Marvel Legends (Thor Ragnarok): Thor and Valkyrie by Hasbro

I’m supposed to be pressing on with my jaunt through the Gladiator Hulk Wave today, but before moving on to the comic-based figures in that assortment, I thought I’d make a quick detour to check out this Thor: Ragnarok two-pack that I just picked up. I’ve seen this flick two times now, and I’m glad to see it’s faring so well at the box office and among critics. It’s so damn fun!

This set is a Target Exclusive, although it doesn’t actually state that anywhere on the package, and contains a variant of the Gladiator Thor figure I already looked at and Valkyrie. I’ll get a little grumbling out of the way right now about how this should have been an Executioner and Valkyrie two-pack, because I really wanted a Legends scale version of Skurge GundrothSon, and this would have been a perfect opportunity for Hasbro to do that. Instead, they took the opportunity to wring some more money out of an existing mold. Hey, it’s business. I get it. BUT I STILL WANT MY GODDAMN KARL URBAN EXECUTIONER FIGURE! Let’s start with a quick look at Thor.

So, from the neck down, this figure is identical to the Gladiator Hulk Wave version, including the shoulder strap and removable torn cape, but the right leg armor piece is not included. This was an amazing sculpt then and still is now, not to mention backed up by some fantastic paintwork. I’ll refrain from going on about it again and just refer you back to the original review that I linked above if you missed it and still want all the details and articulation.

The head is all new, depicting Thor without the helmet and with the warpaint cleaned off his face. This is a great likeness, and definitely the high point of this figure, since it depicts his look through most of the movie. I love how they even worked details of the haphazard haircut, which he got from Stan Lee, into the sides of his head.

The other thing that sets this figure apart is its accessories. For starters, Thor also comes with two pairs of hands: One for pair for holding a sword, and one pair for casting lighting. Fortunately he comes with both of those things. The lightning is just a web of translucent blue plastic. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that this was recycled from a Star Wars figure. There isn’t an obvious way to get it onto the hand, so I just wound up interlacing it between his fingers through trial and error, and eventually got something that worked.

The sword is massive and features a really nice sculpt. There’s some intricate scrollwork molded in the hilt and the blade features a rather unique design as well as some nice weathered paint. The grip is long enough for him to equip it in both hands, and his articulation allows it, so you can do some nice poses with him wielding this massive blade. In the end, this figure walks a fine line between being an unnecessary repack and a worthwhile pick up. It feels like Hasbro did enough to make it not feel completely superfluous, but then you are still basically buying a figure that you probably already bought if you’re building the Gladiator Hulk BAF. Let’s move on to Valkyrie!

With so many great performances, it really means something to say that Tess Thompson stood shoulder to shoulder with the best of them in this flick. I loved MCU’s Valkyrie’s backstory, she had a nice little character arc, and I’m not ashamed to say I left the theater rather smitten with Ms. Thompson as well. Now, if I had my choice, I probably would have went with her Asgardian costume (YUM!) instead of her scavenger garb, but considering she wore this look through most of the film, I can understand why Hasbro went with it. Her armor consists of a sleeveless coat, the bottom half of which is attached to the buck to give it some depth and allow the waist articulation to be hidden under it. It’s cast in a soft gunmetal blue plastic with some nice painted silver borders. The rest of the body features more of the same, as well as some black for her trousers, gloves, and arm wraps.

Half capes are apparently all the rage on Sakaar, because Valkyrie is sporting one as well Thor. Hers is cast in soft blue plastic and attaches to her left shoulder armor. She also sports twin daggers sculpted onto her hips. It would have been cool if these were removable, but they sure look good. Her left inner thigh also has what I believe is the remote control to the restraining bolts used on the slaves. Whoops, I’m sorry. I meant to say “prisoners with jobs.” Lastly, Valkyrie has a thin belt, which hangs loose on her hips. All in all, I’d say Hasbro did a nice job on her costume. The color palate doesn’t allow it to be overly flashy, but the silver paint hits and the blue cape do help a little.

The portrait is pretty solid, although I will say this is one of those cases where it looks a lot better in hand than in close up photos. The white paint around her eyes looks like it’s actually made up of chain links, but since it isn’t terribly crisp, it looks like just straight lines. The printing on the eyes themselves could have been a little clearer too. There’s also an unfortunate mold line running right down the middle of her neck. The sculpt, however, is excellent, I love the pony tail, and I think that this is a pretty good likeness, but not one of the Hasbro’s absolute best.

Valkyrie sports pretty female Legends articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, but no bicep swivels. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have hinges and some very generous lateral rockers. There’s a waist swivel hidden under the armor, and a ball joint just under her chest. The neck has both a ball joint and a hinge. The skirt is designed so that it doesn’t inhibit her hip articulation too badly. I still felt that the figure poses a little stiff, and I think double hinges in the elbows would have helped a lot.

Valkyrie comes up a little light on accessories, although she does come with Dragonfang, the fabled Sword of the Valkyries, and a scabbard. The sword certainly looks the part. It’s a sharp little sculpt with a white hilt, silver pommel, and blue blade, but it’s so damn small and soft that it’s hard to keep it straight and looking all that convincing. It also tends to swim around in her grip because the hilt is so thin. The result is what is supposed to be a majestic and feared sword comes across as a rather frail and impotent looking weapon.

I’m glad I picked up this set, even if I still insist Hasbro should have just packed the extra Thor head in with the single release and gave us Skurge instead. It’s not so much that I mind double dipping a bit to get a figure that Hasbro wouldn’t have put out separately, but rather I don’t see them having any other opportunities to put out characters like Executioner or Heimdall. It’s not like we’re going to get another wave of Ragnarok figures, even if they could have easily padded it out with Banner in Stark’s clothes, The Grandmaster, and Odin in his grandpa clothes, all wrapped up with a Korg BAF. And yes, I would have bought the shit out of that wave! Still, with the way Target works, I’m sure this set will be up on clearance before you know it, so the waiting game might be the way to go on this one. Next Monday, I promise to get back to the Gladiator Hulk Wave and start in on the comic-based figures with a look at Ares!

