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ItsAllTrue Review: Marvel Legends
Black Widow & Winter Soldier

Marvel Legends. For many collectors, it’s a hallowed line. Even if you’re not a fan, you can’t deny the influence it’s had on the toy industry. Hasbro hasn’t always lived up to the bar Toy Biz set for the line, but I keep hoping they’ll get there. This week, I purchased the Black Widow & the Winter Soldier’s variant 2pk.

You don’t see many Marvel Legends reviews on IAT. There are two reasons for that. One, Hasbro hasn’t produced many in the time that IAT has been online and two, the few that have been released didn’t really appeal to me. I bought the Nemesis Wave last year, but I was disappointed with a lot of it. I’ve wanted a few of the Hasbro 2pks (some of those S.H.I.E.L.D. figures were awesome), but I never got around to them.

For this latest wave, I was going to just buy the Valkyrie 2pk, but when I found these at TRU, things changed. First, the two Valkyrie’s that were there were painted really poorly and I couldn’t buy either. Next, I was really surprised by how cool the red/blue version of Warpath looked. I don’t even know the first thing about the second Warpath, but he looks like an old school Marvel Legend and he may end up at my house just because of that. Still, I was good, trying to stick to the plan, and just wait for a second shipment of Valkyries. Then, I saw the variant 2pk of Black Widow & Winter Soldier.

From the pics I’ve seen online, I knew Black Widow was a step in the right direction for Hasbro (a lot of the 2pks have been), but I still wasn’t planning on buying her. In person, I was really impressed by her head sculpt and, even though it’s not quite right on the figure, I’ve always been a fan of her grey costume. (I know it’s a Frank Miller thing, but I have a soft spot for alternate costume designs… I don’t know why). It didn’t hurt that she was packaged with the Winter Soldier either. He looked cool enough and I’m a fan of the story unfolding in the Captain America franchise the last few years, so I went against my good intentions and handed over $25 plus tax to Toys R Us and these two came home with me. You can check out the back of the packaging here.

If you’re not familiar with these characters, here’s two quick bios:

Black Widow first appears in Iron Man as a plainclothes Russian spy in the 1960s, but gradually made the transition to the Black Widow we know today. Originally, she was simply a femme fatale to seduce Tony Stark, but she ultimately defects from Russia and joins the Avengers. In 1970’s Spider-Man #86 she appears in her trademark skintight black costume that will become most associated with her character. She’s a highly-trained operative with all talents you’d expect – expert martial artist, weapons training, world-class gymnast, ballerina. Yeah, ballerina. She’s Russian and comics aren’t that deep, okay? Black Widow is presented here in the grey costume first drawn by Frank Miller in 1982.

Winter Soldier first appeared in 2005 as a Captain America villain, but Marvel had bigger plans. Marvel teased his true identity and discovering his origin was a major part of his early appearances. Ultimately, it was revealed that the Winter Soldier was the (assumed) long-dead Bucky, Captain America’s WWII sidekick. The Russians had found him, missing his left arm, after the plane they were on exploded. While Captain America was on ice for a few decades, Bucky was brainwashed and used as a Russian assassin. Luckily, the Russians cryogenically preserved him between missions so he could be just the right age to confront Cap in the current comics. Cap ultimately freed Bucky from his brainwashing and he began to operate as a hero until Cap’s untimely “death”. That’s when Bucky traded in his Winter Soldier garb to be Captain America.

Oh yeah, toy review. Like I said, I haven’t kept up on all the Hasbro Marvel offerings, but I recognize a lot of Winter Soldier. He’s built from the Nemesis wave Punisher buck, but features two new heads, a new bionic left arm, (I think) a new regular right arm, new boots, and a softer plastic piece over this chest to complete the Winter Soldier’s uniform. I really appreciate the collar piece. It’s small and I probably wouldn’t have missed it if it weren’t there, but it was a smart move on Hasbro’s part. It makes the figure more accurate with little effort. It is little touches like that that can make the buck system successful. The collar along with the more obvious boots and chest piece, move this figure beyond a simple buck figure and into something unique.

