Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Gladiator Hulk Build-A-Figure by Hasbro

Welcome back to the second half of today’s Marvel Monday! I’ve opened and reviewed each of the figures in the Gladiator Hulk Wave and that means, it’s main event time! And now, I give you your Incredible, Astonishingly Savage… HULK!!! It’s only fitting that I managed to get out to see Thor: Ragnarok one last time this past weekend before it disappears from theaters. I still can’t believe how well Marvel Studios managed to mate the Ragnarok and Planet Hulk stories into such a fun and enjoyable movie. And I’ve got to say, this movie just keeps getting better each time I see it. Let’s see if that’s true about this assortment of figures!

With a whopping ten pieces, including accessories, Gladiator Hulk is probably the most complex BAF that I’ve put together in a long time. Assembly is fairly easy, although I did have to consult a picture to make sure his shoulder armor went on correctly. The limbs plug in fairly easily and they stay locked in pretty well once they’re in place.

And when you’re done, you get this beautiful beast of a figure! There’s just something both iconic and awe inspiring about Hulk in gladiator armor and the MCU version is pretty damn rad. The Hulk buck features sculpted sandals, as well as armor for his hands and forearms, and a ribbed pair of shorts. Over the shorts, he has a soft plastic belt with a skirt of strips hanging down to just above his knees. The shoulder armor is also sculpted as a separate piece. The detail on the armor pieces is very well done. You get some leather-like texturing in the skirt strips, some sculpted pitting and wear on the arm plates and shoulder piece, as well as all kinds of sculpted straps and buckles meant to be holding these pieces on. The whole ensemble features a great scavenged and rag-tag motif, while mixing the traditional gladiator look with some more futuristic looking pieces.

The paint and coloring on the figure is also quite good. The plastic used for the buck is a rich, deep green. Yes, it is significantly deeper than the Legends Age of Ultron Hulk. The armor features a mix of really pale copper and blue, all done with a metallic sheen. The sandals are neatly painted brown, and Hulk has the Sakaaran war paint in white down the front of his chest and right arm, which also carries over the armor straps. There’s a little slop here and there, but nothing too bad.

The head sculpt is superb. It’s a calmer expression than the one we saw on Age of Ultron Hulk, with the mouth closed, but definitely showing signs of displeasure. I like it, but I would understand if some collectors would have preferred something more angry. After all, he does spend most of his time in the armor fighting. I’d argue that this would have been a great occasion to roll out an extra head, but this figure already features a lot of parts, so I can understand why that didn’t happen. Anyway, the hair is neatly painted and you get more of the white warpaint on the side of his face.

The gladiator helmet is a little work of art all unto itself and fits the figure very well. It looks like it was hammered out of scrap metal. You can see the seams of various plates jointed together and the hammered and battered finish makes it look well used. The paint is the same pale copper used on some of the body armor and he has more of the white war paint down one side. The sculpted comb on the top is painted with a bright crimson.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say a few words about scale, because this guy is definitely not in proper 6-inch scale. Yes, he’s the same size as the Age of Ultron Hulk and he wasn’t in scale either. I would have really liked if they could have made him bigger, since he is a BAF, but it’s not a total deal-breaker for me. At least he’s still notably bigger than the regular figures. Maybe the way to go would have been to release him as one of the 12-inch figures we’ve been getting and then they could have made Korg the BAF for this wave. And as long as I’m comparing the two Hulks, I’ll point out that the articulation is almost identical. The one difference is the AoU Hulk had double hinged elbows, whereas this guy has just single hinges.

Hulk comes with two weapons, his huge hammer and his axe. Both of these pieces are cast in a silvery, almost pearlescent plastic and given a coppery wash. The hammer is my favorite as it looks like they just took some kind of engine block from a space ship and stuck a shaft onto it. Of course, the axe is no slouch either, and features a pretty nasty spike opposite the blade. Both of these pieces feature textured grips, and while they can be a little tough to get into his hands, but once they’re in there he holds them very securely.

All petty gripes about size aside, I absolutely love this figure. It’s probably one of my favorite BAF’s all year, and that’s saying something because we’ve had some really good ones. The sculpt is fantastic, the coloring is beautiful, and he comes with a couple of amazing weapons. I won’t lie, I was hoping we’d get one more wave of figures out of Thor: Ragnarok, especially with how well it performed at the box office. The movie had a rich tapestry of great and bizarre characters, most of which would make wonderful figures. It seems a shame to leave characters like Korg, Meek, Executioner, and The Grandmaster on the table, not to mention Valkyrie in her armor. And what about a Build-A-Figure Fenris? There was a lot more potential here and a lot of it could have been fleshed out with just one more wave. But I guess I should be happy with what we got, rather than be sad over what could have been.

