Wolverine - Hot Toys

Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

I didn't buy the Wolverine or Blade Hot Toys figures - I have to draw a line someplace! But Jeff Parker picked up the furry hero, and has his review for us tonight. He also took great advantage of the heavy snow that the U.K. was recently treated to - take it away, Jeff!

A big thank you to Mike at the start of what promises to be another year of amazing collectibles… and I hope their reviews!

January has barely kicked off, and already we have the news that Hot Toys have a whole swathe of figures from the Terminator films planned, a much anticipated (and long desired) Superman figure based on Christopher Reeves, and even some figures from the cult favourite TRON… it’s gonna be geek fan boy nirvana I tells ya!
But lets not get too distracted by what’s to come, when we already have some rather fine offerings available right now!
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys

Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot ToysWolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot ToysWolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot ToysWolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot ToysWolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys

“I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn't very nice."

I bet many a critic has used those words, but they actually happen to be a quote from Logan, our titular beclawed skeletelaly Adamatium reinforced hero.

However, before I wade in too far I have to admit I haven’t seen X-Men Origins: Wolverine… I know, my special privileges geek badge should be revoked, but go with me for a while!

I read plenty of the comics back in the day, and I’m fully up to date on the first three X-Men movies, but the trailer for the new movie just didn’t really float my boat. Plus being a parent of two young kids I have to choose my movie passes carefully… meaning I was delighted with my District 9 pass, but felt totally beyond cheated when I wasted one on 2012, the memory still hurts!

In retrospect perhaps I should have made more of an effort, but reviews have been so very, very mixed for the movie… and I have to admit I still haven’t read a truly ‘glowing’ one. Most seem to range between the ‘watchable comic book fare’, through to the ‘so painful to endure my eyes bled’.

But critics aside it also had the fans divided, many just accepting the movie as an ‘ass kicking romp’ while others felt totally betrayed by the poor characterisation of the supporting superhero cast. Well, as I’ve said I’m still sorely ill equipped to comment on the movie, but what I will say is that the character of Logan, or as I should call him Wolverine for this review, has become something of a modern icon, who has climbed the ranks and achieved the position of being many peoples favourite Marvel hero, not bad for a Canadian!

He was amongst the first comic book heroes to give us the post ‘Nam’ anti-hero treatment. All of a sudden these characters weren’t just the clean cut good guys, but showed a more ambiguous nature, willing to be self serving and also embodying a much more ready attitude toward ‘excessive’ violence… Logan was also a blue-collar everyman with a need for anger management, rather than a scientist or philanthropic millionaire out to do good and change the world for the better. Of course the fan base lapped it up!

I have to admit I still consider him something of the ‘new guy’ as I spent my childhood devouring Marvel stories about Spider Man, the Hulk, Silver Surfer, Dr Strange and Thor (not forgetting Dracula, Werewolf by Night and of course Planet of the Apes). Wolverine didn’t appear until the mid 70’s, first as a cameo in the Hulk, then joining the ranks of the already well established X-Men (but I was always more of a fan of the guys who worked alone, ensemble casts weren’t my thang!). Hence the fact that even with his maverick status Logan was more of an also ran for me when compared to Spidey or even Daredevil.

So, considering I haven’t seen the new movie, and that he’s far from my favourite ‘Super Hero’, you may or may not be surprised to know just how much I loved this figure.

Packaging - ***1/2
This is a really nice box, great design and fabricated perfectly… so why no full score?

Well Hot Toys are consistently hitting us with such nice packaging that we end up having to gauge against their other fine work, so when judging against things like the new A L I E N figure box, then as great as this design is, it’s not quite as spectacular as that overall package.

What we get is a classic box design with an old fashioned lift off lid; the bottom part has a pic of the figure on the base alongside the Hot Toys (HT) production credits. Inside is a full colour printed card overlay with another photo of the figure and a brief character bio, this wraps over the top and bottom edges of the black vac formed tray, that in turn has two clear plastic over-laid lids. Logan lies securely held by the formation of the trays, without the need for any twisties at all.

The lid/top of box proper is printed to mimic a weathered and scratched lump of metal, out of which Wolverines three Adamantium claws are shown as an embossed and laminated image. It’s a simple but striking design, making for a nice backdrop if you are inclined to display your boxes with your figures.

Sculpting - ****
The only other sculpt I have of Hugh Jackman is the Van Helsing figure released by Sideshow nearly six years ago. In many ways it still stands up as a solid figure (well, for it’s time), but this new portrait from Kojun is a whole new ball game.

I’ve used the term masterful many times when commenting on the recent batch of amazing head sculpts that HT have delivered, and this sculpt is definitely more than deserving of the description. This is so near to perfection, portraying Jackman with a scowling, determined expression, the mouth is tight and his eyes are looking straight forward… this is the expression of a man you would not want to mess with. He wears his hairstyle and facial hair in a more ‘real world’ variation of that classic look he sported in the comics, so we still get a hint of those ‘implied’ devilish horns, and his side burns that virtually meet either side of his dimpled chin, with the all important word being ‘virtually’.

