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Review of Maria Hill - Avengers sixth scale action figure

Hot Toys
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3 out of 4

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Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Introduction

Hot Toys announced several new figures recently, and there were...a couple new Iron Man suits...a couple new Trooper variations...yea, 'diversity' is not exactly a big word for them these days.

So it's particularly nice when they do produce something a little off the beaten track.  I know you're going to tell me that the Avengers: Age of Ultron isn't exactly an indie project, but stacked up against the multitude of Iron Man and Star Wars figures that we have seen and will continue to see, it seems like it is.

But Maria Hill is more than just a figure from the Avengers license. She's also a woman. Yea, I'm stating the obvious, but Hot Toys doesn't do a ton of female figures these days, unless their first name is Black and their last name is Widow. That's not entirely their fault, since the majority of their major licenses simply don't have a lot of female characters. They've done plenty of Black Widow, we know we'll get several female figures out of the old and new Star Wars franchise, and Pepper Potts is on her way. Of course, you can also argue that they tend to avoid any licenses with a larger female to male ratio (which is exactly the opposite of Star Ace, who specifically went after Harry Potter, Underworld and Hunger Games for that very reason), making it easy to avoid producing female figures.

All of that means just one thing: it's great to get a Hot Toys figure of another bad ass woman from the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Maria Hill. Hell, she doesn't even have any sort of super powers, but she can go toe to toe with the best of them.  Her crossing over between the movies and television shows also adds to her appeal.

She just started shipping, and will run you around $220.  There aren't a ton of retailers carrying her because she was one of the Hot Toys 'Toy Fairs' exclusives for 2015, so don't be surprised if you have to do a little hunting to find one that's convenient for you.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Packaging - ***
Nothing too special here.  It's a simple slip cover over a window box, and inside is a single plastic clam shell tray that holds the figure and the handful of accessories. While it's all completely collector friendly, it's also about as basic as a Hot Toys package comes.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Sculpting - ***1/2
I tend to judge human portraits on three aspects: realism, life-likeness (is that even a word?), and accuracy.

Let's start with realism, a category that Hot Toys has pioneered. The finely detailed and thinly stranded hair, the softly textured skin, the slight texture added for the eyebrow hairs and lip wrinkles, all of these and more create a truly realistic portrait. I can't emphasize these textures and fine details enough, because they are what take a figure like this from doll to human.

Life-like is not the same as realistic, although the distinction might not be obvious at first. Realism is about looking like someone who is real - life-like is about looking like someone who is alive. To get a life-like portrait, the sculptor needs to capture that certain something in the eyes, the set of the facial muscles, and the expression that elevate the sculpt from a mannequin to a character with personality and life.

With this second attribute, Hot Toys slips a bit this time around.  She's not sporting a zombie look, but the eyes and face lack the sort of stern determination you can see in a photo of the actual character, like the one they used for the cover art. I'm not a fan of extreme emotion or expression, but capturing that perfect life-like look is truly an art, and perhaps the hardest element to achieve.

Then there's accuracy. That one is easy - does it look like the character Maria Hill as played by the actress Cobie Smulders? While the question is easy, the answer rarely is.  This is always a place for debate, and I've seen every comment with this sculpt from 'amazing likeness' to 'awful'. Personally, I fall on the 'pretty damn good' side of the spectrum, and they captured the most critical aspects.  The long, slender nose is just about perfect, and the eyes and jawline look great.

However, the jawline is also where I have a bit of an issue.  It's not obvious in front facing shots, but as the jaw rounds the back of the head, just behind the ear, it drops off sharply to the back of the head. In hand it looks odd, as though her jaw is much too large. The hands tend to be over sized as well, but that's become a signature for them.

That's my only nit though, and Hot Toys usual high quality work keeps them ahead of the game. In terms of scale, she fits in nicely, coming in at just about 11 1/2" tall.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Paint - ****
Even better than the sculpt is the paint work, which might be why the sculpts end up looking so damn good. The skin tone is near perfect, and the important note is that it's not perfectly consistent and clear.  The skin tone, on close inspection, shows a variance in color, just like real human skin. This is what other companies still can't match, try as they might.

The eyes look terrific too, with very little bleed and a reasonable amount of eye shadow. The added lashes top and bottom are done with a very fine, soft brush stroke, and the iris' have the star-like pattern, only done on such a small scale that it's barely noticeable in even macro photos.

