Friday 14 June 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Avengers Thanos [Avengers: Endgame]

Release Date: April 2019
RRP: 9504 yen

Avengers: Infinity War was the biggest gathering of Marvel Comics heroes on the big screen there  had ever been, but for many it wasn't the good guys that came out of that film as the runaway hit. After being teased throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe Infinity War properly unleashed Thanos upon audiences, shocking them as he gathered the six Infinity Stones and succeeded in his mission to wipe out half of all life in the universe. With the first major chapter in the MCU coming to an end in Avengers: Endgame the Mad Titan returns once again, with Bandai Tamashii Nations immediately added him to their S.H. Figuarts line up. First announced at the beginning of April before being released a mere few weeks later, this new S.H. Figuarts Thanos depicts his appearance in Endgame - returning him to the armoured look he shed at the beginning of Infinity War.

Matching the rest of the figures released (or due to be released) in the Avengers: Endgame range, Thanos comes packaged in a relatively plain white box whose only key features are the Endgame logo and the general Avengers symbol. Of course the box is considerably bigger to accommodate Thanos' larger size, but the other unique flourish is the little purple sections where the character name is printed. Every release is given a different colour that best fits them, so purple was the obvious choice for Thanos. The back of the box features a selection of stock images showing off the figure and accessories, and inside you'll find the figure and accessories stored on a single moulded clamshell tray.

Addressing the elephant in the room first and foremost, S.H. Figuarts Endgame Thanos is inaccurate to his appearance in the movie itself. Along with why Captain America doesn't come with Mjolnir and Iron Man doesn't include the Nano Gauntlet (or any unique accessories at all for that matter), these figures were likely based completely off concept art and early footage rather than the finished movie. As such, Tamashii Nations would have no idea that the "original" Thanos was killed early on in the film and the later, armoured version was one that never obtained the Gauntlet in the first place. This isn't just true of the Figuart either, both the Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure and Hot Toys release (though given how that won't be out for months things could easily change) have the same issue. It's unknown whether Bandai will put out another figure and you could argue that they could have just waited a few months to put out the figure post-movie, but you can't really blame toy companies for wanting to jump on the hype straight away. So if you're all about screen accuracy with your toys, this might not be the release for you. But then again, none of the Endgame Thanos on the market right now will be either. 

So left hand aside, what we have here is an armoured Thanos that feels considerably closer to his comic counterpart in appearance than the Infinity War version did. Perhaps not as close as he did in his Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron cameos, but between the helmet and general colour placement the similarities are definitely there. It's also a much more visually interesting design than the Infinity Wars version, replacing those solid colour sections of textured clothing with panels of sculpted armour. And despite the figure essentially only using two colours (well, Thanos' skin is somewhere between blue and purple), the design has a nice bit of colour variation to show off all that sculpted detail. The blue sections of the armour are a completely different shade to the skin, while the gold is much paler than the more vibrant Infinity Gauntlet. The Gauntlet itself has been repainted since the Infinity War version to make it more screen accurate, but the stones are still only at their best when viewed under light. Any other time and the power, reality and soul stones all look a bit similar. Most of all though there's just something satisfying about overly bulky Figuarts like these. The increased size and plastic content adds a good weight to the figure, allowing parts to be moved without the fear of breakage the smaller ones often come with.

In the past Tamashii Nations have shown they're pretty capable of providing a nice variety of alternate faces even when the likeness isn't quite there, but lately they've been slacking a bit. The likenesses have gotten better, but with a lot of releases an alternate face has equated to "exactly the same expression but eyes looking slightly to the side". Thankfully that isn't the case with Thanos at all, coming with an additional two faces that show off a nice range of expressions. Along with his neutral face there's also an angry face with gritted teeth, as well as a contented smile. All three are brilliantly sculpted and perfectly capture the onscreen model - arguably better than any other unmasked Avengers figure does. Swapping the faces requires only removing the front section of the helmet so sadly there's no direct option to pose Thanos without his helmet, however this is possible if you do a head swap with the Infinity War version of Thanos.

That added size doesn't make Thanos any less articulated though, in fact given the bulk he's surprisingly mobile in a lot of areas you wouldn't necessarily expect. Altogether he features a ball jointed head and neck, ball hinge shoulders complimented by butterfly joints, double hinge elbows, extendable ball jointed wrists, ball jointed torso and waist sections, pull-down ball jointed hips, single hinge knees, swivel hinge ankles and a hinged toe cap at the end of each foot. Let's talk restrictions to start - being a larger figure Thanos instantly loses the bicep and thigh swivels most (but admittedly not all) Figuarts have, as well as the knees being knocked down to single hinges. As for what is there the ankle joints are severely limited by the armoured sections around his shins. On the other hand, many of the other sections are extremely fluid. The head and neck work together beautifully, and there's a whole lot of movement you can get out of the two ball joints in the torso. The swing down hips are a bit of a surprising use on a thicker (and therefore heavier) figure, but the joints hold the weight well and the hips don't actually drop down enough for it to be particularly noticeable. Without a doubt the best addition of all here though are the pull out wrist joints, which not only make it FAR easier to remove the hands but also add a nice bit of extra mobility to them as well. If you can't push them back into place afterwards you have to resort to a little pose trickery not to make it immediately noticeable, but that isn't much of a complaint. There's a few minor flaws here and there, but all and all Thanos is a very expressive figure.

For accessories Thanos comes packaged with the aforementioned two additional face sculpts, four additional hands (two open-hand Gauntlet left hands, an open right hand and a weapon holding right hand) as well as the double-sided sword he wields in the film. The sword isn't heavily detailed but has etched markings running down both of the blades and is nicely painted up in gold and silver livery. It can also split into two, making it easier to pop inside of the designated hand rather than trying to awkwardly force it in. A nice little selection for sure, but still lacking arguably the most important Thanos accessory of all – a "snap" hand. The Infinity War one not coming with one is forgivable since it was probably rushed through spoiler-free production the same as this one, but not rectifying it a year later just feels like a waste. The sword is important to a specifically Endgame release for sure, but most people would have happily sacrificed most of these hands (or even a face) if it came with a snap hand.

S.H. Figuarts Endgame Thanos is a bit of an odd one, since of the main reasons it appeals to me is outside of what I usually expect from the Figuarts line. The fact it's inaccurate will understandably put people off the figure unless Tamashii Nations put out some sort of fix in the form of a second edition (or a third party happens to produce an alternate left arm) but it's that inaccuracy that makes it a definitive Thanos for me. His armoured Endgame look is both far more visually interesting and comic-book evocative than his Infinity War design, and since it just wouldn’t feel right owning a Thanos without the gauntlet I'm almost glad that it isn't completely accurate to the source material. So if you can get over that (and if you can't again it's understandable, these aren't cheap toys after all) you've got a pretty great figure on your hands. More could have definitely been done in the accessory department, but sadly that seems true of most Figuarts these days. Along with the Mark 85 Iron Man suit Thanos looks to be one of the most sought after Endgame figures, so if you see one going to anywhere close to its original retail price be sure to grab it while you still can.

1 comment:

M said...

Your review was...INEVITABLE (BA DUM TSS)