Outdated thinking is all around us. I’ve talked before about what one person sees as true does not necessarily apply to the next person, but when time is thrown is a factor things get even more complicated. What’s true for a person on Monday may not be true for them Tuesday, or a year, or a lifetime from now. We kind of suck at realizing that. Once we get a truth that we consider universal in our head, we hold on to it. It’s stabilizing. It’s reassuring. It’s terrible.
The outdated thinking I’m talking about today, of course, is that girl action figures don’t sell. I’m not going to get into a history lesson and talk about the G.I. Joe Nurse. Obviously, there was a time that you couldn’t throw a girl figure at a boy – that’s fine. But the Nurse thing happened over a decade before I was born (And I’m getting pretty damn long in the tooth myself). I’m too young to understand that thinking. I loved having Wonder Woman in Super Powers, the first of many Diana figures I own. April O’Neil. Janine Melnitz. Lady Jaye. Jinx. Zaranna. Teela. She-Ra. Ripley. Princess Leia. I had ‘em all. And I wanted more.
My problem isn’t with the notion that “girls don’t sell” in general, it’s that so many toy companies backed down and ran from it. If it really was true, or really is true. It shouldn’t be a warning to be heeded. It should be a challenge to be answered. Make the women figures worthwhile. How often have we seen a girl figure look terrible or phoned in compared to the men in the same line? That’s self-fulfilling right there. What are the examples of a toy company putting out top notch girl figures and getting their butts handed to them? “Girls don’t sell” is deterministic thinking when it’s really a call for problem solving. Drives me nuts.
Luckily, modern collectors have had it a little better. G.I. Joe got back to having girls in their rosters. Hasbro & Mattel put a lot of the ladies in their comic lines (though tons more are still needed). She-Ra & her Princesses of Power are thankfully being included as full-fledged members of MOTU Classics. The biggest recent issue where this stupidity raised its head, though, was Avengers.
Hasbro put out this relatively great line of 6” figures for the movie. There are a few things I would’ve liked differently. A better Thor & Cap for one. But the worst thing about that toy line was it only made five members of the six member team. Cap, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye… and that’s it. (A great, but too small, Loki figure rounded out the assortment). No Black Widow.
Maybe the folks at Hasbro had a great reason to not include her that was based on tooling, budget, etc. Maybe they could only have six figures and just desperately wanted to get Loki in there. I don’t know and I’m not really interested. The only thing I was interested in after picking up those figures was “fix it”.
And, finally, they did. Black Widow, appearing alongside Cap in Captain America: The Winter Soldier was also included as one of the three movie-based figures in the Marvel Legends: Captain America: Infinite Series (they really need a better name for these toy lines). I was ecstatic to see her included. My Avengers and I have been sitting around for nearly two years waiting for this day.
Even better than Hasbro finally making her, Hasbro knocked her out of the park. I’m going to nitpick it to death in the various sections my review covers, but I love this figure. This is two figures in a row where I feel like Hasbro really had stepped up to the plate and delivered a girl figure on par or better than the guys. Both Black Cat & Black Widow are amazing and I’m hopeful to see what they have coming up.
Black Widow is an all-new figure. The new body is covered in movie-accurate details. The now-familiar movie multi-texturing, the various belts, strap, and buckles. It all looks sharp. Some of the details make her a more definitive CA:WS figure than an Avengers figure, but only the most diehard among use are likely still waiting for a proper Avengers figure after this release. Another interesting thing about this sculpt is that Widow’s body isn’t overly… Barbiefied? The proportions are much more realistic than I’m used to getting and I think that’s pretty cool. I think the figure is actually closer to Scarlett Johansson than some of the Photoshopped movie posters. That’s pretty funny and something I love about the figure.
On top of all that is a killer head sculpt. Hot Toys unveiled their newest Black Widow yesterday and, while good, it was a criticized for having a blank stare. Ironically, this figure kinda has that too, but I might characterize it more as she’s not interested. It’s like she’s staring through you. The likeness is dead-on though, can’t argue that. I mentioned in the previous paragraph that the figure is a little too Cap movie to be Avengers and that only matters because Hasbro did an awesome thing: there are two heads! Continue to Page 2…
69 thoughts on “Marvel Legends Captain America
Infinite Black Widow Review”
Now if only she weren’t harder to find than dragon teeth. :-/
Double frustrating because without the torso one can’t even begin to build the Mandroid.
Luckily, all the limbs fit the Iron Monger torso, but the ball connector for the heads is swapped out. Monger has his ball in the head, while Mandy’s is part of the torso. So if you don’t want a kitbash, then ask around to see if someone is willing to sell/trade for it?
I scored Widow (and WS and Arana and B.Cat and…) this past weekend and she’s keeping the shorter Avengers hair. The longer hair looks pretty accurate to ScarJo’s in Cap2, but …bleh. Either way, it looks like a wig.
I might have to play around to see if it looks good on another female figure, as Mystique looks good, but M.Hydra is a total Sarah Jessica Parker.
(I have a couple Hope for fodder, but they have weak legs. ugh.)
