Saturday, April 14, 2012
The Avengers: 3.75" Gamma Smash Hulk!
The first time I saw him on the pegs, I also felt he looked a little fat and not at all gamma en-muscled. The price of S$19.90 was also S$3 up from the Iron Man 2 figures and equal to the retail on marvel Universe stuff. Both of those lines have way superior articulation. So it was an easy pass the first time round.
But then I saw less of him on shelves and I kinda started to dig the green. I guess gamma radiation can have that sort of effect. But still, I balked at the price. All the various department stores that had store-wide 20% discounts kept the Avengers stuff at nett price. The sly dogs. Still, I passed.
Then on making a long overdue visit to Toyrealm in China Square Central, I finally relented. There was one more Hulk left on the shelf and I felt that if I we to pay retail for this guy, then I'd want to give my money to the nice guy (Vincent) who owns the speciality store. And guess what? He gave me a couple bucks off each of the Jolly Green Giant and the Battle Hammer Thor I also picked up!
Needless to say I was now really up for the new plastic crack and busted them wide open the minute I got home. And while I didn't expect to be blown away, which I wasn't, I guess I can't say I was totally disappointed.
Like: The Gamma Smash action feature! Usually action features get in the way of a figure's articulation but in this case, it doesn't at all. The spring-loaded shoulders are linked but they can swivel separately. The swivels are ratcheted, while the hinges allow great arm movement from close to his chest to straight out to the sides.
Like: The ab crunch hinge. All of the other Avengers figures don't have this except for the re-issued move Thor in helmet, which has a chest pivot. Hulk's ab crunch is tight enough for posing and loose enough so that he'll also crunch forward when using his Gamma Smash feature.
Dislike: No wrist and ankles! Here's where the figure suffers. Though Hulk does have an action feature, would it have cost so much more to give him some wrist swivels and swivel/hinge ankles? Heck, I'd even settle for just swivels at both the wrist and ankles.
Also missing is his ball head movement, which is restricted to just a swivel.
Like: The overall finish of his skin. His deep green is matte and kind of soothing, for some reason. Lol. The paint on Hulk's face is well done but the eyes could be better--most of the figures I've seen tend to look upwards a lot. The pink dash they use to detail the teeth in his mouth is a little overdone as well and spills onto the teeth quite a bit, making him look more stoned than mad. If they'd just left the inside of the mouth completely white it'd looked more menacing, which was probably what the look they were going for.
Like: That he actually looks like the Mark Ruffalo Hulk. Movie makers have done a good job on making Hulks in CG look like their real life counterparts. And Hasbro has done well to translate the look on to the toys too.
Dislike: The thick waist. It looks fine from the front by from the side it's a not very pleasing. I know they wanna make the CG Hulk on screen look like the actor, but did they really have to do it in the waist? Mark Ruffalo is a chunky sorta fella in his middle age but Hulk doesn't have to be! And neither does his toy!
Dislike: The weird way his legs look when you manipulate the leg and knee joints so he can balance. The strange way they sculpted the torn pants as the end of his thigh and top of his knee adds to the weirdness. Also, the dun coloured hinge joint doesn't help this cause.
Aesthetics: 7/10 - Not bad overall. I like the head sculpt and the deep green skin tone but from there I'm not so sure. Hulk should always be so muscular he looks like he's gonna burst, but here he looks rather soft. He just looks puny next to the Marvel Legends Hulks!
I'm also not a fan of the thick waist/giant crotch combo. I just hope he doesn't look like this the movie!
Poseability: 6/10 - While Hulk's total count of 18 points of articulation doesn't seem too low, anything below 20 nowadays means he's gotta be missing some key PoAs.
Despite not having ankle and wrist articulation, the missing joint that actually limits his poses the most is a waist swivel. Most figures at this scale get by the problem with a chest pivot, which serves as a 2-in-1 solution. But I guess they only felt an ab crunch was needed, especially since it enhances the Gamma Smash action.
Fun: 7/10 - As much as the movie Avengers 3.75" Hulk is flawed, it's still the Hulk. He's big, green, strong and dumb--everything we want to be when scalpers get their grubby hands on shortpacked stuff and jack up prices. Lol.
Though he may not be as fun to pose and is kinda small compared to other Hulks of the same scale, he does have a great action feature, if that's your sort of thing. It was definitely mine--when I was 8 and unleashing the double-fisted spring-load action on my little brother was fun because he could never catch me to exact revenge.
Value: 6/10 - Hulk comes with his Gamma Smash action and little else! And it's not like he's has an extraordinarily bulky sculpt or super articulation. Quite likely, the action feature has taken up most of the production budget for this figure. Either that or they were looking to maximize profits by cutting costs. Whichever it may be, it's ended up in a much poorer figure. It's a real shame because it's a good sculpt with potential to be so much better.
Overall: 6.5/10 - Above average but with obvious flaws - Being "Gamma Smash" Hulk, let's hope the movie and the toys do so well that they'll give us another, more articulated, more Hulked-up Hulk. Let's face it, this version is definitely for the kids, and seeing that Captain America, Thor and Iron Man all have 3 versions in the opening two waves of figures, there's gotta be one more slot for a Hulk.
Moreover, a movie Hawkeye, a Black Widow, and a Nick Fury have yet to be released, so chances are high. Let's just hope they don't cut corners on all these figures, else we'll have ourselves yet another Hulk, and a whole bunch of other figures, with wasted potential.