Captain Marvel (Deluxe) Sixth-Scale Figure by Hot Toys

I’m really trying to commit to getting some of these Marvel Hot Toys figures reviewed on Marvel Mondays, but these take a lot more time than Legends reviews. Nonetheless, I was off this past weekend and a new Hot Toy arrived, so I thought I’d sneak this review into the mix for today. It was waaaaay back in February of 2019 that Hot Toys opened pre-orders for their Captain Marvel figure. I hit that pre-order button the day she went up and she just hit my doorstep this past Friday. Fifteen months later! Now, Hot Toys collecting has never been a game for those who lack patience, but that turn-around time was pretty ridiculous! Today I’ll be checking out the Deluxe version, which means there are a couple of extra accessories over the regular release.

The box art is very attractive, complete with a lenticular type front panel on the sleeve and shimmery letters. But it’s still just a flimsy window box with an equally flimsy sleeve. I’m sorry, but these figures are expensive and I don’t think the presentation is all it can be. And with rare exceptions, like Doctor Strange, it hasn’t been for a long while. Nonetheless, the figure comes in a plastic tray with a ton of extra bits and effect parts scattered around it. I should note that the February pre-order date meant that I bought this figure about a month before the Captain Marvel movie came out. And while I certainly didn’t hate the movie, I did think it was fairly disappointing. On a few occasions in the past, I’ve come out of Marvel movies buying the accompanying Hot Toys figures on my phone while walking to the car. Here, it kind of put a damper on this purchase. Still, in the end I absolutely loved the look of the costume, so I wasn’t about to cancel it. Besides, I wasn’t all that smitten with the Doctor Strange movie, and that remains one of my favorite Marvel Hot Toys figures in my collection. And in the end, when this figure showed up, I was still every bit as excited to check her out as I always am.

Carol comes out of the box with some plastic protectors her costume, but once that’s all removed she’s all ready to go! And damn, she does indeed look marvelous! The costume designers did such a beautiful job faithfully recreating her comic costume for the film, and likewise the wizards at Hot Toys did an equally impressive job creating it for this figure. The underlying suit is comprised of a super thin rubbery material, similar to what’s on my original Avengers Black Widow figure. But it’s also reinforced with plastic armor on the torso, shoulders, forearms, knees, and boots. What’s particularly impressive is how seamlessly they coexist, particularly the torso piece. It’s genuinely tough to tell where the armor ends and the flexible suit begins.

I just can’t say enough good things about how well the coloring on the costume turned out. It’s just pure eye candy. The blue and red have a sumptuously satin finish that pairs so well with the gold piping and trim. And I particularly love how the starburst on her chest turned out. Likewise, the stitching is immaculate and the suit is tailored so well that it looks like it’s practically painted onto the figure. And yes, that means it does hinder the articulation big time! I can get a decent range of motion out of her shoulders and elbows, but below the waist is limited because of how tight things are in the groin area. Even wide stances make me worried that I’m going to pop those stitches. When I get a figure like this, I tend to refer back to the official photos to see what the possibilities are and even those photos don’t go too far when it comes to dynamic leg movement.

While I’d be willing to say the costume is perfect, I can’t be quite that generous when it comes to the portrait. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful portrait and I can see a lot of Brie Larson in there, but I don’t think it’s one of their strongest likenesses. At some angles it’s great, but at others it’s a bit harder to see. I wasn’t all that satisfied with Ms. Larson in the role (although she grew on me a bit in Endgame), so this is one figure where I’m willing to be more forgiving on the likeness, maybe because it’s not as important to me. With all that having been said, the paintwork is as good as ever and the level of realism in the skin tone and the eyes is superb. As for the decision to go with sculpted hair, I think maybe they should have gone with rooted hair here. It’s kind of weird to stand her beside my other Marvel Hot Toys ladies, all of which have rooted hair, and see her plastic coif. Then again, I’ll likely be displaying her quite often with her masked head, which we’ll get to in a bit.

As a Hot Toys figure, you just know Carol comes with a lot of hands! Here you get fists, relaxed hands, a left STOP hand, and some gesturing hands. These are switched out in the usual manner by popping them off the ball joint, but since there’s a light up feature in her arms, the posts are fixed into the forearms. As a result, I find myself being extra careful swapping the hands. If the posts snap here, you’re pretty much shit out of luck. Each of the hands feature sculpted and painted red finger-less gloves with gold piping to match her forearm bracers.

And as mentioned earlier, in addition to the extra hands, you get an extra head. Using this one involves also swapping out the neck post from the bare neck to the covered one that goes with the mask. Her sculpted cowl covers all but the lower part of her face. There are all sorts of cut panel lines in the cowl as well as more of that pretty red and blue to match the rest of the uniform. Her mohawk sprouts from the top and is beautifully sculpted. And now it’s time to turn down the lights a little bit so we can enjoy some of the light up features, this figure has to offer.

The head features a swap-out mohawk, which is molded in translucent yellow plastic, and an electronic box inside the head, powered with three cell batteries. One of Hot Toys’ biggest stumbling blocks over the years has been making the electronic features of their figures more accessible. Here, it’s not too bad. Buy lifting off the head you get access to the on/off switch on the back of the box. A remote control would have been better, but I like that it can be done without even picking up the figure or taking her off her stand. The light up effect in the mohawk is very bright and it looks great, but it’s the eyes that really sell it here for me.

Carol also features a light up feature in her arms, which works in conjunction with a number of effect parts and a pair of arm bracers cast in brighter plastic to make them look like they’re channeling energy. Again, accessing the feature here isn’t too bad, and since you’ve got to swap out the fists anyway you’ll have access to the on/off buttons. First off, she has a pair of translucent fists, which light up brilliantly.

These can also be used with translucent blue energy effects that fit over the bracers. I’m not terribly impressed by these. The sculpts actually make them look more like foliage than energy. They kind of remind me of bigger versions of the effect parts you might find with a Marvel Legends figure. I doubt I will get much use out of these.

A much nicer effect are these energy fireballs, which snap on in place of the fists. I love the swirling sculpt on these and they’re cast in a mix of clear and yellow plastic, and if you look closely you can see that they sculpted the translucent blue fists in the center of them.  These are easily my favorite effect parts that come with the figure, and I think they look cool enough even without the lights, that I would consider sometimes displaying her with these on.

Finally, she comes with two huge mega-beams, which also attach in place of fists. I only attached one for the photos because the two of them make her top heavy and I’m not too keen on these either. The light up feature on these works well, but they’re kind of ridiculous. They’re basically hollow tubes of blasting energy. I don’t recall these being listed in the solicitation pictures so they were a total surprise to me. They definitely add value to the box, because they use a hell of a lot of plastic, but I just don’t think the effect works all that well. OK, let’s turn the lights back up and check out the accessories that are exclusive to the Deluxe version.

The first of the two Deluxe accessories is her leather bomber jacket, which fits right over her costume and is surprisingly easy to put on. The only thing to watch out for here is her sculpted hair, as the ends can be a little sharp and I can imagine it damaging the jacket if you aren’t careful, especially when turning her head. I also remove her arm bracers when she’s wearing the jacket, as it just makes it easier to put on. The jacket is a beautiful little garment and tailored to fit perfectly. It’s got soft elastic material around the lower edge and the wrist cuffs, a large patch on the back, a name patch on the front left of her chest, and an American flag patch on the left shoulder. I think this looks fabulous on the figure, and I’ll likely be displaying her with it when I’m using the unmasked head.

The other Deluxe accessory is Goose the Flerken! To know me is to know that I’m a cat lover and I’m very happy that Goose got a figure of his own. It’s an adorable little static figure that features some great attention to detail, like the collar and name tag, and some good coloring, but Hot Toys had better not quit their day job of sculpting human likenesses. The painted details on the face here look almost cartoonish and I get no sense of realism from any aspect of this little guy. I’m still happy to display him with the figure, but if you’re considering getting the Deluxe for Goose, I’d take this into consideration before spending a lot.

And our last stop on this review is the figure stand. The base remains the same seven-sided platform that Hot Toys has been using for Marvel for a little while now. The surface has a colorful illustration of the movie logo along with the starburst from Carol’s chest piece. I’m usually fine with them leaving the base plain black, but I’ll confess I do like the colors here a lot. The name plate also stands out, and they go with the name Carol Danvers instead of as Spider-Man would say, her made-up name. Instead of the usual plastic post and crotch-cradle, the stand here is a thick flexible tube with a clamp that grabs the figure’s waist. It can be adjusted up or down so that she can be displayed standing or hovering.

