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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of the Avengers Metal Miniatures figures

Factory Entertainment
Date Published: 2016-10-21
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Avengers Metal Miniatures die cast figures by Factory Entertainment

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Introduction

Let's go back in time, to a period of history when toys would kill you. Or at least scar you for life.  These injuries could be immediate, like getting paralyzed on a Slip N Slide or taking a Jart to the head. Or they could be a slow process, like playing with lead army men.

In reality, lead was only a major player in toy soldiers in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of the metal figures I had as a kid were cast iron, which was already almost entirely replaced by plastic by then. It wasn't for health reasons, but rather cost - plastic was cheaper than iron or lead. But for collectors, the heft and quality of the metal toy soldiers has remained a big attraction. Modern table top role playing games have also created a new avenue for the classic 'army man'.

Factory Entertainment has tapped into the high end miniature market with their new line of 'metal miniatures'. Produced using a heavy weight solid metal alloy, these 1:32 scale figures are carefully crafted for the collector. I'm checking out their set of Avengers tonight, which includes Iron Man, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Thor, Vision, Captain America, Hulkbuster, and an antagonist, Ultron. Obviously, the look and designs are based on Age of Ultron.

Each of these is a limited edition, with edition sizes ranging from 500 (Hawkeye, Black Widow), to 1000 (Vision, Ultron, Thor, Hulk, Hulkbuster), to a max of 1500 for the heavy hitters (Captain America, Iron Man). They also vary in price from $30  - $40 for the majority, although the Hulkbuster and Hulk come as a set for $150. You can pre-order these directly from Factory Entertainment, or check the Where to Buy section for some other options. 

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Avengers Black Widow Metal Miniatures die cast figures by Factory Entertainment

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Packaging - ****
The majority of the figures come in square boxes with a die cut slip cover. Remove the slip cover, slide the top off the box, and inside is a high quality soft foam tray. Certain figures have additional packing within to protect the smaller extensions. There's also a basic Certificate of Authenticity, and the edition number is printed on the bottom of each figure.

The Hulkbuster is the only exception. Rather than the soft foam, he's packed in more traditional hard styrofoam eggshell trays.  His extreme weight made this necessary.

Avengers Metal Miniatures die cast figures by Factory Entertainment

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Sculpting - Hawkeye **1/2; Black Widow ***; Hulk, Hulkbuster, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Ultron, Vision ***1/2
While the overall quality of the sculpting, considering the material and size, is above average, there's a couple of these where I'm just not feeling the selected pose.

That's not the case for the Hulk and Hulkbuster.  The battle stances allow them to be set up on their own or as a pair, and look great either way.  The detailing on the Hulkbuster is great, particularly considering these are solid metal.  This sort of slightly soft metal - remember, this isn't steel that can be sharply cut, but rather a soft alloy like pewter and lead that can be molded - usually doesn't hold detail well.  The larger size of Hulkbuster helps of course, and he stands a full 4 1/2" tall. He also weighs enough to crush a man's skull. But it's not just about the size, but the detailing in the various armor sections.

The Hulk looks good as well, although I will pick a nit or two. The hands to head ratio seems a little off - either the hands are too big or the head is too small, your choice - but it's a minor problem.

The smallest figure in the set is one of the lower end choices on my scale - Black Widow. She stands just 2 1/4" tall, and the eight other figures vary in height between her and Hulkbuster. I've included a photo near the end of the review to show the scale going from small to large. The majority fall in the 3 - 3 1/2" range.

Black Widow comes in with a lower score largely due to her softer facial features. Her pose isn't a top favorite, but it isn't too awkward or silly either.

Hawkeye is the other low scoring figure here, and he also has softer facial features. Add in a truly bizarre pose, and you have a lower score.  There's no bow string by the way, as that would be a bit tricky to manage in metal.

The remaining figures all have great poses and reasonably good detail considering the medium. I particularly like the Vision and Iron Man, but Ultron, Thor, and Cap all have great poses as well. There's lots of small surface detail with these, especially Iron Man and Thor. It's surprising to see the sort of texturing and detailing in this format and medium. They didn't try to get perfect movie likenesses in the faces - these are simply too tiny for that. Remember, a 4" figure is 1:18 scale, and these are considered 1:32.

