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Toy Biz – X-Men Classics Air-Strike Wolverine


Editor’s Note: In honor of the release of the new The Wolverine movie this Friday (7/26) we will be featuring the kooky Canadian quite a bit up until that time. There are so many Wolverine action figures out there that we will probably not be able to get to everything, but you should have your adamantium fix by week’s end.

Airstrike Wolverine is one of the Wolverine figures that was released as part of the short-lived X-Men Classics line. These figures were a complementary line to Marvel Legends and often featured repaints or figures that couldn’t get slated into Marvel Legends but could be sold as a side line. They featured the same great level of paint and usually had the same articulation and sculpting, but they often featured an action feature, like spring-activated arms or a light-up arm or something that collectors would bitch about.

Fwoosh is featuring some Wolverine figures this month in honor of the upcoming movie The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman. We’ll be taking a look at Marvel Legends, Classics, and at least one other that doesn’t fit into the Classics or Marvel category. As many remember, when Jackman was given the role of Wolverine in the X-Men movies there was huge fan outrage, as Jackman stands a whopping 6’2″, which is like a foot taller than Wolverine in the comics. Jackman is more Cyclops’ size than Wolverine. It was like the world was coming to end! Toy Biz followed suit by releasing some Wolverine figures that, in action figure terms, were, well… too tall. They were over 6-inches tall, matching the Jackman 1/12 scale. The collector rage almost broke the Internet again (have you noticed how many times collector rage kills he Internet?) as collectors made their arguments as to why their Wolverine was too tall!

It doesn’t matter. See, what Toy Biz did was really cool; they released three of the coolest designs I’ve come across as toys: Ninja wolverine, Airstrke Wolverine, and Stealth Wolverine. These were really cool concepts and definitely worth every penny spent to design them and produce them. Even the head sculpts were awesome. My memory runs dry here, but I think they were all based on work by known artists at the time, like Airstrike might be a Frank Quitely-inspired version.

Airstrike Wolverine is sporting the one costume that I can trace back to a comic; he’s wearing the House of M S.H.I.E.L.D outfit. These were pretty cool costumes, a bit on the steampunk side of things, but definitely cool. And the toy version turned out well, the costumes do look sharp and the sculpting on them is damn good. They look like variations of Marvel Legends Black Panther sculpted by Dave Cortez. One of the complaints about the sculpt is the long legs and short legs, and there are some factors to that. The balls hips are obnoxiously huge for the figure. I can’t figure out if it is the hips or the waist, but there is a fault there and the hips get the blame. The other factor is the lower legs are incredibly long. Like, super long. Super duper long. While sticking to heroic proportions, they probably take it a bit too far resulting in a figure with really long legs.

The rest of the sculpt is good. I love the head sculpt, I love all three of the head sculpts in this line. They are really well done and fine examples of what Toy Biz was capable of pulling off.

The articulation is all there and there is no action features messing it up, just good solid articulation. In fact, I think the ankle rockers are some of the best on a Marvel Legends; they have great lateral and medial rotation. And they are stable. They hold their positions and weight — really great joints. The other joints are OK, but I noticed during the photo shoot that the ab-joint is stuck, so I’ll have to give him some freezer time as I find pouring water over a figure’s abs and putting him in the freezer is what works best. Here’s a breakdown of the joints:

hinged toe
rocker ankle
hinge ankles
double jointed knees
ball jointed hips
swivel waist
hinged abs
rocker shoulders
ball shoulders
bicep swivel
double jointed elbows
wrist swivel
hinged fingers
hinged neck
swivel head

The paint is wonderful on this figure, and, of course, it is from the golden age of prototype paint making it to the factory-produced figure. I couldn’t find confirmation, but this looks to be another Ed Wires paint rendition. I referenced his Facebook page, but couldn’t find this piece listed. Going through his Facebook page makes me appreciate everything he worked on. The man was a beast of a prototype painter and his body of work is marvelous. The fact that so many of his prototype paint works ended up looking realy good on the final product is really a testament to the high standards that Toy Biz had at the time.

Airstrike Wolverine has tons of play value. He comes with two guns (one is lost in a box somewhere) and a backpack. Now, this is where I come in spreading some Microman/Micronauts love as this backpack looks incredibly like Space Glider’s backpack. You know, fold-out wings with little jetpacks on them. In fact, one of the only reasons I bought this figure was for the backpack and the headsculpt. I was going to customize a Commander Rann doing a simple head swap on Stealth Wolverine and slapping this backpack on him. Instant Micron! And in 1/1 scale!

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