Sunday, July 22, 2012

Marvel Universe Super Helicarrier Review - SDCC Exclusive

Holy hell this thing is even bigger than I expected. At a full foot longer than the retail version, this thing really is just about 4 feet long. There was no way I was going to fit this thing in my light booth to take photos, so I apologize for the quality of some of these shots. When I met up with Jason at his house to pick it up, we decided the best way to get photos would be to just open it right there in his garage and try to do the best we could with the lighting.  A couple beers later, there may or may not have been a pony-bomb.   More giant flying aircraft carriers and shenanigans after the jump.

The packaging for this beast is huge. The outer brown box looks like a case that you would expect to contain two of these carriers, but no, there’s just one in there. The actual packaging for this piece is a nice window box, displaying the Helicarrier (mostly) assembled, with the two included figures visible as well. The artwork on the back of the box, by Joe Quesada, features several heroes and villains duking it out on the Helicarrier deck, including the Masters of Evil (look for that review coming from Brett soon), as well as Whirlwind and Goliath. Despite the weak showing at SDCC, I still think this is a good hint at what may be to come. Overall, this is a really nice piece of packaging, and I almost didn’t want to open it. Almost.

Let’s look at the figures that are included with this set. Captain America is just the Heavy Artillery Cap from last year’s movie line with a repainted USAgent head. It’s actually pretty fugly. His face looks like a can of smashed @$#%&*$. This figure is a throw-away. I guarantee you, nobody bought this Helicarrier for this figure. 

But Maria Hill is a different story. I’m sure plenty of people bought it just for her. Hill uses a repainted Black Widow body with a new head. It’s a little perplexing though. The original press photos of this figure showed her with a much closer resemblance to Cobie Smulders, with lighter skin and darker hair (and a blue bodysuit, with white gloves/belt/boots). The figure we get still resembles Miss Smulders in facial sculpt, but the paint looks more comic-inspired, with darker skin and lighter brown hair. And the body suit is black, with white gloves/belt/boots. The figure’s hair is kind of in-between the movie and comic versions, too. It’s shorter than Cobie’s in the movie, but longer than typically depicted in the comics. Strange. I wondered at first if maybe this head was sculpted with the intent of being used for this comic version as well as an upcoming movie-deco version, but after the extremely weak showing by Hasbro at SDCC, I’m not very hopeful for that now. Still, it’s nice to finally have a Maria Hill figure, even if she has one foot in the comic-verse and one in the movie-verse. She’s a pretty well-done figure, and looks good next to Fury and Black Widow. Now if any of you custom head casters could get on reproducing this head sculpt, I’d be down to buy a couple.

Now, the Helicarrier. Out of the box and assembled, this thing is still impressively massive. Obviously, it would be impossible for Hasbro to make a true-to-scale Helicarrier, and yes this is grossly out of scale, but if this is the best we’re ever going to get, I’ll count myself happy and lucky to have it.

The deck features several opening compartments for “weapon storage”, a trap door, a “figure launching” platform, a crane, the comically ridiculous chair with missile launcher, 8 additional missile launchers positioned down the sides of the ship, opening doors and hatches for the “cockpit”, standing platforms with foot pegs for figures on the sides and back, and turbines with spinning “blades”. Unfortunately, they’re not large enough to put Iron Man in. But over all, there’s a lot of functionality and playability here.

The deck is comprised of three separate main pieces, plus the four turbines, two front prongs, eight individual missile launchers, “cockpit” assembly, and three sets of landing gear on the bottom. All of these pieces easily connect and disconnect from each other. So you can actually take out the middle section and reconfigure this to be the same size as the retail version. That’s how Hasbro was able to make this bigger Helicarrier, just by making it modular and adding a middle section. That was pretty genius on their part. And I’m pretty sure that, if one were so inclined, you could continue adding middle sections (at $130 a pop!) to make an even longer Helicarrier. Though this is plenty long enough for me. Really it needs to be wider now.  But as is, it can fit a Quinjet and a Firestrike Assault jet on the deck.  Not bad.

The plastic that this is cast from is a much nicer looking, dark gunmetal color, compared to the pale blue-grey of the retail version. Most of the detail is achieved with decals, but the few minor paint details are nice and applied well.  This Helicarrier actually came with a sheet of even more decals that were not applied in the package, but I think it looks good as-is, so I haven't applied them.

My only real complaint about this Helicarrier is the lack of additional levels to the playset.  I was expecting this to be something similar to the G.I. Joe Pit headquarters, or other vehicle/playset combos where you have opening or expanding levels with different functions and play features.  I was kind of surprised to learn when initial reviews of the retail Helicarrier came out that it didn't include anything like this.  It's just a single level.  I feel like this was a pretty big miss on Hasbro's part, and it definitely doesn't help you feel like you're getting your money's worth with this set.

But over all, I enjoy this piece.  I think this SDCC version is definitely a step up from the retail version, which I now have no interest in picking up.  The price on this piece is a little tough to swallow, but SDCC exclusives always come at a premium price, and this IS a lot of toy.  I don't regret buying it.  As of the time of this writing, this version of the Helicarrier is available on, but don't expect it to be available for much longer.  It went out of stock the day these were put online, so what's back up now is only the stock from orders that were canceled.  

Bottom line:  If you want a toy Helicarrier, this is your best option.

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