Avengers Hulk Metal Miniatures die cast figures by Factory Entertainment

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Paint - Black Widow, Hawkeye **1/2; Ultron, Hulk, Hulkbuster, Cap ***; Vision, Thor, Iron Man ***1/2
It's very, very important to keep scale in mind here - if you can't picture how large a 3" figure is, please use the LifeSizer feature above.  These are tiny.

Getting clean paint work on something this small is tricky, particularly when you're trying to do tiny details. The work on characters like Vision, Iron Man, and Thor is impressive, considering the scale of various features on the armor and costumes. Hell, Thor even has a slight beard! There's shading and highlighting, there's tricky colors like silver or yellow, and it's all much cleaner than you'd expect.

Some in this set are more average in quality in this particular category. Hulk has a little slop around the feet, Ultron's overall silver body looks great but his eyes are wonky, there's some wavy lines in larger details on Cap's costume, and the Hulkbuster has plenty of detail, but in the larger size the quality isn't quite as good. Certainly nothing horrendous, but not quite as eye catching as the other three.

Unfortunately, both Hawkeye and Black Widow do the poorest in this category as well.  Her face isn't helped by the cartoony paint job, and there's a little more overall slop with Hawkeye.

Avengers Hulkbuster Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Articulation - N/A
If you were paying attention, you know these are solid - very solid - metal figures. There's no joints of any kind. Consider this your final FYI.

Avengers Thor Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Avengers Iron Man Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Avengers Ultron Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Avengers Captain America Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Avengers Hawkeye Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Value - **1/2
Regular readers know that **1/2 in this category means the Value does not effect the Overall score, either up or down.  In this case, that's because these are pretty much in line with the toy soldier market, which is where they most closely align.

That might be hard for action figure fans to understand, since they get 7" figures with lots of articulation for $20 - $30.  These tiny metal figures are that much and more, making it seem like the pricing is wack. But compared to actual solid metal alloy toy soldiers, sold to collectors and war gamers, the cost is in alignment.  Cheaper ones can run $20, on up to $80 - $100 each.  That puts these, with similar quality paint and materials, right in line with that market.

Avengers Vision Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Things to Watch Out For -
There's a few tiny areas on these that can bend or get damaged. For example, the thin extensions around Ultron's mouth, the lanyard on Thor's hammer, or Black Widow's sticks. Handle these areas with care.

Avengers Iron Man Metal Miniatures die cast figure by Factory Entertainment

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Overall - Hawkeye **1/2; Black Widow, Ultron, Hulk, Hulkbuster, Cap ***; Vision, Thor, Iron Man ***1/2
I initially thought I'd just do one big score for the entire set of nine in each category. They're all pretty much the same, right? Nope, not really. While the general quality was similar across the group, the selected poses and execution of said poses varied quite a bit.  Hawkeye scores lowest not because his quality is that far below the others, but because I really dislike the pose.

Black Widow is the only one where I had quality issues - I'm not digging the paint work on her face. The rest are all in line, quality wise, and it's really about how well they executed on each character.

The price tag might create some sticker shock for action figure collectors, but it's in line with the toy soldier hobby, which are a much better comparison.  The various edition sizes seem appropriate as well, although that does mean that only 500 collectors will have a complete set.

The figures do include a warning that there is some lead in the alloy mix. Don't spend a lot of time with these in your mouth.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - Hawkeye **1/2; Black Widow ***; Hulk, Hulkbuster, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Ultron, Vision ***1/2
Paint - Black Widow, Hawkeye **1/2; Ultron, Hulk, Hulkbuster, Cap ***; Vision, Thor, Iron Man ***1/2
Articulation - N/A
Value - **1/2
Overall - Hawkeye **1/2; Black Widow, Ultron, Hulk, Hulkbuster, Cap ***; Vision, Thor, Iron Man ***1/2

Avengers Metal Miniatures die cast figures by Factory Entertainment

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Where to Buy 
Factory Entertainment has them available through their own online store. Online options include these site sponsors:

- has these for $30 - $40 for the singles, and the Hulk/Hulkbuster set for $150.

- Entertainment Earth has them for a similar price.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've looked at a few other die cast style figures in the past, including this Stormtrooper from Attakus, as well as the Futurama sets 1 and set 2, and the Simpsons sets.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Avengers Metal Miniatures die cast figures by Factory Entertainment

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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