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

As promised, I’m back tonight to wrap up the somewhat Black Panther themed wave of Marvel Legends with the Okoye Build-A-Figure. Technically, I could have reviewed this figure last week, since the Iron Man I opened this morning did not include any BAF parts, but since this is the last Legends Wave that I’ll be reviewing consecutively, I decided not to mess with tradition.

And here she is all laid out and ready for assembly. The figure consists of the torso, the limbs, the head, and two weapons. This is one of those BAF’s that could have easily been a packaged figure, because she’s so small. I always see a number of fans come out of the woodwork and complain when Hasbro does this. I get it, I still think this wave should have been all from the movie, but if they released Okoye as a packaged figure, I’m not sure what they could have done for the BAF. Maybe the Wakandan throne? Anyway, let’s get Okoye together and check her out.

The first thing that impresses me here is how little of this figure is recycled from Nakia. Without close inspection, I was assuming there would be a lot of shared parts, and while it definitely looks like some of the parts here are likely re-sculpted, there’s enough new sculpting to make it look like a new figure. The upper legs appear to be directly shared, which goes back to how odd I thought they were on the Nakia figure. At least here they’re painted black and not in her skin tone, so the decorative patterns look like part of her leggings and not like they’re carved into her skin. I also like the streamlined look of Okoye’s boots, making her legs look a lot more sleek and graceful. Those clunkly accordian-style tops on Nakia’s boots didn’t do her any favors.

Like Nakia, Okoye uses a soft plastic sculpted belt with the lower half of her coat and it’s pretty convincing in making it all look like one piece. I like that the back of this piece is detailed to look like several layers overlapping, and it’s designed so as not to hinder the leg articulation too badly. The plastic garment features all sorts of ornamental detail etched into it along with a little gold wash to help it stand out. Okoye’s segmented bracers looked to be borrowed from Nakia at first, but these have pieces that extend up to her elbows, so there was definitely some tweaking done here. These are left in a bare gold plastic, which looks OK, but not nearly as good as the gold plastic used for her shoulder armor. It’s a shame they couldn’t spare some of that paint for these.

Hasbro has been killing it with all the MCU Black Panther head sculpts and Okoye here is no exception. This portrait is a tiny work of art. The smooth contours of her face are so beautifully done, the paint is wonderful, and the tattoos on her head look amazing. It’s so hard to believe this is the same company producing those noggins used in the 6-inch Star Wars Black Series.

The articulation is identical to what we saw with Nakia. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and yes, I’d still rather see Hasbro go to double hinged elbows and bicep swivels for the ladies. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. She has a ball joint under her chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Okoye comes with two weapons: A long spear and a spear head with a very short shaft. The long spear has a textured staff with a spearhead that’s split in the middle giving it a rather distinctive look. Both her hands are designed for gripping, so she can comfortably wield this weapon in either or both of her hands.

I don’t recall the smaller spear-type weapon from the movie. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a unique weapon or a broken piece of s spear. The shaft here is a little too slight to allow her to get a firm grasp on it, so it tends to wobble loose in her hand a bit, but I was still able to get her to hold it fairly well.

I have to hand it to Hasbro, the MCU Black Panther figures have been some of their best work to date. Scoff if you will at the fact that Okoye didn’t need to be a BAF, but I don’t care. I’m not privy to the business decisions that made Hasbro go this route, but so long as we got her, I’m cool. I will, however, keep harping on the fact that the comic-based figures in this wave should have gone elsewhere in favor of Shuri, Klaue, and Everett Ross. Yeah, we’re getting Ross in a two-pack, but what about the other two? I don’t see a big opportunity down the road to release any of these figures, unless they roll them into future releases of the 10-Year MCU Anniversary figures. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether that will be an ongoing thing or not.

On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll start randomizing my Marvel Legends reviews as I continue to hack my way through the pile of backlogged figures in the corner, and there is a lot of them, so what figure will be turning up next week? Your guess is as good as mine!

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Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Nakia by Hasbro

Ah, it’s a great time to be a Marvel fan! What? No, they haven’t fixed the dumpster fire on the comic side of things, but we’ve got some amazing trailers for Deadpool 2 and Infinity War, I just picked up the Blu-Ray of Thor: Ragnarok, and I’ve got enough Marvel Legends figures to keep me happy for the foreseeable future. Today I’m pressing on through the Okoye Wave and opening up Nakia from the spectacular Black Panther movie!

Nakia, not to be confused with that brand of famously indestructible Finnish cell phones, Nokia, comes in the typical Legends window box. It’s got some great character art on the side panels, the back panel shows you the rest of the figures in the wave, and the window on the front lets you get a look at all the goodies inside the box. I really enjoyed Nakia in the film, and I’d love to see them explore her character further in the next one, particularly her background with the Dora Milaje, and boy would it be cool for them to work the Malice storyline into it. I can practically see that whole thing unfolding on the screen and it would be awesome.

