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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Hela by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Loki by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Thor by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel Legends (Vulture Wings Wave) Vulture by Hasbro

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave) Mantis Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

As promised, I’m back to finally kill off this wave of Marvel Legends with a look at the Mantis Build-A-Figure. Consisting of a total of six pieces, spread across a wave of seven figures, Mantis is fairly easy to cobble together, although I did have a little trouble getting her legs into the hips all the way. But wait, you’re saying this petite alien chick is the BAF?

Yes, generally speaking, BAFs were created to sell waves, but also to deliver figures that were often too big or complex to do in the regular price point or packaging. As a result, people may scratch their heads at the diminutive Mantis being a BAF. Well, there has been precedent for smaller BAFs in the past. Both Rocket Raccoon and Hit Monkey were even smaller. Once, someone told me that Jubilee was even a BAF, although I have no physical evidence to support that claim. Yes, I’ve seen pictures, and that last remark was just a bitter dig at Hasbro’s poor distribution. ANYWHO…

Here she is! Mantis! All assembled and looking absolutely fab! Mantis is a fairly simple figure, and as such, this is going to be a pretty quick review. But don’t let that fool you, because one look and it’s clear that Hasbro put some real love into her. The outfit features all the great sculpted detail and texturing that I’ve come to expect in my MCU Guardians outfits. I particularly dig the leaf-like skirt that wraps around her hips and backside. I expected this to be a belt, but its actually attached to the buck around the waist and as such looks more like a natural progression of her top.

Still, as impressive as the sculpting here is, it’s the paint that makes this a stand out figure. The gorgeous emerald green paint has a striking metallic sheen to it and its used not only on her top and gloves, but also the ribbed panels running down the sides of her trousers and outlining the panels in her skirt. Under some nice lighting, it contrasts beautifully with the black.

This head sculpt is no slouch either. This time around, all the MCU Guardians likenesses have been winners, and I’d say that Mantis ranks pretty high among them. Her distinctive eyes and bendy antenna have been recreated beautifully here, as has her sculpted hair, which even curls up at her chin. Whatever you’ve been doing with these portraits, Hasbro, please keep doing it!

The articulation is fairly close to what I’m used to seeing in the Legends female bucks, which means she’s fairly limber.

With no accessories, and not exactly weighing in as an action star in the movie, Mantis may not be the most exciting figure around, but I sure am glad we got her in figure form. Why Hasbro opted to make her the BAF is still a bit of a poser. Maybe they thought she wouldn’t sell on her own? But with Gamora and Nebula in the wave, I’m not convinced that was it. It would have been cool if she got her own boxed release and Hasbro could have just given us Ego as the BAF, at least then I wouldn’t have to buy a second Star-Lord to get him in that two-pack. But that’s just me griping. You do whatever you have to do, Hasbro to keep these figures coming! Next week, I’ll be starting to look at a new wave of Legends, but I haven’t decided which yet and there’s so many to choose from. Warlock? Sandman? Vulture? Ragnarok? Man-Thing? Well, I’m going to rule out Ragnarok, because I’d like to look at those figures closer to the film’s release. Right now I’m leaning toward going with the either the Warlock or Sandman waves next.

Marvel Legends (Mantis Wave): Nebula by Hasbro

Welcome back, folks! I am super excited to start a new week, especially since I got bogged down all last week checking out that Marvel Legends A-Force set. And now I’ve had a couple days to recoup, and I’m ready to move on to some new content. And it’s Monday! Oh, right. Marvel Monday. That means more Marvel Legends. Oy Vey! Well, I did say I was getting back to business as usual this week. And to be honest, I doubt I could ever get tired of checking out new Legends figures. So allow me to pick up where I left off a couple weeks back and continue looking at the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 Mantis Wave. The last figure I looked at was Gamora, one half of the “Daughters of Thanos,” so this time let’s check out her sister Nebula!

