Marvel Universe
3 3/4 Inch Scale
By: Hasbro

At the end of 2009 and through the early part of 2010, Marvel Universe was probably my favorite toy line on the shelves. The Marvel characters felt fresh in the 3 3/4 scale and despite some inconsistencies and weaknesses peppered throughout the line, it had a lot of charm. I was reminded of a time when ToyBiz had first started cranking out Marvel characters. Perhaps they weren’t always perfect, but they were fun.

Somewhere along the way, I lost interest. As the line arguably got better, and character choices became more obscure, I had a harder time justifying the purchases. It probably didn’t help that price has hovered closer to $8 and selection in the stores slowed to a near halt. Interestingly Thor was the last figure I reviewed, although not the last one I purchased. This newer version of Thor has been on the shelves for months, but I’ve only seen him twice. I decided to pick him up a while back and after having seen the Thor movie a week or so ago, I figured it was time to review this Marvel god.

Although I liked the Thor movie, I don’t know that I’ll pick up a movie Thor. The more modern costume here is pretty close to the movie design, so this works well enough for me. In all honesty, I’m more of a one figure of Thor kind of guy… So does this figure change that?

The Marvel Universe packaging has remained largely the same throughout it’s run, thus far. However we did get a few cosmetic changes with the addition of the H.A.M.M.E.R. storyline running throughout. As usual, the artwork on the front is striking and really helps sell the character. It’s something that DCUC as an example, is sorely lacking.

The back shows a rather unflattering picture of the figure, along with a little bio. Standard fare, but it’s inoffensive. I still think there’s some wasted space here, but a few of the other figures in the series are shown. Also, the picture of Norman Osborne is fun.

I’ve always liked the old school Thor design. One of the reasons I really loved the original comic pack Thor was because he reminded me so much of the old 5 inch ToyBiz version. I had little interest in getting this Thor at first, largely because of his squished face and modern design that I didn’t think was necessarily warranted.

Having him in hand, however, made me think twice about that. Thor has a great build here, with chunky, beefy thighs and arms that make him seem like he’s a real Viking badass. It fits in well with the character and he actually looks like he could go toe to toe with the Hulk and stand a chance. His body quickly won me over.

The head sculpt still suffers some to me. He’s got a strange grimace on his face that makes him look less like a tough guy and more like a miser. I’m seeing a little bit of Statler and Waldorf in the face, but maybe that’s just me. Thankfully the outfit is nice enough to draw your attention away from the face.

Beautifully textured and detailed, the outfit pops. Not only is the design nice and in many ways superior to the older figure, it also harkens to the same sort of vibe. So this is a modern update, but also recognizable. The paint is well done with some great dark wash throughout, however it can be a bit clumpy in areas.

I never thought the other MU Thor was goofy looking, until I put him next to this one. It’s a shame when your new figures make your old figures look bad. The cape actually stays on this Thor as well, which puts it leagues above the other Thor in terms of playability.

I played around a little bit with swapping heads on the Thors and I don’t think it’s too bad. Unfortunately, I think I like the old face better, but the new helmet more. I suppose I’ll never be truly satisfied. I think you could break these two figures apart and get the best of both and make the ultimate version of the character. Not to be confused with the “Ultimate” version.

Thanks in part to some new articulation for the MU series, this version of Thor is one of the more versatile figures in this series. Although his sculpted outfit gets in the way of some poses, the addition of thigh cuts really add a lot to him. This is surprising to me as I often find thigh cuts, well, useless.

But they work here and they work well.

The ball joint on the head is a bit restricted and I do wish there was a bit more movement in the torso joint as well. I could really see some awesome leaping with the hammer poses, if the joint could get a bit more movement. However, for the most part the articulation is fairly solid and fluid.

I found myself attracted to the idea of doing some pretty dynamic posing with this guy and I don’t think Thor is a figure that instinctively lends himself to that. I suppose in that sense, the articulation scheme has worked pretty well and is a testament to the sculpting as well. His plastic is a little rubbery, but I never felt like he was going to warp or break from posing.

Marvel Universe still hasn’t found a set of articulation that’s standard. Hasbro continues to tinker with the model and for various reasons, it doesn’t always click as well as their GI Joe toys do. However, I think this version of Thor is one of the best, in terms of meaningful articulation.

What’s Thor without Mjolnir? It’s pretty much a given that Thor will have his trusty hammer with him.

Incredibly, they didn’t reuse the old hammer sculpt. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. While this one is likely more comic accurate, it lacks the amazing hammer oath that the other one has. It’s bigger, which is nice, but the sculpt is surprisingly similar to the other one as well. I might have just preferred a larger version of the original hammer, but your mileage may vary.

One of the big additions to this series, is the stands! They are very basic, but also very nice. Each one is numbered (as are the figures) which is pretty cool as well. However, in general I find the MU numbering system confusing. If you liked the card artwork, you get it here as the back side of a small paper card.

The other part of the card is the Superhuman Registration Act bio card. This is a fun way to incorporate storyline elements but also give us the skinny on the character. As usual, we get more paper accessories, with a top secret file on Thor (which is actually a letter to Stark) and it even has a Norman Osborne Post-It note on it. Very cool! You also get a Fury Files code.

Even when Marvel Universe isn’t hitting on all cylinders, it’s hard not to appreciate the line in comparison to other 3 3/4 lines out there. With this incarnation of Thor, MU has a hit on their hands and that makes the value element even richer. Sure, I don’t like that the prices are between $7-$8, but we could be doing far worse.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 9
Paint – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Stand, Mjolnir, File Cards
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10

In a perfect world, this figure would be a couple bucks cheaper, have a better face sculpt and he’d be the only version of Thor I’d own. As it is, this is a really strong representation of the character, but definitely not perfect. If you’re looking to pick up a Thor as a substitute for the movie version, I think this MU Thor is the way to go. Although I thought I was a “one Thor” kind of guy, I’m glad that I now have two in Marvel Universe scale.

4 Responses to Figure Review: Marvel Universe Thor

  • Bill says:

    I am slooooooooowly getting sucked into this line, and I hafta agree that for the most part they're pretty great. I too, wish that the articulation was a bit more uniform across the line, and it seem that a lot of them suffer from a strange "rubbery knee" syndrome. Funny how Hasbro has such different articulation models across their various lines. You'd think all their different departments would all get on the same page. Although really, who knows what goes on behind the scenes at giant toy companies? Maybe there's a good reason for all the inconsistency.

    All in all though, great sculpts and character selection (and even, all things relative, price point), so kudos to Hasbro, and wake up, Matty!

  • Definitely. It's a fun line and I'd probably be even more head over heels, had it not dried up so bad in the middle of last year. I'm finally starting to see new figures again, so I'm down for a few more. I saw a really cool X-Men pack at TRU that I'm likely to pick up.

    As I understand it, the Hasbro Marvel and GI Joe teams are completely different teams. They can on occasion, reach across the board to help or use parts, but they don't work or share information regularly. It's kind of strange, but I guess it makes sense and fosters creativity amongst the same team. If they're always trying to help top one another in house, it means better toys.

  • wesitron says:

    I like this guy a lot. Hawkeye was my favorite til he came out, and the paint apps and new articulation made such a big difference. Right now, I'm just lucky if I can find the things. It seems like all I ever see are Iron Man figures on every peg in Kentucky. Although I do have a buddy who looks out for me and just found the new Deadpool Taskmaster and Patch Silver Samurai sets for me. Hopefully this will be a good year for the brand and they'll show up in better quantities.

    Great review!

  • Yeah I've had plenty of issues finding them as well. I'm hopeful distribution will improve.

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