Marvel Legends (The First Avenger): Captain America and Peggy Carter by Hasbro

I know, I crapped out on delivering a second review last week, but finding time for FFZ continues to be a struggle. At least I’m here for Marvel Monday again, and I promise that I will have at least one more review for this week. Who knows, maybe even a third. But for now, I am once again saying “Piss off, Randomness!” and bumping a new Marvel Legends acquisition to the front of the line. Let’s check out Captain America: The First Avenger Cap and Peggy two pack!

The initial arc of Marvel movies may be over, but that’s not stopping Hasbro from going back and mining out all the missed opportunities from all those movies. Here we are revisiting the first Captain America movie with a new version of Steve Rogers and the first Peggy Carter figure. The packaging is similar to the First Ten Years presentation with the squared off box and some artwork to reflect Cap’s first movie. You get character shots on each side panel and some multi-lingual bio blurbs on the back. Everything here is collector friendly, and while I’m tempted to keep this box, it’s probably going to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Or at least the one in my kitchen. Let’s start with Cap!

Can you believe it? After all these years Hasbro is still finding new versions of MCU Cap to turn into figures! I have to admit, that this one got me pretty excited from the moment it was shown off. And as it turns out, it was well worth getting excited over. I mean, just check him out! Cap comes decked out in his full WWII gear with a bomber jacket over his costume top, a full array of web-gear, complete with sculpted pouches and a functional holster. His trousers include more sculpted pouches, detailed spats, and a functional sheath for his combat knife.

The web-gear is removable offering a better look at the jacket, and I think the figure displays quite well without it, although I’m sure I’ll be keeping it on him. I like the little touches, like the US sculpted into the flap of the holster, the sculpted bolts along the edges of the sheath, and the individually painted snaps on the pouches. Apart from those dabs of silver, the color palate here is mostly drab military, but the glimpse of blue and white from under his jacket makes for a nice contrast.

The figure comes with two head sculpts and I’ll confess I find them a bit confusing. They appear to be different sculpts, but I’m not sure what the difference is supposed to signify. One has a more pronounced part in the hair and the face looks a tad thinner and possibly younger. At first, I thought one was meant to work better with the helmet, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Both portraits are decent, but the eyes are rather lifeless, giving them something of a mannequin effect. The helmet is a beautiful piece in and of itself. It fits well, has the chin strap hanging off on the right side, and the goggles look so good, that for a moment, I thought they might be able to be lowered over the eyes, but they are actually permanently attached.

If all that isn’t enough, Cap comes with a bevy of accessories, including a knife, two guns, and two shields. First off, he comes with his M1911 service pistol, which is a beautiful little sculpt. I love the textured finish on the grips and there are lots of details on the slide. The pistol fits perfectly into his holster and can be held in either hand. The combat knife fits into the sheath, and while he can hold it fairly well in his right hand, it does fit rather loosely. I’d say an extra hand with a tighter grip would be in order, but this figure already comes with so much, it’s hard to ask for more.

Next up is his Thompson submachine-gun. This has always been a favorite of mine among WWII small arms and this little version captures its iconic profile quite well. The wooden stock and foregrip are both painted brown, while the rest of the gun is left a bare gray. Nice details include the groove in the magazine where it is supposed to slide in, and the sculpted fixtures for a carry strap.

Moving on to the two shields, first he comes with the original heater-type shield with some crisp and colorful red, white, and blue paint as well as some mud splatter to show that it’s been carried into battle. The reverse of the shield features two carry straps. These are a little tight going over the sculpted sleeves, but I’ve been able to get him to hold it pretty well.

Finally, he comes with the unpainted prototype version of his iconic shield. I suppose this is a cool addition, since I don’t think we’ve seen it as an accessory before. Unfortunately, it’s not all that exciting. The shield itself is just bare silver plastic, which doesn’t look as good as if they had painted it. It does have two straps on the back, and these work much better than the ones on the heater shield. All in all, the inventory of gear is very impressive, but as we’ll see in a moment, the distribution of accessories in this set is woefully lopsided… Let’s move on to Peggy Carter!

