The Avengers: Bruce Banner and Hulk Movie Masterpiece 1:6 Scale Figures by Hot Toys, Part 2

I’m back and today we’re checking out Hot Toys’ Bruce Banner! This figure was available for purchase either by himself or bundled with The Hulk. I’ll be honest, I went into The Avengers not giving a crap about who the latest actor was that they tapped to play Dr. Banner and I came out of the movie totally blown away by Mark Ruffalo’s treatment of the character. One might expect to spend every moment Banner was on screen waiting anxiously for him to turn into Hulk and start smashing things, but I was captivated by Ruffalo’s performance. He did an amazing job and there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted a figure of him to add to my Hot Toys Avengers shelf. It’s not like we’re going to get him in any other action figure line, right?

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There he is! And yes, to the uninitiated, this is a very expensive figure of a nerdy looking guy in a suit. But we know he’s so much more than that. He’s the unassuming vessel that holds the pure rage of The Incredible Hulk. Let’s face it, Dr. Banner and The Hulk may be the same person, but they’re definitely two different characters. And my Avengers shelf would never be complete without this guy. Let’s start with the portrait.

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Hot Toys got a lot of guff among collectors over this portrait and I honestly cannot see why. No, it’s not one of their absolute best. Yes, it has it’s good angles and bad angles. But all I can say is in person I think it’s a solid representation of Ruffalo. At first I thought the complexion might be a little too dark, but the more I look at the more I think it’s just right.

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Banner comes wearing the clothes he had on when he boarded the SHIELD Helicarrier. The suit is absolutely fantastic. I genuinely believe it’s a lot easier for sixth-scale figure producers to tailor some of the crazy armors and outfits than it is to do a simple suit. In fact, one of the minor gripes about my 11th Doctor figure from Big Chief was that the tailoring on the jacket was rather puffy and the collar wasn’t quite right. Of course, that was Big Chief and this is Hot Toys and the tailoring on this suit is superb. The trousers and jacket are wonderfully proportioned and I always thought the purple shirt was a nice nod to The Hulk’s traditionally purple pants. The jacket is also pretty easily removed for when you want Banner to roll up his sleeves and start doing science. The entire ensemble is punctuated by a pair of stylish loafer feet.

What about accessories? Well, Banner is not exactly weighed down with extras. You do get the ubiquitous figure stand with “The Avengers” on it and a nameplate that reads “Bruce Banner.” You also get a ridiculous number of hands. Four sets of hands! Why??? There are two open hands, two item clutching hands, and two fists. I will never use most of these.

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You also get two tiny pieces that are basically part of Dr. Banner’s wardrobe. First, there’s the amazingly detailed wristwatch and second there’s the eyeglasses. I don’t have anything to say about the watch, other than it looks great and it comes in handy so that Bruce knows WHEN IT’S TIME TO DO SCIENCE! The glasses are nicely done for such a tiny accessory, but they don’t interact well with the figure at all. There are two tiny and very shallow holes in the figure’s hairline where the arms of the glasses are supposed to go. They fit fine, but there’s not enough depth there to hold them in place. It took a lot of angling trickery just to snap a picture of him wearing them. You could have him holding them, but even with four sets of hands, none of them seem particularly well suited to the task. I’ve decided they look best just tucked into the top button of his shirt collar. I wear glasses most of the time, but I don’t need them when I’m reading, so I tend to tuck them in there.

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The only big and noteworthy accessory is the Chitauri Spear. I’m pretty sure this is a straight repack of the shorter of the two spears that came with the Avengers Loki figure. I’m not complaining, mind you. It was a good accessory to include since Banner was holding it in the lab while the team was bickering. I’m also glad to have it because I didn’t buy the Loki figure from The Avengers, and I will likely buy The Dark World version and just give him this spear.

