Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Avengers: Grapple Blast Black Widow #14


Hasbro’s third wave of 3.75” Avengers is here! And first up, we’re going to look at the team’s most under-appreciated member. As far as the 3.75” figures go, she’s also the most awesome. Coincidence? I just call it par for the course with Hasbro. Check out the super articulated awesomeness after the jump.


All of the other members of the movie-verse Avengers have had AT LEAST 3.75”, 6” and Mini Muggs released, if not also kiddie-targeted, even more under-articulated figures in 6”, 8” and 10” scales. Hell, even Nick Fury has a Mini Mugg. So why such little love for Black Widow, big H? Is it because she’s a female, and “boys don’t buy female action figures”? Well your infinite wisdom continues to reflect in your distribution, case assortments, peg clogging, and the secondary market prices of certain characters. This will be one of them. Well done, Hasbro. You continue to frustrate collectors.


Black Widow is the classic “one per case” (HA, name of the website!) figure. In the wave 3 case assortment, we get three (!!!) repacks of Hulk from wave 2, but only one of the lonely female heroine. And while wave 4 case assortments have yet to be revealed, you can bet that she won’t be included in them. Sif from the Thor line, anyone? And… oh yeah, Captain America and Iron Man didn’t have ANY female characters in their lines. There was supposed to be a version of Black Widow in the Iron Man 2 line, but that was canceled.


This figure of Black Widow comes on the standard Avengers card back, so no real new territory here. The accent color on the card and bubble is silver. Tear, rip, remove, discard. This packaging is only serving as the final barrier between you and the figure you were undoubtedly worried about never seeing in person. (I’ve gotta admit, I had serious doubts we’d ever see her hit retail. But credit where credit is due. Good job on that part Hasbro. Now just ship more of her.)



Contrary to what some assume, this figure is not the same sculpt as the previously canceled version. She’s an entirely new sculpt, and is nicely detailed. The lines and seams on the suit are all present, so she doesn’t just look like a smooth, undetailed buck painted black.


The face actually looks pretty damn good, and the likeness to Scarlett Johansson is pretty remarkable, but the paint job dumbs-down some of the detail. It’s another case of the sculpt being better than what the factories can keep up with. I saw photos of the raw, unpainted sculpt from the original sculptor a while back ("2dtoys" on Facebook, look him up), and production samples just can’t do it justice. This is the same guy that sculpted the amazing Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes and many other notably badass figures in recent years (including a lot of the heads in the upcoming Joe Con box set), so you know Black Widow is quality.


The paint job is pretty simple- mostly black with some gray and silver details on the suit, then the skin, eyes, hair and lips. On my sample at least, the paint is pretty close to perfect. Just a little blemish on the skin of the chest. The eyes and lips are free of smudges or over-spray. The tiny S.H.I.E.L.D. emblems on each shoulder are perfect, as is the hour glass on the belt buckle. The grey detailing on the seams is all pretty clean, too. No complaints here, but still worth double checking before you put down the cash, if you can.





Widow comes with some real hit and miss accessories. You’ve got her wrist stingers (which are indeed separately sculpted pieces), two pistols, a belt with dual holsters for the pistols (awesome), and… a giant shooty Asgardian grapple gun? The spring loaded junk is a repaint of an accessory that was included with a couple of the Thor movie figures. It doesn’t fit in with Widow at all. You can safely lose it and not feel bad. Did I mention how awesome the handguns with holsters are?


Now the burning question, articulation. I am happy to confirm that Black Widow breaks the pattern held by the rest of this line. The prototype shown at last year’s conventions was fully articulated, but I was worried that some of those POA’s would be lost in production. For the record, Black Widow has a ball jointed neck, ball hinged shoulders, elbows, hips, ankles (with rockers!), double hinged knees, and swivel thighs and wrists. She still lacks any sort of waist or torso articulation, which is mildly disappointing, but in light of the rocker ankles, and the wrists that the rest of this line lacks, I’m willing to deal with it.







Overall, this is not only a solid figure, she’s the best in the Avengers line, as far as I’m concerned. She’s absolutely worth going out of your way to find. Wave 3 began hitting Toys R Us, Target, Walmart and even K-Mart last week, so get to hunting now. There’s no telling how long this wave will ship, and later waves in the Marvel movie lines are notorious for being elusive. BBTS also has Wave 3 cases available for pre-order, but sets are unfortunately pre-sold out. Now, Hasbro, where are my 6-Inch and Mini Muggs versions?






Huge thanks to our close friend Sean for helping me score this wave over the weekend. He sacrificed these figures to me so that you may be able to see them here now.