And here she is out of the package and looking fabulous. Black Panther was a visual feast, and a lot of that came from the pageantry of the Wakandan costumes. Hasbro had a lot to work with when it came to Nakia’s outfit and I think they did a bang up job with it. The top of the red tunic is part of the buck, while the lower half is part of the belt, sculpted in soft plastic, and extends down to hang down the front and back. The effect works really well, and it’s pretty convincing as being one plastic garment. There are a ton of cut lines running throughout the tunic, forming various geometric patterns, some of which are picked out by gold paint. On top of that you get long segmented bracers on her forearms, a large piece of armor on her right shoulder, a smaller piece on the left, and some sharp detailing around her neck, all painted in silver. She also has a sculpted silver belt buckle that looks like a panther emblem. This is some fantastic stuff!

My only nitpick is the legs, which are painted to look like they’re supposed to be bare, but have a lot of the same ornamental cut lines running throughout. Just looking at them makes me wince, because it’s like she went through some kind of ritual and had these carved into her flesh. I’ve only seen the movie twice now, but I don’t remember this being the case, and I haven’t been able to find any reference shots of her costume showing it either. In fact, it looks like she’s just wearing some fairly plain leggings. Okoye’s costume does have these designs, but they’re part of her leather leggings. Anyway, her ensemble is rounded out by a pair of black boots, with some accordion style rings on the top, which look a little clunky, and throw off what is an otherwise pretty graceful figure. If it sounds like I’m coming down on this figure, keep in mind, these are just nitpicks, and I think the sculpting and coloring on this costume look outstanding.

Also outstanding is the head sculpt. More often than not, Hasbro has been on point with their MCU head sculpts, but they’ve really upped their game recently and this is another great example of that. The likeness to the lovely Lupita Nyong’o is certainly there. Granted, I prefer it when she’s smiling, but the stern and solemn look here is more appropriate for the character and action figure. They did an amazing job sculpting her hair and she even has her tiny earrings.

The articulation here is what I’ve come to expect from my Legends MCU ladies, which means good, albeit not perfect. I would still love to see Hasbro go with double hinged elbows and bicep swivels in the arms. Instead, we get the typical rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs fare a lot better, with ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both swivels and rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but she does have a ball joint under the chest, and she has both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

In addition to the BAF parts, Nakia comes with a pair of Chakram, which as far as I knew were generally from India, but I’m not going to quibble about it because they’re exotic and cool and movies often play it fast and loose with historical authenticity. Anyway, these are beautiful accessories, with brown textured grips to simulate wood or leather, and silver blades with decorative inscriptions scultped into them.

Black Panther and Killmonger were both great figures, but lets face it the black with gold and black with silver suits didn’t really showcase the movie’s colorful costumes. With Nakia, we finally get to see some of that translate to plastic, and it looks superb. I nitpicked some of the liberties Hasbro seemed to take with the costume, but really I have nothing but love and admiration for the work they did here. From the exquisite costume, to the beautiful likeness, to some really fun accessories, this figure has it all.

And that’s it for the packaged MCU figures. Next week, I’ll start in on the comic-based figures!

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Killmonger by Hasbro

The new Infinity War trailer may have dropped last week, but I’m still working my way through the Black Panther inspired wave of Marvel Legends. Hell, I’ll be lucky if I get to the Infinity War figures by the time that movie hits theaters next month. Part of me is screaming, “Slow your roll, MCU. Stop stealing the spotlight of your own movies.” But then I tell myself to shut up, because I want more Marvel movies as quickly as possible. I’m an old man and I don’t have time them to worry about pacing themselves! But for now, let’s focus on Black Panther and have a look at Erik Killmonger!

Much has been said about how Killmonger is one of the best MCU villains since Loki, and I can’t argue with any of it. He was charismatic, sympathetic, and he was one of the many characters that seemed to get as much development and screen-time as our hero, T’Challa. All of this is pretty impressive, since when you boil it down, his costumed-persona was just an evil version of Black Panther and his name is… well, Killmonger! Even in the 70’s that name was a little cringe-worthy. Anyway, I didn’t have high hopes for this character in the film, but it shows what I know, because everything turned out so much better than could be expected. It also redeemed actor Michael B Jordan’s legacy in the Marvel films. Not that he was really at fault for that Fantastic Four movie.

When I looked at Black Panther last week, I complimented Hasbro for not cheaping out and reusing parts from the Civil War version. Indeed, I had no idea there were so many differences in the costume! Well, the same can be said for Killmonger. This is an entirely new sculpt, and considering it’s basically a one-and-done buck, I’m surprised they didn’t share some parts between Erik and T’Challa in this wave. It’s also easy to dismiss this as just another black-suited figure with some gold paint accents. I’ll confess that was my reaction when I first saw pictures. But with the figure in hand, I find the subtleties in the sculpt and coloring rather impressive. Of course, all of this can be said for the Black Panther figure as well.

Killmonger’s suit is simpler than T’Challa’s. You don’t get as much in the way of panel lines and texturing, but it does feature some beaded lines running throughout. It also has a very subtle panther spotting effect that can be tough to see under normal lighting. Where T’Challa’s suit had silver accents, Killmonger’s has gold, and there isn’t nearly as much of it, at least not from the neck down. There’s a little on the hands and feet, and at the hips. The necklace appears to be sculpted separately in gold plastic and attached to the figure.

