Captain America
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 checked out the Hot Toys Captaim America awhile back, but it's always good to get another view point - Ryan checks in tonight with his guest review of the American hero - take it away, Ryan!

Although “Captain America” wasn’t quite the theatrical phenomenon I hoped it would be, it was nevertheless a good summer film that left all us geeks looking forward all the more to the upcoming “Avengers” movie. Hot Toys, of course, wasted no time in announcing that they’d be releasing a sixth scale figure based on Cap himself, and, more recently, his arch-nemesis Red Skull has been made available for preorder as well and will soon be keeping him company on many collectors’ shelves.

The Captain has been out for awhile now, but has just recently started shipping to U.S. retailers. Fans were getting a little impatient since the wait seemed to drag on forever, but he’s finally begun shipping pretty much everywhere. Michael did a review on this figure a while back, and mentioned quite a few issues that shouldn’t at all be present with a figure that costs over $100. Thus, I received mine fully expecting to encounter those same issues, and was pleasantly surprised when I didn’t. Thus, since the issue with Mike’s figure evidently don’t span all across the board (though several folks have complained about that holster), I decided for fairness’s sake to drop another perspective. I did have a couple issues of my own, though, which I’ll get to later.

Packaging - ***1/2
Not quite the stunning work of art that we’ve seen with other Hot Toys packaging, but still practical, convenient, and well-decorated. This time, as with many of the other HT Marvel releases, we get a shoebox-style package where the lid lifts off to reveal a poster-like covering with a photo and description of the character, underneath of which is the figure and accessories embedded in a plastic tray. This time, there is a separate tray for accessories on the inside of the lid with narrow slits for the corners to fit into and tape on the top and bottom to hold it into place. The tray can be easily removed and replaced without damaging anything.

Sculpting - ****
I’m just as bummed as the next guy that we didn’t get an unmasked Steve Rodgers portrait. But I’ll nail them for that in the “Accessories” category and just scrutinize what we DO have here.

After looking at as many close-up stills of the masked Captain from the film as I could find and comparing, I have to say that I can find no fault with this. The Steve Rodgers likeness, as far as I can see, is there as much as it can or should be under the circumstances. The mask covers up the hair, forehead, ears, and part of the cheeks and nose as it does in the film, and the mask-face combination that we get here seems to be pretty spot-on.  That being said, I never could find a perfect photo of the masked character that allowed me to employ infallible judgment. And I’ve only seen the movie once, which was months ago when it was in theaters. But from what I can see, it looks like Hot Toys nailed it. The mask, though not removable, is sculpted well enough that it looks like it could be removed (a result of paint superiority as well). The extra hands, boots, and accessories are all realistic and in appropriate scale as well.

Paint - ***1/2
As usual, Hot Toys delivers the awesome in the paint category. As mentioned above, the paint on the mask and face is so neatly done that they actually look like they’re separable. The shield is a real work of beauty, painted neatly and made to shine like the real thing. However, at least on mine, the paint chips off very easily, which can really screw up the overall appearance. The red paint on mine came off in two places, and having no other tool at my disposal, I colored over them lightly with a red sharpie. Yeah, not very professional, but as the spots were pretty small and were not nearly as noticeable afterwards, it got the job done. With a figure that costs this much, we have the right to expect perfection, which includes not having the paint chip off at nearly the slightest touch.

Articulation - ***
I didn’t have the problems with the wrists and neck joint that Michael had. The head on mine can look any direction and has a great range of movement without anything going awry. With the hands, likewise, once I got them on (which the pleather cuffs extending onto the ball of the peg makes for an aggravating process), they stayed on without any problems. The legs also, considering the restrictiveness of the outfit, have a great range of motion, enabling Cap to take some pretty deep stances.

The arms, however, are another thing. The elbow joints on mine are VERY stiff, and the first time I tried to move them I had to put so much effort into it that I was afraid I’d break something. I had similar problems with DX Indy. After messing with the figure awhile and moving the elbow joints back and forth several times, they’ve loosened up a bit, but not a whole lot. Also, as the directions say, the arms can only move slightly above the chest, which is at least in part due to the outfit.  Thus, if someone gets the drop on Cap and tells him to reach for the sky, he’s screwed.

