Thursday, June 23, 2011

REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger - Movie Series Red Skull

Produced by Hasbro | Released June 2011

RED SKULL is an evil genius with an endless hunger for power. He wants nothing more than to see CAPTAIN AMERICA destroyed. He creates ever more devastating weapons by harnessing the might of the Cosmic Cube. Now armed with an explosive rocket launcher, RED SKULL is ready to make another attempt at world domination!

Packaging Shots

Movie Series Red Skull
The Captain America: The First Avenger toys have proven to be very disappointing so far. Battlefield Captain America looked good but felt cheap, US Agent looked weak and felt cheap and Captain Britain looked weird and felt... not quite so cheap. Is the Movie Series Red Skull going to continue this trend?

The first thing that strikes you is that the Red Skull figure does not have a superheroic stature. He's a slightly-built, evil genius, not a hulking monster and the designers at Hasbro have done a good job capturing that look. He's also a little shorter than the other figures in the line, which again works nicely. After all, he's not a muscle-bound, giant powerhouse. He's a just a regular guy (red skull-face aside...)

The Red Skull's uniform is fairly simplistic in its design but is well executed. The jacket features a nice array of shiny buttons and panels, with his jodhpur pants being creased as they tuck into his knee boots. There's a definite vintage look to the sculpt, especially with the jacket and although Hasbro are playing it down, it does a good job evoking the look of the kind of uniform favoured by the Nazis and fascists world-wide, even without any Swastikas or other related imagery. It does seem odd though that there's no HYDRA logo on him anywhere, though. Perhaps he's their secret leader or maybe Der Fuhrer doesn't like competition...

The hands are nicely sculpted, with his right hand being a great weapon-holding hand and his left being cast in an open pose. Not only does this allow him to hold his various accessories (see below) but it also makes for a great ''monologuing/I will crush you'' hand. It's a very expressive, versatile sculpt and I like it a lot.

The head design is particularly good. There's a definite resemblance to the movie version of the character and it's intricately detailed. The pinched, death's head look of the character is captured well and there's a nice expression of hatred on the face.

We come now to the articulation. This is where the previous figures in the line have dropped the ball, with most having quite weak, rubbery knees and an unfinished, cheap feel to them. I'm happy to report that the Red Skull's joints are streets ahead of those found on the other Captain America: The First Avenger toys I've seen. There's still a fractional amount of play in the knees that makes them feel weaker but the joints are pretty stiff and feel to be of a much higher quality than we've seen in the line. 

Although he lacks any kind of torso joint, he does come with an articulated waist, so you can still get some pretty neat poses out of him. It's also good to see he has articulated wrists, which again allow for a broader range of poses.

If you're waiting for the ''but...'' then here it comes. The jacket tails are cast from a softer plastic, presumably to allow some movement, but unfortunately it doesn't work and the figure's hip articulation is pretty much non-existent because of this. You can still rotate his cut-thigh joints, but don't expect to be able to make Red Skull kneel, bend at the waist or sit. There's also no ankle articulation, but given that his legs are pretty immobile, it's not like you need to be able to adjust them.

Paint is fairly simple but well-applied. Unlike the other figures from the line I've Reviewed, Red Skull's paint is neatly applied and actually enhances the sculpt. There are a few simple points such as his buttons and belt buckle plus some piping around his uniform and although it's not the most complex paintwork in the world, it's effective.

The head's paint app is also neatly done, with Red Skull's eyes having an insane, hateful look to them and details such as his teeth being cleanly picked-out. Best of all, there's a dark wash that's been applied to accentuate the skully-ishness of the Red Skull's facial features that works fantastically well (it's also applied to his hands and looks great there, too.)

Red Skull comes with his Luger pistol (although sadly he has no holster), a clear blue plastic Cosmic Cube accessory (which looks cool but can be difficult to get him to hold properly) and a larger ''rocket launcher'' that fires a spring-loaded, blue plastic ''rocket'' at the press of a button.

What I like about this rocket launcher is that - unlike those found with 99% of the GI Joe: Rise of Cobra figures - this one looks to-scale with Red Skull and - with the rocket removed - looks like a ''regular'' accessory. Granted, it doesn't fire particularly far but at least it looks good.

Sadly, Red Skull doesn't come with a base.

Final Thoughts
After three disappointing figures from the Captain America: The First Avenger toy line, my expectations were pretty low. It therefore came as a pleasant surprise to see that the Movie Series Red Skull is actually a pretty good figure.

Although the body sculpt is pretty simple, it's a good representation of the character's look and what's here is nicely done. The paintwork is - for once - cleanly applied and has some great detailing, with the skin wash being very effective. The accessories are pretty good (even if the Luger would be much better in black plastic) and the final quality and feel of the whole figure is head and shoulders above the other toys in the line.

Red Skull does have some negative points, though. The effectively non-articulated hips restrict his posing/play options massively, the lack of a holster for his pistol is a huge oversight and the failure to include a base is, again, a running error with the line Hasbro needs to correct in the next Wave of figures. But if you can look past there issues, you'll enjoy this figure.

A definite improvement.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreB

Image Gallery


  1. good find!! I love the water accessories

  2. Haha! Yeah, it's Super Soaker Red Skull. (He put pepper in there, because he's evil...)

  3. He you found a Red Skull very cool! I haven't seen him yet or one of those Hydra soliders. They gave the Skull a Cosmic Cube too? How cool is that.

  4. Yup - purely by chance. I checked for Crossbones and the HYDRA soldiers but didn't see any... And yeah, I think it's a MOVIE SPOILER accessory!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...