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.