Here’s a figure I would have wagered we would never get, and I’m very pleased to be proven wrong. I do, however, have some mixed feelings about the end result. So, let’s talk about the good stuff first! The uniform is quite well done. The belted tunic looks great and I love the sculpting on those tiny lapel pins! The buttons and pins are all carefully painted with a touch of gold and they even painted the seams running up the backs of her stockings. A lovely touch, even if it isn’t terribly convincing. Round out the outfit with some meticulously sculpted stitch lines and you’ve got a fine effort.

The portrait here is good, but I don’t think it’s great. I think most of the resemblance comes from the hair and the outfit. Sure, to my eyes, there’s more than a glimmer of Haley Atwell in there, but I just don’t think this is one of the better MCU head sculpts. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of, because they have all been generally quite good.

So what’s the bad stuff? Well for starters, the plastic skirt renders a great deal of this figure’s articulation useless. You can position her legs and feet a bit to get her to stand, but that’s about it. Allowing for slits in the skirt may not have been accurate, but it would have made for a more fun figure. As it is, the posing here has to take place from the waist up, and that’s a shame, because Agent Carter wasn’t one to shy away from the action. But for me, the biggest downer is that she doesn’t come with any accessories, and that plain sucks. Sure, there’s plenty in the box to make it feel like a good value, but everything belongs to Cap. Why, Hasbro? Why not toss her a gun? The fact that her right hand is clearly sculpted to hold a gun is like rubbing slat in the wound. I would have also liked a clipboard or a file folder with HYDRA or TOP SECRET stamped on it. The fact poor Agent Carter comes with nothing just feels like a big slap in the face.

Despite some nitpicks, I really do love this set. Getting this version of Cap and any version of Agent Carter a major victories for my MCU Legends display. Both figures are solid efforts, but I think Cap came out the big winner in this box. Every aspect of this figure is on point, and while the purpose of the second head may be lost on me, I’m never going to complain about an extra noggin. And even Peggy Carter is by no means bad, but just go back and look how much of this review is about Cap and how much is about Carter. In the end, I just wish Hasbro had divvied up the accessories a bit more fairly. I would have happily given up the unpainted shield to give some goodies to Agent Carter.

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Marvel Studios “First Ten Years” Red Skull by Hasbro

I’ve suspended my regular rotation of Marvel Legends reviews so I can get through some of these First Ten Years releases in a timely manner. Besides, I’m so far behind on the other stuff, a few more weeks won’t matter. I’ve already looked at the Civil War set with Cap and Crossbones, and Ronan from Guardians of the Galaxy and today I’m opening up Red Skull from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Here’s the packaging and as you can see, Hasbro has branded these differently than the regular Legends releases. You still get a window box, but here it’s all squared off at the edges and features a spiffy new deco. I gotta be honest, Red Skull was one of my least favorite MCU villains. He looked great, but I felt like the movie just didn’t know what to do with him. That didn’t stop me from buying the Hot Toys version way back when, nor from picking up this one. And since this figure doubles as various Hydra soldiers, I’ll probably be picking up a couple more if they turn up at a decent price. Let’s check him out…

Red Skull’s costume had two very distinct looks in The First Avenger, as sometimes he wore a black leather trench coat over his uniform. Hasbro went sans trench coat for the obvious reason of making this body more versatile and I’m cool with that, especially since they did such a great job with his uniform. Not only does it look pretty damn screen accurate, but just about every detail on this costume is part of the actual sculpt.

The dark green tunic features sculpted piping and stitch lines along with sharp black and red stripes. The individual buttons running down the front are also part of the sculpt and painted in gold. They even sculpted the tiny Hydra emblem on his belt buckle and the patch on his left shoulder. The trousers have a slight military flare to them and the boots are painted in glossy black. Hasbro could have easily squeaked by with simple paint for a lot of these details, especially on the tunic, but they seem to be going full guns on these First Ten Year figures and Schmidt here is a great example of that.

