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.

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Marvel Legends: Magik by Hasbro

No random review for this week’s Marvel Monday, as I picked up the Walgreen’s Exclusive Magik last week and was so excited that I bumped her to the head of the line. And to truly appreciate how excited I am, you have to realize that I’ve been jonesing after this figure since 2015 when she was released as part of the SDCC Exclusive Book of Vishanti boxed set. I missed the window to buy that set and wasn’t willing to pay what secondary sellers were asking for it. I had basically written her off, but thanks to this unlikely partnership between toy-maker and corner drugstore, I’ve finally got my mitts on this magical minx.

Magik is actually the third figure in that set to get a regular retail release, as we eventually got Brother Voodoo, and Dormammu turned up as a Build-A-Figure. That just left me missing the comic version of Hela and the Astral version of Doctor Strange, and I guess I can live with that. The package features the X-Men logo on the front and a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the front. And one look at the tray shows that this box is crammed with goodies, so let’s get started!

And here’s Illyana freed from her cardboard and plastic Limbo, and what a great looking figure she is! The costume is comprised of a mix of paintwork and sculpted detail, with the paint making up the sleeves and glove on her right hand, the upper part of her thigh-high stockings, and her shorts. The top is sculpted with some raised lines and a Power Girl-style boob window, the goth boots each feature a brace of straps and buckles, and her left arm and shoulder features her Eldritch armor that appears via the Soulsword. The ensemble is tied together by a wide black belt with silver painted buckle and eyelets. I’ve got to say, both the sculpted detail and paint on this figure is especially sharp. It’s worth noting that there are a few differences between this release and the one packed in the SDCC set. Most notably, the boots were simply painted on the SDCC version, whereas this Magik is borrowing Nico Minoru’s footwear.

The portrait is every bit as impressive as the rest of the figure. Again, the detail is sharp and the paint on the eyes and lips is immaculate. I especially dig the black added to her lipstick. He hair sculpt features a rather pronounced set of bangs with strands of hair falling forward over her shoulders, a third falling back over her left shoulder, and the rest cascading down her back.

And if a great figure wasn’t enough, this tray also comes packed with extras, including two swords and a passel of magic effect parts. The obvious accessory here is The Soulsword and it is indeed a cool piece of magical cutlery. The extended grip allows for two-handed use, and the extremely broad blade is made of translucent yellow plastic with black lines running through it from the hilt.

She also comes with this blue energy sword, which I can’t place from the comics, but that doesn’t make it any less welcome. It’s got an extended silver grip with not much of a guard, giving it a distinct lightsaber-y vibe. The translucent blue blade is thin and straight, and you also get a blue energy effect part to snake around it.

And if you dig that effect part, you’re in luck, because Magik comes with no less than three more! These are all similar blue lightning magic-energy pieces, and if you collect Star Wars figures, you’ll likely find these similar to the Force Lightning pieces that Hasbro sometimes likes to include with the Dark Jedi characters. You get two small ones, which are perfect for her hands, and a longer sleeve, which can go over either arm. I’m not usually a big fan of these pieces, but I’ll confess I’m having some fun with these.

I’m at a total loss for explanation over the red repack of Kitty Pryde’s Lockheed. I thought it might be some reference to the link between Shadowcat and Magik in Limbo or just something I never came across in the comics. Or maybe it just looked magical and Hasbro wanted to get some more use out of that rather particular sculpt. Either way, this little dragon is cast in a translucent red gummy-like plastic and actually features some paint applications, including some gold to bring out his scales and some black for his horns. He’s neat! I dig him!

Finally, Magik also comes with a flaming skull, and it doesn’t take an astute student of Marvel Legends to recognize this as one of Ghost Rider’s noggins. Why the skull? Eh. It’s creepy and magic-y and who’s going to complain about getting a burning red skull as an accessory? And yes, the jaw is also articulated and there’s still a ball socket up in there if you want to use it as a head on one of your other figures.

If you’re like me and you missed out on the SDCC version, than this release of Magik is a real treat. Not to mention that as far as I’m concerned, I think this one is actually the better figure. It was really weighing on me that I missed out on this figure back then, but this is one of those cases where everything worked out for the better. She’s an amazing little figure, with a great inventory of accessories, and a welcome addition to my X-Men Legends!