And that wraps up another kick ass assortment of figures from Marvel Legends! And I’m glad it was a good wave to go out on, because chances are I won’t be starting on the next wave until after the end of the year as I’ve got a couple of detours I’d like to take on the next Marvel Mondays. Next week I’ll likely be looking at the Walgreens Exclusive Medusa, and then if time permits, I’d like to check out Hot Toys’ Doctor Strange the week after that. That’ll put me back on track and starting to look at the Man-Thing Wave sometime around the first week of January.

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Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Lady Thor by Hasbro

Here we go, folks, today I’m opening up the final figure in the Gladiator Hulk Wave of Marvel Legends, and it’s Lady Thor! or Jane Foster Thor? or Fake Thor!?! I’m going to confess that I’ve re-written the intro to today’s review a couple of times, while waffling back and forth about how heavy handed I want to get with how the character of Jane Foster as Thor relates to the dumpster fire that is Marvel Comics these days. Ultimately, I decided to let a lot of it go, but I did just want to drop one editorial comment to Marvel here: It’s a wonderful thing to want to create more female characters as comic book A-Listers. It’s another thing to have to replace beloved existing characters with them. In the infinite world of comics, you don’t have to tear one thing down to build another. And if you do, don’t be surprised about the rage that you incur. I’d also suggest that there are a lot of great existing female characters in the Marvel lexicon that deserve engaging and well-written books of their own. And that’s where I’m going to leave it.

OK! Back to toys! And here’s Jane in the box, and once again thanks to some beefy BAF parts, we get a pretty damn heavy package. And thanks to this leg and shoulder armor, I’ll finally be able to complete my Champion of Sakaar and put him together later on tonight. But first things first, let’s get Jane out of the box and check her out. Oh yeah, I should note that like Thor Odinson, a variant of this figure was also included in the SDCC Battle for Asgarde set, which still sits over there unopened in the corner. I’ll get to it eventually.

Whatever issues I have with the character, I cannot deny that Jane is sporting some kick-ass Femme-Thor cosplay. I love this character design, that’s the main reason I’ve actually been excited to get this figure in hand, and I have to say it does not disappoint. The costume features several layers of Norse fashion starting with a painted black body suit, a skirt-like half-cape and belt cast in soft plastic, a silver breast plate layered on top of the buck, and a silver wrist guard on her left arm with individual sculpted straps and a partial black glove painted on the arm. Her lower legs feature sculpted wraps, silver boots, and separate winged pieces, like armored spats. I love the complexity here. The design really shines, and Hasbro did a fabulous job with it. The paint quality here is pretty fab as well. The silver paint they used on her armor looks great over the hammered finish. It’s also used on her boots, the studs on her belt, her arm guard, and even the tiny buckles on the straps.

Jane also sports a billowing cape, which pegs into her back and appears to float over her shoulders just like Classic Thor’s cape. There are two silver discs that position over her shoulders, but it’s a little tough to see them with her hair in the way. The cape does make her a little back heavy, but since it touches the ground in the center it also serves as a support for her.

The head sculpt is every bit as complex as the rest of the outfit. The helmet covers most of her head, leaving just her mouth and chin exposed. It’s cast in silver plastic, but it matches the paint for the chest plate fairly well. It also features a gold decoration on the front, and two sweeping side pieces that resemble wings. Jane’s eyes are represented as black with two silver pupils, which is more than a bit creepy, and her lips are neatly painted. The sandy blonde hair spills out from the bottom of the helmet and around her shoulders, but hardly hinders the neck articulation at all.

And speaking of articulation, here’s a rundown on what Jane’s got. The legs feature ball joints in the hips, double hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and both hinges and lateral rockers in the ankles. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and she has swivels in the biceps. She has a ball joint just under her chest and both a hinge and ball joint in the neck.

Of course, Jane comes with Mjolnir, which she can hold comfortably in her right hand. the left hand is balled into a fist. This is a familiar looking sculpt, and while I don’t have any of the others handy, I’m sure it’s recycled from a past Thor figure. I’ve got no problem with that, because it looks great.

In what has been a very solid assortment of figures, Lady Thor holds her own as a top contender for my favorite in the wave. The excellent character design translates beautifully to figure form and I believe I would have a lot more fondness for this version of Jane Foster if she hadn’t usurped Thor’s name and if Marvel’s current crop of writers were actually turning out compelling and entertaining reads. I didn’t intentionally save this figure for last, but it turns out to be a great way to end this look at such an excellent wave. Join me back here tonight and we’ll check out the Build-A-Figure of the wave… Gladiator Hulk!