I do concur about the lack of ball joint wrists, BUT I had trouble swapping out the left, and that moment of fear that the stem would break if I pulled too hard, but it eventually came out after a minute of squeezing the arm in my hand to warm it up a notch. Then there’s the chance of losing those extra hands. I know I lost at least one Elektra and IM2 hand over a year ago.
as for the guns and holsters? yeah, the straps are annoying, as are the molded guns, but I also nabbed a Hyperion this wkd and he comes with HitMonkey’s arms and guns, so…I should try them? … ok, yeah, they work nice, but *almost* a hair too thick? I popped her right hand out by accident on first try, so there’s that.
With completing the Mandroid, get Winter Soldier RIGHT NOW while Target has them $2/10% off. Some Walmarts may match the price, but not sure about TRU? My first sightings of Cap2 at WM have all been this second half of the wave, so now it looks like I may have to order the first half online to get another pair of Hydra/AIM to complete a second Mandroid.
or kitbash/swap the limbs to Monger. Too bad the heads can’t be swapped, because once Mandy’s is on, it stays on! his collar is too damn high!
Anywho. The previous ML Caps were already collecting dust (when they were stocked! LOL), so having him be the heavy pack in these cases mean he’s going to be around a bit longer, so you can wait for him and Spidey to hit clearance if you want. I know having 3/5 of Ult.Goblin, I’m kicking myself for passing on Carnage earlier, as no one wants Toxin or the Spideys. Then again, I haven’t tried any other large heads on the UGG torso yet.
One thing I did notice today is that the “Cmdr Rogers” movie suit Cap and Winter Soldier are listed on package as having the opposite legs they actually come with. I built my Mandroid without Cmdr Cap and had to “borrow” a Monger right leg last night, then realized when I was at the store today looking at the list of BAF part distribution, that they were switched. D’OH!
(now if I can just find my loose figure box from before we moved a a few months ago, I’ll have Monger’s arms! gah!)
Luckily, I scored a couple Widows, and not sure if I’m keeping the second as is, or customing her into my 6″ Joes? (updated Scarlet? Baroness? Lady Jaye? CG?) Maybe make a few alterations for Movie Danvers/Wasp/Wanda/??? That Clint is an easy custom into movie Wonder Man with swapping TB-ML Simon’s arms onto him and a few dashes of red and black paint. Same goes for turning the Rocket wave’s Now!Hawkeye into an updated Simon, too.
The gun she came with plugs into the top right shoulder of the Mandroid. 🙂
Dammit. I meant to check that and then completely forgot!! Thanks for pointing that out!!
The stigma of girl toys is really annoying. Most of the DCUC figures I lament not getting, are ladies. MLs aren’t that much better though if one considers that Black Widow, Black Cat, Emma Frost and Elektra all needed to be remade, not to mention a few that still desperately need it. (I’m looking at you Rogue).
Also, I think the laser canon Black Widow handed over to AIM is a shoulder mounted canon for the Mandroid.
I was too slow.
Great figure and great review as always.
She is apparently totally impossible to find at US retail. Early ebay prices for here were up to $75 or more. Scalpers really are out to ruin the collecting hobby for everyone.
There are a few scalpers, to be sure, but this wave is barely out yet, and she’s packed 1 per case… There is clearly far far FAR more demand than supply. Hasbro, you made a good product! Congrats! Now stop giving my LCS a reason to charge $70 for Jean Grey; Emma Frost, and now Black Widow. You have to stop shortpacking figures in BAF waves. Even the kind lady at the customer service desk at Target understood this. If the big stores’ buyers aren’t getting the message, please tell us where to send our letters.
Esp when they don’t bother ordering any MLs! grr…!!!!
I’m just about done with wasting gas and need to start ordering cases online, but then they pull this “split wave BAF” nonsense and shortpack THE necessary torso figure as well as Army Builders! GENIUS!!!
Considering how hard it is to find the Black Cat (among others) surprised that the demand hasn’t clicked for more fem figs. Look how many people that want to finsh their Gigantas and not want Gentleman Ghost (I’m one) or wished Mary Marvel got an upgrade so her leg joints could do something.
The big wakeup call shoulda been how many people ordered the Club Etheria Sub. The wakeup to the female figs that is.
On Black Widow, looks great even if I didn’t want to get onto the movie figs. I do wish I got the Hulk though. Never saw at retail or the package looked like head a headhunter attack it. (Many toys get this here)
I hope to find her, be a better match up then Spidey webbing up Superwoman in my CSA vs. Avengers Display. Now need an updated comic version.
A side note, I look at this and picture a 6″ Scarlet of GI Joe fame a little. Anybody else see the colors of her classic look. A nice base body atleast if we ever get 6″ joes.
This would be a good base for a 6″ Scarlett.
yeah, I mention using her for my 6″ Joe customs in my last paragraph above. Avengers head is definitely Scarlett, but the Cap2 head would make a great Baroness.