Marvel Legends (SP//dr Wave): Elektra by Hasbro

Blah. It’s my first Monday back at work after a long vacation and that’s bumming me out. Luckily, I can cheer myself up by opening one of the two dozen or so Marvel Legends figures that are piled in a box in my Toy Closet. And this week I’m not playing favorites, just reaching into the box with my eyes closed and pulling out… Elektra! And while I’m stoked to be getting a new comic version of Elektra for my Marvel shelf, I was hoping to draw another figure from the Cull Obsidian Wave, because I’m getting close to completing it. Ah well, maybe next week!

Fun fact! I was once on a flight where they were showing the 2005 Elektra movie and after twenty minutes I chose to take off my earphones and stare at the seat in front of me rather than watch it. Maybe Hasbro will release the Jennifer Garner version of her in 2025 for the 20th Anniversary! In the meantime, here’s a very badly needed update of the comic version by Hasbro (I never did find me that 2008 two-pack) and no, she doesn’t come with as many goodies as the old Toybiz version.

The figure, on the other hand, is a nice improvement, and that’s not meant as a knock on Toybiz, because I think their Elektra is one of the few that still hold up fairly well today, even if it isn’t all that favorably looked back on by most. Indeed, the reason I’m bringing that figure up so much is that it was one of a handful that I was truly sorry to see go when I sold off my collection. But not anymore. This Elektra looks great and manages to do a lot with very little new sculpting. Indeed, the costume here is achieved almost entirely by paint, using only the belt and sash for sculpted detail. Honestly, it works, but I would have loved to at least see some sculpted wraps on her wrists and legs. At least the paint is pretty clean and the red is vibrant!

And it’s nice to see that all that extra sculpt went into what is a fantastic portrait. The paint on the eyes and lips is nice and clean, and I love the way they sculpted her hair and the scarf tied over the top of her head. There’s a little bit of mold flashing on the jawline and I wish Hasbro would get that shit under control, but I can probably clean it up a bit with a razor.

Elektra comes with two accessories: Her set of sai weapons. Like I said earlier, it’s a lot less than we got with that old Toybiz version, but at least the essentials are here. Maybe I’ll dig out one of my Articulated Icons figures and lend her some of those weapons. These appear to be repacks of the ones that came with Netflix Elektra, but with a more metallic finish and painted red wraps on the grips, which also crisscross the guards. All in all, I think these look a hell of a lot nicer than their last appearance. Also like the Netflix Elektra, this version’s right hand is sculpted to hold the Sai outward, with two of her fingers wrapped around the guard. It would have been cool if Hasbro included a second left hand like this, but I guess it wasn’t in the budget.

Articulation here is solid, and there’s nothing bad or unexpected here, but Elektra is one of those figures that shows some of the limitations of Hasbro’s female Legends. My big issue continues to be the elbows’ rotating hinges. It’s long past time Hasbro give the ladies those double-hinges. The ball joints in the hips are also a bit limiting for a character as agile and acrobatic as Elektra. Finally, the belt and sash can get in the way sometimes, and it tends to ride up above her hips on certain poses. Finally, her ankle hinges appear feel like they’re ratcheted, which is weird. I thought they had no room to go back and point her toes, but it just required a bit of extra force. Still, all in all, she’s loads of fun.

It surprised me that it took so long after Elektra’s Netflex debut to get us a comic version, but hey better late than never. I think she turned out great, although a little more fresh sculpting would have been welcome. Especially since, as we’ll eventually see, this wave has quite a few of what I would call budget figures. With a repaint of Daredevil, and two more Spider-Man variants, it feels like Hasbro could have plunked down a little more money on the sculpt or a few more accessories. But hey, I bought her, and I’m quite happy with her, so I guess they know what they’re doing.

Marvel Legends (Deluxe Riders): Black Widow and Motorcycle by Hasbro

[ Edit: Shortly after I posted today’s Marvel Monday Review, I heard the news that Stan Lee had passed away. I debated whether or not to post a separate tribute, but the more I tried to outline a piece that measured his impact on my life, the more I found that impact was immeasurable. I grew up reading almost every comic book I could get my hands on, but Fantastic Four and Spider-Man were among my favorites, and those are two books that have stayed with me the longest. But it’s simply impossible for me to recount the ways in which Stan Lee’s creations and imagination helped to influence my life from a child to a middle aged man, and almost every moment in between. I will, however, thank him for the fact that I never really did grow up. I’m 46 and I still read comic books and collect action figures, and have framed posters of Super Heroes on my walls. I’d like to think a big piece of that was because of him. 