Marvel Legends (Gladiator Hulk Wave): Thor Odinson by Hasbro

Welcome back to my trek through the Gladiator Hulk Wave of Marvel Legends! I’m nearing the home stretch, with just two more comic based figures to look at until I can build the Incredible Champion of Sakaar! Today I’m checking out Thor, or as the package calls him, Marvel’s Odinson. Call him Odinson, call him Unworthy Thor, but he’s still Thor. Because my friends, Thor is still Thor even if unworthy to wield Mjolnir. But that’s a subject on which I will vent a little more next week when I look at Jane Foster Thor. Or maybe I’ll just let it go. We’ll see. I actually loved the idea of an unworthy Thor storyline, but I didn’t feel like Marvel did anything interesting with it. Will new Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski haul Marvel Comics out of the dumpster fire it’s in? I guess we’ll find out. Can it get any worse? I genuinely don’t believe so.

Odinson shares the same slot with Ares as the two “Nine Realms Warriors,” and like Ares, there’s a lot of plastic in this box. Thor himself ain’t no lightweight and when you add in his accessory, Jarnbjorn, and the massive Gladiator Hulk torso, you get a pretty full tray crammed in there. I should note that I might have skipped this figure if it weren’t for the BAF parts, because a variant is included in the SDCC “Battle for Asgarde” set, which I still have sitting unopened in the corner waiting for me to do another Marvel Week. There are, however, some pretty big differences between the two figures, so in this case having to double-dip isn’t too bad.

And the figure isn’t too shabby either! While a good chunk of this costume is just painted buck, Odinson features enough unique sculpting to satisfy me. The black sleeveless shirt is just painted onto his chest with a little cutout up top. See, dudes can wear boob windows too! Eat your heart out, Power Girl! I love how the tops of the trousers are sculpted and tied off with a piece of rope, because down-on-his-luck Thor can’t afford proper pants that fit, nor a belt to hold them up! I jest, but it’s a really nice touch. The boots feature sculpted flares at the knees, and sculpted brown straps tying them in place at the tops and down near the ankles. He also has a pedestrian pair of wrist bracers, which are sculpted as separate pieces.

The cape is really nice! It’s cast in bright red plastic with a silver painted fastener off-set near his left shoulder. The back shows it all tattered with a rough bottom edge and various holes. Still, it’s very thick which eschews realism and gives it a decidedly comic book look. Of course, if you’d rather go without it, you can just pop the head and remove it.

Speaking of heads, this one is a bit of a poser. It genuinely looks fine to me with the figure in hand, but then I take pictures up close and this happens. YIKES! It looks like someone pinched the middle of his face and his eyes are popping out. You ain’t unworthy, you just too ugly! It’s a shame, because the face is very chiseled and angular with some beautiful definition in the sculpt. It looks a little more gaunt than normal Thor, which is a nice touch for hard-luck Thor. The hair is sculpted so that it’s blowing off to the side, which is admittedly a rather singular look, but it works well enough for me. Bottom line is that if you keep a safe distance, it’ll look fine. You’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

The articulation holds no surprises, but we’ll run through it anyway. 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 swivels in the thighs, double hinges in the knees, and the ankles have both hinges and lateral rockers. The torso features both an ab crunch and a waist swivel, and the neck is both ball jointed and hinged. The hinges are all solid, and he’s an all around fun figure to play with.

Odinson comes with one accessory and that’s his trusty axe, Jarnbjorn. For a substitute weapon, this thing is beautiful! Hasbro decorated out the axe head’s socket with some lovely scrollwork and an ornate, spiked tip. The curved handle has sculpted wood texture running through it, and grip is ribbed with silver rings at each end. This is one of the most beautiful weapons Marvel Legends has given us in quite a while!

Whatever my feeling about the particulars of the comics, and they’re not all bad, Unworthy Thor is a great idea for a storyline and I’m glad they did this figure. There was a little while where I thought it was going to be totally exclusive to the SDCC set, and while I did wind up getting it very easily, that’s not always the case. It’s probably a good thing that the figure made it to regular retail too, making it available to the collectors who were unable to get the exclusive set, or maybe just didn’t want all of those figures. Next week, I’m going to put this wave to a bed with a look at the last boxed figure, Jane Foster Thor, and the Build-A-Figure, Gladiator Hulk!

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 (Allfather Wave): Thor by Hasbro

It was almost exactly three years ago that I featured Marvel Legends Thor from the initial wave of the line’s triumphant return. I was totally blown away by what a great figure Hasbro had built and it had me convinced that Hasbro was taking Legends in the right direction. And now here I am with dozens of these figures on my shelf and Hasbro is gracing us with another version of the Norse God of Thunder. This new Marvel NOW! Thor is heavily built on the previous Thor’s body, so you may want to take a glance at my review of Heroic Thor first, because I’m going to be doing a lot of comparisons.