While I’ve had some nitpicks along the way, I have to say I’m extremely pleased with how this figure turned out. And despite not being a huge fan of the movie, I’m still just as excited as ever to put Captain Marvel on my shelf. This is just one of those figures that pops out at me even among all the other colorful Marvel characters in my Hot Toys display. And at about $260, this figure feels like one of the better values I’ve had in a Hot Toys lately. Besides the amazing work they did on the costume, you get a second portrait, light up effects in the head and arms, four sets of effect parts, the bomber jacket, and a Flerken. And yeah, Goose didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, but if I remember correctly, they the Jones figure that got bundled with Aliens Ripley didn’t turn out so hot either. Maybe Hot Toys just has problems with cats.

Miss Jones (Netflix Jessica Jones) Sixth-Scale Figure by Toys Works

I can hardly afford it because of my backlog, but I decided it was time to start mixing up Marvel Mondays with something other than Marvel Legends, and today I’m venturing into uncharted territory. Much like that illicit underground third-party Not-Transformers market (which is so underground you can buy them on just about any reputable online toy retailer) the Sixth-Scale action figure market also has its own copyright-bending thing going on. These rebel companies, seated in their secret hideouts deep in the East, turn out figures that are clearly based on popular franchises, with likenesses of famous actors. And it’s not all about raping other people’s copyrights for a quick buck. Nah, in a lot of cases, like today’s review, it’s about getting figures into the hands of collectors, that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Oh, and yeah… it’s also about raping other peoples’ copyrights for a quick buck. Hot Toys stepped up and gave us Netflix versions of The Punisher and Daredevil, but sadly they stopped there. And that brings us to Toys Works’ Miss Jones, a figure that steps up to fill a slot that Hot Toys failed to. Let’s take a look at Not-Jessica!

The box is suggestive of some tough times ahead. It’s totally utilitarian and in some ways rather humorous with it’s curious translations. The artwork is pretty faint, so much so that it’s hard to make out. The bottom of the front panel shows a cluttered desk and the back is a monochrome illustration of Miss Jones with her camera. The bulk of the box is a crossword puzzle of words, including gems like eye infidelity and woman lifestyle other odd throwaways include frustration, talking, and hat. All things that instantly come to mind when thinking about the Jessica Jones Netflix series! Only not at all. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, because once upon a time you’d be lucky to get a bootleg figure like this wrapped like a fish in old Chinese newspapers. Suffice it to say, the box here is totally serviceable and nothing more. The figure comes ready for display, so let’s check her out.

Jessica dons her trademark outfit, consisting of a pair of faded blue jeans, a tan T-shirt, black leather jacket, gray scarf, and black boots. The costume fits the figure very well and avoids that puffy look that we sometimes get with sixth-scale costumes when not done by Hot Toys or Sideshow (I’m looking at you, Big Chief!). Starting below the waist, the jeans feature immaculate white stitching, belt loops, and functional pockets! There are even tiny silver rivets on the back pockets. The boot feet, include sculpted laces up the sides, silver painted buckles, and even sculpted treads on the soles.

Above the waist, the shirt is snug enough to show off that she has an anatomically correct chest (more on that in a bit!), and it’s sleeveless like a tank-top, although It’s intended to be a full shirt. The leather jacket is nicely tailored with more of that tight stitching. The zipper is just painted on, and I’m fine with that. The lapels on the collar tend to jut out a bit, but not too bad. I may be tempted to pin these down at some point. The scarf is a loop of gray cloth and she also has a finger-less cloth glove on her left hand, which I discarded because it didn’t fit right. So all in all the outfit is solid enough, but it just lacks that extra filter of realism that the Sixth-Scale big dogs manages to achieve. It looks like well-made action figure clothes and not shrunken down real people clothes that we get from the experts.

The portrait is nothing special, but considering the source, I’m not totally hating it either. It’s obviously far from a dead ringer for Kristen Ritter, but there’s enough in there, at least from certain angles, that with the context of the outfit it manages to get by. It’s far from what I’m used to seeing in this scale, but much better than I would have expected from a third-party sculpt. Likewise, the paint is pretty good too. The eyes have a little of that spark of life and the eyebrows and lips are neatly painted and not overstated. The rooted hair falls naturally around the face, but it requires a lot of futzing to get it under control, and even then I’m not always successful. I’ll concede that I’m not doing this portrait any favors shooting under bright studio lights, but in hand and on the shelf, it looks a bit better.

The body isn’t a Phicen-style, at least not completely. The torso does feature the silicone-type skin, which means it does feel like real skin and it’s all sorts of squishy. The arms and legs, however, are hard plastic and feature what appear to be double-hinges in the knees and elbows, rotating hinges in the shoulders, and possibly ball joints or rotating hinges in the hips. With a costume like this, the figure doesn’t lose anything by going jointed rather than seamless. The body-type suits the character quite nicely and she scales pretty well next to my Hot Toys Daredevil. The wrists consist of the usual pegs and she has a total of three sets of hands to choose from.

Toy Works did not exactly weigh this figure down with a plethora of accessories. Indeed, she only comes with two: A satchel and a camera. The satchel is quite nice and features a canvas-like material and working straps. It fits over her shoulder and looks great on the figure.

The camera is just a hunk of sculpted plastic, but it looks good and features some printing on it to add detail to the sculpt. Her hands don’t seem to be made expressly for it, but they do work with it. One thing to note, the wrist pegs aren’t all that secure and sometimes they pop out when I’m trying to get her to hold stuff.

The biggest omission when it comes to accessories is booze. Fortunately, there are plenty of options online for Sixth-Scale liquor and beer bottles, so I was able to set her up with some libations. Just keep in mind that they aren’t included with the figure. A stand, however, is included and it’s the generic crotch-cradle type that Hot Toys used to use. There’s no branding on it at all.

With the Marvel Netflix Universe either done or in limbo, it didn’t seem likely that we were going to get a proper Jessica Jones from Hot Toys, so I was more than willing to take a chance with Toys Works’ version. On the one hand, I’m OK with what I got, but I don’t think I’ll be doing this again, unless I’m really desperate to put a particular neglected character on my shelf. The weakest thing here is easily the portrait, but it’s still fairly tolerable to me. Still, here’s a lesson as to why license approval is so important with those official figures. In the end, this one reminds me a lot of the early Sideshow stuff. At the time, those figures were amazing, but they haven’t aged well among the current competition. Miss Jones is almost there, but not quite.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Yondu Udonta 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

The only real gripes I had with Hot Toys over their Guardians of the Galaxy line (besides how long it took to get Drax) was the conspicuous absence of both Yondu and Nebula. I get it that Hot Toys has to be careful when banking on releasing second or third tier characters, but then this is also the company that released a Stormtrooper with a porcelain china pattern. Sure, it was just a repaint and not something where likenesses had to be licensed and sculpted, but my point is they’re willing to take risks. And when Guardians 2 hit and both Yondu and Nebula had even more screen time and much bigger roles, I was sure they’d finally get the Hot Toys treatment. Well, so far I was half right. Yondu arrives based on his appearance in the second film, and it’s a good thing too, because with the way things went in that flick, there wasn’t going to be any more opportunities. But let me get off that topic before I start tearing up.

Behold! The packaging! After some flimsy window boxes covered with even flimsier sleeves, it’s nice to see Hot Toys stepping it up on their packaging. Yondu comes in a shoebox style affair illustrated with the console of The Milano’s tape deck and with a profile shot of Yondu painted on the speaker. The tape door is a window showing Awesome Mix Tape, Vol 2, which is illustrated on the inside insert. It’s a great looking box that shows off a little more thought and craft in the presentation then I feel like we’ve been getting from Hot Toys lately. Under the lid and the illustrated insert Yondu comes on a plastic tray surrounded by his many accessories and extras. Apart from clipping off some protective plastic, he’s pretty much ready to go right out of the box, so let’s check him out…

Yondu comes wearing his patchwork Ravager outfit and boy this must have been like a playground for Hot Toys’ talented tailors and craftsmen. There’s so much personality in this wardrobe and I had a great time going over every little detail of it as soon as I got the figure out of the box. The sleeveless trenchcoat has a leather-like texture with various other materials patched in here and there. I particularly like the triangular scale pattern that makes up the back of the shoulders. There are brass eyelets, straps and hooks that hilariously seem to serve no purpose, and lots of little weathered effects, all of which show what a labor of love these figures are to the people who craft them. Thankfully, Yondu’s outfit hasn’t changed much since the first movie, which means this figure fits nicely in with my Hot Toys Guardians line up.

Some additional highlights include the darts lined up on the right shoulder strap, and the Ravager emblem that he wears on the left side of the jacket’s chest. Under the jacket, he has a long sleeved shirt with a fastening front flap that reminds me of some kind of 19th Century Gentlemen’s outfit straight out of The Old West. The garment has an interesting pattern of purple ovoid loops against a red backdrop, which displays some remarkable attention to detail and craftsmanship. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of red, purple, and brown trousers, high boots, and a scarf tied neatly around his neck.

