Marvel Legends (Banner Hulk Wave): Rescue by Hasbro

With another wave of Marvel Legends wrapped up last week, I’m able to start indulging in some random reviews again. This time, I reached my Infinity Gauntlet’ed paw into the Pile of Shame™ and came up with Rescue from the Banner Hulk Wave. This wave will be an odd one for me, since I’ll been giving the BAF parts to my nephew. Right now I have about half the wave and he has the other half, and he’s really eager to build the Hulk BAF. Maybe I’ll borrow Hulk Banner from him when it comes time to wrap things up, but I already have a couple MCU Hulks in my collection and my desire to be a good Uncle outweighed my need for a third.

And hey… it’s Pepper Potts in the Rescue armor! Ever since Iron Man 3 teased us by putting Pepper into one of Tony’s suits, I’ve been hoping we’d see Rescue turn up. Hell, it even makes the cringe-worthy woke girl-power scene in Endgame worthwhile. But seriously, MCU, please don’t go down that route. You have some kick-ass female heroes in your roster to be proud of. You don’t have to do stunts like that. It feels like you may be flirting with more of it in the next Phase, but it hasn’t served the comics well, and I don’t think it’s going to do the films any favors either. But putting that aside, I’m so glad we got this figure in the Legends line. The Hot Toys release of Rescue is clocking in at over $400 and, as much as I love this armor design, that’s a lot more than I’m willing to spend, so this 6-inch version is probably going to be it for me.

But what a nice version it is! The Rescue armor features all the usual segmented and panel-lined detail of the other Iron Man suits, only this time contoured for the ladies! It’s not actually that much more demure than some of Tony’s more organic-looking armors, but you certainly do get Pepper’s feminine form bleeding through and giving it some character. Other highlights of the suit include forearm pieces that extend past the wrists (giving me a lovely Knight Sabers vibe!), a flight pack on her back, which I’ll come back to in a bit, and the more modern triangular arc reactor in the chest. As the name suggests, the Rescue armor looks like it’s built more for support and speed, than for heavy combat, but as we’ve seen in the film, when the shit hits the fan it can certainly account for itself in a fight.

The coloring on this figure is absolutely gorgeous. She features a metallic blue base coat which appears to be the actual color of the plastic. It definitely rivals any of Tony’s candy-apple red suits, with its’ lovely new-car shine. The blue is accented with some gold, and a few silver, panels all of which make the figure pop splendidly. The back pack features some gold striping, which kind of gives off a hazard stripe motif to me, and you also get the name RESCUE printed down one side and 0049 down the other, presumably making this one the Mark 49 armor. The paint lines on my figure are all quite sharp, as I really need to get in close to see any spray, and I can’t say enough good things about the overall quality of the finish used.

The helmet doesn’t offer too much of a change-up from those on Tony’s traditional suits. The configuration of the face-plate, eyes and mouth slit are all on point.  Maybe the eyes here are a little more feminine, and the sides of the plate are swept up to give the appearance of high cheekbones. Finally, the elongated neck further betrays that this is indeed a lady suit. As with the rest of the figure, the paint on the helmet is quite well done, adding a little blue for the eyes.

Hasbro even stepped it up on the articulation here. Y’all know my big gripe with the gals of Marvel Legends and their more limited arm articulation. Well, instead of the usual rotating hinges all around, Rescue features double-hinges in the elbows and swivels in the biceps, just like the dudes! Interestingly, the rotating hinges in the shoulders here are ratcheted, and while the wrists have the usual pegged hinges, the piece on the forearm can interfere with their movement. The legs feature rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double-hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

And speaking of neck ball joints… Yes, if you were wondering, the Pepper Potts head from the Iron Man 3 three-pack does indeed work with this figure.

The flight pack on her back can be removed and exchanged with an open one and boy does it sport some wonderful detail! The inside panels of each of the flaps is painted silver and features some pane lines and the exposed portion of the back is black and shows more sculpted detail. I especially dig the piercings in the lower flaps.

I was damn excited when this figure was first revealed and now that she is in hand, I’m just as excited to have her. Hell, I’d even go so far as to say this is my favorite Iron Man armor to be released in Legends in a long while. The sculpt is great, the colors are beautiful, and the added articulation to the arms makes all the difference. Sure, I’ll probably still drool over pictures of the Hot Toys version, but this makes for a pretty damn fine consolation prize.

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Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk L, Thanos, and Doctor Strange by Hasbro

For the second Marvel Monday in a row, I’m going to forgo random chance and bump something to the head of the line. Last week it was the Walgreens Exclusive Magick and this week it’s the First Ten Years Infinity War 3-pack. I’ve passed this up in the local toy aisles more than a few times, but a sale on Amazon finally got me to take the plunge…

In case you’re just joining us, Hasbro has been celebrating the First Ten Years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by releasing some MCU-based Legends figures that they didn’t get to the first time around. These have run the gamut from single figures to two-packs and three-packs. Today’s set is arguably the least essential of them all, since the Thanos Wave not only let us build an MCU Thanos, but it also gave us the Mark L Iron Man armor. Plus, Doctor Strange’s look hasn’t changed much since the MCU version was released in the Dormammu Wave. Nonetheless, there are some tweaks and bobs here to offer something new. So, let’s dive in and see if this set can really justify its existence, and we’ll start with Iron Man!

The Mark L armor was really cool in the film because of the things it could do, but the overall design didn’t really impress me. It’s not a bad looking suit, but there’s nothing all that distinctive about it to me either. This model is a bit more rounded and organic looking, which reminds me of the Mark II/III, but it does feature an interesting shape to the Arc Reactor, some cool panel lines, and some interesting placement of the gold trim. The red finish is also nice and glossy and replicates that new car finish that I like to see in my Iron Man armors.