Like most I’m still hunting for her to finish off my movie Avengers but I want to know why the line got three Caps, Skull, Zemo and two troop builders but no Falcon?… I really hope I don’t have to wait until the next Cap movie to get Falcon. Avengers 2 had better bring on the three new heroes right away…
I can’t say there’s any figures in the Cap2 line that I don’t think were necessary (WW2 Cap was a Walmart exclusive the first go-around and never showed up in my area, it was almost inevitable that Cap’s newest comic costume would show up, Zemo and Skull needed an update and Skull’s Cap’s main nemesis, the Hydra and AIM agents make great army builders, and we needed Cap 2 Cap, Winter Soldier, and we’ve needed a 6″ Widow since IM2), I do wish they could have found room in the lineup for Falcon. Why does there always seem to be one major character missing from the more recent ML 6″ movie lines? Cap 2 is missing Falcon, IM3 was missing Mandarin (to be fair, he made it to prototype, but Hasbro’s shitty case packs and wave spacing killed the line before he was produced) and a bunch of awesome armor designs, Avengers was missing Black Widow (not to mention IM mk VII and a Thor update), Cap 1 was missing Red Skull, Thor was missing Loki, Thor 2 was just flat out missing, IM had no Widow and no Whiplash.
Who else was in the IM3 wave 3? Comic Rescue/Pepper and Trevor/Mandarin, and anyone else notable? IM2 Whiplash, maybe? Business suit Tony?
I do wish ML would get back on track and give us the occasional “missing” movie figure, like they did with X3 Jean Grey, but then again, DoFP is hitting a month after Cap2 and before ASM2 and we don’t have a single figure to show for it OR First Class, yet! I know some customizers were buying up as many Xorn’s as they could for the FC uniforms,but that still left a lot of figures to be desired, mostly females.
Besides, Hasbro still owes us a good half dozen solicited “running change” figures, starting with Bulldozer to complete the Wrecking Crew! and there’s still no word on the T-bolt/Jubilee wave shown last year!
I believe IM 3 War Machine (Iron Patriot in silver/gunmetal) was part of the third wave as well.
The lack of First Class figures was due to the rushed production schedule on that movie. Fox was pretty well scrambling to get it done on a very abbreviated schedule, and that, combined with the weak sales of the Wolverine: Origins figures made merchandisers shy away. The only merch was a set of Minimates (I guess those can be cranked out in a matter of months, since they require nothing more than a new set of paint masks). But, yeah, no reason for us not to have subsequently gotten any figures, or to have them for DoFP.
I have never seen any figures besides the Cap and Spiderman figures from these waves…it’s really depressing.
I was at TGT picking up a prescription at 10am. It’s surely the only reason I got Widow.
Sweet! I’m glad she’s starting to hit the shelves. The hunt continues, I guess. I found Movie cap yesterday at Walmart. I’m going to hit some Targets this afternoon. I haven’t had much luck lately (all of the ML pegs have been empty in the Cap section). If I get all of the Mandroid pieces EXCEPT for the torso, I’ll have a fit. Of course, I’ll be upset that I’d be missing this amazing figure too! Your pics are great in this one. The movie poster series is fantastic!
Couldn’t find this lass when I went looking for her and Winter Soldier yesterday. However, I did luck out and find Jean Grey and Black Cat, so far from a loss. Hope I can find her eventually (so I can build my Super Horde Troo- I mean Mandroid. Yeah, that’s it.)
These Infinite figures have actually brought me back to Marvel Legends, so Hasbro must be doing something right.
What was the GI Joe nurse problem from forever ago?
Me! Me! I’ve got this! 🙂
When GI Joe was made back in the ’60s, it was an uphill battle. “Boys wouldn’t play with dolls” was the mantra. Linguistic judo came up with the phrase ‘Action Figure’ and a giant money-making giant was born.
A logical extension, as time went on, brought the idea “can we shift the branding to bring girls in and expand our consumer base?”. GI Nurse was both an accessory to GI Joe, and an opening shot in a fully posable female action figure, which would have seriously been a challenge to Mattel’s Barbie.
Problem was, retailers were very lukewarm, more highly resistant to her. Barbie was seen to have a lock on girl dolls. It was also a time of transition for GI Joe as ‘Military’ was looking more and more ‘bad business’ and an ‘Army Nurse’ at the height of the Viet Nam War seemed very negative, image-wise. Green Beret= cool, Nurse = pain, death, bad.
I’ve never seen anyone document this but I have a feeling that only the Marshall Fields department store bought GI Nurse, that’s where I got mine.
All that development money, plus only one national retailer picking up the toy equaled failure. The lesson, the mantra that became an ‘action line’ within the toy industry was “boys don’t want female action figures, they think of them as ‘dolls’ and ‘everybody knows’ dolls are for girls”.
That action line is oft cited even to this day, which causes no end of frustration, as toy lines are often tied to TV shows, and TV shows have been more inclusive over the years so they ALWAYS have at least one ‘as good as any of the guys’ female character, which all too often IS NEVER MADE INTO A FIGURE.
I have no idea how females got into the GI Joe: Real American Hero line unless it was that inclusiveness of the cartoon. Or maybe by that time Hasbro was looking at Kenner’s giant success with Star Wars and figured just one or two girls in the gang wouldn’t hurt things.