Yondu has a wrist bracer on his right arm, which also houses a removable throwing knife. I don’t remember this even being featured in either of the films, but it’s damn cool that Hot Toys included it as an actual accessory. He also has a couple of left hands that can hold it quite well. Other hands include a couple of fists, relaxed hands, and a right hand intended for holding back the flap of his coat.

At this point, it should go without saying that Hot Toys’ likenesses are almost always on point, and that’s certainly the case here. Michael Rooker has been sculpted by a number of different toy companies over the years, but I’d say this is one of the best portraits I’ve seen. The shade of blue they used for the skin looks just right, and somehow they still manage to make the skin look realistic, despite being such an outlandish color. You get some veins running under the skin, as well as what I think is supposed to be scarring from his time spent as a Kree Battle Slave. Of course, the eyes feature that same eerily lifelike quality that it seems like only Hot Toys can do. I also really dig the realism of the whiskers on his chin, they just look fantastic. Hot Toys went for a fairly neutral expression, which was probably a smart move to allow for a versatility of display options, but this is one figure that I would have loved to see an extra portrait for, either whistling for his arrow or smiling and showing off his rather distinctive teeth! And as we’ll see in a bit, I would have easily traded the Deluxe accessories for an extra Yondu noggin.

And yes, he comes with his fin, which is easily swapped out as both pieces are magnetic and both of them have sculpted and painted circuitry on the inside where it connects to his head. The fin is pretty much the key item for changing Yondu from a first movie appearance to a Vol. 2 appearance. And while I really do love the way the fin looks, chances are I’m going to stick with the look from the first film as it just fits in better with the Guardians on my shelf. Moving on to accessories… well, Yondu may not have a talking car like Zardu Hasselfrau, but he does come with a flying arrow.

Yondu’s belt features a holster for his Yaka Arrow and he actually comes with two: One is just the plain arrow and the other is attached to an effect part, which tabs into two other effect parts to create it’s flying effect. The plastic trail is cast in fairly soft translucent pink plastic, which allows for a little bit of variety to the poses you can do, but it’s mainly intended to fly up from the holster, circle behind his head and pass over the left shoulder. I think the effect is well done, but I also think it would have been cool to get a couple more pieces of it to better mix up the display. Thankfully, Yondu does come with a pair of hands for holding the arrow and that helps support it when it’s hovering over his shoulder. So, what else is in the box?

How about an angry Attacking Baby Groot with stretching arm tendrils? This is a tiny static figure, but oh boy is it a fantastic little sculpt. The detail from the wood grain finish to Groot’s skin to the texturing on his little Ravager outfit. Even the paint apps on the zipper are so crisp and clear and the expression on his little face is perfect. I think it’s great that Hot Toys puts so much effort into such a little extra. The figure comes with a simple black disc stand with pegs for the feet, and it’s pretty essential because he will not stand on his own. And that’s it for the accessories included with the regular edition of the figure, which just leaves the extra goodies included with The Deluxe version. And DX Yondu does indeed come with some cool extras, but they’re all solid examples of what I would consider non-essentials, especially if you don’t own the Rocket figure from the second movie, because one (perhaps you could argue two) of these accessories are intended for him.

First off, we have the Groot cage. Yes, you can put the Baby Groot that came with Yondu in here, but because he’s attacking with his arms it looks a little odd. Clearly, this cage was intended for the Baby Groot that came with Rocket. Although that one is also wearing the Ravager outfit, which is a little out of context from the scene in the movie. Either way, it’s kind of a dick move to switch up the Baby Groots like that, since there has got to be other collectors out there like me who are happy sticking with their Rocket from the first movie. It feels like a strategy designed to make me want the other Rocket and indeed Sideshow even cross-sells Vol. 2 Rocket as a companion piece to Yondu on their website. Ah, but you won’t get me that easily, Hot Toys. I’ll just topple the cage on its side with an open door and have Baby Groot standing in front of it, like he’s just escaped and is out for blood! Of course there’s no beating around the bush with the next accessory… it’s straight up an accessory for Rocket.

It’s Rocket’s blaster and this one I really do have to call bullshit on because it has nothing to do with Yondu. Plus, with how small Rocket is, there’s no reason Hot Toys couldn’t have included this with Vol. 2 Rocket. I get that Yondu and Rocket were paired up for part of the movie, but including this piece with Yondu just feels wrong. That’s not to say I mind getting it, because it works just fine with my Rocket from the first movie. It’s a beautiful little weapon too, but I prefer the far more distinctive design of his rifle from the first flick. So, two DX accessories both designed to go with Rocket. Are any of the DX extras designed for Yondu? Yep, I saved the best for last…

The Aero Rig! This chest harness is made up of front and back pieces, which attach around the figure. The detail and paintwork on this rig are both exceptional, with a nice metallic silver finish and satin black and copper touches. The jet tubes feature sculpted vents and a little weathering where the flame shoots out. It’s worth noting, however, that the rig is made of extremely fragile plastic. Just getting it apart to put it on the figure was a little scary and getting it apart again to take off was even more so, because you can’t get at the fragile clips on the interior of the shoulder straps. I’d also advise against displaying the figure with it for extended periods because it will probably put some troublesome wrinkles in the jacket. Another cool bonus is it looks like it should have no problem fitting Star-Lord. It might fit Drax too, but I don’t want to mess with his sensitive nipples. It’s not something I’m going to use a lot, but I do like having the option, and Hot Toys put a lot of great work into it.

With Yondu I feel a sense of closure on this journey that started back in 2015 with Star-Lord. I suppose there’s always a chance we might still get a Mantis and Nebula release from Infinity War, and I’d jump on either of those releases, but I still feel content with the lineup I have now. Although part of me is still considering the Rocket and Teen Groot two-pack. Anyway, I jumped on Yondu at Sideshow the moment he went up for pre-order and I’m glad I did, because he went to Wait List pretty quickly and sold out at a lot of other retailers just as fast. Right now he seems to be pushing $300+ on Ebay. But was the extra thirty or so dollars for the Deluxe worth it? Eh. I’m almost always willing to pop the extra money for the Deluxe version, but here’s an example where I would not have minded sticking with the regular release if I had to. Either way, I’m just glad to have the figure because it turned out amazing and it’s every bit as fine a tribute to the character as a full-blown Ravager Funeral.

Doctor Stephen Strange 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Wasn’t it cool seeing Stephen Strange in Thor: Ragnarok? Not only was he a great little addition to that film, but his appearance makes my long overdue review of Hot Toys’ Sixth-Scale Doctor Strange figure a little less out-of-date. It also proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt how much I love the portrayal of Strange in the MCU while not really loving the Doctor Strange movie. Oh, I enjoyed it well enough, but it didn’t quite have the “Wow, I want to see this over and over again” feeling I get from most of the other MCU films. It was a solid origin story, but I felt that the Inception-style effects didn’t really fit, and they sure leaned heavy on that. Now with all that having been said, there were two things I did absolutely adore about the movie: The casting and the costume design. Benedict Cumberbatch was born to play the role of Stephen Strange, and seeing him in Ragnarok just cemented that feeling for me. Likewise, they really nailed his costume perfectly, probably better than any other MCU character to date. There was never any doubt for me that this character needed a space of honor on my Marvel Hot Toys shelves. Let’s check this guy out!

Hot Toys has not really been wowing me with their presentation lately, so it’s nice to see them change things up just a bit with this figure. At heart, it’s still the same old window box wrapped in an illustrated sleeve that we usually get, but they had some fun with this one. The sleeve is a trippy kaleidoscope of images from the film that reflects the infinite reaches of the various dimensions and plains of existence available to The Sorcerer Supreme. The center has a circle set in an angled square, which can be turned to unlock the sleeve and open it to reveal the window box inside. It’s a simple little gimmick, but it goes a long way to show me that Hot Toys wanted to deliver a little something extra for this release, and I can appreciate that. Inside the box, the figure comes on a standard molded plastic tray with his myriad of accessories laid out around him, and I have to say, this guy really does come with a lot of great stuff! Let’s start out with the base figure and a few of those accessories…

As I already mentioned, I think the movie nailed Strange’s costume design perfectly and that gave Hot Toys a lot to work with when tailoring the costume for this figure. The tunic features a finely crafted set of pleats on the front and it fits the figure perfectly, even when draped over the long-sleeved shirt and trousers. The stitching is immaculate and the combination of vibrant and darker blue material looks quite striking. The fabric arm bracers feature a Nepali flair, complete with fringe coming off the backs. As great as the costume looks, it’s also not terribly restrictive, making Doctor Strange a pretty fun figure to play with and pose. Everything about this costume is rich with love and attention to detail!

