Action Figure Express New York Comic Con Exclusive
Marvel Civil War Minimates

Minimates collectors are a dedicated bunch, and the Marvel minimates keep on cranking along. I have to admit that a complete collection of all those itty bitty Marvel heroes and villains, lined up together in various fighting poses, is quite the impressive display.

For New York Comic Con, which starts tomorrow, Friday April 18th, and runs through Sunday the 20th, Diamond Select and Art Asylum teamed up with Action Figure Express to put together an exclusive set. You can get four minimiates based on the popular Civil War series of books, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America and Nitro. The boxed set is limited to just 2000, and costs $15.

You can pick them up this weekend right at the show (booth 1544), or you can order them from the AFX website as of Monday the 21st, but it will cost you a buck more (plus shipping).

Packaging - ***1/2
Yep, I like boxes. Of course, I like them better when they have square edges (it makes it much easier for MIBers to store them), but I can certainly live with the slightly curved version here. The figures are held inside in a plastic tray that has a plastic lid. This lid is attached with a few pieces of tape, and other than cutting those, you can get the figures out (and back in) the package with no damage whatsoever.

That's a big plus of course, but the disadvantage is that you can't see the mates before buying them. Fortunately, with figures like these it's a bit less of an issue, because the paint and tampos tend to be extremely consistent from figure to figure.

Sculpting - Cap, Iron Man ***1/2; Nitro, Spider-Man ***
There's never a ton of sculpting with a minimate, but that's the style. You can't really complain about what's the intention, although for some folks this will be a deal breaker. If you like your figures sculpted with lots of detail, these aren't your cup of tea.

But if you prefer the more toy-like style of LEGO figures, or Playmobil, then these are perfect. And this time around, a couple of the figures have more sculpting than what you'd even expect as a regular buyer. This version of Cap has a ton of battle damage, and some of this (particularly on his shield and cowl) has been added with the actual sculpt. It looks excellent, and of course he also has the added sculpting on the hair piece.

Iron Many comes with various additional robotic pieces, and his mask even includes some slight sculpting of the features, rather than just straight paint. That's a nice touch, and adds quite a bit to his appearance. The attached armor boots and gauntlets have nice sculpts as well, giving the armored version a nifty appearance.

Nitro and Spider-Man are more standard for miniimates, with good hair sculpts but not much additional in the way of sculpted details.

Paint - Cap ****; Iron Man, Nitro ***1/2; Spider-Man ***
I really like the Cap figure, and the battle damage works better here than usual. This is due in part to the sculpted bits, but the paint work is even a greater contributor. There's absolutely no slop on him either, and he has one of the more complex paint jobs of any minimate.

Iron Man also has a very clean job, particularly with the small black lines around the wrists. Both Spider-Man and Iron Man have the more complex torsos too, and both are done quite well.

Spider-Man does have a few other issues though, particularly with the gold paint on the uniform. There's a bit more slop here, and a bit of inconsistency in the coverage.

Nitro has the least complicated paint job, and actually has some nicks and spots on the hair. While I wouldn't go so far as to say it was disappointing, the work on Nitro is my least favorite of this set.

Articulation - ***1/2
If you've bought minimates before, you know what you're getting. Ball jointed neck, shoulders and hips, with mini pin joints at the elbows and knees, and cut joints at the wrists, ankles and waist. That's pretty good for a 2" tall figure, and of the many mini style figures we've had over the past few years, the mates are one of the more articulated.

The other feature of the articulation is the ability to swap around body parts and goodies. Hair, shoes, hands, etc can be popped off one figure and on another. And since even arms and legs can be swapped, you can outfit different torsos in different ways, allowing you to have all kinds of interesting possibilities, and allowing them to include some nice accessories.

Accessories - Iron Man, Cap ****; Spider-Man ***; Nitro **1/2
Speaking of accessories. let's speak of them. Everyone has something, and some have a lot more than that.

Nitro only comes with the fiery orb that fits over either hand. The hair can be removed of course, but there's nothing extra to swap it with.

Spider-Man does slightly better, since not only does he have his mask but he has the Peter Parker hairdo to replace it.

Ah, but then we get to Cap and Iron Man, both coming with more than the average mate. Cap has his shield, a pair of handcuffs (from the Civil War storyline), an extra set of bare hands, his removable battle damaged cowl, and his hair piece for when the cowl is removed. That's quite a bit of extra gear, and as I already mentioned, the battle damage sculpting and paint are extremely well done.

Iron Man also comes with plenty of goodies, including his mask and the corresponding hair piece for the Tony Stark look, larger boots, and larger cuffs/hands. The boots actually bring the figure up taller by a bit, making him stand over the others. That's a cool feature, giving the fully armored version more height and bulk.

The masks on both Iron Man and Spider-Man are very tight fits. Since they come all the way down over the head, and since the heads pop off pretty easily, you may find that it's tough to put them on and then get them back off again.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
These are mini-mates, right? That means they're fun! Great little toys, and fun collectibles too, perfect for kids and adults alike. Put a handful of these on your desk and I will guarantee that everyone that comes into your office will end up playing around with them while you talk. They are simply that addictive.

Value - ***
At less than $4 each, that's a decent value. Add in the fact that they are a con exclusive with a lower edition size, and you get a better than average deal.

Things to Watch Out For - 
You may find that once you get the Iron Man and Spider-Man masks on, it's mighty tough to get them off.

Overall - Cap ****; Iron Man ***1/2; Nitro, Spider-Man ***
Some of these designs are really only going to appeal to folks that read the Civil War books. Honestly, if you didn't, would you really want a Nitro all that bad? The Spider-Man color style also reminds me of the 2099 version, but it's really Iron Man and Captain America out of this set that will appeal to the broadest audience. All the better that those two are really home runs, especially if you like the 'battle damaged' Cap concept.

And besides, what's a minimates collection if it isn't complete? :)

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpt - Cap, Iron Man ***1/2; Nitro, Spider-Man ***
Paint - Cap ****; Iron Man, Nitro ***1/2; Spider-Man ***
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - Iron Man, Cap ****; Spider-Man ***; Nitro **1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - Cap ****; Iron Man ***1/2; Nitro, Spider-Man ***

Where to Buy -
As I said, your best bet is this weekend at the Con, but if you can't make it, you can get it directly off AFX's website starting Monday.

- Related Links -
I've reviewed my fair share of minimates:

- the last of any type were the Back to the Future series.

- Diamond also did several series of DC mates, and I reviewed the first series.



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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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