Monday, April 7, 2014

Toy Review – Marvel Legends Infinite Captain America: The Winter Soldier Red Skull from Hasbro

That’s a ridiculous amount of words for the title of one action figure review. 
 
Being that he comes from the Avengers side of the Marvel Universe (as opposed to the mutants side), I didn’t have much interest in Red Skull until he showed up in Captain America: The First Avenger. Back in the days when Marvel Legends were relatively easy to find and cost a third of what they do now, I would still pick and choose which ones I wanted. Unless there was a build-a-figure I had to have (Apocalypse, Mojo, and the Sentinel are the only ones that fit that bill) I never bought a full wave. Or series. Or whatever.

I don’t remember the Series 5 Red Skull at all. He looks like a proper Red Skull and is actually a little better than today’s figure, but I didn’t care about owning the character. By the time the Face-Off 2-packs came out I did have some interest in him, but I don’t know why. Maybe I had just watched the 1990 Captain America again. But both versions of that one look stupid.

If you remember, the Face-Off sets came in two versions. You would get the same hero – Hulk, Daredevil, Cap – with a different head packed in with different villains. In Cap’s case you got either Baron Strucker or Red Skull. The Strucker figure isn’t bad, but the Red Skull is weird. He’s wearing this red and purple get-up that I’m sure is from the comics but just doesn’t look good at all. So I might have wanted a Red Skull at the time, but I didn’t want that Red Skull. And that was the last Red Skull they made.

Side Note: I didn’t buy any of these sets. I wanted Kingpin, Leader, and Baron Strucker; but twenty bucks was too much to pay for one figure when I didn’t want the other one (ha ha!).

What I really would have liked was a movie Red Skull because the design was so good it could go with my movie or comics figures. But Hasbro didn’t do 6” scale figures for The First Avenger. Instead they took this twice used (or more – I think it was used for the recent Punisher/Blade figure) Nick Fury body and stuck a Red Skull head on it. And I bought it because I wanted a Red Skull thanks to his recent awesomeness in Uncanny Avengers. And also because I am a chump.

FIRST GLANCE

I’m not a fan of this figure from the neck down. It has some wonky articulation and the coat just doesn’t work that well.
However.
This is almost exactly what Red Skull looked like and was wearing in the Uncanny Avengers arc, so I really can’t complain. And I was able to make an alteration that resulted in a slightly better looking figure.
PACKAGING

I dig these window boxes. They’re eye-catching in the store and are big without seeming too wasteful. Not that I’m all that environmentally conscious, but sometimes you get a figure and the amount of empty space in the box just seems ridiculous.

Red Skull fills out his box fairly well thanks to his big coat and a bunch of accessories.
That’s pretty much the shittiest blurb ever, as it doesn’t even account for Red Skull. Also, that is a shitty picture.
LOOKS

The head and left hand are the only things new here. But they are very important new things and like I said – this is pretty much what Red Skull looked like in his most recent appearance.
The head is definitely very comic-booky and I do like it for that. It’s ugly and exaggerated, but not screaming or anything. You guys know I like my faces to be fairly neutral. I don’t mind subtle expressions – as a matter of fact, I like them when they suit the character – but it looks really stupid to have a character standing on the shelf just screaming all the time.
Red Skull is pretty hideous when you think about it and this figure captures that. It looks like red skin stretched taut over an oversized skull. There’s a lot of nice detail in the sculpt and I love the beady, recessed eyes. Those eyes have a nice paint job and provide a sharp contrast to the red skull.
As far as looks go, this is an okay body. The turtlenecked torso is fine, despite the fact that in the comics Red Skull had a button-down shirt.
Side Note: Is it “button-down” or “button-up”? I used button-down because I button them from the top down. I don’t know if that’s the right reason.
The arms are sculpted to be the sleeves of the trenchcoat the figure has on and there’s not really anything good about them. The sleeve holes in the trenchcoat are a bit too big so you can see the shirt through them. The trenchcoat itself is so thick that it prevents the arms from hanging normally. Add to that the shoulder rig underneath the coat and the arms can barely achieve less than a 45° angle from the body. And then you have the arms themselves, which are very narrow and have soft plastic joints, which means they are deformed right out of the box.
The hands are actually pretty good. The right one is posed to hold a gun but looks okay empty. The left is posed to hold the Cosmic Cube. It looks a little weird empty, but I’m happy to have a Cosmic Cube, so whatever. The only problem with the hands is Hasbro’s trademark poor decision to use a different color for an exposed joint so there’s this grey wedge right in the palm (and back) of each hand.
The shoulder rig I mentioned above would actually be really cool if it didn’t fuck up the figure’s profile so badly. It has a holster under the left arm and some ammo pouches under the right. But it really does mess up the arms so I took my trusty nail clippers and cut it out.
Side Note: I bought a pair of nail clippers to keep on my toy desk. They’re great for cutting all of the little rubber bands and wires used to package toys. Also, the filing part can be used to cut through tape. They’re tiny, so they can just sit on the desk and not take up as much room as scissors. Or be as potentially hazardous.
Once the shoulder rig was out, the figure looked slightly better:
The trousers have a great shape, but also a texture that I don’t care for that makes them look like corduroy. I doubt a supervillain like Red Skull is going to wear pants that make zipping noises when he’s striding about his secret base making proclamations.
Red Skull: “And now ve vill launch ze veapon dat vill destroy zose filthy Americans!”
Red Skull’s Pants: zip-zep-zip-zep-zip-zep
Hydra Agents: “Pfft” *chuckle* “Yes sir!” *pfft*
This is an older sculpt and it seems like Hasbro has finally eliminated these odd and unnecessary textures from the Legends line. I could make a whole list of figures with ugly, weirdo textures like this. And probably will on a slow day.
There’s a pocket on the left leg and a holster on the right. The holster looks cool and has a good paint job. The straps and holster are glossy black and have silver buckles. Skull’s boots are great. They have buckles and straps and big, thick soles. They look like comic book military boots. Unfortunately the bottom portions of the legs were made of black plastic and the grey of the trousers was painted on. This resulted in some black showing through the grey.
Finally we have the trenchcoat. The lapels are very cool, but too distinctive to have been used on as many different characters as this piece has. The bottom of the coat is just absurd. It looks like Todd McFarlane (or Todd “McFartin’” as Jonathan Davis from Korn referred to him) designed this thing. There’s just way too much of it. I suppose it was designed so open so that it wouldn’t interfere with posing as much, but it really just looks kind of silly. I would definitely have preferred a soft goods coat at this scale.
There’s a minimal amount of paint on this figure, but what’s here is good. The Hydra logos on either arm look good. The various straps and buckles are tightly done and don’t bleed over into other areas. This figure looks fine without any washes or anything like that.
ACCESSORIES