Accessories - **1/2
Cap comes with all the main stuff: pistol, rifle (both painted and sculpted with excellence, though no moving parts this time), nine hands total (two fists, two gripping, two slightly open, two completely open, one gun-holding/pointing), extra wrist and ankle pegs, display stand, and, most importantly, his shield.  (I’m counting the shoulder strap and S-hook as parts of the outfit).

That’s a decent number of extras, but the reason for my score is not so much quantity as quality. My biggest gripe is the shield. The pleather strap which is meant to be gripped in the hand broke loose in two places on mine, and I had to superglue it back into place. Also, as mentioned before, there’s the problem of paint chipping off on the shield way too easily. Should I really have to use superglue and a red sharpie on a figure that costs this much? Also, the strap on the rifle came loose on one end. It can actually snap back into place and hold for a little bit, but stare at it too hard and it falls right back off. *Sigh.* Superglue again.

Still, for the most part the accessories are cool and plentiful; if we had just gotten that unmasked Rodgers head as an extra then I probably would have seen my way to adding another full star in this category.

Outfit - ***1/2
Ah…now we’re talkin’. Cap had a pretty awesome-looking outfit in the movie, and Hot Toys has replicated it to near perfection. The look and feel of the clothing, down to the last detail of staining/weathering, is spot-on. As Michael observed, the pants come right down to the boots and no further, making it look as though they go down into the boots while avoiding the inconvenience that comes with that in this scale. Too many times have pants come out of boots on other figures, forcing me to try and cram them back in and make them look right again. Kudos to Hot Toys for bypassing that issue this time.  Additionally, we get a shoulder strap with two pouches that goes across his torso (though mine seems a little too loose) and an S-shaped hook that enables you to connect the shield to his back.

As incredible and amazing as this outfit looks, I have a couple issues that hold it back from a full score, and they all come down to the same thing: the cheap, too-thin pleather that is used for several aspects of this outfit.  Many people have complained about issues with the holster where the hole and peg weren’t able to connect and close the holster without tearing and thus eradicating any possibility of ever being to close the holster at all. Fortunately, I didn’t have that issue; the holster on mine has been able to open and close over the pistol several times without anything tearing, though I always make sure to take care when opening and closing it. However, as I already mentioned, I didn’t have the same luck with the shield strap.

The main problem, which I’m fairly certain is universal, is said cheap pleather covering up the wrist pegs. Since I can pull it back out of the way with my thumbnail while shoving the hand down onto the peg, for me this is merely a minor nuisance. But take this minor nuisance over the other minor nuisances I’ve experienced already with the shield and we’re talking one nuisance too many.

Value - **1/2
I preordered this guy at $153, and I’ve noticed several other retailers, as well as sellers on ebay, that have him at or around that price. It’s a breath of fresh air when Hot Toys gives us a figure in that old $150 price range these days when many of their figures, even plain ordinary ones, are creeping closer and closer to $200. Even if you got him at Sideshow for $170, they offered free domestic shipping, which is a big deal these days. However, if you paid anything above the $150 + shipping range I’d knock off a half star. This figure simply has too many issues to justify anything beyond that.

Fun Factor - ***
Makes a great toy, remembers its action figure roots, but not for kids, too expensive… know the drill.

Things to Watch For:
The shield looks amazing, so do your best not to put any scratches on it. I’m not sure if mine acquired the small scratches prior to shipping or if it happened while I was messing with that freakin’ strap. That’s the next thing: anything like the straps and holster that’s made out of that cheap pleather needs to be handled with kit gloves to avoid tearing.  Also be careful when moving the arms—make sure you don’t move them up too far.

Overall- ***1/2
Considering the fair price, great sculpt and paint, and outstanding outfit, I’m not letting my issues with the shield affect my overall score too much. Hot Toys has set the bar so high for themselves that a figure like this won’t come close to being their best, but it’s certainly on par with the level of quality we’ve come to expect from them while doing adequate justice to the character.

This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Ryan Kelly.

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