Welcome to the first Marvel Monday of 2018. I planned well enough as to end last year between waves of Marvel Legends so that I could get caught up on some other stuff before jumping into the next one. And what better way to kick off the new year by bringing in the heavy guns: Hot Toys and Frank Castle! While The Punisher has since had his own excellent series on Netflix, this figure is based on his appearance in Daredevil, Season 2. So, let’s jump right in and check out Hot Toys’ second release from the Netflix Marvel Universe! “One batch, two batch. Penny and Dime!”
The package is pretty uniform to what we got with Daredevil. The front of the sleeve has a shot of the figure and, like the Daredevil box, you also get some braille printed on the front. It’s the same old big window box under that illustrated sleeve with layered plastic trays holding the figure and accessories. And yes, I say this just about every time, but I feel like Hot Toys could put a little more something into these boxes. They look great, they get the job done, but they feel rather flimsy.
That’s especially a problem when Sideshow persists on shipping them in a mailer box with no extra packing or protection. Now, I’ve received dozens of figures from Sideshow without any problems, but this was the time my luck ran out and the mailer took some hits and it crunched the box. Thankfully, nothing inside was damaged. I really only keep these boxes to store accessories or in case, God help me, the day ever comes where I need to think about selling some, but it’s still annoying that a business that specializes in high end collectibles doesn’t understand the importance of keeping the boxes in good condition. If I order the same figure from another big online retailer, I pay less for shipping and get it sent to me packed within another box. In the end, it’s just a question of whether its worth the risk for Sideshow Reward Points and the ability to use Flex Pay. So far it has been, but a few more arriving like this one and I may have to rethink that.
Frank comes out of the box ready for action, wearing his tactical vest, complete with his trademark skull emblem, a black t-shirt, black trousers, and combat boots. There’s more wardrobe to come in the way of his leather jacket, but I thought we’d have a look at the figure this way before gearing him all up. Obviously, the arms feature regular jointing, as opposed to the seamless rubber-covered arms that Hot Toys sometimes uses. I’m OK, with this, mainly because I don’t plan on displaying him without his jacket on. Even still, it was probably the way to go, as many collectors (but not me) have had bad experiences with the durability of Hot Toys’ seamless bodies. It’s also worth noting that the boots are sculpted in two pieces to allow for ankle joints. This is something Hot Toys seems to be doing more frequently, and I’m very happy about that.
In terms of the outfit, I’d classify it as a case of simple perfection. There’s nothing here to really tax the tailors at Hot Toys, but what is here is all executed with precision. The stitching is all immaculate, the vest fits the figure perfectly and includes all sorts of nylon straps to hold it in place. I really love the way they executed the skull emblem on the vest. I was afraid they were going to make it too bold, but I think the uneven application came out really well. I’ll also happily note that Castle is one of the more playable Hot Toys figures I’ve had in a while. There’s no really fragile bits to the costume, the short sleeves allow for plenty of arm articulation (even if the elbows don’t bend quite far enough for my tastes), and the pants are loose enough so as not to impede leg articulation, but not so loose that they look baggy. It would have been cool to get some shotgun shells to put into the loops of his vest, but as we’ll see he doesn’t come with a shotgun, so they wouldn’t have made sense. Besides, I’m sure I can pick some up from one of the many sixth-scale figure armories out there.
The head sculpt is absolutely fantastic, and while that’s nothing new for Hot Toys, I think this is truly one of their best efforts. It probably didn’t hurt that Jon Bernthal is a pretty distinctive looking fellow, but I don’t want to take anything away from the wizards at Hot Toys who sculpt and paint these portraits. The likeness is certainly there, and the lifelike realism in the skin tone and the eyes is fantastic. I’m particularly impressed with the way they handled the transition of his haircut and the paint on his whiskers. The wound under his right eye was a really nice touch too. Some folks might have preferred a completely clean and undamaged portrait, but I think the cut adds to the character and personality of the piece. About the only thing to nitpick here is that with the clean shaven neck, the seam between the head and neck is extra obvious, but even Phicen’s best seamless bodies haven’t been able to crack that nut yet, so it’s easy to give it a pass.