GI Nurse was a good idea that got fumbled in execution. I think if she had some Army fatigues included (like a real Viet Nam evac hospital nurse. See also ‘China
Beach’) with the stereotypical starched white Nurse Dress there may have been more acceptance.
Did I do good? 🙂
Thanks, that makes sense and is totally lame, lol! Seems to be the same mentality that makes female lead superhero movies such an uphill battle too.
Not bad. The nurse was ordered and widely available at the time though. The irony is more that Hasbro didn’t think to treat her any differently. Some stores put her with the Joes. Other stores put her with the Barbies.
The key takeaway like you say though is that no one was going to buy their little boy a “doll” in 1967. They knew it when they came up with action figure, but apparently forgot within a year or two and didn’t take steps to give her crossover appeal.
Course, she’s one of the most valuable, sought after Joes now, so I guess she gets the last laugh.
Dammit, lack of edit feature!!
OK, the other thing is, since the toy companies sometimes DO make female action figures, they tend to be hugely shortpacked, again answering the ‘action line’. When the hoarders/scalpers got into the act, striking at dawn to grab any ‘rare, SUPER RARE COLLECTABLE’ figures to re-sell for obscene profit, it tipped the existing supply/demand/order system right on its arse. Scalpers grab shortpack figures, the others warm the pegs as ‘normal’ consumers lament being able to ‘get the whole team’, stores don’t re-order as their computers tell them they’ve got 90% unsold figures sitting there, line dies.
I could keep going. There was the time Hasbro tried to address this in the ’96 Star Wars relaunch by sending cases of ‘shortpacked’ figures to stores, and there was that glut of ‘ape face’ Leia. *brrrrr* 🙂
Yep, that’s probably my biggest gripe about this hobby. But how would you solve such a problem? Stop shortpacking the women, of course, but I think part of the blame can also be placed on impatient collectors. Scalpers wouldn’t do what they do if there was no money to be made, but the fear of “IF I DON’T BUY IT NOW FOR TRIPLE THE PRICE I MAY NEVER FIND IT AGAIN!” is always in our minds (and I’m sure each of us has a “the one that got away” story that haunts us each time we look at our collection).
I’m sure Hasbro knows people want good action figures of Black Widow and Maria Hill, but they’re so entrenched in their business practices they’re terrified of taking a risk that may result in lost profits. Guys like Batman and Spider-Man don’t suffer the same way because “kids will always want the heroes.” We have to show them that it’s not a passing fad, the demand is there, always has been, and will be for a long time.
The toy industry has changed so much since I was a kid reading about the brand new, first-time-ever Darth Vader with removable helmet in Toy Fare Magazine. I can’t imagine where it will go in another 17 years, but I hope the women are invited.
Well, I’m crazy and clearly impractical. I heard there’s this thing called the Internet where people all around the world can engage in communication and commerce…
Hasbro has an online store. They could easily open a collector shop on Amazon. Put the figures there at MSRP, no restrictions, no limited run.
Heck, I would suggest offering the ‘build-a-figure’ parts on their own for those that just don’t want to buy figures they have no interest in.
Again, NO LIMITED RUN. the way to kill off most of the scalpers is AVAILABILITY.
Why not do it? The retail market is crap now. Your customers are basically Walmart, Target, Toys R Us and KMart (in observed order of importance). They want to cycle thru a wave as fast as they can so they can clear shelf space for the next thing. There is no real retailer loyalty anymore.
But of course it’s impossible because nobody has done it, so clearly it can’t be done. bah.
I know that it takes a long time, usually about a year, to get a figure into production and onto shelves, but, I have to believe there’s a better way than the current retail model. The cases of figures that Hasbro’s online store gets seem to be the same cases that brick and mortar stores get, because the same figures are out of stock (Boba Fett Black, Black widow, Black Cat, Waspinator, Spider-Girl, etc.). You’re Hasbro’s own store, why are you out of stock on the same figures that Target and TRU are?
Maybe that’s how they move cases? I’m assuming they’d rather sell 100 cases of Marvel Legends at retail so 100 fans can get a Black Widow, than sell 100 Widows online and only half that number of cases to retail stores.
You answered your own question, of course. 🙂
They got the same cases from the factory in China, they had the same packout, the scalpers rushed to the site and ordered every single one and *poof* just like the retailers, they got cases of peg warmers, ready to ship off to Big Lots in a few months.
There is something in the deal with the factory that seems to prevent them from going back and saying “Make us 10,000 more of these specific figures”, or just as likely, embedded corporate culture can’t see the trees for the forest. As in Black Widow et al are trees, the total wave of figures is the forest. “Inventory says we’ve got 1000 cases of these in the warehouse and we haven’t sold jack s**t since the day we streeted them! What do you mean you want to order more?!”
But they’re Hasbro. They don’t have to give themselves the same shitty case packs they give Target and TRU in a sad struggle to try to get sell-through at any particular location. They could just order solid cases of each figure in a slightly more reasonable ratio.
