I’m not a big fan of Marvel Select action figures. I don’t know what it is, and I know lots of people love ’em, but I just never got it. I own the old Disney Store Exclusive Cap, and to be frank, I hate it, so I was really REALLY hoping that this new Cap would change my opinion. When I first saw the promo pics for it I was optimistic so when the opportunity came to snatch one up, I jumped at it.
I don’t usually rant about packaging- I’ve always been a “take it out and play with it” kind of guy, so the boxes tend to go right into the garbage. In retrospect I suppose that’s a disservice to all the time and hard work that goes into designing the boxes for some of my favorite toys. I will admit it- I’m a heartless monster. But hey, admitting there’s a problem is the first step, right?
Anyway, I need to start this review up by jawing about the stupid oversized Marvel Select packaging. Listen, I know they make these things jumbo-sized to be uniform. I get that if it were smaller, characters like Rhino or Juggernaut would never fit. But here’s the thing- when you don’t have an enormous character crammed into the box, it’s just a whole bunch of empty space. Look at that! Geez, throw some extra accessories in there! Sigh, landfills are getting a little crowded, fellas.
Okay, beyond the packaging (I now have a title for my behind-the-scenes action figure documentary I will never make) we get to the figure itself. This particular version of Cap is based on his appearance in the Captain America: Living Legend book. I don’t know where the “Avenging” title comes from, and I have seen people refer to this as an “Ultimates” version, but it’s very clearly supposed to be this:
Hell, they even use that image right on the package! Once you release the figure from his twisty-tie hell (why do companies still use these miniature torture devices?!?) you get a solid chunk of plastic that stands about 7″ tall and is packed with detail.
I usually don’t like any sculpts that we get from Marvel Select- I believe they are done by Mr. Jean St. Jean, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. This one is better, although I wouldn’t say it’s perfect. There’s a lot of detailing in the outfit and the face is acceptable enough that I don’t see some sort of pan face or Ron Pearlman when I look at it. What? Look at any Select figure and tell me I’m wrong (the Winter Soldier is hideous). That being said, it still isn’t 100% spot on for me, though I do think it was slightly more successful than the recent Marvel Legends Cap.
Almost all of the details are sculpted in, from the star on his chest to the stripes on his abs, which is something I always appreciate. There are little buckles and buttons throughout that really help sell this guy, and that harness is covered in so many little intricacies that it might take a while to soak it all in. Unfortunately this is one of my major gripes of the toy- all the sculpted grenades and pouches in the world can’t make up for the fact that his belt, which is a softer PVC plastic and connected to his shoulder straps, sits way too high on his waist.
My local Disney Store had about 8 of them on the shelf and they all had this same issue, so, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s an isolated thing. You can pull it down and try to make it look right, but it keeps heading north. Normally a belt is used to hold up your pants, but Steve here seems to be wearing on just as a home for an abundance of pouches. How very 90’s of him.
Once you get past that snafu, the figure is pretty enjoyable. The articulation on the old Select figures used to be a nightmare, but they, in recent times, seem to have improved on their designs. The head appears to be on a ball pin, but I’m not attempting to pop it off to confirm that. It has a good range of motion and can move freely in pretty much all directions. You get ratchet-style shoulders, bicep swivels, single-jointed elbows, wrist swivels at the glove to hide the articulation, and both wrist pivots and swivels. That’s one heap of articulation and we haven’t even moved past the arms yet.
His torso is something of a quandary to me- I just don’t get what they were going for here. You get a waist cut so Cap can turn, but you also get an ab-swivel so Cap…can…turn? I would assume it was meant as an ab-crunch, but the sculpt is in the way or something because he gets about 1mm of movement forward and that’s it.
Going down past that nonsense we have DCUC-style articulation at the hips, which I have always preferred to the old Toy Biz Legends’ ball hips. Thigh swivels, double jointed knees, calf swivels, ankle swivels, and ball-jointed feet will finish off the articulation list. All of the joints (on mine, at least) are tight and hold in place well, and I did spend quite a while playing around with different poses for Cap, so yeah, that is a huge improvement over the last MS Cap we got. Kudos to Diamond for upping their game and being mostly successful.
The paint aps are really solid here, and mine has nice , clean lines, and little, if any, paint bleeding. I will say I would have liked the colors to pop a bit more though. The red is a bit deep and the blue, while having a cool weathered wash on it, is a little on the dark side. It is on model though, so I really shouldn’t complain, but I just did, and I’m not deleting the last sentence.
For accessories we get Cap’s trusty shield, and while I would have liked an American flag, or an alternate head, I guess the shield is really the only accessory you NEED. It’s a good size for the 7″ figure and is cast in a deep red with a metallic look to it. The straps on the back are awesome and very nicely sculpted, and they fit well onto Cap’s arm, making it a HUGE improvement over the stupid white clip we got on the older Cap.
Unfortunately I have an issue with the execution of his trademark shield for two reasons. Number one- Steve usually carries his shield on his LEFT arm, though I know he occasionally has worn it on the right. I prefer the former when I display my figures, and most companies make it so you can display him either way, but Diamond has opted to give him only one open hand on his right side. Actually now that I really look at it I notice it’s more of a trigger hand than a “shield holding hand”, so I don’t really know what’s going on here as the left hand is just a fist. You can easily switch the shield over to his left and just hold it in place by stretching the straps over his fist, and that’s likely what I’ll do, but it just irks me a bit.
My second issue with the shield is that, as far as I can figure, there is no way to attach it to Cap’s back. At this point I assumed all companies were going out of their way to make sure Steve could holster the ol’ flying disc. This is by no means a deal-breaker, and honestly I’m only pointing it out simply to point it out. Most of my Caps are holding their vibranium in case my room goes all Toy Story on me. I have a lot of He-Man villains that we need to be prepared for.
The last piece of this figure is an incredibly cool base/diorama piece. It looks like the ruins of an old HYDRA base, complete with bullet holes in the walls, debris on the ground, and a nicely sculpted HYDRA symbol at the top. The paints on it are weathered and really sell the “Cap was here to kick ass and chew bubble gum” vibe. Well done.
Overall this is a well made, nicely constructed figure. It has some minor bumps, but mostly everything it does is done right, so I’ll count it as a win for Diamond Select and I will gladly be adding this new Steve to the giant collection.
Look for it now in Disney Stores for about $25.00, and remember to tell them “John Stranger sent me!” for an additional look of confusion from the cashier!