Avengers “Age of Ultron:” Scarlet Witch 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Captain America: Civil War has been blowing up the box office for a few weeks now (I did my part, seeing it twice in Imax and once on a regular screen), and while Hot Toys has plenty of pre-orders up for the Civil War versions of The Avengers, a few of the last Age of Ultron figures are still trickling out. In the case of AoU Scarlet Witch, I’ve actually had her on my shelf for a little while now, and it’s long past time I check her out.

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I already showed off the Hot Toys’ Age of Ultron packaging when I featured Hawkeye and Vision. This is the same deal only with a red deco and Wanda Maximoff’s lovely mug on the front of the box. It’s still basically a window box with an illustrated sleeve wrapped around it and while it looks attractive and certainly gets the job done, I can’t help but feel as if Hot Toys has been cutting costs in their package presentation while the prices of the figures continue to climb. All the goodies come on one tray and everything, as always, is collector friendly.

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Wanda comes more or less ready to go right out of the box. You do have to put on her two necklaces, which require popping off the head, but that’s easy-peasy. The hair required a little futzing, but all in all I was surprised how little I had to mess with it to get it where I wanted it. In fact, Wanda is a very simple figure, but the costume hits all the right points. The outfit consists of a thin black dress over a black and pink lacy slip, a red leather jacket, leather arm bracers, tattered black stockings, and some chunky boots. While this is about as far from any of Scarlet Witch’s comic designs you can get, I like this look a lot for the MCU version of the character and I was glad to see her wear something pretty similar for a good part of Civil War.

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The jacket is easily the most impressive of these sixth-scale garments. It’s beautifully tailored and textured and fits the figure perfectly. The coloring on it is also very nice, particularly the way it transitions to a darker color at the bottom. The costume design also does a good job of concealing most of the joints, preventing Hot Toys from having to go with seamless arms and legs. The stockings cover the knees, the bracers cover the wrist joints, and the jacket sleeves, well they cover the elbows most of the time, so long as your diligent about pulling them down while posing her. Still, with extreme elbow bends, you’re likely to see some hinge. If I were going to nitpick something it would be the boots. They look fine on their own, but if you compare them to say the sculpting on AoU Hawkeye’s boots, the detail here looks a lot more soft. It’s also worth mentioning here that while the boots don’t allow for lateral rockers, the rest of the costume is one of the least restrictive costumes I’ve seen on a Hot Toys figure in a long while. With no restrictions and very little fragility here, Wanda is a fun figure to play around with.

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I’ve got no complaints about the portrait. Hot Toys has worked their usual magic here. I will say that I find the likeness can go from spot on to just very good, depending on the lighting and angle, but even Hot Toys’ “very good” is usually better than everyone else’s best, so I’ll happily take it. The skin tones in the face are superb and the paintwork on the eyes is downright eerie. While some collectors still fight against rooted hair, I’m a fan of it in certain cases and this was one of them. Yes, there are some fly-away strands, but I don’t think this would have looked good with sculpted hair. I haven’t used any product or actually did any styling… I need to draw the line somewhere. While the arms and legs don’t feature the seamless rubbery”skin,” the neck and upper torso does, so you can get some articulation out of the lower neck despite no visible joint there. I do wish they made the charms on her longer necklace out of diecast, as it would have weighted them better. As it is, the longer necklace doesn’t really hang naturally.

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You know what time it is? It’s time in the Hot Toys feature where we talk about hands… lots of extra hands! Wanda comes with a total of eight, although in this case the count is weighted in favor of the right side. As many of you may know, I’m not an extra hands kind of guy, but in this case, the hands are actually a lot of fun, because some of them are very expressive and they tie in with her hex powers. The majority of the hands have red translucent finger tips to create the magic effect, and it works quite well. All of the hands come complete with all her sculpted rings. And that brings us to her other accessories…

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Effect Parts! If there’s one thing I’m usually even more ambivalent toward than extra hands it’s effect parts, but once again Hot Toys surprised me here, and in more ways than one. The hex magic effect parts that come with Scarlet Witch are both frustrating, and ultimately fun accessories. These are sculpted in clear plastic with a nice shade of red mixed throughout. They are designed with a very specific use in mind, to have the effect trailing behind the hands. The instructions sort of show how this is done, but not very well and the way the pieces are designed to fit the hands isn’t at all intuitive.

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However, with a little experimentation, I’ve found them to be pretty versatile and capable of creating some pretty neat poses. For people who like to have accessories that go in a proper way for a very specific look, these might prove more frustrating than their worth. But they had me playing around with Wanda a lot more than I usually do with a new Hot Toys arrival.

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Finally, Wanda comes with Ultron’s heart. It’s a decent enough accessory and it allows you to create a pretty cool moment in the film, but it’s nothing terribly special. At the prices we’re talking about, I would have preferred something metal and maybe with an LED.

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Scarlet Witch’s stand is patterned after the other Age of Ultron figures that I featured. The big difference here is that instead of a crotch cradle, it comes with a wire loop that hugs the figure’s waist, like a more traditional doll stand. The base is larger and more posh looking than the older Hot Toys stands, and I do appreciate that it offers a better sense of value. The only downside here is that it takes up more real estate on the shelf and doesn’t match the older Avengers figures.

