Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Mystique's sculpt is based on the Black Widow Toys r Us 2-pack with a Madame Hydra head. The face looks a little better this time around but the squinty eyes and strange lips are still there. It should be noted her forehead skull is painted on, not sculpted like earlier Mystique figures had. Neo Iron Man is a completely new mold and a nice one at that. He was an unproduced figure from the last Armored Avenger/Movie assortment and therefore a bit shorter than newer Marvel Legends. The shoulderpads are swing-up hinge unfortunately and look silly with his arms raised in any way because of how far down they go. Design whoops.
Articulation for US Agent is amazing and again the new MU-style cut upper hips are the best design to date with full range of everything including ankles, tho none of the other figures have side-motion ankles. Punisher's ball hips suffer a bit from low-hip sculpt but with a bit of twisting he can get into a sitting pose, tho his coat isn't flexible enough to allow him. Mystique's neck artic is of course restricted by the hair but her overall mold is still excellent. Iron Man's range of articulation is great except for the feet which seem to have hinges up inside the legs but no clearance. Same for the head. Still, you can get great poses from him.
Paint work is nice across the board with almost no slop or bleed, each figure getting either airbrushing or a wash for shadow/detail, but not both. US Agent is primarily black but his red cuffs have a nice wash and there's airbrushed shadows on his chest. Punisher has an amazing stubble done to his face and has a light grey wash on all of his white sections to bring out the detail. Mystique's airbrushed skin tones look great and her skull tampo is nicely applied, same for her lips and eyes. Iron Man is done completely in metallic paint and looks sharp with the gloss red giving off subtle shading changes.
Accessories are plentiful here with everyone except Iron Man who only comes with his stand. US Agent comes with his shield that clips on to his arm or back, a pistol, and knife. Punisher gets an amazing amount of guns including a pistol, two machine guns, a Punisher-esq colored sniper rifle, and combat shotgun. Mystique has the same sniper rifle tho a different color, two machine guns, and Madame Masque's pistol. The weapon sculpts seem to be brand new and there's clean paint work on the sniper rifles and shotgun.
So what's the verdict? Wait..let's discuss the lack of build-a-figure parts first as this may drastically effect your decision to buy there. There is NO build-a-figure this series. Why? This was a filler line because ML series 1 and 2 came out so close together. We wouldn't have had any ML figures for 6 more months if not for these. The decision to include Dr Doom and Deadpool were another factor. Here you have two characters selling for upwards of $100 on the aftermarket. A re-release like this allowed people to finally obtain them for a normal price but those who already owned the originals shouldn't have to be forced to re-buy the same figures to create a build-a-figure, so it was scrapped for this line.
That being said these figures are excellent representations of your favorite Marvel characters. Punisher is possibly the best re-use of parts to make a perfect version of someone else and I applaud Hasbro for going the 'customizer' route now by creating a well designed base body (US Agent) and adding new head, hands, and feet to create brand new characters. We'll be seeing this with two more 'buck' bodies in the next wave, Hyperion and She-hulk. Both are 'muscular bucks' and will be used for larger character types. Where can you find these? Both ML 3 and 4 are up at our sponsor Big Bad Toy Store some in stock and some pre-orderable. Past generation toys may still have some in stock as well and my suggestion if you can't find these on the shelf in your area is to order them online. Amazon often has them on sale and if you keep checking back you can score some for under $10 when it's going on.