Here’s the thing; we as collectors don’t believe the bullshit about girl figures not selling. And if they pack them one per case, they’ll keep selling out. But what if packing them two per case was too high of a ratio? What if there aren’t enough collectors out there who see the value in completing their Avengers team and their Mandroid (not to mention just flat out getting a nice figure) if they made double the amount they currently do? But what if increasing the amount of Black Widows by, say, 50% would be enough to satisfy demand without clogging the warehouses? Stores can only order preset case packs, and they can’t increase the number of a one-per-case figure by 50%, but Hasbro could if they were ordering solid cases for themselves. Just order 50% more of Black Widow cases.
the thing i think is so funny about this retail scenario you guys are debating is the economic reality of the overseas manufacturer. once again, you’re discussing a scenario where, in part, some of the delay to get goods made is that we lack direct access to mission-specific factories. you have a delay due to the sea voyage of the freight, a delay in communication times, a delay in customs clearance, a delay in manufacturing to reset the factory floor from one good to another, a delay in language translation, and all of that breeds an inability to be deft in meeting zeitgeist market demands.
i’m a firm believer that some industries, not all, but some, would do well to bring a factory or two back to the US, or at least, to mexico. imagine you’re a young entrepreneur, and a toy geek. you open up a factory in let’s say chihuahua. large labor force, lower middle class economy, good infrastructure, connected by major highway to the US, not completely compromised by narco violence… so we build a factory, good wages (for the local economy) and all we do there is contract for toy manufacturers. we run a clean business, investing as often in possible in clean tech, operating the place on solar power, trying new paints with fewer harmful chem additives, get some nice press rolling on this. we help boost the local economy, and in turn, the mexican economy on the whole. mexican kids get to come tour the facility… and like a beer company, we hook ’em with one, just one, free toy. we’ve added 3 million potential new customers over night, cuz the folks are glad to have the jobs, and the kids want the toys… we get free access to the US, no duties, extremely reasonable delays/cost additivies from transport and translation as opposed to china, and all of the big wigs are just lining up to get toys made in the “economy friendly” toy factory of the future. it’s completely manageable.
The scenario I described has nothing to do with delay (not saying bringing manufacturing back to the States wouldn’t be a good idea, it’s just not a factor in what I’m describing). It’s more a matter of the manufacturer having a more flexible outlook on how they run their in-house direct-to-consumer business, and using their corporate muscle to get what they want from the factories. Having each character made on their own, and giving the people that run the online side of things the ability to order specific characters in whatever ratios they think will fit their business model (ie direct-to-consumer selling, with an emphasis on the collector market), might make more sense than having their own in-house store be at the mercy of the same case packs that lead to brick-and-mortar stores being overrun with certain figures and not enough of another.
To use another recent example: Star Wars Black figures all ship 1 per case. But anybody who knows Star Wars knows that certain characters will sell better than others. Boba Fett will sell better than most characters. Collectors will want to army build most any kind of Trooper. Under the model I’m suggesting, Hasbro Toy Shop could order those characters in slightly higher ratios than they would have to order X-Wing Luke or Greedo. As it stands, they have to order them in 1:1 ratios with every other figure in the line, just as retailers do, which is the scenario that has led to me not seeing a Sandtrooper in months, never having seen a Boba Fett, but being able to find 20 Slave Leias within five minutes of my home.
But did you read what I said, or skim? Or, as is the most likely, I just wasn’t as clear as I should have bee.
It appears Hasbro just can’t do it. I agree with you, what they SHOULD have done is ordered case quan. of EACH figure for their DotCom, but they didn’t. Same cases, same packout, same problem.
We could gently, gentlemanly, nicely explain this to them, lay it all out, make the concept as ‘turnkey’ as possible-that is, just do what we’re saying- and nothing would happen. It’s something embedded deep in the management culture. More than just the fear of “not invented here”, it’s just the pure numbers and the gray men in their gray offices rule the roost.
They run off the wave, the factory resets for, I dunno, WWE or SW Black, run off THOSE waves, and it’s time for the Big Movie toys (whatever that is, it sure seems Hasbro doesn’t think Cap. America 2 is going to be it). There appears to be no flex in the capacity.
Which, as DR argues, is another reason it would be really smart for Hasbro (and Mattel for that matter) to start up a new American factory. Quicken that reaction time. Toss out the two to three weeks shipping across the Pacific and another month at Customs. Delays caused by difficult communications. All that stuff that hurts the bottom line but is mysteriously not taken into consideration when they dicker with the Chinese on price.
it’s just nuts.
Cap 2 is at least getting toys. No such luck for X-Men, and Thor 2 didn’t get any 6-inchers.
You don’t want to separate the BAF Parts because then you lose sales. The BAF is there to get you to buy figures you wouldn’t normally buy.
The other thing you have to be careful on is making something too available. We know that 1 Black Widow per case is *currently* not enough, but 2 Widows per case might be too many. (This same thing covers trying to sell her directly and then leave all the pegwarmers with your pissed off NA buyer that you still have to sell too).
yep, this happened with DCUC’s Power Girl. She was one of the early fan demands and people were happy to get her, so Mattel, in it’s infinite wisdom, made her part of a WalMart exclusive wave at 2/case.