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I could go on about how any sense of value is slipping away as Hot Toys’ prices continue to rise, but if I’m still buying them, then I guess I shouldn’t be complaining and in the end, I’m going to pay what I need to pay to get the characters I want. One thing I wish Hot Toys had done here was do a discounted bundle on Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, because I find that I wouldn’t mind having her brother on display with her, but there’s no way I would buy him on his own unless he hits some really deep discounts. And I can’t imagine that situation is out of the question. Of course, Hot Toys has already shown off their Civil War version of Wanda, and while it hasn’t made me regret picking up this figure (I’m big on getting first appearances), it has made me consider double-dipping on her.

And that should catch me up on my Marvel Hot Toys. I have Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy and Cap from Civil War on pre-order, but they aren’t due out until later in the year. I’d love to pick up Ultron, but I don’t think he’s going to be in my budget. Likely the next Hot Toys I’ll be featuring here on FFZ will be some of The Force Awakens offerings, which should be shipping sometime toward the end of the Summer. 

Avengers “Age of Ultron:” Vision 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Yes, we already had Marvel Monday, but I didn’t want to interrupt my progress getting through the stacks of Legends figures in the corner. So, I decided to double up on Marvel content this week, because I’m also starting to fall behind on featuring my Marvel Hot Toys. Vision just turned up at my door this past weekend, and I’m pretty excited to check him out. I really dig what they did with the character in the film, although had they managed to keep him a secret, it would have completely blown me away when I saw it. Seriously, when he emerged from the casket, I probably would have screamed like a girl and rabbit kicked the seat in front of me in sheer delight. On second thought, probably better that they spoiled it.

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I have very little to say about the box, other then it’s the same window box with a sleeve around it that we saw with Age of Ultron Hawkeye. You get the usual character art, in this case a great shot of Paul Bettany looking every bit the part, and I like that the deco matches the packages for the other figures in this series. So, yeah, it’s attractive and serviceable, but it doesn’t feel up to par with the kind of presentation that a $220 figure warrants.

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Vision comes out of the box and ready to go. This is a relatively simple, but beautiful figure through and through. The rubbery body suit looks similar to what Hot Toys did for Man of Steel Superman, a figure which I admired a lot, but couldn’t bring myself to buy because I despised the film so much. The suit fits Vision perfectly and it strikes a nice balance between allowing for a surprising amount of articulation and still being tight enough to show the anatomy of the figure beneath it. The stitching is well concealed and while it can require some adjusting after re-positioning the arms and legs, it’s easy to get back into it’s natural state.  You get some nice piping throughout the suit and the coloring, along with the different tones of red patterns, looks perfect to me. The texturing on the suit is also quite striking.

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In addition to the suit itself, you get the plastic gorget around the neck, along with the wrist bracers, all of which are cast in plastic and painted with some sumptuous gold and a vibrant, metallic shade of… I’m not sure what to call this… magenta? Either way it’s beautiful. The boots are similarly colored, although a little closer to maroon and since the feet peg into the legs, and the upper part of the boots are sleeves, they allow for a decent amount of articulation in the ankles.

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The cape… oh boy, am I torn on this cape! Taken on it’s own It think it looks great on the figure. it has an interesting, almost Art Deco pattern printed throughout and it’s pleated where it attaches to the figure so that it’s natural state is almost entirely collapsed behind the figure. Overall, I like it. On the other hand… as a recreation of the cape we saw Vision wearing in the film, it’s a complete failure. Now, I’m pretty sure that cape was CG, so I’m willing to cut Hot Toys some slack here, but given the price of this figure, I think they could have gone for a material more like silk, which would have better approximated the on screen look. With all that having been said, this cape features some wires running through the edges that does allow it to work with some dynamic poses.

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While I may take issue with the cape, I’ve got no such qualms about the portrait. I was really interested to see how this one was going to turn out, as Hot Toys have more or less nailed the human element and skin tones of their figure portraits, but here was something entirely different. I’m not sure whether this qualified as being easier or more difficult, but whatever the case I am very pleased with the result. This is most definitely Bettany in the make up. The sculpt is beautifully realized from the panel lining right down to the subtle texturing around the eyes. And those eyes definitely contain that eerie Hot Toys spark of life. As for the rest of the head, you get more of that gorgeous magenta paint along with some green to match the suit. I would have really liked to see a light up feature in the Infinity Stone. At a price like this, I think that was warranted.

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In terms of accessories, well… we aren’t talking a heck of a lot. You get the usual parade of hands… four pairs total. In this case it’s a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of splayed hands, a pair of fists, and a pair to hold Mjolnir… which conveniently brings us to the only other accessory…

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Mjolnir is most likely re-purposed from one of the recent Thor figures, presumably the most recent Age of Ultron release. I only own the original Avengers Thor release from way back when and it has some notable differences from the hammer that came with that figure. It’s still diecast and it still has the lanyard. The biggest differences are in the handle sculpt. I won’t say it’s better or worse, just different. I love that Hot Toys included Mjolnir with the figure, particularly because of the way it was used in the film. The early scene where they’re establishing the link between worthiness and being able to lift the hammer seems to be played for laughs, but then it cleverly comes back to establish trust in Vision later on. Brilliantly done and to be honest, I can’t think of any other accessories that could have been included here.

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Vision comes with the new(ish) type of stand that was introduced to the Marvel figures with Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron. These are bigger and classier looking than the old style, which is both good and bad. From a presentation standpoint, I feel these offer more value. They’re sturdier, have nicer name plates, and while some have balked at the stickers, I think they look fine. On the downside, these do take up more real estate on my shelves and my OCD doesn’t like that they don’t match the older figures. This one, however, has the nice bonus of offering a swap-out flight stand with waist grabber…

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This is similar to the one that came with my Winter Soldier Falcon figure only not quite as long. The stands are easy to swap out from the base and yet they hold very firm. Considering how light the accessories are with this figure, I’m glad Hot Toys decided to include this. It does help justify where some of the extra money went.