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The packaging sure has evolved nicely. The 2015 Legends are still coming in these wonderful window boxes with opening side flaps that allow you to remove the tray without damaging the box. The window displays the goods quite well and there’s even an extended back to the card that lets you hang it from a peg or stand it on a shelf. With Thor’s big bulk, two accessories, and BAF part, there is not a hell of a lot of room left on that tray! The back of the box shows the other figures in the wave needed to build The Allfather, or King Thor if you prefer, but nope… I’m building Odin, baby!

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So, let’s start off with what’s recycled here. You get the same legs with a bit of a paint change. New Thor’s leg armor is painted black on the inside of his thighs whereas Heroic Age Thor’s were all silver. The silver paint used on the new Thor is also more vibrant. The torsos and capes are both reused from Heroic Age Thor, again with some little paint changes. NOW! Thor lacks the two extra silver disks painted near the bottom of his tunic and the sculpted disks on NOW! Thor are painted a brighter silver to match his chain mail legs. The belt buckle is now silver instead of bronze and while the sculpted piping on Heroic Age Thor’s tunic was painted bronze, This new Thor’s is left black. The biggest change below the neck is found in the arms, which are brand new sculpts. NOW! Thor casts off his chain mail sleeves from the Heroic Age outfit and goes full on bare arms with just a pair of black fingerless gloves.

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And that brings us to the portrait. Both Thors seem to utilize the same face sculpt, which features a great, stern and powerful visage. That’s the face of a God that is about to smite you! The main differences lie in the helmet. Heroic Age Thor wore the more traditional skull cap with the feathered wings, which had its roots firmly set in his classic design. NOW! Thor features a more elaborate and far more modern helmet with metal wings and cheek protectors. It’s painted bright silver and it does indeed look glorious!

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The articulation here is identical to what we saw with Heroic Age Thor, but let’s run through it anyway. The arms have swivel hinges at the shoulders, elbows, and wrists, and have swivels in the biceps. The legs have swivel hinges in the thighs and ankles, and double hinges in the knees. There’s a generous ball joint in the torso and another in the neck. For a bulky figure like this, the articulation is very good and there’s no mushy joints. He’s also nicely balanced even with that big cape.

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As expected, Thor comes with Mjolnir and it’s just a repaint of the same accessory that came with Heroic Age Thor. The handle seems a little less bendy and it is a nice, hefty version of his trusty hammer.

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You also get a sword and I really dig the sculpt on this beauty. Not sure I’m going to go the sword route when displaying him, but I’m not going to turn my nose up at such an awesome looking piece of 6-inch scale cutlery.

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So, it should be no surprise that I love this figure. Sure, it’s just a variant of the Heroic Age version, but that was three years ago and I think Hasbro waited the appropriate amount of time to roll this new version out. As to which one is my favorite, well that’s a toughie. Heroic Age Thor has that more tarnished and armored up look to him that I really dig along with the classic style of the helmet. I also think that Heroic Thor totally nails the likeness to the character design of the time. Marvel NOW Thor, on the other hand is just gorgeous newness and the helmet and bare arm look nicely bridges the gap between comic and movieverse for a rather exciting look. Aw, I can’t choose which one I like more, so I’ll just be content to have them both!

The Avengers: Thor ArtFX+ Statue by Kotobukiya

It was way back in October when I looked at my last acquisition in Koto’s Avengers ArtFX+ Statues. I’m digging this series a lot, but I managed to let the last two releases fall under my radar. Now that the Holiday craziness is past, I took the time to pick up my next two figures in the series… today we’ll be checking out The Mighty Thor!

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I was a little surprised by the size of Thor’s box, but it makes sense that it should be a little bigger than Black Widow’s or Cap’s, both because of his bulkier size and the nature of his pose. I’ll go ahead and mention once again that I like these more conventional boxes a lot better than the fragile clear plastic boxes that Koto used for their DC ArtFX+ line. They may not be as flashy or artsy-fartsy, but they’re durable, colorful, and I’ll certainly be keeping them in case I ever need to put the statues in storage or for the next time I move. Inside the box, Thor comes between two plastic trays and in five parts (legs, torso with cape, two arms, and head) with an additional two parts that make up Mjolnir. Yes, as with The Avengers, there is some assembly required. Luckily, Thor is pretty much plug-and-play. Each part features a tab that is shaped to fit in specific socket and while some of the fits are rather tight, everything went together without a hitch.

