Marvel Legends Blade

I finally managed to track down the sixth figure in the latest wave of Marvel Legends figures, Blade. For those who aren't avid action figure collectors or who have been living in a cave in Afganistan for the last few years, Marvel Legends is Toy Biz's line of detailed, well articulated action figures based on their various comic book characters. However, Toy Biz has also been mixing in an occassional figure based on the recent movie incarnations of their characters; Blade is the latest.

Packaging - 5/10

Blade, like all the Marvel Legends figures come in a "clamshell" package. Unlike a traditional action figure that has a plastic bubble glued to a cardboard backer, the Marvel Legends figures have the entire card and figure enclosed in the plastic bubble along with the figure. For collectors who keep their figures MOC, this means the packaging tends to stay in mint condition much longer. But for those who open their figures, it means you better have a knife or other cutting instrument handy if you ever want to get the figure out. The packaging itself is rather plain. The front of the card is almost completely obscured by the comic (or poster book in this case). There are a couple of stickers on the bubble with the line's logo, character's name and a listing of the contents and amount of articulation. The back of the card has a character profile and images of the rest of the figures in this series. The packaging is rather generic but that is to be expected since the line is comprised of unrelated figures whose only connection is being characters in the Marvel Universe. Blade however takes an additional hit due to the poor planning on Toy Biz's part in laying out the poster book. Previous figures have had a comic included and the title from the book has served as a logo for the figure. Blade's poster book has the title on the bottom, behind the figure. I could understand this if they were using an existing comicbook cover and didn't want to edit it. But since they created this posterbook specificly for this purpose, the oversight is less acceptable.

Sculpting - 8/10

In a word, wow! Figures have certainly come a long way it the last few years and Blade is no exception. There is just so much detail on this figure that you could spend all day and still not see it all. From the details on the boots like the sculpted laces and tread on each sole to the seams along the pant legs every inch of the figure is packed with detail. And the head sculpt is a remarkable likeness of Wesly Snipes and has a perfect, stoic pose. Unfortunately the figure also has some serious problems. The first are the poorly executed mold lines. There is a lot of excess plastic along some of the seams. The worst area seems to be the arms and the shoulders. It is possible that the figure I bought simply slipped past quality control. But it is probably more likely that the factory figured they didn't need to worry about it since the figure would have a coat to cover the arms. The second issue may or may not be a problem depending on your personal preferences. Blade, like most of the Marvel Legends figures so far, has a large amount of articulation on a fairly small figure. While Toy Biz did a better job integrating the articulation into the sculpt of this figure than they have on others in the line, some people are still going to feel that the sculpt suffers from an excess of articulation. In particular, the hip and knee joints as well as the articulation in the arms is quite noticeable.

Paint - 6/10

There isn't a lot of painted detail on Blade, a result of the movie costume design that was primarily black. The details that are painted such as the silver for the vest buckles and the silver stakes on his legs are well done. The paint on the face is flawless including the tattoos on the back of his neck. The one place they did get slightly sloppy with the paint lines was the cuffs of his gloves. Since the gloves are not sculpted on, the cuff line isn't well defined. The other area where they could have improved the overall paint would be to have added some variation in the blacks that were used on the figure to add definition to the sculpt. But in all fairness, that is a pretty unrealistic expectation for a figure at this price.

Articulation - 9/10

This has been one of Toy Biz's selling points with the Marvel Legends line, the extreme amount of articulation that each figure has. They even go so far as to list on the front of the packaging that the figure has 34 points of articulation. So where are those 34 points?
  • hinged toes (x2)
  • hinged ankles (x2)
  • rotating shins (x2)
  • double hinged knees (4 total)
  • triple jointed hips: the hips rotate where they connect to both the leg and crotch and hinge between the two points (6 total)
  • rotating waist
  • ball jointed mid-torso
  • triple jointed shoulders, like the hips (6 total)
  • double hinged elbows (4 total)
  • rotating forearm (x2)
  • hinged wrists (x2)
  • hinged fingers (x2)
  • ball jointed neck
If you're the counting type, you might notice that that is actually 35 points; you may also want to contact Toy Biz to apply for a job ;-) While this is certainly an impressive amount of articulation, there are a couple of things missing compared to most of the other Marvel Legends figures. First of all, Blade doesn't have the extra joints in his ankles to allow for lateral movement. That may seem like a minor thing, but when you try to balance a figure in something other than a basic standing pose, the ability to get the feet to sit flat on the surface is very useful. The second thing that is missing is the extra shoulder articulation. Many of the Marvel Legends figures have had additional articulation in the shoulders to allow them to either raise their arms above their heads or to move their arms forward across their chest. That articulation doesn't really add much and has generally been very ugly, so it's exclusion here isn't such a bad thing.

There is one other thing that needs to be mentioned about the articulation, which is the seeming lack of quality control. While most of the figures I have purchased from this line have been fine, many people have reported problems with some of the joints being very loose. Blade is the first Marvel Legends figure I've gotten where the problem has been fairly noticable. In the case of my figure, the hips and legs have a fair amount of play in them which makes a stable pose difficult.

Accessories - 7/10

Blade comes with seven accessories: his coat, sword, sunglasses, gun, glave (folding throwing blade), his motorcycle and a poster book. The coat is very well done in imitation leather and fits very well. It is nicely stitched as well so there are no frayed edges. It even has a slit in the back for his sword to slide through. The sword is fairly simplistic but does at least resemble the sword from the movie. The sunglasses look great but don't stay on very well once the rubberband that holds it on during shipping is removed. The glave is well done and it does fold in half like in the movie, but it is horribly oversized, most likely for safety reasons. The gun is just a waste of plastic. It is so large that there is no hope what so ever for the figure to actually hold it. The final accessory is Blade's motorcycle which takes the place of the display bases that most of the Marvel Legends figures have come with. On its own, the bike is nicely done with a lot of detail and paint applications. It is also supposed to be wall mountable like the other bases. Unfortunately the bike is just too small. It appears to be scaled to fit a 5" figure rather than the 6" Marvel Legends figures. And as a base it is fairly silly since it mounts to the wall via a slot in the bottom. So it mounts as if the cycle were driving up the wall! They should have included a bracket to mount it in a more natural position or just forgotten about it all together. Unlike the other figures from this line, Blade doesn't come with a comic book. The comic he was supposed to have originally wasn't supposedly pulled out of concern that it wasn't appropriate for children. The poster book that replaced it is 22 one page images of Blade from the second movie and one two page image in the center. It's great if you have a crush on Wesly Snipes, but I would rather have the comic.

Value - 8/10

At between $7 and $10 each, the Marvel Legends figures are a steal. You get a great figure with three cool accessories (The gun, glave and cycle can go in the worthless accessory bin.) For those of us that passed up the Blade figure from the first movie, this is a welcome alternative to shelling out a small fortune on E-bay for the original.

Happy Hunting:

The fifth wave of ML figures have actually been out since December of last year. But neither Blade or the chase figure for the wave, Red Skull were in the initial shipments. Blade is showing up in the recent shipments if you can find them. I found several at the west side Toys R Us in Madison, WI. I have seen him at lest once more since then, but that is out of dozens of stops at various toy stores. In short, if you want this one, you'll have to do a little searching. And if you do see one, don't count on seeing it there again the next day.








Frist one to make a crack about needing training wheels gets staked!