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I really am in love with this figure, even though the cape keeps it from being perfect. Granted, there have been third-party capes produced for Hot Toys figures before and here would be a great opportunity for another. Then again, I’m usually too much of a pussy to try even simple custom jobs on these figures, so I’m happy to leave it the way it is, because I truly don’t mind the way it looks on the figure, only that it doesn’t look screen accurate to the film. Everything else about Vision is beautifully crafted and he really pops on the shelf even when surrounded by his fellow Avengers. As for the price, Vision retails at $220, which is pretty much the low end of the spectrum for Hot Toys pricing these days. Unless your Quicksilver, in that case they knocked another ten off because he’s Quicksilver. I shouldn’t poke fun at it, because I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t considering him as a purchase, if nothing else as a companion piece ot the next Hot Toys figure I’ll be looking at… Age of Ultron Scarlet Witch. Hopefully next week…

Avengers “Age of Ultron:” Hawkeye 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Marvel Legends has been totally dominating Marvel Mondays lately, so let’s go for something different today. I was really hoping to be looking at Hot Toys’ Scarlet Witch right around now, but they keep bumping her back and now it looks like March is Wanda’s new target date. So, let’s look at Hawkeye instead. This figure has been out for a little while now, but the fact that it took me this long to get to him shouldn’t be taken as an indicator of any lack of love for the character or Renner’s portrayal of him in Age of Ultron. He had a lot of great moments in the film and they were well deserved considering he spend so much of the first Avengers as a brain-washed Loki-lackey. It was nice to see him take the center stage for some of the new film and considering how expensive the first release has become on the secondary market, this is a release that really needed to be out there.

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While I’m no stranger to Marvel Hot Toys, this is my first HT figure from the Age of Ultron film, so the package design is new to me. The figure comes in a window box with an illustrated sleeve wrapped around it. I do prefer the shoebox style as they tended to be more durable and feel more like premium packaging. This isn’t bad, though, and honestly I really just keep the packaging as a place to hold all those extra bits that never make it to display. The front of the sleeve has a picture of Hawkeye in action with the Age of Ultron logo and points out that this figure is #289 of the Movie Masterpiece Series. There are a lot of goodies in this box, so let’s get started with a look at the figure itself.

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Hawkeye sported two costumes in Age of Ultron, one being close to his original Avengers look and the other being this snazzy new jacket. I like this look a lot, as it’s sort of a mix between a trench coat and a modern take on the medieval arming coats worn by archers in the old days. The tailoring on the new outfit is superb right down to the reinforced sleeves (complete with straps and buckles) and the T-shirt he wears under the jacket. The zipper is a bit big, something that Hot Toys still struggles with, but it’s mostly concealed under the flap, so it’s not an eyesore. The extra padding on the jacket looks great, as does the purple nods to the character’s comic costume. I was afraid that the bulky jacket would be puffy and restrictive, but it’s neither. It’s a beautiful form-fit for the figure and as far as costumes go, this is one of the least restrictive outfits that I’ve seen on a Hot Toys figure in a while.

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The back of the jacket has another zipper, which I find is best left undone to allow for a wider range of hip movement. Also, there’s a cool mesh liner that can be seen through the gap, which just furthers my respect for whoever tailored this thing. The jacket also features a plate to attach the quiver. The pants are also beautifully done, with knee pads and reinforced patches, and the boots exhibit some great sculpting, especially in the laces . While technically accessories, the speed-loaders are as much a part of the costume as anything else. These are magnetic pieces that adhere to the outside of the boots. They stay on quite well unless you bump them, but occasionally I had to re-position them while I was posing the figure.

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The portrait on the original Hot Toys Hawkeye was pretty damn good, and I think this one pushes the envelope a little further. As with all of Hot Toys’ portraits, they tend to have a certain sweet spot that really drives the likeness home, but I’m pretty satisfied with this one all across the board. The realism in the skin tone is downright eerie and I especially like the hint of five-o’clock shadow. Very nice.

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If you prefer your Hawkeye with shades, there is a pair included with the accessories and they fit the figure perfectly. I’m really tempted to go with these as my default display, but then I feel guilty covering up any part of the hard work they did on the face sculpt and paint. Moving on to the rest of the accessories…

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Holy crap, look at all this stuff! In addition to three sets of hands (What? Only six hands? Oh, Hot Toys, you’re slipping!) You get a regular bow, a collapsed bow, two pieces that make up the quiver, a crazy number of arrows and shafts, an assortment of three basic tips, and another assortment of Clint’s “special” arrow tips, which include the one he used on Scarlet Witch when she tried to fiddle with his brain. At first, I thought a lot of this stuff was extra, but by the time I was done filling the quiver, I was left with one arrow for the outside slot and one for Clint to knock into the bow, plus the specialty tips.

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It takes a while to load up the quiver, but the end result looks amazing. The instructions show you how to position everything and since all the tips are removable, you can customize them to your heart’s content. Twelve of the arrows are complete arrows, and eight are just shafts to fill out the quiver. Once the arrows are all loaded, the two halves go together with the help of magnets and some pegs. The entire thing then slots into the plate on the jacket making it very easy to attach and remove. All the complexity and effort that went into the quiver is one of the things that really make these figures shine. They could have just as easily just sculpted the quivers and arrows as one piece and had one or two be removable, but it wouldn’t have looked anywhere near this good.