I don’t want to look at Stan Lee’s death as a tragedy. We should all be so lucky to live to 95. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with so many adoring fans. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with such an enormous positive impact. But I will say that I will miss him terribly. Obviously, I didn’t know him personally. I never even met him. But his creations represented hope, goodness, justice, morality, and I can say that from what I’ve seen of Stan himself, he struck me as a never ending well of positive energy. It does give me great comfort to know that he lived to see his creations break out of the comic book shops and become so massively mainstream. His influences escaped the comic panels and burst out on 50-foot movie screens across the world. He lived to know that the fruit of his imagination was both boundless and timeless.

I did not know you, Stan Lee, but I loved you. Excelsior! ]

This week’s Marvel Monday is not a random grab, because if this huge box were in with the others, I’d wind up grabbing it every time. Nope, this one has been sitting beside my Legends Unopened Box of Shame and I just decided that this was the week to check it out. So let’s have a look at Black Widow and her motorcycle!

Remember when Toybiz did that line of Marvel Legends Riders? Well, I guess this is kind of like that. Only in that case a lot of the vehicles were pretty shitty. Hasbro seems to be doing it right this time by offering these figures in bigger boxes (and bigger price points!) to get us some really cool, full-sized vehicles. And given the 6-inch Scale of Legends it should come as no surprise that they’ve all been motorcycles so far, but I’m not complaining. The packaging looks great, it’s collector friendly, and it really shows off the goods splendidly. So let’s open this set up and start out with the figure.

I was expecting a straight repack of Natasha in this set, but we actually get an all new figure. And with all the Black Widows in my Legends collection, I’m happy to say that she still manages to bring a new look to the table. Indeed, this version strikes me as a nice balance between a classic version and a cutting-edge modern MCU version. Her bracers are silver and made to look like angled metal. These remind me of the ones she had in her earliest appearances. On the other hand the high collar and low zipper give her a bit more of a modern flare. The rest of the costume is just a black body suit and the painted belt consists of silver discs and the red Black Widow emblem. The costume is clean and simple, but looks great.

You get two different head sculpts, one with short hair and one with long hair, and I really dig them both. The paint applications for the eyes, eyebrows, and lips is all quite sharp, and there’s a little wash to bring out the detail in her red hair. The only thing here I don’t like is the big ugly seam that’s running down the center of her neck. Seriously, Hasbro? You couldn’t have hid that a little better?

You get standard Legends female articulation. That includes rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no waist swivel, but you do get a ball joint just under the chest, and the neck has both a hinge and ball joint. I’ve had the legs pop out at the hips a couple of times while posing her, but they pop right back in. It’s a shame she doesn’t have any guns, but the extra head is the figure’s only “accessory,” unless you count the motorcycle!

Like the figure, the motorcycle goes above and beyond what I was expecting. It’s a sporty bike with a red, gun-metal gray, and lighter gray deco, and you even get a Black Widow emblem on the right side near the front. Other nice touches include stickers for the instrument gauges, a tinted yellow headlamp cover, and I do believe the tires are made of rubber! Sculpted details include the engine and the chain drive, as well as a textured seat. The steering wheel turns the front wheel, you get a flip down kickstand, and holy hell, the suspension on the front wheel actually works!

Even with all that good stuff, I think what delights me the most about this set is how well Natasha can fit on the bike. There’s no compromising here. I can get her to hold the handlebars, keep her tushie on the seat, and have both feet on the foot pegs and she looks she looks totally natural on it. The only thing worth noting here is that Natasha works better on the bike with the shorter hair, as it allows her to look up more. Also, that long hair should be flowing in the breeze when she’s riding, so it doesn’t quite work on the bike anyway.

Even with pumping out an obscene number of figures, Hasbro is still looking for new ways to grow the Legends brand, and I think that’s fantastic! Especially in this day and age when vehicles are getting scarce in the toy aisles. What’s even better is this set seems to be around $30 at most retailers, I picked it up for a few bucks less, but either way it feels like quite a deal. The figure is excellent, and when you consider that Legends figures sell for around $20 these days, that leaves only about $10 for the bike. Not bad at all! It’s also got me pretty pumped to pick up the Wolverine and Ghost Rider sets then next time I see them!