The boots include sculpted stitching, treads on the soles, and sculpted laces. They also include cloth wraps made of the same vibrant blue material as the tunic. You also get some braided Nepali loops and fringe. The boots are sculpted in one piece, which means the ankle hinges in the underlying body are completely hindered. Hot Toys still seems to be waffling back and forth over whether or not to put ankle joints in the boots. They did it with both Daredevil and The Punisher, but here they didn’t. I’m not too upset about that, because the added articulation would probably have messed up the cloth wraps over time, but it does mean that his feet won’t be flat on the ground in those wide stances.

The elaborate belt is a real showpiece on this figure and as much a part of the costume’s magnificence than anything else. It’s actually a network of belts! First, you get the wide belt, dare I call it a “Cumberbund?” This piece is made of a leather-like material with some excellent stitching and texture. On top of that you get two woven belts with sculpted plastic loops. There are two larger circular fixtures, one on the front, positioned near his left hip, and one on the back, and on the back, the belts terminate into a glorious fringe. Below all that are two narrower leather-like belts. I never thought I could get all worked up over belt designs, but these are just amazing and they all conspire to give Strange a smart and trim look.

The belt includes a few loops, which can be used to hang the included Sling Ring. I should say Sling Rings, plural, because you get two of them. It’s been a while since I saw the film, but I thought he only had one. At first, I considered maybe Hot Toys included an extra in case you lose one, but in the instructions, they show where to hang both on the belt. Either way, I’m only going to display him with one, and not in the spot where the instructions say to put it. I’m a rebel!

In addition to the Sling Rings, the Eye of Agamotto is also included to accessorize Strange’s wardrobe. You get two of these powerful amulets, one with the Eye open and one with it closed. Contrary to what was seen in the film, I’m opting to display him with the open Eye. Both pieces hang on red and black string and they each feature some beautiful sculpting as well as a nice mix of gold and copper paint. The opened Eye is painted with a vibrant metallic green to give it an almost ethereal glow.

And that brings us to the portrait and it’s pretty fantastic. Cumberbatch is certainly a distinctive looking fellow, and I have to imagine that makes it easier to sculpt a recognizable license. This makes two excellent Sixth-Scale Cumberbatch portraits on the market, the other being set atop Big Chief’s Sherlock Holmes figure. Of course, Hot Toys goes above and beyond by creating likenesses with a spark of life and I think they’ve done a bang up job with it here. As usual, the skin texturing and paint is very realistic and the paintwork they do for the eyes continues to astound me, even with so many of these figures on my shelves. Hot Toys hasn’t always been able to work their magic with facial hair, but in this case I think they nailed it. The goatee is both convincing and immaculate. The hair sculpt gives him those distinctive high bangs, and the paint showing the graying “wings” on the sides of his hair is spot on. I couldn’t have asked for a better portrait!

Of course, you can’t have Doctor Strange without his Cloak of Levitation and here’s another piece of the costume that Hot Toys went crazy on. The checkered lining looks both ornate and ancient at the same time, and the patchwork nature of the outside of the cloak matches the on screen costume beautifully. There’s also a generous wire running throughout that allows you to pose it as if it has a mind of its own. The only issue I had with the Cloak is the popped collar. It looked so crisp and perfect in Hot Toys’ official prototype shots and in person not so much. Now granted, the softer style allows the collar to be displayed up or folded down, as he wore both looks in the film, but since I’ll likely be displaying him with the collar up all of the time, I would have liked it to be a little more stiff. Maybe starch would help, but I doubt I’ll risk it. The cloak features some sculpted and painted ornamental plastic pieces just below the collar and it’s worn, quite securely, simply by folding it around the figure’s shoulders and neck.

All Hot Toys figures come with a collection of extra hands, but it’s hard to think of a character where they were more important than with Strange. Not only is the entire driving force of the movie centered on his hands, but hand gestures are the key to his powers, and so you get plenty of options here! The hand sockets can be a bit tight, and this is one instance where I found it useful to remove the wrist peg from the arm, then swap out the hand and put the peg back in. Also, the Sling Ring can easily be placed on the fingers of one of the left hands.

Strange also comes with a couple of sets of effect parts. Now, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of these with Hot Toys figures. No matter how well they’re done, I think that they tend to look rather fake when compared to the lifelike qualities of the figure. This was definitely the case with Scarlet Witch’s hex effects, and it’s more or less true here as well. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they include these, as they can be fun to play around with, but they still feel like better quality versions of something packed in with a Marvel Legends.

The first set consists of a pair of neon green rings and a mandala piece for the hand. The rings go over the forearm and the mandala has two grooves for his fingers. It doesn’t attach very firmly, instead it more or less hangs there, but I didn’t have any trouble with it staying on for the pictures. The sculpting on these pieces is quite nice, and given the right lighting, the plastic does give off a bit of a glow. Again, this is a cool bonus, but not something that really blows me away.

The other effect set includes these two large mandala shields, which have similar notches in the back for the fingers. These hold in place a lot better than the smaller green disk, and overall I like the look of these more. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re more iconic or because the coloring is better, but I think these look great. Will I display him with these? Probably not, but they’re nice to have.

Easily my favorite accessory in the box is The Codex Imperium. Not only do I have a thing for antique books, but the detail Hot Toys packed into this little Sixth-Scale edition is mind-blowing. It’s a real book with a working catch. It can be opened and the individual pages can be turned, all of which include tiny printing and illustrations. Talk about going above and beyond!

Hot Toys has been making a habit of including illustrated backdrops with some of their figures lately. We saw this most recently with Daredevil and The Punisher. Doctor Strange comes with a larger tri-fold backdrop. It looks nice, it works pretty well for pictures, but it’s not really big enough to frame the figure very well, especially not with Strange’s billowing cloak.

Also in the box is the same style of large stand that I last saw way back with Falcon from Winter Soldier. In fact, it’s the same stand with just a different graphic on the face and a different name plate on the front. Just like Falcon’s stand, it features a spring-loaded claw to grasp the figure around the waist, but instead of the flexible post, it comes with an acrylic one to simulate Strange levitating. This is a ton of fun to mess around with, and I appreciate the added value and gravitas that this stand brings to the table, but just like the Falcon stand, it’s too big for my display shelf, so Stephen will have to go on a generic stand for now.

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty smitten with this figure, and I’m probably not the only one. Not a lot of Hot Toys figures sell out quickly these days, but Doctor Strange is one that went to the dreaded Waitlist on Sideshow pretty damn fast. He’s also sold out at most major online retailers. And it’s easy to see why. At $235, Strange is easily one of the best values I’ve seen out of Hot Toys in a while. Between the over-the-top craftsmanship and detailing in the costume, to the generous helping of extras and the elaborate stand, this is one release that I didn’t have to scrutinize in order to see where the money went. Additionally, Marvel Studios nailed the outfit straight out of the gate, so it’s hard for me to imagine there will be a lot of changes for future appearances. And even if they do change up the costume, this is most certainly the iconic look for the character, and most definitely the one I wanted on my shelf.

Marvel Netflix: The Punisher 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

Welcome to the first Marvel Monday of 2018. I planned well enough as to end last year between waves of Marvel Legends so that I could get caught up on some other stuff before jumping into the next one. And what better way to kick off the new year by bringing in the heavy guns: Hot Toys and Frank Castle! While The Punisher has since had his own excellent series on Netflix, this figure is based on his appearance in Daredevil, Season 2. So, let’s jump right in and check out Hot Toys’ second release from the Netflix Marvel Universe! “One batch, two batch. Penny and Dime!”

The package is pretty uniform to what we got with Daredevil. The front of the sleeve has a shot of the figure and, like the Daredevil box, you also get some braille printed on the front. It’s the same old big window box under that illustrated sleeve with layered plastic trays holding the figure and accessories. And yes, I say this just about every time, but I feel like Hot Toys could put a little more something into these boxes. They look great, they get the job done, but they feel rather flimsy.

That’s especially a problem when Sideshow persists on shipping them in a mailer box with no extra packing or protection. Now, I’ve received dozens of figures from Sideshow without any problems, but this was the time my luck ran out and the mailer took some hits and it crunched the box. Thankfully, nothing inside was damaged. I really only keep these boxes to store accessories or in case, God help me, the day ever comes where I need to think about selling some, but it’s still annoying that a business that specializes in high end collectibles doesn’t understand the importance of keeping the boxes in good condition. If I order the same figure from another big online retailer, I pay less for shipping and get it sent to me packed within another box. In the end, it’s just a question of whether its worth the risk for Sideshow Reward Points and the ability to use Flex Pay. So far it has been, but a few more arriving like this one and I may have to rethink that.

