Hot Toys : The Avengers - Captain America - Review

Guest Review by Chi-lenn Wong


Hot Toys - The Avengers: Captain America MMS174

Steve Rogers: "Are you here with a mission, sir?"
Nick Fury: "I am"
Steve Rogers: "Trying to get me back in the world?"
Nick Fury: "Trying to save it"

Here it is finally, The Avenger's Captain America MMS174.  It is the third to be released in the Avengers line after Nick Fury and Hawkeye; this 1:6 scale figure has been lovingly crafted with the likeness of Chris Evans as Steve Rogers or more famously Captain America.

The Box

IMAG1308On first impression of the box they have kept the subtle look of a colored theme of each individual Avenger, with a photo graphic design from the actual movie and Avengers title with a glossy 'A' symbol.  It's a slip-cover with a window, carton style, and does its job.  It's not their best box design and I won't go into depth about it other than it has the same colour scheme as Captain America's, Red, White and Blue; which is a neat touch.

Onto the figure; once you pull out the plastic tray and plastic coverings it looks great and on first impressions is a highly produced quality figure by Hot Toys.

The Costume Suit and Tailoring

I personally preferred the original suit in the first 'Captain America: The First Avenger' movie as opposed to the Avenger 's one upon first seeing it in production stills because for design, function and real world aesthetics.  It worked better as it captured the iconic look of Captain America in the comics but added a clever twist by making it actually look like functional military attire that wouldn't look out of place amongst other real world military outfits.

I would not mark this figure down for that reason though as that is personal preference of the design used for the movie and does not reflect what Hot Toys did with their figure.  This new redesigned Avenger's costume was clearly influenced by a 'comic book' look and even based the design from the modern interpretation of Cap in 'The Ultimates' comic as this was more of a combination of classic 'Cap' look with a modern style and Hot Toys captured it well with their quality tailoring.

The attention to detail just on the costume is, as always, very good. On closer inspection you find out that the suit is a two tone blue costume piece that replicates his redesigned suit well and is not just one blue coloured fabric.  It has one under layer with an ultramarine colour and another upper layer around the chest, forearms and going round to the back a different toned royal blue like colour, to give the suit more depth and detailed layered look.

The red and white mid-section is another material altogether from the fabric blue suit and is flexible, so you can articulate in the waist, and feels like plastic leather; or 'pleather' as it is now known amongst collectors, but I'm not sure if it is.  It is textured like a basketball skin and has the right mouldings/markings to faithfully replicate the actual costume.  Along the middle, on the red part, is a plastic silver zipper which unfortunately doesn't work, but this costume is designed not to be removed and probably for better form fitting on the figure, so I'm not that bothered if it doesn't have working zippers; the only real zipper is located on the back of him but that is for possible removal of the tunic (which I wouldn't advise) like in the actual prop costume.

Cap-SprintThe iconic star on his chest is also made from plastic and is painted with a Silver finish giving it a metal like look as are the stripes on his shoulder.

The pants have the same colour as the upper torso, ultramarine, and has a more militaristic/SWAT look to it as it has sewn in foam knee pads and also silver non working zippers for more detail and rounds off the costume nicely.

His boots and gloves are very impressive as the sculpted detail and paint application on those is very screen accurate.  The boots are one piece full on boot and is connected to a ball joint on the inside at the ankle section.  The only problem with this is that it is not articulated here other than turning the whole boot but no ankle articulation (which I think they did with their other Avenger's released so far, Nick Fury and Hawkeye) unfortunately.  The gloves are in two parts, a upper gauntlet piece that slips onto the arm and a hand piece that you connect to the ball joint.  This one is easier to pop the hands in than the 'First Avenger' version as it has only a plastic gauntlet part and a hand, whilst the other one was more fiddly as it had a piece of brown 'pleather' wrapped inside and covering most of the ball joint; so swapping out hands to hold Cap's signature shield was a pain.  I will cover the extra hands you get and accessories in more detail later.  The wrist articulation here is good and is standard with most 1:6 figures and Hot toys gloved characters.

Lastly, there is a belt to complete the full costume. Now this is one of my favorite parts on the new costume as the belt is very well made and its utility pouch look is perfectly captured.  The belt itself is made of the same material as the suit, but the utility pouches themselves are sculpted plastic with little metal-like fasteners for added detail and stuck onto the fabric belt.  It would have been nice if they made actual working pouches like their 'Exclusive Rescue Cap' but it's minor detail and is only designed for aesthetics which is good enough.  The buckle looks like metal but I think is made from the same plastic as the star on Cap's chest.  The belt has small metal hooks on the back to hold the belt in place but can be unfastened; I wouldn't recommend as it's really fiddly to get back on.

The Accessories

This figure doesn't have as many compared to other MMS releases but in the film Cap rarely uses anything other than his signature shield, so it's not really a complaint and what you get is really suited for Cap.

In the box you have:

2 x Shields; one electroplated and one Battle damaged.
9 x Interchangeable hands (2x fists, 2x relaxed, 2x open palm, 2x gripped and 1x pointing).
1 x  'Chitauri' alien assault gun.
1 x fabric hood.
1 x basic black name stand.
1 x 'unmasked' Steve Rogers head sculpt.
2 x spare hand pegs.