You also get some light blue paint apps to simulate energy glow and the effects of these are hit-and-miss. I think they look OK on most of the figure until you get in close and then they can look rather sloppy. That’s especially the case around the eyes. The back of the figure features a rather unsightly screw to the battery compartment and an on/off switch to take the electronics out of test mode. Yes, if the Try Me window on the box didn’t give it away, this baby has a light up feature!

The light up feature only includes the Arc Reactor, but it is damn bright. I didn’t even have to dim my studio lights that much to make it show up in the pictures. It’s activated by a button just below the chest and I dig how it slowly activates, rather than just flicking on and off. I didn’t light it up for all the pictures, but it should be obvious in the pictures where it is ignited. When I bought this set online, I actually did not realize the light up feature was even there, so it was a cool surprise.

Of course, where there’s cool lights, there’s also a trade-off with articulation. This Mark L has absolutely no articulation in the torso, which is certainly limiting. All the usual points are present in the limbs. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows and knees, hinges in the ankles, and swivels in the biceps and thighs. The neck is also ball jointed. The wrist articulation depends on which set of hands you have in place. One set is open hands and they are have no hinges, but will swivel on the pegs. I’m actually OK with that, because previous MCU Armors haven’t been able to get the open hands in full-on Stop! position because of sculpting in the sleeves. I’m happy this one can. And the swap-out fists do have hinges.

You also get a pair of repulsor blast effect parts. These peg into the holes in the open hand palms or the bottoms of the feet and they are indeed the same pieces that came with Invincible Iron Man from the Okoye Wave! Overall, I like this figure a lot and the novelty of the light up Reactor outweighs the hit in torso articulation. Plus, it’s nice to know that if I want that articulation, I could always pick up the Mark L that was part of the Thanos Wave, which has been turning up pretty cheap here and there. Let’s check out Doctor Strange next!

I’m not going to spend a huge amount of time with Doctor Strange, because he’s about 90% of the same sculpt as the one from the Dormammu Wave. In fact, from the neck down the only new sculpting involves his lower left arm, which now has permanently attached magic effect parts, and the Cloak of Levitation, which is an all new piece. This was a solid figure back then and it still is, but unfortunately the new paint on the costume isn’t all that great. The tunic is a lot brighter, and I don’t think it looks as good as the previous release. Also, Hasbro cheaped out on painting the belts. Previously they were painted brown with some gold paint apps on the fixtures, now they’re just left black with just some silver paint on the ring. The gold paint used for the Eye of Agamatto is also brighter and better looking on the older figure.

The permanent effect parts are probably going to irk collectors who are looking to pick this one up as their only MCU Strange, but since it’s my second Legends Strange I’m OK with them. The magic discs are cast in translucent green plastic and they look pretty cool, but I think the way to go here would have been to give him a swap-out arm so they aren’t always there. The new Cloak, on the other hand, is a big improvement over the one from the previous figure. This one pegs into the back of the figure, features a sharper sculpt, brighter colors, and it’s all around less cumberbatchsome. See what I did there?

If you haven’t noticed, the biggest plus of the new figure is the head sculpt, which features what I think is a much better likeness. At the time, I remember being quite impressed with the previous release’s head sculpt, but seeing the two together is like night and day. The new portrait uses Hasbro’s new half-tone style printing method, which looks great. I think they really nailed his eyes and eyebrows perfectly and he’s got a conceited little smirk, which fits the character so well. And in case you’re wondering…

You can indeed swap out heads and put this new one on the older figure, making what I think is very nearly the ultimate Legends MCU Strange. The only downside here is that the new Cloak can’t easily be put onto the older figure, as it doesn’t have a peg hole on the back. That’s a shame, because besides the head sculpt, the Cloak is the only thing I like more on the new figure. The sculpt is sharper, I like the brighter color, the clasps reflect the Infinity War change, and because it pegs into the back, it kind of looks like it’s levitating over his shoulders, which is cool. But with that having been said, I still think the new head on the previous release is the way to go.

Strange’s accessories include a swap out left hand that’s designed to hold the big yellow magic wheel that came with the last Strange figure. These are fine, but we’ve seen them before and I’ve got nothing else to say about them. As it is, this figure adds some nice new display possibilities, but it’s a real mixed bag, with some steps forward and some steps back. I do think that if they were going to make the magic effect parts permanent, they should have rigged them to light up, but now we’re probably adding more cost onto what i already a pretty pricey set. Let’s move on to the final figure in the box, Thanos!

Thanos is probably the most puzzling figure in this box, since it hits at a time when the Thanos Wave is still populating the pegs, and a lot of collectors are cobbling together the Thanos Build-A-Figure. This Thanos, however, was a big draw for me since I still haven’t found the Infinity War Captain America at a good price, and so I’d still be missing the head for my Thanos BAF. That means that I’ll have two bodies and two heads to display on them. Pretty cool. It also means, that I’ll probably just pick up Cap loose on Ebay without the BAF part and save a few bucks. And since I don’t have the Thanos BAF built yet, I can’t really compare the two figures. Still, from what I’ve seen the sculpt looks identical, at least from the neck down, and the only difference should be in paint variances. It’s a great looking figure, even though I wasn’t a huge fan of Thanos’ costume in the film. It’s not bad, it’s just a lot more pedestrian looking than his full-on armor. I get, why they needed to go for something more practical, though, and my lack of enthusiasm for the Infinity War costume wound up saving me money on a Hot Toys figure. Still, I’m happy to have him in Legends scale.