Advertisements

Marvel Legends: Hydra Soldier and Hydra Enforcer by Hasbro

Welcome to Marvel Week: Day 3, also known as Hydra Humpday! I’m super excited because I just got this Hydra two-pack and can’t wait to dig into it. I’ve got to tell ya’s, I was so damn excited when Hasbro revealed this set, because the Hydra Soldier, previously released as part of the Mandroid Wave, never turned up in my area and went for crazy money online. I never ponied up a premium for him, and part of me always regretted not having him in my collection. Same goes for that AIM bastard! Getting another crack at this Hydra hooligan with a ‘roided out buddy and a bunch of extras was almost too good to be true. But here it is! I have a lot of stuff to cover today, so let’s dive right in… HAIL HYDRA!!!

When it comes to packaging, if you’ve seen one Marvel Legends two-pack you’ve seen them all. This one is characterized by a cool Hydra insignia on the front and a shiny Toys R Us Exclusive sticker. Thanks to a Twitter tip, I ordered this set the moment it dropped onto TRU’s website. They then proceeded to sit on the order for three days and then cancelled it because it was “Out of Stock.” Thanks, guys! Have fun with that bankruptcy… you’ve earned it! I hope it buries you! I subsequently put the set on my Amazon Wish List where it sat for a week or so at $65+ before finally dropping to around $50 and I just sucked it up. There’s surprisingly little in this box that we haven’t seen before, and yet so much to look at! While there is certainly room to share between the figures, for organizational purposes, I’m going to treat them as two separate entities. Let’s start with the Hydra Soldier first!

So, this is pretty much the same figure that we saw released in the Mandroid Wave. Like I said earlier, I don’t own that one, but when I compare it to the tear-stained picture that I carried in my wallet for the past couple years, I can’t see any differences. He features a dark green buck with bright yellow boots and gauntlets. Additional sculpted parts include a belt and a shoulder rig, both of which are cast in bright yellow to match his outfit, and both can be removed fairly easily. The belt and rig each include some sculpted pouches, you get a little silver paint on the belt buckle, and the rig has a shield over the left side of his chest painted black with a silver H. I think I would have preferred a red Hydra emblem there, but the H is fine.

Especially since you get a pair of yellow Hydra emblems printed on his shoulders. And just look at that head sculpt! It looks like Protector’s much angrier brother. This really is the perfect noggin for a comic book henchman. The hood gives him a little bit of stooge anonymity. The red eye globes are a nice touch. He just looks so angry and deranged, and perfectly willing to bring on the pain by charging in to attack Captain America. It’s everything I’m looking for in my Hydra soldiers! But… variety is nice too! And as such, he comes with a couple of other recycled noggins to choose from.

Look familiar? Remember Taskmaster from the Red Onslaught Wave? Well this is indeed his Udon head, and who would have guessed that this would work so well for a Hydra Soldier. Not me, but I sure do dig it. The hood is cast in green plastic to match the uniform and the mask is painted yellow and given some narrow red eyes. Still want more options?

Here’s the masked SHIELD Agent head that came with Nick Fury from the Giant Man Wave. Who says SHIELD and Hydra can’t order their goon helmets from the same catalog? This one gets a fresh coat of black and green paint and a red visor. I think this is my least favorite of the three options, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. And if swapping heads doesn’t scratch that customizing itch, how about an entirely new outfit for your Malibu Hydra Ken?

Well, more like a slightly different outfit? OK, dammit, it’s a vest. But it’s a snazzy yellow vest and it can replace the shoulder rig. Holy shit, they dug all the way back to 2013 for this one, as it’s a recolor of Ultimate Cap’s vest from the Hit Monkey Wave! So, I like the way this looks on the figure, I just wish it was branded for Hydra. It does have a little bit of silver paint on the waist buckle, but that’s it. Not bad at all, but unless I get extras of this set, I think I’ll stick with the shoulder rig and the stock head. I will, however, experiment with different looks while showing off his weapons and articulation.

The first weapon is a tactical shotgun. I’m sure we’ve seen this a few times, but the first time I remember seeing it was back in 2012 with The Punisher. Alas, it was painted a lot nicer back then. This one is just cast in gray swirly plastic. Awww, you could have at least painted the shells on the side, Hasbro! Still, it’s a really nice sculpt with plenty of detail and it suits the figure very well. The right hand has a trigger finger, which is perfect for holding it.

The other weapon is this lovely piece of hardware that I first remember seeing with Chameleon from the Rhino Wave. Once again, it’s cast entirely in swirly gray plastic, but it’s a really cool design, with a ton of detail packed into the sculpt. It also has a detachable drum magazine. Hasbro even painted the Hydra emblem on the front of the drum. Aww, you redeemed yourself, Hasbro. I love it!

OK, so our last stop on this guy is articulation, and his holds no real surprises. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in both the thighs and tops of the boots, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. For the most part, the joints feel solid, but the right elbow on mine could be a little tighter. I would have been perfectly happy to pick this guy up as a single-packed re-issue, but the extras make him a real treat. Not to mention, his buddy…

Behold… The Hydra Enforcer! I really love the idea Hasbro was going with here. Not only do the different body types add some variety to the Hydra Forces, but his beefier build makes him feel like a heavy weapons specialist to me. On the downside, from the neck down this guy is a 100% recolor of Nuke from the Giant Man Wave. Sure, it would have been great to get an all new sculpt, but that’s not usually what these multi-packs are about. And besides, I think Nuke was a good choice. He was a fantastic figure and I think one that lends itself pretty well to the concept. His buck is painted green and yellow to match his partner, and he also has the same Hydra emblems printed on his shoulders. The vest, belt, and hip pouches have also all been recolored yellow, and he gets a bit of black paint for the sculpted grenades and some red paint for the shotgun shells. The buckles on his two waist belts are painted silver, but not the ones on his other belt or thigh straps.

