Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mavel Legends Infinite Guardians of the Galaxy action figure review (Groot build a figure wave)

According to fans everywhere the big summer movie expectation lies with Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, a rag-tag team of galactic misfits that are out to save the...galaxy.  This week's review has the Marvel Legends Infinite series in the spotlight again with the complete GotG set under scrutiny. Starlord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, comic Nova, and the build-a-figure Groot make up this very unique set. Packaging is no surprise and is the same collector friendly Marvel Legends Infinite style we've seen in the Spider-Man and Captain America 2 reviews earlier. It allows you to replace the figure for resale or storage at any time and I hope all action figures move towards this style.

Sculpting for the whole line is amazing with extra detail paid to just about every aspect of these figures. Starlord's jacket has all sorts of tech paneling on it, Drax's tattos are raised on his skin, you can make out each hole in Gamora's fishnet body stocking, and even each individual claw on Rocket's tiny paws. Starlord's mask is really well done and the hair coming out from the edges looks sharply defined as do his boot rockets.

Nova is the one you've all been waiting for in his 'Annihilation' comic costume. His helmet is a three-piece design and looks perfect, all his gold armor sections separate as well with detailed costume lines. Rocket Raccoon is a cute little figure with plenty of facial detail, fur, and his tiny flightsuit detail showing. Iron Man is in his cosmic comic armor and is a remold of the Bleeding Edge version with a new head and arms.

Groot is the big winner here with so much wooden detail it's incredible they managed to get it all down. Twisted gnarled branches make up his limbs with mossy texture to them as well as the wood grain look. Tiny twigs sprout from his head and arms. The whole sculpt is a work of art. Gamora is quite pretty for a female Legends sculpt and has a great body design. There's tons of detail on her as well including tiny bootstraps and excellent flowing hair. The facesculpt really does look like the actress where as Starlord's alternate head sculpt isn't spot on to his.

Now it's time for articulation. First off everyone but Gamora and Rocket have side-swivel ankles. Poor Rocket doesn't get any lower body articulation either, the same as his comic build-a-figure version was shorted. He does sport fully articulated arms, a ball head, waist, and tail however. Gamora's hips don't move out to the side more than a couple millimeters making her hips more like a T-crotch design. That's the bad. The good is that everyone else has articulation that's well designed.

Drax can literally do the splits and actually has the most range of motion out of all the figures for such a buff guy! Nova can get into some amazing flying poses and his flexible shoulderpads swivel up out of the way very well. Starlord's coat doesn't get in the way at all and can be posed flipped up in the back with a little patience. Iron Man has the same great movement as his previous mold leaving Groot. He's tall and lanky with great range of motion, and tho he has single jointed knees they work great. His hips are 45 deg angles but don't look odd when bent to the side given his tree-trunk anatomy. A great ball jointed neck gives hims plenty of personality too.

Now for the paint applications. I'm happy to say everyone is fairly cleanly painted with very little slop. The eyes on Starlord's unmasked head are a little odd with thick pupils and eyelashes much like a GI Joe has. Drax has some amazing looking eyes with red iris rings and reflective dots. His tattoo paint is applied on top of the sculpt correctly for the most part with only a couple areas shifted. Rocket's fur has a great wash and his Raccoon coloration is really great looking with different shades of fur. Gamora's metallic blue sections shine as does the amazing metallic gradient of her hair.

Both Iron Man and Nova are cast in metallic plastic that give off a great shine. Nova's chest ports are bright and Iron Man's arc reactor has fading color tones. The wash on Starlord's coat really brings out the detail inside and out. I'm impressed with his mask too, it's very well done. Groot sports paint highlights and mossy green detail over a primarily light brown plastic and looks great, though a wash may have been a better choice to bring out detail.

Accessories for this line are great on some and lacking with others but balance out, Starlord taking top marks. He comes with an alternate head, orb, two blasters, a tape deck, and headphones he can wear. The tape deck really threw me for a loop with all the tiny detail. Gamora comes with an odd looking sword, Drax with two daggers that fit into his boots. Nova and Iron Man have zip unless you count the Groot parts. Rocket comes with one of the best looking guns I've seen with tons of tech detail and a paint wash. He also comes with the giant cannon Starlord wields in the movie and it fits against his chest.