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The collapsed bow is one of those neat extras that sadly I will probably never use. It’s a beautiful piece with loads of detail and a checkered purple and black finish. The folded parts of the bow are on actual hinges too, making it really feel like it could deploy into the full weapon.

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Of course, the full bow is the baby that he’ll be displayed with and it is indeed a sexy piece of kit. It has the same checkered finish as the collapsed bow and it’s strung with just enough slack and elasticity that I’m not afraid to pose him with it drawn. Although, it’s probably not recommended to keep it drawn for long periods of time. It also functions surprisingly well. While posing him I accidentally fired off more than a few arrows and they had quite some distance on them.

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The figure comes with relaxed hands attached, but I imagine that I’ll be keeping the ones designed to work with the bow on him most of the time. My only gripe here is that the fingers designed to draw the bow doesn’t have any spaces between the fingers. As a result, you have to knock the arrow into the string above or below the hand instead of between the fingers. This is easily fixed with a straight razor cut between the fingers, but I’m not sure I’m going to do anything that extreme.

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Naturally, Hawkeye comes with a figure stand. This is the first of my Hot Toys Avengers to not feature the traditional black oval stand. Instead, it’s more in style with what they used for the Guardians of the Galaxy figures. There’s a silver name plate with the AoU logo and an illustrated surface with the Avengers “A.” I like it, it offers a lot more room to display the figure, but I’d be lying if I said the different stands on the same shelf doesn’t annoy my OCD.

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Hawkeye was the last member of the core team that was missing from my Hot Toys Avengers shelf. I didn’t start collecting these beauties until a good deal of the original Avengers figures had already sold out, so being able to finally add Hawkeye to the team is a big deal for me. He’s a fantastic figure, which usually goes without saying when it comes to this line, but more importantly, he comes with a very satisfying collection of accessories, and that’s something that’s been missing from a lot of Hot Toys’ releases lately. When you take into account all those extra bits, plus the beautifully tailored outfit and solid likeness, the $219 price point actually feels reasonable. Or at least as reasonable as you can get in the high end action figure market. I’ve certainly paid more for less. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I spent around $110 worth of Reward Points, bringing him down to a $109 steal. Now hopefully in a couple weeks, I’ll be able to revisit Hot Toys’ Age of Ultron line with a look at Scarlet Witch, with Vision due to follow on in April.

Marvel Legends: “Age of Ultron” Hawkeye (AoU 4-pack, Part 4) by Hasbro

And here we go with the last figure in the Marvel Legends Age of Ultron 4-pack. On a positive note, a Marvel Cinematic Universe Hawkeye in Legends scale was high on my want list. On the downside, I regret going from left to right in my coverage of this set because now I have to finish on a down note. AoU Hawkeye… you got some issues.

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Yes, this is a repaint and partial re-sculpt of the Walmart Exclusive figure that came out alongside the first Avengers film. The biggest differences are a new head, a more muted shade of red paint on his tunic, and while the space for it is still there, the SHIELD emblem tampo is no longer present. Finally, the shoulder strap running across the chest of the Avengers figure has been removed. Granted, Hawkeye spend part of Age of Ultron wearing something very similar to his first Avenger’s costume, so the reuse here isn’t unwarranted, but it would have been nice to get him in the brand new costume. As it stands, the texture and detail on the costume is pretty solid, although those ball hips are pretty f’ugly.

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With that having been said, right off the bat, something feels off about Clint and I’m going to say it’s the proportions. I can’t quite put my finger on it, because if I put him next to Dr. Banner, they’re almost the same height and their legs and torsos are pretty much even. And yet Hawkeye’s legs look really short and his torso looks really long. It seems to be an optical illusion, but every time I look at the figure I can’t un-see it.

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The new portrait features Clint without his glasses. I like that. Including the glasses on the old figure seemed like a lazy way out. The new head features a passable likeness, that would probably be a lot better with some decent paint to bring it out. Unfortunately, my Clint’s peepers are a little wonky. Hawkeye? More like Walleye… amiright?

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Hawkeye comes with two accessories: His bow and quiver and both are the same pieces that came with the WM Exclusive Avengers figure. Unfortunately, that means the quiver isn’t movie accurate, as he wore a rectangular one in AoU and not this drum-style quiver. Yeah, I get it, Hasbro was able to release this set by cutting some costs. I’m still going to mention it, though. The bow is on par with the last Legends Hawkeye figure that I got and I probably would have been a lot happier with it if I hadn’t just opened DC Icons Green Arrow a couple of weeks ago. That figure featured a real string on the bow and removable arrows in the quiver. After playing around with that ensemble of archery accessories, this one just leaves me flat.

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The articulation here looks good on paper, but I do have a few issues with it in practice. Those hips are the terrible rotating hinges that make me work harder to get all the movement out of them. The hinges in the elbows are super mushy and one of the hinges on my figure’s right elbow doesn’t want to sit properly. I have to squeeze the two halves together every time I work the elbow to keep it from wanting to pop out. Otherwise here’s the run down: The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, bicep swivels, and double hinge elbows. The legs have rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinge knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the chest and ball joint and hinge in the neck.