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Iron Spider by Hasbro

It’s just another Marvel Monday, but I wish it was Sunday cuz that’s my fun day. Actually Mondays are pretty fun because I get to open another random Legends figure off my pile. Today my grubby mitts went into the “To Open” box and drew back Spider-Man from Infinity War! Ok, this one probably wasn’t so random because it’s the last figure I dropped into the box and I didn’t give it a good stir before picking today.

I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it was for me to get this figure. I never saw him on the pegs and, for the longest time, this Webhead was going for upward of $40 on Amazon. I finally grabbed him off another retailer who got some singles in and wouldn’t you know it, the next week he started selling on Amazon for the regular MSRP. That’s pretty par for the course when it comes to my luck with these Infinity War figures. Hell, I’m still hunting down Captain America and he’s usually the over-produced peg warmer of the wave.

So, here’s Spidey out of the box and right away, I have some issues. The figure features some extensive texturing, which feels all wrong. From memory, the Iron Spider suit in Infinity War was pretty slick and smooth. I checked a few stills and even the pictures of the upcoming Hot Toys version (which are usually a pretty good source for accuracy) and I think I’m justified as saying the texturing isn’t supposed to be there. It looks more like one of the older suits. Now with that having been said, I think the coloring is pretty good. I like the shade of red they used and the gold trim is neatly painted, especially around the spider logo. On the downside, this is one of those instances where Hasbro doesn’t paint the pegs, which is really obvious on the insides of the sleeves and the lower pegs on the knees where they interrupt the gold striping. Overall, not a bad looking figure, but not one that really conveys the suit from the movie to me.

The head sculpt just looks cheap to me. Once again, the texturing feels wrong, and while the web pattern shouldn’t be blackened, it should be more pronounced than it is here. The crazy amount of mold flashing hanging off my figure’s seam-lines also don’t help to instill a feeling of care and quality. The previous MCU Spidey gave us two heads to depict the eyes wide and narrowed. Here we just get the one noggin.

Fortunately, the articulation here is everything I expect from a Legends Spidey. I wasn’t sure they were going to put the shoulder crunches in this one, but they did and that makes me happy. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. As a result, Iron Spider is pretty fun to play around with!

So here comes the real sucky part. Iron Spider comes with absolutely no extras. No swappable fists, no second head, and the biggest crime? He does not come with his additional mechanical legs. Hasbro has set a bit of a precedent for extras with our Spidey Legends so when they don’t include them, it hurts the value. But not including his mechanical legs is something I just can’t overlook. It’s the coolest thing about this suit and they featured prominently in the film. Hell, I’m pretty sure even the shitty Titan figure got those legs.

After hunting so long for him, Iron Spider turned out to be quite a letdown. He’s a nice looking figure, but the texturing on the suit feels wrong and the lack of extras really hurts. For what was the biggest and coolest costume reveals for me in Infinity War, this figure deserved to be so much better. It’s still bewildering to me that Hasbro could have released this one without the mechanical legs. Even if they were just a static piece that plugged into the back, that would have been better than nothing. It’s not like Hasbro to drop the ball in this line, especially not with the MCU versions of the characters, but here’s one that needs an instant do-over.

Marvel Legends: AIM Scientist and AIM Trooper by Hasbro

Once again, I’m setting aside random chance and bumping some new Marvel Legends figures to the head of the line. Why? Because I just couldn’t wait to open this set, and it’s nice to be current and topical every now and then before going back to opening figures from four waves ago that no one is interested in anymore. Not to mention, I’ve been carrying a little grudge against the AIM Trooper ever since he was first released and absolutely impossible for me to find and now I can finally set all that ill-will to rest.

Behold… the AIM two-pack! If you remember the Hydra two-pack from not that long ago, then the idea and format behind this set should be familiar. Like the Hydra set, this one re-packs a popular troop builder and sort of kitbashes another one, while tossing in a whole bunch of recycled stuff to buff out your forces. The packaging features a large window that shows all the goodies laid out over an illustrated backdrop, and boy does it show off a lot of stuff! Is it a shameless cash-grab, or an opportunity to build up your AIM forces? Well, why can’t it be both? Let’s start with the AIM scientist.