Frank comes out of the box ready for action, wearing his tactical vest, complete with his trademark skull emblem, a black t-shirt, black trousers, and combat boots. There’s more wardrobe to come in the way of his leather jacket, but I thought we’d have a look at the figure this way before gearing him all up. Obviously, the arms feature regular jointing, as opposed to the seamless rubber-covered arms that Hot Toys sometimes uses. I’m OK, with this, mainly because I don’t plan on displaying him without his jacket on. Even still, it was probably the way to go, as many collectors (but not me) have had bad experiences with the durability of Hot Toys’ seamless bodies. It’s also worth noting that the boots are sculpted in two pieces to allow for ankle joints. This is something Hot Toys seems to be doing more frequently, and I’m very happy about that.

In terms of the outfit, I’d classify it as a case of simple perfection. There’s nothing here to really tax the tailors at Hot Toys, but what is here is all executed with precision. The stitching is all immaculate, the vest fits the figure perfectly and includes all sorts of nylon straps to hold it in place. I really love the way they executed the skull emblem on the vest. I was afraid they were going to make it too bold, but I think the uneven application came out really well. I’ll also happily note that Castle is one of the more playable Hot Toys figures I’ve had in a while. There’s no really fragile bits to the costume, the short sleeves allow for plenty of arm articulation (even if the elbows don’t bend quite far enough for my tastes), and the pants are loose enough so as not to impede leg articulation, but not so loose that they look baggy. It would have been cool to get some shotgun shells to put into the loops of his vest, but as we’ll see he doesn’t come with a shotgun, so they wouldn’t have made sense. Besides, I’m sure I can pick some up from one of the many sixth-scale figure armories out there.

The head sculpt is absolutely fantastic, and while that’s nothing new for Hot Toys, I think this is truly one of their best efforts. It probably didn’t hurt that Jon Bernthal is a pretty distinctive looking fellow, but I don’t want to take anything away from the wizards at Hot Toys who sculpt and paint these portraits. The likeness is certainly there, and the lifelike realism in the skin tone and the eyes is fantastic. I’m particularly impressed with the way they handled the transition of his haircut and the paint on his whiskers. The wound under his right eye was a really nice touch too. Some folks might have preferred a completely clean and undamaged portrait, but I think the cut adds to the character and personality of the piece. About the only thing to nitpick here is that with the clean shaven neck, the seam between the head and neck is extra obvious, but even Phicen’s best seamless bodies haven’t been able to crack that nut yet, so it’s easy to give it a pass.

Naturally, The Punisher comes with a full array of extra hands to assist with his punishing. These include a pair of fists, relaxed hands, slightly less relaxed hands, gun holding hands with trigger fingers, and enclosed finger gripping hands. They’re all pretty easy to swap in and out, and you also get an extra pair of posts in case something goes horribly wrong. Let’s move on to accessories!

Before I get Frank suited up with his jacket, let’s check out two of the smaller accessories. First up, he comes with this combat knife and sheath. These are pretty typical, but solid accessories. The enclosed gripping hands work really well for holding the knife. The craftsmanship on the sheath is particularly nice. The problem here is that I can’t really find anywhere to have him wear it. The sheath features a belt loop, and there really isn’t a good place that I can see on him to loop it through. I may wind up just shoving the knife into his boot and putting the sheath aside, or hunting down a tactical rig with a belt to put it on.

Next up, he comes with a S&W M327 Performance Center TRR8 revolver. This was the weapon that he brandished when he had Daredevil chained up on the roof. I love the design of this little guy. It’s such a distinctive design, especially with the scope rails on the top of the casing. In addition to the incredible detail of this piece, it’s fully articulated, so you can actually open the cylinder and see the tiny bullets in the chambers. On the downside, the pistol does not come with a holster or anywhere to place it on his person, so it’s probably going to have to spend most of its time in the box. Alright, let’s get Frank Castle fully suited up and check out the big guns.

The leather jacket is pretty easy to put on and it fits the figure beautifully. The stitching is perfect, and it has wires along the bottom so you can pose it billowing out behind him. It also has the extra effect of covering the jointing in his arms, if they bother you. Personally, this was always the way I was going to go for displaying him. It just looks great.

Next up is the Barrett MRAD Sniper Rifle, and again this is an absolutely gorgeous sculpt. It includes a removable magazine with the tiny painted bullets visible inside. It has a sliding scope, a folding stock, and working bolt action. But let’s face it, pistols and sniper rifles are seldom enough for Frank Castle. And when you need to really clear the bastards out of the room, that’s when you bring a minigun!

Say hello to six rotating barrels of 7.62mm hot justice! The M134 Minigun is what really drives the accessory score through the roof. This big beauty is full of detail, features a hand grip on the back and a grab bar on the top. The ammo belt is detachable and pegs securely into a slot in the side. This is what you might call an attention-getter. And for me, it really silences any cries about whether or not there should have been more guns packed into this box. I can pick up sixth-scale guns anywhere, but I think it would be hard to find something this cool to outfit him with. This is the baby that Frank’s going to be displayed with on my shelf.

One last accessory is the damaged version of Daredevil’s mask. It’s beautifully made and features the cracked plate on the front. I like it, but I probably would have preferred another gun in lieu of this piece. I doubt I’ll ever display him holding it, but I might just rest it on the stand between his feet. And speaking of stands…

Frank comes with the same basic stand as Daredevil did. It even has the same nameplate that reads Daredevil instead of The Punisher. I get it, they went for the Series title instead of character names, but I’ve never seen Hot Toys do that before so it feels a little out of place here. The surface of the base looks like wet pavement, and you get an illustrated cardboard standee to place behind the stand as a backdrop, which is pretty cool. The Punisher’s stand is also compatible with the extra diorama pieces that came with Daredevil.

While the Hot Toys Daredevil was a very solid figure that felt a little light for the price point, The Punisher here feels right on target. With an MSRP of $235, he was priced at only $5 more than Matt Murdock, but in addition to being a fantastic figure, this also feels like a more well-rounded package for the price. Sure, it’s true that you can almost never get enough guns with a Punisher figure, and I would have loved to have a few more, but we still got a nice selection of some pretty spectacular little firearms and the minigun is a damn fine showpiece for the collection. The pink Ruger would have made a nice exclusive bonus, but I have to remind myself that this release was based on Daredevil and not his own series. Regardless, I’m really impressed with the job Hot Toys did here and I am really satisfied with this purchase. Now bring on Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, please!

Marvel Netflix: Daredevil 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

2017 has been a slow one for me with Hot Toys. I’ve only reviewed a couple this year (Finn from The Force Awakens and Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy), and I’ll probably only get to one or two more before the year turns over. That’s not to say I’m not still interested. I actually have two currently on pre-order now, and I’m still trying to crunch some numbers and see if I can swing a few more I’m eyeing up. It’s a tough line to budget responsibly and they sure aren’t getting any cheaper, but that’s part of what makes it so special when a new one shows up. Today’s figure is especially cool, because it’s Hot Toys’ first crack at a character from one of Marvel’s Netflix series: Matt Murdock as The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen! I just call him Daredevil. It’s coo. We tight like that.

Hot Toys presentation isn’t what it used to be. The days of magnet secured wraparounds and high quality boxes have given way to flimsier pedestrian window boxes in illustrated sleeves. Scaling back the presentation has been going on for a while now, so I’ve learned to temper my expectations. Granted, to me the boxes are mainly just a place to keep the extra bits, but when you’re paying a lot for a figure, it’s nice to get a little something special in the presentation. Now, with that having been said, Daredevil’s box is pretty attractive and they actually put his name in braille on the front, which I thought was a clever touch. Inside, the figure comes on a tray with his extras laid out in compartments around him. There’s also quite a few pieces for the stand, more than usual, but I’ll get to that towards the end of the review.

I was extremely pleased with the design of Murdock’s suit in the series. It pays respect to the comic while still giving it that realistic, tactical feel that these live action comic book adaptations need. And as usual, Hot Toys has done some pretty solid work reproducing the costume here in all its sixth-scale glory. The suit features a mix of red textured material with black and red reinforced plates on the chest and shoulders, as well as black reinforced patches on the elbows. You also get some strategically placed silver rivets. The trousers have hard plastic knee pads, and the boots feature sculpted laces and treads in the soles, and are sculpted in two pieces to allow for articulation in the ankles, which is something that I wish Hot Toys would standardize on all their figures.  The tailoring is spot on with some flawless stitching, but at this point I wouldn’t expect anything less.

The fit of the costume probably has a little more room in the crotch than the on screen counterpart, but that allows for a little more articulation in the hips. If you’ve been reading my Hot Toys reviews, you no doubt are aware that I spend very little time discussing the articulation on these figures. That’s partly because I have a hard time knowing what’s going on under the clothing, and partly because it’s not a crucial element for me. I’ve been collecting Hot Toys long enough to know not to expect a lot of useful articulation and I’m fine with that. In this case, the range of articulation is better than I expected, but still limited in areas like the shoulders and the hips. With all that having been said, when it comes to the costume, I’ve got almost no complaints here, in fact I only have one.