The stock head is a repaint of Captain Britain’s noggin from the Abomination Wave. Yeah, that was a weird choice! The helmet has been repainted green to match the buck and he’s been given yellow stripes on the top. I’m still not sure whether this works for me or not. It has such a strong RoboCop vibe, that it’s hard to unsee that, even on the Captain Britain figure. I also think the serene expression on what is a hero portrait feels off here. I guess I don’t need all my Hydra troops to be slobbering maniacs, but it’s still my preference.

The other two heads include one recycled from Nuke and one that I can’t place, but given the propensity for re-purposing here, I’m sure we’ve seen it before. If you know, shout it out in the comments! Using the repainted Nuke head on the repainted Nuke body may be going too far. Then again, it is a killer sculpt and the bloody gash running down the side of the face is genuinely disturbing. I’m not a fan of the other head. He has a butt chin, a lot of mold flashing on the jaw line, and what the hell is up with those lips? Anyway, there aren’t any extra wardrobe options with this guy, so let’s just take a look at his weapons.

First off, he comes with the same combat knife we saw included with Nuke, and yes it can still be stored in the sheath that’s sculpted onto the back of the vest. I loved this knife back then, and I still do. It’s big and beefy and a really cool sculpt. He can also hold it just fine in either hand.

Next, he comes with the bazooka that we first saw included with Drax The Destroyer from the the Titus Wave. This is a really cool sculpt and now it’s cast in gray plastic to match the other weapons in this set. It is a little difficult to get him to rest it on his shoulder properly because of the vest, but I was able to make it work, more or less. This particular weapon really reinforces his role as a heavy weapons expert in my Hydra army.

As if it wasn’t ballsy enough repainting Nuke’s body and his head, Hasbro also tossed in Nuke’s weird-looking sci-fi gun, which is again cast in that same gray plastic. I actually don’t mind this rifle too much. It seems natural that Hydra would be arming themselves with alien tech. Maybe this is a Chitauri weapon or something they nicked from AIM. Either way, it adds a little flavor to the mix and he looks pretty good holding it. It doesn’t look nearly as flashy as it did with the previous paint job, but the plain gray finish makes it a little less obvious that it’s another thing recycled from Nuke.

As expected, The Enforcer’s articulation is identical to Nuke’s. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs and tops of the boots, and the knees are double hinged. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. The torso swivels at the waist and has an ab crunch. And finally, you get both a ball joint and hinge in the neck.

I’ve seen some critical reactions to this set among collectors, including objections to some of the heads, and the vest, but personally I couldn’t be happier. This set not only put a highly sought out figure into my hands, but it gave me lots of cool extras. It may be 100% recycled parts, but this is the kind of creative recycling that I can get behind. Hey, I get that not everyone likes the same thing, so if you bought this set and hate it, feel free to send it to me. No Hydra soldiers will be turned away and I’ll definitely be picking up at least one more of these sets. Now, Hasbro, if you would just throw together an AIM 2-pack that would be most welcome too. You don’t even have to go nuts. Just throw two AIM soldiers in there, repack a few extra weapons, and you can have more of my monies.

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Hela by Hasbro

Welcome, my friends, to not just Marvel Monday, but Marvel WEEK! That’s right, I just swept all the other shit off my desk and I’m going full Marvel this week, Monday through Friday. Some Legends, a statue, maybe a Hot Toys figure. Anything goes this week, so long as it’s got the MARVEL brand stamped on it. Their comics may be shite right now, but thank The Watcher that the torch is being carried by the toys, collectibles and movies. And so as not to interrupt the normal flow of Marvel Monday, I’m picking up where I left off last week…

Have you seen Thor: Ragnarok yet? If not, you really should. It’s fantastic! I actually planned on seeing it again last week (with a friend from work!), but it didn’t pan out, but I am headed out to see it again tonight if everything pans out. And as long as the movie is still fairly fresh in theaters, I thought I’d wrap up the MCU side of the Gladiator Hulk Wave with a look at the film’s lead villainess, Hela!

I was a little worried when this figure arrived, because her crazy antlers were all over the place in the package. Turns out that they need to be tabbed into place, so nothing was broken. I’m actually not a huge Cate Blanchett fan, but I think she did a great job in this film. I guess it helped that you’re not really supposed to like her. I’ll still refrain from spoilers, but I will say that Ragnarok felt like a blend of two movies, a wacky comedy and a darker action-drama. Hela was certainly part of the film’s darker half.

Hela comes packaged with her battle helmet, but I’m starting with her sans helmet. The costume sculpt on this figure is rather fantastic. There’s an intricate metallic emerald framework running throughout her suit, with some nice texturing in the black spaces between. The pattern is very Asgardian and reminds me of the type of scrollwork patterns left behind on the ground by the Bifrost beam. The black and emerald coloring is pretty tight, and you also get some painted flesh-tones on her exposed shoulders and her fingers. And even her tiny fingernails are painted!

Oh yeah, she’s also got a hela fine tush. And then there’s the cape! Finally, we have a cape in this assortment that isn’t a pain in the ass. Well, Thor’s wasn’t that bad, but Loki’s really was that bad. There’s nothing too fancy here, as the cape simply pegs into the back, and imagine that… It works perfectly… well, almost. There are two soft plastic arms that are supposed to wrap around her shoulders, but they don’t always stay put, but it’s a minor quibble to me when the rest of the cape actually works like it’s supposed to!

