Friday 15 August 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Thor

Figma Thor by Max Factory

Not content with simply dominating the market when it comes to poseable anime figures, Max Factory's Figma line has been expanding its horizons. Having previously tackled Japanese comedians, video game characters and even gay porn stars-turned meme (yes, really), Figma has now turned its attention towards Hollywood. And the most eagerly anticipated of these movie figures is undoubtedly The Avengers. Good Smile Company have been teasing the four main Avengers from the 2012 film for at least a year now, but last month thing ball started rolling with the release of the God of Thunder himself - Thor, as portrayed by actor Chris Hemsworth.

Avengers, assemble!

You might have seen these poses before...Thor's a minimalist

As I stated in my Attack on Titan Figma reviews, I'm a huge fan of the new style boxes the line has been using since they hit their 200th release. But Thor is where the layout really looks good. It uses the costume's colourscheme of greyish/blueish black and red, complimented with some fantastic shots of the figure (in iconic poses from the movies and posters) and the Avengers film logo on the front and top. It's simple, but the aesthetic not only suits the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it also makes these feel like a collectible rather than an overly expensive toy.

God of Thunder

CapelessA back you won't see very often

Straight out of the box Thor feels quite different to your average Figma. The usual spindly anime proportions are instead replaced with a big bulky torso, complete with a hinged ab section that you wouldn't usually see on a Figma figure. The neck is attached to the head via a double ball joint (the head connection using a general socket rather than a tab), and even the two back hair sections are attached via ball joints. Meanwhile the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles are filled in by the usual impressive Figma joints, rounded off by a toe hinge and the new style ball joint wrists. As far as articulation goes, you're going to be hard pressed to find a Thor as poseable as this that you didn't spend hundreds on and thus don't want to mess around with.

The body sculpting is perfection, however the head does suffer from a few issues. The likeness to Chris Hemsworth isn't bad one, but it's clear that Max Factory still haven't quite got real human facial features down. The main problem is the eyes, which are simply light blue blobs rather than realistic human eyes. From a distance this looks fine, but up close they don't look good planted in Thor's obviously realistically-sculpted face. Real looking eyes at this scale would have undoubtedly been a challenge, but considering Thor is a higher-priced Figma from the norm, I have to wonder if pupils would make a world of difference.

Thor + capeLooking back

Attaching the cloth cape is a little on the fiddly side, but once attached should stay on nice and firmly. First you need to remove the red plastic piece from Thor's back, revealing two small peg holes on each shoulder. Then you need to take the two small pegs included in the box and thread them through the holes on the cape (the instruction leaflet illustrates this quite well), finally pegging them into those shoulder holes. Once everything is one nice and firmly, you can then reattach the plastic piece to cover up how the cloth is attached to the body. So like I said - simply enough, but fiddly. I also wouldn't recommend removing the cape regularly either - those holes stretch pretty quickly and wouldn't take long to tear completely open.

Eye see youThor go crazy face

While most Figma usually settle for alternate facesculpts, Thor joins a small minority of figures in the line that go for a different approach. Thors eyes are in fact tiny ball joints, which can be moved around via tabs hidden inside the face piece when removed. That's right, Figma Thor has freely moveable eyes! It can be a little tricky to get them into the right places and have them look remotely normal, but its a nice little feature which adds a lot more variety to a single face sculpt. Well, that and making Thor have derp eyes is always hilarious.

God of Thunder

This figure...I like it!Fetch me another!

The hammer of Thor

For further evidence that Thor's high price tag went into getting the likeness rights from Disney/Marvel/Hemsworth/anyone else involved, look no further than his accessory count. Usually a 6000 yen Figma would get you a larger box filled to the brim with accessories, but here we have nothing more than six swappable hands (one pair of closed fists, a pair of open hands and a pair of hammer holding hands), Thor's legendary hammer Mjölnir and a white adapter-style piece to assist in moving the eyes around on the face. There is also a Figma stand included, however as a staple of every Figma release that's hardly a bonus to work in the figure's favour. I can only assume additional facesculpts would have resulted in a higher price tag, leading Max Factory to opt for the moving eyes route instead. It's a measly selection, but at the same time there isn't anything crucial missing from this release - a lighting effect part for Mjölnir might have been nice?

Mjölnir's hammer piece is also removable from the handle, so rather than push the weapon down into the hand the trick is to push the handle upwards in the hand and then reattach the hammer piece when you are happy.

Flying hammer

Taking down ChitauriHammer to the face

As a final note in this review I would also like to commend Good Smile Company for providing fantastic customer service when it came to this figure. When my figure's facesculpt had a rather unfortunate production error (I shan't go into detail, but something was glued to the face that shouldn't have been), all I needed to do was contact their customer service with photographs and they immediately sent a replacement face free of charge. It may seem off-putting to deal with customer service issues with a foreign company, but GSC handle things in an extremely impressive manner and clearly value their customers. Kudos to them.

FEEL MY BICEPSBring on the rest

Thor is a wonderful Figma that is sure to impress, but at the same time it isn't the perfection many were probably hoping for. For the higher price it retails for, I personally was expecting a lot more from the headsculpt and think the eyes could have certainly benefitted for a touch more realism. However body-wise there's very little to complain about the God of Thunder, and Figma Thor makes a perfect compromise for those looking for something a bit more higher end than Marvel Select/Legends figures, but don't have the space or funds for a Hot Toys release.

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