I’m giving the unending parade of Marvel Legends a week off on this Marvel Monday so I can turn my attention to a new Hot Toys arrival! And on that subject, I believe I may be approaching the end of a long journey, as I started collecting Marvel Hot Toys nearly ten years ago, and now some 30 figures later, all of that feels like it’s coming to an end. I have a few on my shelf left to review, and a few more pre-orders waiting to ship, but I have a grim sense of foreboding that I am not going to enjoy the post-Endgame run of the MCU, and as such probably won’t be investing top dollar in the figures any more. I mean, it may end up being a decent movie, but am I going to want a shelf full of Hot Toys Eternals? Probably not. I bring it up now, because I’m acutely aware of it and that makes Nebula’s arrival feel less routine than some of the others have been.
Hot Toys have been all about delays these days, distancing their releases from the respective movies by quite a bit. I imagine part of that is Covid-related, but I actually had one of my Sideshow statues delayed because of some kind of nautical catastrophe. And while I’ve been cancelling some, I let Nebula ride it out. And while Nebula is billed as an Endgame figure, I see her as a way to finally complete my Guardians of the Galaxy collection. Sure, she was given a lot of screen time in Endgame, and ultimately a satisfying character arc, but I associate the character most with Guardians Vol. 2. Anyway, the package doesn’t really convey the price of the figure inside. It’s a fragile window box housing a vac-formed plastic tray with an illustrated sleeve around it. Although, I have to admit that the artwork on that sleeve is absolutely breathtaking, particularly the colors. I don’t save these boxes anymore, but I could be persuaded to flatten out this sleeve and tuck it away somewhere, because it’s just too pretty to pitch. But enough about the package, let’s get her open and see what we’ve got!
Plucked from Endgame, this is Nebula in her Ravager garb, and if she’s only getting one Hot Toys figure, I’d say this version was a pretty good choice. Although, I still would have liked one from either of the Guardians flicks, since we didn’t get Ronin and it would have been nice to get bad Nebula as a villain stand in. Still, the Ravager style outfit displays well with my original Guardians Star Lord and my Guardians Vol. 2 Yondu, so I’m a happy collector. The space-pirate outfit consists of a very tight-fitting maroon one-piece, which is stitched together in a bit of a patchwork fashion, and while this isn’t one of the flashiest costumes out there, Hot Toys did it proud by recreating all of its little idiosyncrasies. Every stitch of it has some form of texturing, plus there are multiple layers with different types of fabrics, reinforcements, piping, belts, and buckles. When I first got the figure out of the box, I had a great time just studying all of these little details and marveling at how with something like 50 Hot Toys figures on my shelf, the attention to details never ceases to impress me. I especially love how the sculpted bits that make up the boots and bracers and gloves pair so seamlessly with the actual fabric aspects of the suit.
Some particularly noteworthy highlights are the reinforced shoulder pads, the Ravager badge on her right bicep, and the gun belt, which has a holster for her sidearm and straps to hold her baton in the back. Although, I’m a little unclear as to why she only carries one back there when she fights with two. The holster actually needs to be attached to the belt via two small hooks, and I don’t mind telling you that it was a daunting task to finally get it on. I had to rely on tweezers and I think I got through almost the entire Podcast I was listening to before I actually got those hooked. On the downside, because the figure is literally stitched into the suit, the articulation is severely limited up in her groin. I really can’t get much of a wide stance at all without fear of popping those stitches. At the same time, the boots are all sculpted in one piece, so forget getting her feet flat all the time. As a result, from the waist down, this is not a very dynamic figure to play with or pose.
Of course, this version of Nebula has a completely exposed cybernetic left arm, which mostly consists of sculpted panel lines, but does have a few areas where the innards are exposed. These areas feature some finely detailed wires and servos, some of which are individually painted. The joints are sculpted into her fingers and the mesh on the hands look great. While we’re on the subject of hands, Nebula comes with three sets (fists, relaxed, baton holding) and a right gun hand. My only gripe about the cybernetic arm is the limited articulation. It’s got a rotating hinge in the shoulder and another at the elbow, but sadly no swivel in the bicep. Maybe they thought that would look bad, but what’s here still feels rather limiting.