They always do a nice job with the hair line and the eyebrows, but they stepped it up here once again.  Looking at the eyebrows, I'm amazed at how detailed the fine hairs are. Even the lipstick is even, realistic, and a very good color for her.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Articulation - ***
The underlying TrueType body has all the positives you'd expect. The rubber skin on the neck does restrict things a little, but the rest of the arm, torso and leg articulation works great, with little restriction from the stretchy suit.

Ah, but then we get to the ankles.  The boots are a very solid plastic with no give whatsoever. They might be sculpted to appear as though they are soft around the ankles, but they aren't. That means any stances beyond the short or medium are not going to work without using the display stand.  She is an active character, and losing the more dynamic poses is a disappointment.

She can cross her arms though, a common stance for the character, and one that can be tough to achieve with most sixth scale bodies.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Accessories - **
Here's the one category where she really takes a hit.  This is a $220 figure, but she has little in the way of extras to support that price.

She does have two additional sets of hands to go with the relaxed pair she comes wearing. There's a set of fists and a set of gripping hands, and there's a couple extra wrist pegs just in case.  I had no issues swapping the hands however, and there were no issues with them falling off easily either.

She also has a radio, a Bluetooth earpiece, and a handgun, which appears to be a Glock. The gun fits nicely in the holster on her right hip, and there is a clip on the back of the radio if you would like to attach it to her belt.  Obviously, the earpiece goes in her ear, and it fits tightly. However, remember it's there when you're handling her, otherwise you could knock it loose and never find it again.

The last accessory is her display base emblazoned with the AoU logo.  Nothing particularly exciting there, and overall this is a pretty weak contingent of extras.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Outfit - ***1/2
Similarly to the accessories, the outfit is nice, it's well done, but it's not particularly complicated or extravagant. There's the boots, the body suit, the belt/holster, and the underlying black shirt. The instructions warn you that over bending the elbows and knees could damage the outfit, but this isn't something like the Superman or Spider-man suits where there was an obvious issue.

While the costume is well made, with the usual high quality materials and workmanship, there are two areas that pull it down the half star.  First, the zipper seems slightly out of scale to me. I've seen them use some pretty serious micro zippers in the past, but this one has a fairly large pull in an obvious spot.

My second issue is one I've already mentioned - the hard plastic boots.  The restricted ankles were a disappointment, and reduce the number of poses you can use.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Fun Factor - ***
With less posing and re-posing (at least from the waist down) thanks to the boots, she's not as much fun as their less restricted releases. Still, you should have no trouble coming up with a couple good looks for the shelf.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Value - *1/2
While other companies are producing figures in the $200 and under range, and even Hot Toys is giving us more for the $220 price mark - just look at Obi-Wan, a figure at that price point with about the same number of accessories but a very cool light up feature - this one comes in with little to show for the cost.

This is a very tough price for a figure this basic.  While the sculpting and paint quality are certainly above the industry norm and justify the reputation Hot Toys has developed, this particular figure lacks any additional qualities.  With just a couple accessories and a fairly basic costume, the price point is going to be a major road block for a lot of collectors.

Of course, they probably produced far fewer, assuming that collectors wouldn't go for a B-list character in large of numbers.  Sure, they did that with Coulson, and his after market price went nuts. They did it with Fury, and his after market price went nuts (and they are now releasing another version). If I had to bet, I'd gamble that history has repeated itself and they under produced this figure, causing the initial price point to remain at the same average level of their larger run, more heavily equipped figures.

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. She's quite sturdy, and should hold up to normal handling well. The instructions warn not to over bend the elbows and knees because it can affect the costume, but I'm not sure how this would be any different than any other figure.  There's no rubbery material to break or damage, merely stretchy cloth. Nonetheless, you've been warned.

Overall - ***
This is a figure that looks great in a natural, relaxed pose. She can't do a lot of dynamic stances due to her ankle limitations (unless you use the display stand, and then you can go crazy with them), but the poses you'll get work quite well.

She's also a great portrait, and the costume and accessories are all high quality. The big issue here, and believe me, it's a big issue, revolves around the Value.  You're paying $220 for a B lister, and not getting a whole lot of extra value in these other categories. If you're looking for a full Avengers line up, or just for someone Coulson can relate to on the shelf, she's perfect. But for collectors that aren't completists with the Marvel line up, the price point will certainly give them pause.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - **1/2
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - *1/2
Overall - ***

Avengers Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- Sideshow has her for $220.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered the majority of Hot Toys Avengers figures, and most recent was the AoU Captain America. Other Avengers related figures include the Winter Soldier, Red Skull, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, Agent Coulson, Hulk, and Bruce Banner.

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 Maria Hill sixth scale action figure by Hot Toys

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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