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I don’t think this is a terrible figure, but it did turn out to be the weakest one in the box for me. Although, granted the fact that I never got the Walmart Exclusive from the first Avengers film makes him a little more welcome. There’s some good stuff going on here, but the proportions still look off to me and a screen accurate quiver would have been nice. At the end of the day, I’m glad to have him to at least round out my Age of Ultron team. And thanks to Toy Fair we know we’re getting an MCU Scarlet Witch. Still no sign of Quicksilver, though. Next week, I’m going to take a break from Legends and we’ll check out the Hot Toys version of Age of Ultron Hawkeye.

Marvel Legends: “Age of Ultron” Bruce Banner (AoU 4-pack, Part 3) by Hasbro

It’s week three of my look at the Marvel Legends Age of Ultron boxed set and that means we’re moving into the final half. I know my maths! Continuing onward from left to right in the box, we come to Bruce Banner, a very welcome figure indeed as this is the first time we’re getting the character in the Legends scale. That may not sound to exciting to some, but Mark Ruffalo as Banner was one of the many high points of the Avengers films for me. As far as I’m concerned he deserved a Legends figure as much as any of them.

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And yes… it’s a guy in a suit! Banner appears to be built off the same buck Hasbro used for Agent Coulson from the Agents of Shield 3-pack and the recent Chameleon figure. Other than a fresh coat of paint the biggest difference here is the shirt, which is sculpted with an open collar and no necktie. Of course, the shirt does reflect the MCU Banner’s predilection for purple shirts (instead of pants), which is cool because I enjoy that not so subtle comic nod.

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There are just a few blemishes worth mentioning on this guy. Firstly, the coat on my figure is scuffed on the front making it look more like worn leather than cloth. On the back there are some extra glossy patches that look like it was touched by greasy fingers. I swear it wasn’t me! I can’t be sure whether that’s on all figures or I just got luck of the draw. Secondly, I’m not a fan of these feet. They look too long from the front and super weird from the back. They also make it hell to get him to stand. To make matters worse, the peg holes in the heels are so shallow, I don’t even know why they bothered.

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The portrait here is a decent likeness. It maybe leans more toward charicature than realism, but I’m sure I could identify him if someone handed me the figure. If a skilled person were to have at this head with some paint, it could probably be so much more than it is.

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The articulation here is a lot better than one might expect from a guy who spends his days in a lab doing science. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists. You get double hinges in the elbows and knees. There are swivel cuts in the biceps and thighs. The hips are ball jointed and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck.
Sadly, Banner doesn’t come with any accessories. Some science stuff would have been cool. Maybe a laptop, a tablet, Loki’s sceptre, or anything. But hey, at least we got the figure.

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If today’s feature seems a little abrupt, it’s because I honestly don’t have a lot to say about Dr. Banner here. Don’t take that to mean I don’t dig him, because I most certainly do. And while I’ve liked all three figures from this set that I’ve looked at so far, Banner and Thor each made buying it worthwhile because they’ve filled some painfully vacant holes on my MCU Legends shelves. And Black Widow was no slouch either. So yes, Banner makes this set so far three for three. With only one figure left, is this set going to go four for four? We’ll find out next Monday and see if Hawkeye hits the mark. That’s archery humor.

Marvel Legends: “Age of Ultron” Black Widow (AoU 4-pack, Part 2) by Hasbro

Last Monday I checked out Thor from the Age of Ultron Marvel Legends 4-pack and today I’m moving on to Black Widow. While Hasbro has been under attack lately for a perceived slight on female action figures, truth be told the Legends line has been producing its fair share of femme fatales. Yes, you can argue that even after being in a slew of MCU movies, this is only the second such release of Natasha in the current Legends line, but then again this is also the first time we’re getting Legends MCU versions of the boys in this box too. What’s my point? I dunno. Let’s look at the figure.,,

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Widow’s costume didn’t change too much from Avengers 1 to Avengers 2, but the AoU version is still my least favorite. I don’t hate it, but at the same time I’m just not a big fan of the added light effects for her widow’s sting. That all having been said, I was expecting a straight repaint from this figure and was surprised to see that wasn’t the case. Instead, she’s a kitbash between Winter Soldier Widow and the Maria Hill that came in the Agents of Shield 3-pack. As a result, the two Black Widow figures look very similar upon a cursory glance, but under scrutiny, there’s a fair amount of difference. The biggest changes are in that taught little tummy era. The WS version had her Widow emblem sculpted into the middle of the zipper and there was texturing on the suit itself. Here the suit is smooth and the widow emblem is gone and it’s all just zipper.

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The belt is the other easily notable change. Previously, the belt was part of the buck. Now it’s a separate piece, attached to the holsters, and just sort of floats with the articulation. Also, the widow emblem resurfaces here on the belt buckle. Everything else is more or less the same. The flat circles are still on the shoulders where the SHIELD patches were on the previous figure, but now they’re just left blank. Also, the finger-less gloves from the WS version are now full gloves. And yes, the biggest bummer about the figure hasn’t been fixed, her Glocks are still sculpted into the holsters and are not removable. BOO!

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The head sculpts on the two Widows are very close. Keep in mind, WS Widow came with two portraits, one from the first Avengers and one from Winter Soldier, and I’m comparing with the Avengers head because the hair is the same shorter style. And while the two heads are fairly close, the head on the AOU version is still notably better. The eyes are sharper, the contours of the face are a little better, and the lips a little fuller. She also lost the odd spray-on tan that the previous figure had. It’s actually quite a nice likeness for this scale and price point.