The un-helmeted head sculpt is superb. Not only is it a solid likeness to Blanchett for this scale and price range, but there’s some wonderful paint showing subtle traces of dark veins in her forehead. The eyes use the halftone printing we’ve been seeing and it looks good, as do the lips. The hair is sculpted to look like it’s billowing out in the wind, which not only looks good, but doesn’t hinder the neck articulation either.

The other head is sculpted with her crazy-ass space antlers and it is glorious. I’d like to think that these are patterned after a Bilgesnipe, which Thor mentioned in The Avengers as having “scary, big antlers.” As I mentioned above, you do need to tab two of the horn clusters into the head. One went in fine, the other was a pain, but once these were in, they stay in pretty well. This is one of those times when I really can’t decide which head to display her with, because they’re both so damned good.

The articulation here is pretty standard for Hasbro’s 6-inch females, which means there are no bicep swivels, but everything else is more or less in tact. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, with swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint under the chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. The hips on my figure are a little loose, so I may have to apply some fix there.

Hela comes with on extra accessory, and that’s her sword. The sculpt is pretty intricate, but it really needed a paint wash to bring some of it out. It’s also very soft and bendy, and not at all impressive. Her right hand is sculpted to hold it, which brings me to mention one little missed opportunity here. Hasbro should have given her an extra left hand, either sculpted to hold Mjolnir, or perhaps sculpted with Mjolnir in it. That would have been rad. As it is, I have to use a little poster putty if I want to recreate that scene.

And so, Hela clocks in easily as the most impressive figure in this wave so far. With the exception of the flimsy sword, Hasbro really poured everything they’ve got into this one. The sculpt and paint are superb, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find another company’s 6-inch figure on the market at this price range executed as well as this one. Just compare this lady to some of those DC Multiverse figures from Mattel and you’re not even in the same ballpark. Next week, I’m going to start in on the comic-based figures of this wave, but before that. Tomorrow, I’ll be looking at something a little different, but I’ll be back to Marvel Legends on Wednesday!

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Loki by Hasbro

Welcome back for a second dose of Marvel Monday as I double-dip into the Gladiator Hulk Wave of Marvel Legends with Loki! Let me warn you and apologize ahead of time, because this one is going to be quick and frustrating. Part of the blame goes to me, part of it goes to the figure, and part of it goes to my goddamn cat. Let’s go…

Have I stated how much I loved Thor: Ragnarok? Yeah, I’m sure I did in this morning’s review, but I’ll say it again here anyway. It’s quirky, it’s bizarre, and ultimately it’s a crazy fun ride that’s never ashamed to be based off a bunch of comic book characters. Loki returns and it’s great to see him on the big screen again. It’s also about time we got the MCU version of him in a proper Marvel Legends release, because I missed out on that Walmart Exclusive version from the original Avengers film way back when.

There’s plenty of nice things to say about this figure, and one colossal and annoying thing. Let’s talk about some of the good stuff first. His costume is new, but it takes some cues from what he wore in his previous appearances as well as a bit from what his brother Thor is wearing in Ragnarok. There’s a great deal of sculpted detail in his plastic garb, along with some segmented shoulder armor. The only piece sculpted separately from the buck is his belt and “skirt,” which is fairly loose and has a habit of sliding up the torso. The deco features a few shades of blue and some purple, along with some gold accents. It’s a pleasing color palate, and the paint applications are all solid.

And then there’s the cape, which is an annoying piece of garbage. It’s supposed to peg into his shoulders, but the pegs on mine will pop out if you breathe on them too hard. Part of the problem is the pegs are mushy and soft. Also, when it is plugged in the cape angles away from the figure’s back.

Just look at this shit! Pushing it closer to his back knocks those pegs out, and it’s impossible to handle the figure normally without pushing it closer to the figure. His sculpted hair will keep the cape more or less in place, but not where it’s supposed to be. On the other hand, if you choose to display it without him, his hair seems to be resting in mid air, since the padding to the shoulders isn’t there. Why the hell couldn’t they have just pegged it into his back like half the other Marvel Legends figures out there?

The portrait here is passable with the figure in hand, but boy does it not photograph well. It also really breaks down the closer that I get. I think the sculpt is mostly there, maybe a little too much Tommy Wiseau, but the plastic looks too waxy and the halftone printing technique didn’t work well here at all.

The articulation here is the same we saw with his brother, Thor. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, along with swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, with double hinges in the knees, swivels in the biceps, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. And finally, Loki features a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. Most importantly, he can do “Get Help!” although he’s not overly fond of it.

Apart from Hulk’s right leg and the shitty cape, Loki’s only accessory is his iconic horned helmet. And guess what? I can’t show it to you, because my cat stole it. I thought I knew most of his stashes, but a search of both of them turned up only other shit I was missing, like some extra hands and a few weapons. I’m still on the look out for it, but if I don’t find it, I may just pick up a second Loki, because it’s a great accessory and it looks fantastic on the figure. EDIT: I found it! Cat has a new hidey spot!! Here are some shots…

The helmet is cast in very soft gold plastic and fits Loki’s head quite well. I could say that the cheek plates could fit a little tighter, but then I’d really nr nitpicking. I can’t think of too many cases where Hasbro has had removable head gear with Marvel Legends, so this was a pretty cool surprise. Loki doesn’t wear it a lot in the movie, but since this is my only MCU Loki figure in this scale, I’m glad they included it, and I will likely display him wearing his iconic horns.

It’s a shame that Loki doesn’t come with any weapons, even if I do feel bad about complaining about a lack of extra accessories, when I immediately lost the one he does come with. The thing is, the movie had some really cool and imaginative weapon designs, and I would have like to see a couple of those guns released with the figures. Loki would have been a great opportunity for that.

So, the badly designed cape is on Hasbro, losing his helmet is on me and the cat. EDIT: No, it’s not, I found it! All things being equal, I think this is a solid, but not really spectacular release. It gets the job done, and I’m happy to finally have an 6-inch MCU Loki on my shelf, but I find myself still wishing it was a version other than this one. A cool Sakaaran gun would have made me happier.

