Packaging - ***
These are your basic Marvel Legends clamshells but bigger. The packaging displays what you need, where you need to see it. The figures are right up in front and you can see the backdrop, stand, comic, and card easily. The words ‘Marvel Legends’ are prominently displayed in the lower left and everything is pretty much what you’d expect. It stands up well or hangs, and will be doing either in the store when you find it. (more on this later) ToyBiz went with a daring move and actually mentions Nazi and even Hitler on the back of Cap vs Red’s packaging! I didn’t expect them that, especially since they won’t do a swastika on any version of Red Skull. It says “Red Skull, a Nazi so evil, even Hitler himself was frightened.” Hmmm, if you say so…
Sculpting - Captain America ***1/2; Red Skull ****; Daredevil ***; Kingpin ***
You’re looking at some sweet sculpts across the board and all the figures have new sculpts to them whether they look like reuses or not. As Jesse Falcon said in a recent interview “There’s no such thing as a retool” meaning that even if a piece looks like it’s had things added or taken away from an older mold, it’s still been done from scratch and usually by the same sculptor. Captain America looks really close to his ML8 counterpart with the same basic body type, hands, hunched forward neck, and belt. His boots and gloves are done with a really detailed, leathery look to them and the only thing I have to gripe about is that the wings on his head are stubby and ill-formed. Instead of doing them separate, they’re part of the head and the mold line runs across them, mucking up the detail.
Red Skull has a really nice sculpt to him with separate shoulder, elbow, and wrist pads covered in spikes. There’s a nice textured fabric look to his costume and the design is dynamic enough. His
head sculpt is great too! All the cracks and pits of a real skull are featured, the teeth are detailed, deep inset eyes, and you can see all the way through his mouth to the back of his neck adding great depth. I was expecting him to be the stinker of the set, tossed in there with Cap, but he turned out to be really well done.
Daredevil is the best rendition of him we’ve got so far, but alas he’s not perfect. His costume is quite detailed with lots of seams, tiny folds, and wrinkles. The underside of his boots have a full tread design too and his face sculpt is a perfect partial smirk. What throws DD for a loop is the huge floating-ball shoulders because of that lat-joint that allows him to reach straight up. We saw these on the Snapshot Spiderman and they look just as odd here. His ankles are set a bit too high up from his boots and look spindly, but the trade off is he can get a great wide-stance pose. His hands are huge too, way bigger than most figures’ hands and perhaps that’s to aid in holding his clubs.
Kingpin is massive and has a softer sculpt than all of the other figures with less detail and wrinkles to his outfit overall. His waist is also smaller than his stomach, which hangs over and looks odd from underneath. His hands are done really well and his face is excellent, with only his softer sculpt holding him back in this category.
Paint - Captain America **; Red Skull ***; Daredevil ***; Kingpin **1/2
The quality and style of the paint apps are different for each figure and really surprised me when I matched them up. Poor Captain America has a lot of bleed, perhaps it’s just my figure but it’s everywhere. The white is splotchy and leaks onto the blue, the edges of the star on his chest are ragged, the A on his forehead is off-center, and the red stripes are leaking! He does have nice shading on his body and his boots/gloves are done really well. Some touch-ups would make him perfect but you shouldn’t have to do that. Cap’s face is pretty good and looks better than the old man we got for the ML8 Cap.
Red Skull is just about perfect with dark shading on his blue costume sections, on his head, and highlights on his boots. There’s only a little slop where the red lines on his chest are and its not that noticeable. His face is quite well done with all the teeth separated and dark shading in the eye sockets.
Daredevil sports a nice dual-tone effect over his whole costume and his boots/gloves have a black wash to them. His face is crisp and clean with his little horns painted a darker red and his eyes ‘outlined’ with black so you cans till tell they’re there. The inner sections of his ankles were left completely unpainted though and stand out against the darker red of his boots. The brown on his belt and pouch is a bit sloppy and rubs off on his clubs something terrible, which seems to the only real downside of his paint apps.
Kingpin got the short end of the spray gun, not in slop but in simplicity. He’s molded in all his main colors, white for the arms/vest, grey slacks, black shoes, and pink flesh parts. There’s no shading or highlights on him at all which is pretty disappointing and makes him look like the old 5” Spiderman Kingpin. His face is done really nicely and what little solid paint he does have is bright and slop-free. The ring on his pinky also has a painted ‘F’ on it… or what looks like one done with a fine tip marker.
