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."

With the new Avengers movie right around the corner, Jeff checks out Hot Toys first version of Captain America - tell us all about him, Jeff!

2011 was a good year for superhero fans at the cinema, especially if you were a Marvel devotee. First we got Thor which turned out pretty damn well, then it was followed by a look at the formative years of everyone’s favourite mutant school in X-Men: First Class and the lastly we got this guy, Captain America: The First Avenger. I think it’s fair to say that all three were solid additions to the Marvel stable of live action movies and the truly AMAZING fact was that none of them actually stank.

This year (2012) promises to be just as rewarding… maybe!

The possible let down, and the only joker in the pack is Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, we all know how truly appalling the first movie was, but early reports and the trailer look like it might actually be OK, it’s certainly darker in tone and the design of the bike and effects all look to be far grittier. Then of course we get Spidey in what might or might not prove to be a rather premature reboot in The Amazing Spiderman. I still need to be convinced about that suit, and early reports from those in the know say that like Ghost Rider the feel is also markedly darker, and Peter is a deeper moodier character… is that the Peter Parker we’ve been following for years? I guess we’ll know soon enough, but having seen the recently released trailer it certainly doesn’t look that dark.

Then of course we get the big ensemble cast that is The Avengers, so as far as new 1/6th figures are concerned we can all expect a new version of Cap A here in his sleeker more spandexy modern age outfit, (probably designed by Stark Industries). You can see a comp shot here and I have to say, at the moment I’m liking the 1942 version quite a bit more.

But back to the job at hand. I really enjoyed the ‘set up’ movie, it was a couple of hours of pure escapism, and the retro setting and high production standards made me realise we need a few more old RKO style adventure stories. Perhaps it’s time to reboot the Rocketeer or give us a Superman movie set in the 1930/40’s… I know I’d like it! It gave us the classic ‘origins story’ as all superhero franchises feel compelled to do, and set up the back-story for a very important member of the line-up when we finally get to see the Avengers assemble.

So, if you are a Marvel fan, and you are attempting to build the complete Avengers line up in 1/6th scale what are you to do? Are you inclined to wait and see how the new outfit turns out, or is it worth investing in this early ‘militaristic’ look? After all ‘origins’ figures do have their own charm, and as I already stated above I know which outfit I prefer.

However let’s face it, it’s no ‘big’ secret that The Avenger we are all waiting to see with baited breath, brought to life in full 1/6th glory, happens to be a certain 7'6" chap who weighs in at 1,400 lbs, and is a striking shade of green...! But on with the show.

Packaging - ***1/2
Anyone who collects Hot Toys, and more specifically if they collect the Marvel figures will be aware that all the packaging relating to characters from their movies follows the same construction. So once again it’s a simple shoebox design in construction, emblazoned with a large image of the iconic shield on the front and an image of the figure with a full production credit list on the back. Lift off the lid and you’ll find a tray on the inside holding his shield and guns whilst the main box has a full colour card overlay with another pic of the figure and a brief character biography. Under this is the usual vac formed tray with the fully constructed figure next to his impressive array of seven extra hands.

So, not as innovative or exciting as some of Hot Toys recent fare, but still well designed and solidly constructed.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Beneath that iconic cowl this is obviously meant to be Chris Evans as the 7 stone weakling made 16 stone superhero Steve Rogers. Now I can see him in there, but it’s not screaming at me. Check this pic out here or this one here and I think you can see that the chin is a fraction too long and the eyelids are also just a hint too heavy. In fact those heavy eyelids and the full lips do actually look more than a little like Brad Pitt.

To be fair there is not a whole lot of face on show here, just the eyes and lower face. And although not a perfect depiction of Chris Evans, when it is combined with impressive sculpting of the armoured cowl helmet and chin strap (which is actually constructed separately and placed over the inner head sculpt) it comes together well and makes for a very impressive looking figure. And it’s definitely Captain America from ANY angle.

Paint - ****
There is as I noted already not a whole lot of face on show, but what we can see is painted impeccably well. The helmet part is a good dense blue with a solid matte finish while the leather is more textured with small detailed stitching and tiny silver rivets around the ear protectors. The overall effect is highly evocative of vintage American football helmets from the 40’s and 50’s like this and this. This all buts up to another note perfect paint app on the exposed flesh areas, showing the usual finely observed graduations in tone on the skin and the spookily life like glossy eyes. Until someone steps up to the plate and can consistently offer some credible competition, Hot Toys will remain firmly ensconced as the gods of 1/6th paint application. Now we just wait on tenterhooks to see what they can deliver at the larger scale later in the year!

Articulation - ***1/4
Cap A is dressed head to foot in his specially designed “military” outfit. Apart from a few inches of skin on his face, no flesh is flashed at all…  but for some reason they have decided to base this around a muscle body… WHY FOR CRISSAKE!

Sure he looks buff ‘n’ all, but when you can’t see the base body at all, why not give us the supreme articulation of a standard ‘heroic’ True-Type. I guess Hot Toys must have their own particular rationale, and to be fair the complex tailoring of the tunic with its multiple seams and thick padded epaulettes meant it was always going be restrictive whatever body they used.

So what we end up with is a figure based around a well-designed body (albeit not up there with the classic TT), in a supremely well-observed outfit. But the combination of the muscle bod and the multi panelled suit means it all adds up to figure that has a much more limited range than I actually expected. Don’t worry unduly, you can still get some good poses… but I’d have liked to have gotten a whole lot more.