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Cards on the table, Thor’s Marvel NOW! design is not one of my favorite looks for the character, although now that I mention it, Thor is currently a woman, so this version is actually already out of date. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike it at all, I just think the black tunic is a little bland compared to other treatments of the character, especially when everyone else’s costume seems to be getting panel lined up the ass. Also, does The Odinson really need a “T” on his belt buckle? That’s just tacky. But hey, I’m not here to pick apart the character design, but rather take a look at what Koto did with it, and it will probably be no surprise to anyone reading, that I think they did a splendid job.

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Some of the high points of the costume sculpt include the chiseled muscles showing through the tunic, as well as the checkered pattern making up the texture on his arm and leg armor. The circular points of armor on his chest look sharp and there’s some truly impressive scrollwork carved into his his belt. The flares at the tops of his boots look great and I really dig the sweeping motion of his cape, which adds just the right amount of energy to what is a powerful, yet static pose. And how about that pose? He’s got Mjolnir held out in front of him and his off-hand balled into a fist. The composition works well when viewed from several angles and I always take that as the sign of a well thought out piece.

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The portrait on this statue is possibly a bit narrow, but it’s nicely counterbalanced by the beautiful job they did on his helmet. I love the rivets and panel lines as well as the majestic placement of the side fins. I could have gone for a little more ferocity in his expression, but what’s here works fine for me.

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The paintwork on this statue is mostly solid. I’ll nitpick a little that the matte black used for the tunic shows a little inconsistency to the finish. Maybe that conforms to the fact that it’s supposed to be cloth or leather. There are also a few stray black marks on the leg armor. Otherwise the what’s here is pretty great. The metallic silver they used looks spectacular, particularly on the helmet and armor circlets and it all contrasts quite nicely with the matte black of the tunic and red of the cape. The fleshtone is clean and the paintwork on the face is immaculate.

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As always, the statue comes with a metallic black square base that works in conjunction with the magnets embedded in Thor’s boots to hold him upright. Although, honestly, Thor is stable enough to stand just fine on his own.

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I picked up Thor for right around $40 and that sure is a fantastic price for what you get. If you’re a statue collector on a budget or don’t have the expansive space necessary for the Sixth-Scale or Quarter-Scale pieces this Tenth-Scale line simply can’t be beat. Thor continues the expectation of quality and workmanship in Koto’s Avenger’s ArtFX+ line and I’m as excited as ever to complete this collection. My next look at this line will be Hawkeye, and he’s already in my collection and waiting for his chance at the spotlight. The final release, Iron Man should be following along sometime next month!

Avengers: Thor Movie Masterpiece 1:6 Scale Figure by Hot Toys

While I am most certainly not going for an entire set of Hot Toys Avengers, (sadly, my wallet won that fight) I have been cherry picking the characters I want the most. I kicked myself for not picking up the first Hot Toys Thor, but as was the case with Black Widow, sometimes taking a pass on a first effort pays off later. The Avengers Thor is said to be a huge improvement over the initial release and looking at photos of the figure online finally wore me down to the point where I threw him on Flex Pay. Four months later and the God of Thunder has shown up at my doorstep. I often do these figures in two parts, but Thor is a pretty simple, albeit spectacular, figure so I think I can probably do him justice in just one shot.

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The packaging is designed to mesh with all the Hot Toys Avengers. You get a sleeve with a B&W shot of the character’s portrait and “The Avengers” in foil lettering. The top of the box has Thor’s name in big type and the sides have his Mjolnir symbol.  Pull the sleeve off and you reveal a window box showing off the goods. It’s a very basic presentation compared to some of Hot Toys’ previous efforts. I suppose it’s fair to expect a lot of bells and whistles in the packaging for a $200 figure, but honestly the simplicity doesn’t bother me a whole hell of a lot. Besides, the $200 price point is pretty much Hot Toys’ new bottom line. Sure, I do keep the boxes for these figures, but mainly as a means of storing the extra parts and in case I ever need to put the entire figure away at some point down the road. At the very least, your Avengers boxes will look nice and uniform on the shelf if you are collecting the whole line.

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The layout of the figure in the tray should be readily familiar to anyone who has picked up one of Hot Toys products before. The figure comes partially wrapped in plastic with the extra hands and accessories flanking him on both sides. In this case, the cape is passed through a slit in the tray, which seemed to do a nice job keeping it from getting all rumpled. The personalized figure stand is placed between the legs. Everything fits into the tray snugly. It’s a good economy of space without making everything seemed cramped.

