Marvel Legends: The Grandmaster and The Collector by Hasbro

In addition to the non-stop torrential rush of Marvel Legends waves, Hasbro has also been cranking up the multi-pack releases. And I’m just talking the normal retail stuff. To make matters even more challenging for the collectors’ wallets,  they’ve also included a lavishly packaged two-pack for SDCC this year. Pulled straight from the MCU flicks Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok comes The Collector and The Grandmaster!

The snazzy packaging looks like a drum with windows on each side to show the figures. It actually opens up too, so both figures can be displayed side-by-side in half-tubes. Flip it around and you get the poster art from each flick on the back panels. This is some really nice packaging, but mine was fairly worn even by the time it got to me, and I don’t think it’s going to be easy to store, so I’ll likely be getting rid of it, like I do most of my Legends packaging. Let’s start with The Grandmaster first!

Grandmaster is sort of the non-essential figure here, since he was issued at retail with a different head, and in a two-pack with Korg, a set that still sits unopened on my Pile of Shame. I will get around to it eventually, but this will be my first experience with the Grandmaster figure. Let me say straightaway, that while this is a great looking figure, it isn’t all that much fun to play around with. A lot of that has to do with his lavish golden robe, which is sculpted in soft plastic, is fairly form-fitting, and thereby limits the articulation in the legs and torso quite a bit. This might have been a really good time to try some soft-goods, especially since Hasbro recently cranked out a golden cloth robe for a certain guy over in the Star Wars Black Series department. Indeed, pretty soon I’ll be checking out a Black Series figure with some outstanding cloth robes! Now that I think of it, cloth robes would have been a great idea for this particular SDCC release, to further set it apart from the retail figure. Now, with all that having been said, the robe still looks nice, it’s sculpted with a faint texture, and it pegs together right where the sculpted red belt is meant to be tied. I also really dig how it bunches up on the floor behind him.

Under the plastic robe, he dons a pair of leisure pants, which have an otherworldly purple-platinum sheen and a long sleeve shirt, which is blue and red with a wide red cummerbund worn at the waist. His eccentric outfit is finished off with a pair of funky gold sandals. Grandmaster sports a sculpted ring on his right hand, and painted-blue nail polish on his fingers and toes.

The Jeff Goldblum likeness is pretty solid, especially from certain angles. As mentioned earlier, the head sculpt is the primary exclusive thing about this figure. Here he’s smiling, whereas the retail version has a more neutral expression. Your personal preferences may vary, but I really dig this portrait and I think it captures a lot of the madcap personality of the character. As usual the half-tone printing for the facial features does a fine job for the detail in the eyes and mouth.

The Grandmaster comes with a couple of cool accessories. The first is his infamous Melt Stick, which is cast in gold plastic and can be held in his right hand and cradled in the left. This is a simple, but fun accessory, providing you aren’t the one being melted by it.

The second accessory is the pile of melted goo. Is it supposed to be Carlo? That I’m not sure, but I kind of hope it is. Yeah, it’s just a lump of plastic bubbles, but fun nonetheless. Let’s move on to Grandmaster’s brother, The Collector!

Taneleer Tivan is the true exclusive figure of the set, as for now he has not been made available at regular retail. He’s also one of the MCU characters that has been most sorely missing from my collection. Benicio Del Toro’s weirdly eccentric performance fit Guardians of the Galaxy like a glove and made The Collector, even with his brief screen time, a truly memorable character. And Hasbro sure did a nice job with this figure. The outfit includes some great detail in the sculpt, particularly in the torso, where the texture and patchwork nature pays homage to a 19th Century waistcoat, complete with strings of sculpted beads reminiscent of the chains on a fob watch. His sculpted furry cape pegs into the back and is worn over the shoulders and plunges behind his neck. I think the sculpted sleeve on the left arm is supposed to be part of the cape, as the speckled pattern matches the interior of the cape. You can take off the cape, but it looks kind of funny since the sleeve remains.

As with his brother, The Collector’s portrait turned out great. It’s a fine likeness for Del Toro and I particularly love the high hair, which is again sculpted as a separate piece from the head. You also get a second head sculpt with The Collector wearing his special goggles.

One final accessory in the box is The Orb that housed The Infinity Stone of Power. It’s a simple little ball packed with a lot of tiny detail. The only downside here is The Collector’s hands really aren’t designed to hold it all that well. I can make it work, but it’s a careful balancing act. It might have been better to give him an extra hand with The Orb sculpted into it, or an extra hand with a peg in the palm and a peg-hole on The Orb.