That brings us to the portrait, and for this I only have praise. Nebula’s on screen make up is nothing short of amazing. After following Karen Gillan in Doctor Who for so many years, I can only catch glimmers of familiarity of the actress as Nebula, and that’s high praise to her acting abilities as well as the make up effects. And this portrait continues Hot Toys’ mostly unswerving ability to capture likenesses for their figures. The two shades of blue used for her skin are rich and the metallic sheen on the darker middle is particularly beautiful. I also love how they managed to still create that realistic speckled skin tone even through such unconventional colors. The eyes also feature that lifelike spark that Hot Toys always manages to capture in these portraits. The expression is fairly neutral, which was what Nebula often showed in the films. A second head sculpt with gritting teeth and rage would have been welcome, but Hot Toys seldom seems to do multiple portraits these days. Finally, the exposed cybernetic plate on her left side and around her eye looks fantastic.
Nebula does not come with a whole bunch of accessories and extras, but what we did get is pretty good. For starters, her pistol is a real thing of beauty. I love the gun designs in the Guardians flicks, and this one looks like it shares a little heritage with Star Lord’s Elemental Guns. At the very least they look like they come from a shared Universe. The grip has an intricate honeycomb pattern and the rest of the tiny details include a knob on the back, little screws, and there’s even some burn marks painted around the three vents near the muzzle. The top piece is ivory, the bulk of the body is painted with a brushed steel finish, and there’s a little metallic blue and gold on some of the fixtures. It’s quite a striking piece!
Her other weapons are her batons. We already saw that she has one collapsed one to store in the back of her belt, while the other two are sculpted in the extended position. There’s some great detail in the handle sculpts, but as great as they look, it’s hard for me to get too worked up over a couple of batons. They do work well with the hands that are designed to hold them.
You also get some blue electrified effect parts, which can be snaked around them. Sure, these are basically the same types of things Hasbro includes with some of their Star Wars figures to convey Force energy, but they still look mighty nice when fitted around them, and I may actually keep these on when I’m displaying her.
As always, our last stop on the Hot Toys review train is the figure stand, and here we get one branded for Endgame. It features a hexagonal base with a standard, adjustable crotch cradle post. Her name is printed kind of unceremoniously on the front, instead of using one of those metallic name plates. Also, the printing is ever so slightly askew. Ah well. You do get some really nice and colorful artwork on the base with the Avengers Endgame logo and the Ravager emblem. And yeah, I really wish they had given her the same style of stand the rest of the Guardians had, because this one looks really out of place in that display.
Nebula represents all the usual quality and craftsmanship that I’m used to seeing out of Hot Toys. They’ve been doing this a long time, and they are freaking great at it. This is simply a gorgeous figure that captures the character as best as anyone is ever likely to do in action figure form. With that having been said, the limitations of the suit on her articulation can be quite frustrating. Granted, I usually go with some pretty reserved poses for my figures, so it’s not going to hurt my overall, long-term enjoyment of the figure. But on the same note, I do like to play with them in front of the camera every now and then and have fun with them. Sadly, Nebula is one of those figures that will have to be content with standing on her stand and looking pretty. As for value, at $235, this one really needed an extra head or something to justify that extra $25-30. Even still, I can’t say as I’m feeling even a shred of buyer’s remorse. The Guardians of the Galaxy characters have been some of my favorite Marvel Hot Toys releases and I’m thrilled to finally put Nebula among them. At this point the one hole remaining in my Guardians display is Mantis, who was shown off back in 2019 and is still teased on Sideshow’s website, but I haven’t seen any new activity lately. If she is finally offered, I’ll be down for a pre-order. But until then, Nebula marks my final addition to this bunch of sixth-scale A-Holes. Although, I will admit that I’m a little tempted to double-dip on Gamora now.