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Thor by Hasbro

Thor: Ragnorok debuted in US theaters last week and it was a hell of a great ride! I doubt it will please fans looking for a respectful treatment of the comic book versions of Ragnarok or Planet Hulk, but it does manage to synthesize the elements of both comic arcs and mash them into a ridiculously fun and action-packed flick. Ironically, it’s also the best characterization of Hulk we’ve seen on the big screen yet. I’d even rate it above Guardians Vol. 2, and if you know me, then you know that’s high praise indeed! And against all odds, I was actually able to stick to a schedule and start in on the Ragnarok-inspired assortment of Marvel Legends right on time! OK, I was originally hoping to start last Monday, but close enough. This assortment includes six figures, and it’s split right down the middle between MCU-based figures and comic-based figures. I thought I’d kick things off with Thor himself, so let’s take a look!

Since I’ve got nothing new to say about the packaging, this is the part where I want to keep gushing on and on about the movie, but it’s only been out for one weekend and I don’t want to spoil one second of it, so I’ll refrain from saying anything other than I’ll definitely be catching it at least a couple more times before it leaves the theaters. It’s a spectacle. It’s a delight. It ranks up there among my favorite MCU films. The Thor movies have always had a fun element to them, but I’d say this was easily the most enjoyable of the bunch. If Disney can do this with Thor, they can do anything.

Thor’s had his share of wardrobe changes throughout the MCU timeline, but this gladiatorial armor is probably the biggest departure from what we’ve seen. And yet, it still manages to remain 100% Thor. The armor is mostly sculpted as part of the buck, and features some fine detail work, like tiny rivets and panel lining, as well as stitching on the trousers, and wrappings around his lower arms and legs.

Thor has reinforced plate armor on his left shoulder and his right leg and knee. The leg armor is a clip on piece and comes off easily. Other separately sculpted pieces include the waist belt and “skirt,” the shoulder strap, and the cape, which pegs into his left shoulder and his right hip. The cape can be a little tough to keep in place, as the pegs are rather soft and I find that the shoulder one will pop out, especially if I try to articulate his waist or his ab crunch too much. It looks great, but it does get in the way of play.

While the figure has an overall dark palate, there are some nice flourishes of color that are in keeping with the film’s wild and often lavish visuals. The leg and shoulder armor, for example are painted in a stunning metallic teal, and he has what appears to be alien scripted painted in blood red on these plates, as well as running down the left side of his suit. He also features a little bit of subdued gold leaf paint detailing on his tunic.

The portrait is excellent and I think it’s safe to say that this is Hasbro’s best Chris Hemsworth likeness at this scale. Hasbro is continuing to use halftone printing techniques for some of the facial features, and I think it works very well.  The beard is neatly painted and he has more of the blood red war paint on the left side of his face. The helmet is very reminiscent of Thor’s traditional helmet and features elongated wing pieces on the sides and more of that lovely teal paint mixed with gray. The wings are made of pretty soft plastic, but they seem to hold their shape pretty well.

There really aren’t any surprises in the articulation here. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, along with swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The elbow hinges are a tiny bit soft, but not outright mushy. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, with double hinges in the knees, swivels in the biceps, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The range of motion in the hips is empeded a bit by the “skirt.” Lastly, Thor has a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest, and both a ball joint and hinge in the neck. Again, to really get the most out of the torso articulation, you’re best off removing the cape.

In addition to the BAF parts, Hulk’s helmet and noggin, Thor comes with a matched pair of futuristic swords, which he carries in the film. The blades have cut panel lines, and they also give us even more of that teal paint. It’s probably not a spoiler to point out how weird it is to get Thor figure without Mjolnir. One could argue that Hasbro should have still included it, as it does appear in the film, but to be honest, I have plenty of them already.

For some reason I wasn’t expecting a lot from this figure. That may because it’s peg-warming in my area and a lot of online retailers were discounting him right out of the gate. Imagine my surprise to learn that I think he’s the best MCU Thor Legends has given us. Maybe that’s not such high praise, because a lot of the Hemsworth Thors have been fair but mediocre. It’s also worth mentioning that Hasbro has released a variant of this figure, sans helmet, packed in with MCU Valkyrie, and I’m still on the hunt for that two-pack. Oh yeah, and if you come back tonight I’ll have a look at Loki.

Marvel Legends (Vulture Wings Wave) Vulture by Hasbro

Welcome back for a second helping of Marvel Monday! I’m at the final stop on this trip through this somewhat Homecoming-inspired wave of Marvel Legends. It should be obvious that I saved Vulture for last, so that I can include his wing assembly in this review, so let’s start with a look at the final boxed figure in the assortment… Adrian Toomes!

Here’s a last look at this wave’s packaging, which is pretty much the same as we’ve been getting in this line for a while now. I still have not had a chance to re-watch Homecoming since it’s home release, but that’s OK, because I caught it three times in the theater and I’m hoping I’ll have time to pop in the Blu-Ray sometime this week. Michael Keaton was an excellent piece of casting and I don’t think I was alone in being surprised at how Vulture has become the second best villain in the MCU. Granted, the competition wasn’t very steep. It’s amazing how a little motive, sympathy, and charisma can make a villain great. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Keaton is just stupendous.

Unfortunately we don’t get to see him here, but I’ll come back to that in a minute. The figure features Vulture in his movie flight suit and I really dig this design a lot. This is, of course, not the first winged flight suit we’ve seen in the MCU, but this one has a lot more character and more of a homebrew flavor than Sam Wilson’s EXO-7 Falcon. The top half features a vintage-style bomber jacket with a sculpted fur-lined collar, zippers, and chest harness. Below the knees, Toomes is wearing a pair of metallic boots with talon-like feet to help him grasp objects (or people) while in flight. It’s a great modern and “realistic” update to a pretty outlandish costume we all knew we weren’t going to see on screen.

