Thor Movie Figures
Lightning Clash Thor and Battle Hammer Thor

Thor movie action figures by Hasbro

It's been quite awhile since I've seen a truly 'new' line of figures on the pegs, so you can imagine my surprise when the Thor series, based on the new film, popped up at Target this week.

These figures from Hasbro are done in a 4" scale, and the first wave includes quite a few incarnations of the title character. I'm looking at two of them tonight: Lightning Clash Thor (who will be LC Thor from here on out), and Battle Hammer Thor (obviously BH Thor). There are several other figures in this first wave, including Secret Strike Loki, Invasion Frost Giant, Shield Bash Marvel's Odin, and Sword Strike Thor.

I actually grabbed a Frost Giant to review as well, but sadly, his left hip joint snapped right out of the package. I took him back before I had time to do the review, but be forewarned.

These run $8 at Target, where they have shown up first. I suspect we'll see plenty at Toys R Us and other stores quite soon. I saw the figures fairly soon after they hit the peg, and it looked like the Thors were heavy packed, with only one each of the other three characters, so keep that in mind if there's a specific one you're looking for.
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro
Thor movie action figures by Hasbro

Packaging - ***
The packages sport the movie artwork and labels, including the "Avengers Assemble" logo. They stand out well on the peg, but aren't over sized or wasteful. And while they aren't truly collector friendly, there's very few rubber bands and no twisties.

On the back of the package is a figure photo and bio, along with photos of some of the other figures in the series. I almost gave these another half star, but I am disappointed in the 'bait and switch' nature of the cardback on the LC Thor.

When I grabbed him off the shelf, I noticed that the hammer was supposed to light up. Cool. But with just a glance at the figure, he looked to be articulated in a similar fashion to the rest of the line. A look on the cardback confirmed it, as the figure is shown holding the glowing hammer in an action pose, with bent knees and raised arms.

Ah, but that's a fabrication as you'll come to see in this review, and while it was only true for the LC Thor, I found it highly annoying.

Sculpting - ****
The strength of these little buggers - everyone in this first wave - is their sculpts. Considering the scale, there's some amazingly good detail work here.

It looks like the same head sculpt on these two, at least when I view them with the nekkid eye. And it's a very good one, matching the screen likeness extremely well. Again, considering this small scale AND the general trouble companies have doing real people, it's quite impressive.

The hair is finely detailed as well, more so than much larger figures and statues. The facial hair is sculpted, but so soft and thin that it almost disappears.

Of course, when you start getting all macro up in his mug, you'll see issues. They've given these guys a texture that looks fantastic in person, but can look odd under the camera lens at times. Keep that in mind!

The modern costume and armor looks great, with plenty of sculpted details (rather than simply painted) and sharply defined edges.

Both figures share the gesturing left hand, which looks great on the BH Thor, but not so much on the LC Thor. That's not a fault of the sculpt, but rather the articulation. Since the arm can only stick straight out in front of the body, and the wrist can't turn, what looks dramatic on the BH Thor simply looks arthritic on his less articulated cousin.

These guys might be in a 4" scale, but they are on the large side. LC Thor stands about 4 1/4", and BH Thor is about 1/8" shorter. If we assume that they were going for a situation where 4" was a six foot male (also known as 1/18th scale), then at 4 1/4" Thor would be about 6' 5". Seems sensible to me, but since there are a lot of lines in this same general scale that are 3 3/4" instead of 4", your mileage is definitely going to vary. I've included a shot with them and several other popular figures in this same general scale to give you some idea of what you'll end up with on the display shelf.

Paint - ***1/2
Much like the sculpt, the paint ops are extremely impressive both for the scale, and for the price. Clean lines, lots of small details, and even the difficult silver is fairly consistent and even.

The face is even more impressive. The eyes are straight and even, and the facial hair is so subtle that almost blends in - but not quite. I don't think I've seen a beard and mustache quite this realistic on a 4" figure before.

Articulation - BH Thor ***1/2; LC Thor *1/2
The package lied to me when it came to the LC Thor - the articulation is not similar to the other figures in the series.

The BH Thor has a ball joined neck, shoulders and hips. These are the standard 'post/disk' style, where a post goes into the body, and a disk inside the ball allows the limb to not just turn, but to swing inward and out.

I suspect the ankles are this same style, but the sculpt restricts them, turning them into a cut joint for purposes of posing.

The knees are double pin, the elbows single pin, and the torso has a rocker/ball joint that allows the upper section to turn and tilt.

The LC Thor appears to have a similar scheme, but that's because they hid the joints so well on the others. The neck can turn, but it also wobbles and bobbles. The shoulders look like ball joints, but are really just cuts that allow the arms to move forward and back. And with no elbow or wrist articulation, moving them forward simply leaves them stiff armed out in front.