The two heads are pretty good. You get one sort of neutral expression and one with him grimacing (no pun intended) in rage. The former features a rather serene expression and I think he possibly even looks a bit stoned. The second one is my favorite of the pair, and it’s probably the one I’ll be displaying on the figure, at least until I build the other Thanos body.

They did a beautiful job sculpting the Infinity Gauntlet and the quality of gold paint is excellent, as it is on the rest of the figure. The obvious missed opportunity here would have been to include a swap-out fist for the Gauntlet, but I think that would have probably cost more than the extra head-sculpt.

There’s definitely an argument to be had for this being the least essential of all Marvel Studios First Ten Years releases. If you’ve been collecting all the  waves of Marvel Legends, you’re already set with all of these characters. And with an original retail of $70, it can be a hard pill to swallow for just wanting to be a completist. That’s especially the case when you factor in how prolific Legends has been and how collecting the non-stop releases can take a toll on your wallet. That’s not to say there isn’t some cool stuff in here. I’m surprised at how much I dig the light up feature on the Mark L Armor, and the new Cumberbatch likeness on Doctor Strange was also a welcome addition. It also helps that I picked up this set off a Cyber Monday deal, which dropped it down to about $38, making it only about $13 a figure. Not bad, but it would have been an easy pass for me at full price.

Marvel Studios “First Ten Years:” Iron Man Mk XXIII, Pepper Potts, and The Mandarin by Hasbro

Yup, the random Marvel Legends reviews are getting put on hold once again so that I can push one of these First Ten Years releases to the head of the line. This Amazon Exclusive boxed set of three figures from Iron Man 3 hit my porch this past weekend, and I was just too excited not to open it up right away. Let’s take a look!

Iron Man 3 feels like it was one of the most polarizing of all the MCU films. I still encounter people who have raging hatred toward it, and I really can’t see why. I can still remember when it hit home release on Blu-Ray and I must have watched it three times over the course of a couple of days, and my love for it didn’t even tarnish one bit. Hell, I’m long overdue for a re-watch now! Anyway, this is the first three-figure set I’ve picked up in this First Ten Years line, but the packaging is still the same. It looks good, it’s collector friendly, but I’m still not going to be keeping the box. With three figures to cover, let’s just dig right in and start with Pepper.

Never did I think I’d be so happy to own a Gwenyth Paltrow figure, but Pepper has been in a hell of a lot of MCU films and it’s long past time she got the Legends treatment. And It seems only logical to go with the movie where she actually got involved in the action. I mean, black sports bra or business suit? That’s not even up for debate. Unfortunately, this figure turned out decidedly average. In terms of sculpting and paint, this isn’t exactly a complex figure, nor did it need to be. The new sculpting for the top of the torso, as well as the bare feet, are new and appreciated, but the paint could have been a lot better, and that’s pretty sad considering it’s just a black top and black pants and virtually no intricate detailed paint hits to be had. The paint lines around her waist are downright sloppy and the bra straps could have been cleaner too. Hasbro has been doing some pretty nice paintwork in this line on even the little things like pouch buttons and belt buckles, so to see this kind of carelessness on a figure that required so little really hurts.

I do think the head sculpt is pretty solid for a 6-inch scale figure. It’s not a dead on likeness, but I can see some resemblance in there. I’d believe that Paltrow has one of those faces that could be tough to get right (I’d argue that even Hot Toys didn’t quite nail her perfectly), so I’m willing to be a little forgiving here. She also doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who would approve an action figure likeness, so I’m pretty surprised we got this release at all. Either way, the printing on the face is pretty clean and the hair sculpt looks good. Maybe since now Hasbro has done the head sculpt we can look forward to getting another version of Pepper.

Articulation is everything I expect to find in an MCU Legends lady. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, and double hinges in the knees. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, no waist swivel, and the neck is ball jointed and hinged. I will say that the ankle joints look really chunky and I think they blew up her feet a bit to make them work a bit better with those larger joints.

 

Pepper’s right arm can detach at the shoulder and be swapped out for the one wearing the Iron Man armor sleeve and gauntlet. There’s also a repulsor blast effect part that plugs into the palm. This extra arm is a great addition and I’ll likely display the figure with this look most of the time. On the downside, there’s no articulation in the wrist, which means getting the repulsor effect to fire in a convincing manner isn’t easy. She can’t hold her the arm straight out without the effect shooting at a downward angle. Moving on to The Mandarin…

Now here’s a figure I never thought we would ever get. I’m sure there are still people salty over how Iron Man 3 treated one of Iron Man’s iconic arch enemies. Me? I thought it was great fun and a pretty cool twist, but then I was never a big fan of The Mandarin in the comics or the cartoons. Either way, here he is Trevor Slattery all decked out in his theatrical garb and looking pretty damn great. He’s sporting a pair of camoflague pants, military style boots, and a tunic and waist wrap that has a little bit of a Middle Eastern flavor to it. The real draw here, however, is the coat, which features some really nice attention to detail in the sculpt and some beautiful gold leaf paint on the fixtures and sleeves. Even the coat itself has an embossed floral motif running through it. Oh yeah, they even sculpted all ten of his rings on his fingers.

This head sculpt is absolutely spot on as well. From his long beard to his man bun, I think they did a nice job recreating Sir Ben Kingsley in the makeup.

The articulation here is good, but a lot of it is really hindered by the soft plastic coat. It’s also lacking some of the points we’re used to seeing on the male characters in this line. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, swivels in the thighs, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. There’s … The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. So, what’s here is good on paper, but apart from some gesticulations with his arms, I didn’t find him to be all that much fun to pose. And that brings us to the final figure in the set…

And also the quick and easy repaint: The Mark XXIII Hot Rod armor. I’m pretty sure this is a repaint of one of the War Machine figures (Hulkbuster Wave?), if not I’ll happily stand corrected. It’s also a figure that I have a bit of a disconnect with. I want to applaud the paintwork here because it really is excellent. The gun metal finish on the torso, upper arms, and head all looks great and the flame motif on the legs and metallic red paint on the lower arms also looks superb. So what’s the problem? I just don’t really like this deco all that much. It wasn’t a stand out armor for me in the film, and in as a figure I think it just looks unfinished and strange.