Cap Shield bashSo not a lot, but enough for Captain America, especially for his hand gestures and shield options.  The shield, which as many Cap fans can tell you, is as important as his costume and is nicely done and the main 'clean' electroplated shield with his iconic star and circular target design is faithfully reproduced.  This shield was originally made for the 'First Avenger' Cap and is remade for this version too.  It uses a method of electroplating and gives the shield a metal reflective mirror look, which is very impressive if you have not seen the first figure.  On the reverse side is painted an aluminum metal-like colour plus two plastic buckles with actual metal piece that is for slipping onto the arm.  This part requires reading instructions as it is quite fiddly to get Cap to hold his shield.  The buckle has a working fastener and unclips quite easily.  After some patience and using the gripped hand, Cap has his signature shield ready and once properly put on looks authentic to the film.
The other shield has a battle damaged look, as in the film his shield takes all sorts of wear and tear throughout.  This one is not electroplated but traditionally painted on so it has a less shiny but matte metal look.  The painting application on the shield with the scratches and bullet singed marks are superb and is quite detailed.  This would be the preferred shield choice for most fans as it looks so cool.

The hands make up most of the accessories and Cap has a lot.  He has two 'grip' for shield holding on right or left hand, and various other ones and a favorite of mine, a 'pointer one' (the "Hulk Smash" pose can be achieved).  They are sculpted and have a blue grip like detailing inside the palm, which at first I didn't notice in the film until I re-watched for this review and low and behold it is there; goes to show Hot Toys pays attention to the details.

Strangely they added a Chitauri gun for Cap but kinda makes sense as it is featured in a key scene in the movie plus it's an extra accessory which isn't a bad thing.  It slips over Caps arm after removing his two piece glove and has a hole inside for the peg to fit onto so you can pose him using the gun.  I didn't as I don't remember seeing him actually use one, but the option is there if you so wish.  The details and paintwork on the gun is good with a gold and silver accent paint to simulate metal, weathered scratches plus a inner 'core' part which is blue highlighted over a plastic black piece... now this part disappointed me on closer inspection as I thought it was transparent blue plastic but it isn't and is all paint.  I would have liked it if it was see-through but only a minor niggle.  Another addition is the inclusion of a fabric hood, which can be seen in his unmasked 'Steve Rogers' look.  This I feel was a last minute inclusion as fans pointed out that he was missing his hood in prototype pictures.  It's great they included it but it feels rushed and is really fiddly to put on as there are 3 really mini plastic button fasteners that clips onto the inner collar of the suit.  I didn't bother with this as I heard some collectors have unsuccessfully tried and damaged the buttons trying to click it together.  I decided a workaround was needed and if you actually tuck the hood into the collar then place the head sculpt on, it looks better and prevents button damage; although some futzing and adjusting is required to make the hood sit right.

The Head Sculpt

This is considered for many the 'deal breaker' for most Hot Toys collectors and looking at this one (or two to be exact) it is actually very good.  K.A Kim has actually captured Chris Evans features well under the mask.  His hero Cap head sculpt is very accurate and a major improvement on the last version.  The details like the 'A' and 'Wings' on the helmet are sculpted into the head sculpt now, so no more 'wonky A' syndrome that occurred in the first batches of the First Avenger Cap.  This is one of the best final head sculpts for look and likeness in my opinion of the Avengers line so far.  The other unmasked head sculpt is very good too and was sorely missed out on the first Cap they did.  It has the Chris Evans likeness but this time K.A Kim did a more expressive look for Steve.  He has a gritted teeth angry look, which may not be popular with some as most prefer a stern neutral look.  But personally I prefer that expression she went with as it gives it more life and dynamism to the poses.  The paint application is sublime as usual on realistic skin tones etc but what was impressive was the detailed hair paintwork.  Now the exclusive 'Rescue Cap' head sculpt to me had great paintwork and not bad likeness but the hair felt way too dark and brown looking for me upon seeing it in hand, as Steve Rogers is supposed to be blonde and Chris Evans is mouse-haired blonde.  This Avenger's head improves on that version's paintwork and the way they applied subtle gold highlights is very impressive and pictures can't convey the excellent paintwork they did on it... you have to see it in hand.


So that rounds up the Captain with all the new extras and features he has.  Now, the figure itself as a whole I thought the articulation on this one has improved vastly over the 'First Avenger version'; not sure about 'Rescue version' as I don't own that one to compare.  The arms are more versatile in poses now as the suit doesn't restrict him raising them high like the first one.  Although you cannot still move it in extreme poses but what you have is greatly improved.  The waist and leg articulation on the other hand is not as good as the 'First Avenger version', not sure if it's the material used for his suit being tighter and less flexible or that there is a foam under-suit restricting some articulation, mostly in the upper thigh socket areas but certain poses needed a little more work.  Although it's not as bad as say a DX12 Batman but it's there and thought it's worth mentioning.  This figure, despite certain minor issues is I think one of the best in the Avenger's line for likeness and accuracy overall.  It certainly is the most realistic looking and some would be hard pressed to tell if it was a movie photo or not if saw a photo of it.  The costume is highly accurate, nicely tailored and I think it fit's the figure quite well.  Coupled with his range of accessories and better articulation I think it has plenty of display options and with great imagination you can create some good looking displays or poses.  So I think this Avenger's Captain America is a good effort from Hot Toys as they sorted out the issues which was in the original First Avenger release and crafted a figure that is highly aesthetically pleasing to any collector if they are a fan of Captain America or not.

Review, words and images – Chi.  (Chi-lenn Wong)
25/ 02 /2013


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