Monday, August 29, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Falcon

Produced by Hasbro | Released August 2011

FALCON was not born a hero. His rise to friend and ally of CAPTAIN AMERICA took hard work and a little luck. Ironically, it was the evil RED SKULL who introduced the two men and imparted FALCON with the extrasensory ability to communicate with birds. FALCON can fly like a bird of prey by harnessing the power of advanced wing suits. His grace, skill and precision in the sky is unmatched by any human.

Packaging Shots

Falcon is a character that doesn't get much recognition outside of comicdom, yet he has a fairly major claim to fame, being Marvel's first African-American superhero (The Black Panther course being African, not African-American.) It's interesting that the character has faded somewhat to become a more obscure player in the Marvel Universe but hopefully the release of this figure may bring him some new fans...

Let's address the figure's biggest issue immediately. Whereas the more recent Marvel Universe figures have featured newer hip and cut-thigh articulation, Falcon is based upon the old ''skinny body''-type. It's very disappointing to see Hasbro revert to this design given the advances they've made over the last couple of waves and I can only assume that the extra expense of designing the wings and pet falcon Redwing accessory necessitated the use of this older, less-articulated body. It's still disappointing to see though.

Anyway, the basic sculpt is fairly simple (as most Marvel character costumes tend to be) but there are some nice - and I believe - unique pieces with this figure. For starters, his arms are exposed and he's wearing rolled-wrist gloves, something I don't think I've seen previously with a Marvel Universe figure. It's a good look that captures the character's comicbook design well and looks cool. Whilst the arms are nicely muscled, the hands are the real stand-out piece of sculpting, with some great rolls around the glove edge and detail such as knuckles and fingers being very well defined.

But even cooler than all of that are the figure's wings. Quite simply, they look amazing and give Falcon a style that's more akin to the hyper-dynamism of the Microman line of toys. They intone a great sense of movement (even when he's standing still) and just look so dramatic, especially when the light catches them and reveals them to be semi-transparent. Of all the accessory parts I've seen Hasbro produce for the Marvel Universe line, I'd have to say these are my favourite. And it's my personal hope that now they have the sculpt and mold for these wings, it won't be too long before we see an appearance from one of my favourite Spider-Man villains, The Vulture...

Unfortunately - as mentioned at the top of the Review - the figure's articulation is a let-down following the advances Hasbro has made with the newer hip/thigh joint rigging seen in such figures as The Scarlet Spider. It's a shame we didn't get that same set-up here, especially as the weight of  the wings tends to make balancing the figure a little difficult (even with a stand) and so the extra articulation would have been most welcome.

The other problem is that the arm/shoulder joints seem very restricted and there's not really a very wide range of movement available here. On the plus-side though, the wings - which clip into the triceps - don't restrict arm movement as much as they do on, say, Spider-Woman. It's good to see the designers giving that some thought and their solution works well.

Paint-wise, my Falcon is a little disappointing. Whilst his costume details are nicely rendered on the whole, there's a dark wash/shadow effect that's applied in a very odd manner and seems to be an almost random splattering of paint. The area of his mask around his ears, for example, is splodged with a darker blue/grey ''shadow'' that just looks wrong and his left-hand cheek hollow has a similar app that's not present on the right-hand side. The chevrons and details on his costume are better but they're still not perfect. If you find more than one Falcon, be sure to check their paint apps, as you may find a better one than I did.

Falcon includes two clip-on wings that slot into his triceps and - on the whole - are pretty well designed. They stay in place reasonably well, don't inhibit articulation too much and - best of all - look great.

Falcon also includes Redwing, his trusty falcon sidekick, which can be clipped onto his wrist. Redwing is a nicely sculpted and well-painted accessory that looks cool, although getting him to look natural when attached to Falcon's wrist can be difficult. 

Falcon also includes a stand.

Final Thoughts
When I first saw Falcon using an older body-type, I was rather disappointed and - I have to admit - I passed on picking him up. I'm glad, however, I was able to get a second chance at owning Falcon because once you get past the throwback articulation, you'll see he's actually a very cool figure.

Yes, the articulation is a problem, especially as the wings tend to make him top-heavy but if you put in a little work and start posing him with the wings as the focus, you'll suddenly discover just how cool and dynamic Falcon can look. Without the wings he'd be a pretty average-looking Marvel Universe figure. But with them he becomes so much more and the inclusion of these accessories is what really elevates him beyond being just another Marvel Universe figure.

It's just a shame Hasbro wouldn't - or couldn't - use the newer articulation set-up, because had they done so this could have been one of the best from the line. As it stands, he's still very, very good and if you can work-around the limited articulation, he's certainly a figure you'll enjoy owning.

Production QualityB+
Final ScoreA-

Image Gallery


  1. I saw him the other day but am holding out for Doctor Strange so i passed.

  2. That was my initial thinking but when I failed to find anything, he was my back-up. I'm actually rather pleased I did fall-back on him, as he looks very cool.

  3. Just need to have him Captain America together in a picture and that would be perfect.

  4. Heh! I have about four Captain Americas... Which do you want to see? :)


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