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Captain America: The First Avenger
Hydra Soldier
4-inch scale
By: Hasbro
$9.99-$14.99 retail

We’re already in June now, and the summer blockbusters are just around the corner. One movie I’m especially excited about is Captain America. I’ve never had a huge affinity for the character, except when Kurt Busiek or Ed Brubaker writes him. I actually got a lot more into Millar’s Ultimates, but that was likely just because it didn’t require any sort of knowledge of the history of the character. That being said, pretty much any Marvel fan knows a little something about Hydra.

So far, the Captain America line from Hasbro has been a little hit and miss with some pretty decent sculpts, some odd articulation choices, and in many cases downright terrible paint jobs. The Hydra soldier is from Series 2 of the Deluxe Mission packs, which I have been able to avoid til now. It seems so far that this is the only way to acquire one of the movie-verse Hydra soldiers. Does he differentiate himself from the other Cap figures or are we looking at a shield smash to the throat of our collections? Let’s take a look.

Aesthetics:


Meh. I can’t really make up my mind about him. I think this is one of those cases where the outfit doesn’t look quite as good on a 4” toy as it will on-screen. I mean, he doesn’t look particularly bad, and doesn’t seem to lack any necessary details… meh. He looks cool. I mean he does. Honest. But the paint apps really let the guy down.


Without the vest, the guy is a massacre. Whether the vest is on or off, his back is much more interesting than his front, featuring sculpted details that liven up a pretty standard olive drab jumpsuit. Maybe with some more of his buddies around he might look better, but as-is he’s just pretty lackluster. A wash or some more painted details would have done a lot for the sculpt, which despite being a little bland does have that barrel-chested tough guy look indicative of the film’s era.


He’s got a nice application of the Hydra symbol on the sides of his dome, but most of his paint details are just on the obvious stuff like boots or gloves. If you took off his vest and guns and put him in a Dollar General most people wouldn’t bat an eye. Jon would find them for a miraculous deal that had the cashier giving him forty-five cents apiece and a hug. Now that’s value.

Olive Drab makes sense for the character and will work well for the era, but you gotta admit that the original 13 GI Joes look pretty boring next to their next generation comrades. He’s got some pockets and such that could just have used a little definition. Molded plastic isn’t the best thing for OD Green this season.


The weapons are nicely detailed and fit over the wrists without issue. There’s no clear indication of whether both sets of missiles are supposed to be flame or if the blue is supposed to be water or ice. The blue is far more attractive than the fire, though, which takes a nice fireball effect and sort of flattens it out in a way that I have never seen fire move. Maybe the crew of the Event Horizon can tell me more about fire physics, but to me it just looks off.


As I said, the details on his back make for a really interesting look, but again, the paint lets him down. Maybe silver on the turbine blades or some scorch marks from the heat would have livened up the look, but alas!

All in all, he’s not bad to look at when he’s all geared up. I daresay he looks cool, just perhaps under-detailed in sculpt and paint alike. It could be that I’m spoiled by the likes of Marvel U and Pursuit of Cobra who are crushing the 4” scale these days, but being that it’s the same company I do kind of expect more from Hasbro.

Articulation:
Dang it, dang it, dang it. Always with the articulation!


Can somebody please explain what is happening with the movie licenses at Hasbro right now and why they can’t all just agree on an articulation scheme and run with it? Let’s count ‘em: He has what I assume is a ball and socket neck, but like most of the Cap figures so far they left no clearance on the head sculpt so it operates far more like a swivel. We go next to the swivel-hinged shoulders and elbows which both work very well and aren’t terrible hindered by the soft armor.


Continuing down, he’s got that really stupid swivel hinge hip that likes to get locked up because it’s so tight and connects to the pelvis in a V-shape rather than the incredibly simple T that used to work for early Marvel Legends. I find that joint really hard to work with and wish everybody at Hasbro would just switch to the much more efficient GI-Joe style ball hip that Marvel U adopted and works so well. The current Mattel WWE figures sport that same ball and they have some of the best mass-market articulation available. Swivel upper thighs and swivel-hinged knees round out the package.


That’s it. No wrist, torso, waist, or ankle articulation at all. That’s 11 total points of articulation. That’s not awful for a 4-inch toy. Not at all. But to put it in perspective, this same company just released Cable from the Marvel U line, which sports somewhere in the vicinity of 24 joints. This is a Deluxe figure. To me, “deluxe” has always signified something really special, i.e. a regular toy that’s been boosted up some way, but here we have a figure whose articulation is inferior to its basic counterparts. He’s a big figure, but so is Series 2 Crossbones, and he features all the regular articulation of a Marvel U figure.


I had to lean him back this far to balance without a stand.