So what's the verdict on these Guardians of the Galaxy? You're going to want Nova and Starlord even if you're not keen on his movie look because of all the awesome stuff he comes with. Drax is surprisingly great, Gamora looks sleek, and you're going to need the rest of the figures regardless to build Groot. He's so very worth it, tall, poseable, and unique looking. Our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store has them all with sets and a few singles. You can get some great deals on the figures at Amazon right now as they dip below retail some days or hover at normal price. Unfortunately Nova is one per case as is Rocket and the two are getting bought out. Don't forget to see the movie and look for Nathan Fillion as Nova, back in a sci-fi role once more!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Captain America Marvel Legends Infinite: Black Widow, Winter Soldier, Mandroid action figure review

Sorry for the long delay between reviews but here's part 2 of the Marvel Legends Infinite Captain America series. This is the second (and third) wave of the figures that complete your Mandroid Build-a-Figure. Aside from Mandroid the last three figures are all movie figures which is probably why they were released later as not to spoil anything.

Sculpting for Black Widow, Cap, and Winter Soldier are brand new bodies with no re-used parts. Widow is the big draw for collectors as she completes your movie Avengers team and she's well worth the wait. Her suit looks accurate with plenty of seams, straps, buckles, and wrist stingers. Her headsculpts are attractive if not a slightly bored expression but with very nicely sculpted hair. You can definitely tell this is Johansson's likness. Black Widow has holsters but the guns are permanently sculpted there so you'll need to supply your own pistols. Both sets of hands look great, trigger and open-palm.

Captain America and Winter Soldier's sculpts are equally as detailed with some neat looking boots and suit designs sharply defined. The sculpt really works with the articulation here and any pose looks dynamic with very little gapping. Steve and Bucky's unmasked heads only barely resemble the actors they're based upon and like the Electro head from the ASM2 figures are more of a generic look. The masked heads work more for the movie look here. Bucky's cyber arm is wicked cool and Cap's alternate pointing/chop hands work for saluting, combat moves, there's a lot of posing possibilities!

When it comes to articulation these figures are absolutely gold. Widow's range of motion is great even with her single elbow joint. The long hair alt head is limited because of the sculpt but her torso joint helps with that. Her open palms aren't jointed however so she can't do the hands-flat-on-floor pose which is what I suspect they were there for. Tho heeled like Black Cat's, Black Widow's ankle joints are done better and are pretty useful tho they will take some effort to balance.

Steve and Bucky's articulation and range of motion have me overjoyed. They can reach out, lean back, forwards, side-step, and everything looks natural. Their wrists are jointed too so Cap can salute or open-palm strike. Interestingly enough these figures don't have cut calf joints, their boots are separately molded in plastic and glued on. I'm not a big fan of calf motion and the ankles give you all the motion you need here.

Paint apps are surprisingly detailed all the way around. Black Widow has multiple suit tones, straps and buckles painted galore. Winter Soldier's body has a great dark wash that brings out the detail and Captain America's suit has definition. Even Widow and Bucky's hair has a light shading wash done. Uh, Bucky shouldn't be staring into exhaust pipes of cars. What's mean to look like the eye shading is too spread out on his face and looks downright strange. Widow's SHIELD logo tampos are sharp looking as is Winter Soldier's star.

There are accessories a plenty here in this wave with everyone getting an extra head and Steve and Widow with an extra set of hands. Bucky's sniper rifle is a remold of the weapon that came with the Hydra solider but Cap's shield is a brand new's huge. The shield was either accidentally flattened out or scaled for a 7" figure because this sucker covers more than just his torso. The big letdown is that Black Widow doesn't come with any guns yet has trigger-hands to hold them. The upside is that you can complete your SHIELD Mandroid and let me tell you, this thing is a beast!

The Mandroid battle suit is a partial remold of the Iron Monger BAF with a new torso, head, and forearm weapons. The whole thing is cast in a very nice metallic silver plastic and the giant SHIELD logo on its chest looks sharp. The head is on a full ball joint but the shoulder cannon can only swivel, not tilt. Basically it's a free giant robot and who can turn those down? It has the same great range of leg articulation with a bit of elbow restriction that was present with Monger.

So what's the verdict on these last figures? They're some of the best movie Marvel Legends yet and you're going to need them to complete Mandroid. Snag them at our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store in singles or sets so you can get Black Widow at retail price or camp Amazon for deals when they restock. Either way you won't be sorry especially if you loved Captain America: Winter Soldier movie and want to recreate some of those fight scenes. Now where's our 6" Batroc?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Captain America Marvel Legends Infinite: Hydra/AIM Soldier, Baron Zemo, Marvel Now Cap figure review

Marvel Legends is officially dead, all hail Marvel Legends Infinite! According to Hasbro the 'Marvel Legends' series will no longer ship as a stand-alone line. Instead they will be released as movie tie-in lines that will feature both movie characters as well as comic versions related to the movie. Case in point, the Captain America Legends line out now. It's working out quite well and we're getting a slew of new characters along with variants. Here we look at the AIM and Hydra soldiers, Marvel Now Captain America, and Baron Zemo. The build-a-figure is the SHIELD Mandroid, an armored robot looking thing which will be covered as a separate figure in part 2 of this review.