The head, on the other hand is absolutely brimming with detail. I really like the sculpted iconography near the ears. The beaded lines feature some gold paint, as well as some general gold dry brushing around the forehead area. The eyes are painted gold, and you get a little silver paint on the gold necklace. No doubt, this is a pretty intimidating mask!

The articulation is identical to what we saw on Black Panther. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. They also feature the lateral hinges in the shoulders that we often see on the Spider-Man figures. The pegs in the wrists allow you to swap hands, between attack hands and accessory holding hands. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

While T’Challa came up empty in the accessories department, Killmonger comes with two weapons and an extra set of hands for holding them. The first is a what I believe is meant to be a Konda-type sword, with the rather distinctive flaring tip that’s designed for slashing. The segmented grip is black, the blade is painted silver, and there are four holes cut out in across the top edge.

The other weapon is a short spear in silver and gold with some brown painted ties in the middle. Both of these weapons are pretty cool and quite distinctive.

Marvel Studios did a great job with Killmonger in the film, and now Hasbro follows suit with a great figure. In fact, the only real complaint I have is that there is no unmasked head. Yes, the two weapons make up for it in terms of value, but I can’t help but think the real reason was so they could bundle the character in a two-pack with an unmasked head and make me buy it again. Although in fairness, that figure looks like it’s going to be radically different, rather than a straight repack. Do I need two Killmongers? Probably not, but between the unmasked head and the Everett Ross figure, I’m only kidding myself if I pretend like I won’t buy it when I see it, but I don’t think I’ll pay a premium for it.

Marvel Legends: Black Panther (Okoye Wave) by Hasbro

It’s time to start in on an all new wave of Marvel Legends, and hey, look at that! I’m actually getting to the Black Panther Wave while the movie is still in the theaters! But collecting Marvel Legends is like fighting Hydra, complete one wave and two more take its place. I still haven’t opened or reviewed the Sandman Wave, and I haven’t started buying the new Deadpool, Spider-Man, or Infinity War Waves. And I am most definitely not complaining, Hasbro. Keep ’em coming!

Yeah, I called this the Black Panther Wave, but only half of the figures, plus the Build-A-Figure, are from the movie. There are also three random comic-based figures tossed in, and only one of those has me excited, and no it’s not the half-naked Namor! I know we’re getting Everett Ross in a two-pack, but no Klaw or Shuri? That’s just unforgivable. Anyway, the packaging is the same old thing with some nice branding on the front to tie it into the film. Let’s take a look at the figure, and I’ll do some comparisons with the Civil War version along the way.

Appropriately enough, the new suit features an all new sculpt, so don’t go thinking Hasbro cheaped out on this one. Honestly, they probably could have and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference until the movie hit Blu-Ray and I could really scrutinize the design. Indeed, getting these two figures side by side is the first time I’ve really taken the time to look the changes made to the costume. I was surprised to find so many differences. The sculpted lines in the costume are all different patterns and the new costume doesn’t feature quite as many of them. But the most obvious difference for me is in the necklace, which is a lot simpler.

The coloring is the same matte black with silver accents and Hasbro did a nice job on the little bit of paint that’s here. All the silver apps are nice and clean on my figure. The new costume has some rather aggressive spike-like bits painted on his gauntlets, whereas the old look just had a painted border at the edges. You get more of those silver spikes around the tops of his his boots, where the older costume had none. All in all, there’s a little more silver on this release and it’s more of a pure silver, whereas the older figure was more of a silver-gray.

The masks are quite different too. I think the old one looks a lot more severe. The silver lines that converge on his brow make him look a lot more aggressive to me, as do the points on the ears. The new head is a little more rounded. If you were to ask me to choose a favorite between the two, I’d be leaning toward the Civil War release, but they both look great, and in the end it’s just a matter of taste.

You also get an unmasked head, and holy shit, if you ever want an example of Hasbro being a company looking to improve, just check out this two years of progress. I remember being rather favorable toward the head on the Civil War figure, but oh boy does it look dated compared to this one. The likeness to Chadwick Boseman is very much on point. If I’m going to nitpick, I think the hair could have been done a little better on the new figure. It’s a little too precise and has a painted on look to it. But still, overall, this is a fantastic new likeness. I really hope they can start bringing this kind of portraiture to the Star Wars Black Series at some point in time.

In terms of articulation, you get all the same points in the Civil War version. That means the arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs in the wrists. The pegs in the wrists allow you to swap hands, between fists or attack hands. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles feature both hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. So what’s the difference? Hasbro upgraded to the lateral hinges in the shoulders, and that’s pretty damn cool.

 

Apart from the extra hands and head, T’Challa doesn’t come with any additional accessories, and that’s fine. I can’t really think of anything he’s missing.

If I had missed out on the Civil War release, I’d be very content to have this figure representing the MCU Black Panther in my collection. Yes, aesthetically I gave the edge to the previous one, but this is still a beautiful figure and the added articulation makes it all the more fun to play with. Not to mention the unmasked head is a huge improvement. Initially, I wasn’t really sure we needed another Black Panther figure so soon, but this release proves me wrong. On the next Marvel Monday, I’ll check out Killmonger!