ToyBiz has finally released what seems to be the successor to the high-priced, low-quality Marvel Studios line: Marvel Legends Icons. Essentially double-sized Marvel Legends figures, the Icons series features all the articulation of their smaller cousins with the added detail that 1/6 scale offers. Kind of like the opposite of Superhero Showdown. The first series contains Captain America, Iron Man and Wolverine, and variants abound. Strangely, the variants seem about as abundant as, if not more plentiful than, the standard versions, at least in the first shipments. I picked up the Unmasked Wolverine, since the standard masked version has a tiny, tiny head.
The sculpt on the figure is quite astonishing. The figure is solid plastic, so there's none of the softness in the sculpt you'd expect from a rotocast figure. The body is based on the same costume design as the Astonishing X-Men Wolverine from Marvel Legends Series 12, but the sculpt is significantly different. The gloves, belt, and boots are an entirely new design (the more recent one from the comics), while the bulk of the costume is far more detailed than the smaller figure.
The unmasked head sculpt is very nice, and probably the best unmasked Logan head I've seen on any toy, in any scale. His expression is serene, or as serene as Logan can get (as opposed to the masked version's toothy snarl), and his cowl is a separate, non-removable piece that lies around Wolvie's neck. The claws are straighter and more rigid than most other Wolverine figures, but you still might need to search a bit to find the figure on the shelves with the straightest claws.
The scale is very good on Logan, here. He's a bit... runty, shall we say? A bit on the small side when compared to other 12-inchers, and that includes the other Icons. But that's a good thing - that's just the way Wolverine should be. Wolvie looks great fighting all your 12-inch Batmen, Predators, Terminators, Frank the Bunnies, what have you. It's nice that ToyBiz is making figures in a 12" scale, not making 12" figures. Wolverine should not be able to look Captain America in the eye.
The paint job, on the other hand, is one of the most inconsistent I've seen in a while.
That's not to say it's all bad, but parts of it certainly are. The face is excellent, and is painted just as well as any sixth-scale head I've ever seen, in any price range. There's a very subtle wash that perfectly accents the amazing sculpt. The figure's suit, on the other hand, is a bit of a mess. There's a ridiculous wash all over the costume, turning the yellow we're used to into a disgusting mustard green. It doesn't look terrible, but it's certainly not what it should be. Conversely, the figure's bare arms get absolutely no wash, and the painted-on hair is too even and thick to look convincing at this scale. There's something for everyone here: parts with no wash, parts with too much wash, and that small but brilliant area that's just right.
All the articulation you'd expect from a Marvel Legends figure is present here: balljointed neck, balljointed shoulders, peg biceps, double-jointed elbows,
balljointed wrists, hinged chest, peg waist, balljointed hips, peg thighs, double-hinged knees, peg shins, two joints in the ankles, and a midfoot hinge. Unlike rotocast figures, which often have problems with balljointed hips, this guy sacrifices nothing for his bigger stature. His neck is restricted somewhat by his mask, but it's a minor nit. His chest joint was oddly glued in place, but some reckless tinkering with a knife fixed it right up. All the joints are fairly tight where it counts, and he stands up better than most of my normal-sized Legends.
Logan's only accessory (unless you count his pulled-back mask, which no sane person would) is a poster book, but it's much better than most comics and poster books that come with your average Marvel Legend. Rather than reprinted a seemingly random story or a bunch of uselessly small posters, the book features posters, reprints of comic covers featuring the ol' Ca-nucklehead, and a comprehensive backstory and fact sheet of the character.
Unfortunately, that's all we get. It would be nice to see ToyBiz jump on the SOTA bandwagon and begin regularly including interchangeable heads and hands with their figures, a process they seemed to have abandoned after Deadpool and Weapon X. An unmasked and masked head in the same box would be a lot easier on the wallet than forcing them to buy two figures that are 90% identical. While that may be wishful thinking (we know TB loves their variants), it's about time they started giving us clawed and unclawed hands for Wolverine. Having his claws extended all the time makes little sense, but if their Civilian Logan figure couldn't even get some declawed mits, I suppose there's little hope for a figure like this. Ironically, the crappy Marvel Studios Logan was the only one to get two sets of hands, and that still didn't make it worth the purchase.
Overall, despite an unsteady paint job, this figure shines. The sculpt is great, and the overall product is very solid. ToyBiz, which was one of the first companies to offer rotocast figures on the cheap-a-cheap, continues its trend of incredible value by offering solid plastic 12" figs for a few dollars more (I picked up Wolvie at a Kay-Bee for $15.99, and they're known for pricing things on the high side). In a market where sixth-scale figures are getting higher and higher in price, an affordable alternative is always appreciated, especially when it's as high quality as this. I don't think anyone will be missing Marvel Studios anytime soon.
Are you excited about the Icons, or would you rather stick with 6" figures? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.