With the size of the figure and the weight of the weapons, he desperately needs ankle joints to help balance him. Without his flame accessories, he’s much easier to balance, but if you remove those then what are you paying the extra 2-7 dollars for? Maybe I’m more of the relaxed toy collector, but I am totally okay with using existing molds to make something that looks “pretty accurate” if it means the figure can be played with as opposed to new tooling for accuracy that restricts the articulation and therefore enjoyment of a toy. I’m looking at you, Clone Wars Jedi figures.

However, all that being said, he is still far more articulated than most 4” figures available now, though that is changing very quickly as companies like Bandai and Unimax start to nip at Hasbro’s heels. Mattel checked out of the race altogether with their GL 4” line.

Value:
This one’s a tough call. As much as I bag on the figure, he’s still really cool. The guns are good old fashioned spring loaded fun that shoot their missiles pretty far, the armor is well detailed and looks good on him, and in general I do think he would make a good army-builder.


Except for the price tag, that is. I got this for 9.99, but most stores are stocking them from 12.99 to 14.99. At the higher price I absolutely cannot recommend this figure. GI Joes right now are coming with just as many accessories (if not more) with far more articulation and are considered “basic” figures. Some are even coming with spring loaded weapons and still maintain the 8 dollar price point we’ve all learned to accept.

For the life of me, I can’t figure out why this guy would be worth 10 bucks. If his articulation was on par with what we’re seeing from the basic Cap figures, I might be able to swallow it a little easier. As he stands now, I’m not sure he’s worth your time. It may prove that the movie shows this as some sort of really special Hydra trooper, but he probably still won’t be worth your extra 2 bucks.

Score Recap:
Aesthetics: 6
Articulation: 6
Value: 3
Overall: 5

The trick with this one is that, like Thor, we don’t really know where the line will end up. We’re due some Hydra figures in series 3 of the basic line which would likely be better articulated and painted, but I have yet to see a Sif or Destroyer or the like at retail. I would say if you have to have a movie Hydra trooper, pick up just one of the Deluxes. Do not army build this guy. He’s really really really not worth it, especially at the higher price points of TRU or Wal-Mart. Target has them for 9.99. Keep an eye out, but don’t burn a lot of gas. Is he cool? Yeah, he is, but I can’t help but think that toys used to be around a dollar per inch of awesome. 10 to 15 bucks for a 4 inch toy? Psh, naaaah. Check your inner Vancouver and keep a cool head on this one.


Thanks for reading and as always, it’s just a toy. Open the darned thing.

5 Responses to Figure Review: Captain America Deluxe Hydra Soldier

  • One of the questions I asked Hasbro in a Q&A with them which they rejected (jerks) was why the Deluxe figures actually have less articulation. It's kind of strange.

    I like the way the figure looks for some reason. He looks like he should be on Battlestar Galactica (the old one) or something. Although that face mask almost looks like the gimp.

  • Bill White says:

    Hasbro is really wacky when it comes to articulation. One line has great articulation, another doesn't. I still can't understand why all their various departments can't get on the same page! I'd also love to see them answer Newt's question.

    Thanks for this review though, Wes. I was very interested in this figure, but after your review, I think I'll pass. Not that I'll ever see it for sale. The stores in my area have pegs crammed with Captain America variants and nothing else.

    That's another thing Hasbro is "wacky" about: Figure allotment per case. Only ONE Red Skull per case?! Really?

    Thinking about this stuff makes me feel crazy- and foolish. I need a lie-down.

  • wesitron says:

    Yeah, I kept contradicting myself while writing it. He's a really cool figure, I just think he's probably under-developed for a Hasbro toy and a little too expensive. If it was made by someone else, I probably would have cut him more slack. Still, they're going to look pretty sweet in the film I think.

  • wesitron says:

    Future assortments appear to be re-issuing several of the lower count characters so if the line has to retail power to continue there should be plenty of Red Skulls and Hydras for everyone, but we collectors tend to buy up entire waves when we find them and then the store restocks boxes worth of those same figures before the movie is even out in most cases while we complain that nothing new is on the shelf. I think I do this for about every Hasbro movie brand from TF to Marvel to GI Joe. Vicious Cycle 🙂

    My favorite set so far has been the International Patriots or Heroes or whatever. I would love to see this line end up representing all the different national heroes from around the world. They've got Britain, America, and Russia all covered, but what about everybody else? I won't be satisfied til I have a Captain Luxembourg! 🙂

  • Horatio says:

    Can't help thinking of the Mask when I see those whacking great guns on the end of his arms. Despite that I do want a Hydra Soldier or two to join the Red Skull and Crossbones. Unfortunately like the previous poster I'm not that hopeful of seeing it on pegs given the Cap heavy nature of the earler waves. No good reissuing it in better balanced waves if they never hit because of all the main character variants hasbro seem to throw in the first wave.

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