Packaged shot! Yes, Nebula shares a slot with her sister, Gamora as the “Daughters of Thanos” although each figure still includes a different BAF part to build Mantis, and I’m almost there. Just one more figure after this one! One of my biggest gripes about the merchandising of the first GotG film was that we never got a Yondu or a Nebula figure. That doesn’t just go for Hasbro either. I have a whole team of Hot Toys Guardians and still no Yondu or Nebula (Hot Toys Yondu was revealed at SDCC, but still no Nebula). Thankfully, Hasbro remedied that this time around by giving us both, and it’s only fair since both characters had expanded roles in the second flick and they were both a lot of fun in the new flick!

But maybe it’s not a bad thing that we didn’t get Nebula until now, because just look at this figure, it’s amazing! There’s no way, Hasbro could have pulled this off a few years back with that first GotG wave. Indeed, there’s just no comparison between what Hasbro is doing with this line and what they’re doing with their other 6-inch figures. At this point, I get the mental image of the Marvel Legends people at Hasbro working in this luxurious, hi-tech facility and the Star Wars Black Series people working in a barn out back with hammers and chisels. Word out of SDCC is that the Star Wars Black Series will finally catch up to this higher standard when the figures for the new film come out. We’ll see. Ah, but I digress… back to the figure!

I’ll concede that I don’t find anything outrageously special about Nebula’s outfit design. A lot of the MCU Guardians costumes kind of blur together for me at this point. It’s a lot of complex textures and panel lines, with lots of belts and straps. Not bad, but it gets redundant. It does, however, give the sculptors something interesting to work with and Nebula’s duds are expertly recreated here. Every tiny area on the outfit has some kind of sculpted detail and the paint to back it up. Even the tiniest fixtures on the belts and straps are neatly touched up with silver paint. What’s more, the different shades of purple, both darker matte and lighter, shimmery metallic, really elevates the figure to a whole new level. Combine that with the beautiful blue skin tone and this figure is a feast for the eyes. I think the color scheme on this figure looks even better than what we saw on screen.

And check out the likeness of this portrait. It’s my understanding that Hasbro has used some new 3D scanning techniques on the MCU figures in these waves, and boy does it show. Gamora’s likeness to Zoe Saldana was fantastic and this likeness to Karen Gillan, albeit in heavy alien-cyborg makeup, is equally great. But as we’ve seen time and time again with fan re-paints of Star Wars Black figures, sculpting will only take you so far and it’s the lack of quality paint that really trips Hasbro up sometimes. But look at the paintwork on this noggin! It’s outrageously good.

As for articulation, Nebula features the same triumphs and pitfalls of most female Legends figures. From the waist down, it’s all good with ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The torso is fine too, with both a swivel in the waist and a ball joint under the chest. The arms, are where I’d like to see a change. The figure uses rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and omits the bicep swivel. Not terrible, but not ideal either. Granted, in this case, the ball joint in the elbow is kind of necessary, because…

Nebula features a swap out lower left arm. You just pull the arm out at the elbow and pop in the damaged one. I really dig the worn metal finish on the arm, and the various panel lines sculpted into both the lower arm and the bicep. This is a great bonus accessory, especially since she didn’t come with that damn root that she wanted to eat so badly. Crap, now I wish that was an accessory.

Nebula also comes with a little pistol. I like it, it’s cool, but there’s not a whole lot to say about it. It has a sleek and simple design and a nice, dirty metal finish.

Hasbro continues to knock it out of the park with this Mantis Wave, and Nebula here ranks pretty high on my list of favorites. She carries on a very strong showing for the MCU Guardians figures in terms of likeness, sculpt, and overall paint quality. And while I’m willing to give Hasbro a lot of guff when they deserve it, I really need to applaud them for Marvel Legends lately. They’re churning out these figures like crazy. There are so many coming out, that it’s impossible for me to keep up. And yet, they’re obviously striving for improvements in quality while still delivering quantity. Of course, not all Legends figures are as fantastic as Nebula here, but it shows Hasbro is continuing to steer this line in the right direction, while still managing to flood the pegs with releases. Next Monday, I’ll wrap up this wave with a look at the last packaged figure, Death’s Head II, and the Build-A-Figure, Mantis.

