Marvel Legends (Apocalypse Wave): Gladiator by Hasbro

Things are still pretty terrible with me and my family, but today I had a some time to myself and I decided I needed to treat myself to a little fun and since it’s Marvel Monday here I am for a quickie review. This will probably be the only one I get to this week, so thanks for bearing with me. Eventually I’ll get back on track…

Back in 2014, Hasbro released their Thanos Imperative set, an SDCC Exclusive which offered Legends scale versions of Black Bolt, Star Lord, Medusa, Blastaar, and of course Gladiator. I seem to recall it being pretty damn popular back then and the demand was great enough that I wasn’t able to get my hands on it. And now it sells for all the monies, so that was just one of those things I had to let go. Fortunately, that wasn’t the end of the story for some of those figures…

Because Hasbro has been pretty good about eventually getting these kinds of convention exclusive figures out to regular retail, and this boxed retail release of Gladiator as part of the Apocalypse Wave, leaves Blastaar as the only figure in the set that hasn’t been re-released one way or another. As is often the case, there are some changes in the paint, but since I don’t have the previous release, I’ll have to leave it up to you to hunt down some comparison shots. For now, let’s get him opened and check him out…

I don’t share a huge affinity for the character (other than the fact that he did once punch the USS Enterprise), but I do absolutely adore his design. Aesthetically, Gladiator is the epitome of everything I love about classic comic design, and this figure pulls it off pretty well, although I do have some notable nitpicks. The costume itself (minus the cape) is achieved entirely with paintwork and the mix bright red, dark blue, and yellow all conspire to make for an attractive deco. I can’t fault the lack of original sculpting, as the costume doesn’t really need it, but I will say the lines between the red and blue on my figure are really sloppy. It’s most noticeable on the thighs and chest, but really none of those lines are anywhere near as sharp as they could be. By contrast, the chest emblem and the belt are both remarkably crisp.

The cape looks great and includes the high collar and a sculpted tether that goes across the neck and connects with two large medallions. The yellow border shares some of the same rough paint lines as on the figure itself. And while the cape looks good in passive poses, it’s a little cumbersome when playing around with the figure. Part of this is because it’s pretty heavy, and part is because they chose to curl the left corner forward so that it could wrap around the leg. It’s times like this that I wish Hasbro would start experimenting with cloth capes and wires, because this is definitely a figure which could have benefited from it.

While I have nitpicks with the figure itself, the head sculpt is spot on. The details in the face are sharp and his determined expression is perfect. The sculpted hairline accentuates his pointed ears, and the plunging, dominant brow drives home the point that this is not someone you want to mess with unless you’re further up the Cosmic Marvel food chain. They also did a nice job with his magnificent mohawk.

The articulation is exactly what I expect from one of these beefier figures. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, the elbows are double hinged, and there are swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, the knees are double hinged, and there are swivels in both the thighs and lower legs. The ankles have hinges and lateral rockers, there’s a swivel in the waist, and an ab crunch hinge in the torso. Finally, the neck is both hinged and ball jointed, and it offers a nice range of motion so that he can look up for those flying poses.

And that’s all I got for today’s admittedly abbreviated review. Overall, Gladiator is another solid addition to my Legends shelves. Sure, I wish the paint was sharper in some areas, but the rough lines aren’t enough to ruin the figure for me. Yeah, he’s also a case where I’m really beginning to question whether or not Hasbro should be investing in some softgood capes, but I think that has the potential to go sideways, so maybe I should be careful what I wish for. And now that we have Gladiator in the Legends line, maybe it will break the logjam so we can get some more Shi’ar characters. Come on, Hasbro, Daddy wants a Marvel Legends Deathbird!

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2 comments on “Marvel Legends (Apocalypse Wave): Gladiator by Hasbro

  1. You mentioned your love of 90s era X-Men in the Bishop review. Gladiator makes me instantly think of that awesome Jim Lee/Chris Claremont run of X-Men where the team is in space fighting the Shiar Empire. Lotta good memories from those books. Great figure to review. Thanks!

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