We start off with the AIM Soldier, an excellent brand new sculpt that's actually going to be the base body of a future comic Starlord figure. The unpainted stars on the gloves and buttons down the front are a dead giveaway. The body has lots of leathery detail, folds, and creases. AIM Soldier's headsculpt is what we've been waiting for, the Beekeeper look! It looks awesome moving around at the inset collar. The boots are molded separately in black and attached to the lower knees which is a nice touch. Add the classic AIM belt and you have a great looking figure.

The Hydra Agent uses the familiar medium build body and this works great for him. A new headsculpt looks far more menacing than the last Hydra Agent and his gear is removable as well leaving you with a perfect base body for customizing (tho you probably won't want to, he's only one per case). Baron Zemo shares the same general body using the US Agent mold with a new headsculpt, holsters and belt. Both bodies are excellent in design and proportion for the characters they're used for. Zemo's head is brand new and has awesome looking sculpted seams running down it.

The Marvel Now Captain America is a completely new sculpt from head to toe and is filled with detail like the honeycomb pattern on his armor and armor straps along his lower arms/legs.The right hand is a sculpted fist so he won't be holding anything but his left hand can. I'm a big fan of the headsculpt and the belt, tho his upper torso nicks the top of the belt when you turn his waist. Other than that his sculpt is great.

Articulation for the AIM soldier is top notch with a huge range of motion in all the limbs. There is a bit of a gap in the shoulder but it allows clearance for the raised sections of the shoulders not to rub. Side-swivel boots make for great running poses and the head motion allows him to look around in lots of direction thanks to a high set ball joint inside. The Hydra Agent's articulation has been covered many times before with the basic medium body build and needless to say is perfect with no issues.

Baron Zemo shares the same body as the Hydra Soldier and has the same excellent range of motion. The loincloth isn't hindering (it can be removed too) and he can even sit if you work with it a bit. However the sword gets in the way if you tuck it in the front sheathing. Instead put his gun in there and slip the sword behind his back webgear strap 'Blade style' for an easier time. Captain America's articulation is wonderful with one small exception, his biceps are so large the upper hinge joint barely moves at all, acting like a single hinge instead of a double. Other than that he can leap, dive, and crouch like anyone else.

Paint apps are clean through the whole wave thankfully. The AIM soldier is primarily cast in yellow and black plastic and the Hydea Soldier in green and yellow. There's some orange shading on Hydra but none on AIM tho he doesn't suffer from it. Zemo sports great paint work with orange shading, linework on his mask and chest, even his accessories are fully painted! Cap A has nice bright colors without any shading but there's enough breaks in the design to look detailed. A bit of an issue tho, his ab crunch is so flush to the hinge the paint can scrape off if you're not careful. Same with the grey under his arms, there's almost no clearance against the shoulder socket. A bit of carving with an X-acto knife can fix this, just be careful.

Accessories are plentiful here! Cap gets his standard folding clip-peg shield which is cast in a nice metallic red plastic and stores on his back. He also comes with a piece of the Mandroid, as does everyone. Hydra agent has removable webgear/belt and two brand new weapons, a crazy looking long-rifle and large ray gun. Both sport great paint apps and the Hydra symbol! AIM Soldier has similar weapons that are new designs and sport the AIM logo/colors along with a removable bandoleer. They're great and could be repainted to work with anyone. Zemo comes with a leopard-handled pistol, hard plastic broadsword, and removable webgear. The pistols aren't removable from their holsters, tho they do sport two emblazoned 'Z's.

So what's the verdict on these figures? If you're a Marvel Legends collector or even an Avengers fan you can't pass up these 'army builder' troops. Captain America's new mold and Zemo's modern look are great additions. You'll have trouble finding these in stores as they're one per case aside from Cap so your best bet is to head over to our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store and snag a set. Alternately you can camp Amazon and try to catch them when they're restocked or purchase your favorites separately.

There are 'variants' too, Red Skull and Baron Zemo being stand-ins for the AIM and Hydra goons and both have Mandroid Arm parts but ship in the same assortment. The second wave will contain the last three figures needed to make Mandroid, movie Black Widow (one per case), Winter Soldier, and Steve Rogers. This wave only has Red Skull and Zemo in it. The third and perhaps final assortment contains Black Widow (two per case so don't pay scalper prices), Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers, and the Marvel Now Captain America. Hasbro spread it out so you'll get an equal number of Mandroid heads, torsos, and limbs, just not in the same wave.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spider-Man Marvel Legends Infinite Series: Black Cat, Amazing Spider-Man, Superior Spider-Man, Ultimate Green Goblin figure review

Its amazing how many Marvel Legends figures have hit in the last few months with complete series already into their variant waves and new ones ready to drop in tune to the slew of Marvel movies on the horizon. This is part two of the Marvel Legends Spider-Man series review and features Black Cat, Amazing Spider-Man, and Superior-Spider-Man (also known as SpOck because it's Doc Ock's mind in Peter Parker's body. Yeah, comic weirdness). The finished Build-A-Figure is the Ultimate Green Goblin and makes this review a bit longer than normal.

