Hasbro Marvel Legends Ares Series review

group photo
It's been quite a while since I had time to write one of these reviews. And as a result I am really behind and there is a considerable stack of toys built up in my living room that I have yet to open. Among those are the last series of Marvel Legends figures to hit US stores, the Walmart exclusive Ares Series. This series of eight figures includes an eclectic mix of characters ranging from new versions of some of Marvel's heavy hitters such as the Human Torch, Iron Man in his Heroes Reborn design, and Spider-man in his Scarlett Spider costume. There is also War Machine in his Ultimate Universe costume, Alpha Flight's Guardian, a new version of the Vision and the villain Crossbones. The series is rounded out with a reissue of one of the two most sought after figures from Toy Biz's Fantastic Four Classics line, Kang. And of course, if you collect all eight figures you can assemble Ares, the Greek God of War.

Packaging - 7/10

The packaging is the same as all of the recent series of Marvel Legends figures. From a design stand point, that's good. The design is attractive and showcases the individual characters well. The rounded bubble could pose a problem for those who keep their figures mint on card and need to store their figures. The other drawback is that the cards are printed on thinner stock just as the Target exclusive Red Hulk series figures.

Sculpting - H.R. Iron Man 8/10, War Machine 5/10, Guardian 4/10, others 6/10

This series of figures relies heavily on the reuse of existing molds. Some are obvious such as War Machine reusing the Ultimate Iron Man body or Human Torch which shares the same body as the Fantastic Four Classics series Johnny Storm. Others are more creative. Both Vision and Scarlett Spider reuse the body from the Silver Surfer from the FF series. But the most surprising one was Crossbones who reuses the mold from the Hulkling figure from the Young Avengers box set. The one new figure is the Heroes Reborn version of Iron Man. Generally the figures turned out well. Iron Man seems like the best of the series, with a nice balance of detail without going overboard. It does seem like a few areas, particularly the arms and hips, are too thin. Crossbones' head is quite a bit too small for the body. Fortunately, once you add the body armor, it isn't as obvious. The figure also has new hands up to the forearm joint. But there is a considerable gap in the articulation where the new sculpt doesn't match the old very well. War Machine is the same sculpt as the original Ultimate Iron Man and suffers from all the same problems except one. War Machine doesn't have the same bend in the legs, allowing him to stand up straight. The only difference between the Human Torch figure and the previous Johnny Storm figure is the new head sculpt. The new head is an improvement, though the old one would have worked fine for a completely inflamed version of the Human Torch. The use of the Silver Surfer body for the Vision and Scarlett Spider figures was a great choice. The body type is far more appropriate for a Spider-man figure or Spider-man clone figure than the one that was used for the recent Black Costume version. And comparing the new Vision figure to the one done by Toy Biz is quite shocking. The articulation is much more refined and better integrated within the sculpt. Guardian uses Hasbro's male body, the one used for Quicksilver/yellowjacket/Union Jack etc... I'm still not wild about the sculpt, but it does work better for a character like Guardian than a speedster like Quicksilver. Finally there is Kang, who uses the exact same sculpt as the previous Kang figure. That should be no surprise. The waist could still use some work, but it is a nice figure otherwise.

Paint - Scarlett Spider & Guardian 3/10, others 6/10

The paint work for this series is in many ways a step up from Hasbro's usual offerings. And generally the results are pretty good. There are two exceptions: Guardian and Scarlett Spider. The Guardian shouldn't be a tough figure to paint. But unfortunately they choose to apply a blue wash to the white areas of his costume. Unfortunately the wash isn't even where it crosses the various points of articulation. They also failed to apply the wash to the areas directly above forearm joints on my figure leaving those areas standing in stark contrast to the hands. They also failed to paint part of the right hip joint leaving a white stripe where there should not be one. There is also a red stripe on my figure's left hip for some reason. there are similar inconsistencies on Scarlett Spider, though they don't show up as easily. But some of the errors such as not getting the red on the boots to match the torso and forgetting to paint the middle two figures on one hand are fairly silly mistakes to make. The other figures are more up to par. I am particularly impressed with the small details that are painted on Crossbones' vest which help to make up for the lack of paint work on the rest of the figure. It is also worth noting that there is a noticeable difference in the paint tones used for this version of Kang. The face and the trim for his costume are both darker than they were on the Fantastic Four Classics release.

