Tuesday 28 October 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Captain America

Figma Captain America

It was a long time coming, but after much hype Figma's Avengers lineup is complete! Well, sort of anyway - we know a prototype Hulk has been made but whether Max Factory are going to release it or jump into the realm of larger body figures in general is anyone's guess. There was Thor, then we had Iron Man and now finally we have the first Avenger himself - Captain America, as portrayed in film by actor Chris Evans. Being based on his appearance in The Avengers this is the blue modern-style suit he wears, rather than the WW2 era one that appears in both Captain America films. This figure was released in September 2014, the same month as Iron Man (who had been delayed from his proposed August release).

Box Front

Box BackInsert tray

Despite how boringly uniform Figma boxes have become recently (I mean I like them but there's never really a lot to say about them any more), they do seem to usually get the colour schemes pretty spot on for the characters they're containing. As such Captain America comes in a blue box that matches the colour of his suit perfectly, along with all the usual Figma numbering/details and the Avengers logo in the bottom black section. The back features the usual GSC stock photos you see on these boxes, although Cap's has an extra bit of pizzazz with a moody lighting shot and Thor team up image. Seems odd that they didn't include Iron Man and have all three on the box though.

Captain America out of the box

Figure front shotFigure back shot

Copying box posesIts posing time

Out of the box Captain America looks pretty fantastic - that bulky body style used for the Figma Avengers is simply perfect for the super solider. The suit colours are a bit on the muted side (particularly the reds) but that's a fault of the film rather the figure and its accuracy to the real thing is pretty impeccable. The head sculpt is also a vast improvement over the iffy work done on Thor, although this could be partly due to only the eyes and nose downwards being on show. It certainly has  a better likeness to Chris Evans than Thor's does of Chris Hemsworth anyway that's for sure. Still not a big fan of the pupil-less eyes however, but again the mask does a better job of covering it up somewhat rather than if the full face were on show.

The articulation is also superb, giving Cap a range of movement that an American figure just can't compete with (and one you might be too afraid to try on a Hot Toys figure). Like the other Avengers Cap boasts a three-section torso for a wider range of movement, combined with the usual Figma features of a ball jointed head/neck/shoulders/hips/ankles, hinged elbows/knees and even hinged toes! The ball-jointed wrists seems here to stay on the new Figma releases and it couldn't be more welcome, especially when Max Factory are kind enough to include a spare joint in the event of an unfortunate breakage. Bandai could learn a thing or two from this.

Cap's moving eye gimmickMessing around with Cap's eyes

Since extra faces seem to be off the table for the Avengers (something I'm putting down to the additional expense of actors' likeness rights, but that isn't confirmed), Max Factory have been kind enough to throw in a different face gimmick. Like Thor, Captain America also features moveable eyes! These can be accessed by taking the face off as usual and then poking the little eye-levers in your chosen direction. To help with the fact that this is incredibly difficult with thick fingers, a handy dandy piece of pokey-plastic has also been included. For some reason I didn't find the gimmick to be quite as effective as it is on Thor (possibly thanks to Cap's face only being partially exposed), but giving him derp eyes proved to be just as fun as ever.

Posing Cap on the run

More posingThrowing the shield

Taking coverCap under fire

In a similar vein to the previous Avengers releases (Full Spec Iron Man non-withstanding), Cap also has a pretty bare bones accessory count. In addition to the usual Figma stand and aforementioned eye-moving stick, included are nine alternate hands (two pairs of gripping hands, closed fists, two pairs of open hands and a single pointing right hand) and Cap's iconic shield. The shield boasts some really nice metallic paint and can be both held by the figure and attached to either arm.

How to attach the shieldThe shield attached

The shield attaches to Cap's arm via two plastic handles - the smaller one is gripped by the hand while the larger one simply wraps around the top of the forearm. These handles then plug into the shield itself, which have specific holes for each end to fix in firmly. If you happened to buy Figma Link (or any other Figma with a shield I guess), then you'd have encountered a similar system before. In theory this should be a really simple exercise that causes next to no hassle, but my experiences proved to be nothing but fiddly. For a start neither of the two sets of gripping hands included are perfect - one is much too lax, while the other is too tight. So you have the choice between putting the handle in a hand where it has a risk of slipping out or one where you have to physically FORCE the handle into the hand (thankfully its made of a soft somewhat bendable plastic, but repeated strain can't be good for it). Once you manage that, getting both sets of handles around the arm firmly proves to be tedious. The first one (usually the one the hand is holding onto) goes fine, but from then any wrong movement can result in either the hand popping off or the strap just coming off - with one also often leading to the other. It takes a really steady hand to get it done in one go, and I can't help feel there might have been some better way of doing it. The second strap is wide enough to pass straight around the forearm, so maybe having that permanently attached and just worrying about the other one?

Of course, that would require two shields (one where the straps are completely absent) and we can't have that can we.

Avengers assembled

Cap vs Iron ManCap and Thor team up

The Figma Avengers (so far)

In terms of value for money, I feel that Captain America is the best of the three Avengers figures. Sure Iron Man is by far the better sculpt, but thanks to the whole Full-Spec debacle (that I'm still a little sore about) Cap narrowly edges him out in the "you get what you paid for" category. That said, there's still quite enough here for any of these figures to be justified by the extra cost they command. Still, Captain America is fantastic figure - the mask means the facial features come across a lot better than Thor's and the thicker sculpt really works. Sadly, with the Hulk still MIA and the likelihood of any other the other characters slim, this isn't a line you can expect a full line-up from without having to do some toy line mixing. If you are however looking for some great figures in this scale that you aren't afraid to pay a little extra for, than you certainly won't be disappointed.

Please release at least the Hulk though Max Factory. Pretty please?

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