The head sculpt is pretty solid. It’s a very different look from the comic versions we’ve had in the past. This one is clearly MCU through and through. I like the wash they used to pick out some of the details, and while the eyes look a little sloppy up close, they actually look fine with the figure in hand. And yeah, I would have liked a Hugo Weaving likeness, but I’ve read that Weaving wasn’t a fan of his work in the MCU and he may not have been willing to allow for the licensing.

The articulation here is excellent. The arms have rotating hinges at the shoulders, double hinges in the elbows, swivels in the biceps, and pegged hinges for the wrists. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, have swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles are both hinged and have lateral rockers. There’s a swivel in the waist, a ball joint under the chest, and the neck is both hinged and ball jointed. All the joints on this guy feel great and he has the agility to go toe-to-toe with my First Avenger Captain America. And not to sound like an infomercial, but wait! There’s more!

Red Skull comes with a tactical harness and three additional heads to turn him into any one of three different MCU Hydra Soldier and I don’t have words to adequately express how cool an idea this is. The harness opens at one end where the shoulder strap meets the belt via a peg, which makes it pretty easy to put on and take off. It has a silver plate on the back and a beautiful Hydra emblem sculpted onto the belt buckle. Obviously, this doesn’t totally transform the uniform, but I think it adds just the right amount of combat gear to make it work as a rank-and-file soldier. Let’s check out the noggins! They’re all good, but let’s go from my favorite to least favorite.

My favorite is the fully enclosed mask. Yeah, it looks a little gimp masky, but I think it also looks as intimidating as all hell. The detail is a little soft, but it’s got all sorts of stitch marks and some nice silver paint on the goggles and the ribbed sections that reach up from the goggles and around the back of the head.

Next up is basically the same head gear, but with the lower mask removed to expose the soldier’s mouth and nose. Again, I dig the fully masked look more, but this would look really nice thrown into the mix with a couple of the masked ones.

And finally, there’s one that’s just more of a smooth helmet with cheek guards and goggles with red lenses and silver trim. The design on this one is fine, I just think it lacks the personality of the other ones. Also, the paint on this head isn’t terribly sharp between the exposed skin and the helmet, so your mileage may vary.

Of course, you can’t have a Hydra Soldier without a weapon, so Hasbro threw in a Tesseract-powered rifle along with an extra left hand to help him hold it. I like the design of the rifle a lot. It kind of looks like a German Heavy Machine Gun mixed with sci-fi tech, which is exactly what it’s supposed to be! Alas, the configuration of the grip and trigger doesn’t work very well with the right hand. He can grip it well enough, but his trigger finger won’t reach. But hey, at least that means he’s always practicing proper trigger-discipline. The extra left hand does a nice job of gripping the forward grip.

This is a great package and right now Red Skull is rivaling Crossbones as my favorite of the four First Ten Years figures that I’ve opened. The sculpt and paintwork are both excellent and I get warm and fuzzy feelings about adding another MCU villain to my Legends shelf. If I were to nitpick, I really would have loved to get a pistol and Cosmic Cube, but seeing as how Hasbro tossed in the ability to convert him to a Hydra Soldier, I’ll happily table those complaints. Indeed, I’m amazed that Hasbro didn’t release this as a two-pack. Either Red Skull and a Hydra Soldier or just an MCU Hydra two-pack like they did with the comic versions. Hell, they could still do that and I’ll happily lay down forty bucks for it, because I have a feeling it’s going to be a challenge to find a few more individual figures at a decent price.