We'll start with the sculpts which are all brand new body molds with the exception of Black Cat's lower torso which the SDCC Moonstone/Satana share. Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) is a thin body with embossed webs instead of raised like the movie character. Other than the movie front/back symbols this will basically pass for your classic Spidey. He shares the special layered-plastic technique we covered before. That red and blue on his torso isn't paint, its bonded plastic. The webbing is cut in as thick lines instead of the normal thin lines leading to it looking a bit squarish. Spidey does have some rather large gaps in his hips and shoulders which allow his articulation to shine.

Black Cat's sculpt is voluptuous and full of detail with great looking fur sections and a face sculpt that's actually pretty. The hair sculpt is . Her small clawed hands look great as do her high heeled boots. It's interesting to see brand new legs and arms instead of just fur sections glued to the new female body sculpt. Superior Spider-Man (Spock) has a thinner more 'teenager' body that's all new as well. His fingertips have little grip-nubs on them and his headsculpt is a little more alien-looking than the normal Spiderman style. It appears the wrong size pins were used in his limbs as you can see the pronounced nubs sticking out of the sides. ASM fares a little better in the nub-department except you can see the red of them against the inside of the blue arms.

Articulation for ASM is downright fantastic. He can pose in almost any way you can imagine such as the classic leg-over-arm or squatting hunched. A new shoulder style has been adopted here, one with the entire shoulder free-floating on a single post instead of locked in top and bottom. This allows for him to reach straight up but leaves a large gap in the shoulder. The shoulder won't break off the post as it's thick pvc plastic but can become loose. Spock has the same shoulder style without the gap and it looks much better. Both Spider-men can cross their arms in front of them and even stand on one leg so there's some great balance in this mold.

Black Cat's articulation is decent enough but her elbows are severely hindered by the bicep sculpt and the fur cuffs, not even being able to get into a 90 degree angle unless you cut away some of the black plastic. This is due to the hinge-cup joint instead of a pin-hinge. Her torso range is excellent as are her legs, tho due to the angle of her high heeled boots her 45 deg ankle rocker isn't as useful as the other figures using this style. Black Cat's hair keeps her from looking up or down but side to side range is acceptable. Oddly enough her wrists are hinged sideways instead of up and down meaning she can't place her claws out towards anything. This was probably so she can wield the whip in a better fashion.

Paint applications for ASM are cleanly applied with most figures but check the eyes as they can be painted off-kilter. There's a nice black wash in his weblines and the layered plastic fills in the need to paint the torso. Spock's paint work is basic with a little red on primarily black plastic. The 'sloppy' lines on his face and chest are actually accurate to the comic where his costume now looks like it has true spider webs covering it in an asymmetrical style. However they're thick and some figures have missing or mis-alinged sections so check yours carefully before purchase. Black Cat's paint is nice with a clean face and great blue shadows in her fur and hair. Everything else is just black or white plastic.

Each figure comes with a few accessories. ASM and Spock have an extra pair of 'thwip' hands and parts to the Build-A-Figure. Spock's hands in general are huge and it shows with the thwip set. Black Cat has her claw-whip made from soft plastic and it looks quite neat. She also comes with the torso of the BAF. Now the reason to purchase all the figures in the set becomes clear, you can assemble the main accessory, a 9 inch tall Ultimate Green Goblin. He's based on the Avengers Walmart movie Hulk body with a reused torso and legs. He looks wicked with spikes all over his arms, horns, and those tattered Hulk pants. The fire effects are amazing looking and you'll be using them in all sorts of ways others than just clipping them to Goblin. Catch fire to everything!

Green Goblin's paint work is so-so with the spines a bit sloppily painted and no other tone of green for his skin, However the dark green works here and the flames add some color. The black flames don't really clip on like the arm flames but hang on his shoulders like a backpack of sorts. They'll fall off if you turn him upside down. Goblin's articulation is excellent, the same as Hulk's and with the new open-claws can slash at Spiderman convincingly.

So do these figures justify an out-of-pocket expense? Well, yes, especially since we haven't had a good classic Spider-Man filler or Black Cat in a long time. Superior Spider-Man could be a pass especially if you hate the new story arc but the body style is really nice and you'd be one part short of Green Goblin otherwise. Snag this set and all the other Marvel Legends Infinite series at our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store or head over to Amazon with your fingers crossed they're still at retail price. Now for some more pictures.