There are two holders for his batons on his left leg. These are cast in rubber, have some nice weathered paint, and are secured by two straps that warp around his leg. The idea is that you can put the two halves of the baton in here like a holster. It was only after a great deal of terrifying effort on my part that I was able to get them in. It was even scarier trying to get them out. So do they work? Yes, technically they do. But there’s no way I’m going to risk putting them in there again. At worst case, I’m afraid of tearing the holster off the suit trying to get them out. At best case, I fear the friction against the tight rubber tubes might rub the paint off of the batons. Now, in fairness, I will probably never display this figure without the batons in his hands, but come on, Hot Toys. This is an expensive figure, and everything on it should work perfectly. Especially when it’s something this simple.

The cowl is without a doubt my favorite thing about the costume in general, and this figure in particular. It’s beautifully sculpted and painted. I love the deep lines between the plates, the panel lines around the eyes, and the perfect shape of the horns. The eyes are also quite stunning and just a bit creepy. They use a transparent red plastic that shines beautifully under the right lighting. The underlying hood is textured and if I didn’t know better, would easily have me convinced that it’s not all one sculpted piece. OK, well technically it isn’t because the cowl does lift off so that you can switch out the two different lower face plates for the two expressions. The first face plate features a neutral expression and I think it offers a great likeness to Charlie Cox, or at least the lower half of his face. The shape of his lips is very distinctive, and the sculpt here captures that perfectly. Additionally, the sculpting and paint for his five-o-clock shadow, as well as the overall skin texturing is amazingly lifelike.

The other face plate features gritting teeth and some bloody battle damage. Before I got this figure, I was pretty sure I was going to instantly default to the neutral expression for my display. Now that I have it in hand, however, I may rethink that. It’s not that the first one isn’t great, but the second one is just so over-the-top amazing. The paintwork on the bloody wounds looks phenomenal, and I’m blown away by the sculpting and paint involved with his gritting teeth. Yup, I think this is the look I’ll wind up going for. I’ll also take this opportunity to say that I’m more than a little disappointed that we didn’t get an unmasked likeness. No, it’s not that common for Hot Toys to issue two separate head sculpts with their figures these days, and yes, I obviously knew going in that it wasn’t coming with one. But I feel like it may have been omitted just so that they could include it with a variant release later on down the road. I guess we’ll see. I just think being able to display him unmasked and with a sculpted cowl in his hand would have been really cool.

As always, Hot Toys includes plenty of hands. In his case, Daredevil includes three sets. You get one set of fists, one set of relaxed hands, and one set of baton-holding hands. The detail on these is all really nice. They feature textured black palms and finger tips with padded red backs, and reinforced black knuckles that look like they can do some serious damage. I found that popping the hands on and off was particularly effortless with this figure, which has not always been the case with my Hot Toys in the past.

In addition to the hands and extra face, Daredevil’s accessories are limited to the three different configurations of his baton. First, you get one with the two pieces fitted together. I find it odd that they included the extra piece, rather than just have the two halves connect, but I guess I shouldn’t complain about an extra accessory when the count in the box is already fairly low. The sculpting and paint on all of the batons are excellent. They’re sculpted in red textured plastic, with metallic silver paint on the ends.

The second version has the batons split into two. These are the ones that are also supposed to fit into the holster and gave me so much trouble. At least they fit perfectly into his hands.

The final version of the baton features a wire connecting them like a pair of nunchuks. All of these are great pieces, but I confess that having the only accessories being variations of essentially the same piece of equipment makes the extras on this figure feel even more wanting. It’s not that I think he needed much more to feel complete, but he definitely needed something more to fill out the price point.

While the figure feels light on accessories, it also feels like Hot Toys tried to make up for it with the stand. The basic stand features the usual crotch-cradle post and a base that’s made to look like a street, including asphalt and puddles of water. It also features the ubiquitous nameplate on the front, this time with not only the character’s name, but also a cityscape etched behind it. All in all, this stand feels like an embellished version of what we’ve been getting with most of the recent releases, and it’s a good one to go with if you’re like me and trying to squeeze him into an already crowded display case.

You also get two additional pieces, a riser and a sidewalk piece to put behind the base to create something a little more elaborate. There’s some really nice detail at work in the sidewalk piece. It includes not only a sewer set into the curb, but part of a crumbling brick wall, some broken pipes, and a bunch of broken glass. It doesn’t actually attach to the regular base, but rather just sits behind it, and the two look great together without needing all that much extra real estate on the shelf. However, if you want to go all out for your Daredevil display, you do get one more option.

This is an illustrated cardboard backdrop that tabs together and stands behind the display base. With dozens of Hot Toys releases under my belt, I never got anything like this before, and while it’s a simple bonus, it’s also a welcome one. I think this looks great, and if I had the shelf space, I’d definitely be using it, but as it is, I’m going to have to have a couple of figures behind Daredevil and this will just block them from view. Maybe someday when I inevitably have to expand my Sixth-Scale shelves, I’ll work out the space to utilize this piece.

I like this figure a lot, and it’s really cool to finally have a Netflix Marvel figure join my MCU shelf. They display wonderfully together and it makes me hope that somehow we might get to see Daredevil team up with some of the MCU characters on the big screen, or even the small screen for that matter. With all that having been said, the super tight baton holster is an annoying design flaw, and even with the elaborate stand options, I feel like this figure comes up a little light when it comes to value for dollar. But that seems to be an ongoing issue with Hot Toys as their prices continue to creep up. Daredevil set me back $230, while he feels like he would have been closer to $200 just a year or two ago. I get it that costs rise, and I have no idea what licensing costs them, but lately I worry about Hot Toys pricing themselves out of business, or more likely, pricing me out of collecting them. And with that having been said, Doctor Strange is due to show up at my door sometime next week, and Netflix’s Punisher won’t be far behind, so hopefully I can squeeze a few more Hot Toys reviews in before the end of the year.

And that’s a wrap for this Marvel Week. I should have things more or less back to normal next week, although I will be taking Thursday off for Thanksgiving. I’d like to say that this week got me caught up on my Marvel backlog, but truth be told it didn’t even make a dent in it, so I may have to do another one of these sooner or later. 

Marvel Toybox: Thor by Disney

It’s Day Four of Marvel Week, and I got rather long winded yesterday, so I’m going to tone things down today with a simpler (and mercifully shorter!) review, but one that I’ve been rather excited to get to. You may remember a little thing called Disney Infinity. It was one of those Toys-To-Life things, which allowed you to collect figures and use them in a video game world. I freaking loved Disney Infinity! Seriously… just look at this shit!

This doesn’t even include the ones I bought at the end that I haven’t even opened yet. I collected a ton of the figures, I’ve spent time playing them all, and I’ve lost countless hours in the Toybox designing bullshit levels, and maybe a couple of good ones. Infinity had a good run with three different releases spanning dozens of figures and incorporating both Marvel and Star Wars before Disney finally pulled the plug. And now in a move that I never in a million years could have seen coming, Disney has introduced a series of articulated action figures based on those Infinity designs. HOLY SHIT, I AM SO ON BOARD FOR THIS!!!! Let’s check out the first figure in the Marvel Toybox lone… The Mighty Thor!

The packaging is about as basic as you can get. The figure comes in a large bubble on an unassuming card. It gives you a great look at what you’re getting, but there isn’t much else in the way of artwork of flashy presentation to tempt you. Seriously, Disney, for a company that is basically based on artwork, you kind of dropped the ball on this package design. But that’s OK. It just makes me not feel guilty about shredding it to get to my figure. The back of the package shows off four other figures in the Marvel Toybox series, including Hulk, Iron Man, and Spider-Man. And yes, there’s also a Star Wars Toybox Series, and I’ll be checking one of those figures out next week!

If you compare Toybox Thor to the original Infinity figure, you can see that Hasbro made some tweaks to Thor’s design, but this is still undoubtedly the same style. He’s lost a helmet, gained a beard, and the piping on his armor has changed from yellow to blue. With all that being said, I love what they did with the design and it’s hard to believe that I’m actually holding an articulated Infinity figure. The sculpted detail is kept to a minimum to preserve the simple animated look, but all the important stuff is still there, like the discs on his armor, the wraps on his boots, and all that chiseled Asgardian muscle. I also really dig the head sculpt. The coif of hair is cast in a separate piece of plastic, crowning his rather perturbed expression. He looks like someone just nicked his tankard of ale. The paint applications on the face are pretty clean too!