"Avengers Assemb... Wait, something's not right here... Huuulk?  Where'd the Hulk go? Who's the stumpy green guy?"
"Ah ok there we go.  Let's go avenge some stuff!"

23 comments:

  1. AWESOME!!! weloveyoublackwidowweloveyoublackwidow! Thank you Hasbro! Please keep the rocker ankles!!!! *cough* sorry, anywho, I wonder if I'll ever get her, because I live in Ireland, yes, the magical place where we just got wave two in five days ago!!!!! So yeah, as I was saying, I really hope I find her someday. And the action figure too.

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  2. LOL. I'll keep my fingers crossed that you find her, Oisin. The figure, too.

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  3. Thanks, but my main concern is finding Hawkeye! I'm a super-fan of Hawkeye, that's even who I am on Facebook! And one of my friends has recently told me that we Irish will never see wave 3, so I'll be very angry if it's true (which it probably is) seeing as the comic Hawkeye from this line REALLY doesn't measure up, despite my previous view of the figure. And it's not even like I can order online, because I'm only 13! Damn Hasbro's horrible shipping issues.

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    1. It took me forevere but I found nick fury hawkeye and black widow but dang it took along time.

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  4. I feel your pain. From what I've seen on a couple forums though, the UK should be getting a wave 3 case assortment with Hawkeye and Black Widow (but no Skrulls) in it. So maybe that will show up in your area, too. My Hawkeye review will be up here tomorrow morning (afternoon for you).

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  5. Can't wait! Unfortunately, same issue as with all the other Hawkeyes: No arrows.

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  6. Not even the marvel select version, by the way, have yo unoticed that they don't seem to have a concept series in the new The Amazing Spider-man line? all the concept costumes are put under the comic series. There was one that resembled to the House of M costume, but examined up close, it's actually not.

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  7. were did you get that nick fury figure?

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  8. It's a custom figure I made a couple years ago. It's the Fury that came in the Toys R Us 4-pack with Iron Man and two Army drones, but I didn't like the soft goods jacket, so I have him arms from a "Paris Pursuit" Snake Eyes and the jacket from an X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie Sabertooth.

    Oisin- I haven't noticed the lack of "concept series" branding in the ASM line, but I haven't paid super close attention to it yet. I figured a lot of the "comic series" figures were concept, since they don't look like anything actually in the comics.

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  9. Black Widow being one per case is effin' stupid!! She is one of the six Avengers for crying out loud! I could see an Agent Hill or Pepper figures being limited but a major character makes no sense. Great review and nice photos. I have the Nick Fury figure and I like the changes you made. I put an extra Mace Windu head on a Snake Eyes figure and it looked pretty good. Now I just have to give him the eye patch and "Wolverine scratch marks". At least that's what the marks look like to me.

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  10. G-8, I completely agree with your assessment of the situation. Hasbro's aversion to certain female characters bugs the hell out of me. I'd love to see Maria Hill and Pepper Potts figures based on the comic AND movie versions, but sadly, I think it'll be a cold day in hell before Hasbro gets around to those. I'd like to do a custom movie Maria Hill when I eventually get a spare movie Black Widow and find a head with a passing likeness to Cobie Smulders. And your custom Nick Fury recipe sounds exactly like my first version before this one came out. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed the review and photos.

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  11. Good idea, I would really love to have a Maria Hill.

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  12. I scooped up my BW and Skrull at Brooklyn Target. Back pegged Hawkeye and extra Skrull for the other peg crawlers. Good luck. Also lots of gi joe retaliation merch still on shelves despite the new word these are being pulled. So giddy up.

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    1. I think the variety report about pulling Joe's was wrong. The official press release was in contradiction of that. No where around here has product been pulled.

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  13. Where does one get a flight stand like what you have Iron Man using in the pics? I have looked every where but only expensive ones from Japan turn up in my search.

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  14. That one is from Japan. It's called a "Stage Act 4". They come in a pack with enough pieces to build 3 stands, and you can usually find them for about $20 on eBay.

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  15. WOW! Didn't they make one like that in the old Marvel Legends line? (Not the doop one)

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  16. I just checked eBay on what mt BW IS GOING FOR. 50 bones. Wow toy flippers disgust me. Open it up enjoy you guys.

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  17. Based on how many reviews say how great the figure is, I went and got the wave 3 case. I know that waiting for wave 4 would have been better as you get this one and a ton of other great ones but I just could not wait!

    By the way, what coat and arms does Fury have?

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  18. hey guys do you think there is still some available black widow here in the philippines at this current month ? ive been searching here for a long long time .. >:| Btw will there be another wave w/c also includes black widow ?

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