Monday 12 April 2021

Toybox REVIEW: MAFEX Spider-Man (Miles Morales)

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Release Date: December 2020
RRP: 8580 yen

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was released all the way back at the end of 2018 and was instantly a smash hit, so it’s crazy to think that only now all of the collector-orientated toy companies are getting in on the action. Hasbro released their Marvel Legends at the end of 2020, while Sentinel have announced the first of their own figures to be released later in the year. However it was actually Medicom who were first off the mark with the announcement of multiple figures from the film for their MAFEX Miracle Action Figure line, but of course in typical MAFEX fashion it didn’t quite go according to plan. MAFEX Spider-Man (Miles Morales) was originally scheduled for release in June 2020, but that date just continued to slip back until he finally hit stores six months later. Though the first of MAFEX’s Into the Spider-Verse figures this is actually the second Miles produced for the line - following on from an adult form of his comic counterpart released back in 2019.

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There’s certainly no mistaking just what film this figure hails from, as Medicom have made sure to capture that distinct Into the Spider-Verse aesthetic on every inch of the packaging. From the use of the logos on every side to those neon colours, this is a great bit of packaging. MAFEX Miles Morales is numbered 107 in the line, which is quite amusing when you compare it to the numbers of other figures released earlier in the year as Miles was constantly delayed. The front and spines of the box each have some great images of the figure in various poses, and then you’ll find even more action shots (as well as a breakdown of just what’s included with the set) on the back. Inside you’ll find all the parts neatly laid out on a moulded clamshell tray, and the stand parts all bagged up and taped to the back.

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What immediately makes MAFEX’s Into the Spider-Verse figures stand out is their use of soft-goods clothing, which is used in addition to the standard plastic Spider-Man bodysuit underneath. Not only does it make the figures more customisable in terms of looks, but also gives them a unique aesthetic appeal as well. Miles Morales comes with his teal jacket and red hoodie combo as an upper body pieces, as well as belted grey shorts. Miles also has his Air Jordan sneakers he wears in the film, just to complete that “clothed” look. The detail on the clothing is very impressive, featuring realistic fabrics as well as other touches like elasticated cuffs. Sadly the hoodie or jacket can’t be zipped up despite having plastic zipper parts, but the hood can be raised up over the head. The shorts are held around the waist with velcro at the front. If you’re not used to soft goods clothing on figures these pieces can take a bit of getting used to, as they can seem baggy and rather unwieldy when you first mess about with them. The hoodie for example tends to bunch up a lot around the neck, which can be irritating when posing the figure looking to either side. Overall though it was a really interesting direction to go with the Spider-Verse figures, and in terms of making them eye-catching definitely paid off.

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The use of removable soft goods clothes on the figure is a particularly cool feature as it allows you to display the figure in a number of different ways, especially with the amount of alternate heads that are on offer as well. On top of the unmasked Miles head attached in-package there are also two different fully masked heads (each with a different eye expression) and another Miles head with the mask pulled over over his hair. Each pair of heads also has their own neck pieces that need to be shared between the two - one fully covered for the masked heads, and one with some bare skin of the unmasked heads. This means that on top of choosing whether you display Miles with or without clothes, you also have masked or unmasked on top of that. MAFEX have done enough Spider-Man figures by this point to nail the look of the masked head sculpts perfectly, but the pearlescent eyes on this particular variation are a nice little touch. The Miles Morales heads also look fantastic, and even though they’re both relatively neutral expressions they make the figure look like it jumped straight out of the movie.

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With the clothing completely removed it isn’t hard to see why you might fear every parts swap you do with this figure, because boy is it skinny. Medicom should absolutely be commended for their screen accuracy when it comes to this figure because the proportions to how Miles looks onscreen are superb, but said proportions certainly make him look fragile. Both the limbs and pegs connecting everything together are extremely thin, so forcing anything on this figure is a definite no. Having had previous fragility issues on MAFEX figures I was sure to heat the joints up every time I swapped parts for this gallery, and although the figure proved surprising sturdy considering its size I still wouldn’t dream of swapping the hands without it. I will say that the MAFEX line seems to have upped its game when it comes to fragility issues though, so that’s definitely a positive. Clothes removed we can see that Miles’ whole suit is covered in very fine texture detail, with an additional silver wash added to the web detailing to make it stand out all the more. The silver isn’t very neatly applied and definitely feels like it could widely vary between figures, but it kinda works with the whole graffiti art look the Into the Spider-Verse Miles suit has going on. The unmasked heads still look pretty good on the body, but the proportions feel a little bit off without all the added bulk the jacket adds to the figure.

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Looks are only half the appeal though, because if a high-end toy company hasn’t pulled off a highly articulated Spider-Man figure then what even is the point. Medicom have already produced several MAFEX Spider-Man figures they’ve got plenty of experience that this new Miles can benefit from. Altogether he includes; 
- Ball jointed head, neck, torso and waist 
- Pull down ball jointed hips 
- Swivel hinge shoulders, ankles and wrists 
- Butterfly joint shoulders 
- Double hinge elbows and knees 
- Single hinge toe sections 
That’s more than enough a Spider-Man figure at this scale needs to be a success, and with Miles’ spindly little body he’s able to pull off all manner of acrobatic poses. Rather than getting used to how joints themselves move, the tricky part with this figure is knowing them well enough that you can move the body about whilst half of them are covered up by the clothes - you wouldn’t want to inadvertently snap a joint because you can’t see if it’s being stressed after all. The only real area this could potentially be a problem is the shoulders though, and since the jacket doesn’t zip up you’re able to see exactly what you’re doing there anyway.

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If the removable clothes and alternate heads hadn’t already convinced you that this figure is loaded with accessories, then there’s plenty more to look forward to as well. On top of all that there’s also seven additional pairs of hands (giving Miles 16 different hands in total), a fully removed mask, four different pairs of feet AND five different webbing parts. If you’re familiar with any of MAFEX’s previous Spider-Man figures then a lot of this will be familiar to you, since most pieces are identical to the ones they’ve included before. One pair of hands and two pairs of feet (again allowing you to do this with or without the clothes on) have magnets fitted into them so that Miles can stick to metal surfaces. Four of the web pieces are straight webbing shots that fit around the wrist joints, with a fifth rope piece that fits inside a dedicated pair of hands. One extra touch they’ve added to Miles is that the loose mask now has a small hole in the top, so that it can peg into the dedicated hands comfortably instead of awkwardly trying to make them grip it. Of course, all this comes on top of the standard MAFEX articulated display stand, which makes in-air web-slinging poses can be done at no extra cost. All in all it’s a pretty fantastic array of accessories even if it is a little lacking when it comes to Miles originality - some shock effect parts or even a Spider-sense effect (especially in the Into the Spider-Verse aesthetic) would have been fantastic even if not strictly necessary.

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I’ve had my problems with MAFEX in the past and after the ordeal with my Comic Paint ver. Spider-Man I pre-ordered this figure with some trepidation, however MAFEX Spider-Man (Miles Morales) is a fantastic addition to the line and warmed me up to the idea of buying more considerably. Sure there are issues - the paintwork could be a little sharper, the clothes take some getting used to and the wrist joints really look like the could snap at any moment. However that latter point might just be paranoia more than anything else and when it comes to looks and poseability, Miles is a lot of fun. There are a fair few options for Into the Spider-Verse figures out there now, but you should definitely consider Medicom a viable contender for your money.

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