The rest of the coloring on the figure appears to be achieved mostly through colored plastic, but there are some paint applications as well. Overall, the paint is clean, but I should note that my figure had two rather unsightly paint drips on the right boot, but I was eventually able to get these off with some water and a Qtip. The cape is made of a fairly soft and pliable plastic and lifts easily away from the figure to allow for those wide stances.

Thor comes with one accessory, and yes it is Mjolnir. The mighty hammer is a solid chunk of plastic with a sculpted wrap grip, which can fit securely in The Thunder God’s right hand.

The articulation here is pretty good, but the stylized sculpt does restrict the range of motion on some of the points. Thor features rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. The hips are ball jointed, the ankles are hinged, there’s a swivel in the waist, and the neck is ball jointed. The elbow and knees are somewhat limited, which can be a little frustrating. Also, the sculpted hair makes it so the head can only turn side to side a bit. Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had here. He’s just so solid and chunky and fun to play around with!

 

Wow, was this a pleasant surprise! These Toybox figures seemed to come out of nowhere, and I just recently discovered them because someone sent me a link. They appear to be Disney Store Exclusives, at least that’s where I found and ordered mine. They run $12.99 each, which feels about right for what you’re getting. I have no frame of reference for how well Disney’s exclusive toys sell, but I can promise you that I’ll be doing everything I can to support this line and keep it going. And as for now, I can see Thor will probably be residing on my desk for a little while, because I’m having a hard time putting him down.

Marvel Premier Collection: Gamora by Diamond Select

It’s Day Two of Marvel Week and today I thought we’d give the action figures a rest and open up a statue from Diamond Select’s Marvel Premier Collection. These are roughly Sixth-Scale resin statues, mostly based on modern appearances of the characters. I only own one other piece from this line, the Clayburn Moore sculpt of Spider-Gwen, and I was pretty happy with her. Picking up Gamora here seemed like a no-brainer, especially since I was able to get a pretty decent deal on her. Let’s check out the most dangerous woman in the Universe!

Gamora comes in a fully enclosed box with photos of the statue on all four panels and features the “Guardians of the Galaxy” logo and calls out that it was sculpted by the wonderful and prolific Jean St. Jean. The presentation here is very serviceable, but not all that appealing from an artistic standpoint. It feels like the box layout was thrown together pretty quickly. That’s not really a sticking point for me, as I just keep my statue boxes for the possibility of future storage, moving, or god forbid… resale. Inside the box, you get a colorful card showing the limitation as well as the number of the statue in the box. Gamora is wrapped in plastic and encased between two styrofoam bricks, and she comes fully assembled and all ready for display.

Standing about 12-inches tall, Gamora is based on her more recent look in the pages of Marvel Comics and wearing her white space space armor. Some fans refer to this as her “Stormtrooper Armor” and I think the comparison is fairly valid. It’s quite a departure from her more revealing classic outfits, but it still shows off her shapely curves, and I’ll confess to being a fan of this new look the very first time I saw it. The pose here is pretty conservative. Gamora stands on an alien landscape with a rather intimidating rifle cradled in her arms (What? No Sword?), and her long hair blowing in the breeze. The heel of her left foot is raised giving the piece just a little hint of anticipated action. Overall, I like what we got here, but then I tend favor “museum-style” poses in favor of the more dynamic stuff. It’s not that I don’t like action poses, but they tend to have a better chance of going wrong.

Every last detail on this statue is incorporated into the actual sculpt, and this is particularly apparent in the cut panel lines that run throughout the armor. There’s a nice sense of depth between the armor plates and the underlying black suit, and you also get some ribbed sections along the top of her back and underarms. The panel lines are neatly painted in black and you get some pale gray panels, as well as some crimson accents. I have no complaints about the quality of the paint on this piece. The lines are reasonably sharp, and there are no apparent flubs. What’s more, the application is even and there are no visible brush strokes. The whole suit gives me a strong Mass Effect vibe, which isn’t a bad thing as I happen to dig the aesthetics of those games… well three of them, at least.

I love the way the portrait came out. Her face is flawless and beautiful and even the painted patches around her eyes are part of the sculpt. I just adore the shape of her nose and the ridge leading down to her lips. No, I don’t have some creepy nose thing, I just appreciate how good it looks. The pupil-less white eyes are rather mesmerizing and they used a nice, rich red paint for her lips. The hair sculpt is good, albeit a bit on the chunky side. It looks like it was sculpted from a separate piece, which gives her a clean hairline. The downside to the hair blowing off to the side is it limits the options for display angles. She looks great from the front or turned a bit to her right, but it means that the right side of the statue is closed for business. Hey, most statues have an intended “sweet spot” for display, and I’d say this one has at least a few.

Gamora’s  rifle features a rather boxy and utilitarian design that emphasizes function over form. I can dig that as it makes it appear more like a legitimate piece of military hardware. The black and gray deco gives it a convincingly realistic finish, and it’s equipped with what looks like a magazine, but maybe it’s a battery pack, and a scope. Gamora practices poor trigger discipline, but then I’d kind of expect that from her. It’s what makes her so dangerous!

The rocky alien landscape they did for the base looks great. They packed all kinds of little details in the rocks and terrain and the brownish-orange paint gives it a hint of Mars. If you look closely enough, you can see that they sculpted panel lines on the bottoms of her boots. The alien landscape is placed on a raised, circular platform.

The bottom of the base features the declaration of limitation. In this case, mine is 153 of 3,000. I think that’s one of the lowest numbers I’ve ever gotten on one of these things!

The Marvel Premier Statues tend to have an MSRP of around $130, but Gamora is available on Amazon at the time I’m writing this for well under $100. I’m always glad to save money, but I would have been perfectly happy with this piece had I picked it up at full price. The modern costume might not be for everyone, but I can appreciate her new look, and the artistry and craftsmanship on display here are both excellent. Tomorrow, I’ll keep this Marvel Week rolling along and turn my attention back to Hasbro’s Legends line!

Marvel Comics: Quarter-Scale Deadpool by NECA

I know, yesterday was Marvel Monday, and that’s the day I set aside for all my Marvel Comics toy rambling, but sometimes I’ve got to make exceptions, and NECA’s amazing Quarter-Scale Deadpool seems like one of those times. While this is certainly not NECA’s first Marvel character in this enormous scale, previous efforts, like Iron Man and Captain America, have been grounded in the MCU. On the other hand, Wade Wilson here represents their first foray into the comic-based characters, and I was really excited to see what NECA would do with it. You think you can handle 18-inches of rock hard ‘Pool? Well, I know my little photo stage can’t, so pardon me while I go make some modifications to accommodate this beast of a figure.

The line is called EPIC MARVEL and Deadpool is appropriately Figure #00. The massive figure comes in a standard window box, much like previous releases, but this time it’s positively littered with art, quotes, and gags befitting The Merc With A Mouth. Before I even opened the figure, I had a great time looking over every square inch at the box to see all the creative stuff they plastered on it. Putting this much effort into the packaging art is love of the craft, plain and simple, and nobody does it quite like NECA. I have looked at several of NECA’s Quarter-Scale figures before, but if you’re new to this line and want a little help conceptualizing how big this figure really is, check out a shot of the box next to Hasbro’s 6-inch Marvel Legends Deadpool…

Yeah. It’s big! The package is collector friendly up to a point. You can get the figure out by clipping all those wire ties, but the accessories are all sealed to the sides of the cardboard tray with bubbles. This is unfortunate, because there’s a lot of great art on the inside of the tray too, and while some time, patience, and careful slicing with a razor can get these pieces out with minimal damage, it’s not really ideal for preserving the packaging. I tend to keep these figures in their boxes, so I spent a lot of time getting the accessories out. But now that he’s out, let’s start with the figure itself…

Sweet Chimichanga-Eatin’ Jesus… Just check him out! As I already mentioned, this design is based on the character’s comic book appearances, but clearly NECA had some artistic license when designing him, similar to what Sideshow did with their Sixth-Scale ‘Pool. The design here is absolutely superb and the way its conveyed in the sculpt is pure poetry. The suit itself is a mix of textured matte red plastic, some smooth black matte plastic, and some high gloss black paint on the shoulders. Frankly, I think the shoulders might have looked better left matte like the rest, but it still looks fine. There’s so much detail here that I’m just going to take us on a tour around Deadpool’s magnificent body and call out some of the highlights. Where better to start than with…

The crotch! It wouldn’t be Deadpool without a ton of pouches and he’s got a nice selection of these on his belt for storing his tchotchkes, Kleenix, Polaroids of Siryn sleeping, and Bea Arthur’s toenail clippings. There’s more sculpted detail on any one of these pouches than your average off-the-peg 3 3/4-inch action figure. All the eyelets and fasteners are painted in metallic silver, and you get a nice wash over the brown to make them look like rich Corinthian leather. He also has his signature Deadpool belt-buckle and some canister grenades. This shot also gives a nice view of the texturing on his uniform as well as his manly ‘Pool bulge.

