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Captain America: Sam Wilson

Falcon and the Winter Soldier
by yo go re

Move over, falcons - it's time to let the eagle soar!

Donning a brand new suit and wings from Wakanda, Sam Wilson proudly takes on the mantle, ready to unite people as the world's new Captain America.

"Proudly"? Wasn't the entire point of the series that he was unsure about taking on the role? Even after he got the suit it was more a "I can't let that other idiot ruin the name" situation than a "sweet sassy molassy, it's my turn at last!" thing. Captain America and the Winter Soldier was one of those plentiful Marvel properties where the villains had absolutely commendable goals, but the story allows the heroes to ignore those goals because their methods were so flawed. "Hey, those Flag Smashers had a really good point about how all nations need to work together to take care of their citizens. Too bad they tried to bomb a building to get attention." "So should we actively work to convince governments to take care of everyone? Without bombing a building?" "... Nah! I'm sure it'll work itself out."

This isn't the first Sam Wilson we've gotten in Marvel Legends: first there was the Walmart exclusive from Civil War, then it got re-released in a Target-exclusive two-pack for Infinity War. Like that figure, this one has his goggles permanently attached to his face, so the toughest part of the likeness to get right is hidden away. Convenient!

Ryan Meinerding pretty much directly adapted the comic costume for Cap's new suit: nearly as much white as blue, angled lines running from the star on the chest out to the shoulders, etc. The details are more intricate, obviously, because big flat spaces of color are boring in live action. Comic artists have to draw things over and over, by themselves, so the simpler something is, the better; movies and TV shows have an entire costume department to put things together, so they get textures and panels and little bits of armor stitched in. This toy could easily pass for the comic costume. In fact, it's better, because it has the wings.

Taking a cue from the Homecoming Vulture, Sam's wings are the Build-A-Figure for this series. Buy the other six figures, and you'll get all the pieces needed to spread Captain America's wings and let him soar. (Sam, for his part, does come with a piece, but it's the backpack that represents the fully collapsed/​concealed wings; that means the figure won't look bare or incomplete if you want him standing instead of flying, but you will have to take that off his back before you can attach the assembled flight harness.)

Spread wide, the wings have a 14" span - not nearly as wide as Vulture's, but on par with what we've seen so far.

It can be a little tough to figure out which direction things are supposed to be assembled, since the pieces on each side are nearly symmetrical. After a little experimenting, it feels like the wings work better when the hinges are clipped together from the front: the pieces have a slight curve to them, which bends forward rather than back from that direction, plus it leaves the hinges covered from the direction you're most likely to be looking at them from. Still not 100% confident about my decision for the pieces that attach directly to the backpack, but one side is a bit more "finished" and the other is a bit more "exposed," so it feels like the exposed, techy side would go toward the wearer, not away from them.

Each wing has three joints: a swivel at the backpack, and two hinges in the middle. That allows you to flex the wings forward or back, though it's not quite enough to either form a shield in front of Sam, or to touch the ground behind him and brace him against a strong attack. Still, it beats the previous Falcon figures, where all you could do was put the wings on wrong to have them slightly bend a different direction.

To help offset the weight of the wings, one of the BAF pieces is a clear flight stand. Showing how much more creative they've gotten since 2017, Hasbro has not just made a chunk of supportive plastic like they did for Vulture; instead, this is sculpted to look like a swoosh, and the base of the thing is a large disc, meaning it can support the figure in flight poses! Now, it's not that tall, because they also wanted it to work when he's just standing still, but the peg that plugs into the backpack is round, allowing you to tip him to the side and lift his feet off the ground.

Another surprise piece is the Redwing drone. After the original was destroyed by Karli Morgenthau, the Wakandans gave him a new version along with his new wings. The new Redwing is sleeker and pointier than its ancestor, and, in fact, does not have any red paint on its wings. It gets its own little swoosh stand, like real Redwing did, with a balljoint under the drone, as well as a swivel near the other end, so it can be posed in different ways. The clear plastic plugs in behind the figure's left shoulder, a fact that I was too dumb to figure out on my own. But you're smarter than that. It's actually not a very strong connection, so you might bump Redwing out of place if you accidentally nudge him.

Weirdly, the shield included here is not the same one Walmart Captain America had. (Side note: "Walmart Captain America" is pretty much the perfect descriptor for John Walker, isn't it? There's no reality where he's anything other than the Great Value version of Steve Rogers. Back on topic.) The front of the shield looks the same, with a flat star and an extra ring in the silver circle, but the back has a larger molding error, no C-clamp/peg swivel piece, and actual brown straps to hold it on the figure's arm. It's such a weird situation, where Hasbro had to make two new molds of the same single item because one character wears it on their back and the other character doesn't.

Sam would be an okay figure by himself, but being able to get the wings as a BAF make him a lot cooler. Especially with the cool flight stand and the Redwing drone! Really, the only downside is for anyone who would want just him from the series; they'll always have to settle for a less-than-complete figure. The rest of us, though, get a really cool set!

Scarlet Witch | Vision | Loki | Winter Soldier | USAgent | Baron Zemo

-- 11/08/21


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