Sean Mcquaid reviews Avengers action figures


For instructions from MANIA's Chris Galdieri of "Scratchbuilder's Toolbox" on creating homemade Avengers action figures, Click below:
Retro Iron Man

(For Adam Hardy's additional informative comments, Click Here.) Abbreviations:
TBM refers to Toy Biz's initial generic Marvel line

If you can find it and you've got the cash, Thor was made as a Mego doll back in the 70s; kinda goofy, but quite good for a Mego. More recently, a Thor action figure was released as part of TBM. That's probably the one you saw. Nothing special. The upcoming Thor from the Avengers line looks too bloated and overmuscled and grimace-happy for my tastes.

When Mego scrapped plans for their Doctor Doom doll, they recycled it into a pretty-good Iron Man doll with a cloth-and-plastic approximation of the standard 70s armor. Be warned, though; on account of being created as a Doom fig, this fig has the dreaded faceplate nose that Iron Man fans mocked so much back when Iron Man actually added a nose to his faceplate. The Secret Wars line included what may well be the best Iron Man fig to date, Rhodey in the classic 70s armor. Nice sculpt, though the paint job tends to be cheap and easily worn off and the accessories are lame. Still probably the best basic Iron Man fig. TBM offered an Iron Man with removeable armor, but he was pretty clunky-looking on account of the removeability feature (the armor was the red and gold suit from just after Armor Wars).

More recently, Toy Biz unleashed an entire Iron Man line, based primarily on the awful animated series, that actually lasted for several assortments. The "basic" Iron Man from the first assortment is essentially the mostly red, mouthless, "modular" Iron Man armor from Iron Man 300 that Van hates so much, only with a mouth added. Later versions included Hydro-Armor Iron Man, Stealth Armor Iron Man, Hologram Armor Iron Man (actually the red and silver suit from IM 200), and so on. The basic and Hologram Armor versions are probably the best Iron Men in this set, though their removeable shiny armor parts (common to all the armored figs in the line) are a bit of a pain, the paint flakes off easily, and they don't quite look right in the case of the boots and gauntlets. The new Avengers line will feature an oversized Iron Man in the awful Heroes Reborn armor.

No figures of any sort to date, though he does appear as Yellowjacket in the "Captain America and the Falcon" board game guest-starring the Avengers. So do Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Hawkeye, Vision, Scarlet Witch and various bad guys.

Recently included in the Spider-Man line, but in her hideous "bug Jan" form from the Crossing. She's sculpted and painted well enough and comes with silly snap-on "bug" armor, and I haven't had the heart to get one yet even though it is the first Wasp figure--I just hate that version of her. Maybe I'll pick her up in the clearance bins.

Hulk's appeared in MANY toy lines over the years, most recently his own largely godawful line from Toy Biz. Figs from this line are collecting dust everywhere. A decent basic Hulk can be had from the downsized second assortment--breakout Hulk or something like that, forget what he's called, but you'd know him when you see him. Green skin, purple pants, basic Kirby design.

I think there may be a fig of the short-lived Rick Jones Hulk in that Hulk line...

Has appeared in various toy lines for years, but hasn't been done well recently. Mego Cap was a joke; no gloves, bad boots, oversized head. Secret Wars Cap was lame, too; cruddy paint job, and awful "secret shield" with picture-flashing action instead of his real shield. TBM sported a decent though anemically sculpted Cap with a launching shield that, despite the annoying action mechanism, at least looks like his real shield. More recently, Toy Biz added Cap to their Spidey line. This latest Cap is oversized (bigger than the average TB fig), absurdly super-buff, inaccurately painted and sports a rather constipated expression. Worst of all, he comes with a super-lame "sparking shield" that's too small and colored incorrectly. He does, however, come with a transforming skycycle. There have been rumours of him being re-released with the new Avengers line, possibly with a better version of his shield.

Only one figure to date, from the second assortment of the Iron Man line. It has its flaws (iffy proportioning and a less than ideal version of the classic Hawkeye threads), but it's a must for any Avengers collection: beyond the fact that the mere existence of a Hawkeye figure is indescribably cool, he is clad in a variation of his traditional blue and purple (the costume from his last LS) instead of the Crossing look; he's nicely sculpted and painted; and he comes with a knife, quiver, bow and several arrows, all stuff from the comic book costume and all made sensibly enough. No lame made-up accessories or disfiguring action features.

One figure to date, in the "Mutant Armor" assortment from the X-Men line; a repainted Spidey body (appropriately slim) with a newly sculpted Quicksilver head. A key Avengers character and a decent likeness of the character in his second costume, the classic blue and white, and as such a must for any Avengers collection. There are three flaws, though: his head doesn't seem to fit onto his body that smoothly, making it hard to turn and prone to cracking at the neck; the paint job is slightly inaccurate, going for a darker shade of blue than usual and the simplified shortless look of the animated series rather than the comic version, which includes trunks; and his accessories, a big gun and a rolling speed effect platform, are rather lame. Still well worth getting at retail price, though. The facial likeness is quite good, and the costume's a reasonable approximation of Pietro's classic outfit. There's also a repaint black and white version of this fig that I've heard some people describe as his AofA costume and others describe as his current costume, but I've yet to see it myself.

Slated for inclusion in the current Avengers line. The pictures look very nice indeed, but I've yet to see the actual product. It's also still possible that Wanda may be oversized and incompatible with most of the other TB figs. Thankfully, the dismal failure of the Hulk line and fan backlash against the Avengers line have prompted Toy Biz to swear off randomly "upsizing" their figures in the future.

None to date.

None to date.

Surprisingly, none to date. Not even in the Fantastic Four line, which seemed like a no-brainer to me. He'd be an easy figure to make as a repaint of something else, though, so odds are he'll show up.

