Sunday, July 3, 2011

REVIEW: Captain America: The First Avenger - Movie Series Marvel's Hydra Soldier Dark Threat

Produced by Hasbro | Released June 2011

The soldiers who serve RED SKULL are equipped with the latest bio-shield armor and weaponry. Their dual flamethrowers and missile launchers inspire fear in all but the most hardened of warriors. Together, they carry enough firepower to take on an entire army... but that won't stop CAPTAIN AMERICA from taking them down!

Packaging Shots

Marvel's Hydra Soldier Dark Threat
The Marvel's Hydra Soldier Dark Threat comes from the Captain America: The First Avenger's Movie Series and is one of the ''Deluxe Mission Pack'' figure sets. These sets  feature more numerous or larger accessories and - as such - retail at another $2 over the ''Regular'' figure price. Is this figure worth the extra cash? Read on and find out...

Let's start with the bad news. Getting this figure to stand is an exercise in frustration before you attach his removable weapons. With the twin weapons in place, it becomes virtually impossible to get him to stand unaided when he's so top-heavy. And Hasbro didn't include a stand. That's utterly inexcusable, especially given that this is a ''Deluxe'' figure.

With that out of the way, let's look at the actual figure.

The character's design is relatively interesting and the sculpting is nicely done. The Hydra Soldier is clad in basic coveralls, with a few pockets and creases to break-up the basic shape. The movie designers have clearly drawn on real-world/historical reference, as this figure - sci-fi elements aside - would look perfectly at home on the battlefields of World War 2.

The figure comes with a pre-attached combat harness/body armour piece. This is another good-looking, fairly detailed bit of design that compliments the basic coverall design well. The front features strapped-on metal plating and a ''harness''-style look, with the rear including the ''technology'' that powers the weapons. It looks pretty good and is a nice blend of sci-fi and factual design - it's not too far removed from the kind of technology used during the period.

The head sculpt is pretty neat and continues the ''what if?'' theme of the basic cast. Again, it looks like a gas mask of the time or something the Nazis would have worn during bombing raids but with a sci-fi twist. The helmet detailing is nicely done and features an assortment of panels and pieces to give the impression of being protective gear.

Although there's a lot of nice detailing to the sculpt, from there it's all downhill, starting with the articulation.

Whilst the arms are relatively well articulated, the rest of the figure isn't so well-blessed. The head, for example, doesn't tilt back/forward enough and - as a result - the Hydra Soldier constantly looks as if he's staring at the floor. Rotational articulation is inhibited by the head/mask's shape and position.

Then there's no torso or waist articulation. The body is cast from a single, solid piece. The hips fare a little better, using ball and cut-thigh joints but the ball joints have about a 45 degree range of motion, so don't expect to be able to get the Hydra Soldier to sit down. 

The lower legs are no better. The knee uses a single joint (rather than the standard three-piece, double joint) so the Hydra Soldier can't kneel on his haunches. And whilst the knee joint also rotates laterally, there's no ankle articulation of any kind

Paint is also weak. Whilst the basic colour scheme looks good, it's very sloppily applied. The figure's arms feature silver ''conduits'' to supply power to the weapons, with ''Cosmic Cube'' blue ''powered-up'' details and many of these are simply not painted (where others are.) The shoulder pads continue the silver conduit look but there's no blue paint applied here, although I'll give them the benefit of the doubt - perhaps they don't light-up in the movie either. What I can't excuse though is the sloppy application on the figure's left shoulder. There's a line of sliver paint on the pad's edge and - worst of all - a massive, circular blob at the point where the back ''conduit'' connects to the pad. Then there's the production number, which is stamped right on the front of his boot. What the hell were Hasbro thinking when they decided to do that? There's absolutely no argument that can justify its presence.

At least the eyes and Hydra logo on the helmet's side are cleanly applied. As for the rest though, it's a cheap, lazy app.

The Hydra Soldier comes with a removable harness, two flamethrowers/missile launchers, two flame missiles and two blue missiles.

Note that the figure does not include a stand (which is utterly inexcusable) and the one used here is from a GI Joe figure.

Final Thoughts
Don't be fooled by the initial good looks and cool design of the Hydra Soldier Dark Threat figure. It may look interesting in the packaging and the basic sculpt is solid enough. The semi-transparent blast accessories look cool and the weapon design is nicely done. However, once you open the figure, it becomes apparent that this is yet another cheaply-made, badly-produced movie cash-in. Whilst the joints don't suffer from the weak, flimsy feel of other figures in the line, there aren't enough of them to really warrant this being considered a ''poseable'' action figure and I find it offensive that Hasbro would release this toy at all, let alone at a ''premium'' price point.

The Hydra Soldier Dark Threat isn't good-looking enough to be a display piece, it's no fun to play with and the higher price makes it all the more offensive. Don't waste your cash, as it's a poorly-produced, over-priced, badly-articulated, lazily-painted piece of crap.

Production QualityD
Final ScoreD

Image Gallery


  1. I have heard A LOT of complaints about these Capt. America movie toys- bad paint app seems rampant throughout the line. The Paratrooper Dive (with parachute) I bought was actually okay- I may have lucked out...

  2. Some aren't bad. The Captain Britain one has an OK app and I've heard some people are finding the other figures with fine apps. But from what I've seen, most are pretty sloppy. The articulation with this one is the real issue for me, though. It's like something from 1980.

  3. That's dissapointing. I was really looking forward to this figure.

  4. If you can find one with a better paint job and have a spare stand, you might like him. But he's really difficult to get to stand in any kind of interesting pose and the articulation (or lack of)is just horrible.

  5. I would rather take the Cap figures with their bad paint apps, than the Thor figures with their movie designs. I'm not saying that you're wrong, just that in terms of articulation and sculpt these are a win for me.

    The sad part is that I saw this figure for 17.00 in Toys R Us. That, and no ankles sucks!

  6. I don't understand why there was no Thor Comic Series line...

    And yeah, the pricing on these Deluxe figures - which are actually worse than the single carded ones - is ridiculous.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...