One of the exciting things about Hasbro’s relaunch of the 6” Marvel Legends figure line has been their introduction of new “base bodies” to the line. Sure, in the first wave we got Klaw on that strange, old sculpt, and they seem to be sticking with another less-than-glorious older body for characters like Daken and Protector — but even there they’ve tweaked it a bit to smooth over some of its faults. Mostly though, we’re being introduced to a new library of sculpts like the ones used for Archangel, Hyperion, She Hulk, The Wrecking Crew, and Terrax (not to mention great one-offs like Arnim Zola and Hit Monkey). The announced, but yet-to-be-revealed new female sculpt proves very promising as well.
In addition to the aforementioned Archangel, the next wave of Legends will include a new Hawkeye and a new Black Panther using much of this new tooling. I suspect I’m not the only one excited at the prospect of “upgrading” my old versions of these guys with the new and improved ones. And that’s gotten me thinking… Usually I’m among the vast majority that wants to see totally new characters added to the collection before repaints or “do-overs” of characters we already have. But some of those figures are nearly a decade old, and while they may have been really great at the time, they haven’t necessarily aged well. And, let’s be honest, some of them were less than stellar even when they were new. So I’m ready to see some more “redos” folded into the mix of character offerings from Marvel Legends.
So which characters are in most dire need for a plastic face-lift? For this list, I’m not only taking into how account how poorly executed an old figure may have been, but how easily a redo could be made using the new tools. For instance, Toad has been crying out for a new figure for many years, but none of the new tooling is really useful for that character. I’ve also considered the character’s profile within the Marvel Universe; getting a new Taskmaster might be cool, but he’s not exactly the most essential character in my collection. With all that thrown into the mix, here’s my top ten candidates for Marvel Legends do-overs:
Vision has been done twice in the line — once by Toy Biz and once by Hasbro — so he may not seem like a great candidate for yet another figure. But each of those previous figures is fairly lacking. The “Mr. Fantastic” body used by the original figure is sorely out of date and usually held up by haters as an example of Toy Biz’s “marionette” figures. The Hasbro one isn’t much better, using the same body as the more recent Klaw — a sculpt unloved by most collectors for its odd scale and articulation. The new sculpt used for the current Archangel figure seems tailor-made for a new Vision figure. And revisiting him provides the opportunity for an interesting paint variant of one of his many other comic looks.
While the Thor from the Wal-Mart exclusive Giant Man Series in 2006 isn’t awful, he sure didn’t come out looking like the prototype pictured here, did he? It’s been six years now since we’ve gotten this high profile character in his classic comic duds and with the introduction of the new body used for Hyperion/Sentry, I think the time is ripe for a brand new God of Thunder. This seems like such a no-brainer that I’d be really surprised if Hasbro’s team doesn’t already have him on the drawing board.
There are a ton of characters that would make good use of the new “Archangel” body, but I can’t think of one that would benefit from it more than Daredevil. Daredevil has had a number of figures, and some of them aren’t too bad, but they’ve never “nailed” him the way they could using this new sculpt. Probably the best looking DD figure to this point is the 2009 effort by Hasbro. But the articulation on that body is very wonky, and Daredevil is a character screaming for articulation. The possibility exists now for a beautiful and functional DD to put the previous ones to shame.
Remember him? One of the bedrock characters of the Marvel Universe? His first 6” figure came out almost ten years ago, and boy it shows. It reused the original black costume Spider-Man sculpt that features those pronounced shoulder-balls and strange thoracic articulation. It’s another example of a sculpt that seemed all right at the time, but judged by current standards, it tends to fade. There was an “update” of Iceman in the X-Men Classics line, but it was merely a repaint of the old Silver Surfer sculpt, which was far from ideal itself. Also, that figure was somewhat difficult to find. Good old Bobby Drake is overdue for a new figure, and just imagine how well he could be rendered now. Using that “Archangel” body would require almost zero new tooling, which could open up resources for a detailed paint mask. Maybe a translucent figure with multiple white/blue oversprays? There’d be lots of room to get imaginative and produce a slick, definitive version of this staple character.