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While Thor’s appearance varied a bit throughout The Avengers, Hot Toys recreated him in his full sleeved armor. I think that was a good choice because I absolutely love the scale armor turned out for the sleeves. It’s rubbery and looks dead on to the movie outfit. They also hide the joints, which would have been the big downside of a bare armed version. I suppose you could take the sleeves off if you wanted, but I tend to follow this rule about futzing too much with my $200 figures: I don’t do it. The arms also feature bracers on his wrists, which are strapped around bright red cloth sleeves. Yes, the rubbery sleeves do inhibit the arm movement, but not much more than First Avenger Cap’s uniform shoulders did. Sure, it would be nice to pose him with Mjolnir above his head calling down the thunder, but I knew that was an issue going in, so it wasn’t really surprising or disappointing. Articulation whores will certainly take issue at this, but I think the trade off was a worthy one.

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The chest armor looks outstanding. It’s sculpted with cutouts to show the garment underneath, giving the outfit a very convincing and layered look. I am a big fan of the armor design from the movie and it’s captured really well here. The pleather trousers have stitched stripes and the boots are actually two parts. You get the ball jointed feet plugged into the ankles and the top of the boot is separate. It still looks great and serves to offer a little more poseability in the ankles than stiff boots would have allowed. The trade off is that the ankle joints require you to fiddle about a bit to get him to stand in some positions. And then there’s the cape… by Odin’s beard, I love the cape! It’s bright red fabric and the way it hangs over the shoulder armor gives it that iconic hovering look that we’re so used to seeing in Thor’s design. The back of it is tailored to hang in folded layers. I was a little concerned that the cape was going to require a whole lot of adjusting to make it look right, but it’s designed to look fine right out of the box.

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Thor’s portrait has come a long way since HT first showed him off. Early shots were a bit spotty but the final product turned out just fine and I think the likeness to Chris Hemsworth is up to their usual impeccable standards. Yes, from certain angles the mouth can look a bit derpy, but let’s face it Thor isn’t necessarily the braintrust of The Avengers team. The hair is the only minor issue I have with the figure and that’s just because sculpted hair this long tends to take away from the realism of the rest of the head sculpt. But when you consider the alternative is rooted, I’ll take the lesser of two evils. The truth is it still looks fine and it’s flexible enough so as not to inhibit the head movement too much.

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If you’re looking for an abundance of accessories, Thor will disappoint. You get a copious amount of hands (more on that in a bit)  and just two other items. But seriously, what does Thor need other than Mjolnir? It’s the one thing that was absolutely required to come with the figure and it is indeed a very nice piece. I knew the head was going to be die cast metal, but I was still surprised by how satisfyingly heavy it is. The grip on the handle is sculpted and painted and there’s a lanyard attached to the end.

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The other cool piece is the Cosmic Cube in the containment tube. Ha! That rhymes! Like Mjolnir, this is an extremely nicely crafted accessory. It’s also one that was really not necessary and so it makes for a great bonus. I had originally though this accessory came with Loki and not with Thor. Maybe it was issued with both figures, and I just missed that.

And no discussion of a Hot Toys figure would be complete without… HANDS! Seriously, does anyone actually use all these hands? Thor comes boxed with a pair of fists, but there are three additional pairs, which include two open hands, two partially open hands, two hands for holding Mjolnir. You also get an extra left hand, which seems to be designed for holding Mjolnir out at an angle. I’m not sure what that one is all about. It might be the one designed to hold half the containment tube so that Loki can hold the other. I’m not big on swapping hands. Obviously the right Mjolnir hand will stay put. The left one may vary between a fist and the open hand. You also get a couple of extra wrist posts in case you snap the ones on the figure by swapping out all these hands.

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No doubt about it, Thor is another amazing effort from Hot Toys. I always have those little twinges of trepidation when ordering these things, but whenever they show up I’m always glad I did. He looks amazing on my shelf, and I really envy the collectors that are putting together this entire team because those displays are going to be EPIC! Granted, at $200 Thor ain’t cheap. He doesn’t come with a lot of stuff, but there’s nothing conspicuously absent either. Like I said earlier, $200 is the new bottom line for Hot Toys and for the most part, the days of the $160 figures are probably over. But hell, I still think he’s well worth it. The only downside is that now I’m seriously re-considering whether I need Loki on my shelf… and he is still available at a few retailers.

FigureFan’s Disappointments of 2012, Part 1

Ok, we’ve seen my favorites, and now it’s time to check out the turds floating in last year’s punchbowl. Again, this was tough, because I try to avoid buying things that look like they will be crap. So maybe the word turd is a little harsh in some cases. Almost nothing on this list is total crap, but everything here definitely disappointed me in some way.

