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Guardians of the Galaxy - Drax, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord
Marvel Legends - Hasbro
07-02-14

Drax Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro


This has been a great year for super hero flicks - both Captain America 2 and X-men Days of Future Past were excellent, and I found Amazing Spider-Man 2 enjoyable, if not all that. And let's not forget the Lego Movie, which is one of the best Batman films I've seen in years.

What will be the best comic book super hero movie of 2014? We still have a whole 6 months to go, but it's going to be mighty tough to top DOFP. I think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is getting slammed far too much before it's release, and it has the potential of being a surprise hit.  Sin City is technically a comic book movie, but not really a super hero movie. Which really leaves one possible entry to upset X-men's screen dominance in 2014 - Guardians of the Galaxy.

While we clearly love dark and gritty as one way to go with our super heroes, we also love funny and comical.  I'm not talking about going full out 1966 Adam West, but when humor is done right (see Whedon's Avengers), it can really be the element that takes a super hero film from average to exceptional.

From all the promos so far, it looks like Guardians is going to pull it off. I know I'll be there opening weekend with my fingers crossed, anticipating some serious comic book fun.

Hasbro has the license for toys, as you'd expect. Along with the various kid lines, they are doing a Marvel Legends set of 6" figures, including Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Drax (all three reviewed tonight), Gamora, Nova and Iron Man. There's a Build-A-Figure as well of Groot. I'll cover those final four next week.

These are showing up at Target right now for $20 each as part of their reset, and you'll be finding them at other major retailers like Toys R Us very soon.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Drax Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Rocket Raccoon Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Rocket Raccoon Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Drax Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Rocket Raccoon Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Drax Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro
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Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro

Packaging - ****
Something we don't get very often with mass market releases is collector friendly packaging.  When I say 'collector friendly', I'm using a term coined back in the day by Flatt World Figures to denote a package that can be opened up, the figure and contents completely removed, and no damage done. You can return the figure and accessories to its plastic prison for storage, display or sale, without putting any serious hurt on the packaging materials.

That's hard to do for mass market lines, because they are subject to more issues. Since they sit on the pegs at Target and Toys R Us, they get man handled. They have to stand up to peg wear and tear, and they also have to provide some level of protection from theft. How often have you seen the wrong figure, wrong accessories, or stuff just plain missing from a package on the peg, and that's one that is hard to open!

But Hasbro has pulled it off with the latest Marvel Legends series.  There's no need to damage anything, and in fact, I didn't have to cut any tape to open the flaps on the box. There's no twisties or rubber bands inside, and only Star-Lord has some minor tape on the interior plastic tray to help hold the smaller accessories in place.

I'm giving them big props here for managing to do this, but I can't guarantee they won't face issues with people stealing the Groot pieces left and right.

Sculpting - Drax ***1/2; Rocket, Star-Lord ***
I found this to be a bit of a tricky category, at least in terms of Drax and Star-Lord.

Rocket is pretty straight forward - they did a great job on him, right down to his furry face.  The scale seems about right - he stands about 3 inches tall - and the hands are sculpted to work with the big gun.

My one complaint is that he isn't designed to stand on his own particularly well. I'm betting he can sit on Groot (once you have him built), but the small feet and sculpted leg pose is not conducive to remaining upright. Thankfully, his tail will help quite a bit in that regard, acting as the third leg of a tri-pod. If not for that minor issue with standing in some poses, he'd get another half star here.

Drax wins out, largely due to the nice work on the raised body tattoos. This isn't the first ML Drax we've seen, but the previous release wasn't nearly as nicely done. I can see Batista in there if I squint just right as well, making it a reasonable movie version.

Star-Lord is the trickiest. He's been through an awful lot of costume changes over the years, and this latest look is really designed for his screen presence, although he does have a solo comic book right now sporting the same outfit. It's clearly a Malcolm Reynolds inspired costume, and I have no problem with that - cool is cool.

It's also clear from the promo shots and clips that he'll be wearing more than one costume in the movie, which is good for the toy line. More variants!

The rubber coat is soft enough to allow the legs to pose, but the stiff collar gets in the way of the bag straps. The strap that goes over the shoulder tends to either ride too low to avoid the collar, or ride too high above the collar.

There are two head sculpts - one with the environmental mask, and one without. Neither looks particularly like Pratt as Star-Lord, but it's close enough to get an average score. Considering the scale, the detailing on the hair is very nice, and I like the work they've done on the mask. He stands about 6 1/4" tall.

My biggest issue with Star-Lord is his forearms. There are double pin elbows, and the double disc used inside the joint is quite long. Add to that some fairly long forearms, and the proportions on his overall arms look weird. You can hide it in photos, but in person they really do look funky.

One other item worth noting - the plastic used for the bodies and joints is fairly soft and rubbery, at least for Drax and Star-Lord. It's solid enough that the characters will have no trouble keeping poses, even deep stances, but you'll want to take a little care freeing up the joints to avoid damaging anything.

Paint - ***1/2
Overall, this is a very strong outing in this category, particularly for a mass market figure in this scale.