From the back we can see the back plate that attaches to the wings, as well as those vicious talons that come off the backs of his boots. The overall paint on this figure is very well done. The jacket is painted in glossy brown and the pants in glossy green. A matte might have been a better choice for the trousers, but what we got certainly doesn’t look bad. The metal finish on the boots looks outstanding, and little touches, like the gold paint on the zippers and buckles, are appreciated.

Yes, it’s a shame that Hasbro couldn’t get the likeness rights for Keaton. At least, I’m assuming that’s why we only got the masked head. Maybe it was more than they wanted to spend, I honestly don’t know, but they did the best with what they had available to them. The flight helmet features breather tubes coming off the face mask and a clear plastic visor fixed over the two piercing green night vision goggles. This thing has a cool, sinister look to it and I love it.

And finally, let’s run through the articulation. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. there’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. It would have been cool to add some articulation to those feet so he could actually grasp something, but I guess it didn’t cost out. All in all, this is a really solid figure on its own, but what good is Vulture without his wings, eh?

The wings arrive in seven parts, spread out among the figures in this wave, and Vulture also comes with a semi-transparent plastic stand. I can’t say enough about how much I love the idea of Hasbro doing something different with the collect-and-connect concept. Build-A-Figures are fine, but this felt like something special, and I’m sure there are more creative outlets like this out there to consider as future possibilities. Remember when Mattel did the C&C Justice League building with their 4-inch line of Young Justice figures? I’d be totally down for some dioramas. Anyway, let’s get these wings assembled…

I’ve got to confess, when I was putting these together I had some pangs of disappointment. The pieces felt soft, and I worried a bit about how this experiment was going to turn out. However, once I figured out how to cobble them together and got them on display, I was a lot happier. Yes, they do feel flimsier than I would have liked, but they look so great on the figure, and they’re so much fun to play with, that I’m willing to let the quality of construction slide. For starters, there is a lot of great detail in the sculpt. Not only are the wings themselves littered with feather-like panel lines, but the actual piece that plugs into the figure is particularly intricate in its detail.

The pieces are cast in a dark green plastic with some lighter green paint used on the panels, somewhat sparingly on the undercarriage, but there’s quite a bit of it on the top face. There’s also some really cool paint used to simulate the thruster being lit up. The stand cradles the bottom point of the wings at just the right level to attach to the figure, so it can be used to display the wings by themselves, or stabilize them while Toomes is wearing them. Pretty cool!

Each of the wings are designed to articulate in three places. They’re hinged where they attach to the backpack, hinged again where they join at the middle, and there’s also a swivel hinge so they can open or collapse a bit. It makes for some pretty fun posing opportunities.

Additionally, each of the VTOL propellers can spin, their housings can hinge away from the wings, and the propellers themselves can also angle within the housings to simulate their use in multi-directional flight.

Despite being held onto the figure by only a peg, I haven’t had any difficulty with it disconnecting, even when I was using various stands to hold him up by only the wings. It’s pretty impressive when you consider that some Marvel Legends can’t even hang on to a pegged cape all that well without it popping off.

So, yeah… consider me impressed. I’ll concede that had Hasbro done this figure in a box set, they might have been able to design the wings to feel a little sturdier, but it would have been out of the scope of the current Legends pricing model. Besides, I think these came out fine in the end. Maybe we can get some kind of Build-A-Thone for Thanos when Infinity War comes out. Whatever the case, I think this was a particularly solid wave of figures and I continue to really enjoy Hasbro’s practice of mixing the relevant MCU characters with comic characters in each wave. These give us the best of both worlds, and continue to push Legends as a fantastic universe-building line. With Thor: Ragnarok hitting theaters this week (Got my ticket for Thursday night!) I hope to start in on the Gladiator Hulk Wave next Monday!

Marvel Legends (Vulture Wings Wave): “Homecoming” Spider-Man by Hasbro

It’s Marvel Monday again, folks, and I am in the middle of a hellacious work week. But the show must go on, and I’ve got not one, not two, but THREE reviews to get to today, as well as wrap up work on a special Halloween review for tomorrow, so I hope you don’t mind if I skip the preamble and jump right in. Let’s check out Spider-Man in his Homecoming Stark Tech suit.

Spider-Man has had some great suits in his various cinematic outings. I loved the Raimi movies (well, two of them) and I really liked the suit design in them. I hated the Amazing Spider-Man movies, but really loved the suit design in those. And with Homecoming, I finally have an agreement in opinion: Loved the movie, loved the suit! I realize it bothered a lot of people that Spidey’s suit was developed by Stark, but I’m not sure why. The MCU has always done its own thing, and it’s not like Tony never built a suit for Peter Parker in the comics. Either way, I had no problem with it, especially since the film addressed the issue of Peter relying too heavily on it by having him wear his powerless Hoodie Suit for the final battle.

The good news? Hasbro went all out on this guy with a brand new buck and sculpt. Not only do you get cut web patterns and a subtle texture, but every single detail on this suit is incorporated into the sculpt from the black chevrons on his shoulders to the spider emblems on his chest and back. The buck is nicely proportioned and skews toward the teenage sized bucks we saw recently with the younger comic version of Peter Parker and Miles Morales.

The coloring is also very good. I’d argue the red could have been a little brighter, but I had that issue with Hoodie Spidey too, so I’m beginning to think it might just be me. The paintwork is overall fairly solid and it looks fine with the figure in hand, although it does break down a bit when you get in really close. That issue is mostly with the paint on the webbing, and it’s not something I’m going to make a big deal about. What I know some people will make a huge deal about is that the pins in the elbow joints aren’t painted to match the costume. This doesn’t tend to be a sticking issue with me, but I get why it irks people. When you put so much work into the rest of the figure an oversight like that seems lazy.