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Articulation here is identical to the previous Widow, but it’s been a while, so let’s run it through. The legs feature ball joint in the hips, double hinges in the knees and ankles with both hinges and rockers. There are swivels in the thighs, but the holsters impede that movement a bit. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. Yes, the wrists are still pegged in, so if you want to swap the hands out with the previous Natasha… go for it! Lastly, you get ball joints in the torso and the neck. Of course, it helps to have a figure stand handy, as those tiny feet don’t support her that well in action poses. Normally my clear NECA stands work fairly well for Legends, but in this case the pegs were too loose, and I had to dig out some of my Legends hexagon stands.

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Widow comes with her pair of taser batons. I really don’t like these, either in execution or concept. As accessproes. they’re just crappy little pieces of plastic painted blue at the ends. They’re very bendy and they don’t look like anything. Also, since she comes with gun hands (and remember, no guns!) she can’t even hold them well. It doesn’t matter. The widow sting shouldn’t require batons and these babies are going to the Tote of Forgotten Accessories.

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I was not expecting a lot out of this figure and she actually surprised me. Sure, it’s just a kitbash with some new paint effects, but the figure works surprisingly well and getting an improved head sculpt was a nice treat. And while I’m still not a big fan of the added light effects to the costume, I’ll admit the paint used for them looks rather striking on the figure. I can now retire the Avengers head on my older Widow and pop the Winter Soldier head back on it. So far this set is a solid two for two… next Monday, I’ll move on to Bruce Banner!

Marvel Legends: “Age of Ultron” Thor (AoU 4-Pack, Part 1) by Hasbro

I’m officially between waves of Marvel Legends, so before embarking on another one, I thought I’d spend some time running through this boxed set of four figures that Hasbro released based on the Avengers: Age of Ultron movie. I’m pretty sure this set was an Exclusive, but I’m not sure who had it. I never saw it in the wild, but I spent a lot of time hovering over the BUY-IT button on Amazon at the original price of eighty bucks. Fortunately, I hesitated and in this case it paid off, because shortly after the holdays, I snagged it for half that. Ten bucks a pop for Legends figures that I need to complete my teams? I’ll do that all day long!

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The figures come in a nice, long window box with a deco very similar to what we saw with the Agents of Shield 3-pack. The set includes the Age of Ultron versions of Thor, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, and Hawkeye. Considering that we already got single boxed versions of AoU Captain America, Hulk, and Iron Man, this set neatly ties up most of the loose ends by rounding out the core team. Yeah, we’re still missing Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Quicksilver, but I’m pretty sure we can forget about them ever happening. I’m going to cover one figure each Marvel Monday throughout February and I guess we’ll just run left to right, so let’s start with Thor.

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Ahhh, it’s damn nice to see this guy’s Cinematic Universe version finally getting a proper Legends release. Previously, the only 6-inch scale movie version of The God of Thunder that I own was the Walmart Exclusive figure based off his original movie and featured here way back in the beginning of 2012. It was a passable figure at the time, but times have changed, and he was also a little too small to really work with the Legends figures. This new version is an improvement on just about every level. Yeah, truth be told, I prefer the design of the armor that Thor wore in his first movie and in The Avengers, but I still dig this look plenty.

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Here you get the darker and bare-armed look that was first introduced in his second film and carried over into Age of Ultron. The sculpt of the outfit is beautifully executed here and it’s layered on in some places to give the armor a lot of credibility. Details include the tiny sculpted rivits and panel lines to the cross-thatch pattern of the exposed chainmail on his thighs. The contours of the boots are beautifully done and the silver, pale gold, black, and a little blue make for a striking deco, especially when framed against the vibrant red cape. The plastic cape is textured and looks great. The one thing I do like better about this costume is the prounounced set of discs that secure his cape to his shoulders. On the downside, the cape is rigid and unforgiving and since it’s plugged into his back, you can’t really pull it away from the figure. This means that the cape puts a major dampener on a lot of potentially great action poses.

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The portrait is leaps and bounds better than Hasbro’s previous effort. Depending on the angle, I’d say it runs from a passable likeness to a pretty good one. The short beard is particularly well done. The hair looks great, but like the cape, it’s at odds with the articulation. Getting the head to turn side to side works fine, but there’s no upward movement, which nixes a lot of options for decent flying poses.

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So, speaking of articulation, Thor’s got plenty of great points. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps, double hinges in the elbows, and rotating hinges again in the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint in the torso that offers a beautiful range of motion, and you get the ball joint in the neck, which thanks to the hair, might as well have just been a swivel. It’s a shame that the cape and hair work against what is some pretty decent engineering, but that’s sadly the case here.

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Thor features a nice version of Mjolnir, with sculpted wrap on the handle and a lanyard. Hasbro has done quite a few of these in the 6-inch scale and they’ve all been pretty good. This one is no different. He can hold it just fine in either hand.

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I’ve got to say, this first figure alone goes a long way to justifying me buying this set. Even if it’s all down hill from here (and from a cursory glance I have no reason to believe it will be), I’ll have something to show for my forty bucks. The hitherto absense of movie Thor in the Legends line made no sense to me. In fact, not having all of the movie characters in Legends makes no sense to me. Hasbro makes 6-inch Marvel figures. Disney makes Marvel movies that rake in tons of cash. Why would you not want to capitalize more on that? Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to see comic inspired characters like Batroc the Leaper and Hellcat on the pegs, but waiting this long to get Thor and still not having a MCU Scarlet Witch, Vision, or Quicksilver? That’s just madness. Ah well, next Monday, we’ll keep this train rolling with a look at Age of Ultron Black Widow!