Because he’s a repaint of an earlier figure, he doesn’t come with any extra goodies. No extra hands, no repulsor effect parts, and that’s all pretty disappointing considering the price of this set, which I’ll get into presently. I don’t dislike this figure, but it feels like one of those lone Walmart Exclusives that I would pass up because it doesn’t feel essential to my collection and it doesn’t have a BAF part. Yup, just like all those Back in Black Deadpools that are clogging up the pegs at my local Target.

Wow, what a mixed bag this set turned out to be! I was excited for both Pepper and The Mandarin, but Pepper turned out to be a pretty mediocre figure and while The Mandarin is pretty solid, it doesn’t justify the $70 I paid for this set. Especially since I could have easily passed on the Hot Rod armor. Hell, $70 for a three-pack of normal sized figures without much in the way of accessories is pretty high even if they all turned out to be excellent must-have releases. Even more surprising to me is that the set appears to have sold out on Amazon, as currently only available from Marketplace scalpers at twice the price. If this were just Pepper and Mandarin at $40 I would have been a lot more satisfied with this purchase, as it is

Marvel Legends (Okoye Wave): Invincible Iron Man by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, it’s the last packaged figure from the Marvel Legends Okoye Wave and it is… Iron Man!?! Oh, Hasbro! Well, I guess you’ve been so good about cutting back on your Iron Man releases, I’ll give this one a pass. And in fairness, Hasbro made it so you don’t have to buy this one in order to complete the Okoye BAF, but even so, I couldn’t resist picking this one up when I saw it on the peg. There’s just so much cool extra stuff in the package!

I believe this is Tony’s armor from a recent run of the “All New, All Different” Avengers, or something like that. As most of you know I’ve been on a sabbatical from Marvel’s current books until they get their collective comic book house in order. But hey, I don’t need context to appreciate another variant of the Iron Man armor, especially when it’s a comic-based one. So, let’s get him open and see what he’s all about!

In the comics, it seems like the more advanced Tony’s armor gets, the simpler it looks. That’s definitely the case here and I really dig that. From memory, this suit reminded me a whole lot of the Extremis Armor figure we got way back in the Terrax Wave. When I put them side by side, it’s maybe not quite that striking, but there are similarities. The limbs here are a little bulkier, the torso less stylized, and he doesn’t have the shoulder armor. I like the economy of panel lining, as most of it resides in his abs, and the crystal-style Arc Reactor is pretty cool. He also has a cool looking spine sculpted into his back.

The coloring here is predominantly red plastic. There’s a little of that swirly effect in it, but not too much. Indeed all the red here has a nice, bright new car luster that makes for a snappy looking figure. Gold paint is used sparingly on the toes, inside of the thighs, the biceps, and the fingers. You even get a bit of matte gray under-suit showing around the neck and under the arms. Also, you may note that the pegs in the elbows aren’t painted to match the gold areas. This bugs the hell out of some people, and I get that, but it doesn’t really bother me at all. There are no repulsors sculpted into the bottom of the feet, but for all I know that’s part of the armor design and not an oversight.

I’m a little iffy on the design of the helmet. The eyes have evolved into almost non-existent slits and the face plate has a sharp angle running down the center. It’s certainly different, and I’m thinking it might grow on me the more I mess around with him. I do like the blue used for the eye slits, as they almost give off a glowing effect under the right lighting.

You also get a really cool comic-based Tony Stark head, which really sold me on this whole package. It’s a beautiful sculpt that borders a bit between comic and animated. It’s got some pretty sharp paint and the sculpting for his hair is especially well done. Gotta dig that pompadour! All in all, I think this noggin looks fantastic on the figure.

The articulation holds no surprises. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and hinged pegs for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, double hinged at the knees, and have swivels in the thighs. The ankles have hinges and rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. The joints all feel great and I can sort of get him into an acceptable ground pound pose… well, with an emphasis on the “sort of.”

Iron Man comes with two sets of hands, and these include fists and the open hands for firing off his repulsor beams. He also includes a set of blue blast effect parts, which can peg into the open hands. The effect parts work OK, but they do droop a little because they’re made of soft plastic and that ruins the effect a bit.

Lastly, you get this big cannon that clips onto either of Tony’s arms. At first, I thought this thing looked like one of the goofy oversized missile launchers that Hasbro loves to pack in with their 4-inch figures, but I’m guessing it’s supposed to be something that deploys and retracts from the suit. I actually like this thing a lot and you can plug the effect part into the end of it as well. It’s pretty fun.

I wasn’t really looking forward to it, but this figure turned out to be quite a nice surprise. I don’t think the armor design is going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m happy to be getting some more comic-based armors, and while I wouldn’t want this to be an everyday look for Tony, I can get behind it for special outings. Granted, I’m a pretty easy sell when it comes to Marvel Legends. I’m probably as close to a completionist as you can get without actually being one, so it’s not like this one was a hard sell, but I’m definitely glad I picked it up. Come on back tonight and I’ll have a look at the Okoye Build-A-Figure!