The First Avenger: Red Skull Movie Masterpiece 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys, Part 2

Alrighty, I’m back to finish up my look at Hot Toys’ Red Skull figure. Yesterday we covered the figure as he comes out of the box, but as we all know about Hydra, “cut off one head and two more will take its place!” so it’s only natural that this figure comes with a spare head. Wait, doesn’t that mean he should have two spare heads? Well, I was never very good at the maths. Let’s pop his noggin and take a look.

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I’m still relatively new to Hot Toys figures and I’ve never swapped a head on one before, so I got to pop my cherry on this one. Boy, was I nervous! It took a lot more force than I thought it would, but thankfully everything went Ok. I gushed enough about the Hugo Weaving sculpt sculpt yesterday, but I gotta say the actual Red Skull portrait is every bit as amazing. The wizards at HT have done their usual magic, in this case reproducing the make-up used for the film. Christ, this guy is creepy looking, with the same great spark of life in his eyes and a grim visage. As impressed as I am with the Weaving likeness, I have to confess that this is the head I’m going to be using for display. It seems a crime to keep the other head, as nice it is, tucked away in a box, but truth be told, I doubt I’ll be swapping them out much.

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Of course, besides the head switch you also get the full length leather trench coat, which is f’cking glorious! I was not looking forward to the ordeal of getting this thing onto the figure, as I’ve heard some horror stories online. In practice, it wasn’t nearly as tough as I thought it would be. The coat is cleverly designed with a series of interior snaps that help the coat fit snugly and stay in place. The interior snaps were a little tough, but once those were on, everything else went plenty smooth. There’s also a redundant Velcro belt that cinches the waist tightly so that you can put the regular belt on top of it and it won’t pop off.

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Once the coat is on, and a little futzing later, it looks incredible. The material is pliable and feels great. The silver buttons coupled with the embossed Hydra belt buckle, the red piping and Hydra emblems on the shoulders, all contrast nicely with the rich black faux leather. The coat also fits quite well. I was afraid it was going to look puffy and awkward when worn over the uniform, but it’s an impressive piece of tailoring. I can’t see myself ever wanting to display the figure with the coat off again.

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And then there are the accessories. First off, you get the basic Hot Toys figure stand. This one is identical to the one that came with my Captain America figure, only with the Red Skull nameplate. You also get the Cosmic Cube and a pistol. The Cube is just a clear blue plastic cube. It’s a simple piece, but since it played such a big role again in Avengers, I’m happy to have one. He can hold it well enough in either of the open hands, but for best results there’s a hand specifically made for clutching it. The pistol is a very cool piece and is one of the custom Hydra weapons designed to be powered by the Cube’s energy. It’s a fairly well detailed piece, right down to the visible wiring.

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The frustrating thing about Red Skull is that he’s two figures in one, and unless you have an extra body and pair of boots lying around, you can’t enjoy both at once. So who to display? Johann Schmidt or Red Skull? Fortunately, it’s an easy decision for me. I love the Weaving head sculpt, and he looks great in his uniform, but once I popped on the Red Skull head and the amazing trench coat, I knew that was the way he was going to reside on my shelf. At $200, he’s a bit pricey for a figure with very little accessories, but with two amazing head sculpts and that great coat, I think it’s easy to see where the money went. Besides, I think the days of Hot Toys offering figures for under $200 are soon coming to an end. It took me a while to getting around to buying him, but he’s a gorgeous figure, and I’m thrilled to finally have him standing next to my First Avenger Captain America.

The First Avenger: Red Skull Movie Masterpiece 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys, Part 1

This week I finally added Hot Toys’ Red Skull to my collection. It was an inevitable purchase since Cap’s movie was my favorite among all the stand-alone Avengers films, and “The First Avenger” Cap was my very first Hot Toys purchase. Buying Red Skull was a no brainer. Nonetheless, he kept getting pushed back again and again in favor of other stuff. Luckily, he’s hung around at Sideshow long enough for me to finally buy him. For all intents and purposes, Red Skull is two figures in one, so I’m going to look at him in two parts. Today we’ll cover the packaging and the Hugo Weaving likeness and tomorrow we’ll check out the real deal in his black jacket and all his skullified glory!