Marvel Legends (Hulkbuster Wave): Hulkbuster Build-A- Figure by Hasbro

Six figures and a whole lot of Marvel Mondays later and I’m finally ready to build my Hulkbuster. I always find the Build-A-Figures to be a nice slice of pie for desert after a hearty meal of regular Legends figures, but this time it’s different. I don’t think I’ve anticipated a BAF as much as this since way back to Terrax. Maybe Groot. Either way, I’m excited… so let’s see what we’ve got…

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Obviously there’s no packaged shot because this guy’s parts were spread out over seven releases, but there he is all laid out and ready for assembly. Most BAFs consist of six parts (four limbs, torso and head), but Hulkbuster is made up of two extra pieces. Instead of one torso you get a pelvis and front and back halves of the torso. Assembly may be a little more complex, but everything still goes together easy peasy.

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And what a beast he is! Now this is a BAF! It brings me back to the days of the truly giant DCUC Collect & Connect figures like Stel or STRIPE. The scaling on this guy feels really good, especially when standing next to the Age of Ultron armor, which was worn by Tony while wearing this armor. The proportions are appropriately chunky and he just looks like a powerhouse. A couple of my favorite points of interest include the contours of the lower leg armor, the giant slabs of armor on the forearms, and the curved plates that make up his shoulder armor. There isn’t an over abundance of panel lines, so it doesn’t quite give off that hyper-detailed movie look, but it works just fine for me.

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The bulk of the figure is cast in luscious red plastic, which sports a nice sheen, with minimal amounts of those swirly patterns that rear their ugly heads in Hasbro’s plastic sometimes. I hate those. Some of the gold, like the forearm pieces, are bare plastic, while other gold parts are painted. There’s a slight difference between these parts and overall I would have liked a more consistent metallic finish throughout, but then I feel guilty about complaining because so much about this guy is just magnificent. The deco is rounded out by some nice touches of gray.

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Articulation is pretty close to what we’re used to seeing in regular Legends figures. Obviously, the chunky sculpt of the armor is at odds with some of the articulation. Let’s face it, the Hulkbuster suit isn’t supposed to be an acrobat, so I’m pretty happy with the level of posability here. If there’s anything that nags at me, it’s the way the pelvis hooks to the upper torso. There’s a ball jointed post to make the connection, but the ball joint doesn’t swivel. The socket grabs it too tight and if you try to do the swivel it just twists the post. With that having been said, he is an amazingly fun figure to play with.

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Despite a few really minor and picky little issues, I think this figure is a total home-run. It’s exactly the kind of release that the BAF concept was created for. Take a figure that is too big or too complex for a regular release and get him to the collectors by parting him out. Hasbro has given us some real treats since the Legends line returned back in 2012, but it’s hard to think of too many that impressed me as much as having this beast on my shelf. He was worth the wait, and he’s probably going to spend a long time on my desk getting played around with before he finally migrates to my Legends display shelf.

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And that’s finally a wrap for this wave. I’m going to spend the next handful of Marvel Mondays going through the Age of Ultron Avengers boxed set and then we’ll start digging into the Rhino Wave!

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Iron Man, Mark 43 by Hasbro

I’m just now coming off the high of the Age of Ultron weekend. I actually got out to see it twice, while also viewing some of my Marvel Blu-Rays too and I’m still pretty pumped. If only I had some freaking toys from the movie to look at… Oh yeah, I do! If you haven’t been following along with my Marvel Legends madness, I’ve already looked at two of the three Age of Ultron figures from the Thanos Wave of Legends and today I’m checking out the last one and it is indeed Tony Stark in the Iron Man, Mark III armor! But before jumping in, can I say how disappointed I am that the movie doesn’t have its own line. Yeah, apparently there were some 3 3/4″ figures with five points of articulation that got clearanced out before the film even hit. And you have that weird 2 1/2″ line that feels like Hasbro wanted to do something, but not really commit to it. Well, I suppose I should count myself lucky that these three figures found their way into the Legends line.

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There’s the packaged shot and since I’ve got nothing new to say about it, I’ll touch on a few words about Tony’s new armor. So, even a geek like me has trouble keeping up on all of Tony’s different suits, but a few do stand out to me. My favorites are unquestiongly the Mark III and the Mark VII. The Mark 42 debuted in Iron Man 3 and I was pretty iffy on it, mainly because of the saturation of gold over the red. It has grown on me a little bit and I think it looks better in certain formats. The Mark 43 is basically the same armor with the gold turned down a lot and I think to much better aesthetic effect. I think this one is a move back in the right direction, but truth be told, I think I’ve officially reached armor fatigue when it comes to all the new designs.

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If you were here for Friday, you may remember that the Age of Ultron Captain America was a repaint and remold of the Winter Soldier figure. Well, in this case the Mark 43 is a straight repaint of the Mark 42. That having been said, it’s impressive how some of the changes make certain aspects of the sculpt stand out as different. I can see collectors who passed on the 42 actually digging this figure a lot. It really is funny how much difference a fresh coat of paint can make.

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Obviously articulation is identical to the Mark 42, but let’s run through it anyway. 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, swivels at the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges in the ankles. There’s a ball joint in the torso and both a hinge and a ball joint in the neck. What’s here is pretty good, but I would have loved some lateral rockers in the ankles. Also, the right arm on my figure doesn’t want to go all the way down by his side, which is kind of strange since the Mark 42 doesn’t have the same problem.