Articulation - Captain America ****; Red Skull ***1/2; Daredevil ***1/2; Kingpin **
We’re all familiar with the basic Marvel Legends articulation and these figures have everything the rest have with the exception of ol’ Fisk. Captain America’s articulation is practically identical to his ML8 predecessor right down to the individual fingers. They fixed his torso bend so it stays when you tilt it forwards and back though. Red Skull has great articulation as well, he’s just missing the ankle side tilts for some reason. His shoulder pads limit how far you can raise his arms up but doesn’t detract from much else. Daredevil has wonderful range of movement with the only gripe being his ankles are far too loose as there’s no little bumps inside to keep them locked in place. In fact I think they put the wrong inserts in there or something.
Poor Kingpin ends up with less than useful articulation here. His head has a very limited ball joint and is basically a swivel that can’t even look all the way to the right or left. He’s missing wrist articulation that really hurts as he can’t place his palm down on his cane, only hold it. Due to his girth, Fisk’s hips can’t move very well and he has very limited poses for his legs. Not much ankle articulation either as the pant cuffs get in the way of that. On the bright side his arms have a good range of movement and he can hold them straight up to body slam poor DD.
Accessories - ***
Each figure comes with one personal accessory and then you get the base, stands, comic, backdrop, and card so I’ll be grading them lumped together. Cap gets the same shield all his other renditions came with except this one is molded in dark grey instead of primarily red. This means the colors are painted on and look darker this time around, but the back looks neat being all grey instead of red. Red Skull gets a sword. Hun? No gun? Nope, just a shortsword that looks good but isn’t really anything special.
Daredevil has his trademark billy clubs which in this case are missing the hook at the end and are just nunchuka with a black string. They’re painted white unfortunately and not molded in color so they pick up the brown from their pouch the moment you remove them, along with streaks from his gloves. Kingpin has his cane, but the gem on the end is tiny and looks pretty ridiculous in my opinion. It’s a puny red crystal that’s hardly noticeable and isn’t even as thick as the cane itself making the whole thing look weird. Wasn’t there always a huge diamond on the end of it in the comics?
Now we get to the bases and backdrops that are pretty cool. They’re separate from the package so you don’t have to cut them out. DD vs Kingpin’s base looks out of place from the backdrop, more like something out of Iron Man’s with its tech-looking floor panels and hoses. The backdrop is an office with Hand ninjas dropping in and Bullseye standing thee holding the playing card he stole from Gambit apparently. Cap vs Red’s base matches better with their backdrop and looks like a slab from the HYDRA hangar with bullet casing strewn about. And that’s what their backdrop is, the inside of a HYRDA hangar or base complete with an airship and goons running towards the fight.
Clear stands plug into the base and into the back of the figures like we got with our ML 10 set, giving them the appearance of mid-aid combat ala the Matrix. The base has an extending section that slides out behind it to hold the backdrop and balance it out better, an added bonus.
Action Feature - N/A
Yay, Marvel Legends don’t have action features! I guess the stands could be considered their action features but that’s pushing it. All the figures do have holes in their backs for the stands, but only Kingpin’s is large and odd-looking.
Value - ****
I found these for $14 bucks each at Wal Mart, which is a steal seeing as regular ML figure go from $8 and up most places. Not only do you get two figures, but you get the stand, backdrop, comic, and VS card too! A very good deal in my opinion.
Things to Watch Out For -
The Face Off sets themselves! Try and find them in your Wal Mart, each one I went to had them in a different spot! One had them on an end-cap near the bike helmets, another hanging across from the Lego figures, yet another standing up on the bottom rack across from the paintball guns, and the last one had them hung up across from the Pet Department! Not one Wal Mart actually had them in with the normal ML action figures so check everywhere and ask a sales associate for help. The Masterworks and Boxed sets are sometimes hidden along with the Face Off Series.
Other than just trying to find them, check your paint jobs and check for variants. Each Face Off set has a variant with unmasked or alternate face version. And in Cap vs Red’s case, a whole new figure Baron von Strucker instead of Red Skull!
Overall - Cap vs Red Skull ***1/2; Daredevil vs Kingpin ***
The paint apps and articulation are holding these sets back from being four stars. I really think they could have been so much more, but with the prices of oil and all, we’re probably lucky we got these in the first place. I don’t have the Hulk vs Leader yet, but I hear the Hulk is lacking in articulation as well and can’t make fists. Eh, maybe series 2 will blow us away eh? Until next time, this is Jin Saotome saying thanks for reading!