Marvel Legends (Giant Man Wave): Captain America and Iron Man (Mark 46) by Hasbro

Last week saw the Blu-Ray release of Captain America: Civil War, a film that I thoroughly enjoyed in the theater and have now enjoyed even more in the comfort of my own home. Over and over again! Coincidentally, I’m also doubling back to start my look at the Civil War inspired wave of Marvel Legends. Considering I’m so backlogged on these figures, I’m going to be doubling up on a few of these so that I can get through the wave a little quicker than usual. It seemed only natural to kick it off with Cap and Iron Man.

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And here they are in the packaging. Not much new and noteworthy to talk about, other than the movie branding and some nice blue panels on the sides with character art. If I’m being honest, I bought this pair solely for the BAF parts and I doubt I’m alone in that. Let’s look at Cap first to find out part of the reason why…

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Yes, this is Age of Ultron Cap from last year’s Thanos Wave with a fresh coat of paint, and the new deco doesn’t really thrill me. The blue is a lot darker and the white bands from the biceps have been replaced with more dark blue and a less notable red stripe. Most of the other minor differences are just areas where red accents have been either added or taken away.

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Speaking of other things that have been taken away, last year’s release included two extra hands and an unmasked head. Here? Nope, nada, bupkis! The only accessory Cap comes with is his shield.

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It’s the same shield we saw last time, which means it’s got the more realistic straps and detailed sculpt inside. Unfortunately, there’s no way to attach it to his back, unless you use a big wad of blue tack. The bottom line is that unless you’re after a darker, grittier look for Cap, or you want yet another of Cap’s shields rattling around in your accessory tote, the Giant Man head is the only reason to even consider this purchase. Not a bad figure, by any means, but it would have been an easy pass for me. Congratulations Build-A-Figure gimmick. You won this round!

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Iron Man’s Mark 46 armor fares a bit better, as I believe this is a brand new sculpt, but I have so many god damn Iron Man figures in my Legends collection, my eyes start to glaze over when I try to remember them all. It’s at least notably different from the Age of Ultron Mark 43, which was mostly a repaint of the Iron Man 3 Mark 42. Oh, god. I need to lie down. F.R.I.D.A.Y. get me an ice pack.

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I actually dig the look of this design a lot. The overall figure is a lot cleaner than the last two with a little less panel line clutter and the gold is toned down even more than the Mk 43. The more buff look of the chest is pretty cool and the partially shrouded Arc Reactor at least shakes things up a bit. The paint here is also pretty sharp and clean and the red plastic is shiny and vibrant. Alas, the Mk 46 takes a hit when it comes to articulation. All the points are there, but the shoulders inhibit the range of motion in the arms and the hips don’t have a lot of motion either. He’s a solid figure, but there are only so many poses you can get out of him and that’s frustrating.

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Cap may have been cheated out of accessories, but Tony wasn’t. The Mk 46 not only comes with an extra pair of hands (one pair of fists and one pair of repulsor blasting hands), but also a couple of effect parts designed to peg into his palm repulsors. Yeah, they’re blue and that’s odd, but they’re still pretty cool and that’s coming from someone who isn’t generally impressed by effect parts. But even here, there are issues with the articulation. The wrists are limited by the arm sculpt, so getting his hand straight up into the firing position while the arm is held straight out is impossible. You’ve got to bend those elbows!

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You can also put them in the peg holes in his feet. It doesn’t quite position the blasts where they’re supposed to go, but it still works just fine.

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One last thing worth mentioning is the scale here and how it feels off between them. Obviously kids are going to want these figures so they can make them fight each other. And by kids, I my 43-year old ass. But put them toe to toe with each other and Cap doesn’t just come up short, he looks downright puny. I get it, Tony is a guy wearing a suit of armor, so he should be bigger than you average guy. But this is Steve Rogers and he’s not your average guy. Then again, scale always has been an issue with this line and this Cap is definitely rather demure.

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It seems like a while since I came away from a Marvel Legends review and not been on a toy-loving high, but today’s installment of Marvel Monday turned out a little disappointing. Neither of these releases are bad figures, but neither excite me all that much either. Tony Stark obviously comes away as the fresh and new release, but even there I’m starting to feel the effects of iron fatigue. But hey… two BAF parts down!

Iron Man: Movie Masterpiece Diecast Mark III Armor (MMS 256 D07) 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

I’ve got more Hot Toys business to take care of before returning Marvel Mondays to its regularly scheduled parade of Marvel Legends figures. Actually, it might be a couple more weeks before I get back to Legends, which is fine because I’m at least a couple of waves behind and it’ll give me a chance to get caught up. Today, I’m looking at a figure that’s been on my shelf for a little while now, but I’ve only recently got the time to give its proper due. It’s Iron Man, a character that Hot Toys must thank god for every day because they’ve probably made enough money off of Tony Stark to buy themselves a small chain of islands.

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This is only my second figure in Hot Toys’ Diecast Series, the first being Robocop. The packaging here is very similar. You get a snazzy laminate top with line drawings of the armor. I really dig the art design on this package. In fact, I’d dare say it’s my favorite box out of any of my Hot Toys figures. The top three-quarters or so of the box lifts off to reveal the styrofoam cube that holds the goods quite securely. The sheer weight of the box is certainly impressive and this definitely feels like a package befitting of a $300 collectible. The original version of this figure came out in 2008 and was all plastic, so we can only assume that Hot Toys is going to be double dipping on as many of these armors as possible by upgrading them to diecast. After all, they couldn’t milk that House Party Protocol shit forever.