Lines are generally sharp, with little bleed or slop. Eyes, eyebrows, lips, hair lines - all neat and clean.  The tattoo/scars on Drax look decent, although there is the occasional slip here or there. Even the fur colors on Rocket are well done, especially the striping on the tail.

There's a few minor nits - I'm not sold on the darker dirty wash used on Star-Lords coat, and there are a few inconsistencies in colors across a figure. But overall this is very good work, and looks best when viewed with the nekkid eye.

Articulation - Drax ****; Star-Lord ***; Rocket **1/2
These are Marvel Legends figures, first and foremost, and as such they have the same general high level of articulation.

Rocket is somewhat different of course, since his body is nothing like the standard. He does have a ball jointed neck, but the thick neck and tight fit means it's mostly a turning side to side action with little tilt or lean.

He also has ball shoulders, pin elbows, cut wrists, and a rocker waist. The legs are pretty much what you see is what you get, but the tail has a cut joint at the body, making it useful for propping him up.

Both Star-Lord and Drax have the usual articulation - ball neck, ball shoulders, ball hips, double pin elbows and knees, cut thighs and biceps, cut waist, ab-crunch, cut wrists, and pin ankles with rocker joints. 

All the joints on Drax work fantastic, with a very fluid, natural movement. Star-Lord has that coat of course, and it does restrict some of the articulation a bit. But because it's made from a softer material, the range of movement is much better than it might otherwise be.

I was able to get nice poses out of both Star-Lord and Drax without much effort, and the joints were tight. Drax was a particular favorite, and kids will really enjoy playing with him because of the posability and quality. I suspect the film will make him a kid favorite as well, along with Rocket and Groot.

Accessories - Star-Lord ****; Rocket ***1/2; Drax ***
Here we have a category where your money actually seems to be getting you something extra, at least with Star-Lord and Rocket.

Drax, not so much. You do get a piece of Groot, but the only additional accessories are his two knives. These are critical of course, and they are well sculpted and fit nicely in his hands. But it's still a bit light, particularly when compared to the other two.

Rocket is a smaller figure, so you expect some serious extras with him. He has his big blaster, and while it's a bit tough to get him to hold it, you can manage it - in more than one way - with a little constructive effort. The sculpt is quite good, and since he'll be using it plenty in the movie, it's an important add. 

He has a Groot piece too, but you expect that. More importantly, he comes with the 'Hadron Enforcer'. This is a weapon used to create small scale nuclear blasts. From the promo photos, it looks like Star-Lord will be using it at some point in the film, but since it's such a large weapon, it made complete sense to throw it in with the smaller Rocket. The figure can hold it just like in the film, with the base against his chest, holding on to handles on either side.

Star-Lord himself is already rocking the extras. He has two blasters for extra rootin' tootin' fire power, and they fit nicely in the provided hand sculpts. He also has his very antique cassette player (at least it's wireless), his headphones, and to top it all off, that second head sculpt lacking the mask. I'm a sucker for extra heads.

He has a Groot piece too - can't forget that. All in all, that's quite a bit, certainly helping his score both here and in the final tally.

Fun Factor - ****
Marvel Legends, like the largely defunct DC Universe Classics, are always fun. Great sculpts supported by excellent articulation and nice accessories - what more could you want? How about tying them into one of the biggest super hero movies of the year, geared toward kids? You've got a perfect recipe for action figure nirvana.

Value - **
It's hard to swallow paying $20 a pop for action figures, but at least Hasbro is throwing in quite a few extras. The BAF pieces are always nice, even if a BAF isn't quite the amazing, huge figure it once was.

Things to Watch Out For -
As mentioned earlier, the joints are a little soft, especially the elbows on Drax and Star-Lord, so if you have to free them up when you first pull them out of the package, take some care.

Overall - ***1/2 (3.5 out of 4)
This isn't our first Rocket Raccoon or Drax, but both of these movie versions are nicer than the previous released comic based ML figures. That's saying a lot too, since most ML's are fairly well done.

By the way, if you'd like a more traditional comics based Star Lord ML, there's one coming with the exclusive Thanos Imperative set available next month at SDCC.

I'm calling it now - this flick will be the end of summer smash. Kids will love it, nerds will love it, you'll love it. That will likely make these figures harder to find once the film is released, so you're best bet is to snag them now. The price point is a tough pill to swallow, but the more times you do the easier it gets.

I've included quite a few photos of these three, so be sure to scroll to the bottom to see them all.

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - Drax ***1/2; Rocket, Star-Lord ***
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - Drax ****; Star-Lord ***1/2; Rocket **1/2
Accessories - Star-Lord ****; Rocket ***1/2; Drax ***
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy 
Your best bet right now is Target, where these are being put out nationwide as part of their fall reset.  Expect to pay $20 a pop. You can always search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered plenty of Marvel Legends in the past - check out the review index to find them - but I'll be hitting up the rest of this series, including Groot, in the next week.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Rocket Raccoon Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel Legends action figure by Hasbro


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

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