She wound up a pegwarmer with a CnC nobody wanted and few had remembered from an summer 2001 Superman/DC crossover arc. (and who many at the time criticized as a Galactus knock-off!)
THAT is one example of how marketing reacts, when they “give us more, we don’t want it”!
Even prior to that, Wonder Woman was packed at 2/case, being the headliner for that wave, yet she came out in the middle of the lead paint fiasco and so was under-ordered and I know I bought a couple extra, returned one for gas money on a short $ week, and found out that several chain stores were misunderstanding recall orders and that ALL Mattel merchandise was to be “returned for destruction”. I wish I was kidding. When I was told that at the CS desk, I tried to explain it was only a couple of lines in question and there was nothing wrong with the figure (so I could re-buy it after paycheck), but I was ignored.
Another problem with both WW and PG is that they were both immediately reissued as All-Star figures, while their original releases were still readily available. And everyone uses PG as an example of a shelf warmer, but to this day I could pick up a Tyr from my local Walmart, while PG has at least disappeared over the years. But nobody tries using Tyr as an example of “male figures just don’t sell.”
I snagged TWO Black Widows and a Cat this past week (note to future self: be careful about bidding on two auctions for the same item at the same time).
I don’t know if it’s because I ended up paying scalper prices, or because I sold my other 6″ movie Avengers because I was SO SURE they wouldn’t make her, but Widow doesn’t do it for me. She’s a very well put-together figure, but I’m having more fun posing Spider-Girl (and don’t get me started on how frustrating Black Cat is to get into a decent pose).
Though the fact that I was able to get Natasha and Felicia for $66 total may be a sign that secondary market prices are cooling down.
I think the only real posing problem I ended up with on Black Cat (and Black Widow too) is the feet. The articulation is there, but the feet just seem a tad small.
I haven’t had a change to snag Spider-Girl yet. Nary a refresher case around here.
Thanks a lot! Now I can’t unsee that odd and hideous Avengers Captain America figure’s bottom. Looks like the front piece of the torso. He has front/bottom. Ewwww!
Love the BW disinterested pose with Hawkeye!
Cute… very subtle. Love you noisy.
I really would love to see more females get the treatment hasbro has given these last couple ladies. Psylocke immediately comes to mind, as does ms marvel but there a ton of marvel ladies in need of some respect.
likewise I am beyond excited to lay hands on the DCC superwoman soon as she too looks great. It’s an exciting time to love female action figures.
Psylocke definitely needs a revisit. I’m still pulling for Jim Lee Rogue.
And I still don’t have my Hellcat or Firestar.
I’ll take three of those four and add Namorita. 😉
Psylocke would really need a new figure. The last on Hasbro did was a big improvement over the ToyBiz one but it still wasn’t perfect, not to mention too hard to get being a SDCC.
Considering the marketing numbers I’ve heard the GI Joe team throw around for years I’m amazed that there are as many females in the Marvel lines as there are. Those guys have always claimed that the male Joes always outsold the male Cobras by 10-to-1 and that the male Cobras outsold the female Joes by the same margin. I’m sure that those stats are a huge reason so many female action figures by all companies rely so much on painted details rather than sculpting and new tooling.
Painted details are probably the face of 21st century toy collecting. I’m almost surprised when we get sculpted details any more.
Just to add to the debate above. Toy companies are dictated to by the retail chains. The retail chains want the big names on the shelves. Wolverine, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America.
They could give two hoots about Black Widow, Black Cat or lesser characters. They dictate what is made. The toy companies have to bow to that pressure. Black Widow is hard to find because we want her, but we’re not the target market. It’s mums and dads who buy these for their kids. Because over time, that’s where the sales are. Not in the first few weeks of collectors grabbing the figures, because we know when they hit.
It will never change while these lines are retail store specific.
The kids vs collectors is another example of a misconception that’s lingering past it’s prime. Action figure sales are so far down that the collectors represent a much larger portion of the customerbase than they ever used to. Both the companies and the buyers know it – you even see some retail chains organizing their aisles differently because of it.
It’s also a little more complicated than WM or TGT just demanding something, it’s closer to say that the toy companies have to anticipate what the NA buyers want and go from there.
I’m going to challenge this, at least in detail.
Retailers don’t even care about Wolvie or Spider-Man or Batman or anyone. What they care about is Hasbro is paying them money for (x) feet of shelf space, and the BRANDING is what matters. Spider-Man as a character? whatever. There’s 4 pegs of Spider-Man the figure line, that matters.
Faces don’t matter. Product matters. They don’t care WHAT figure dogs out on the pegs, anything less than 100% sell-thru of the buy they made (in this case, a decision that was made way back in Feb. 2013, with the failure of Mattel’s Green Lantern still fresh) is a dud. Now, Star Wars is seen as an ‘Evergreen’ so even if SW Black is deemed a failure they KNOW that Hasbro is still going to buy that 3 feet of shelf space and fill it with something.
The Marvel Heroes seems to be on the cusp of turning evergreen, but the crappy IM3 toys didn’t do it any favor.