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You do get one potentially nice bonus with this figure over the Mark 42 and that’s the extra Tony Stark head with the opened helmet. Granted, it is not one of the better headsculpts that we’ve seen in the Legends line, and that’s me being generous. It’s actually pretty terrible. I’m not sure if it’s the sculpt or the paint or a combination of both, but it actually looks like a bad mannequin head of Downey Jr. When I think about some of the great portraits we’ve seen in the Legends line over the last few years, this one is just baffling. Hell, in this very wave we got the unmasked Steve Rogers head, which is a work of art compared to Stark’s melon. One cool thing is that since the helmets on the 43 and the 42 are identical, you can do the head swap on the Mark 42 as well.

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Repaint or no, I’m happy to have this figure in my collection. Granted, the Mark 43 is only the second of the movie armors that I own in this scale, so my shelves aren’t exactly packed with MovieVerse Starks. It’s a bit of a shame that Hasbro didn’t toss the Mark 45 into this wave, but I’m sure the lure of a quick and dirty repaint was too much for them to resist. The unmasked head could have definitely been executed better, and some extra hands would have been nice, but all in all, this one is still a solid, albeit not stellar entry. Of course, it still feels odd just getting these three and I can’t help but hope we might see some ofther Age of Ultron figures in forthcoming waves of the Legends line.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Captain America by Hasbro

It’s Friday, May 1st and that means Age of Ultron is out in the theaters now and like myself, many of you are still reeling from the excitement of having seen it at least a couple of times. Fear not for spoilers, because all I’m going to say is that it lived up to all my expectations and yet a lot of it is still settling in. Better than the first? Hmm… probably not, but still an amazing ride and further proof (as if we need it at this point) that the team of Marvel and Disney know how to bring comic action to the big screen. To commemorate the movie’s launch, I am taking the opportunity to check out the last two of the the three Age of Ultron figures that were released as part of the Thanos Wave of Marvel Legends. If you missed out on Monday, it was The Hulk. Today I’m looking at Cap and when I come back for Marvel Monday, I’ll take a look at the Iron Man, Mark 43 armor. Let’s go. soldiers!

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There’s the packaging and I’ve got nothing new to say about it, other than all the movie figures have the Age of Ultron branding up at the top. I will, however, take this opportunity to talk a little about Cap’s new uniform. The evolution of Cap’s costume has been interesting. We got the original WW2 style look in The First Avenger. A very big departure to a modern look in The Avengers. Then in The Winter Soldier he donned the Captain Rogers homage that was the STRIKE Suit before he literally went back to his WW2 costume (albeit ret-conned with some tweaks). And that brings us to Age of Ultron where he’s wearing what I can best describe as a mix of the STRIKE Suit and ret-conned WW2 outfit. I like it a lot, but I’m still deciding whether I like it enough to justify another Hot Toys Cap purchase. Luckily picking up the Legends version is not such a weighty decision.

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When I first held this figure in hand, I thought it was a straight repaint of the STRIKE Suit Cap, but comparing the two reveals there are significant tweaks to the mold, mostly in the torso. That’s fine, because I’m a big fan of the former figure and seeing it dressed up in the red, white, and blue is making me love it even more. The belt still seems a bit on the thick side, giving him what looks like a shelf surrounding his waist, but otherwise the contours and proportions are excellent. The new paintwork is overall fairly clean. I like the silver detailing on the buckles of his shoulder rigs and the fingerless gloves are a nice touch. All in all, this is a great looking figure that serves up the best of both worlds, but if you’re looking for a completely new body, you’ll be disappointed.

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If you have STRIKE Suit Cap then you obviously know what to expect from the articulation here, but if this is your first time with this mold, I’ll run through it anyway. The arms have 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, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and lateral rockers. Cap can swivel at the waist, he has an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and his head is both hinged and ball jointed. STRIKE Suit Cap spent quite a while on my desk before getting put on the shelf and I had a lot of fun playing around with him. The same will likely be true of this guy.

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This Age of Ultron release also includes everything that came with the STRIKE Suit figure. For starters, that means you get two portraits, one masked and one unmasked. The masked head looks to me like a straight repaint of the STRIKE Suit Cap, while the unmasked is the exact same head, untouched. Both heads are pretty good. The paint on the masked head could be a tad sharper, but I have no serious complaints. The unmasked head is a good looking sculpt, although I’ve got to squint a little to see the likeness. It probably works better as a comic book head than one matching Chris Evans.

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In addition to the two heads, you also get two sets of hands: One pair of fists, one pointing left hand, and one saluting right hand. Again, these are the same pieces that came with STRIKE Suit Cap. I was happy to get them there and they’re welcome here as well.

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Lastly, you get Cap’s trusty shield, which is the same STRIKE Suit Cap shield, which has obviously been repainted to the more traditional colors. By now I’ve practically got a drawer full of Legends scale Captain America shields, but I think this is one of my favorites because it actually has straps like the real thing, as opposed to the hinged peg and clip system. The paint job on the front is beautiful and the sculpted straps on the inside can slide onto his arm without even removing the hand. On the downside, there’s no way to attach this thing to his back.

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With the crazy number of Legends Captain America figures that are populating my shelves these days, I have to admit that this release didn’t have me all that excited. That having been said, he turned out to be an excellent figure and possibly one of my favorite versions of him in this scale. The sculpt was already a winner and I think these colors work beautifully on it. Plus, getting the extra portrait and hands just sweetens the pot. I’m hoping that when the time comes I’ll be content to own this version of Cap in the Legends scale and save a little money on the Hot Toys, but I won’t know for sure until the time comes and I can see what my bank account looks like.