Back in 2006, we were all excited to finally add the Mandarin to our collections. After all, this is Iron Man’s #1 arch enemy, and we’d been waiting a good five years. Sadly, what we got was a head and pair of hands effectively mounted on a static, rubbery robe. Hey — I don’t mean to knock Toy Biz; at the time, they were trying to get out as much product as possible before the license hand over, and that’s what was possible. But Hasbro can do better now. With the spotlight on the Mandarin in the latest Iron Man movie, maybe now is the time to revisit him. He could use the reworked Protector body with various part swaps, decos, and add-ons, depending on which comic design they go with. The current Hasbro design team has had a good track record in that department, and let’s face it: the bar for improving this character isn’t that high.
This article isn’t really about clamoring for new costume versions of characters we’ve already gotten. That’s a wish list for another day. This is really about characters that need a new figure based on their outdated and/or generally lacking sculpt or design. That said, even though the only 6” Storm figure we have ever gotten (other than a repainted version in a sister line) isn’t all that bad — even by today’s standards — we have never gotten Storm in her most iconic-looking costume in all this time. I realize female characters are difficult sellers, but Storm is one of the two or three most known and loved female characters in the Marvel Universe (if not #1). Surely it’s time to give her another shot. After all, even if you’re happy with the one we have, it is almost ten years old.
He’s one of Marvel’s top three villains of all time and he’s only had one figure produced in the line (non-comic designs in sister lines, notwithstanding), and you have to go back ten years for that one. It would probably be time to revisit Magnus even if the original figure didn’t reuse an Iron Man body. Some might say it’s too muscular, but I’d go with the new Archangel body for Magneto — with appropriate new deco, of course. Back when Hasbro took over the Marvel license, they toyed with a new Magneto — going so far as to add him to a “most wanted” poll back in 2007. I think now is the time to finally get him done right.
3. Red Skull
Another of Marvel’s big-three villains, and surprisingly he has NEVER had a standard release, single-carded figure. The first Skull was a highly sought after chase figure back in 2003, but looking back, that figure used an odd hodgepodge of parts and boasted a comparatively low number of POAs. The only other 6” Skull figure we ever saw was from the two-packs back in 2006, and that figure design was based on an armored costume that the Skull wore in a single comic book story. I don’t think there can be any argument that the Red Skull is a high profile enough villain to merit a single-carded, mass retail do-over. Depending on the costume design they opt for, there are any number of existing parts they could use that would represent an improvement on the old figures. Personally, I would leverage most of the sculpt from the WWII Ultimate Captain America to render Red Skull in his classic, combat fatigues. A Cosmic Cube would be an inexpensive and very cool accessory too, would it not?
2. The Fantastic Four
I know. I’m cheating here; this is four characters. But, truthfully, they all need to be revisited, and in a way that the sculpt and design of each figure supports the others. These four have gotten many figures over the years, from both Toy Biz and Hasbro, but none of them have really gotten a great, “definitive” version — let alone versions that work together as a cohesive team. Probably the best Mr. Fantastic is the stretched-out version from the FF Legends wave — but if you want a standard, non-stretched Reed, you’ll be stuck with the old Toy Biz “marionette.” Johnny has had more versions than I can cover here, and among the better ones are the flamed-on versions from either the movie line or Hasbro’s Ares Series. But even those have their flaws. There has yet to be an un-flamed Johnny that truly fits in with any of his teammates. The Thing has been rendered in a variety of ways, some of which aren’t half bad. But anybody hankering for a classic Kirby/Romita/Byrne-type Grimm with up-to-date design and fabrication will find themselves at sea. Invisible Woman has probably fared the worst — her best version (from the FF Classics line) is invisible. What does that say? Reed, Sue, and Johnny could be done well with Hasbro’s newer bodies, and while the Thing might be a challenge with his inherently one-off, highly detailed sculpt, maybe he’d be a candidate for a build-a-figure in a wave featuring his teammates?
1. Scarlet Witch
Everybody knows the story here. When this figure came out looking… something less appealing than the prototype, the Toy Biz team threw the factory under the bus and admitted they were disappointed with the final figure. So trust me — they know Wanda needs an apology figure. Seven years later, the time for that figure is now. Last year the Legends design team showed a digital rendering for a brand new female body sculpt that they will be introducing into the line with a Moonstone figure. If this sculpt comes out as well as it looked on the digital canvas, it will be a boon for female characters like Scarlet Witch. Do I smell a new Vision and Scarlet Witch two pack?!
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