At a certain point, I stopped watching any new promotional material for the Black Widow film. The release date always seemed so far away and I was afraid if I saw too much more of the film, I’d completely lose interest in seeing the movie. One thing I have kept up with, however, is the toy releases and so I have the Red Guardian and Melina Vostokoff two-pack to review before this Friday’s movie release. Let’s take a look!
The box is pretty typical Marvel Legends fare, but I do like the stylized take on Red Guardian and Melina on the box art. Since it has been over a year since I last looked at the original Black Widow wave figures, I had to go back and double check to see if it is the same art for Red Guardian and it is, just flipped.
The two-pack comes with three sets of hands for Melina (grip, pistol, and fist), two sets of hands for Red Guardian (gloved and grasping), two batons, two pistols, a grappling hook, a mini-Red Guardian, a shield, and an unmasked head.
The grip hands are the perfect size for gripping the batons. The batons are a softer plastic and can fit into slots on the pack, but I think they are a little too long and sit a bit too high. You could shove them down further, but it bends them up even more. I seem to recall this same issue in the earlier Black Widow figure from the Black Widow wave, so it is a little bit disappointing to see it here again.
The pistols are pretty tiny and fit well in the holsters, but are a little fiddly in the trigger hands. The grappling hook has some nice detail to it and fairly small rope.
The shield looks like the same sculpt as the original figure, but the paint is nicer with a gun-metal metallic finish. The shield can clip on the arms or plug into the hole in the figure’s back.
Red Guardian comes with a little action figure version of himself that’s pretty darn cute. I’m sure the little Guardian is a film reference of some kind, so it will remain an interesting curiosity until Friday for me. The hands without gloves are a nice option and I kind of like the way they look with the unmasked head.
The highlight of this set for me is probably the Red Guardian portraits. I feel like these do a better job capturing the actor’s likeness (it might just be the crazy beard) and I like that they finally made the helmet they teased me with in the box art from the first release.
Both figures re-use a lot of parts from previous releases with Melina being mostly re-use from the Deluxe Black Widow and Red Guardian being mostly re-use from his figure from last year.
I think the re-use works pretty well here with some paint details helping differentiate Melina a bit from Natasha’s snow outfit and I think the paint matches what I’ve seen of The Red Guardian better here than in the previous. They did a good job using paint to replicate what looks like sculpted metal on Red Guardian’s chest star. I can definitely see actress Rachel Weiss in the portrait for Melina and you can pop and swap the head with the deluxe Black Widow if you want.
The re-use means some of the things I didn’t love about that deluxe Black Widow continue here, namely the arms don’t rest naturally at her sides and the legs don’t kick forward 90 degrees. Also the belt tends to ride up when you move the legs around. The articulation for Melina is pretty typical Marvel Legends with:
- Swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles
- Ball and socket head and mid-torso
- Double hinged knees
- Swivel thighs
- Hinged neck
The ankles are a little annoying because the hinge/swivel doesn’t have a forward facing rocker and is therefore less stable.
Red Guardian fares a little better in the articulation department and swaps out a swivel waist and ab hinge for Melina’s mid-toros wobble. He’s also got boot and bicep swivels and double hinged elbows, though those elbows don’t get much better than 90 degree bend. He’s also got a barbell ball and socket neck instead of the hinge on a ball. All of which adds up to a more stable posing and fun figure.
Overall, I like this set okay. Melina is a nice looking figure and I did finally get what I was looking for in a Red Guardian figure, though I do sort of wish I skipped the original. I suppose Red Guardian could look like his Crimson Dynamo wave figure at some point in the movie, but I kind of doubt it. I know the risk I’m taking on buying these Marvel Legends figures based on MCU concept art is the potential for an inaccurate figure, but I think I’m getting tired of the game.