It’s time again to dip into the toy bag and check out some new releases from one of my favorite toy companies, Diamond Select. This time out we’re taking a look at four new Marvel Select figures: Ultron, Venom, The Rhino, and Storm. The Marvel Select figures are a nice collector-geared alternative to the regular Marvel figures sold in the major retailers.
First up we have Avengers arch-foe, the android known as Ultron! Like all Marvel Select figures it comes in large, bookshelf-style packaging that allows you to stand it up for display perfectly without ever removing it from the package. But what fun would that be! The back of the packaging provides a brief bio of Ultron. The sculpt is very accurate to the comic book version. The left hand is balled into a fist and the right has fingers slightly curled in. This fits the megalomaniacal android perfectly! Not much to the paint scheme. Silver, lots of silver! There’s some black trim throughout and the only other color is the red of his eyes and inside of his mouth.
The silver is a satin tone which is Ok but I’d have rather seen it done in more of a chrome color. I also would have like to have seen the eyes in a clear red plastic to they would glisten when light catches them. The paint is a bit on the dull side. You want articulation? You got it brother! Some 20+ points make this one of the most posable of any Marvel Select figure. The movement is limited at the shoulder due to the armor but other than that there are few limitations. Ultron and look in any direction and the upper torso joint is also quite nice.
You know I love display bases for action figures and Ultron comes with a great one. The based is good sized and has some weight to it. It depicts the rubble of a battle with remnants of a brick wall. On the ground there appears to be several of Hawkeye’s arrows. Also on the ground is an unconscious Antman and the Wasp in miniature form which is a nice touch. Grade B+
Next up is sometimes hero, sometimes villain, Venom. This is the Eddie Brock version of Venom, the one best known to comic book fans. I’m not going to go into all the details of the packaging for Venom or the other two characters since the packaging is the same. The figure stands just over 8” tall and has one fantastic feature I must mention right off the bat…multiple heads! First there is the classic Venom head with the wide grin and mouth full of razor sharp teeth. Second is Venom with his long tongue slithering out of his mouth; and finally we get a head with Eddie Brock’s face partially exposed. These all look fantastic no matter which one you display him in. Interestingly the teeth are sort of off white on the main head and yellowish on the head with the wagging tongue.
Venom has 16 points of articulation and moves at the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, waist, knees, and ankles, with a ball jointed neck and peg thighs. Like venom he also has movement at the lower chest/abdomen although movement at this spot is minimal. In addition to the multiple heads, Venom also comes with multiple hands. There are regular hands, fists, as well as a pair of over-sized claw hands. Now if all of that was not enough, Diamond has included one more accessory to take this figure truly over the top. It comes with the Venom mutation accessory. This accessory fits onto Venom’s back and provides him with additional arms and six smaller heads which have some minor movement ability. This gives Venom a truly frightening look! The arms that come with this mutation accessory can also be fit into the sides of the regular arms via a push-in ball joint.
My one complaint is that Venom does not come with a base despite having peg holes in the bottom of his feet and I really wish all figures came with as base as it does seem to complete the whole picture. Grade A-
Next we have the X-Men member, Storm. Storm is dressed in her original New X-Men black costume which has always been my favorite although highly impractical if you think about it. The flowing black cape is highlighted with gold trim that match her gold bracelets. She has a red amulet at the front of her cape. Her redish/pink lips and fingernail polish (nice touch with that) match. Her hair is painted solid white although I wish they would have used a bit of a dark wash to better bring out the waves of her hair better. And of course she has the white eyes as well.
Storm comes with 13 points of articulation which is less than the previous two figures we’ve discussed today. Storm’s cape is removable and that’s a good thing as it greatly restricts shoulder movement when worn. This is something that designers really need to address. Perhaps making the areas around the shoulder in a more malleable or stretchable plastic or rubber is the answer but you really should not need to remove a central piece of a figure’s costume in order to get full range of movement. Her large crop of hair also restricts the backwards movement of her head.
The figure itself is only so-so. While it’s a nice female figure and storm comes with appropriate curves and muscle definition there are a couple of issues. Storm is very tall at about 7 ½” which I’d say is about ½ to ¾” too tall. Her legs look disproportionately long compared to the rest of her body. Her arms are not as defined as you’d like. They remind me a bit of the stick arms on the old Lara Croft action figure.
Dressed in her high heels there’s no way Storm is standing on her own. Fortunately she does some with a small, oval display base and it’s definitely required. The best part of the Storm figure is that like the Gambit and Cyclops figures she comes with a piece of the X-Men’s Danger Room to make it a nice diorama. Like those other figures you get two sections of wall that come together in a corner and a section of flooring that all fit together. Her piece of the Danger rooms comes with a nozzle that shoots out a jet of flame as well as a deadly buzz saw. These pieces just push into the wall and then are turned to lock into place so it all holds together well. I like the paint scheme of the Danger Rooms with its beige, blue, and gray pallet. Together with the other X-Men figures this will make one nice, big display. Grade B-
Finally today we look at the big badass known as Rhino, one of Spider-Man’s oldest villains. From the bottom of his foot to the tip of his horn, Rhino stands 9” tall and weighs a pound and a half! Yeah, that’s big! He also measures about 4 ½” from shoulder to shoulder. He towers over any of your Spider-Man figures as he should. Rhino’s paint scheme is gray and grayer. But what makes the figure truly standout is the texture. The Rhino’s hide is cracked and crackled from top to bottom. But the texturing is molded on the figure as opposed to being painted it so it gives the look and feel of tough, weathered skin.
The horns and toes also have that same weathered look with a brown tint, and obviously have seen lots of battle. Rhino’ face is molded into a teeth-baring snarl and you can even see some yellow spittle between his teeth. Rhino has 16 points of articulation. His head moves slightly back and forth but moves more from side to side and can rotate fully. The chest/abdomen also can be rotated fully. The only complaint is that you can’t bend him over and pose him in a horn first charging position which he often does in the comics.
Rhino doesn’t come with a base but for once I’m not going to complain about that fact. He’s a well-balanced figure so when you couple the weight balance with the large, wide and flat feet, he doesn’t really need a base to stand. The fact that his legs can swivel out both at the hips and ankles allows you to pose him with his legs out wide but still able to keep his feet planted flat on any surface. Just a great figure and one of the very best Marvel Select figures to date! Grade A
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