Monday, August 13, 2012

[Acquisitions] Funko Pop! Avengers Bobbleheads

The Avengers live-action movie might have jacked up my obsession with the team to unprecedented heights but the 1:18 action figures which Hasbro produced definitely didn't measure up to my standards. Hasbro made up for that lackluster showing by rolling out some fantastic 1:18 vehicles but they didn't stop there, they also brought their A-game in dishing out an amazing (though incomplete) line-up of Mini Muggs figs. I've also heard through the grapevine that their 1:12 offerings have been pretty surprising too but sadly, with my meager income, I simply can't afford to get those bad boys. Running out of (Hasbro-produced) options to satisfy my Avengers cravings, I decided to look elsewhere and found these Funko Pop! cuties and now, I'm hooked!

These Funko Pop! vinyl bobbleheads and figures have really taken the toy collecting world by storm and for good reason! They're cute, catchy, and cheap (ummm, maybe 'affordable' would have been the more appropriate word to use). They're also very well-made and highly-detailed. They're uniform in size and they offer a very vast collection of characters to choose from. What's there not to love? Fortunately, the Marvel license is among the wide array of licences that Funko has and the company's making the most out of it by releasing not only comic figures but movie figures as well. So, here they are, the Funko Pop! Avengers bobbleheads! Come on, let's take a closer look at each and every one of them!

Okay, let's start with the simplest figure among the bunch and that would undoubtedly be The Hulk. This fig actually shares its entire sculpt with the comic version Hulk but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it actually makes sense since both figures depict the same character, just different versions of it. The sculpting on this figure is quite minimal but that's also understandable, it's not as if the guy's wearing an elaborate costume or something. There are grooves on the figure's hair, and to emphasize that this is one angry dude, The Hulk gets two things that the rest of the Avengers don't: eyebrows and a mouth (an open one at that). The fig's body is muscular but there are no bulging veins present. Funko Pop! Hulk is wearing a ripped pair of tan pants and the shade of green used for the fig's skin looks pretty close to the shade sported by the source material. Overall, this is a good figure and my only gripe about it is that it's of the same size as the other figures. I wish it was significantly bigger but that's just not the case here.

Next, we have Nick Fury. It's another modest figure but unlike Hulk, it's simplicity can actually be attributed to the paint scheme, not to the sculpt itself. Marvel Cinematic Universe Nick Fury is a bald black dude with a bunch of scars, an eye patch, and a Van Dyke beard and the head sculpt of this figure captures all of those details perfectly. The fig doesn't resemble Samuel L. Jackson a whole lot but let's admit it, it's hard to capture anyone's likeness while utilizing this style. Nick's wearing an all-black get-up here but to make things less monotonous, the coat and the boots are glossy while the shirt and the pants are flat. The coat's collar is not as prominent as we're accustomed to but that's not really  a deal-breaker. Also, the box art portrays Director Fury to have a brow above the right eye but the toy doesn't have any. Again, that's not a major issue but any additional details would have helped this figure exponentially because to be quite honest, it's severely lacking in that department. All things considered, this one's still a good figure but it definitely could have been better.

Moving on, we have the Mjolnir-wielding son of Odin, Thor. This fig's probably the second best bobblehead among this crew and that's because it's the polar opposite of the Nick Fury fig. Nope, I'm not talking about the skin tone and the hair so please let's not get into that kind of discussion. What I'm trying to say is that this little God of Thunder here is loaded with details, and it's not short on paint apps either! This Thor fig has such an adorable face but the shoulder-length light brown hair and the matching short boxed beard make sure that the fig looks nothing like Goldilocks. The armor features a lot of intricate details especially on the torso and those details are not just painted on, they're actually sculpted. Thor's got the signature flowing red cape (complete with creases) and the trusty Mjolnir (minus its handstrap) to complete the look and both things are done in their proper colors. Neither the hammer (part of the right hand sculpt) nor the cape (glued to the fig's shoulders and back) is removable, though. Funko didn't cheap out in sculpting and painting this bad boy and to me, that makes this fig worth way more than its retail price of 550 bucks (about 13 USD). Funko Pop! Thor is nothing short of a great figure and it's definitely worth the purchase!

Today's fourth Avenger is none other than the First Avenger himself, Captain America. You may think that's ironic but fret not because even though I'm using the fourth spot to cover this figure, Funko Pop! Cap to me is arguably this set's best bet. You all know that I'm a bit biased towards Iron Man but I have to set my preferences aside and admit that this fig really deserves the crown, hands down. One look at it and you know it, no figure from this quintet calls your attention more than this cute Cap figure does. It's hard to credit one particular aspect of this bad boy for its appeal because every little thing here adds to the figure's mystique. It's filled with sculpted details from head to boots and its paint scheme makes the fig stand out from the rest. I love the shade of blue that the guys at Funko chose to use on the fig, it's not too bright and it makes a world of difference in keeping the fig away from looking toyish and cartoony (I'm looking at you, 1:18 movie Cap from Hasbro). Simply put, Funko Pop! Cap is like the prototype of what a superhero bobblehead should look like. Yes, it's that good.

Steve Rogers may have the best fig but Tony Stark's still my man. It's not that easy to set aside more than a decade's worth of idolatry, right? So, rounding this set off is my fave Funko Pop! figure so far, the Iron Man Mark VII armor (as if that's not yet a given). Okay, this one's definitely not the eye candy that the Captain America figure is but sculpt-wise, the Armored Avenger puts the First Avenger (and everybody else, for that matter) to shame. You want sculpted details? This fig's oozing with sculpted details, whichever way you look at it. It's like sculpted technological details upon sculpted technological details! To be quite honest, I didn't even bother to check whether the design is movie-accurate or not because I'm really captivated by the stellar craftsmanship on display here. Unfortunately, Funko Pop! Iron Man doesn't get a lot of paint apps to complement its amazing sculpt. The fig is molded in red plastic and that basically is what to be expected from an Iron Man figure. Gold and silver paint apps are located where they are supposed to be except for a couple of missing silver apps on the front of the "humps" on Iron Man's collar. Those silver parts are one of the most notable distinguishing features of the Mark VII armor and it's a bummer that they're not present here. Still, those omissions are pretty minor and they're not enough to bring this mighty figure down. Now, when are the other movie armors getting the Funko Pop! treatment?

So, there goes the big five! It's really unfortunate that Funko decided to leave Hawkeye and Black Widow out of their Pop! Avengers line-up despite having played important roles in the team's initial conquest. It becomes more of a travesty imagining how well those two could have turned out in Pop! form, taking into consideration how fantastic the rest of the crew came out to be. I think it's pretty clear that these toys aren't targeted towards kids and I simply don't get the logic behind excluding the two even though the potential market demands for their inclusion. The figures are superb, no doubt, but not getting the chance to complete the roster has negative implications on this set. Yes, all five figures are good but seven should have been the magic number.

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