Before I get started, yes, I know that there’s no Punisher here. Since the Marvel Legends Nemesis wave is a Wal-Mart exclusive, I had to rely on the kindness of others to get these figures. It started wayyyyy back when this wave started hitting in Canada – I thought they’d be hitting the US with haste, and when they didn’t, it was too late to nab a set. Some smart people did, and I was the beneficiary of the heavy packing of Punisher and Daredevil, and their variants – a friend passed along their extra Build-A-Figure pieces for Nemesis (nee Holocaust).
When this wave recently started hitting Wal-Marts in the US, I again relied on friends to fill out the wave. But since I already had the BAF piece, and because I already had the perfect Punisher (a combination of Toy Biz’s ML 4 and Face-Off, by Joshua Izzo), I passed on him. So, this pictorial is brought to you by kickass Fwooshers Simun, DisThunder, and ActorJez – thanks very much, guys!
Sorry to be so wordy before actually getting to the figures themselves, but I find this wave very interesting. You might think it’s because it took so long to get here – this wave was actually designed before the Ares, Red Hulk, and 2-pack waves, but was delayed when Wal-Mart got clogged with older product – but that’s not it.
What I find so interesting is that as the Hasbro Marvel team plans the relaunch of Legends, in this wave we’ve got three out of four of the possible base bodies for a standard medium-sized build in Black Bolt, Daredevil, and Nova. The other is the ML 2-pack body for Nick Fury, which originated from Face-Off Punisher. I’ve got opinions on which I like best for the job, and I’ll cover that as I talk about each of the figures individually.
But first things first. In alphabetical order…
Beast – Astonishing X-Men
This figure was announced with great anticipation from the fan base, because Beast was the only team member missing from Joss Whedon’s most excellent run on Astonishing X-Men. Anticipation turned to trepidation when Hasbro announced that the first shipments of the wave would exclude Beast, as he was being reworked. Of course, that all became moot when the wave was delayed.
Finally in my hands, I think this figure represents some of the missteps with Hasbro’s initial Legends products. The biggest ones here are some bad articulation choices, which some of the other figures in this wave suffer from, and lack of paint apps, which is common across all the figures. The worst of the articulation is in the hips. With no thigh swivel, the legs look awkward in almost any position but the vanilla pose. The ball-jointed neck doesn’t have an up and down hinge. Paint-wise, Beast is sorely lacking. A simple wash would bring out a lot of detail, and I think Hasbro across the board hides good sculpts with lackluster paints.
There is some good here. I’ve written before about Hasbro wrists and ankles – Beast has them and I like that they save us from having forearm and calf cuts. I also like the mid-torso joint, as it gives a really good range of motion and keeps Beast’s costume intact. I think the sculpt is good, too. And a big plus for me – he’s not exaggeratedly large – something that’s plagued a few of the former Beast figures.
This is the first of the potential base bucks for a standard build character – and I hope this mold gets destroyed. It’s not all bad, so let me start with the positives. First, I generally like the size and proportions of the sculpt. He’s bigger than Daredevil and Nova, so that makes him a bit more compatible with the Toy Biz Marvel Legends, which in general are larger than Hasbro’s. I also think the head sculpt has character, but this again is obscured by lackluster paints. And hey, we finally get some love for the Inhumans!
But that’s where it ends. the articulation is horrible on this figure. A medium-sized build in tights requires bicep swivels, but Black Bolt has elbros in place of those. The kneebros are just as bad, especially with the kneecap on the lower part of the legs – if you’re going to put in kneebros, put the kneecap on the upper portion. It just looks better. But let’s face it – kneebros on a dynamic, super-articulated figure are just as bad as elbros.
I’m not sure what a good alternative would be for the underarm wings, which are disastrous in any position except fully outstretched. Plastic, like the underarm webbing on Spider-Woman, might have been marginally better, but those are pretty bad too.
I know of several people who would vehemently disagree, but Daredevil would be my pick for as much reuse as Hasbro can get out of the base body as they relaunch Legends. This base body is a shrunken down version of what Hasbro’s been using in later waves of the Icons line, and it’s had great results across the likes of the Human Torch, Daredevil, and Cyclops. Some people think that his hands are too small, but I think that we’ve just gotten used to exaggerated overly large hands and feet. Look at some of the current figures available and you’ve got gigantic hands that put the whammers on Catherine Zeta Jones (look at how tiny those cell phones look!) to shame.