There is one paint variant figure in this series, which is the version of the Human Torch figure which I purchased. The normal figure is cast in a plastic which is a lighter shade of orange. The "super nova" variant is darker in color and has white lines painted on it. Which you prefer is up to you. I bought the super nova version simply because it would stand out better amongst all of the other Human Torch figures which I already have.

Articulation - War Machine, Kang & Human Torch 8/10, others 7/10

There is plenty of articulation on these figures as with most Marvel Legends figures. For example, the Human Torch has the following articulation:
  • rotating and hinged neck
  • rotating and hinged shoulders
  • rotating bicep just below the shoulder
  • double jointed, hinged elbows
  • rotating forearms
  • rotating and hinged wrists
  • hinged torso
  • rotating waist
  • hinged and rotating hips
  • rotating thighs
  • double jointed, hinged knees
  • hinged and rotating ankles
All of the figures are fairly similar in their articulation. Heroes Reborn Iron Man is the only figure which lacks the more traditional hinge joints for the elbows. And Crossbones only has single jointed elbows. Beyond that, the difference comes down to the lack of adjustability in the joints of some of the figures.

Accessories - Crossbones 5/10, others 0/10

The only figure in the series that comes with any accessories this time is Crossbones. He comes with the same two guns that were originally packaged with the Hydra Soldier from the Brood Queen series. Technically you could also count his vest since it is removable. Though without it, the figure really wouldn't look like Crossbones. It is also worth noting that unlike Ultimate Iron Man, War Machine's helmet doesn't seem to be removable.

Build-A-Figure - Ares

The build a figure for this series is the Greek God of War and current member of the official Avengers team, Ares. Given his recent prominent role as a member of the Avengers, he makes a decent character choice. And the sculpt captures the look of the character well. Scale could be an issue for some collectors. The bio for Ares on Marvel's website lists his height as six feet, one inch. But he towers over the rest of the male figures. He is even taller than Hercules despite the fact that Ares should be about four inches shorter. The paint work on Ares is exceptional, easily the best I have seen on any figure that Hasbro has produced in this line. But the articulation is far less impressive. The large build of the figure restricting the range of motion is part of the problem. But the hips are just poorly designed. Not only does the articulation not match the natural movement of a human hip, they are also quite prone to falling off. Ares also has a nice trio of accessories. He has his helmet which fits nicely while still leaving his face visible. He has a very large broadsword as well as a small dagger which can be stored in a sheath on his right leg.

Value - Crossbones 8/10, Kang & Human Torch 7/10, Guardian 4/10
others 6/10 (add a point if completing the Build a Figure)

Crossbones is my favorite figure in this series, both in terms of the way the figure turned out and for expanding the character roster of my collection. The other figures in the series are decent figures, but I doubt too many people were waiting for a Heroes Reborn version of Iron Man or any other Heroes Reborn character with baited breath. Nor would I have felt much need for yet another version of the Vision, Human Torch or the same version of Kang if not for the sake of completing the Ares figure.

Happy Hunting:

This series of figures was exclusive to Wal-mart stores. But they have long since disappeared from store shelves in all of the stores which I have seen. And with another Wal-mart exclusive series due out shortly, they are not likely to make a return. There is of course the option of finding them on eBay.

Vision MOC Guardian MOC

Ultimate War Machine MOC Heroes Reborn Iron Man MOC

Human Torch MOC Crossbones MOC

Scarlett Spider MOC Kang MOC

card back

Scarlett Spider front and back

Scarlett Spider close up

Spider clones

Heroes Reborn Iron Man front and back Ultimate War Machine front and back Heroes Reborn Iron Man close up Ultimate War Machine close up Ultimate Iron Man and War Machine Vison front and back Vison close up Vision comparison Guardian front aand back Guardian close up Guardian paint work Guardian paint work Human Torch front and back Human Torch close up Human Torch and Johnny Storm Kang frotn and back Kang close up Kang comparison Crossbones front and back Crossbones cloae up Crossbones accessories Crossbones with weapons Crossbones with Punisher Ares front and back Ares close up Ares accessories Ares with accessories dagger in scabbord Ares and Hercules