TMNT Classics: Donatello by Playmates… The Classic Turtles are great figures, but they got upstaged on my “Favorites List” by the smaller modern guys in a major way. Nonetheless, Donatello represents here for one reason and one reason only, because of his mad eyes. Ok, I suppose that’s two reasons. The point is that by giving him wonky eyes, Playmates not only ruined the figure, but seriously marred the entire set. How can anyone appreciate their team of turtles on the shelf when Donny is standing there in the back looking like he got kicked in the head one too many times. It’s a crazy example of how one brush stroke can mar an otherwise excellent toy.

DC Universe All Stars: Superboy Prime… Besides turning out as a terrible looking figure, Superboy Prime earns Mattel a Disappointment Award for doing the bait-and-switch. The final product saw major changes from the pre-release images, and while that is bound to happen from time to time, the changes here made a great looking promo figure turn into a terrible release. Even worse, with hardly any brick-and-mortar stores actually carrying the DCU All Stars, I had to buy the figure online, so my disappointment wasn’t realized until I got the thing in hand and it was too late. It’s not often that I can say I regret buying a DCUC figure, but I certainly regret picking up Superboy Prime.

Marvel Legends: Extremis Iron Man… Because I only allowed each toyline to appear once in each list, this slot was a tight race between Extremis Iron Man and Future Foundation Spider-Man. In fairness, on its own this Iron Man is a fairly competent figure, but as soon as you put him up against some of the other figures in Hasbro’s new Marvel Legends line he comes up wanting. He’s too small, not terribly well articulated, and overall underwhelming. I kind of get the feeling that he was just here to fill a slot in a quick and dirty manner (that’s what she said?). And to keep the comparisons rolling, his paint and sculpting don’t even live up to many of the older, smaller and cheaper 3 ¾” Iron Man 2 figures. At least Hasbro released him in two versions, so that the crappy Stealth variant would make the regular one look better.

Duke Nukem by NECA… You’ve got to hand it to NECA, in an effort to be as accurate to the game as possible; they obviously wanted to capture the disappointment of Duke Nukem Forever in action figure form. And they did! NECA’s Duke features a solid enough sculpt, but the articulation is downright weird and the paintwork, particularly on the flesh tones, leaves a lot to be desired. And then there are the accessories. Sure, kudos for the cigar, which I promptly lost, but how can Duke come with just a handgun? Where’s his arsenal? And, no, the fact that he has feet doesn’t count as a “Mighty Boot” accessory. Duke should have come with a cool assortment of weapons, instead all he came with was disappointment.

Avengers: “Sword Spike” Thor… While most of Hasbro’s 3 ¾” Avengers figures were disappointments, this version of Thor earns a place on this list because he represented the ultimate in toy company hubris and laziness. Hasbro took what was essentially the exact same figure from the previous year, cut out most of its articulation, gave him a new shitty weapon and put him on an Avengers card. They even kept the same name, which in the new context made no sense because he now came with a halberd and not a sword. To add insult to injury, a lot of stores had this figure hanging just a few pegs away from the better articulated Thor-branded figure… on clearance! It’s the retail equivalent of Hasbro unzipping their pants, pulling out their Mjolnir and slapping us in the face with it.
Ok, that’s enough disappointment for one day. I’m going to take some Topamax and gin to level out my mood and I’ll be back tomorrow with the final five.

Avengers: “Sword Spike” Thor by Hasbro

[Sure, I’ve been taking Sundays off lately, but this week I decided to press on with my look at the three Avengers figures I picked up this week. They’re nothing special, so I didn’t want to drag it out. Today will be Thor and then I’ll wrap it up tomorrow with Cap. That will also push this week’s MASK edition of Vintage Vault back to Tuesday. -FF]