Where as Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Tony Stark and Peter Parker would all look fine suited and booted in the board room, ol’ Wolvie here is a guy that wouldn’t look out of place propping up the bar at an all night truck stop, it’s just a shame the figure didn’t come with a stogie.

The details on the beard growth and sweptback… dare I say, slightly bouffant 70’s hairstyle (I should know… I’ve had a few!), is beautifully carried out, each and every hair is sculpted crisply to see. But it’s the exquisitely subtle work on that furrowed brow, the fine lines around the eyes and slight stubble under the nose that can bare even the closest of scrutiny, just magnificent work.

But the work doesn’t stop on the head sculpt, because like the Enterbay Bruce Lee figures, old Logan here has a newly developed, fully sculpted upper torso and arms. Going by the production notes on the back of the box Kojun is credited with producing the head, whilst prototype sculpting is credited to Dickson Yip, so I take it he was the man behind the new body. This shows off his highly muscular physique, that is lean, but honed to the peak of fitness. The detail work is breathtaking, with hairs picked out on his arms, abdomen and chest, every lump and bump of his muscles is sculpted, hell you can even see the texture of his pores. Now when a body is this well sculpted… I’d even go so far as to say this outshines the Enterbay BL bodies by quite a way, then obviously some things got to give, and in this case it’s the articulation. But don’t be too alarmed as the newly engineered body still has plenty to offer, which I’ll go over in articulation section. 

Paint - ****
Another case of utter perfection from JC Hong, but in this case not just on the head… but I guess I should kick off with that very impressive noggin anyway. We have nice warm skin tones showing lots of well-observed subtle variations, even hinting at a little engrained dirt on the swarthy forehead and cheeks. The hair shows some deft feathering where the transition of flesh to hirsute occurs, but once it becomes hair proper a more flat dark brown tone is used, but the fine work on the hairs sculpt means plenty of detail is still evident. The eyes are, as always, nice and glossy showing plenty of detail and catching light reflections well.

But, as I said the paint job also carries on down to the body, where you’ll find not only some well applied tonal variations that match the heads skin tones perfectly but also fine work on the hairs covering the arm and chest areas, plus some subtly picked out veins… even his nipples are painted in with a great degree of detail. His hands all have individual hairs and veins delicately painted on their backs. All in all this is a staggering paint app, even for a figure in this price range it shows an amazingly high degree of finish, and has once again set a new standard that the competition will have to catch up with. I hope my photos can show some degree of just how effective this paint job is, but the only way it can be fully appreciated is by holding it in your grubby mitts and looking at it under good natural light.

So to sum up, if this figure is on your ‘to buy’ list, I think you will be even happier than you thought you would be once you actually get him… if that makes sense.

Articulation - ***
This is a beautifully designed body… but of course beauty comes at a price! So this is a double-edged sword of a category… as what Hot Toys giveth with one hand, they sadly have to taketh away with the other!

They have given us a completely new body for this figure, which leads me to believe we might be getting more than one version of this character, and lets face it, another head sculpt from Kojun (preferably with a snarling expression), and his black leather X-Men outfit would be a welcome addition!

So what we have is the classic True Type articulation from the waist down, but once we get above the waist it’s a whole new setup.

Instead of the traditional ABS plastic that TT’s are usually constructed from, the arms and abdomen seem to be sold vinyl, whilst the upper-body/chest and neck are a flexible silicone/rubber. The wrists have the usual pegged cut ball joints whilst the elbow is a pegged hinge, meaning it can bend up to just over 90 degrees and can also spin freely at this joint. The shoulder is also a pegged hinge and can again bend a full 90 degrees up away from the body and can also turn at this joint. There is also a degree of lateral movement here, so the joint can shrug in and out. The silicone used on the upper body means this part of the body has a high degree of flexibility, ideal for helping to conceal the joints when you position the mid torso or shoulders.  My favourite new joint here is the neck, it doesn’t have a huge range of flexibility, but it can tilt down and from side to side very convincingly, allowing for some great natural poses, with heaps of personality.

This body seems to have marked a new Genesis in the evolution of Hot Toys bodies, they recently showcased the new T800 body for Arnie in Terminator 2 which can be seen here and here and it seems to follow a similar (but more pumped) style to Wolverines body. I was also lucky enough to be sent one of Hot Toys newly developed bodies as a VIP Christmas present. It shows that while other companies are ‘making do’ with the bodies they have, Hot Toys aren’t averse to designing new bodies to each individual characters needs, which I find pretty darned impressive!

Accessories - ***3/4
This is a tough call, after all I recently reviewed the Resident Evil 5 figures and they came with such an impressive arsenal that it’s almost unfair to compare any other figure against them, especially with a character like Wolverine.

