Monday, June 20, 2011

REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger - Comic Series US Agent



Produced by Hasbro | Released June 2011

US AGENT is armed with a Vibranium shield very similar to that of CAPTAIN AMERICA. He uses this for protection and as a weapon. Although he and CAPTAIN AMERICA have had their differences, they both agree that any threat to justice and freedom must be stopped.

Packaging Shots

US Agent
After the disappointment of the Battlefield Captain America figure, I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to give the Captain America: The First Avenger line a second chance. Add to that Phillip Reed's Review of US Agent at Battlegrip and it's a wonder I laid-down the $8 and change for this figure. Was it the right decision? Read on and find out.


The sculpt pretty much sums-up the entire figure: it's not great. It's OK as an action figure sculpt, but then again so are the Lanard Corps! figures and they're a quarter of the price of this toy. There are some pretty serious issues with the figure's detailing and articulation (which we'll come to in a moment) and it just feels kind of half-finished, unfocused and - I hate to say it - like a cheap knock-off.

I can't swear to it but I think there are a few recycled parts here from a previously-released Captain America. And that's fine, given that US Agent's origins. However, the Captain America figure in question was released a few years ago and, frankly, it shows. Compare this toy to one of the more recent GI Joe toys and it's like they're from not only two completely different companies but two different decades. It's a fairly crude, basic sculpt and what little detail there is (such as the chain mail-effect on his torso) is heavy-handed and lacking subtlety. I'm really not impressed.

The problems continue with the head sculpt. Rather than looking like a grim, determined and more brutal version of Captain America, US Agent looks, frankly, stupid. I don't mean it's a ''stupid'' sculpt. I mean the character looks as if he's operating with a sub-normal level of intelligence. This really isn't a good-looking figure at all.


Articulation is also poor. Despite appearances - thanks to the large seam around his middle - here's no waist joint (something we've seen more and more in the Marvel Universe line) and he also lacks wrist articulation, with the elbow and shoulder joints being the only articulation on the arms. It feels as if the gauntlets should rotate but the figure also feels so cheap that attempting to move the joint (if it exists) fills you with a sense of dread and the expectation that the limb is about to snap off. Maybe the gauntlet is articulated. But I'm not going to risk breaking the arm off just to find out.

Leg articulation is a little better, with ankle bend/rotate joints, double-jointed knees, cut thighs and ball-style hip joints. Sadly these hip joints are a pain to rotate and I don't know why Hasbro doesn't simply adopt the GI Joe-style of articulation for their superhero figures, as it's way better than what they have here.

The joints also feel quite bendy. They're not as bad as the Battlefield Captain America but there's still too much give in them and the feeling that the toy is going to break is still there, especially when you bend the hip or knee joints.


Paint-wise, US Agent isn't going to win any awards. Not ones for quality, anyway. I was able to compare two US Agents in the store and - incredibly - this is actually the better of the two. But with that said, there are still a lot of very sloppy apps and mis-applied paint splodges plague the figure. The large splodge of white paint on the back of his head and the poorly-defined chest bars are perhaps the worst examples but there are a number of smaller paint spots and ragged edges that just really bring the figure's quality down.

Extras
US Agent comes with his shield and an Uzi-style pistol.


The shield is probably the best-sculpted piece of the figure, with a nice solid feel and good, clean edges to everything. The paint app isn't bad, either although the grey plastic is very toy-like in appearance. And like the Battlefield Captain America's shield, it can be clipped onto his wrist using the C-shaped connector or slotted into the back port for storage. Unfortunately though, the C-shaped connector tends to expand when it's on his wrist and if you leave it there for any length of time you'll find it becomes prone to falling off unless you remove it, nip it tight and replace it regularly.

The Uzi is a pretty good accessory. US Agent can grip it well and it looks good. It's too bad there's nowhere to store it when he's not holding it, though.

Like the Battlefield Captain America, US Agent does not include a base. That's a major oversight, in my opinion and will - I'm sure - annoy a lot of collectors.

Final Thoughts
US Agent is another disappointing movie tie-in figure from Hasbro. The biggest problem is it feels and looks cheap. The sloppy paint, the weak joints, the recycled sculpt and the lack of a base make it look as if Hasbro was trying to cut as many corners as possible when it came to producing this toy. And if that was the case then it shows, as this toy is, frankly, sub-standard.

You may be looking at the photos here and thinking, ''it can't be that bad surely?'' Believe me, it's not. It's worse. Battlefield Captain America had one plus going for it: it looked pretty good and the sculpt was nicely detailed. The same cannot be said for US Agent. This is a nasty, cheap toy masquerading as a full-priced, quality figure. Don't waste your money on this crap.

Scores
SculptC-
PaintD+
ArticulationD
Production QualityD
Final ScoreD

Image Gallery

6 comments:

  1. Looks pretty lame...even for Captain America.
    The Brownfrowns

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  2. Yeah, they're kind of sloppy.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. I might still get this one if i don't get the old ToyBiz one i saw a short while ago at the local comic book shop.

    Also the quality must vary between figures in this line as i got Crossbones over the weekend and i really like him alot and he seems well made to me.

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  5. Yeah, I've heard a few people say Crossbones and Red Skull are much better figures. Typical - they're the short-packed ones...!

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  6. I had to make too trips looking for him at Toys R Us but luck was with me on him now i just need me a Croc Master! lol.

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