Keep in mind, the AIM Scientist isn’t a straight repack of the 2014 figure. The sculpt appears to be the same, but there are some paint differences. And since I don’t have the previous release for comparisons, this figure is basically all new to me and I am absolutely in love with this figure. I don’t know if it’s because of how much I dig the crazy concept of AIM, their goofy beekeeper costumes, or that I’ve built up so much anticipation over this figure in my mind. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Whatever the case, the AIM Scientist features a yellow jumpsuit with a sculpted button down front flap on the chest, a stylish black and yellow belt, high black collar, tall black boots with buckles and pointed toes, and black gauntlets that reach up to his elbows. It’s a sharp looking suit, and I’m not ashamed to say I dig the yellow and black deco. After all, why do all evil organizations need to dress in dark and sinister colors?

In addition to the stock costume, the Scientist features a brown shoulder strap with some sculpted pouches on the front and back and some silver canister grenades. The stock head features the iconic flat-topped bee-keeper’s hood with a textured screen pattern over the visor. There are other head options, but I’ll come back to that a little later. Also, the articulation here is standard stuff, and since I have so much to cover today, I’ll just be lazy and refer you back to any of my other 200+ Marvel Legends reviews where you’ll get a good idea about what to expect. Suffice it to say, the poseability is great. Now, let’s check out some weapons!

I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this rifle before, and I think I remember throwing some shade at it in the past, but I think it fits in pretty well with the AIM crowd. It looks futuristic and like something AIM would have cooked up. I also absolutely love it in the yellow and black deco. It brings out the details in the sculpt beautifully and the blue paint applications show that little bit of extra care that Hasbro doesn’t always show toward the Legends weapons. It’s also branded “AIM” on the side. I love that!

Next up, you get this crazy pistol and I’m not as big a fan of this one. I guess I can give it a pass because, again it’s unconventional design works well for an AIM weapon. Here the blue paint on the end of the barrel makes it look a little toyish, similar to the orange plugs they put into toy guns these days. Not bad, but not my favorite.

And that brings me to my least favorite weapon in the box, and that’s this little shotgun with the drum magazine. Once again, I do appreciate that Hasbro actually branded it, “AIM,” on the drum, but mine came right out of the package all warped and with a droopy barrel. I also don’t think the yellow works as well on this weapon. Maybe if they had added some black, but as it is, this little gun is getting tossed into The Tote of Forgotten Accessories™. Before moving on to the next figure, let’s take a look at just two more accessories…

The set includes this backpack and brown shoulder straps. The straps are a separate piece and fit onto the figure pretty easily, while the backpack simply pegs into the back through a hole in the shoulder rig. You can, of course, use the backpack without the shoulder rig, but I think it compliments it very well. Also, while the rig will work with the shoulder strap, I found it’s better to take the shoulder strap off. In case you don’t recognize it, this backpack is recycled from the fairly recent Deathlok figure, and I have to say the deco does a decent job of obscuring that fact. It’s cast in yellow plastic, and in keeping with the AIM equipment theme, it has some blue paint apps, as well as silver paint on the central piece. Pretty cool! Now lets move on to the AIM Trooper…

Or AIM Shock Trooper, as he’s referred to on the back of the package. From the neck down, this fellow is a straight repaint of Paladin from the Sasquatch Wave and, while some may scoff, I wholeheartedly approve. Paladin’s tactical suit works brilliantly here in it’s new black and yellow deco, complete with the molded holster on his left thigh and the integral sheath on his right leg armor. Nope, Hasbro didn’t tweak a thing here when it comes to the sculpt, but there’s some great stuff here and I still really dig the texturing on the armor plates. The color scheme favors black a lot more than the traditional AIM Scientist uniform but I think it’s faithful enough to still conform to AIM dress codes. Some extra paint hits include the sculpted straps and buckles that hold on the chest and back armor, as well as some silver paint on the holster’s thigh straps. And hey, at least they didn’t repack the figure with the Paladin head, right?

Oooh. Oh no. That’s a bold move, Hasbro! The Paladin head is indeed included with a AIM-ified black and yellow paint job and some light blue for the goggles. It works OK, but I think it works better as an unmasked head for the Scientist.

