I’m not sure of the original use of Black Widow’s buck, but I think it was first used for the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Sharon Carter and Maria Hill back in 2008. Black Widow features a new upper torso for her trademark cleavage, her classic wristbands, and two heads. The new torso piece is accurate to the regular edition black costume and isn’t quite accurate for this version, but… I’m not complaining. The wrist bands are an important addition, but they create a slight conundrum for me. They have to sit high because of the wrist articulation and it looks rather odd. They can be slid down to look good visually, but then they obstruct the articulation. Always problems, right?
The key selling point for me was the heads, specifically the short-haired one. I was really impressed by how well done it was. It’s sculpted well, but more importantly, it’s painted well. Painted heads almost always look superior to the molded plastic cousins and in the case of Widow, she really gave the impression that she was an old school, a Toy Biz, Marvel Legend. I liked that and it ultimately convinced me to pick up the 2pk. Once I got her home and saw some of my other woman MLs, I remembered those didn’t always have the greatest faces and that may make this Black Widow one of the best women MLs yet. As with the Soldier, the head sculpt is the same for both figures with separate hair pieces. For the short hair version, the new piece is just the bangs while the longer hair piece covers up the sculpted hair on the back of her head.
This version of Black Widow didn’t require much paintwork. The two spider tampos are crisp and the paint is mostly contained to the head, neck, and chest. The head is molded in the same grey as the figure, so the paint matches throughout. The small silver details on the zipper are sharp and the eyes and mouth are painted great on the short hair head and are okay on the long-haired version. I did end up with a small scratch on her left cheek – that’s the one drawback to painted heads, but they look so much better that it’s worth the risk.
Black Widow features some nice articulation – ball joints on the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, and ankles, swivel thighs, double hinged knees and the torso joint. Her head can’t move as much Winter Soldier’s because it’s just a one-piece setup, but there is still good range and she does have better side-to-side tilt . All the joints were tight and none of them gave me any real issues. I still have a hard time twisting the legs around to get the ball hips how I want them, but they work fine and the figure is capable of some great action poses.
But not all is well with my Black Widow. Her neck peg is warped to the left. I haven’t tried to heat and straighten it yet, but I think it’s an easy fix. Still, out of the package, it’s an annoyance. In a lot of the pictures here, I’ve used poses that can cover up for it, but in head-on shots, it looks unnatural. Otherwise, the set had nice quality control. It was nice to have no real paint issues and no stuck joints.
I’m not having any regret about my on-the-spot reversal to pick up this 2pk. I’ve always liked Black Widow’s alternate costume so I’m glad to have a figure of it. It was also a nice surprise to see how Hasbro has stepped up their game in regards to Marvel Legends. Black Widow is significantly better than the figures I was buying back with HML1 and HML2. The neck warpage is an odd QC issue, but hopefully an easy one to fix.
The Winter Soldier wasn’t a character that I really needed a figure for, but he’s a nice pick up too. Even though he’s built around a pre-existing figure, he’s got plenty of new pieces to make his figure uniquely his and gives him a nice, standout look on a crowded shelf. I would’ve like more out of his hands and the shoulder joints to be a little more friendly, but he’s a great figure otherwise.
I’m glad that Hasbro has a long-term plan on returning Marvel Legends to store shelves in more than just TRU 2pks and having these figures in hand makes me even more excited about what Hasbro’s going to do with the line going forward. If they’re more like this, then Hasbro will have some good things in stores for 2012.