Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Avengers: Original Avengers 3.75" 4-Pack! (Concept Series)

As a result of a massive backlog of reviews I want to take on, I realize that not only do I have tons of unopened toys, I have tons of them in boxes.  Which ones, you ask?  Well, I have too many to name, so let's just call 'em a surprise for now.  (Yeah, ok.  I don't know myself.  Lol.)  For now, I'm determined to rid my collection of needless cardboard, so I'm hereby declaring October The Month of the Box right here on Chase Variant!  (I'm sure you wouldn't mind if the occasional carded or loose figure review slips in.  Right?  Or am I right?  Right, I'm wasting time...)

So to kick it all off, I'm gonna start with my newest boxed acquisition: The Avengers: Original Avengers 3.75" Toys R Us Exclusive 4-Pack!

I walked into one of my local TRUs last Sunday and I see this very set that I'd never seen, heard or read about it before.  So it was a very pleasant surprise when I find one of them, face down amid some non-movie Marvel Universe figure 4-packs.  Then the wife points out that that's not the only one there, because right above us on the shelf are about six or seven of them.  You can imagine my amazement when I had a good look at Loki--I'd never thought I'd see them re-use the Thor movie sculpt again!

Then I saw Iron Man--a brand new figure!--or at least a new armour.  I couldn't tell right off if it was made from older parts but it looked like a new sculpt and I dig bulky armour, so I was at least 50% in.

As for Captain America and Thor, I already have these very sculpts when they were originally released.  Both are great figures from their respective lines, so I didn't mind taking home some repaints...for now.

Yes, they look great in the box, but I hear you ask if they're just as good outside.  Well, let's find out! ;)

Secret Strike Loki

Like: Oh my God it's Superior Loki!!!  By that I mean that it's the very elusive, super-expensive-even-if-you-do-find-him Loki!  And by that I mean he's a repaint of the Thor movie series 3.75" King Loki, who has all the points of articulation that we've come to love from Marvel figures of this scale.  Compared to the recent incarnation of The Avengers Cosmic Spear Loki, "Secret Strike" Loki here (not to be confused with this Secret Strike Loki) is a dream.  And he's a dream come true because I'd never thought they would re-use this excellent buck!  Bravo, Hasbro!

Like: His metallic green armour and helmet.  It's a very light green, which matches nicely with the green of his clothes.  I also love that they chose this colour scheme for him.  It's a very "green with envy" look.  And for those of you who are also A Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire fans, he's very "Renly Bartheon" in colour.

Dislike: The green of his cloak.  It's a little bright and flat next to his shiny light green armour and the green of his sleeves and pants.  They've got the right idea trying to get all his cloth parts to be the same green, but somehow his cloak turned out looking just a little too bright.  It's a minor thing, but somehow I noticed it the first time I saw the figure!

Like: The head sculpt.  This one's way better than the Avengers movie one by far--it's got Tom Hiddleston's sharp nose, his thin lips, and the sleek, almost almond-shaped helmet (from the side).  The best part of the head sculpt for me is the expression.  Loki may not be smiling, enraged, or frowning, but he does look annoyed.  He's also got this mild look of contempt in his eyes--that's probably more down to the paint but it works--it'svery movie Loki!

Dislike: That they gave him the two throwing daggers of the original Secret Strike Loki from the Thor movie series.  This guy deserves at least a sceptre, if not his full staff.  He just looks kinda cheesy dressed up so regally and wielding?  ...A couple of teeny-weeny daggers.

Like: That they attempted a very subtle repaint for this guy.  It's different enough that you could choose which colour scheme you prefer, assuming you had access to the Thor movie King Loki at the same time.  But it's also similar enough that all of us who missed out on the original King Loki will be more than happy with this repaint.

Like: That this is very much a collector's set/one for the fans, otherwise, they wouldn't have bothered with including three of the best bucks from across the movie series toys and included a brand-spankin' new Iron Man!  That they chose Superior Loki for the set instead of another Hulk or anyone else is a real nod to the fans like us!

Arctic Armor Iron Man

Like: The brand new sculpt.  Awww, Hasbro.  You didn't really have to.  But we'll take it anyway!  Seriously though, they've got so many bucks for Iron Man in this scale that they can just mix around some parts and/or slap on some new paint and we'd bite.  But the 'Bro went out of the way to do something special.  I definitely appreciate the gesture!