Yeah, that looks good and it’s not quite as “on the nose” as using it with the Paladin body. Until I get at least one more of these sets, I won’t be displaying this head at all, but I’m not going to totally dismiss the idea of using it once I have some more AIM Troopers. Besides, the AIM Trooper comes packaged with a much better choice, if you ask me.

The stock head is from the 2016 release of Scourge/Demolition Man and I think it looks pretty damn cool with the AIM deco and it looks especially appropriate for the Paladin body. This is very likely the head I’ll go with for this figure, but you do get one more option.

And that’s the second Beekeeper head. To be honest, I didn’t think this head was going to work at all on this figure, but I’m not hating it. Not at all! OK, so enough with the head talk, let’s check out this guy’s weapons…

I’ve already mentioned that he has Paladin’s holster and sheath, so obviously he comes with Paladin’s pistol and combat knife. No complaints here, as these are both great little weapons. The knife’s hilt is painted yellow while the pistol’s receiver is painted yellow. It’s all part of pushing that AIM brand!

The AIM Trooper also comes with a rifle and this is one we’ve seen before and which I’ve never liked, but I’m not really hating it here. Once again, it’s the odd design that works pretty well as some kind of strange AIM invention. And like the AIM Soldier’s rifle, this one is also branded with AIM on the side. With a few of these rifles consigned to the Tote of Forgotten Accessories™, it’s nice to have one version that I actually like. And obviously, while I refer to some weapons belonging to the Trooper and some to the Scientist, that’s just based on their proximity on the tray. Sure, Paladin’s knife and pistol are meant to go with the Trooper, but the rest are free to be mixed and matched as you like.

And before wrapping up, the AIM Trooper also comes with his own shoulder rig to work with the backpack. I’ve got to say, I think it looks much better on this guy and it was probably intended for him from the start. Still, it’s nice to have the option to put it on either figure.

I remember an odd amount of collector backlash over the Hydra set and I’m not sure if the same will be the case here. Personally, I couldn’t be happier with this release. Not only did it finally get the AIM Scientist into my collection, and not only does it give me an opportunity to get a few more, but Hasbro created a pretty cool original design for the AIM Trooper. I try not to do a lot of troop building these days, because I’m so tight on space, but I’m definitely going to be on the hunt for more of these. Besides, the $43 I paid for this set ain’t too far off what the original AIM Scientist was going for when I was hunting him.

Marvel Legends (Cull Obsidian Wave): Thor by Hasbro

It’s Monday again and that means it’s time for another random Marvel Legends review here at FFZ. This week my sticky fingers caught hold of another figure from the Cull Obsidian Wave, and it’s Thor from Infinity War! I’ve already checked out Ant-Man, Wasp, and Black Widow from this wave, so I’m finally more than halfway done. But with opening only one of these a week, it feels like Avengers 4 will be out before I even finish with the Infinity War figures.

And here’s the beautiful Pirate-Angel himself in the package, and between the figure, accessory, and BAF part, this tray is pretty damn full. This is actually the second version of Thor that Hasbro has released from Infinity War. The other is part of a three-pack with Rocket and Groot, and don’t worry I’ll get around to opening that one eventually.

Thor’s look has changed a bit throughout the films, and for me, I don’t think anything has surpassed his look in the original Avengers. That suit is so colorful and regal and it’s the one version of the character I display on my Hot Toys shelf. But I get the reason for costume changes. It not only sells new toys, but from a tonal standpoint, bright and colorful Thor would not have looked right in a film like Infinity War.

With all that having been said, this suit is fine, it’s just a little drab and boring to me. The chest armor is black, the trousers are black, the boots are black, the wrist bracers are black. The only real color being expressed here is the metallic silver used for his armored sleeves and the bit of red trim around the shoulders of the cape and the discs where they attach. And of course the cape itself. What’s a little frustrating here is that even though there’s so little paint on the figure, they still managed to get sloppy with the red around the trim of the discs where the cape attaches. There is, however, a nice little metallic sheen around the armor and the boots have a bit of a dark coppery wash to them.

The head sculpt here is excellent in terms of detail and realism, and I think it hits the mark pretty close on likeness. Here, Thor looks a tad older and more haggard, but it’s close enough for me. Indeed, I think it’s impressive how much Hasbro’s Hemsworth sculpt has improved in the short time since the Ragnarok figures were on the pegs. The painted skin tone is so much better than the waxy bare plastic we’ve seen in the past, the hair sculpt is extremely well done, and you even get a little bit of scar showing over the right eye. And yes, this is Thor after Rocket gave him a replacement eye.