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In the end, I really dig this figure a lot. At around $190 by himself, he’s among the least expensive figures Hot Toys has put out lately, but that’s to be expected since he is just a guy in a suit. Nonetheless, had Hot Toys not offered The Hulk bundle I would have still ponied up for him alone, but that’s just because I never expected Banner to be so well integrated into the movie and I just loved the portrayal of the character. Thankfully, Hot Toys did offer the bundle and while $529 shipped is a hell of a lot to pay for a pair of action figures, The Avengers has become one of my favorite movies of all time, so it’s a solid investment for me. It’s an even better deal when you consider that The Hulk is selling for around $400 or so on Ebay all by himself, making this two-pack the most economical way to get him. As of today the set is still available through Sideshow Toys, but it’s been marked with the dreaded, “Hurry less than 90 remain.”  Anyone regretting not picking The Hulk up the first time around should definitely give this set a look. I’m certainly glad I did!

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Marvel Universe: World War Hulk by Hasbro

No sirs, I am not the biggest Hulk fan in the world. I dig him well enough as a supporting character, but I’ve rarely ever made any of his books part of my regular reading habits. In fact, it wasn’t until Planet Hulk and World War Hulk that the big green rage machine’s books actually found their way to my shelves, but boy did I love them. Surely a Hulk book good enough to draw me in deserves an action figure in my collection. And that brings us to today’s Marvel Monday…

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Today’s entry is a bit of an older figure, so we’re back to the days of the SHIELD logo, as opposed to those crappy little “Comic Shots.” Apart from that the packaging hasn’t changed a lot. I can’t say as I’m a big fan of the character art used here, but I don’t really need superb card art when I see how well Hulk fills up the bubble. My eyes are pretty much drawn right to the behemoth of a figure. In fact, this has got to be one of the heaviest MU figures released to date on a single card.

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The back of the card shows the other figures available in this assortment. I have Spider-Woman, but I missed out on Spider-Man 2099 and that Heroic Age Iron Man. I may need to swing back and pick them up. Anyway, Hulk looks angry and ready to bust out, so let’s not keep him waiting.

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Where to begin with this thing of beauty? I guess with the base sculpt. Marvel Universe has had its share of ups and downs with The Hulk. The Secret Wars version is solid enough and remains my standard Hulk, although he’s starting to look rather dated. The next single carded release suffered from a terrible pinhead. The last one released was a big improvement, but one I didn’t deem necessary to buy. This Hulk is absolutely fantastic. The portrait is excellent, with a broad, grim expression and a sculpted headband. The rest of the body is suitably muscled and features armor sculpted onto the left arm, sculpted leg straps, and sandals. What’s more he has all sorts of little texturing and hash marks on his skin. Serious love went into this sculpt. The coloring is perfect. I adore this deep shade of green, and here’s an example of a paint wash that actually enhances the figure rather than detracting from it. And speaking of paint, the patina of rust on his arm armor is executed flawlessly.

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The belt, loincloth, shoulder rigging, and shoulder armor are all sculpted in separate pieces and fit the figure well. I really dig when figures have separate parts like these, not so much because they can theoretically be removed, but because it adds a lot of depth and credibility to the sculpt and don’t tend to interfere as much with articulation. The rigging features a functional scabbard. All the exceptional detail on this guy makes him feel like Hasbro took a Legends figure and shrunk it down to the Universe scale.

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Articulation? Oh, Hulk’s got articulation! You get ball joints in the neck, shoulders, hips and upper torso. His arms feature swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and swivels and hinges in the ankles. Hulk can also swivel at the waist. That’s some damn fine poseability for a character that isn’t known for his ninja-like prowess.

