One of the big surprises of this summer was Guardians of the Galaxy. For all their successes over the last few years, there was
still a lot of people who were skeptical of Marvel's decision to produce a film based on such an unknown property. But despite
doubters, Marvel plowed forward, full steam ahead. And Hasbro seems to be on board as well, with an entire series of Marvel
Legends figures tied to the movie. That is fairly impressive given that the last film to get it's own line was the Avengers, and
that was only a store exclusive. But the wager paid off. The movie turned out to be a huge hit. And fans everywhere are now
trying to track down the crew in plastic form.
Packaging - 9/10The Guardian of the Galaxy Series figures share thenew packaging design thatwe first saw with the Mandroid and Green Goblin Series. The box and graphics are attractive and highlight the figures well. The use of unique artwork on the side panels for each figure is a nice touch and makes searching for a particular figure on the pegs in a store much easier. The back panel shows off the toy and the rest of the series well, including a brief description of the character. The one drawback I see is that the rounded shape of the packaging makes them harder to stack/store in the package. But since I open all of my figures, that is a very temporary problem.
Sculpting - Nova & Iron Man 7/10, Star-Lord 8/10, Rocket 9/10, others 10/10The good news with the Guardians of the Galaxy series of figures is that the most important figures in the series, the core cast, turned out really well. The other two are less impressive. Actually I would say that Nova borders on being a disappointment. For some reason he seems to be the modern, comic version which ends up being fairly out of place in a series that is tied quite closely to the GOTG movie. That seems like an odd choice given that there were actual Nova Corps troops in the movie for which they could have created a figure. But if you get past the style choice, it actually is a decent representation of the character from what I can tell.
Iron Man is largely a reuse of the Heroic Age Iron Man figure from the Iron Monger Series last year, but with a new head and arms. I like that body. It has just a bit of extra bulk that makes it seem more like a suit of armor. And the new head and arms are fine as well. But then they added a set of shoulder pads that make no sense at all. They don't match anything else and look more like piece of a crown or left over jet pieces randomly glued to the figure's shoulders. Despite there not being anything underneath, I think I may still end up just taking the shoulder pads off and displaying the figure without them.
Then you come to the core cast. And here, they did an exceptional job. There is a great deal of fairly accurate detail to all of the costumes. The few issues that I do have are quite minor. Star-Lord's unmasked head has the hair too large and too high making it look like a characature rather than an accurate likeness. And there are some large gaps around his elbows due to the articulation. Rocket's face seems to be a little too small for his head and lacks expression. Gamora's head is just a bit too large for her body. Drax may be just about perfect though. And make no mistake, small issues aside, all four are terrific looking figures.
Paint - Iron Man 6/10, Nova 7/10, others 9/10The paint work on both Nova and Iron Man are fairly scaled back compared to the other figures. But with the exception of Iron Man's shoulder pads which don't match the red used on the rest of the figure, they both look good. But the paint work was really stepped up on all four of the movie based figures. And despite the more complex paint work, there doesn't appear to be any quality control issues on any of the figures that I received.
Articulation - Rocket 6/10, other 8/10The four male figures other than Rocket Raccoon each have the usual Marvel Legends articulation:
Accessories - Iron Man & Nova 0/10, Star-Lord 9/10, Rocket 10/10, others 6/10Neither Iron Man nor Nova have any accessories. Gamora comes with her sword and Drax has his pair of knives. Those weapons are simple, but look good. And Drax can store his weapons in the sheathes in his boots. Rocket Raccoon comes with a large gun for himself and the large cannon from the climax of the movie. Obviously he cannot even come close to holding the cannon. But it's bulk helps to make up for such a small figure being sold on his own. His gun is almost too big for him as well. He can hold it in front of his chest with both arms for support. But he can't really hold it in a realistic firing position. Star-Lord comes with an alternate, unmasked head, two guns, his cassette walkman and headphones and the orb from the movie. I'm disappointed that they messed up the headphones and seem to have modeled them on wireless headphones instead of the 1980's version used in the movie. That may seem like a minor thing to nit pick about. But his walkman and headphones play a fairly big role in the movie and developing Star-Lord as a character. Plus attaching the two items together with a bit of string would have made it harder to lose either of them.
Build A Figure - GrootWhile Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax and Rocket are all impressive figures, there is no way the crew could feel complete without their fifth member, Groot. So fortunately for those that buy the entire series of six figures, the Build A Figure for the series is the crew's walking tree creature/teammate. Judging a Groot figure is difficult given that the character is constantly changing during the movie. The figure has the height, towering over all of the other figures in the series. And there is plenty of detail to the sculpt. The also did a reasonable job of painting the figure to highlight that detail. Ideally I would like to have seen some darker shading effects to make some of the deeper recesses look even deeper. And if money wer no object, it would have been cool to have some swapable parts to recreate some of the more unique transformations that Groot performs during the movie or a version of him from the final scene before the credits. But what we did get is a very solid addition to both my Marvel Legends collection and the GOTG crew.
Value - Iron Man 5/10, Nova 7/10, others 9/10 (plus a point if you complet the series and Groot)The four movie based figures are all very strong additions to the line and great figures in their own rights. And if you are a fan of the film, it is great that Hasbro took the risk to produce a series of figures for a movie based on such a little known property. Then you come to Iron Man and Nova. I'm assuming that both were added to the series as a way to balance out the cost of the other four figures. Given that the Nova Corps do play a major role in the film, Nova's inclusion, even if it is the comic version instead of the film version, makes sense. But Iron Man's inclusion seems like a cheap attempt by Hasbro to hedge their bets by including one of the big three Avengers. That is a shame since we really could have used that spot to provide a movie based version of the villain from the film as well. But the ultimate joke may be on Hasbro as Iron Man seems to be the peg warmer of the set as I see far more of him on store shelves than the other five.
Happy Hunting:I was fortunate to be able to preorder my set from Toys R Us' web site back in May when they were first listed. So by the time the film was actually released and became an instant hit, I already had my set waiting for me at home. But since then, they have slowly made their way out to all of the major toy retailers that I have seen. But getting a full set may be a challenge for the time being as they do seem to be selling very quickly thanks to the popularity of the film.