Our second forray into Hasbro’s new 3 3/4″ Avengers figures brings us to the Lord of Asgard himself, Thor. This is another one of those “Concept Series” figures, since they seem to be the only kind I can find, and I’m still not entirely sure what the “concept” angle is all about, since ALL the figures come with those ridiculous weapons. Anyway, enough preamble, let’s see what we’ve got…
There’s the package and looking at it I find myself getting a sense of deja vous because… wait… didn’t I… yes, I did… I looked at a figure called“Sword Spike” Thor back when the Thor movie figures were out. In fact, that one was the only movie Thor figure I wound up buying. Talk about double dipping… shame on you Hasbro! The packaging is pretty much identical to the one we saw with Iron Man. The big difference is an insert in the bubble with a shot of the figure, but no “Try Me” hole on this one.
This version of Thor is essentially the exact same figure as the movie “Sword Spike” Thor only with less articulation, a sculpted helmet, and a permanently attached cape. There are some very minor coloring differences, for example the cape is brighter, but for all intents and purposes it is the same sculpt from the neck down. That having been said, it is still a great looking figure. There’s a lot of cool detail sculpted into his chest armor and even the little scales in his chainmail. The headsculpt is quite a good resemblance and I do like finally having a helmeted movie version of Thor, since I passed on the ones that came out previously. I am rather glad that Hasbro permanently attached his cape this time, as my movie Thor figure’s cape does not want to stay on for love or money. Most of the paintwork on this figure is fine, but there is some really sloppy red paintwork on the legs.
Articulation is almost the same as we saw on “Heavy Artillery” Iron Man. You get a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders and hips. Hinges in the elbows and knees. In case you missed it, the big difference is that Thor only has hinges in the knees, rather than ball joints.
So, let’s look at “Sword Spike” Thor’s big weapon. Obviously its a… hey, wait a minute. There isn’t a sword anywhere in this package. Nope, just as you would not expect from the name, “Sword Spike” Thor comes with a big battle axe. As far as big stupid weapons go, this one isn’t all bad. I do kind of dig the gold, engraved axe head. Too bad it looks like its attached to a harpoon gun. There is a missile that shoots out of the top, which the package calls a “Launching Battle Spike” so at least there’s a spike in there somewhere, even if there is no sword. This version of Thor also comes with Mjolnir, which is essentially the same sculpt used for the movie figures.
Once again, this figure looks great, displays well, and he’s fun to play around with. The hobbled articulation at least adds a certain stability to the figure, but most collectors aren’t going to find that a worthy trade off. But here’s the real problem: If you’re holding this figure in your hand at the store, chances are  you can walk a couple of feet and find the same figure with better articulation on clearance from the Thor movie. And even if they aren’t on clearance, you’d still be getting the same figure with better articulation at the same price. This is the very reason why I wish Hasbro had varied the initial wave more. I’m very afraid that these figures are going to choke up the pegs and prevent us from getting movie versions of Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury. And even with that worry, I can’t recommend anyone run out and buy this one.

Marvel Legends: Thor by Hasbro

I’ve got a double feature today, so I’d best get cracking. I’m starting off today with the last packaged figure in the initial wave of Hasbro’s Marvel Legends lineup. Its Thor! Thor has had no shortage of figures produced off him this past year so does this one stack up? Does it stand out? Are we all Thor’ed out? Let’s see…

Package shot… oh, hell, after a week of the same packages over and over, I’m spent. I’ve said all I’m going to say about it. The character art is ok, but everything else looks great. Thor also fills the bubble nicely even without the BAF piece. In fact…
Holy hell, this is one big, meaty hunk of plastic! Thor is not only big, he’s big enough to have been a BAF figure all by himself. In terms of pure bulk, he’s probably a smidge bigger than Terrax himself. And the sculpt? Oh, the sculpt! Those of you who saw or even picked up this figure when it was first offered at SDCC last year will not be surprised, but I was completely taken aback at just what an amazing looking figure this is. There’s a ton of detailwork in Thor’s armor, particularly all the checkering in his arms and legs. The sculpt is really well done, too, as it doesn’t hang down far enough to destablize him or to inhibit his articulation. It just blows a bit off to the side so that it looks good, but doesn’t interfere with the figure.
Once again, I have to give kudos to the team doing the head sculpts, because Thor’s noggin looks fantastic. I love the iconic winged helmet, the hair, and the stern but noble visage on his face. Beautiful!

Thor features solid articulation. You get a ball jointed neck, although the sculpted hair does inhibit his head movement, leaving it mostly just turning side to side. That extra hinge that Steve Rogers had would have been really great here. His arms feature ball joints at the shoulders and elbows, swivels in the biceps, and the wrists have swivels and hinges. The legs are ball jointed at the hips, feature double-hinges in the knees, and his ankles have swivels and hinges. Lastly, you get a ball joint in the torso.
Thor comes with just one accessory. Can you guess what it is? Sure, its Mjolnir. This is one of the better scaled versions of the mighty hammer at least in proportion to the figure. Its a good sculpt too right down to the weathering on the head and the leather wrapping on the handle.
No doubt about it, Thor ranks in as one of my favorite figures in this assortment. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say he’s tied with Steve Rogers as being my favorite. This is just a fine example of an action figure perfectly embodying everything about a character and its about as iconic as they come. I have no qualms with Hasbro releasing figures based on the movie version of Thor, lord knows I have a bunch of them, but its awesome to see them releasing so perfect a comic version on the eve of Avengers movie madness. If you’re going to buy only one of the figures in this wave… well, you’re going to miss out on a some great figures… but if so, I’d make it this Thor. He’s amazing.

I’ll be back later today to take a look at Terrax!