But overall, I love this figure. It’s just a great sculpt, it’s got all the right articulation choices, so if it’s a guy in tights, I’d love to see them use this base body in future Legends.
Only one thing I’d change – at his current size, he fits in pretty well with Hasbro ML, but he needs to be scaled up a bit to really fit in better across the spectrum of Toy Biz and Hasbro Legends.
Nova’s my runner-up for the “reuse the crap out of this body” contest. It’s got its roots back to the Toy Biz Bullseye, which was a fantastic base body. As it’s been retooled over the years, I think the sculpt has gotten a little smaller and softer, and the left thigh in particular has always seemed a bit light compared to the right one – this was the thigh that originally had the holster on Bullseye, and the replacement has never looked quite right.
On Nova you can see what the old style wrists and ankles look like, and how they require cuts in the forearms and calves to add the swivel. I like the new style that’s on Daredevil better, but you do give up the ankle side-to-side tilt.
I think the figure is decent, but would have much preferred the modern costume, as it’s a lot more dynamic – but a lot more tooling. Even for the classic costume, there’s some inaccuracies, like the missing leg stripes and gold shoulders. Speaking of which, the gold here leaves a little to be desired. Hasbro has done better metallics since then.
When compared with more recent (at least design-wise) females like Elektra and Maria Hill, it hurts to look at Tigra, so I purposefully avoided taking pictures with them. I did this as a gift to you, because I don’t want you to feel like I do, that I wish they waited to make Tigra at a later date – because I don’t like her figure very much.
A lot of this could be fixed with better paint, just like the rest of this wave, but here it’s even more jarring because of Tigra’s orange “fur” – I put that in quotes because there’s no sculpted fur. Not that I was even expecting it, because there’s not a lot of reuse you are gonna get out of a furry base body. The orange plastic leaves me wanting more paint.
It doesn’t help that her face evokes an orange Mr. Spock, with her eyebrows and eyelashes. It’s too masculine for her. And Hasbro really needs to take note what other companies are doing with females with separate hair pieces – because Tigra’s looks like (surprise!) an attached hair piece. I do like the torso of the figure, but want better sculpting and articulation on the arms and legs.
Nemesis (formerly Holocaust) – Build-A-Figure
Despite hating Age of Apocalypse, I like this BAF quite a bit. I’ll just hope for some action figures from Exiles for me to put him with. Yes, he’s got elbros and kneebros, but don’t mind them as much here. On large characters, the biceps are usually too big to allow for a lot of swivel anyways. And here, the kneebros are hidden by the knee guards – they’re actually unnecessary since there’s thigh swivels as part of the ball-jointed hips.
There’s a couple of very nice touches here. First, the mid-torso articulation works as nicely as it does on the Marvel Universe figures, allowing a swivel, front and back crunch, and side to side tilting. It’s excellent. Inside the hinged cover, the skeleton is actually articulated at the base of the rib cage, and has a neck disk for up and down movement as well as a swivel. The shoulder pieces are only attached at the back, so they don’t really hinder the movement of the arm forward and up.
As this is the last Build-A-Figure we’re likely to see in this scale for a while, it’s a pretty good way to go out.
Overall, when you place this wave of figures according to when it was designed, before Ares, Red Hulk, and the 2-pack waves, this wave is where I expected it to be. It’s not great, but shows hints of what was to come, with Daredevil and Nova presaging the return to more traditional Toy Biz-style articulation.
I still maintain that for most of the Hasbro figures, a little paint goes a long long way. To illustrate the point, here’s a recent custom of the one figure I don’t have from the line, the Punisher.
Quickie, spent about 30 minutes on it. May have went a little overboard on the forehead, but I picture Frank is big sweaty dirty kinda guy.
Of course, Robo is one of the best painters I know, so 30 minutes for him is between 5 hours and never for me. That’s why I get him to paint something for me whenever I can trick him into it. I’d make a joke about my wife right now, but that’d probably make trickery even more necessary.