If we come around a bit to check out his right thigh, we can see some more pouches and the holster for his sidearm. The sculpted straps look great, along with more silver painted fixtures. I like the brush marks on the panels of the holster itself, and the sculpted screw heads.

Just below his holster is a sheath for his knife. Again, nice job here on the sculpted screws and paint. It all looks really convincing.

Checking out Deadpool from the back shows off his impressive sword rig. The crossed scabbards hold his twin katanas as well as a sai. The sword rig is the one real complaint I have with this figure. It’s held on with two pegs and thick tabs that fit into recessed areas on his back. I found it a little tough to get it in all the way, especially with some fear of snapping those little pegs. It seems to work best on my figure when I put the bottom peg in first, then insert the top, and press the whole thing in as hard as I can. It seems to hold fine when he’s standing there on display, but when I’m playing around with him, it will tend to pop out again. To avoid frustration, I’ve found it best to take it off when messing around with him a lot.

And just to show you how much love and attention NECA put into this guy, check out the soles of his boots. God, I love this!

And here’s a shot of Deadpool’s handsome mug. The mask features some wonderful depth to the sculpt, from the texturing to the tiny rivets, and the recessed eye panels. You also get a very expressive look, with his one eye popped and the other eye squinting and his brow rumpled. Some might cry foul that there’s only one noggin in the box, but I can easily forgive that when I consider how many other goodies are included with the figure. But before I get to all the accessories, let’s do a run down on the articulation…

The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, swivels in the biceps, and double hinges in the elbows. The legs feature rotating hinges in the hips, swivels in the thighs and double hinges in the knees. The ankles are hinged, have lateral rockers, and the feet are hinged about halfway to the toes. There’s a swivel in the waist, an ab crunch hinge in the torso, and the neck is ball jointed. The joints on this guy feel fantastic and he’s a lot of fun to pose, although sometimes it feels like wrestling with a small child, because he’s just so damn big. He’s also extremely well balanced. I hardly have any trouble getting him to stay standing no matter what pose I put him in.

Deadpool comes with a total of seven different hands, most of which are tailored specifically for holding his various weapons. Although you do get this sweet left hand with his branded knuckles. Oh, Deadpool, don’t ever change. Let’s look at some guns…

‘Pools prolific arsenal of prodigious pew-pews includes a pistol, a sub-machine gun, and an assault rifle.

The pistol reminds me of RoboCop’s Auto 9, which was a modified Beretta 93R. I love the design of this thing and the sculpt is outrageous. It’s cast in black matte plastic and features some silver paint apps. It’s an entirely static piece, so there’s no working action or removable clip. It’s interesting that NECA went with a single distinctive pistol like this, rather than the usual twin automatics that we often seen Deadpool wielding. I’m actually glad they went this route as it just makes this version of the character all the more distinctive.

The sub-machine gun is another great looking weapon. Like the pistol, it’s cast in black plastic, and is static with no moving parts or removable clip. It does, however, have some great notations by Deadpool on one side and ‘Pool’s symbol stamped on the other. Oh yeah, there’s even a tiny Deadpool charm hanging off the back sling ring.

And the final entry for the guns is this assault rifle fitted with a scope and a grenade launcher. This sucker has a lot of character and includes some sculpted and painted tape on the stock, a couple of magazines taped together to one side and another pair of magazines, which are removable. All three of these weapons make for a strong statement, but sometimes you want to add a little personal touch to your killing, and that’s where the edged weapons come in handy…

‘Pool’s assortment of cutlery includes his twin katanas, a sai, and a fixed blade knife.

The sai is very simple, although it does have a cool sculpted wrap handle and I really love how it has that hole in his scabbard rig for storage.

The fixed-blade knife is a marvelous little piece. The detail on the grips is amazing. I do, however, find it to be a little diminutive for Deadpool. I doubt I will display him holding it very often, but it sure looks great in the sheath on his leg.

His katanas are really the showpiece here. They feature fully sculpted wrapped hilts with a red and black pattern, because Deadpool knows how important it is to accessorize. The tsubas are also fashioned to look like Deadpool’s iconic symbol. The blades are beautifully painted in metallic silver and feature some Japanese lettering sculpted right into the blades. These fit perfectly in the scabbards, are easy to draw, and he’s got a pair of hands that grip them splendidly.

Deadpool retails at $109 and I’ve got to say that’s a mighty good value for what you’re getting here. The figure alone is an absolute work of art and uses a full four pounds of plastic. Add to that plenty of great articulation and a ton of extras and it’s easy to see where all the money went in a release like this. It’s also easy to see where all the love went. Quarter-Pool feels like nothing less than a passion project, which granted is the case with a lot of NECA’s releases. With four of these Quarter-Scales already on my shelf, I have to be careful about how many I buy. Space is always a premium for me, but Deadpool here was an instant purchase the moment I saw him.

Marvel Premier Collection: Spider-Gwen by Diamond Select

With how many piles of Marvel Legends figures I have lying around this place and waiting to be opened, I really shouldn’t be taking any detours. Maybe in the future, I’ll start covering other Marvel stuff on different days, but for now, let’s take a brief hiatus from the Legends landslide and have a look at a new statue that landed at my door a few weeks back. This is my very first foray into DST’s Marvel Premier Collection, as I just could not resist another Spider-Gwen piece for my shelf. At the same time, I’ve been an admirer of Clayburn Moore’s work for a long time and while I have some figures he’s worked on, I really wanted one of his statues in my collection.

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This is a pretty sizable box, made all the more impressive by its width. And that’s understandable because the statue is pretty big. While the back of the box claims she’s 12-inches tall, she’s actually closer to 14-inches. She’s not quite Sixth Scale, as the base elevates her quite a bit, but between her height and the fact that her arms are stretched out in opposite directions, she has quite the presence. The box is fully enclosed with lots of pictures of the statue and features a sticker with the limitation on it. Inside the box, the resin cast statue comes wrapped in plastic and encased between two styrofoam bricks. The only assembly required is plugging the figure into the base via a metal post in the left foot.

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All set up, Gwen makes for an impressive display piece. Moore is an accomplished sculptor when it comes to the human form, particularly the ladies, and it certainly shows here. The composition is one of the things that drew me to this statue when I first saw it and I just love the balance of this piece. Gwen stands on the pedestal on her tip toes with her right leg drawn up. She’s bending forward and reaching out her right hand, ready to THWIP! and her left hand is stretched out behind her.

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Because Gwen’s costume is fairly simple, the bulk of the sculpted detail here comes in the definition of her muscles. It’s particularly well done in her thighs, back, and abdomen. You do get some sculpted detail in the web pattern cut-outs on her arms and under-arms. Of course, she’s got curves in all the right places, too!

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Likewise, Gwen’s outfit doesn’t require a whole lot of detailed paint work. It’s mostly black and white with turquoise used for her slippers and purple and turquoise used for the web patterns. The paint applications here are overall very good. The lines are fairly sharp and the white paint is very clean, even, and vibrant. The paint we get in the production piece is never as good as the promotional pics, but the work here is still solid.

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The portrait is pure Clayburn Moore. Once you know his work, it’s impossible not to spot it a mile away. I find that people tend to either love it or hate it, but I place him up there with J. Scott Campbell in terms of sheer distinctiveness of style. So, yeah, I’m a big fan. Here you get more of the web pattern inside her hood and her hair is blowing off to the side as she gazes upward and looks for a target for her the web she’s about to shoot. As with the costume, the paint here is pretty solid. I’d say the eyes could be a little more evenly applied, but the lips are sharp and I really like the warmth conveyed in her complexion.

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The base is a simple pedestal painted to look like cracked marble with a metallic purple middle and more painted webs to match Gwen’s costume. The statue is hand numbered on the bottom. Mine is 2,427 of 3,000. It’s by no means a strict limitation, and yet considerably less than that of DC Collectibles Cover Girls runs.

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As I said in the beginning, Gwen is my first foray into DST’s Marvel Premier Collection and I’m very pleased with how she turned out. This isn’t a very expansive line right now, but there are a few other pieces I’m interested in, particularly their 90’s Rogue and modern take on Gamora. Whether or not I can fit those in the budget next year, however, remains to be seen. The last thing I really need to do is to start collecting another line of statues. With that having been said, Diamond released Gwen with an MSRP of about $130, but I was able to pick mine up for a little under $100 and that felt like a solid deal. I feel as if she’s roughly comparable in quality to DCC’s cold cast porcelain offerings, although she is a lot bigger. Not the trick is to find a shelf for her to live on.