I think it’s really easy to say female figures are “a challenge to be answered” when it’s not your money on the line. From Hasbro’s perspective a short-packed Widow that’s hard to find is a success. She’s certainly not going to be rotting everywhere like all those Slave Leias which will still be on store shelves next year.
That’s a copout that could be used against any criticism leveled on any review anywhere. “Well, that’s easy for you to say…”.
Take your Leia example. We have two figures, both packed one per case. One is of a 30+ year cultural icon and the other is a B/C list character riding a popularity wave thanks to quality films and good casting. On paper, Leia should mop the floor with Widow, but that isn’t what’s happening.
Now, the truth is that’s largely to due with the balance of a case packout and the 1:1 thing Hasbro is doing is untenable as it causes stores to have to order too many cases to get the more demanded characters in the proper quantites and the less demanded piles up, but you know what would’ve helped? If Leia were actually a good figure.
How is it a copout? If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying Hasbro could offset the risk of a female figure by spending more on that figure in unique sculpt, accessories, detail, paint, etc. Even if true, is it enough to make it worth packing another female in the case? Is it going to sell better than the other character that would otherwise take up the slot? Obviously collectors would rather have better figures, but when it comes to female figures I see little evidence that the quality actually has much of an impact. The people who are buying them are going to buy them even if they are mediocre, the people not buying them aren’t going to get excited about an extra paint app or a sculpted detail.
Because it doesn’t necessarily have to cost more to make better figures. How much more would a good head sculpt cost than a bad one? Or smarter engineering couldn’t possibly save money? Surely a better head sculpt would have some impact on how a figure sells. You say you see no evidence that a better made figure outsells poorly made ones, but I think we see it all the time, everywhere in the aisle. There are some poor souls who buy everything, that’s true. But I’d counter that with the ongoing drop in production totals. Any tiny impact, even a percentage of those buy-it-all folks getting the strength to turn down a bad fig, has grown in importance as sales decrease. It’s more important than ever to do a better job.
Case pack outs are a different animal entirely though. I don’t know that Widow Leia needs a second pack out per assortment. If a figure needs to be 1.7 or 1.8 to a case, it’s probably better to keep at it one regardless. However, my point is more how to sell that one. To keep Mary Marvel selling as well as Zatanna so to speak.
Since we’re likely to continue to disagree on the impact quality has on sales, let me rephrase it this way.
Slave Leia is not selling as well as Hasbro intended. It’s also a bad figure.What do you want Hasbro to take away from her sales results? Should they throw their hands up and go, “ugh! girl toys!” and make fewer versions of Leia, Padme, the women of the Jedi Council, etc. or do you want them to try harder on the next one?
I’m taking a different angle on why Slave Leia is selling poorly, if there is national averaging that backs that up. Haven’t seen her at all in my area, for example, while Sandtroopers pop up from time to time, and we got all the Greedo you want. 🙂
If Slave Leia is selling poorly, I place the blame squarely on the ‘pander to the fanboys’ crowd, same as Pilot Luke. My clearly uninformed opinion, they should have gone with ‘Ambassador Leia’ and ‘Moisture Farmer Luke’ as per the original Kenner Early Bird figure set.
Can you imagine how cool an Early Bird set made from 6″ SW Black figures could be? THAT would sell like crazy.
You can’t DO anything with Slave Leia without a Jedi Luke. She has no figures in context with her. That is likely off-putting to many. It is to me.
Now, I expect Ambassador Leia is a real tough figure to ‘crack’, being a person dressed in all flowing and clingy clothes (yum. oop. sorry. 🙂 ) and I’m sure Hasbro is trying to avoid actual fabric as much as they can. But the figure is KEY to Star Wars and will have to be done at some point.
Well, that’s my thinking.
Hit up Battlegrip, Phil’s been having fun taking pictures of Greedo & Leia chilling out together.
So, what happened to all those lovely links on the sidebar again?
Anyway, now I’m REALLY depressed. I had no idea that Hasbro has completely disbanded their GI Joe creative team. The cusp of the 50th Anniversary of GI Joe and…nothing?! Cripes.
But I think this is completely endemic of what I’ve been saying. The combination of so few national retail accounts and the insane pricing that makes toys no longer a Cheap Disposable(tm) entertainment option is spelling a heretofore unseen age, an age where good toys just can’t be made.
Both GI Joe and MOTU are house brands for their respective companies. There SHOULD be a way to make those work at retail. There should. But for some reason both Hasbro and Mattel would rather lose BILLIONS on failed or underperforming licenses that exist only to fill up 3 linear feet of shelf for 2 months.
I mean, look. $20 for a figure. If I want the whole Movie Avengers lineup (and in my fantasy, Hasbro goes ahead and just re-issues all of them because they can so no crazy aftermarket overcharging) I have to pony up $120, and no Nick Fury or Agent Coulson. Now, I could do that over time, but the hunt would be annoying as all get-out. For that same money I can buy 3 more Space Battleship Yamato CDs (there’s a LOT of them, and the current ‘Yamato Sound Almanac’ catalog releases come from deep list and many, many discs…ah, anyway) plus shipping, and I listen to my music alot more than I play with toys.
So, that’s the deal. Costs too much, too hard to find, so few places selling, it’s the endtimes. Kinda.