Like: The big-ass shoulder guards, hands, legs, and feet.  While not quite the size of the IM2 Hulkbuster Armour or the Proving Ground Hulkbuster, this suit is still larger than the standard sized Iron Men for sure.  If Tony Stark had labels for his armour size like we had t-shirt size labels, this guy would be an L in between the standard M and the Hulkbuster XL.  The only thing that's regular-sized is his head.  That lends to the illusion that this armour is big, as do the shoulder guards, gauntlets, shin guards, and boots do.

Like: That he comes with a Marty McFly-style hover board!  You'd think he'd just rely on thrusters or jetskates but no, Tony Stark had to do it differently just for the hell of it.

What's awesome is that the board itself has 3 pegs you can slot into Iron Man's feet depending how wide you want his stance.  And yes, the board can also balance with IM's weight on it!  But if that's not your thing, you can have IM plug the board into his back (with a fourth, larger central peg) so that he just looks like he's going surfing and not actually doing it right there and then.  And if that's still not your thing, the hoverboard can fire a missile.  No triggers for this missile, though.  It's spring loaded still, but you have to pull and release.  But yes, it still flies pretty far...

Dislike: That they named him "Arctic Armor Iron Man."  I don't see anything that makes him suited to the Arctic, unless they're saying that hoverboard is actually supposed to be a snow board.  In which case, I'd say I'm more than a little stumped...And how is Arctic Armor IM and "Original" Avenger?

Ok, I'm just griping.  But I would've preferred another name like "Hover Assault iron Man," or even "Back to the Future Iron Man."

Dislike: His paint is a little faint, making him look pinkish instead of a solid red.  The gold areas are actually well done and show up well painted over the red cast parts.  But the red tends to look a little thin, especially on the shoulder guards and lower legs.  It's as if they haven't improved on the paint mix and because previous IM figures had thick red coats on them, decided to go thin this time.

All seven or so packs I saw had the same problem.  But in their defence, I have to say they've got the gold down perfectly.

Super Combat Captain America

Like: This is a great sculpt and probably the best WWII movie Cap.  His only drawback is that he's a bit short, as I mentioned when I first reviewed him some time back.  He's a re-paint of the Captain America movie figure of the same name, as well as the Desert Battle Captain America.

Dislike: Cap's shiny blue upper torso.  Don't get me wrong, I like me my shiny paints as much as the next guy but having your kevlar in shiny blue just looks weird.  I like the hard cowl in that colour, because that's a lot more believable.  Shiny shoulders I can also put down as shoulder guards that are made from a different material from his suit.  But the upper torso kevlar looks nothing like it could be metal, so hence the weirdness in the paint scheme.  To be fair though, the metallic blue also doesn't go very well with the more serious colours of the rest of his getup, and makes him look like he's wearing jeans.

Like: The dull brown of his gloves, boots, belt and holster, the grey-white of his upper body, and the faded blue of his trousers.  Gritty!  Unfortunately it's spoiled by the fancy-schmancy shiny blue kevlar.

Like: That he comes with his original gun, shield and holster.

Dislike: That he's missing his helmet!  Both the original SC Cap and Besert Battle Cap come with a combat helmet.  This guy actually is wearing one on the back of the box, but he doesn;t have it included in package! :(

Dislike: That he suffers from some poor paint apps. There's paint wear on his right cheek due to what looks like some flash that got onto his face and got painted over.  There's also a scratch on top of his shiny cowl, and the line between his cowl and face is little sloppy.  The rest of the figure is okay, but the sad thing is that I couldn't see these flaws because of the slightly hindered view you get in package. :/

Hammer Smash Thor

Like: Another great sculpt, though just almost every movie Thor has this body.  But it's the great helmeted head and likeness that make this figure better than all the other versions of movie Thor. (I reviewed the orginal figure here.)

Like: This is another for A Game of Thrones/ Song of Ice and Fire fans--Thor's got Baratheon Brown pants!!!  At first I thought they were just flat black and used some shiny blue left over from Cap, mixed it so it's a little deeper, slapped it on his breast plate, bracers and knee pads and called it a day.  I was wrong, because out of package Thor's pants (and leathered parts of his torso) are a nice, deep leather brown.

Dislike: The odd dark blue they used for his armour.