Articulation holds few surprises, but let’s run down the points anyway. The legs have ball joints in the hips, swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. There is no swivel in the waist, but you do get a ball joint under the chest. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The neck is both hinged and ball jointed.

Thor comes with his brand new weapon, Stormbreaker and it is a beautiful accessory. The blade is cast in a satin-metallic silver and I really dig the way the handle (Groot’s severed arm) weaves itself around the head. I think this is one of the best looking accessories I’ve seen out of Legends in a long while.

Stormbreaker also comes with a lightning effect part, cast in soft blue translucent plastic and molded so that it can be snaked around the weapon. Some of you may know that I’m seldom impressed with the effect parts that Hasbro occasionally bundles with these figures, so it’s probably no surprise that this one will be going into the dreaded and bottomless Tote of Forgotten Accessories™. Hey, it’s fine and I’m never going to argue about getting something extra with a figure, but I just don’t have a lot of use for these things.

I like this figure a lot, but I’m mainly coming away really wishing that Hasbro would take another crack at The Avengers Thor. They’ve upped their game so much since the days of that Walmart Exclusive wave, I’d like to see my favorite version of The Mightiest Avenger get a re-do. Then again, I’m not sure I want to open the can of worms where I’m re-buying all these characters again. I mean, I’m already so hopefully behind on buying and opening this line of figures, that maybe we should just leave things well enough alone. Suffice it to say this is a solid enough figure and he’ll look great alongside the rest of the Infinity War crew when I finally get them all together and set up.

Marvel Legends (Thanos Wave): Songbird by Hasbro

After a slight detour, I’m back to metaphorically spinning the non-existent Wheel of Legends and randomly picking another figure from my enormous backlog to open. And as you already know by the title, my grubby paw emerged from the big box of Hasbro goodness clutching onto Songbird from The Thanos Wave!

I love me some Thunderbolts and ever since Hasbro released a Legends version of that team back in 2013 at SDCC, I’m always happy to add some more members. And along comes Songbird who admittedly feels a little out of place in this wave. I’m never sure how Hasbro decides to drop certain characters into certain waves, but it’s clear that they play the themes of these waves fast and loose, and hey… if it allows them to slip in a comic character we might otherwise not get, I’m all for it. I’ve got nothing much to say about the packaging, other than she looks great framed on the tray with her giant effect part behind her.

I feel like Melissa’s been wearing this costume (or a close variation of it) since forever. Or at least since she cast off her goofy greens from her Screaming Mimi days and began dolling out Justice like Lightning!™ And why not? This black and white bodysuit is a clean, sexy, and modern look that stands the test of time. Hasbro did a nice job recreating it mostly in paint, with bright and vibrant whites and sharp lines around the black bits. Even the lines around those black crescents on the outside of her legs are razor sharp. I’m also happy to report there’s no bleed-through in the white, which is pretty common with white paint on darker bucks. Extra sculpting comes in the form of her gold accessories. These include her segmented arm bracers, her belt, and her shoulders, of which the later two are separate pieces. The deco is rounded out with a little pink paint on her neck piece and belt.

The head sculpt is quite good too! Ms. Gold is sporting some full lips and green eyes. Like her suit, the paint here is pretty sharp and clean. They also did a nice job painting the highlights in her hair, which is sculpted to fall about her shoulders and down her back fairly naturally. It does, unfortunately inhibit some of the neck articulation, so it’s not too easy to get her looking up when in a flight pose.

And speaking of articulation, Songbird holds no surprises in that department. You get rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists. 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 is no waist swivel, but there is a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. She’s lots of fun to pose, but I do wish she came with a second pair of hands. The ones she has work well for flight, but optional fists would have been welcome additions.

As we already saw in the packaged shot, Songbird comes with one big accessory and that’s her energy wings. This effect part is just one big piece of translucent pink plastic, which pegs into the hole in her back and looks pretty damn nice. It does maker her a tad back-heavy, but I was able to get her standing with it without too much trouble.

