different looks while showing off his weapons and articulation.
The first weapon is a tactical shotgun. I’m sure we’ve seen this a few times, but the first time I remember seeing it was back in 2012 with The Punisher. Alas, it was painted a lot nicer back then. This one is just cast in gray swirly plastic. Awww, you could have at least painted the shells on the side, Hasbro! Still, it’s a really nice sculpt with plenty of detail and it suits the figure very well. The right hand has a trigger finger, which is perfect for holding it.
The other weapon is this lovely piece of hardware that I first remember seeing with Chameleon from the Rhino Wave. Once again, it’s cast entirely in swirly gray plastic, but it’s a really cool design, with a ton of detail packed into the sculpt. It also has a detachable drum magazine. Hasbro even painted the Hydra emblem on the front of the drum. Aww, you redeemed yourself, Hasbro. I love it!
OK, so our last stop on this guy is articulation, and his holds no real surprises. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in both the thighs and tops of the boots, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. For the most part, the joints feel solid, but the right elbow on mine could be a little tighter. I would have been perfectly happy to pick this guy up as a single-packed re-issue, but the extras make him a real treat. Not to mention, his buddy…
Behold… The Hydra Enforcer! I really love the idea Hasbro was going with here. Not only do the different body types add some variety to the Hydra Forces, but his beefier build makes him feel like a heavy weapons specialist to me. On the downside, from the neck down this guy is a 100% recolor of Nuke from the Giant Man Wave. Sure, it would have been great to get an all new sculpt, but that’s not usually what these multi-packs are about. And besides, I think Nuke was a good choice. He was a fantastic figure and I think one that lends itself pretty well to the concept. His buck is painted green and yellow to match his partner, and he also has the same Hydra emblems printed on his shoulders. The vest, belt, and hip pouches have also all been recolored yellow, and he gets a bit of black paint for the sculpted grenades and some red paint for the shotgun shells. The buckles on his two waist belts are painted silver, but not the ones on his other belt or thigh straps.
The stock head is a repaint of Captain Britain’s noggin from the Abomination Wave. Yeah, that was a weird choice! The helmet has been repainted green to match the buck and he’s been given yellow stripes on the top. I’m still not sure whether this works for me or not. It has such a strong RoboCop vibe, that it’s hard to unsee that, even on the Captain Britain figure. I also think the serene expression on what is a hero portrait feels off here. I guess I don’t need all my Hydra troops to be slobbering maniacs, but it’s still my preference.
The other two heads include one recycled from Nuke and one that I can’t place, but given the propensity for re-purposing here, I’m sure we’ve seen it before. If you know, shout it out in the comments! Using the repainted Nuke head on the repainted Nuke body may be going too far. Then again, it is a killer sculpt and the bloody gash running down the side of the face is genuinely disturbing. I’m not a fan of the other head. He has a butt chin, a lot of mold flashing on the jaw line, and what the hell is up with those lips? Anyway, there aren’t any extra wardrobe options with this guy, so let’s just take a look at his weapons.
First off, he comes with the same combat knife we saw included with Nuke, and yes it can still be stored in the sheath that’s sculpted onto the back of the vest. I loved this knife back then, and I still do. It’s big and beefy and a really cool sculpt. He can also hold it just fine in either hand.
Next, he comes with the bazooka that we first saw included with Drax The Destroyer from the the Titus Wave. This is a really cool sculpt and now it’s cast in gray plastic to match the other weapons in this set. It is a little difficult to get him to rest it on his shoulder properly because of the vest, but I was able to make it work, more or less. This particular weapon really reinforces his role as a heavy weapons expert in my Hydra army.
As if it wasn’t ballsy enough repainting Nuke’s body and his head, Hasbro also tossed in Nuke’s weird-looking sci-fi gun, which is again cast in that same gray plastic. I actually don’t mind this rifle too much. It seems natural that Hydra would be arming themselves with alien tech. Maybe this is a Chitauri weapon or something they nicked from AIM. Either way, it adds a little flavor to the mix and he looks pretty good holding it. It doesn’t look nearly as flashy as it did with the previous paint job, but the plain gray finish makes it a little less obvious that it’s another thing recycled from Nuke.
As expected, The Enforcer’s articulation is identical to Nuke’s. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots, and the knees are double hinged. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. The torso swivels at the waist and has an ab crunch. And finally, you get both a ball joint and hinge in the neck.
I’ve seen some critical reactions to this set among collectors, including objections to some of the heads, and the vest, but personally I couldn’t be happier. This set not only put a highly sought out figure into my hands, but it gave me lots of cool extras. It may be 100% recycled parts, but this is the kind of creative recycling that I can get behind. Hey, I get that not everyone likes the same thing, so if you bought this set and hate it, feel free to send it to me. No Hydra soldiers will be turned away and I’ll definitely be picking up at least one more of these sets. Now, Hasbro, if you would just throw together an AIM 2-pack that would be most welcome too. You don’t even have to go nuts. Just throw two AIM soldiers in there, repack a few extra weapons, and you can have more of my monies.