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I don’t know what feels stranger, getting a Marvel Universe figure with this many accessories, or seeing The Hulk with this many accessories. Let’s just agree that both are pretty atypical. Still, the Planet/WW Hulk scenario that puts weapons into Hulk’s already-capable-of-mass-destruction-mitts makes me smile and I’m so happy to get a figure of Hulk in this guise. You get a two-handed broadsword, a battle axe and a shield. Both the sword and axe are nicely sculpted with pitting and nicks from wear in battle. The only downside is that neither fit tightly into his hand. He can hold them, but they rattle around a bit. Hey, I had to come up with something to nit pick here! The iron studded, wooden shield is also beautifully sculpted with scrapes and cuts and it clips securely onto the figure’s wrist. Hulk can carry all his gear on his back. The sword fits into the scabbard, the shield clips onto the scabbard and you can tuck the axe through the straps in his rigging. Very cool! Hulk also comes with a standard MU style figure stand. The kind we used to get before Hasbro cheaped out on us. It’s ironic because this figure has no need of it. He’s too big and he stands just fine on his own.

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If you’ve been reading my Marvel Monday features, you will no doubt have noted that I’ve become more and more impressed with Hasbro’s efforts with this line. Back when it first started and the novelty of 3 ¾” Marvel figures began to wane, I seriously questioned whether many of the figures were good enough to keep me collecting them. Needless to say, MU has come a long way with the recent waves. Hulk here is an older figure and he was probably one of their great breakaway releases. Compare this dude to most of the previous offerings and he seems way too good to be an MU figure. He set a new standard for the line, a standard that I’ve been seeing reflected more and more in the recent releases. The sculpt, the coloring, the gear, the accessories, the articulation… it’s all perfect. And that’s not a word I like to toss around all willy-nilly. And it’s not a word I use to placate Hulk so he won’t smash me. No, this is quite simply a gorgeous and amazing figure, and unlike a lot of MU releases, he’s a great value at ten bucks. Who would have thought that I could love a Hulk figure as much as I love this guy. Hulk… you will not be going into the Marvel Universe display case right away. No sir, you have earned a place of honor on my desk, so I can play with you on my down time.

Marvel Universe: Grey Hulk by Hasbro

Some of the figures that have been hanging out in the limbo of my In Box are there because I just don’t have a lot to say about him. Say, hello to Grey Hulk. I have never been a big fan of The Hulk in any shape or form. He certainly can’t hold my interest as a main character, but I don’t mind him when he’s attached to The Avengers in a supporting role. Still, I had no problem picking up a regular flavor Hulk for my Marvel Universe collection. Grey Hulk, on the other hand? The only reason I own this figure is because he was included in a case assortment that I purchased to get at a bunch of other figures. On the plus side, I haven’t looked at this sculpt yet, so let’s see if I can pad this out to a full length post.

Grey Hulk is from an older wave assortment before Norm Osborne took over the Hasbro factory and started stamping his HAMMER logo on all the packages. As such, the bubble insert brandishes the SHIELD emblem. The artwork is decent and Hulk certainly fills out the card, but there’s not much else to say here.

Surprise! Grey Hulk is just a repaint of the green single carded Hulk, and that’s a shame because the sculpt was pretty crappy in the first place. I passed on the original single carded Hulk in favor of the version from the Secret Wars comic pack. Sure, that one isn’t perfect either, but it’s a breath of fresh air compared to this sculpt. The body is fine, actually its the same as the Secret Wars figure’s body, but let’s look at the head. With the figure on the card, you can make an easy comparison to the decent character artwork and the figure under the bubble, and see that Hasbro turned The Hulk into a pinhead. The face looks emaciated and his flat head gives me a Frankenstein’s monster vibe. It looks more like this should be zombie hulk. Grey Hulk’s got blue pants and a decent wash over the rest of the figure to give him some depth to the sculpt.

As probably expected, Grey Hulk is light on the accessories. All he comes with is his envelope of Secret Documents from the Fury Files.

So, yeah, I really hate this figure. I’ll grant you it doesn’t help that I had no interest in a Grey Hulk to begin with, but let’s face it, I’ve been known to fall in love with figures based on characters I didn’t care about or even know, so I’m not giving Grey Hulk any free passes. I mean, was anyone really satisfied with this sculpt? If a non-Hulk fan like me hates it so much, I would imagine the real Hulk fanboys are livid. On the upside, it was worth getting saddled with him to be able to pick up the other figures in this assortment that I needed.