Wednesday 22 April 2020

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

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 01

Release Date: January 2020
RRP: 6600 yen

Avengers Endgame’s moment in the spotlight has come and gone by now, but when you’re working on the kind of timeframe Bandai Tamashii Nations does it’s not surprise to see S.H. Figuarts being released months later. Unlike a lot of the other Avengers Thor was one of the characters whose design was kept completely under wraps prior to the release of Endgame, so not to spoil the big changes the character went through during the film’s five year time skip. So unable to join many of the other key characters in being released in the run up to the film, S.H. Figuarts Thor [Avengers Endgame] was finally released at the beginning of 2020 as a Tamashii web exclusive. Once again late to the party, this is the third of four Thor S.H. Figuarts to be an exclusive - the only retail release being the original Age of Ultron one all the way back in 2015.

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame Box 01

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame Box 02S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame Box 03S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame Box 04S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame Box 05

Thor comes packaged in the standard white boxes Bandai have used for all of the Avengers Endgame S.H. Figuarts, which are devoid of pretty much any detail apart from the standard Avengers and Endgame logo. Previous boxes have all put the character name card in a little coloured box that sort of matches the character’s general colour scheme, and for Thor that’s a charcoal-like black that nicely matches the colour of his armour. Both spines of the box are extremely plain, but the back is a little more exciting with a trio of images showing the figure off in various poses. Inside the figure and accessories are laid out on the usual moulded tray, however the additional hands have been granted their own tray that sits on top of Mjölnir’s section in the box.

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 02

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 03S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 04S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 05S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 06

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 07S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 08S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 09S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 10

Whether you refer to him as "Fat Thor", "Lebowski Thor" or simply just Endgame Thor, this god of thunder is certainly rather different in shape to the ones that came before him. True to the film Bandai have made sure to include that rather impressive gut of his, but the armour ensures that Thor still looks suitably imposing regardless. He may have put on the pounds, but you still certainly wouldn't want to mess with him. The head sculpt bears an excellent likeness to Chris Hemsworth, far better than pictures of the figure tend to convey. Bandai haven't skimped on any of that detail either, not only moulding the hair as a tangled mess of threads but even made sure to paint the eyes two slightly different colours. The moulding of Thor's armour is good but generally gets less impressive as you move down the body - the torso looks great but the folds on the legs have a very plasticky quality to them and aren't a great match to the onscreen suit. There isn't a lot of colour to the costume, but the different shades of black all mesh together well and the little bits of additional colour there are have all been neatly applied. One of the biggest joys about this figure though is the soft goods cape, previously implemented on the Infinity War Thor figure. While the cape sadly isn't wired it's made of high quality material and lined with black on the front, making it thicker/sturdier as well as more screen accurate. The folds already pressed into the cape also ensure that it hangs relatively naturally without too much messing around needed. As is usually the case with these things it is probably removable if you so wished, but it's pinned underneath the collar piece so would need some considerable modding to do. My one main gripe though is that since the body is thicker than your typical Figuarts, Tamashii Stage arms don't work very well with it. A little socket in the back would have been perfect for holding it up in mid air poses, especially since any breaks in the sculpt would be hidden by the cape. But alas it isn't meant to be, so getting your Thor into dramatic mid air poses (as is shown on the box no less) can be a little bit of a fiddle.

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 11

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 12S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 13S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 14

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 15S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 16S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 17

The Age of Ultron Thor was among the first Avengers figures released in 2015, and though there have been other versions of the Asgardian King since then putting the two side by side just shows how far the line has come in the past five years. Not only is the segmented plastic cape of the original an eyesore compared to the stylish cloth cape on the Endgame figure, but that old head sculpt has not aged well. If that was the best actor likeness they could come up with to accommodate it, then it’s just as well that the swappable eye gimmick of the early Age of Ultron Figuarts was scrapped. Granted there’s a much bigger leap in quality between the AOU and Ragnarok versions than there is the Infinity War and Endgame ones (expectedly so), it’s impressive to see how much these figures have changed from their first to last representations in the line.

