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Fantastic Four Classics Series 2

Toy Biz is really cranking out the releases in their final year of making Marvel action figures and that’s sending fans into a frenzy trying to find them all before they vanish. Fantastic Four Classics Series 2 is definitely one of those lines that seems to be causing collectors more frustration than joy in tracking them down. This review covers the entire Series 2 assortment.

Sculpting

No surprise here, the two big guys, Dragon Man and Thing, really stand out in this category since there’s so much room here to cram in the detail. Dragon Man’s wings are weathered and torn; tiny creases and veins go out in every direction. Even his teeth and nails have grooves in them to show wear. Thing, is perhaps more straightforward, but it might be my appreciation for the artwork that inspired him that I enjoy so much – he looks to have truly stepped off the cover of the comic.

Kang is a bit odder to me. The face sculpt is spot on, but his torso stands out to me as awkward. First, with the large shoulder pads, there is the illusion that he has no shoulders and that his biceps are coming out of the sides of his chest. Also, where his torso meets his waist is also peculiar: it seems too slender to me. Again, it’s probably the sculpted outer shirt/vest causing my eyes to feel this way, but add in the articulation there breaking up the sculpt, and it does seem very tiny to me. It’s like he had a second, invisible belt on, further up his body, synched very tightly. Moving past this, I do like the sculpting on the boots/leggings and the wrinkles in the fabric of his outer shirt/vest.

Johnny and Sue, both being in the Ultimate blue leotards, are a bit more straightforward in sculpt. Both have about the same amount of detail and Sue is certainly one of the more feminine of the female sculpts we’ve gotten from ToyBiz over the years. I do feel that the normal and flame on heads are a bit too small on Johnny, but this is probably due to the action feature. The flames are done realistically but I was surprised they went with painted plastic rather than clear this time. Perhaps they thought the translucent flame would look awkward on an otherwise non-translucent figure? Lastly, Johnny does have four very visible screws in his back due to the action feature.

Paint

On Kang and Dragon Man, I have no complaints in the paint department. Dragon Man has great varying shades on both sides of his wings and up his tail into his back. His tongue is perhaps a bit plain, but it might be best to not have a hyper-detail one anyways. The pinkish-purple hue on Kang’s leggings and gloves appear to have a pearl like sheen to them that is very pleasing to the eye. Also, I’m grateful that his face is done in a flat, teal color, as it adds to his overall alien look.

My one complaint on Thing is that his wash, at least on my particular figure, is a bit uneven between the front and back of his chest. Thankfully, his chest looks great (as I’ll most likely just have him standing on a shelf, staring forward) but the back of his right shoulder seems to have missed almost the entire wash.

Again, I lump Johnny and Sue together due to those leotards; the difference in blues used on their suits is great and the detailing on their boots is applied cleanly. I do find fault in Johnny’s skin tone as it doesn’t match his neck. Also, his face seems a bit glossy to me. Sue ends up being the biggest offender as her eyes and lips were painted poorly and came looking like a space hooker. I look forward to seeing some Fwoosh customizers clean up the paint applications on her.

Articulation

Again, rising to the top, Dragon Man shines in the articulation department as well: ball jointed neck, shoulders, hips and wings (but not a large range of motion in the wings); swivel biceps, upper thighs and waist; single jointed articulation at the jaw, elbows, wrists, knees, ankles, and toes. He is supposed to have a bendy tail, but mine doesn’t really move much, I guess you could say it has swivel articulation at where it plugs into the back of the figure. My only gripe is that I wish he had swivel articulation at the wrist, but I’ll cope.

Kang sports very similar articulation to most Marvel Legends figures: the neck moves back and forth and can turn 180 degrees; ball jointed shoulders and hips; double jointed elbows and knees; swivel biceps, upper thighs, mid-forearms and waist (below the belt); single jointed wrists, ankles, toes and fingers on left hand; ab-crunch.

Johnny is close to Kang except where restricted by the addition of action features: his head can collapse into his chest so that a flaming head can be snapped on and his hands can be removed at the forearms to be interchanged with flaming fists. For articulation, he has: ball jointed shoulders, hips and neck (although limited motion in both of the necks); double jointed elbows and knees; swivel biceps, upper thighs, mid-forearms and waist; single jointed ankles and toes. There is no ab crunch due to the action feature and no wrist articulation on either set of removable hands.

Sue is a pleasant surprise as I’ve felt that many of the female sculpts in Marvel Legends have suffered due to over articulation, she has: limited neck movement due to hair; ball jointed shoulders; single jointed elbows, wrists, knees and ankles; swivel biceps, mid-forearms and waist; t-crotch.

Thing brings up the rear due to the action feature which incorporates squeezing his legs together for him to turn at the waist and raise his right arm as if he was throwing a punch at you. For articulation, he has: limited neck movement, possibly a ball joint but it’s hard to tell; swivel shoulders, biceps, and wrists – I don’t count his waist as it can not be actually posed; single jointed elbows, knees, ankles and toes; t-crotch.

Accessories

Both Sue and Kang come with missile launcher type weapons. Kang’s hand cannon has four blue missiles (but can only hold two at a time) that will launch about two feet away from the gun. His right hand is sculpted to hold the gun but I can’t get him to stand on his own while holding the gun. Sue’s “cannon” (not sure what it’s supposed to be) snaps on her wrist and can fire the included missile about two feet away also. She also comes with an opaque shield that snaps onto her wrist.

Thing comes with a break apart wall that is a straight rerelease of a wall that came with a movie Hulk figure. It still mentions Hulk on the newspapers sculpted onto the ground of the base. I count Johnny’s extra head and hands as part of the action feature, but if you wish you could count it as an accessory. Lastly is Dragon Man, who finally doesn’t win out in a category. You could count his tail and wings as accessories, but without them, he’d certainly look less menacing.

Value

Value will be a harder than usual category to determine in this review since many readers will not be able to find these figures at retail. Series 1 was only available nationwide at Toys R Us; it was also available at Meijers in those few states lucky enough to have that chain. Series 2 is looking to be no different, so for most readers, its online retailers or eBay that are looking like being the most likely options.

Dragon Man is the clear favorite here. Massive figure; great sculpt; solid, clean paint applications; plenty of articulation; what’s not to love? For all of these figures, I paid in the $10 range on average, but I suspect most will have to pay closer to $20 for him, but still won’t be very disappointed at that price. I know that if I had to pay much, I would be able to justify it once I opened him.

Kang, with the exception of the lack of finger articulation on his right hand, would feel right at home in a Marvel Legends clamshell. No gimmicky action feature to mar the sculpt – ToyBiz was nice enough to put that in his accessory; clean paint application; and a decent sculpt. I would pay up to $15 for him, but I’m sure many would pay more just because of their fondness of the character.

Thing, Johnny and Sue, well, I tend to lump them together in this category. I personally wouldn’t pay over retail for any of them. Sue, maybe just a dollar or two more, because she is a female and past Sue Storm figures have been a pain to find. Johnny and Thing, well with them being packed at one more of each than the other characters in the case, will probably end up being the easiest to find at retail, should a Toys R Us near you get these in stock. Speaking purely as an adult collector, Series 2 Thing is a poor follow up to the Series 1 figure and Johnny is passable to me just because of the action feature. For those of you who planned on buying him just for his head, please make note about what I said about his head size in the Sculpt section.

 

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