Marvel Studios “First Ten Years” Red Skull by Hasbro

I’ve suspended my regular rotation of Marvel Legends reviews so I can get through some of these First Ten Years releases in a timely manner. Besides, I’m so far behind on the other stuff, a few more weeks won’t matter. I’ve already looked at the Civil War set with Cap and Crossbones, and Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy and today I’m opening up Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Here’s the packaging and as you can see, Hasbro has branded these differently than the regular Legends releases. You still get a window box, but here it’s all squared off at the edges and features a spiffy new deco. I gotta be honest, Red Skull was one of my least favorite MCU villains. He looked great, but I felt like the movie just didn’t know what to do with him. That didn’t stop me from buying the Hot Toys version way back when, nor from picking up this one. And since this figure doubles as various Hydra soldiers, I’ll probably be picking up a couple more if they turn up at a decent price. Let’s check him out…

Red Skull’s costume had two very distinct looks in The First Avenger, as sometimes he wore a black leather trench coat over his uniform. Hasbro went sans trench coat for the obvious reason of making this body more versatile and I’m cool with that, especially since they did such a great job with his uniform. Not only does it look pretty damn screen accurate, but just about every detail on this costume is part of the actual sculpt.

The dark green tunic features sculpted piping and stitch lines along with sharp black and red stripes. The individual buttons running down the front are also part of the sculpt and painted in gold. They even sculpted the tiny Hydra emblem on his belt buckle and the patch on his left shoulder. The trousers have a slight military flare to them and the boots are painted in glossy black. Hasbro could have easily squeaked by with simple paint for a lot of these details, especially on the tunic, but they seem to be going full guns on these First Ten Year figures and Schmidt here is a great example of that.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. It’s a very different look from the comic versions we’ve had in the past. This one is clearly MCU through and through. I like the wash they used to pick out some of the details, and while the eyes look a little sloppy up close, they actually look fine with the figure in hand. And yeah, I would have liked a Hugo Weaving likeness, but I’ve read that Weaving wasn’t a fan of his work in the MCU and he may not have been willing to allow for the licensing.

The articulation here is excellent. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and pegged hinges for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. All the joints on this guy feel great and he has the agility to go toe-to-toe with my First Avenger Captain America. And not to sound like an infomercial, but wait! There’s more!

Red Skull comes with a tactical harness and three additional heads to turn him into any one of three different MCU Hydra Soldier and I don’t have words to adequately express how cool an idea this is. The harness opens at one end where the shoulder strap meets the belt via a peg, which makes it pretty easy to put on and take off. It has a silver plate on the back and a beautiful Hydra emblem sculpted onto the belt buckle. Obviously, this doesn’t totally transform the uniform, but I think it adds just the right amount of combat gear to make it work as a rank-and-file soldier. Let’s check out the noggins! They’re all good, but let’s go from my favorite to least favorite.

My favorite is the fully enclosed mask. Yeah, it looks a little gimp masky, but I think it also looks as intimidating as all hell. The detail is a little soft, but it’s got all sorts of stitch marks and some nice silver paint on the goggles and the ribbed sections that reach up from the goggles and around the back of the head.

Next up is basically the same head gear, but with the lower mask removed to expose the soldier’s mouth and nose. Again, I dig the fully masked look more, but this would look really nice thrown into the mix with a couple of the masked ones.

And finally, there’s one that’s just more of a smooth helmet with cheek guards and goggles with red lenses and silver trim. The design on this one is fine, I just think it lacks the personality of the other ones. Also, the paint on this head isn’t terribly sharp between the exposed skin and the helmet, so your mileage may vary.

Of course, you can’t have a Hydra Soldier without a weapon, so Hasbro threw in a Tesseract-powered rifle along with an extra left hand to help him hold it. I like the design of the rifle a lot. It kind of looks like a German Heavy Machine Gun mixed with sci-fi tech, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be! Alas, the configuration of the grip and trigger doesn’t work very well with the right hand. He can grip it well enough, but his trigger finger won’t reach. But hey, at least that means he’s always practicing proper trigger-discipline. The extra left hand does a nice job of gripping the forward grip.

This is a great package and right now Red Skull is rivaling Crossbones as my favorite of the four First Ten Years figures that I’ve opened. The sculpt and paintwork are both excellent and I get warm and fuzzy feelings about adding another MCU villain to my Legends shelf. If I were to nitpick, I really would have loved to get a pistol and Cosmic Cube, but seeing as how Hasbro tossed in the ability to convert him to a Hydra Soldier, I’ll happily table those complaints. Indeed, I’m amazed that Hasbro didn’t release this as a two-pack. Either Red Skull and a Hydra Soldier or just an MCU Hydra two-pack like they did with the comic versions. Hell, they could still do that and I’ll happily lay down forty bucks for it, because I have a feeling it’s going to be a challenge to find a few more individual figures at a decent price.

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