You get two head sculpts, representing the variable apertures of Spidey’s peepers. I can’t believe how many people I’ve talked to had issues with the eyes articulating in the suit. I thought it was a great way to give him that same expressive quality he has in the comics. I also thought it was worth it for the gag outside the girls’ tent when the eye mechanisms freak out. What can I say, I’m easily entertained. Anyway, I like that we got options here, but I’ll be sticking with the larger eye head for my displays. Not only do I like the look better, but the paint on the narrow eyes head is a little rough on mine.

In addition to two heads, Spidey comes with two pairs of hands: Thwippy hands and fists. He comes out of the package with one of each on the figure and let me tell you, I had a hell of a time getting them off. Things went a little easier after I swapped them in and out a few times.

The articulation here is superb. Here’s a rundown… Rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows and knees, hinged pegs in the wrists, swivels in the biceps and thighs, ball joints in the hips, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso features a waist swivel, an ab crunch hinge, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. Spidey also features butterfly hinges in the shoulders.

Finally, you get a pair of web-wings, and oh boy are these things hot garbage. They’re cast in a frosted white-clear plastic and they’re supposed to tab into the slots in his biceps. Just one look at how small the tabs are and how giant the slots are told me these weren’t going to work. Not only will they not hold in place when reposing the arms, but they’ll usually just fall out if I move the figure at all. Hasbro was able to make web-wings work with other Spider-Man related figures, so I’m not sure what happened here, but they’re unfortunately worthless.

Overall, Homecoming Spider-Man is a pretty solid figure. I really dig this costume and the folks at Hasbro did a nice job re-creating it here in 6-inch action figure form. They spared no expense with the sculpt, but it’s a shame that the web-wings don’t work. For me, it’s a relatively minor hiccup in an otherwise fine piece of work. On the other hand, if you were dead set on displaying them on, you might want to invest in some poster putty to keep them in place. Come on back later tonight and I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at Vulture and his assembled wings!

Marvel Legends (Vulture Wings Wave): Moon Knight by Hasbro

Spider-Man Homecoming made its own homecoming last week on Blu-Ray, but I only just picked up my copy today. Whether I get to actually watch it again today remains to be seen. The plan was to be wrapping up this partially Homecoming-inspired wave when the Blu-Ray hit, and I’m not too far off schedule. Today I’m checking out Moon Knight and next week we’ll finish things off with a look at Spider-Man as well as Vulture and his wings.

The reveal of this release was bitter-sweet for me. I’m a big fan of Spector and the Bendis run of Moon Knight back in 2011 remains among my favorites. The art, the story, the dialogue, it all gelled so beautifully and while it’s nice to own the whole shebang in two trades, it broke my heart that it didn’t last longer. Critically, it was well received, but for whatever reason the book just didn’t sell. Of course, this figure is not that version of Moon Knight, and to be honest, I couldn’t tell you from which book Hasbro pulled this costume. I’m going to assume it’s from last year’s run. That’s my dilemma right now. I love the movies and action figures, but I’m avoiding most of Marvel’s current comics until they get their house in order. As a result, every now and then I get a figure where the design is lost on me.

But, unfamiliar or not, I really dig this costume a lot! Moon Knight is built on a glossy black buck with some beautiful pearlescent white plastic strategically attached as armor. These areas include his boots, lower legs and forearms, gloves, hips, chest, and shoulders. The crescent designs of his segmented arm and leg armor is pretty sweet and he features a crescent moon emblem outlined in black on his chest plate. This is a clean and modern look that gives him a lot of agility. Ultimately, I still prefer the all white suit, but like I said, this works for me too!

The cape pegs into the back, although it really doesn’t need to because it also encircles the neck. It’s fairly flexible and doesn’t throw the figure off balance too badly. The pleating on the top looks great and it has a nice swirling and billowing effect on the bottom.

The head is a simple masked black sculpt with two piercing blue eyes. I’m sure we’ve seen this head before, I just can’t place exactly where. I love when Hasbro sculpts the facial details under the mask like they have here. The hood is a separate piece and permanently attached to the head so as not to inhibit the neck articulation. This is a big improvement over the ToyBiz Legends Moon Knight, which had the cape and hood as one piece.

Speaking of articulation, Moon Knight has got everything you might expect. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. The ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso has a swivel at the waist and an ab crunch hinge under the chest. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and pegged hinges in the wrists. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint.

Moon Knight comes with some weapons and a pair of extra hands to help him use them. First off, you get his crescent darts, three small ones and one bigger one. The knuckles on his fists are slotted to hold the smaller ones, so you can make it like he’s about to fling up to three at a time. In practice it works OK, but they tend to fall out pretty easily and it’s kind of hard to see he’s even holding anything. And since these are so tiny and there’s nowhere to store them on his person, I can see them getting lost pretty easily.

The larger one is a little more fun to play with. He can hold it in his regular grasping hands. Again, there’s nowhere to stow it on him and that’s a bummer.

Also included is Marc’s baton, which can split into two. Yup, we’ve seen this piece many times with different figures, Hellcat and Daredevil to name a couple. He can hold these pretty well in his graspy hands. And once again, there’s nowhere to put them on him. Do I sense a theme? Chances are I’m just going to display him with his larger crescent dart and put the rest away somewhere.

Why is Moon Knight in a Spider-Man wave? I couldn’t tell you. Do I care? Nope. This is a great looking figure and he’s loads of fun to play around with. He’s also a character that I am very happy to finally get on my Legends shelf again. If I had to complain, I’d say that I’m not going to get a lot of use out of the tiny darts, but I can’t see of any way Hasbro could have implemented them much better. As of now, this figure is ranking in as one of my favorites of this wave.

