Category Archives: toy biz

Toy Biz Electro-Spark Captain America Action Figure Review

I love 90’s toys. I know, they suck. Well, at least by today’s standards. But, see, these are the toys I grew up with and there’s something to be said for nostalgia. Nostalgia makes everything seem better, even when it’s something that really makes no sense at all. Like Electro-Spark Captain America.

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Ok, to be fair, this figure is technically “Captain America with Sparking Shield and Transforming Hover Jet”, and part of the “Spider-Man: Electro-Spark” line, but one can understand the leap to “Electro-Spark Cap”. But before I start to talk about the figure, I need to jump into the packaging, because, well, just look at that Spidey pic and tell me you don’t want to know more!

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OK, so the back of the package sets us up for why these toys have an electricity theme- the only way to stop electricity is with DIFFERENT electricity. I guess. According to the package Spidey and Cap are the only two heroes capable of defeating Electro, and to do it they need to juice themselves up with zapping abilities.  I would think that if electricity beats electricity (which it doesn’t…unless we’re talking surges and overloads), why didn’t Spidey just go ask Iron Man for help? But whatever, I get another Cap figure out of the deal.

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To take down Electro, of course, Spidey needs at least THREE electricity-themed outfits, including Electro-Spark, which includes a robot spider, Electro-Shock, which has some sorta mech suit, and lastly a Steel-Shock armor- because nothing beats electricity better than draping yourself in highly-conductive metal. I guess the gimmick wouldn’t work well if we got “Rubber Gloves Spidey”, which is a shame, really. We missed out on years of “Proctology Exam Spider-Man” jokes.

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Another info bubble on the box tells us that Cap’s electricity powers actually come from Electro himself; Cap’s shield has absorbed enough power from the villain’s menacing attacks to actually retain the charge. Why isn’t this a video game? I feel like there was a missed opportunity here with Cap running around with his Megaman style shield absorbing enemy powers along the way.

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The jet sled thing we see here doesn’t get an explanation on the packaging, so I suppose we are to just assume it’s the means of transport that Cap took to go help Spidey. Or maybe it’s a space coffin a la “Wrath of Khan”. Let your imaginations run wild, kids!

Once you get past the plethora of bright colors and visual distractions on the package (IF you can) we get what is essentially a definitive 90’s Cap figure.

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His face is sculpted in a mid-battle grimace and there isn’t much definition to speak of- if it wasn’t for the paint I’m not sure I’d know where Steve’s face ended and his mask began- but all things considered it’s a damn good Cap figure. Just look at the detail sculpting on the chest to capture the scale-mail armor, something still missing in most Cap figures today. It would have been easy to recycle piece from other figures for this guy, but I’m glad to see Toy Biz go all out for him.

Now the accessories are where things get a bit iffy. Everyone knows Steve Rogers is never without his mighty shield, but this time out it looks like Cap decided to bring a shield-shaped gun to the party. Ok, so the package states that the shield absorbed some electrical charge, which is why when you pull the cord on the back of it, it sparks up. It doesn’t mention, however, why the shield shrunk down, or how it got glued to a chunk of plastic. I know it needs to house the electro-spark gimmick, but it just looks odd being so small and really wouldn’t offer much in the way of protection. Plus the way Steve holds it make it look like it should swirl and create some sorta hypno-ray, but it doesn’t and that makes me sad.

Now if you take a look at the blistercard, you can see Cap holding a size-appropriate shield. It looks like it would be a better fit, but since we didn’t get it I guess we’ll never know. If only we had that one to see what this guy would have looked like…

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Hey, Marvel Legends Cap! Thanks for helping out!

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Giving this Cap a more accurate shield goes a long way to make him look AMAZING! The color doesn’t quite match up with the most recent Legends shield- the 90’s Cap has much brighter colors- but the size looks so much better that it almost doesn’t matter. If I can find a good color match in this size, I will definitely display this guy holding it. I just wouldn’t know what to do with the electro-shield the figure came with.IMG_1846

The second accessory Cap comes with is the Hover Jet that can double as a rocket pack.

It’s cool looking enough, but the wings and handles are barely attached and tend to pop off without much prompting, leading me to wonder how any kid was supposed to play with it. If you can manage to get Cap to balance on it without pieces falling everywhere (which took me some effort) it still is a bit funky. The way his arms are positioned he can’t really hold on to the handlebars, and the feet just slide into the goblin-glider foot cups, so there’s no way to keep the passenger in place. I have a feeling that it found its way to many a toy box’s bottom layer.

It also serves another function, though. Well, two more if you count what the package says. First is the jetpack, which works much better than the sled mode does.