OTOH Imaginext is rocking pretty hard. I gotta get going with the current ‘Space’ theme. 🙂
Sure, I’d like them to do better. And if they are doing more obscure female characters that might be a bigger factor. But Hasbro needs a reason to think that better equals dollars, and even with Slave Leia, it looks like a lot of the criticisms come down to asking Hasbro to spend more money on the figure so that they (maybe) could have a small increase in sales. How much those sales are worth is the question, and I don’t think either of us has the information to make a really compelling case either way. And case ratios make it that much more confusing.
It probably wouldn’t hurt though if they could nail more likenesses like they did with Widow.
It’s really that simple. There’s no need to worry about compelling cases debated out in the comments section of a third-rate review site or worrying about Hasbro’s bottom line. We’re in a review where the designers and the engineers stepped up to the plate and knocked one out of the park. It’s worth noting that they did a great job instead of just pooping out a girl figure like they were watching the clock on a Friday afternoon; they nailed it. Sadly, the folks that write the checks, the ones who would decide how much to spend, don’t read this blog. We’re much more popular with the people making the figures than the ones writing the checks. With that in mind, I feel good about writing a piece that celebrates such good work while using it a spring board to ask for more good work. There are tons of cost-neutral or sometimes cost-saving choices to be made on the pre-production side and I have no qualms talking about how those folks can work smarter or better to create a better final product that they can personally give them a better sense of pride. There’s another toy line I collect where the engineer is particularly uncreative or uncaring when doing his work. He does what’s easiest, not what works best or even what’s cheapest. It’s aggravating, but that’s a story for a different time. Now, maybe the Cap-folks are so good that they can poop out quality work while they’re waiting to go home on Friday (the new movie cap is a fantastic figure even without the likeness) while the poor guy that got stuck with Slave Leia was doing the best he could do.* But the point is that it’s absolutely okay to ask for more. Look at Black Widow here. Molding the guns in the holsters and not giving her any accessories is crap on an otherwise great figure. That has to be pointed out. And that’s actually a much more expensive demand to make – a new mold (though likely a reused mold would suffice) and two additional pieces in the count. That would cut into the bottom line for sure, and it is probably a nitpicky enough detail that changing it wouldn’t make an impact in sales, but it still needs said.
* – Really, it’s funny, we keep picking on Slave Leia even though I feel like there’s probably a decent likeness under bad paint. She’s more hurt by the cost-driven need to mold her head in the hair color and paint the face than anything, I imagine. But, the fact I think its’ a cost-driven factor doesn’t mean for a second that I wouldn’t tell Hasbro that if I ever get around to reviewing her.
As for the overall comment, that if they did a better job, they would sell more units. We’re not even really talking about that. What I find really interesting is the somewhat nihilistic view that toy collectors will drink the sand either because they don’t know the difference or because that’s all there is. I know that people like you describe do exist, but ultimately I wouldn’t let any toy company use that as an actual excuse. None of us would. If we want to go down that rabbit hole, then I would first level the same charge back to any toy company that they should figure out how to make girl action figures sell better rather than shirking away from the challenge. And the companion piece to my fellow collectors would be to stop buying mediocre shit!
I think it’s worth keeping the context of all those other factors in mind when discussing a figure, but I get your point, and I think you’ve made it better in the comments. In the review it came across a lot like the all-too-common fan complaint that “if only Company X did things the way I want them to then everything would be great,” but I see now that’s not how you intended it.
And, come on, this is definitely a second-rate review site.
Haha. You’re too kind.
No, no, I don’t want them to do it “my way”. I wouldn’t have the first clue, but I am confident they can do a generalized form of “better” and that was more my charge. That it’s “we couldn’t sell girl action figures until…” instead of “girls toys don’t sell”. I am not the right person to find it. I am guilty of what you say – I prefer skin color to be molded not painted, to never have molded accessories, to never put the hip articulation upward into the torso, etc – and I will gleefully insist that toy companies should follow suit with my wishes. But, in so far as to how to sell girl figures… if I knew the answer, I’d make toys instead of writing about them.
Funny thing, I read this review thinking I would never come across a Black Widow in the wild, but sure enough, I found her this morning! Very nice figure. If anyone is looking for a sidearm or two for her, some the old ML two packs from TRU came with some nice little handguns that work perfectly. They came with Maria Hill/Iron Man and Sharon Carter/Stealth Iron Man.
I know it’s a hard sell for Hasbro.
They make these cases for the movies, and load them up woith the main protagonist.
Retailers like that, so they buy some. Just to round out the shelf space.
There’s lots of products for Captain America and Spider-man, and these action figures are just one small part of that.
The figures like Carnage, Black Cat, Black Widow, AIM Soldier, they are just being snuck in my Hasbro, who’s tryijng to get product we want to us, but it now has to be bundled with a movie line, because the retailers will actually buy a movie line.
ML as we know it is dead. Again.
I know all we see on the shelves are Caps and Spideys, but those will sell though over time. And all those hard to find figures? They sold. Retailer happy. Hasbro happy. The only ones who are frustrated by this are us.
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