Getting a comic-inspired Songbird in what is more or less an MCU Infinity War themed wave was a really nice surprise. I mean, can you even imagine what the meeting with the retailers must look like? Hasbro: “Infinity War is going to be the biggest movie event of the year. The kids are going to want to relive it with the action figures!” Walmart Rep: “I like it! What’ve you got?” Hasbro: “Spider-Man! Thor! Iron Man!” Rep: “Brilliant!” Hasbro: “And Songbird!” Rep: “Who the hell is that? Is she in the picture?” Hasbro: “Well…” It’s yet another example of how Hasbro is treating this line as a labor of love and willing to take risks to get as many characters out to the fans as possible.

Marvel Legends: The Thing by Hasbro

Once again, I have to put the random Marvel Legends reviews on hold as I push a figure to the head of the line. And it should come as no surprise that I’m doing that for Ben Grimm. To know me is to know how much I adore the Fantastic Four. It’s that one comic that most captured my heart as a child and kept me coming back for more, right up until it was shit-canned over copyright-politics. Hopefully that’s getting hammered out now with the recent shifts in the big corporate landscape. But either way, I’ve dreamed about a Marvel Legends re-do of Marvel’s First Family ever since the line came back and now thanks to some exclusive releases through Walgreens, of all places, Ben Grimm marks the last release of the Marvel Legends Fantastic Four!

And oh man, I couldn’t be happier to be holding this. For the most part, finding the Walgreens exclusives hasn’t been too difficult for me. I was able to pick up most of them at the store around the corner from my home and a couple I grabbed off their website. Ben was a little tougher, but after hitting a Walgreens about ten minutes away, I believe I found a new untapped source because they had piles of Legends and quite a few of their past exclusives. I think a big reason finding this set me at ease is because I was afraid of how much I would have been willing to pay for it on the secondary market if it came to that. The packaging is the same as we’ve been getting all along, and Ben is quite possibly the largest figure I’ve seen crammed into one of these window boxes. Not to mention the extra parts really push that tray to its limits. There’s a Walgreens Exclusive sticker on the window and not much else to say, other than bye-bye to this packaging, because it’s clobbering time!

Here’s Ben out of the box and looking damned near perfect. When it comes to the sculpt here, there’s nothing at all for me to pick at. His costume consists only of his blue shorts with a black waistband and the rest of the figure is covered in glorious orange rock. The craggy skin is chock full of detail with an intricate network of crevices running between the rocky scales all picked out by a dark paint wash. The orange used for the skin is brilliant and combines with the blue shorts to make for a very colorful figure that looks like he just jumped out of a Marvel comic panel.

The Thing comes with two heads, both of which capture the character perfectly, complete with prominent craggy brow and baby blue eyes. The first head features a slightly neutral expression, although he still looks mildly pissed off. The second head is full on Clobbering Time with teeth exposed and a gaze that says he’s looking to do some damage. Honestly, I probably would have been perfectly happy with either head, and it’s a real treat that with all the original sculpting that went into this big boy, Hasbro still managed to sneak the extra portrait in there.

The same could be said for the extra set of hands. Ben comes with a set of fists and a set of open, clutching hands. Had they just mixed and matched these, I would have been fine with that, but the ability to swap out either or both is just a wonderful bonus. These also work well with the articulation for coming up with all sorts of clobbering poses. And if I had one thing about the figure that I absolutely had to nitpick, I would say that the rotating hinges in the elbows don’t offer the range of motion that double-hinges would have. Although, I will concede that the existing elbow points don’t interrupt the sculpt as much as the other option would have. Either way, it’s a compromise that I’ll happily accept.

Besides the elbows, the articulation here is right on par with most of Marvel Legends‘ big boys. The shoulders have rotating hinges, the wrists have hinged pegs. There are no bicep swivels, but that’s where the rotating hinge elbows come in. The torso features a swivel at the waist and a ball joint under the chest. The neck has both a hinge and a ball joint. Finally, the legs feature double hinges in the knees, swivels at the bottoms of the shorts, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles to help keep his big feets flat on the ground.

I try not to throw around the word “perfect” a lot when I talk about my toys, as it tends to cheapen the word, but I’m going to go ahead and roll it out for this review. I thing Hasbro did a fabulous job with The Thing. I’d like to think that’s not just my love of the comic and the character creating bias, but rather just recognition of a job well done. The sculpt and coloring are spot on and including the extra head and hands with what is already a big figure with so much new sculpting, well that just goes above and beyond!

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