Accessories - ***3/4
What does Cap A need apart from a shield… exactly! So the fact he comes equipped with a Thompson machine gun is pure bonus territory, and then throw in to the mix his pistol and the great selection of hands and you have a win-win situation

The full haul consists of-
- Two gloved fists
- Two Fingers splayed gloved hands (shield throwing)
- Two tight grip gloved hands (shield holding)
- Two relaxed gloved hands
- One right gun grip hand
- One leather bandolier with 2 pouches
- One M1928A1 Thompson submachine gun
- One Colt M1911A1 automatic pistol 
- One Stark Industries engineered ‘Vibranium’ bulletproof chromed shield
- One clip to attach the shield to the back
- One classic black figure stand
- Extra wrist pegs

The shield has a super shiny red, steel and blue metallic finish with nice crisp edges where the colours meet. The reverse side is made to look like polished steel and shows the sculpted rivets and working adjustable straps, complete with tiny buckles and clips. You need to attach the gripping hand to the appropriate smaller strap, then slide the arm through the larger strap and reattach the hand to the wrist peg. But once all is aligned and pushed into place it looks great. The shield can also be carried on the back by securing it to the braces strap on his harness. A small separate clip is included to do this, (printed instructions supplied) helping it slot into place with ease.

 The Thompson machine gun has an adjustable carry strap, a removable magazine, a flip up rear targeting sight and a pullback recoil spring. The Colt automatic also has a removable magazine but sadly has no sliding cocking mechanism or moving hammer. The bandolier is made of a synthetic leather and consists of a simple belt with two ‘sliding’ pouches attached.

The hand selection is pretty comprehensive, consisting of the various poses listed above. But rest assured you have all you need to hold the various accessories and also a few others for some extra key iconic poses, and of course the spare wrist pegs are included in case you have a mishap! I do however have to admit I did find the hands have a tendency to come loose a little too easily when reposing of placing the accessories in the hands. They pop straight back on easy enough, but it can become a little frustrating during a long photo shoot.

Lastly there is the old faithful oval black figure stand… well, I say ‘faithful’ but I actually NEVER use mine EVER. I do however know they prove popular amongst a certain demographic of collectors, so if that includes you, hey, it’s all-good.

Outfit - ****
Regardless of what goes on with all the various categories it is rare that Hot Toys doesn’t score at least one or two home runs. And for me this is one of the areas that they deserve the full shebang.

YES… I know I already said there is an element of restriction incurred upon the figure because of the complex layering of the outfit. But I find it hard, nay impossible to count this too harshly against the final score, as the attention to detail here is so finely observed that the final look is richly deserving of a full four star rating! I mean, seriously, look this thing over from head to toe and tell me you disagree.

The boots are sculpted, but the detailing is finely executed enough to make them totally convincing for the scale with tons of deep crisp tooling on the laces and stitching. The trousers are cropped to sit just above the top of the boot and have padded panels on the knees and over the upper legs. They also have flapped pockets on the rear and working belt loops. Although layered the shirt is all joined together as one garment. The under-part of the shirt has a zipper up the back and padded areas over the abdomen, then the top part goes over the shoulders and is joined to the suspenders/braces. The front red straps (with working sliding buckles) are sewn to the base of the shirt whilst the rear strap clips to his gun belt. The shoulder protectors have straps running around the arm with small working buckles on the underside. The iconic star is centred on the chest, along with the smaller ones at the tops of the arms and numerous other small rivets, buttons and buckles are positioned in all the relevant places over the rest of the costume.

The pleather gun belt has a drop holster on the right leg that straps to the thigh. It’s embossed with a US army stamp and closes by means of a small push through stud. There are two sets of sliding pouches on either side, small metal eyelets along the back and what appears to be a small die-cast metal buckle at the front.

All the garments are well tailored and well finished and I had no loose threads or problems with any part of the outfit. It all fits the body well and the finishing touches on the dirtying up and weathering really help bring the final look together.

Value - ***1/2
This guy was unleashed a little over three months ago. And being the patriotic figurehead that he is, I thought it would be a pretty rapid seller, so I was mildly surprised to see there are still quite a few out there to be had, and many for nearly $20 less than the RRP.

I guess it’s a mark of our uncertain economic times, and highlights the sheer volume of cool stuff that is coming out, which is making people have to be far more selective in choosing what they actually buy. So if you can get him for $153 I see this a pretty good buy. But if you end up paying full retail I’d knock off at least another star. I do however have a feeling his sales might pick up once again after the release of Red Skull.

Fun Factor - ***
If this guy could have struck a few more deep dynamic stances he would have got a home run for fun! However, because he struggles go get into some of the key poses, and also because his hands have a tendency to come off too easily, he doesn’t do quite as well in this category as I would have liked. Of course these are issues that will only bother the folks who like to re-position their figures regularly or pose them for photography. If you are more the kind of collector who gets your figure into one pose, then sticks him in a Detolf never to be repositioned for all eternity (baring an act of God) it’s all good!

Overall- ***1/4
Visually this is a solid piece of work, and if you are a fan who’s collecting as many of the Hot Toys Marvel characters as you can, I seriously don’t think you will be too disappointed. There are a couple of areas where there is undoubtedly room for improvement, but the overall feeling this figure leaves me with is of quiet satisfaction, and it also makes me realise how much I need Red Skull to stand with him!

Where to Buy -
He can still be ordered over at Sideshow the official US importer for all things Hot Toys for the full RRP of $169.99. Or you can shop around using the sites sponsors where you could stand to make a big saving.

Alter Ego, in stock- $152.99 

Capstone Comics, pre order- $153.00

Fan Boy, in stock- $159.99  

BBTS, pre order- $159.99  

Or you can hit eBay where prices are between $155 to $175.

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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