He doesn’t use guns, all he uses are those imposing Adamantium claws, so the fact he comes with two extra sets of hands and his dog tags is a real bonus for me. Though I freely admit he will never be displayed in anything other than his claw extended hands, well apart from in my photos for the review anyway. As an extra we also get a set of spare pegs for the wrists, this has become common practice with the last few figures released but so far I’ve never needed them… until ol’Wolvie here. To be fair it was my own fault, as I decided to take some photos of the figure in my sub-zero, snowy garden… so a word to the wise, don’t try and swap out the hands in the freezing outdoors, that plastic can get pretty brittle (as I found out) so thank you Hot Toys for those pegs, they were a god send!

The extremely cool thing about the clawed hands is that the actual blades are made of chromed metal, and they look exceptionally convincing, a great touch. I was also impressed to see that both the tiny metal dog tags also have engravings baring his designation Logan 458 25 243 on one and Wolverine 458 25 243 on the other… but I warn you now that you will need a good magnifying glass to see them, but that’s the kind of details that are keeping HT at the top of the 1/6th pile. He also has the classic black figure base, but can stand just fine without it.

So by comparison I can’t give ol’Wolvie a full score, but basing it on this characters specific requirements, then it’s hard to rob him of hardly anything!\

Outfit - ****
Harue have a long history of working with Kojun, but lets face it, after a fantastic paint app has been applied like this, you wouldn’t want to ruin the whole amazing package by making him look like a badly-dressed Hasbro doll…

No, you’d want the master 1/6th tailors at Harue creative to make your finished figure look like a near perfect 1/6th representation of your subject matter, and I’m pleased to say that the team have pulled it off again!

The criminal thing is that like with the Marcus figure from Terminator Salvation you may find yourself wanting another figure, because as cool as the whole wardrobe looks, he’s at his most animalistic either naked from the waist up or in that tight white vest, and it just seems wrong not show off that impressive new body that HT have developed. But personal display opinions aside, I’m here to give the low-down on the quality of the garments that make up his complete wardrobe, and it’s most impressive.

So kicking off with the boots, he has mid-calf height cowboy boots, but these lean more towards your engineers work-wear kind of design rather than the pointy toed ‘dandy’ Rodeo variety, they are made of vinyl so a little articulation is lost, but not too much. He wears a pair of classic boot cut denim jeans in well-scaled material. All the details are fantastic, with double stitched inner seams and tiny rivets on the edge of all the front pockets. All the pockets are working, as are the belt loops through which he wears his brown leather riveted belt adorned with its enamelled Native American Chief buckle. Under the jeans he has a pair of black padded knee length shorts to help bulk out the thighs of his jeans, over which he wears his white vest, a burgundy button through shirt (held shut by two black studs) and his distinctive two toned antique leather effect jacket. This has a scaled zip up the front, two working zip-up pockets, two working zip cuffs; it also has the detail stripes on the arms and the detail stitching on the back of the arms. The jacket is definitely the stand out piece for me, it’s fully lined but still manages not to look too bulky, and the material used is one of the best faux leathers I have seen to date at this scale. It is worth mentioning that when in his full outfit, the multiple layers can get a little restrictive for upper body mobility. You can get some good general action poses, but for anything more extreme it’s worth stripping him down to his vest. But even taking that into account, this is definitely a four star category!

Value - ***1/2
There’s no getting around the fact that Wolverine is a little light on the accessories, but as I already said, unless you equiped him a vintage Harley motorcycle, what could you actually give him.

I for one am glad that rather than fuss about giving him a handful of ‘extras’ you never use, they just concentrated on giving us a fantastic interpretation of the base figure, and they have delivered firing on all six cylinders. So for me, I’d say if you can pick him up for under $160, and it is doable, then I’d be tempted to almost give him a full score… but as it is I’m keeping him just shy of that elusive rating.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
OK, I admit when it comes to super heroes it’s all about the poses you can get them in, so I have to take that into account when weighing up his fun factor. That new body simply can’t get some of the more extreme positions that the classic TT can… but I still feel mean taking that half a star away. Why, well the body we have just looks so damn good, and although slightly limited it still poses very, very well.

Overall - ****
This is another case of Hot Toys knocking that ball so far out of the park that the competition must despair! The combined efforts of the team involved have created nothing short of a mini masterpiec… as befits the lines brand name. This is destined to become a future classic, mark my words.

Kojun’s sculpt is a joy to look at, and trust me you will sit for many a long moment just drinking in how well this has been executed, he has studied Jackman’s face and turned in a sublime result. This awesome sculpt is then enhanced even further by JC Hongs beautiful paint app. Throw into the mix a newly developed body, chromed metal claws and another great outfit courtesy of the Harue team… well, even at $160 this is a total winner!

Where to Buy -
Sideshow had him up for $169.99 but he sold out in the blink of an eye. However you may still get lucky by trying some of Michael’s sponsors below… but don’t hang around… I have a feeling this is something of a future grail that we have here!

- Alter Ego Comics - $152.99

- Big Bad Toy Store
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys
Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys

Wolverine sixth scale Marvel action figure by Hot Toys

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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