It sorta just rests on Cap’s shoulders and hangs there, but the fit is snug and doesn’t come loose as easily as the other mode does. The leg parts have clips to connect the figure’s legs into, but since Cap is sporting his fashionable cavalier boots, and the clips aren’t wide enough, they don’t serve much purpose.  Funny thing is fits a little better when put onto a modern Hasbro Legends figure, despite being made for the smaller guys.

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Now according to the packaging the jet also has a “lab table” mode where you fold the wings back and can lay Steve out for some unsavory experiments. Fortunately (or unfortunately, I don’t know what everyone is into) there are little plastic tabs that keep you from being able to do that. I even tried swapping the wings to opposite sides to see if that would work, but nope. Looks like Cap escapes experimentation due to poor construction.

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Toys from the 90’s are a joy to play with, and Electro-Spark Cap here is no different. We’ve come a long way since the days of 9 points of articulation and “less-than” sculpting, but it’s always good to look back to where you came from, and even for a toy made before the golden age of action figure collecting, this is a dynamite Cap toy. Well, not counting the accessories, of course.

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Toy Biz Captain America Turbo Coupe

I love looking at toys from the 90s. I know the sculpts were crude and the paint apps were almost non-existent, but something about Fire-Armor Batman carrying a golden bazooka just makes me smirk. While today’s toys are way more high-end in sculpts, articulation, attention to detail, and, well, pretty much everything, there really is something to be said for the gimmicky nonsense that was being pumped out in the early 90s.

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Take, for example, Toy Biz Toys’ 1990 release of the Captain America Turbo Coupe- part of the Marvel Super Heroes line. Now as far back as I can remember, Cap has always elected to take to the streets on some sort of motorcycle, but even today toy companies prefer to put the Star-Spangled Avenger behind the wheel of something on four wheels. I don’t really know why.

So, much like Batman, Captain America got a sweet lil’ ride in his Turbo Coupe, or, as I will refer to it for the remainder of this review, the CapCoupe.

The CapCoupe measures in around 12″ long and is decked out mainly in white with some blue and red paint apps around to complete the ‘murica! look. Most of the details are painted on, like the solid black windshield and the stripes along the side, but the car also features some stickers with the Captain America logo. It looks suitably “CapCoupe” even without the logo on it, but I guess Toy Biz wanted to make sure you didn’t confuse it with the rarely-seen presidential muscle car Reagan used to tear through town in.

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Now one thing that bugs me about the construction of the CapCoupe is that while the toy is made to put a figure inside (only one will fit. Sorry, Bucky) the design, with its full roof and painted windows, doesn’t really let you SEE Cap in the driver’s seat. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I’d like to see that I have a toy in the car. I guess since the CapCoupe doesn’t come with a figure it made it easier for kids to pretend they had someone driving to the rescue, on the off chance they got the car but had no Cap to go with it, but it irks me.

The front of the car is adorned with Cap’s trusty shield, or some battering ram version of. The colors are a bit off, and I’m not really sure if there was any real reason to change it other than someone in at Toy Biz didn’t want to get up from his desk to grab the control art.

When it’s in a “resting” position, the shield looks like a giant hood ornament-  but criminals beware! With one push of the red button on the hood, the shield launches out and knocks the villains into next Tuesday! Oh yeah, I loves me some cheesy gimmicks!

Back in the 90’s, though, it wasn’t enough to just put Cap in the seat of a fancy car with a face-smasher on the front . Oh no, a patriotic Batmobile just wouldn’t do. Let’s say Cap gets to a crime scene, but the bad guys are no where to be found. Oh, they are clever, these generic fiends- they know Cap would show up in his CapCoupe, so they take to the rooftops for their well-planned escape. Ha! There’s no way the stalwart hero will be able to follow them!

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Well think again, you devilish crumbums! With the roof opened up, all Steve Rogers needs to do is activate his CapCoupe’s hidden weapon- a jet sled thing! Yep, just lift the spoiler from the back of the car and the guts of the vehicle come with it!

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The “Glider Wing”, as the box calls it, is essentially the seat and spoiler of the CapCoupe with some jet engines on the sides and retractable landing gear. I don’t understand why a glider needs engines, or how something that can lift off from a dead-stop on the ground can be called a glider, but hey, it’s freakin’ neat!

Some sort of propeller on the top would have been cool, and it would help me understand how the physics of this work, but as it is, the Glider Wing is a fun little “surprise” inside the cereal box that is the CapCoupe. It is cast in the same white plastic the rest of the vehicle is in and features a star symbol on each side.

Sadly, the CapCoupe will never be as recognizable as the Batmobile, or even as sought after as the X-Men’s Blackbird, but as a 10 year old Cap fan, this toy was well worth my parent’s hard-earned money. And as an adult, it’s worth every inch of shelf space it takes up.