 Like Cap, it's also a little shiny and it completely distracts from the richness of the brown pants.  They could've done his shiny bits in a dark gold and called him Jaime"Heir to the Throne Thor," yeah, that's it. ;P

Dislike: Poor to average paint.  There's some spillage from the silver of the helm onto his face and also behind onto his hair.  But the main issue I feel, is the flatness of the paint scheme.  His beard and hair are a flat straw colour, while his armour is either just silver or metallic blue.  Even Mjolnir is flat, probably the flattest version out there.


Aesthetics - This is a great set but is somewhat let down by paint issues.  This is a problem especially if all the figures are repaints.  While I personally love repaints and the delightful new colour combinations this set tries to pull off, somehow I think that they went on budget mode, resulting in some of the combos not quite coming off as planned.  It's a good thing the sculpts used are some of the best each of the lines has to offer.  It's even better that Iron Man is a new sculpt.  Credit for that, but it's not a good thing when all the seven or eight sets available didn't have four figures with decent paint. :(

Secret Strike Loki: 8.5/10 - Combo came out the best, shiny green on green on black pops!

Arctic Armor Iron Man: 8/10 - Standard red and gold, but let down by poor red once again.  Still a great looking sculpt!

Super Combat Cpt America: 7/10 - Shimmery shine or faded jeans--Cap brought his 40s fashion sense to the new millenium.

Hammer Smash Thor: 6.5/10 - Thor just can't win.  Shiny dark blue and dark brown don;t match just because they're both brown. :(

Poseability - Each figure boasts at least the standard PoAs from their respective movie lines, and this is fantastic!  Every multi-pack should be like this and not have one or two passengers or a single superstar poseable figure with the rest as duds.  Get all of 'em figures to all be as poseable as each other and everyone wins, including the retailer, but especially the customer! ;)

Secret Strike Loki: 8/10 - Despite his hair, his swivel/hinge head is unobstructed. His cloak also barely gets in the way of his arms, while the rest of his PoAs are unhindered!

Arctic Armor Iron Man: 8/10 - His joints are relatively loose, especially the wrists and ankles.  His head is a swivel/hinge but is hindered beyond 45 degrees left and right.  He can't look up too well but downwards is great.  He's also got an extra swivel in the hinge/swivel "balls" he has in his ankles.  These are like the joints in his legs/hips.  While these are great and mean he can point/pivot or roll his foot side to side, it also means he can't do both at the same time.

Original Super Combat Cap Articulation
Super Combat Cpt America: 7.5/10 - For some reason his chest pivot has less range than the earlier versions I bought.  His head is effectively a swivel with slight up and down movement.

Hammer Smash Thor: 7.5/10 - Great swivel/hinge head like his half-brother but unlike Loki, his hip pads block his legs from hinging fully.

Original Hammer Smash Thor Articulation
Fun - I like the idea of three heroes packed with one villain.  That's a play situation right out of the box.    Accessories are also key for play and each figure has at least one.  New colour schemes are also fun to look at if staring at your figures is your thing. ;P

Secret Strike Loki: 9/10 - An evil mastermind with a couple of throwing daggers and delusions of grandeur?  Too bad he can't be more pompous without a sceptre or staff!

Arctic Armor Iron Man: 9/10 - A new suit of armour with rockin' shoulder guards and clompity clomp boots?  A bitchin' hoverboard from 2015?   Does the fun ever end with Tony Stark?

Super Combat Cpt America: 7.5/10 - He's got a standard, non-gimmick shield which is very nice.  A usable holster and handgun complete the fun.  If only he could pose better.  If only he dressed better! ;)

Hammer Smash Thor: 7/10 - Still good fun but he inherits the PoA flaws from his previous release.  He also comes with the same old Mjolnir.  And mine's bent.  That's not quite so fun. :/

Value - Like I mentioned, each guy has at least one accessory.  Loki's got his throwing daggers, Iron Man his hoverboard (yeah!!!), Cap has his gun and shiled, while Thor has Mjolnir.  It's worth mentioning that the cloacks on both Loki and Thor have been glued into their pegs, though.  But if you like 'em removable, I believe a little hairdryering will soften that glue right up.

I got this 4-pack for S$69.95 (US$57).  Works out to S$17.50 per figure and below single action figure retail price.  that's par for the course as far as multi-packs go.

Secret Strike Loki: 9/10 - He may not have his staff but this guy is so rare he's really worth getting without it.  I don't think you can find the single-packed movie Loki for less than US$25-30 online.  And there's no telling when they might re-use this buck again, if ever!