The variant Soldier features his ‘evil’ red star on his left shoulder, so he should be sporting the longer hair from his first appearances, but I can’t decide which head I like better. The face sculpt is the same for both with two different hair pieces capturing his two looks. The face sculpt is great and because of the painted pupils on the short hair head, Hasbro manages to get two expressions out of the same sculpt. I think he’ll end up with the longer hair on my shelf, but it’s always nice to have the option of a second head.

The only issue I had with the sculpt was the hands. The bionic arm is a fist leaving the figure unable to do any poses with both hands on the gun. He’s an assassin and I’d like to give him some cool poses with two hands on his rifle. The right hand is open, but not quite scaled to hold the rifle and hand gun he comes with. He does have an open trigger finger though. I’m glad it’s there because it makes the figure look better and because the finger can stabilize the gun while the grips ‘rest’ in his hand. His pistol fits in the holster on his right leg, another plus.

The long hair head’s domino mask isn’t painted to the sculpt lines, but it’s close and the lines are at least straight. Otherwise, the paints are mostly great. I like that the figure is cast in a darker blue and washed to give his uniform a ‘dirty’ feel, but the contrast is too high in some areas leaving bright blue areas with “black” highlights. There are plenty of nice parts though – the straps and buckles are all sharp, the boots are done in a glossy black, and the arm and red star logo look great too.

Since the figure is based on an older Hasbro ML body, the articulation isn’t as nice as I would like. There’s still plenty though – ball joints at the head, shoulders, hips, wrists, and ankles, swivels at the bicep and thigh, double-hinged knees and elbows, and the chest pivot. The head has excellent range and you can get plenty of good poses out of it without exposing the unsightly hinge in the neck. The shoulders are ratcheted and I’ve had a really hard time turning the bionic arm. It’s very tight and I fear something will snap every time I move it. All the other joints work well and I was able to get some great poses though it took some effort to get the ball hips to do what I wanted them to do. Continue to Black Widow…

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34 comments to ItsAllTrue Review: Marvel Legends
Black Widow & Winter Soldier

  • Lowe

    I wish I could find these, but my TRU never gets anything. And I know they went up on TRU.com today, but I’m afraid I’ll end up with the variants.

  • Sephron13

    Great review, as always, but THANK YOU for the Flash bit. I LOVE John’s GL Rebirth, but the Flash one left me wanting more. Plus, maybe I’m just more of a Wally West fan than a Barry Allen one… (oh no, grab the pitchforks).

    I also dig that short-haired head for BW. That pixie-do looks good on some women and I think it always looked good on Natasha.

    WS looks good. I wish he was a bit more agreeable, articulation-wise, but ah well. Hopefully these packs do well enough that the Legends will be back in full-force someday!

    • Vault and I are convinced that they messed up the Flash Mythos (removing Wally, upping Bart, killing Bart, etc) just so they could make a big ‘Hal’ mess that needed cleaning up with Flash Rebirth. It felt totally manufactured unlike GL which had to work around over a decade of stories, different writers, and plots. It was really crap. I’d be buying a Wally book right now, but DC’s not interested in the money of the Wally and Kyle fans apparently…

      (rant over… lol)

      The short hair does look good on her. I might have bought it even if it I didn’t like Black Widow. I wish he was more TB than Hasbro, but he’s better than most!

      • Sephron13

        I’m at least grateful I can get a Kyle fix in the amazing GLCorps book (which is often better than Johns’s GL). Having bought my 1st comic in the early 90’s, I grew up a Wally/Kyle fan. I totally agree, 110%, on your and Vault’s thoughts on the Flash mythos diaster leading up to Rebirth. Sigh…

        K, on with the show…

      • Brainlock

        the last solicits say that “Flashpoint” is starting to build steam or something.
        I haven’t gotten the last Flash issue or two in my shipments from my store, and I’m not worried about missing them, either.

        DiDio and Johns need to stop writing their silver Age fanwank and move on.

  • orionpax636

    Ah, it’s good to get some Marvel Legends love on the IAT!