It may irk some to have to buy a second Grandmaster just to get their hands on The Collector, but I get how the business works and sometimes Hasbro has to get some extra money out of a figure in order to make producing another one more cost effective. Truth be told, I would have much rather had The Collector in a box with some of his menagerie, similar to what Hasbro did in the 3 3/4-inch scale for another SDCC Exclusive. Maybe throw in Cosmo and Carina. I would have paid extra for that. But I’m still really pleased they finally got this figure out and that it was pretty easy to get off of Pulse. Maybe not essential for all Legends collectors, but to me that’s what Exclusives should be all about.

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Marvel Gallery: Spider-Gwen (SDCC Exclusive) by Diamond Select

What’s this? Marvel Monday without Marvel Legends? Yeah, since I’m between waves of Legends, I’m taking the opportunity to look at something different before engaging on a month-and-a-half long expedition into the Civil War Giant Man Wave. Marvel Gallery is DST’s extension of the Femme Fatales line of PVC statues and while all of the Marvel editions so far have been ladies, they will be including some dudes in both this line and their DC Animated series, hence the change in name. Today I’m checking out the SDCC Exclusive Edition of Spider-Gwen, which features an unmasked head.

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I really like the packaging for these statues. The boxes are fairly small and feature windows on the front, sides, and top to allow you to get a good look at the piece before you buy it. That is assuming, you’re lucky enough to have a comic shop in your area that sells them! And despite all the windows, the boxes are still quite sturdy. The Femme Fatale boxes have mostly been rather dark and bland, but these Marvel ones are bright and colorful. I especially like the printed insert. Everything is collector friendly, although Gwen here requires one bit of assembly. With over a dozen of these statues in my collection, this is the first time I’ve come across that, but all you have to do is attach her left arm, which is quick and easy to do.

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There is an SDCC Exclusive logo printed on the front of the box as well as “Unmasked Edition” lettered under the main window. Previous exclusives in this line have only been denoted by a piece of tape on the flap. You still get that here, with the limitation number printed on it. Mine is 2,847 of 3,000. Here’s where I point out that putting a number limitation on the tape that secures the flap of the box is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of, even if there is a flap on the bottom to go in through. Also, not putting a limitation on the statue itself sucks. Just saying, DST. If you’re going to limit your runs of these at least have someone write it on the bottom of the statue with a Sharpie.

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Once you get Ms. Stacey’s arm plugged in she’s all set to go and looking pretty damn nice. The pose features Gwen sticking to a wall via her right hand and the soles of her feet with her left arm stretched out and her hand getting ready to thwip out a web. I like this pose a lot and the paint and sculpted detail on the wall itself is very well done. You get a lot of texturing in the bricks and a goblin-style gargoyle head that looks to be glaring specifically at Gwen. A little bit of ivy here and there adds to the character of the setting. It’s nice to see DST learned their lesson. A little while back, they solicited a Star Trek statue of Seven of Nine in the Femme Fatales series with a sculpted plastic wall behind her and in the final release that was changed to cardboard. Even now, if you go to order that statue through most e-tailers, they’ll show the deceptive picture of the plastic backdrop.

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Gwen’s costume is recreated here mostly with paint, but all the paint lines are part of the sculpt as well, which is always nice to see. Some of the paint lines could have been sharper, but the black and white areas are clean. I was worried about the consistency of the white on this piece, but with the exception of a few visible brush strokes, the white is bright and vibrant. The black has a scuff mark here and there, but nothing major. The red web patterned areas under her arms and inside her hood look great, and her ballet-style slippers are painted blue. The designer even made sure that the left arm connects where there was a seam in the costume, so as to match it to the other arm.

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That brings us to the portrait, which is the only difference between this exclusive and the regular retail release. Here we get Gwen unmasked and I have to say they did a nice job on the sculpt and the paint. As much as I enjoy the Captain Marvel statue they did a few months back, there was something a little off about Carol’s face. Here, I think they nailed Gwen Stacey quite nicely. The skin tone is clean and the paint for the green eyes and red lipstick is precise. Even her familiar hair style and headband are recreated wonderfully here. I do wish they had sculpted the exclusive with the hood down, but I still like what we got.

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The base consists of a plain black disk, which supports the wall. With all the weight of the figure on the wall, I am a little concerned that over the course of time the statue may begin to lean forward a bit. Then again, I could be worrying about nothing. I may rig up a hook on the back of my shelf or wall where I display her to take up some of that weight just to be sure.

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Spider-Gwen seems to be the new go-to girl when it comes to marketing and as a fan of the comic and character, I’m glad to see it. I’m really happy with the way this piece turned out and I’m glad I went for this exclusive version. Gwen set me back about $45 shipped, which isn’t that much more than these statues usually cost. In fact, it can still be snapped up at a number of online retailers for around that price. Whether or not I’m going to double dip and pick up the regular masked release remains to be seen. I’ve actually already got Spider-Gwen from DST’s Marvel Premier Collection on pre-order, so I may just stick with one version of this release.