So far, just the exclusive Marvel's Gold fig now on sale; a repainted Archangel II mold with a repainted Silver Surfer head and a cloth cloak. Pix look okay, though the wristbands carried over from the Archangel mold are a nagging unnecessary detail; minor but noticeable.

None to date.

So far, just the exclusive Marvel's Gold fig now on sale; a repainted Archangel II mold, which fits Marv perfectly since it even includes wristbands repainted to resemble his nega-bands. Looks quite fine from the pix.

None to date, though there were rumours of her being included in the Spidey assortments.

None to date.

Various versions of Beast have been done for the X-Men line, though all are flawed in some way and most are pretty bad. The closest thing to a good basic Beast is the original X-Men version of the character, but the eyes have no pupils, the proportions are a bit off and the legs are spring-loaded and as such not very poseable; however, a better basic blue Beast may be included in a new assortment later this year, and a good-looking version of Hank in his original furless X-Man look will be available as part of the classic X-Men boxed set.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date, though she'd be an easy repaint job.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

She does appear in figure form as Ms. Marvel (packaged as "Miss Marvel Universe") in Toy Biz's "She-Force" line. She's wearing her cool costume from Avengers 200. The figure is pretty dang lame, though; it's a repainted Medusa, the belt sash is merely painted on, and the paint job is inaccurate (the shoulders are covered rather than bare). On top of that, the Medusa mold includes sculpted-in costuming details that don't belong on Carol's costume, and the fig is just kinda flat and dull. They should have done Carol by repainting the Phoenix fig, a much better bodily figure with a sculpted-in belt sash. Instead, they used the Phoenix mold to do a version of Ms. Marvel II (Sharon Ventura); there's just no justice...

There have been two pretty-good Falcon figs: the Mego doll from the 70s (quite fine) and the Secret Wars fig, with moveable wings and Redwing. Nothing done with Falc recently, though.

He was offered as a mail-in exclusive in the third issue of Toyfare. The pix look quite nice. It's an Archangel II body with a Dan Ketch head. He's in the red and black suit he wore for most of the AWC series. Only flaw: no belt jets. A cloth jacket would have been nice, too (hey, they threw one in with their Shadowcat fig).

There's a Tigra fig in the She-Force II line, but I'm not bothering with it; they did a nice job of painting it, but it's still just a Black Cat body with a tail slapped on. Among other things, this means that Tigra has strangely over-furry wrists and ankles, black high-heel boots and awkward poseability (one arm is stuck way out to the side for no especially good reason).

So far, just the oversized and butt-ugly She-Hulk from the current Hulk line, gathering dust on pegs everywhere. There are two versions of this, one in a purple leotard and the other in an FF leotard. Comes with a giant crossbow for no apparent reason. I skipped this one.

None to date.

None to date.

As noted, the good-looking Iron Man fig from Secret Wars was Rhodey (though the pix in his accessories inaccurately depict him as Tony). As War Machine, Rhodey had two figs in the Iron Man line: a basic fig (an okay reproduction of the original War Machine armor, complete with shoulder-mounted artillery) and a subsequent variation. An "unmasked" variation with removeable helmet is also now available.

Thing has appeared in tons of toy lines, most recently the short-lived FF line. The basic Thing fig from that set is quite good, and there are several variations as well (Thing in FF tights, Thing in trenchcoat, etc.). The basic Thing fig has also been available in two-packs with the solid super-poseable Spidey fig.

Namor's first and only fig to my knowledge was in the FF line. Okay sculpting and painting, but they gave him that sappy ponytail and spikes on his gauntlets, not to mention a lame button in his back for a punching action mechanism. The classic flat-top short hair, spikeless gauntlets and no action feature would have been better.

None to date.

None to date.

Now available as a Marvel's Gold exclusive figure through Hanger 18; looks pretty good--repainted Hercules body with a repainted Spidey head and cloth hooded cloak.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

Many MFs in many toy lines over the years, most recently TBM and the FF line. The FF version had stretchy rubber arms and a removeable harness for Reed's techno-gear.

Many IWs in many toy lines over the years, most recently TBM and the FF line. The first FF version of IW was a repainted Spider-Woman mold--not bad except for the awkward face painting and limited poseability. The second version was a brand-new mold in clear transparent plastic to simulate invisibility. Both versions came with hand-held force shields and rolling force field platforms.

None to date.

The TBM line repainted its Cap figure and released it as a USAgent in original costume. Okay if you want a USAgent that badly. A new USAgent (in his Force Works costume) was made for the Iron Man line but never mass-produced for reasons unclear. Only prototypes exist. The mold was later used for the "Astral Armor Professor X" with a Prof X head.

None to date.

None to date, though the FF Torch has been done quite a few times.

None to date, though she's be an easy repaint job.

Dozens, perhaps hundreds of versions of this guy over the years. Best recent version would be the "super-poseable" Spidey I mentioned earlier, featured in the TBM line, the Spidey line and various two-packs. There's also a "basic" Spidey fig (great sculpting and painting but limited poseability) in the current "Web Traps" assortment of the Spidey line, the first "basic" version of him in quite a while.

None to date.

None to date.

A fairly poor Sandman figure (but the only one to date) is available as part of a "Maximum Clonage" 8-pack available for $20 US. It's a repainted Hydro-Man, so the facial likeness is off and the trnasformed hands, which were sculpted as water, look more like mud than sand.

None to date.

Due to her prominence in the Iron Man cartoon, she was one of the first figs in the Iron Man line. Good likeness, but stiff arms, poor action feature and lame accessories. Has been repackaged as part of Hall of Fame line and has been repainted into many other figures due to largely featureless body.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

None to date.

-Sean McQuaid