    I prefer the shorthaired head that came with mine – I’ve only been able to find variant packs so far. If I decide to take the regular Black Widow, I’ll examine the eye paint on Natasha/Natalia, as the paint on my longhaired head just doesn’t look right. She looks…older.

    I wonder if the Marvel Select Yelena Belova head would work on her? I always liked how that figure’s head turned out. I never cared much for Bucky before the Civil War era ( I always considered him a patriotic sidekick popsicle), But I like how gritty and spiteful Winter Soldier seems.

    I am jealous of your Warbird.

    • My long-haired head doens’t look as good either. I think it’s the eyes.

      It’d be cool if one of the Yelena heads fit on her. Did ML ever do a Yelena variant? I didn’t have it if they did…

      And jealous of my Warbird…? I do believe I have two…

      • He-Mullet

        TB made a Yelena BW… Never saw one in Person.
        I gotta say Hasbro is kicking ML up a notch Finally. I might get some of the two packs (Especially this one…) Still I feel it’s a bit too late for Hasbro…
        I only hope that The 2012 Wave comes with strongly desired characters; Otherwise the Mattel Chant will be used on them…

        (For the love of the toygods Hasbro: Don’t Start Wave one With Ironman, Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hulk, or Thor variants)

        • JamesLynch

          I’d actually like to see a modern Thor in one of the packs. Throw that in with a Bucky Cap figure. I can’t believe Hasbro hasn’t done either of them in the ML line yet.

          • He-Mullet

            I want to see a modern Thor and Bucky Cap as well, but I don’t want to have the NEW HML (2012) to be full of IronMan, Wolvie, Spidey, Hulk, Thor, and Cap variants.

            Hasbro ML:
            Wave 1 Annihilus: Planet Hulk, Ultimate IronMan
            Wave 2 Blob:Ultimate Logan,Asgard Thor
            Wave 3 Brood Queen:FA Captain America
            Wave of the Red Hulk:X-Force Wolverine, Yet another Tiger Stripe Wolverine(as the Variant) Symbiote Spidey
            Wave of Ares: Spider-Man: Ben Reilly, Heroes Reborn IronMan
            I’m not counting the two packs here… Otherwise We’d have
            Ultimate Cap, Yellow/Blue Generic X-Uniform Wolvie,70s IM w/Stealth IM variant, yet another standard green Hulk added to the lists.

            The Holocaust wave was the only wave with none of those guys… It took Toy Biz 10 waves to have an ML Spider-Man… I don’t want to see him every 2 waves. (This is coming from a HUGE Spidey fan)

            Not saying that TB were saints since they made 2 Thors, 2 Caps (4 if we count face offs) 3 Hulks (4 if we count face offs) 5 IMs (6 if we count face offs) 1 Spidey (The SMC figures do not count) and 7 Wolvies (9 if we count face offs)
            BTW I am taking variants into consideration.

            Long story short. In 6 waves Hasbro gave us:
            1 Thor, 3 Wolverines, 2 IronMan, 1 Cap, 2 Spideys

            In 16 waves Toybiz gave us 7 Wolverines, 2 Thors, 2 Caps, 3 Hulks, 5 IronMan, 1 Spidey

            I know those guys are big hitters, but they shouldn’t be shoved down EVERY WAVE since there are plenty of other big hitters.

      • orionpax636

        The Most Powerful Mullet in the Universe is correct; there was a TB Yelena, but the MS one had a superior mug in my opinion.

        If you’re interested in selling the Warbird, please PM me via the FanEx board. I think I tried to contact you once in the same way, but it never got through.

  • Squigiman

    Just so you know, Bucky and Cap fell into the ocean while trying to disarm a weapon on Baron Zemo’s experimental plane, and not just on a plane flying home. Also, the female SHIELD agent is Maria Hill, not Anita. Anita Hill was the woman involved in that Clarence Thomas scandal from the 90’s. Just wanted to clarify.

