Tuesday, May 17, 2011

REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger - Comic Series Captain America (Battlefield)

Produced by Hasbro | Released April 2011

CAPTAIN AMERICA is the ultimate soldier, created to inspire confidence in his allies and fear in his enemies. He is fearless in battle, charging headlong into the thickest part of a fight. Protected by his indestructible shield and fighting skills enhanced by a secret serum, he is the Allies' unstoppable secret weapon against the evil sweeping Europe.


The Captain America: The First Avenger packaging is pretty similar to that found with the standard Marvel Universe toys (although the Battlefield Captain America's packaging seems a little deeper) - a vac-molded plastic bubble mounted on a card. I'm not a fan of the artwork they've used to portray the Captain at the top left of the card - it's a CG ''enhanced'' photo that looks neither comicbookish or realistic. It's also annoying to see that - like the Iron Man 2 line - the First Avenger figures don't use individual card art or differentiate between Movie, Concept or Comic Series figures except for a small insert on the pack's front. Expect to spend a lot of time taking figures off pegs to see what's in stock...

As for the remainder of the packaging, again there are no surprises: a few ''collect them all'' astons, some photos of the figure geared-up and a Captain America profile shot/shield on the right side, along with the figure's number (this figure is 003, trivia fans...)

Captain America Battlefield
Before we go on, I just want to say that I dislike the naming convention Hasbro is using here. This isn't Battlefield Captain America - it's Captain America Battlefield (according to the packaging.) That makes no sense and annoys me, as I want to keep correcting it.

Battlefield Captain America is based upon the Ultimates Captain America in his WW2 uniform. Instead of the more familiar round shield, he uses a heater-style shield (a nice nod to the original Kirby-Simon Captain America) and his costume utilises a ''military fatigues'' look. The mask is a leather flying mask topped with a branded soldier's helmet and he's even wearing army spats. The other major differences to the more well-known version of the character is the inclusion of additional weaponry in the form of a pistol and rifle plus a very practical webbing harness.

The sculpt captures the look very well. There's a nice texturing to the cloth (to make it look like rough miltary clothing rather than spandex) and there are details galore, with buttons, pockets, fasteners, cuffs and more all present to give the uniform a much more low-tech look. There are also well-modeled folds and creases around the knees, elbows and cuffs that really give a sense of a slightly cobbled-together kitbashed uniform.

The head sculpt isn't bad and the detailing of the leather mask is pretty good. The eye holes look like holes in a costume piece (rather than simply being painted-on details) but the Captain has a slightly odd expression on his face that's hard to read. I'm not sure if he's determined, confused or constipated.

Unfortunately there are some compromises in the sculpt to accommodate the articulation. For starters, his knees and elbows are incredibly thin. Look at the photos and you can see how the limbs flair-out and back in whenever there's a joint. And the problems with the articulation don't end there.

Like the Thor Invasion Frost Giant, this figure suffers from the double-whammy of stiff joints and bendy connector pieces. Every time you try to bend his arm or leg, you feel a lot of give in the piece connecting the limbs but the joint is too stiff and doesn't move - all you're doing is bending the connector and it feels as if it's about to snap whenever you do so. This is especially true of the hip and shoulder ball joints, which are probably the worst points of articulation on the figure.

Whilst it's possible to get some nice poses from the figure, the aforementioned shoulders and hip joints are pretty much useless. For starters, my figure came with his arm joints in the wrong position (I had to rotate the shoulders and biceps to get the joints back to the correct position) and even when they are fixed, the range of motion is very limited. Add to that the fact that they feel as if they're going to snap-off when you bend them and you'll understand why I'm not impressed with this figure's articulation. Similarly, the hip ball joints have virtually no movement in them, thanks again to the weak feel and the fact that the groin piece inhibits their movement rather substantially.

Matters are further complicated by the webbing harness, which restricts torso movement (and there's no waist joint, before you ask) and tends to pull the torso back to the ''neutral'' position. So despite the figure's pretty cool sculpt, it's pretty much wasted, as  it's very difficult to get any kind of meaningful pose out of him.

There's also something odd about the plastic used for his hands. I don't know if it's a more bendable plastic or whether it's because his fingers are thinner, but the hands tend to warp very easily when you place weapons in them. He's cast with his trigger fingers extended and they tend to bend a lot whenever you put anything in his hand. It just feels very odd and it takes a little work to get him to hold accessories.

Paintwork is fairly average. There are some nice touches like the ''dyed'' look on his shirt stripes and there's an attempt to pick-out a lot of detail in the various buckles, buttons and fasteners on his costume but the application is a little lacking, with the red undershirt collar and cuffs being particularly sloppy. The facial app isn't bad but out of both Battlefield Captain Americas I looked at, both had a slight boss-eyed look about them.

This Captain America comes with his heater shield, removable helmet and webbing, pistol and rifle.

The shield is definitely the stand-out accessory here. Finished with a metallic sheen and with a dual-purpose mount (it can be clipped on his wrist or slotted into his back port) it looks great on the figure. The helmet isn't a bad fit and has enough detail to make it work but the pistol and rifle are pretty weak. For one, they're cast from a single-coloured plastic and feature no paintwork. Worst though, they're made from a very flexible plastic that bends very easily. It may not be obvious but the rifle's stock is often bent in the above photos. On the plus side, the pistol fits into the holster quite nicely.

Incredibly, Hasbro has neglected to include a stand with the figure. I already have enough trouble keeping my figures with stands from being knocked over (two kids and two dogs in the house will do that for ya) so I'm really quite annoyed to see this and I'm sure many collectors will feel the same.

Final Thoughts
Interest. Appreciation. Disappointment. That pretty much sums it up.

The initial impression is definitely a positive one. The sculpt is great, the paint is nicely applied and the figure has a cool look about him. Unfortunately when you start playing with the toy, the flaws become apparent. The articulation is a massive let-down and considering Hasbro has been producing Marvel figures at this scale for three years now, you'd think they'd be improving on the production, not taking backward steps.

I hate, hate, hate how this figure feels when you attempt to pose him. It's an exercise in panic, as it feels like any second his limb is going to snap off. Were he a Dollar Store toy, I could understand that but this figure cost me $8.50. For that I'd expect a well-produced, durable toy, not something that feels like a cheap bootleg.

If you can get over the joint issues, you may enjoy this figure. As a display piece he's good - although the decision to not include a display stand is shocking and takes away the one thing he could do well - but as a poseable toy, he fails to deliver.

Not as good as it should be.

Production QualityC+
Final ScoreC+

Image Gallery


  1. I picked up the Ultimate Cap from this line, and luckily he does not feel like he's going to break. His knees are a softer than I would prefer, but they're not that bad and all of his articulation works very well. I don't know why so many of these figures are not getting wrist swivels, that kind of stinks. All in all, I like him a lot more than my Marvel Universe Captain America.

  2. That's good to hear. It seems that perhaps some figures are produced to a better quality than others or... something...


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