Arctic Armor Iron Man: 9/10 - A brand new sculpt and a great addition to your Stark Amoury.  Throw in that "hoverboard" (I can't quite place if this is a new accessory, though it seems very familiar) and we have a winner.

Super Combat Cpt America: 7/10 - You won't be getting this 4-pack for this guy or Thor, that's for sure.  And despite being a very much liked sculpt, it suffers from a poor paint scheme and lacks a helmet.

Hammer Smash Thor: 7/10 - While having the best Thor head of this scale and also having a non-standard colour scheme, he's the guy that least looks like a repaint.  At least he still comes with Mjolnir, flat and slightly rusty as it looks.

Overall (Individual Figs)

Secret Strike Loki: 8.8/10
Arctic Armor Iron Man: 8.5/10
Super Combat Cpt America: 7.25/10
Hammer Smash Thor: 7/10

Overall Multi-Pack Rating: 8/10 - This pack is a star.  Not because it's a TRU Exclusive (Starbuys--no, no, no...) but because the four figures are so damn shiny!  Seriously, though, this pack is very worthy of the "Original Avengers" name.  It's the perfect starter for your nieces and nephews who were too young when the individual superhero movies first came out but have come of age during this year's wave of Avengers popularity.  It's also the perfect set for those of us who've missed out on any of the figures (Loki) and are hankering for a taste of a new Iron Man ahead of IM 3 (all of us bucket heads).  Throw in a couple of repaints of great sculpts and you have a winner.

I deemed this set worthy to purchase simply because I wanted two of the four figures.  It might take more or less to sway you.  But if you can't get by having more than one of the same Cap or Thor buck, then perhaps you could split this with a buddy, or save the two figures for two of your favourite nephews, or even simply sell 'em off online.  Whichever way you go, you can't really lose, not with the Original Avengers.  (What a heroic ending.  Athankyou! :P)


  1. So many gorgeous photos, so few flimsy cardboard boxes. Alas. Hehe

    1. Alas indeed! How could I have forgotten?! And during the time I've declared "Month of the Box", no less! Woe is me! I shall have to make up for it, lest I incur the wrath of the Amazing Spider Wes!!! ;P

  2. Very nice i haven't seen this set before.

    1. Yeah, snuck up on me good in TRU too. I think I might be the first to review it online...

  3. Hasbro managed to downscale the 6-inch Arctic Crusader/Heavy Artillery/Subterranean Armor Iron Man into a 3.75-inch Iron Man and gave him Optimus Primal's hoverboard as a bonus...and yet they couldn't give the movie Avengers and movie Spider-Man figures the same range of articulation as the previous movie figures?

    On the bright side, though, the new Iron Man sculpt does remind me of the '90's IM Modular Armor. That was one of the IM variants I was expecting from either the Marvel Universe or movie IM Comic Series lines. This is definitely an above-and-beyond-expectations IM that I will definitely be looking for online (hopefully at a non-scalper price) or that I will be waiting to be re-released (hopefully in the Reactron Armor paint scheme).

    1. Great point about the cost. And thanks for pointing out where his hoverboard comes from! ;)

      Am glad you're going to get this IM somehow. I'll be sure to get a Reactron repaint as well if that released! ;)

    2. It's not actually Optimus Primal's hoverboard (which, oddly enough, looked like an aircraft carrier to me) after all. But Primal's board also had a missile-launching feature so that's close enough, I suppose.

      By the way, I found a loose Arctic Armor IM for sale online going for about S$15.00 (including shipping). No hoverboard, though. Do you think that's a fair enough price?

    3. Yeah, I think so! Unless you particularly like the hoverboard. ;)

      I say go for it, dude!

  4. That's a really nice set and Loki looks quite awesome. I like him better than the Avengers version.

    1. Yeah, he's definitely better than the Avengers movie version. It's too bad the original Thor movie version was in such short supply. Good thing they re-released him though. Otherwise I might have done bad, bad things to many a figure of mine trying to mimic this guy's glory. ;P

  5. Replies
    1. Lol good question. They're probably trying to send Edward Norton some sort of message... ;P

  6. The fact that we customizes go through or fodder boxes doesn't mean that HASBRO should do the same. Lazy, lazy Hasbro...You are as lazy as you are cheap.

    Excellent review, man.

    1. Haha, you tell 'em, Liko!

      Thanks for the props. ;)

  7. Did this ever ship to the U.S.? There's a lot cheap on eBay now from U.S. sellers. So I'm wondering where the sellers are getting them from.


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