Red Skull comes with the Cosmic Cube, a pistol, some kind of wacky mad science blaster, and Mandroid’s left arm.
The Cosmic Cube is just a translucent blue cube. It looks neat. I suppose they could have painted some kind of swirls or energy or something on it. It fits neatly into Red Skull’s left hand and stays put fairly well.
One of the high points of the new Infinite lines has been the accessories. More precisely, the amazing paint jobs on the accessories. I’ll get into this more with some of the upcoming reviews, but it’s almost like Hasbro is telling Mattel how lame they are for not painting the accessories in a pricey, exclusive collector’s line like Masters of the Universe Classics.
The pistol is awesome. It’s red and has a black paint app on the grip that has some sort of little logo detail. It fits perfectly into Red Skull’s right hand or either of his holsters.

The wacky blaster – which I’m sure is a specific thing from a specific story – is also awesome. It has a great, asymmetrical shape and some red paint. It fits into Red Skull’s right hand, but neither of the holsters, which means it doesn’t make any sense for the figure to have two holsters. This is why I had no problem cutting the shoulder rig off.
I’ll review Mandroid on its own once I have the whole thing. As of right now I’m only one piece away.
FUN

This is where the weird articulation comes into play. Or not to play, as the case may be.
The combination of soft plastics and weird joint decisions result in a figure that is warped right out of the box and not a whole lot of fun to play with. The shoulder joints are very difficult to utilize and are severely restricted by the coat. The elbows and wrists, on the other hand, work quite well. The elbows achieve a nice, deep bend thanks to the double pivots. The wrists stick out of the sleeves enough that the pivots are useful.
The abdominal joint works fairly well and even though it looks a little ugly, I prefer it to a waist swivel where the oblong sides will hang over the narrower parts when you turn it.
The hip joints are terrible. They’re hard to utilize and for whatever reason just don’t ever look good. And it is difficult to pose the figure in a regular standing position. The double-jointed knees and the swivel-pivot ankles do work quite nicely.
This is one of those figures that has a good amount of articulation that’s designed in such a way that you really don’t want to bother with it. It would seem like there’s plenty here, but you have to fight the figure to get it to sort of do what you want it to. Red Skull’s balance isn’t all that great, either. So once you do get the pose you want, he’s probably going to fall over.
I will say this – despite the posing challenges, I did have fun taking pictures of this guy. He looks pretty dramatic and just finding different angles and stuff was a good time.
OVERALL

Once you find a decent pose for the figure it looks pretty cool. There aren’t any terrible profile problems and as far as just standing on the shelf looking like Red Skull goes, the figure nails it. But there are so many little things that could be better and that at the $20 price point should be better.
The bottom line is that the figure is okay for me, but anybody that might want to actually play with it is probably going to be disappointed.
3 out of 5
I haven’t seen one of these in the wild since around the time I bought mine. I’m sure you can find one on Amazon or BigBad, but it might cost you a bit more. But probably not as much as the Hydra Agent, who I’ll be looking at soon.
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1 comment:

  1. It never dawned on me that this version does look a lot like his appearance in Uncanny Avengers! I haven't opened mine yet, but I agree with most of your points. Good review.

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