Saturday 27 July 2019

Toybox REVIEW: S.H. Figuarts Captain America [Avengers: Endgame]

Release Date: May 2019
RRP: 6480 yen

Bandai Tamashii Nations have been pretty on the ball with their Marvel Cinematic Universe releases in the S.H. Figuarts line, and with a release as big as Avengers: Endgame it's no surprise to see how quickly they went all out. The film's release was followed by three months in a row of multiple new figures, and among them was of course a brand new version of America's ass himself. The Endgame edition of S.H. Figuarts Captain America released alongside Ronin and a second nano weapon set of the Iron Man Mark 50 armour in May, all of which were general retail figures.

Love or hate its simplicity, the Avengers: Endgame S.H. Figuarts range comes in uniform white packaging that's pretty identical across the board other than box size. Other than the printed name and stock images on the back the only unique flourish Cap's has is the shade of blue used for the name box, which actually isn't that different from the purple used on Thanos' but whatever. Bandai have put out much better MCU packaging in the past, but it is what it is and the quality of the figure inside is much more important. Open the box up and Cap, along with his accessories, is housed on the usual moulded tray.

For his (for the time being anyway) final cinematic outing Captain America comes in a costume that doesn't stray too far away from what MCU fans have become accustomed to over the years, but adds a few classic comic touches to make it that extra bit special. The main one of these is of course the scale detail printed on the chest and shoulder pads of the suit, which harken all the way back to Cap's original comic outfit. This detail has been faithfully replicated on the Figuart, along with a number of other moulded details like suit grooves or simply basic fabric folds to give it a more realistic look. The colour might be a bit dark for some comic fans' tastes (the red is practically brown at this point) but again its accurate to the onscreen look. But for many the deciding factor will undoubtedly be the head sculpt, as actor likeness continues to be hit or miss with Bandai. With plenty of experience handling Chris Evans' likeness by now Bandai have pretty much cracked it, especially since here they technically only have to deal with half a face. Even masked it's a great likeness, and all the detail on the helmet just further adds to what's a pretty fantastic head sculpt.

For those unfamiliar with Bandai's previous experience with Captain America in the S.H. Figuarts line this is their fourth version of the character - the previous three being Age of Ultron, Civil War and Infinity War. While they all perhaps have enough unique parts to be considered individual moulds the Endgame and Infinity War versions are fairly different to the Age of Ultron and Civil War ones. As you can see from these pictures comparing it with the Age of Ultron figure, the earlier moulds had far boxier proportions as well as a smoother finish that didn’t try to replicate fabric creases or anything like that. This new mould also just feels a lot more solid overall, with the Age of Ultron figure having this strange lightness to it that felt weird even at the time. The methods of attaching the shield have also been streamlined a bit, using the same basic design but making the pieces a lot less cumbersome. There are trade offs for a much better looking figure however, being a much duller colour scheme and the loss of the original moulds' bicep swivel. For articulation nuts the latter point is a bit of a blow (especially when things like that should be more common in newer figures) but as far as losses go it could have been much worse.

Even lacking that bicep swivel Cap's articulation is still nothing to scoff at. Altogether the figure features a ball jointed head and neck section, butterfly hinge and hinge swivel shoulders, double hinged shoulders, ball jointed wrists, ball jointed torso and waist sections, "pull down" ball jointed hips, double hinge knees, swivel hinge ankles and the usual single hinge toe section to round it all off.  That's a lot of fawn over, but it's the butterfly joints that really excel on this figure - offering a huge range of additional motion to the arms. The sections even have the straps moulded onto them, so when extended fully carry on the moulding on the arms perfectly. The hip joints have a fair bit to pull to them but unfortunately leave a rather unsightly gap between the crotch and leg - which just goes to show that even though the mould has changed over the years there are still some elements to it that are a bit outdated. It's not perfect, but can still over an exception range of motion and does it as smoothly as possible.

Endgame Cap's accessories are relatively similar to previous Captain America releases, but once again this figure shows how much Bandai are slacking now when it comes to alternate heads. Following the current trend in both the Marvel and Star Wars ranges, Cap comes with an alternate head that's simply looking to the side. No unmasked head, not even an alternate expression. Collectors may have mocked Age of Ultron Cap's screaming face at the time, but that (along with the figure's swappable eye gimmick) was a lot more expressive than what you get here. Choice is never a bad thing, but with how minor this alternate head sculpt there is pretty limited use for it overall. If you have the Civil War or Infinity War figures, their alternate unmasked heads will fit onto the body, but you'll also need to swap the neck piece since the helmet sculpt also extends to there on the Endgame figure.

Cap's other accessories obviously include his shield, as well as four pairs of hands (closed fists, open hands, shield handle holding fists and a "throwing" pair with raised pegs on the palms), arm straps for the shield and a clear plastic adaptor piece so that the figure can hold the shield as if he were throwing or catching it. As has been the case with all Figuarts Captain America releases the shield handle is moulded directly into a pair of hands, which then plugs into the shield and is supported by an arm strap further up. The adapter piece meanwhile clips into the end of the shield and then pegs straight into the designated hands – slotting the fingers just over the shield to a tiny bit of extra support. Removing a tiny piece on Cap's back (be warned – this piece is extremely small and could very easily get lost) also reveals an additional port for the shield to be clipped onto his back when not in use. It's very much the usual bevy of accessories they've rolled out with every Captain America figure, but if it isn't broken then why fix it?

Arguably the bigger talking point when it comes to this figure is going to be what it doesn't come with. As is the case with all of the other Avengers: Endgame Figuarts announced thus far, this Cap would have gone into production long before the film's release and thus based on concept art rather than the finished product. This means all significant pieces from Endgame itself have been omitted – namely no broken shield and, more importantly, no Mjolnir. The big giveaway that this wasn't even a concern for the designers is that the figure doesn't even have designated gripping hands, it can't even hold Age of Ultron Thor's hammer unless you borrow one from a different figure. If you happen to own the Infinity War figure at least then you'll have a matching one for it, but not everyone will want to fork out for a whole other figure just for the hand. It puts the figure in a bit of an awkward position, since you can understand Bandai's desire to get product on shelves to tie in with the film, but buyers would have probably been happy to wait a few month to get a more "complete" figure. Maybe it's something that'll get fixed somewhere down the line (either through accessories with a potential Endgame Thor or even an all-new figure), but right now it's an area where the Marvel Legends version definitely has the edge.

As seems to be the case with a fair few of these Endgame releases, S.H. Figuarts Captain America is a great figure but a bit of a difficult sell depending on what you're looking for in it. Proportionally the mould is an improvement over the Age of Ultron /Civil War versions and a better "Cap" look than the Infinity War figure, but it's also the most bare bones release of them all. Bandai might still have the edge when it comes to overall quality, but Hasbro are definitely offering buyers more bang for their buck right now. A recommended Cap figure? Sure, but a worthy one? That's the bigger question here.


Anonymous said...

Super Sentai Strongest Battle isn't on Toku Review

Alex said...

Good spot! Have added it now :)

Anonymous said...

Nice figure , I wish to have a shf Captain America ( from Avengers:Endgame )too.πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€