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Here it is, the armor that started it all. Well, sort of. The Mark I was the DIY monstrocity that Tony built in the cave, and the Mark II was the bare metal predecessor to this suit. But here’s the first armor worn by Tony Stark that bore the iconic red and gold in the MCU. While I was really partial to the Mark VII for a while, I always come back to this one as my favorite. I think it’s the lovely contours and less angular nature of the design that really does it for me. It’s not overly busy, it’s well proportioned, has clean lines, and the deco has just the right mix of red and gold in it for my liking. The base figure is stunning and it’s the paint that grabs my attention first. This is as close to a new car finish as one can imagine and the quality control here is stellar. There isn’t a blemish to be found on my figure’s paint to speak of and that in itself is rather impressive. In hand, the figure has a satisfying heft to it, even if most of what you’re touching when you handle the figure is plastic. About the only thing here to dispel the illusion that this is a shrunk down Mark III armor are the three screws visible on the back needed to access the battery compartments.

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There are plenty of little bells and whistles on the suit to enhance its display options. The chest piece and lower abdomen plate are removable to show off the beautiful detail under the armor. These are both held on by tabs and are pretty easy to remove and yet stay firmly in place when handling the figure. The flaps on the upper back are all articulated and can lift up. And the back of the lower legs are also hinged and can be opened to reveal all the mechanical intricacies of the suit’s inner workings. I can’t imagine actually displaying the figure with any of these opened, but it makes for a wonderful experience when handling the figure or showing it off to friends. Of course, these parts also demand extra care when playing around with the suit.

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The helmet looks outstanding and I really dig the exposed linkages around the “collar.” The faceplate is held on by magnets and can be removed to access the switch for the helmet lights. Of course, if you’d rather go with the Tony Stark open helmet look, this figure has you covered with an alternate head.

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It’s a simple ball joint pop-and-swap and very easy to do. The portrait here is excellent, but then again, Hot Toys has been doing enough Tony Starks at this point that their sculptors should be able to do his likeness in their sleep. This head also comes with a magnetic faceplate, which can be attached to the top so that it appears “flipped up.” While the visor is intended to sit on top of the helmet,  it can also be placed over the face for a closed helmet look, but it’s not a perfect fit and leaves a slight gap down near where the mouth is. Even with the tiny gap, though, I think it’s an acceptable option, particularly if you want to go from a closed to open look without bothering with the head swap. Of course, with the alternate head you won’t get the option for the eye lights.

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Speaking of lights, the Mark III has four separate light points on the figure: The Repulsor Beams in the palms, the Arc Reactor in the chest, and the eyes in the head. Each of these have their own independent battery compartment and on/off switch. The switches for the helmet and chest are concealed behind plates, while the ones for the hands are fairly well hidden under the forearms. The lights are pretty bright and visible even in a well lit studio. I also appreciate the fact that they were able to make the Repulsor Beams light up and still keep the swappable hands. There are a total of three pairs of hands. You get one set of fists (non-lit), one set with individually articulated fingers, and one set of open palm angled up to simulate him firing his Repulsors.

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The articulation on the figure is quite good, but it requires a lot of care. There are plates on the shoulders and hips that are attached to hinged flaps to keep them from hindering the limb movement, but it’s pretty important to work these out of the way manually as you pose the limbs. The care is not only to prevent paint scrapes, but to protect the potentially fragile hinges on the plates themselves. The result is that as satisfying as the articulation can be, moving each point can sometimes feel like an event in itself. The engineering, however, is designed to help as much as possible. The arms will pull away from the shoulders to allow for some clearance and the legs will actually pop completely off of the hip ball joints to avoid breakage. Of course even with all these points of articulation, it would still be physically impossible to get the suit into the iconic ground-pound pose. But fear not, because Hot Toys went above and beyond to accommodate by providing an extra lower torso that’s bent in a way to allow for the ground-pound. I love that they did this, but it’s quite a lot to go through and my personal results were a little lacking.

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Hmmmm. It’s close… but not quite. Now I’ll concede I have seen plenty of pictures of this figure in a perfect ground-pound. It’s definitely capable of it, but I just wasn’t willing to risk my figure to try to get a pose for a couple of shots. Indeed, I doubt I’d ever go through the trouble to try again. The process involves removing both plates from the front torso, then pushing a release button to wiggle off the top of the torso, so you’re basically pulling the figure into two halves. The first time I did it, it was a nerve-racking experience, because I just didn’t know how much force I was supposed to be exerting to get the figure apart. Next another release button detaches the lower torso. Now you pop in the new lower torso, put the two halves of the figure together, replace the front torso plates, and do some very scary extreme posing of the left hip to bring the knee up as high as it will go. Now, everything goes back on really easy, and a subsequent attempt at the process was less stressful because I knew what was going to happen, but there’s still the fear of damaging something when grasping the figure tightly enough to do all this. There are just so many moving parts on the figure and so much potential for breakage. In the end, I appreciate the effort, but I’m content to leave it at that.

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The rest of the figure’s accessories include optional display pieces featuring his various deployed weapon systems. You get the shoulder missile packs, the countermeasure systems on the hips, and arm rockets. The shoulder packs look great and are hinged for elevated targeting. The hip pieces are a nice touch, but it’s a rather subtle change. The shoulder packs are super easy to swap out, whereas the hip pieces can be a little stubborn to remove.

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The arm rockets are my favorite of the three weapon systems. I love the way they make the plates look like they actually shifted and the paintwork on the little rockets is beautiful.

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The figure comes with a very impressive stand. It’s designed to look like one of the alcoves in the Hall of Armor, complete with sculpted areas where the feet go. You get a very strong post with a waist grip that is spring-loaded and features foam to gently grasp the figure. The base even lights up. As magnificent as the stand is, I’m rather torn on it. It works great for a totally stiff, museum style pose, but it’s very singular in its intended purpose. If you want to go for something more exciting, the placement of the feet on the stand comes off looking awkward.