    • Thanks! I’ve made the corrections. I always forget the Cap retcon, substituting what I think shouldve happened for what did back in Avengers. The Hill slip up is just silly on my part! To much politics on the brain.

  • dayraven

    winter soldier’s right arm looks familiar… no way that’s x-men movie colossus’ arm, is there?

    • JamesLynch

      You mean left arm? I don’t think so. Movie Colossus was a pretty big honkin’ figure. His arm would look way out of place on a normal sized body.

      I was wondering if it might have come from a Cable figure, possibly the one from the Wal-Mart two-pack a couple years back.

      • Checked Cable before the review, even the Hashbro one is much more detailed. I saw that it looked like Stryker’s but it’s different then his too.

        • Brainlock

          Stryker = CyberForce dude with 3/1 arms and big ponytail?
          No way would Hasbro have access to that mold, I don’t think. that line was made AFTER Hasbro bought all the TB molds for ML. On top of that, Stryker’s cyborg arms were all RIGHT arms, not left.

  • Kronis

    If you guys start covering Marvel Legends and make an ML checklist, I will be super happy!

  • Brainlock

    nice reviews. I know first quick review I saw said they recognized the WS body, but couldn’t place it. My main Qs would be: can the other HML heads swap onto this one and how is the vest attached?
    Didn’t they have the BLACK Widow figure? doesn’t she also have a belt? and the WS that comes with her, is he the exact same figure? It is nice that they include both heads if this is the case, and they only have paint decos to differentiate the sets.

    also, you seem to state that Val comes with WARPATH? I thought it was Val/Hulk and Deadpool/Warpath?
    Did they have both sets or were these swapped around? I’m really interested in the Hulk only because it is the BAF Rulk body, and I never did buy half that wave, so I’m interested if the Rulk head can still be placed on the body (and how easy Sif would be to make from Val!). Also interested in how the various DP/WP details hold up, asp TB Wade vs Hasbro Wade!

    • The older heads can fit. I haven’t tried them all personally, but most can.
      The vest is slips over his head and shoulders like a t-shirt.
      No regular figures were at TRU, but that costume does have a belt.
      WS has a white shoulder star on the regular, red on the variant.

      Warpath is with Hulk, I just didn’t mention Hulk or Bluepool. I might have to clarify that in the paragraph.

  • Cal Girard

    The bionic arm looks familiar to me too. It’s too wimpy to be colossus and too simple to be Cable though so I have no idea. Did any of the superarticulated Spideys have cyborg arms?

    It kinda looks like one of Stryker’s but that wouldn’t work.

  • Bryce

    You nailed it in that Flash comic. Bucky and Barry are both back and the stories are like night and day. Bucky’s was intriguing and you were waiting on his next appearance. I haven’t liked him as Cap so much, but I like the idea. The Flash has just become a gigantic mess the last few years.

  • Trollbridge

    These new MLs are still inferior to the TB product. I’ll give that Natasha’s head looks better than anything so far, but the Hulk and Valkyrie set is garbage because they’re just straight up 2006 HMLs. Hasbro needs to scrap anything they did before these 2pks when making new stuff.

    • Widow is the most TB legends I’ve gotten from Hasbro, but some of the 2pks just repeat the mistakes from when the figures were for. I figure Valkyrie is bad because she’s just the older figure actually seeing release.

  • Callihan

    Great review! Happy to see some ML reviews here!

  • BAPoet

    Great review. I found these last week (variant case, so no regs). WS/BW is the best of the bunch and a definite recommended buy. Variant Warpath/DP is good, but I’m more excited about the reg versions. DO NOT BUY HULK/VALKYRIE for Val. This is a horrendous figure. It can’t hold its accessories and cannot be posed in any way that doesn’t look awkward. Everything about this figure is ugly. It comes with a separate scabbard, but you can’t even put her sword in it. I feel for fans of the character as this is probably the only one that’ll ever be made for ML. Hulk is probably the best version made thus far for ML. I know it’s just a re-painted red hulk with a new head, but, sylistically, it fits in perfect with SOTAs old Streetfighter figures for some MUvsCapcom nostalgia.

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