The hips also look like they could be ball joints - until you get him out of the package and realize that they too are just cuts that allow forward and backward movement. Again, there's no ankle or knee joints, so he simply stands stiffly in one pose.

I understand the effect that the light up feature has on the neck, right shoulder, right wrist, and torso. But why the lack of articulation every where else? I assume it can only be due to cost, but it hurts this figure severely.

Accessories - BH Thor ***; LC Thor **
While it might seem that LC Thor has no accessories - his hammer is part of his hand, after all - I'm giving him a slight score due to the inclusion of the removable cape. It's not the greatest cape ever - it falls off too easily, is difficult to get back on, and rides too high on his shoulders - but at least it's an extra and can be used or not depending on your preference. I suspect a lot of people will abandon it, since without much leg articulation, wearing it tends to pull him over backward.

The BH Thor comes with two accessories. One is the hammer, of course, and this accessory is also included with another of the Thor variants. I'm sure we'll see it plenty of times, as you'd expect. The sculpting is good, but the smooth face of the head and the mold lines around the edges take away a bit of it's realism.

He also has a sword that becomes a hammer. Don't ask me, I'm just telling you what the package says. The sword is weirdly shaped, and has two short blades at the very end. These can turn on their single post articulation point, and I suppose that when they are down, flat side out, the sword is technically a hammer. There's no explanation on the package, but I'm assuming this feature is something that will make more sense after we see the movie. Or maybe not.

Light Feature - LC Thor **; BH Thor Bupkis
This is one of those rare occasions where getting a bupkis in a category isn't a bad thing - it's a good thing!

I assume the 'sword becomes a hammer' is supposed to be BH's action feature. While it's about as lame as they come, at least it doesn't interfere with the general coolness of the figure itself.

The same can't be said for the light up feature on the LC Thor. I get that since the head is the button to light up the hammer, and the batteries are in the back of the torso, that the neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist articulation was going to be impacted. But what about the hips, ankles and knees?

The hammer does light up well, but you have to press the head down just the right way for contact to be made. It doesn't stay on - you have to hold the head down to keep it lit. And I pity the parent that has to change those batteries.

I'm hitting him hard here for this feature, not because it works poorly, but because it's there - it seems that the only sensible reason why the figure lacks so much articulation is because the light up feature cost too much and they had to start cutting elsewhere to remain cost effective. While the light up hammer works, it's not worth trading all the other playability of the figure for it.

Fun Factor - BH Thor ***1/2; LC Thor **1/2
The BH Thor has everything you need for a great action figure in this scale - excellent sculpting, good paint, reasonably useful articulation, and a couple accessories. He'll fit in with other lines in this scale as well.

LC Thor is not as fun. He still has the great sculpting and paint, but the action feature removes all the useful articulation, and the feature itself isn't that great. Oooo, look - Thor has a big flashlight!

Value - ***
Far too many figures in this scale are creeping up on ten bucks. Getting these at the $8 price point is a very good value.

Things to Watch Out For -
I mentioned earlier that the right hip on the Frost Giant snapped like a brittle twig. Even on the BH Thor, who has similar hips, it seemed as though they were much too tight and might break any time I moved them outward. Take particular care with these hips!

Overall - BH Thor ***1/2; LC Thor **1/2
I got snookered on the LC Thor, but you don't have to. He's got a nice sculpt and solid paint work, something that is a strength of this entire first series. But he's the weakest of the Thor versions because of the action feature, and the one collectors (and kids) are going to find the least enjoyable.

If you're looking to only pick up one Thor, your choice is really between the much better Battle Hammer Thor, or the not yet reviewed Sword Strike Thor. Both of these Thors come with one dorky accessory and the necessary hammer. The big difference is that the SS version has the red cape, and clearly the BH does not.

I'm going to grab another of the Frost Giants, as well as an Odin. Both of these have excellent sculpts, and the paint work was solid on every figure I saw. Drop the dopey action features, and this is a nicely done line. Now let's just hope that the movie is as good!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - BH Thor ***1/2; LC Thor *1/2
Accessories - BH Thor ***; LC Thor **
Light Up Feature - LC Thor **; BH Thor Bupkis
Fun Factor - BH Thor ***1/2; LC Thor **
Value - ***
Overall - BH Thor ***1/2; LC Thor **1/2

Where to Buy -
These have just started hitting retail, and I found them for $8 a pop at Target.

Related Links -
I haven't reviewed a lot of Thor action figures over the last 11 years, but there's been a few. My favorite is probably the Hasbro Icons version, but there's also the Marvel Legends series 3 version (guest reviewed), the Marvel Legends series 2 version, and the Marvel Legends Giant Man series version.

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Thor movie action figures by Hasbro

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

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