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The Diecast Series figures run right around the $300 point. This figure was actually $309. When you consider that the average Hot Toy figure is hitting the $220-250 mark these days, I don’t think the increase in price is all that bad for what you’re getting. Granted, I only have this one and Robocop, but keep in mind the $300 range is about as high end as I get, and both figures have left me more than satisfied. Indeed, both figures are absolute works of art and I’d consider them the finest pieces in my collection. And if there was ever a perfect example of why my Hot Toys Marvel collection is a rather eclectic collection of appearances, the Mark III here is it. There’s no way I can afford every release of every character and so I try to curate my favorite versions and appearances. That’s why I have a First Avenger Cap over an Avengers Cap and that’s why this is the first Iron Man armor I bought. That doesn’t mean I won’t be looking at the Civil War suit in the upcoming year and depending what my financials look like at the time, I’d be open to getting a Diecast Mark VII if and when Hot Toys ever gets around to it.

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 (Hulkbuster Wave): Marvel Now Iron Man by Hasbro

I was going to start today by saying something about how many damn Iron Man figures we’ve had in the Legends line, but looking back, I don’t think it’s really been all that bad. Or at least, knowing Hasbro, it could have been a lot worse. On the flipside, this Marvel Now Iron Man is another example of Hasbro taking an older Iron Man mold and trying to make it work for a figure that it isn’t. We last saw this with the Space Armor from the Guardians of the Galaxy wave, which was reworked from the Heroic Age armor. Now we get the Marvel Now armor as a straight repaint of one of the earlier releases from the 6-inch Iron Man 2 line.

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We all know what the packaging on these looks like by now. The only thing to take away from this picture is that there is a precious Hulkbuster part in there, and man is it big and heavy.

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So, obviously the big departure for Tony Stark’s Marvel Now look is that he abandoned the familiar red and gold deco for a black and gold one. I can’t say as I have a strong opinion on this either way. Sometimes change is good, but things are called iconic for a reason. When it came to Kotobukiya’s ArtFX+ Avengers statues, I went with the iconic, but not accurate, red and gold deco, mainly to balance out the colors of the display more. As a result, I’m kind of glad to be getting this armor in its proper colors now. Unfortunately, it’s not really the proper armor. As mentioned above, this is just a repaint of Hasbro’s 6-inch Mark IV armor from Iron Man 2. It’s got the same basic contours, but it’s clearly not the same design. The original figure even came with a swap out head and hands, and this one doesn’t. Although in fairness, with the Hulkbuster leg in there, I don’t know that there would be room for any extras in the package.

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Now, with that all having been said, I think this is a pretty solid figure for what it is. The design looks great in these colors and the gold paint applications are clean and even. There aren’t many paint operations on the back of the figure, but that’s actually accurate to the design. In terms of the movie armors, my favorites tend to be the Mark III and Mark VII (in that order), but I’d say this is up there for a close third.

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The articulation is solid on paper, but runs into some limitations issue due to the sculpt. If you own a modern Legends Iron Man figure, than you’ll know what to expect. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and the extra shoulder armor pieces are hinged to help them move out of the way. The elbows are double hinged and have swivels in the biceps. The wrists have rotating hinges, but the plates on the backs of the hands really impede movement there. This is annoying, because it’s hard to get his repulsor blast pose right. The hand just won’t bend far enough back. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinged knees, and there are swivels at the tops of the thighs. The ankles appear to be ball jointed, but the sculpt there renders those points almost useless. I do really like the plastic they used on this guy and the joints are all solid.

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I should be a lot more cross with Hasbro for what they tried to pull here. You shouldn’t be able to repaint an old figure and call it whatever you want. On the other hand, since I don’t have the previous release of this mold, I’m happy to finally have it in my collection, even if it is in the Marvel Now colors. If I find it bothers me, I can always just call him the Mark IV-B Stealth Armor because that’s a thing that I just made up. In the end, I’d like to think Hasbro had to go the repaint route here to pay for the costs of the Hulkbuster, which is larger and more complex than previous BAFs. And if that’s the case, I’m fine with it.

Marvel Legends (Hulkbuster Wave): War Machine by Hasbro

With the craziness of one holiday behind us, we can now start the slow march to the next one. Decent Black Friday sales for action figures seemed few and far between in my neck of the woods, but I did manage to pick up a few Marvel Legends for cheap and today’s figure is one of them. Let’s check out Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the original version of his Marvel Cinematic Universe War Machine armor. He’s also the second rung on the ladder to me building the magnificent Hulkbuster BAF!

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There’s nothing new to say about the packaging. War Machine comes with the Hulkbuster head off to one side and a spare swappable portrait off to the other. It’s probably the lightest and least congested package of this entire wave, but hey… somebody had to come with the head!

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Does this guy look familiar? Yeah, it’s basically a repaint of the Iron Patriot that was part of the Iron Monger BAF assortment, a figure that I looked at back in the Summer of 2013. In fact the only difference in the sculpt here is the left hand, which has gone from the open palm repulsor attack to being a simple closed fist. The sculpt was pretty damn solid to begin with as it features plenty of panel lines and just an overall nice 6-inch scale version of the armor seen in the film.

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The paint is also beautifully executed. The black and silver deco looks sharp and reserved compared to the red white and silver of the Patriot deco. The black uses a subtle bit of glitter, which I really dig and all the paint lines are clean. This figure also features all the same tiny tampos as the original, which include Rhodes’ name stamped vertically on the left of the chest plate, the “FF 445” on the left shoulder and the Air Force emblem on the left forearm. These are all crisp and stand out nicely against the black paint. Considering the face plate paint on my Patriot was rather miffed, I’m much happier with what I got this time around.

