The catch up reviews continue with the fifteenth and final series of Marvel Legends figures from Toy Biz. The previous
series had a few missteps in terms of quality. So did Toy Biz manage to correct the problems for their final series?
Packaging - 8/10The clamshell packaging that we've come to know returns yet again. It hasn't really changed for the last dozen plus series of Marvel Legends figures, so why change it now? It is simple yet attractive and provides just about everything you would want from a package. The one issue which has come up in the past has been the ability of the plastic to stand up to the weight of larger figures and accessories. And while Modok's big noggin certainly qualifies as heavy, I've yet to see any warped or damaged packaging.
Sculpting - Wasp 6/10, Spider-Woman 8/10, TB Iron Man 10/10, Others 9/10The sculpting for this series is terrific. Thorbuster Iron Man is as close to perfect as I can possibly expect from a mass market figure. Beta Ray Bill probably should get a perfect score here too, but the detail in his sculpt just don't seem to be quite as sharp as I've come to expect from a Marvel Legends figure. Captain Marvel has a very simple design which would be hard to get wrong. My only quibble with him is that I think they went slightly overboard with his hair and how it comes down near his right eye. Moon Knight is another great figure, though the large loop on the back of his belt is a bit silly looking. Of course it is also hidden quite well by the cape. What he could really use is a grasping hand to hold his weapons. Both the Wasp and Spider-Woman share the same body mold below the chest. But Spider-Woman's head sculpt is much better. Her neck is a bit awkward though. Wasp's face is her biggest short coming. It is much too thin. Add to it her extremely short hair style which doesn't frame and fill out her face as longer hair would and you are left with a face that looks rather unnatural.
It's worth noting that Toy Biz went a little wild with the variants this time around. With every figure except Beta Ray Bill having a variant, there are five total. (Possibly six) Moon Knight is available in a silver paint scheme and is the only variant I was able to find. Wasp, who changes her outfit more often than comic books change writers was suppose to be available in two variants, one red and blue and the other in blue and white. But from what I have seen, the blue and white version was never actually produced, or produced in incredibly low numbers. Captain Marvel, Iron Man and Spider-woman all have entirely different characters for their variants: Genis-Vell, Destroyer and the Julie Carpenter version of Spider-Woman respectfully. It is a shame that the variants for this series have been some of the rarest in the line's history.
Paint - Wasp & Moon Knight 7/10, others 8/10The paint work on this series seems to mark an improvement in the paint quality after the last series. Having seen dozens of figures on the shelves, I haven't seen any serious paint issues. I don't have any real issues with Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, Beta Ray Bill or Iron Man. I do wish that Beta Ray Bill and Iron Man use darker colors for better contrast and a light wash would have helped to bring out the detail on the arms. Wasp doesn't have much for paint applications, which is why I am so disappointed that the paint on her chest is off center though not actually sloppy. I'm scoring Moon Knight lower not for quality but for Toy Biz's color choices. The regular figure's body is black with a silver tint while the variant is silver with a black wash. Neither color scheme captures the character's look well. And while the comic book that is included shows that the character has been drawn with a black costume, the silver variant is closer to the character's classic look. But the grey paint scheme of the recent Marvel Select figure would have been better than either of these two.
Articulation - Wasp & Spider-Woman 7/10, 8/10The final series of Marvel Legends figures form Toy Biz is as highly articulated as we have come to expect. Spider-Woman and Wasp are listed as having 26 points of articulation. but that doesn't count the articulation for Wasp's wings and only counts their hips and shoulders as a single joint. The male figures are listed as having between 32 and 42 points of articulation on the packaging. (Again, that counts the rotating and hinged joints for the shoulders and hips as just a single joint each.) Beta Ray Bill has the least due to having only single jointed elbows and no hinged fingers on his right hand. But he also adds an extra pair of shoulder joints and a hinged jaw. Iron Man and Captain Marvel have the usual articulation plus an extra set of shoulder joints on Cap. Marvel. Moon Knight tops the list due to individually jointed fingers. Personally, I would rather he had unarticulated fingers so that he could hold his weapons better. But the good news is that there seem to be fewer problems with stuck or loose joints. Spider-Woman is the only figure that has issues. The first figure I bought had incredibly loose hip joints where they rotate at the body. And then the right elbow was stuck to the point that the joint tore apart when I tried to apply pressure. The replacement figure is better. But the pin in her left wrist wasn't inserted all of the way through the joint. And I saw the same issue on another one of the Spider-woman figures in the store.
Accessories - Moon Knight & Beta Ray Bill 7/10, others 5/10Each figure comes with two basic accessories, a comic book and a background display. The display is comprised of a small black plastic stand and a scene printed on the front of the cardboard backer card. It's nice that Toy Biz is making some attempt to replace the lost display bases. But the backgrounds are too large to use with each figure but too small to us with more than one figure at a time. The comics are still here. And it is a nice selection this time around.
Build-A-Figure - ModokHow hard up for a character do you have to be before you create a giant head in a floating chair? If your first response was "a what?," you probably have never heard of MODOK (Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing) the build-a-figure for series fifteen. I suppose he makes sense for a build-a-figure since he isn't likely to get his own figure. (Of course I could have said the same of Destroyer or Genis-Vell.) In terms of the actual figure, the sculpting is very detailed for the head and exhaust base. But the rest of the figure doesn't match up well. The same is true of the paint work. The face is fully painted. But the rest of the figure's body has little to no paint work at all. If they had put as much effort into the rest of the figure as was invested into the head, this would have been a stellar figure.
Value - Wasp 7/10, others 8/10 (add a point if completing MODOK)With the exception of Wasp and Spider-Woman, series fifteen has some pretty obscure characters. But it also has some very well done figures. And with this being the last series to come out from Toy Biz, it is a good opportunity to fill out your collection.
Happy Hunting:Series fifteen came out in the fall of 2006. While they were plentiful at some stores in the fall, the change in the license for Marvel toys at the end of the year means that they have disappeared from most stores. I purchased my set plus the three variants from Toys R Us here in Madison. While they have disappeared from most brick and mortar stores with the post-holiday resets, Toys R Us here still has a large quantity of them left. Or you can order them from Toys R Us.com.