Marvel Legends (Vulture Wings Wave): Tombstone by Hasbro

I didn’t think I was going to make it back for a Marvel Monday Double Feature tonight, but I ultimately decided that I could polish off the second half of the “Sinister Villains” without needing too much time. Besides, if I’m going to get through this wave and into the Gladiator Hulk Wave before Thor: Ragnarok hits theaters, I’ve got to get busy on these reviews. So, let’s take a gander at Lonnie Lincoln, aka Tombstone!

The package is identical to what we saw this morning with The Beetle. This time there isn’t quite as much packed into the tray, just the figure and the Vulture Wing part. Also, to get in the mood, I have a Pepperoni Tombstone Pizza in the oven that’s going to be ready in like ten minutes, so let’s get right to it.

There were two directions Hasbro could have gone with this figure: Broad shouldered and business suit, or bulked out and well… whatever the hell this is he’s wearing. It is a pretty iconic look for him so either way would have worked for me, but I’m thinking this look required a little less effort in the sculpt. Indeed, while this is a pretty distinctive looking figure, it is a fairly basic one as well, and he doesn’t have the snazzy paint job that Beetle has to make that simple buck really stand out.

The bulk of the outfit is just matte black with a couple of loose cuffs around his ankles and wrists, also matte black. Everything is just black. Jesus, it feels like I’m talking about Hotblack Desiato’s stuntship (And if you don’t get that reference, Don’t Panic… just Google it). At least the belt breaks things up a little bit with a dark gray, a belt buckle, and some sculpted studs. I think it would have been cool if Hasbro went with the traditional soft-plastic vest with sculpted arm-sleeves look, but instead we just get some lines forming the open jacket and the ashen skin of his bare chest. Even the high collar looks like it might just be attached to the buck. I’ll admit that it looks a little cheap to me.

Ah, but once we get up past the neck, this is where the figure really shines. Hasbro has turned out some truly spectacular headsculpts in the modern Legends line, and Tombstone here is yet another example of that. Lonnie really is an interesting character, and this portrait captures him perfectly right down to his sharpened teeth. It really elevates this figure from an average budget-minded release in the wave to something special.

The articulation here is standard modern Legends fare, but let’s run through it anyway. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinged shoulders. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs and the lower legs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. He has a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and his neck is both hinged and ball jointed. He does have that issue annoying issue where his arms won’t hang close to his sides, but I’m willing to turn a blind eye to that. And so is Daredevil. In fact, two of them!

Before wrapping up, I just wanted to say how much I wish they had given Tombstone an extra pair of accessory holding hands. Yeah, I know he doesn’t come with anything for him to hold, but it would have been nice to be able to have him be able to grab Spider-Man. Even one fist and one graspy hand would have been cool. The fists are a little limiting, although fine for if you want him always ready to spar and throw punches.

I wouldn’t say Tombstone is a great figure, but maybe I’d say he’s a great treatment of the character? Does that make any sense? He’s perfectly serviceable as he is. A solid figure through and through, but he definitely feels like the figure designed to make the rest of the wave cost out and that definitely holds him back a bit. But hey, if that’s what Hasbro has to do to get characters like this one swinging on the pegs in 2017, I’m fine with the compromise.

Marvel Legends (Vulture Wings Wave): Beetle by Hasbro

Holy hell, someone at Hasbro sure loves The Beetle. We’ve already had the Janice Lincoln version in The Absorbing Man Wave and the Ultimate Beetle from Earth-1610, as part of The Ultimate Green Goblin Wave, and now we’re getting Abner Jenkins, the original article! That’s right, all you True Believers who were upset that Hasbro was dicking around with them other Beetles can now rest easy. Your day has finally come. Me? Well, I really dig the other two figures, and I always knew they’d get to Abner soon enough.

Beetle shares the same slot in this assortment with Tombstone as one of the “Sinister Villains” and there sure is a lot of stuff in this box! He comes with his wings and shell pieces detached, as well as one of the VTOL pieces needed to build the MCU Vulture’s wings.  Putting on Beetle’s own wings and shell is as easy as plugging them into his back and he’s all ready to go.

The coloring! So pretty! I rarely start out talking about the paint job on a figure, so when I do, you know I’m really pleased with the result. Here’s one example where the paint and colors carry the day and take this figure from potentially average to absolutely gorgeous. I’m in love with this metallic green and purple combo. The shimmery green plastic reminds me of the factory paint on my first Ford Mustang. I think it was called “Hunter Green,” but whatever the case, I think this is beautiful. Couple that with the eye-melting sex that is the metallic purple on the boots, pelvis, and gauntlets and it’s easy to overlook how little sculpted detail is on this figure.

Beyond the coloring, my favorite thing here is the beetle shell on his back. The pieces swivel to open and close, so you can display him with his wing’s retracted and the shell closed or open it and peg in the wings for when he’s ready to take to the skies. Marvelous!

Do the wings look familiar? They’re the same translucent purple flappers that we got with the Janice Lincoln Beetle. The main wings are mounted on rotating hinges and the smaller ones are pegged into the larger ones so they will swivel. All four have sculpted veins running throughout them and they really look great with the purple and green deco of the suit.

The head sculpt is simple, but really captures that classic comic look. The purple paint matches the rest perfectly and the giant gold eyes really pop.

The articulation makes this bug loads of fun to play with. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, along with swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the shoulders. The legs are ball jointed up in the hips, have double hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs and the lower legs. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. He has a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge under the chest, and his neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Hasbro has done well by The Beetle, now in his many forms, and these have been among my favorite additions to Spidey’s rogue gallery. Personally, I think he was well worth the wait, not only because he turned out beautifully, but also because we got two other great figures running up to this release. I first opened him up back on Friday and he’s been on my desk all weekend for me to fiddle about with while watching Netflix or working on projects. I have to imagine that even if I had no interest in Spider-Man or Marvel Legends (OK, I can’t really imagine that, but bear with me), I’d love to have this figure in my collection. Will I be back tonight with a Double Feature? No guarantees, but I’m going to do my best!