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 18

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 19S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 20S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 21S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 22

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 23S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 24S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 25S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 26

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 27S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 28S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 29

Articulation is generally to the high standards Figuarts have set for themselves, but there are several points on Thor that make you question the way Bandai do their human characters compared to the armoured ones. Usually I'd start off by saying that Thor has the standard ball jointed head and neck that all Figuarts have, but here it hardly seems worth it. While Thor HAS these joints, the combination of long hair and beard make them almost completely unusable. There's very limited up/down movement you can get out of the head, but side to side is pretty much non-existent. This is something Bandai haven't had to think about with Thor for a while since the last two figures had short hair, but now that we're back with a more traditional look we can see things haven't really improved since 2015. The head is much better to look at, but it's still just as limited thanks to Thor's luscious locks. Moving down the body there's also ball jointed torso and waist sections, swivel hinge shoulders and elbows, ball jointed wrists, swing-down ball jointed hips, double-hinged knees, swivel hinge ankle rockers and of course that hinged toe section at the end of each foot. Why Bandai choose to repeatedly use swivel hinge elbows on their "human" figures rather than the usual double hinge is a mystery. You could perhaps take the argument that it's a more natural movement and doesn't break the sculpt up as much, but then you look at the unsightly gap it leaves on the upper arm when fully bent and see that a double hinge would have done the job far better. Then there's the case of the drop down hips, which admittedly Bandai have been very hesitant to lose on the Marvel figures despite most other ranges adopting better alternatives. Much like when bending the elbows, it leaves some really visible gaps in the sculpt and would have been far better if it was a ball joint/thigh swivel combo. It's not surprising that Thor doesn't have any of these things because neither do most of the other Marvel Figuarts, but it's no less disappointing. On the positive side though, at least Thor can make use of all the articulation he has without any impediment from the cape. This is why cloth capes win out every time.

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 30

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 31S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 32S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 33S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 34

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 35S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 36S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 37S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 38

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 39S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 40S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 41

Accessories is an area where this figure really shines though. Altogether Endgame Thor comes with Mjölnir, Stormbreaker and four additional pairs of hands (two sets of open hands and a pair for holding each of the weapons). Previous S.H. Figuarts releases would only give you one or the other (or in Ragnarok’s case, neither) of Thor’s signature weapons, but this one gives you both in one very neat package. The Mjölnir is slightly smaller than the one included with Age of Ultron Thor, but sports much sharper detailing. Though the method to put the hammer in the corresponding hands is the same (take off the hammer part and slide the grip into the hands), the pieces are not interchangeable either as the connection between the two pieces are a different shape. Also while this Thor might not have an alternate hand to hold Mjölnir outstretched like the original did, that alternate hand is actually compatible with this figure too! Short of getting lightning effects thrown in with the figure too (if you can’t afford the Tamashii Effects ones I highly recommend the FigureRise ones as an alternative) this Thor has pretty much everything you could want, making it a pretty appealing release even if you aren’t the biggest fan of the “fat Thor” look. The one thing I would have liked to see this figure come with is an alternate hand for Endgame Captain America so that he can hold Mjölnir properly, but why would Bandai bother to do that when they can just charge you for a whole new figure instead?

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 42

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 43S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 44S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 45

S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 46S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 47S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 48S.H. Figuarts Thor Endgame 49

S.H. Figuarts Endgame Thor might not be everyone’s ideal version of the god of thunder, but it’s undoubtedly the one offering the most bang for your buck. While the Ragnarok and Infinity War versions also great alternatives that show just how dated the Age of Ultron figure has become, this is the only one that has all of the major selling points - a more accurate sculpt, cloth cape AND both of Thor’s signature weapons. It’s a shame that Bandai couldn’t have made a few alterations to overcome the shortcomings brought about by the long hair and bigger gut, but it’s still a solid addition to anyone’s Marvel Cinematic Universe display.

1 comment:

M said...

Thor in Endgame looked like a Dwarf of The Lord of the Rings!