Marvel Legends (Titus Wave): Star-Lord by Hasbro

It may be Marvel Monday, but I already have my sights set on Thursday, because I have my tickets to see Guardians Vol 2 at the local CineBistro, where I’ll be sitting in a recliner made of rich Corinthian leather and sipping on a spiced bourbon while a space-raccoon cracks wise and kills things on the big screen in front of me. It seemed only fitting today to kick off the Guardians-themed wave of Marvel Legends, so let’s do just that with the second Marvel Legends version of the MCU’s Peter Quill.

While this is a Guardians Wave, Hasbro has populated it with a mix of figures from both the comics and the MCU. Indeed, only three of the seven figures (eight if you count Titus) here are from the film, and that’s something that I absolutely love about what Hasbro is doing with Legends these days. The comics are actually getting a bigger focus than the soon to be billion dollar blockbuster. How cool is that? And don’t worry, the rest of the Guardians Vol. 2 team is still coming, split into another assortment. Let’s bust Quill out of here and check him out.

Hasbro last took a crack at MCU Star-Lord back in 2014 with the release of the original film… and what a difference a few years makes! I’m not going to shit talk that original figure, because I do still like it a lot, but I’ll be happy to point out the improvements when we get to the portrait. In the meantime, here we have Star-Lord in his updated look for the sequel.

His costume isn’t all that different from the first film, but I really like that he has the shorter coat now. He wore both the duster and the jacket in the first film, and since we only got the duster version last time, it’s nice to get the other option this time. There’s a good deal of sculpted detailing in the jacket, and that includes texturing, some reinforced areas, and piping. As is often the case, the jacket is basically a separate vest with sculpted sleeves to create the illusion that it’s all one piece. This allows you to pull back the flaps and get a better look at the shirt underneath.

His t-shirt has the printing across it that we’ve all seen in the trailer. Pratt himself has explained that this is some kind of licensed merch from the Guardians Universe and even suggested that it’s the brand name for some kind of candy. I really love that idea. From the waist down, things are pretty simple and straightforward. There’s a lot of sculpted detail on the trousers and boots, but nothing extraordinary or worthy of mention. I did notice that his thrusters are conspicuously absent from his ankles and I’m wondering if there’s a reason for that. If there is, I guess I’ll know soon enough. Star-Lord also includes pegs on his hips so he can wear his guns. These work quite well if he’s standing with his legs straight, but the guns tend to pop out when you give him wider stances.

The portrait is such a huge improvement over the original Legends Star-Lord. I think the first one works as maybe an animated version, but this one actually bears a decent likeness to Pratt. The facial hair is part of the sculpt and not just painted on like last time. I really couldn’t be happier with how this head turned out.

He also comes with an alternate masked head. This sculpt reflects some changes in the actual movie mask as well as some overall sharper sculpting. There are some new gold detailing on the back and overall, I’d say the paint here is much sharper, particularly on the eyes.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the new head does fit perfectly on the 2014 figure. There is a slight difference in the skin tone, but it’s close enough to work for me. And that means I’ll definitely be picking up a second Guardians 2 Star-Lord and retiring that old head.

The articulation here is pretty much the same as we saw on the last Quill figure, and that’s not a bad thing. The arms feature rotating hinges in the shoulders and wrists, double hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs are ball jointed at the hips. have double hinges in the knees, and swivels in both the thighs and the boots. The ankles are hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a ball joint just under the chest, and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck. I’ve had this guy on my desk for days and I’m still not tired of playing around with him.

If this figure comes up a little short anywhere, it’s in the accessories. Star-Lord doesn’t include a BAF part, and doesn’t come with his Walkman like the original Quill did. Sure, I could always borrow that one, since I have two of those figures, but I’d say it’s odd that they didn’t at least repack that one in this box. As we’ve already seen, he does come with his twin blasters, which are beautiful sculpts. I love the designs of these guns.

While a few more accessories would have been welcome, it’s hard for me to find any other faults with this figure. Hasbro did a fantastic job on all fronts, but it’s the improvement in the likeness that really hits home. I won’t be double dipping on the Hot Toys Star-Lord, I’m still happy with mine from the first movie, so it’s nice to be able to have Quill from the sequel represented on my Hasbro 6-inch shelf. Next week, I’m going to be pressing on with the MCU figures, while the hype for the movie is still high and after I’ll be digging into the comic based figures.