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The alternate portrait features the open mask showing Rhodey’s face. Overall the sculpt is pretty good, but the eyes on mine are uneven and do their best to bring the whole thing down. How ironic is it that these factories seem to get people who can’t see properly to paint eyes? At least it’s probably marginally better than the Tony Stark face that I got with my Mark 42 armor. Either way, this extra noggin is about to go into the Tote of Forgotten Accessories with that Stark head.

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The articulation here is solid, but has some issues. The arms feature rotating hinges at the shoulders, and thankfully the shoulder armor is hinged so as not to inhibit movement. There are swivels in the biceps and nice double hinges in the elbows. The wrists have rotating hinges, but the sculpt there really limts some of the movement. The legs have ball joints in the hips, and again the armor sculpt interrupts some of the movement here. The knees are double hinged, there are swivels up at the hips, and while there appear to be hinges in the ankles, the sculpt allows no movement at all. There’s a ball joint in the torso and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. Honestly, the poseability here is probably totally accurate to someone wearing a suit like this in real life, but in the films, the wearers were a lot more limber.

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While not really an accessory, War Machine comes with the same shoulder cannon as Iron Patriot. It is removable and can be pegged in two different positions, but it’s clearly intended to be worn to the left. It’s hinged so that it can be positioned in a prone position and then angled up over the shoulder when ready to fire.

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Despite some limits to the articulation and some rough paint on the spare head, I dig this figure a lot. The armor sculpt definitely carries it and I find myself liking the more utilitarian deco a lot better than the flashier Patriot paint scheme. Most importantly, I’m just happy to be able to represent Rhodes on my Legends shelf because he is definitely one of my favorite supporting characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I love the fact that he was teased as being one of the core Avengers in a future Phase and I really hope to see Cheadle take the center stage at least once in the MCU.

Marvel Infinite Series: Captain America and Iron Man by Hasbro

I try to work something Marvel into each week, but last week it just didn’t happen. As a result, I’m double dipping today and giving you two figures for the price of one feature. Ok, it’s not really about a sense of value and fairplay, it’s more because these are two pegwarmers from the first wave of Marvel Infinite and I’m not sure each is really worthy of his own feature. Today we’ll check out Captain America and Iron Man…

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Wave 1 consisted of some really solid figures like Wasp, Hulk, Executioner, and then you had these guys. I can understand the need to keep main characters on the pegs, and this is an Avengers based series after all, but Cap and Iron Man figure fatigue was in full swing by the time these figures hit the pegs. This pair was quickly turning into the Bumblebee of the Hasbro Marvel line. Everywhere I went these were the only two I ever saw. Yeah, I still hate this packaging, so I’ll pass on ripping it apart figuratively and jump right it into doing so literally. Let’s start with Cap…

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So, straight away I’m a little confused as to the context here. Logically I would have expected this one to be either a Marvel NOW! or Heroic Age Cap, but he’s clearly neither. Instead what we have seems to be fairly general “use him for whatever you want Cap.” The belt, boot cuffs and raised wings all make him feel like a more traditional appearance of the costume, but he lacks the texturing to the upper body that I usually associate with a Secret Wars era Cap. It’s also worth noting that he’s strapped into that tray so tight that my figure came out a little warped.

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Now that’s not to say he’s a bad figure. In fact, the only thing I’m not terribly keen on are the protruding wings on his mask. They look more like tiny horns than wings. It’s like Rogers borrowed one of Daredevil’s masks and customized it. The coloring on the figure is particularly bright and the paintwork is clean. He also has all the great articulation of the more modern 3 3/4” Marvel bucks, which includes the swivels in the biceps as well as both at the thighs and the boots and the added hinge in the ball jointed neck. He even has lateral rockers in the ankles. Yup, Cap has got loads of poseability and he is damn fun to play with.

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The shield is of the clip-on variety although I haven’t seen this particular one before. It’s dated 2011, but it has four sculpted squares inside the back of it. There’s no peg on it to secure to Cap’s back and no peghole there either, which is a disappointment. On the other hand, the paint on the front of the shield is immaculate.

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Moving on to Iron Man, there’s no mistaking this version, as he’s donning the Heroic Age armor. I’m a big fan of this suit and I absolutely loved the Marvel Legends version from a little while back, so getting to add it to my 3 3/4” collection was a big deal for me. The figure feels like it should be a little bulkier, but otherwise it’s a really nice recreation of this suit in the smaller scale. The red and gold deco is gorgeous and he has the white and blue power points on his legs and hips as well as the Arc Reactor on his chest. You even get painted repulsors on the soles of his boots! He’s not quite as good as a scaled down version of the 6-inch figure, but he still looks great.

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The articulation on Iron Man is a bit more limited than what we saw on Cap. There’s no waist swivel and no swivels in the lower legs. You do, however, still get the ankle rockers, which is always impressive to me when offered in this small scale. His left hand is sculpted flat as if firing off a repulsor blast, but because the wrists have only swivels and no hinges, it’s tough to get him into the firing position, at least not with his arm held straight out. His other hand is balled into a fist.

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Iron Man comes with that ridiculous cone of energy effect part that we’ve seen time and time again. I can’t put into words how much I hate this thing and wish it would go away. It’s supposed to clip onto his wrist, but it doesn’t look like anything. I used to save these, now I just throw them away with the packaging.

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If you’re new to collecting the Marvel 3 3/4” figures this pair can fill a couple of important slots and can be found clearanced at many online retailers for about $5 each. It’s a cheap and easy way to get the characters. They’re both certainly good figures, but long time collectors may find the Cap a little generic and redundant, whereas the Iron Man is certainly worth hunting down and picking up if you want a wide variety of Stark Tech armors in this scale. I picked these up as part of the entire wave a while back and I only now got around to opening them, so that should tell you something.