Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Avengers Marvel Select Hulk

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Diamond Select Toys is always angry...

I don't normally collect Marvel Select.  Between Hasbro's 3.75" and 6" offerings, I've got enough different action figure scales in my collection already.  And I'm not a huge fan of the sculpts on a lot of the "regular" size selects.  But the larger figures, especially any of their versions of Hulk?  That's a completely different story.  These things are some B.A.M.F. action figures.  I now have exactly two Marvel Select figures in my collection, and the fact that they're both Hulk should give away the fact that I like my green giant to tower over the rest of my Legends-scale figures.

"But Zak, the Hasbro 6-inch movie Hulk that I just spent two months tracking down and paid a kidney for is the best Hulk figure ever!!!omgz!!!", you say?  Nay, I say.  Both these Hulk's are incredible action figures.  So much so that even after owning the Hasbro version, I still felt compelled to track down this Marvel Select one.  And now that it's in my hands, I actually think this one is just as good as the Hasbro version, if not better, but for different reasons.

The packaging for Marvel Select line is pretty collector-friendly.  The bubble for the figure takes up the entire card-back.  There's a spine on one side that features the Avengers branding on the front, and character-specific art on the side.  The back of the card features the figure's bio, and cross-sell for the two other Avengers figures currently in the line.  This is one of the few times that I almost feel a little bit guilty for tearing the package open.  Oh well.  This monster cannot be contained by a mere plastic prison.  Hulk smash puny bubble!

Holding the figure in hand, you immediately know you're dealing with a heavy duty piece of artillery.  This figure is solid, and weighs in at almost a pound and a half.  You can also tell that you're not dealing with a Hasbro product.  Marvel Select figures have their own distinctive feel and are made from a much stiffer plastic than Hasbro uses.

This sculpt of the Hulk, based on Mark Ruffalo's portrayal, looks extremely accurate to the movie.  There's a lot of detail in the sculpted musculature, including veins, and even nipples, which definitely aren't included on the Hasbro versions.  There's a sentence I never thought I'd type on the internet.  The face sculpt is great and really resembles Ruffalo, and the detail in the sculpted hair is remarkable.  My only two (minor) complaints with the sculpt on this figure?  His pants lack any real detail or texture.  The Hasbro 6" version definitely wins the coolest pants award.  This Hulk seems to be wearing his "I'm too lazy to make myself not look like a fat slob" stretchy pants.  And his arms seem just a little too short.  I might be wrong, but I think they should be a little longer.  Just a little.

But this guy definitely wins in the deco category.  The green paint is darker and more true to the movie than the Hasbro version.  He also features a subtle dark paint wash that brings out a lot of detail.  The Hasbro version definitely could've benefited from that.  The paint on the face is perfectly applied.  Perfectly.  No smudging, no mistakes.  The eyes are super detailed.

The articulation, while not quite a good as the Hasbro Hulk, is still pretty damn good.  Especially for a Select.  I'm used to Marvel Select figures having next to no articulation.  But this Hulk has a ball jointed head and torso, ball hinged shoulders and ankles (with rockers!  Hell yes!), swivels at the wrists, biceps, and thighs, swivel-hinged hips, and single-hinged elbows and knees.  This lets you get this Hulk into some pretty good Hulk-poses.

Unfortunately, this Hulk doesn't include a base like most Marvel Selects do.  This is disappointing, but only a minor set back.  The comic version of Hulk from this line included a cool smashed concrete base that looks pretty good with this version, but doesn't fit his feet all that well.  But for how much figure you get with this guy, I can't complain too much.  This figure is massive, and absolutely worth the $20-$25 price tag that he typically includes.

In fact, this figure's massive size is my favorite part of the deal.  The Hasbro version, while an absolutely amazing figure, was still just a little small for my liking.  I like my Hulk to be about 9-feet in-scale.  The Hasbro one is really only about 7-7.5 feet in-scale.  This version, in my opinion, is much more appropriately sized to fit with the rest of the Legends-scale figures.

The Hasbro version is still notoriously difficult to find because of high demand and shoddy distribution.  Marvel Select figures aren't available in big-box retail, and you typically have to go to your LCS or other specialty store to find them, but this version is absolutely worth tracking down, and is a more than worthy substitute for the Hasbro version.  And even with having to go to a specialty store, you'll probably still have an easier time finding this Select version than the Hasbro one.  If you can't find him at retail, BBTS has him for pre-order with an estimated August arrival date.

If you're into the 6-inch Avengers movie line, this is a figure you want to seriously consider adding to your collection.