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In a way, I’m surprised this figure exists. Weaving has gone on record that he wasn’t enamored with the role and wouldn’t be interested in doing it again. Fair enough. Honestly, the film did a fantastic job developing Cap as a character, but didn’t do nearly as much to build up Red Skull as a formidable and multi-layered villain. Nonetheless, Weaving did a great job with what the script offered him, and I’m mighty glad he consented to lend his likeness to the figure.

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The packing is the same style used for The First Avenger Cap figure, which is great, because anything else would aggravate my OCD. The box has a faux leather deco with a giant and sinister looking Hydra emblem emblazoned on the front. It also has the name of the film on the bottom. I don’t think Red Skull would appreciate the fact that his figure’s box has Cap’s name on it and not his. Thankfully, the back of the box features a shot of the figure with his Skull head and leather overcoat, along with a list of the people who contributed to the making of the figure.

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Open the lid on the box and you reveal a cardboard insert covering the tray with yet another shot of the figure. This time it’s him in his uniform and sans coat. The cool thing about this packaging is you get a nice sampling of all the different display options the figure offers as you go through the process of opening it. On the inside of the lid, there’s an enclosed tray with the figure’s overcoat.

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Lift the insert and you finally reveal the figure and get the first look of him as Johann Schmidt, with the Hugo Weaving head attached. The figure is flanked by the usual array of extra hands and accessories that one associates with Hot Toys releases.

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Here’s a surprise, the likeness is pretty fantastic. Hey, it’s Hot Toys, what do you expect? I have to imagine that Mr. Weaving has been reproduced plenty of times in action figure form, but it’s hard to imagine anyone nailed it quite as well as this one. He certainly has a very distinctive face, and I’d wager that that helps with the sculpting process. The skin tone is eerie and the eyes have that faint spark of life to them that only Hot Toys knows how to do. Schmidt offers a stern, but otherwise neutral expression. Besides the likeness being spot-on, they also included the incidental little scars by his ears that betray his mask. Very cool! It’s almost a shame that he comes with two heads, because I’m really going to be torn on which one to display the figure with, but more on that later.

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I really like the styling on Schmidt’s uniform. It’s very retro-future-nazi looking, if that’s a real thing and the material feels like it’s a nice quality. There are a lot of fashionable little touches to add to the complexity, like the straps on the arms, the pockets, and the epaulettes. The red piping is beautifully done and adds that extra little snap to what is otherwise just a solid grey outfit. I do think it could have used an extra Hydra insignia somewhere, but that’s really the fault of the film designers and not the figure. As it is, the only Hydra emblem is the one embossed on his belt buckle. The high collar is executed quite nicely. It’s glued down so to maintain its shape and it hugs the neck very well. I was afraid it would require a lot of futzing, but happily that’s not the case. The uniform looks solid right out of the box.

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The figure comes with a total of six hands, all gloved. He’s boxed with two fists attached. There are three additional choices for the right hand. You get one open hand, one designed to clutch the cosmic cube, and one designed to hold his gun. There is only one alternative for the left hand, and it is a regular open hand. A cube clutching left hand would have been nice, as my preferred pose would be pistol in one hand cube in the other. You can still make it work with his open left hand, but not as well. I think this was a bit of an obvious oversight by the design team. You also get an extra set of posts for the hands in case you snap one off.

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The articulation seems pretty standard for Hot Toys. I’m hardly an authority on the line, as this is only my fourth figure, but he can do most poses that I would want. The uniform offers a little bit of restriction in the shoulders, but it’s not nearly as restrictive as the shoulders of Captain America’s uniform.

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And, I’m going to break there. I’ll go away and do some tinkering with the figure and when I come back tomorrow we’ll check out Johann transformed into Red Skull as well as the accessories.

Hail Hydra!!!