Naturally, The Punisher comes with a full array of extra hands to assist with his punishing. These include a pair of fists, relaxed hands, slightly less relaxed hands, gun holding hands with trigger fingers, and enclosed finger gripping hands. They’re all pretty easy to swap in and out, and you also get an extra pair of posts in case something goes horribly wrong. Let’s move on to accessories!
Before I get Frank suited up with his jacket, let’s check out two of the smaller accessories. First up, he comes with this combat knife and sheath. These are pretty typical, but solid accessories. The enclosed gripping hands work really well for holding the knife. The craftsmanship on the sheath is particularly nice. The problem here is that I can’t really find anywhere to have him wear it. The sheath features a belt loop, and there really isn’t a good place that I can see on him to loop it through. I may wind up just shoving the knife into his boot and putting the sheath aside, or hunting down a tactical rig with a belt to put it on.
Next up, he comes with a S&W M327 Performance Center TRR8 revolver. This was the weapon that he brandished when he had Daredevil chained up on the roof. I love the design of this little guy. It’s such a distinctive design, especially with the scope rails on the top of the casing. In addition to the incredible detail of this piece, it’s fully articulated, so you can actually open the cylinder and see the tiny bullets in the chambers. On the downside, the pistol does not come with a holster or anywhere to place it on his person, so it’s probably going to have to spend most of its time in the box. Alright, let’s get Frank Castle fully suited up and check out the big guns.
The leather jacket is pretty easy to put on and it fits the figure beautifully. The stitching is perfect, and it has wires along the bottom so you can pose it billowing out behind him. It also has the extra effect of covering the jointing in his arms, if they bother you. Personally, this was always the way I was going to go for displaying him. It just looks great.
Next up is the Barrett MRAD Sniper Rifle, and again this is an absolutely gorgeous sculpt. It includes a removable magazine with the tiny painted bullets visible inside. It has a sliding scope, a folding stock, and working bolt action. But let’s face it, pistols and sniper rifles are seldom enough for Frank Castle. And when you need to really clear the bastards out of the room, that’s when you bring a minigun!
Say hello to six rotating barrels of 7.62mm hot justice! The M134 Minigun is what really drives the accessory score through the roof. This big beauty is full of detail, features a hand grip on the back and a grab bar on the top. The ammo belt is detachable and pegs securely into a slot in the side. This is what you might call an attention-getter. And for me, it really silences any cries about whether or not there should have been more guns packed into this box. I can pick up sixth-scale guns anywhere, but I think it would be hard to find something this cool to outfit him with. This is the baby that Frank’s going to be displayed with on my shelf.
One last accessory is the damaged version of Daredevil’s mask. It’s beautifully made and features the cracked plate on the front. I like it, but I probably would have preferred another gun in lieu of this piece. I doubt I’ll ever display him holding it, but I might just rest it on the stand between his feet. And speaking of stands…
Frank comes with the same basic stand as Daredevil did. It even has the same nameplate that reads Daredevil instead of The Punisher. I get it, they went for the Series title instead of character names, but I’ve never seen Hot Toys do that before so it feels a little out of place here. The surface of the base looks like wet pavement, and you get an illustrated cardboard standee to place behind the stand as a backdrop, which is pretty cool. The Punisher’s stand is also compatible with the extra diorama pieces that came with Daredevil.
While the Hot Toys Daredevil was a very solid figure that felt a little light for the price point, The Punisher here feels right on target. With an MSRP of $235, he was priced at only $5 more than Matt Murdock, but in addition to being a fantastic figure, this also feels like a more well-rounded package for the price. Sure, it’s true that you can almost never get enough guns with a Punisher figure, and I would have loved to have a few more, but we still got a nice selection of some pretty spectacular little firearms and the minigun is a damn fine showpiece for the collection. The pink Ruger would have made a nice exclusive bonus, but I have to remind myself that this release was based on Daredevil and not his own series. Regardless, I’m really impressed with the job Hot Toys did here and I am really satisfied with this purchase. Now bring on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, please!