Produced by Bulls-I-Toy | Released March 2013
Fans with a memory not addled by age or excessive living may recall that last year we took a look at the Marvel's The Avengers Chibi figures from Bulls-I-Toy. Although we liked a lot of what we saw, we did identify a couple of areas where we felt the toy line could be improved. Have our comments been heard? Read on and find out...
The Marvel Heroes Chibis come blind-bagged, with three Chibis per pack, along with a collectible sticker. (So yes, our first comment was indeed noted!)
The packaging itself is pretty much what you'd expect. There's a nice, eye-catching bit of cover art (featuring figures from the line in their comicbook form) and upon the rear is a checklist showing the 12 figures in the line-up.
The pack does make mention of the contents including a checklist but I'm not sure if there's either a card missing from my pack or the rear graphic is the checklist they're referencing. I'm assuming it's the latter and although - if you were being a pedant - you could argue that the packaging isn't technically something that's included in the packaging, I'm not going to go there. If Hasbro can pass off part of their packaging as a ''collectible comic shot'' then I'm certainly not going to split hairs here!
Anyway, let's take a closer look at each of the three figures I found within my pack.
First up is the leader of the Fantastic Four, Mr Fantastic himself, Reed Richards.
The sculpt is silly, fun and very specific to Mr Fantastic, featuring elongated arms and even grooved hair at the temples. It's cool to see Bulls-I-Toy went with character-specific sculpts rather than more generic figures and it's something I - and fans will I'm sure - certainly appreciate. There's a pretty hard mold line across the side of his head and an injection point on his crown but overall it's a solid, neat and immediately recognizable caricature of Mr Fantastic.
Paint-wise, Mr Fantastic is pretty solid, overall. I have to make it clear that although the paint apps are not pinpoint accurate they're a lot neater in real life than they look here and unless you have super-zoom-o-vision (or you're snapping close-up pictures) the minor blemishes the above image highlights really won't be that obvious to the naked eye.
It's also cool to see that this wave features all four members of the Fantastic Four. That may sound like an obvious thing to expect but as most toy collectors will tell you, there are a number of toy lines that never include full team line-ups.
Up next is the leader of the X-Men, Cyclops.
Again, Cyclops sports a unique - and pretty cool - sculpt. The character-specific details are present, with his visor being the real ''identifying feature'' of the design. Although the mold line isn't so pronounced here, Cyclops does again come with an injection point at the top of his head. But it's nothing you couldn't fix with a bit of glass paper and a steady hand.
Sadly my Cyclops has a bit of a messy paint app. There's some ''bleed'' from his mask and the edges of his skin tone around his hairline (in particular) aren't as clean as I'd have hoped. His costume - which I think is based on the Astonishing X-Men look, although I'm not 100% sure and I'm confident somebody will be able to correct me on that - is incredibly detailed, which is both a plus and a minus, as the precision required to nail such a complex design simply isn't possible at this scale. But I applaud Bulls-I-Toy for at least trying and not simply gypping us with a single colored costume.
Again, the line-up of figures includes a decent selection from the X-Men but this time, not the entire roster. Although I can excuse that, given that the full roster would run to about 20 figures...!
Finally we come to everybody's favorite immortal Canadian dwarf, Wolverine.
Of the three figures in my pack I have to admit that Wolverine is the one I like the most (which is odd, given I'm not really a fan of the character.) The sculpt does a great job capturing his look, with his snick-snick claws being a particularly neat touch and his mask ''ears'' being a really cool addition.
Again, the paint app is a little loose (although as I said above, to the casual observer not scrutinizing them under a zoom lens they're more than acceptable) and it is a little disappointing to see his belt detail doesn't extend around to the figure's back. Unless this is a costume-specific detail I've never noticed...
We opened this Review by recapping the fact that when we looked at the Marvel's The Avengers Chibis we had two main criticisms. In case you missed the points, here they are: firstly, the pack - which seemed too large for just the three figures it contained - felt a little empty and more importantly the Chibis themselves were a little skinny when viewed side on (with each sporting a Gogo's Crazy Bones-style ''scooped-out'' design that seemed rather odd.)
Thankfully it seems as if Bulls-I-Toy took notice of our comments (and before anybody starts thinking we're taking sole credit for the changes, we're aware of the fact that other people will have offered the same criticisms), as the Marvel Heroes Chibis address both points nicely.
The inclusion of a collectible sticker, however small a gesture or token ''extra,'' really adds to the feeling of value for money. Yes, it's only a peel-off sticker but its presence really helps elevate the feel of the pack whilst adding another collectible ''thing'' to the pack. I'm not even going to attempt the math behind all the possible combinations of figures and stickers but anything that helps add to the pack's surprise factor is good in my books.
What's really cool though is that the new figures sport rounded heads and backs. No more scooped-out skinny weirdness! This new roundness really does, well, round out the figures and make them not only more fun to handle but also cooler to look at. The fact that each is also a unique sculpt is something I most certainly welcome and although there are only 12 figures in the line (so you will get some duplicates pretty quickly) the specific sculpts mean you can always try feeling for character-specific details if you have no friends to trade your duplicates with...
The only real criticism I have is that the paint apps are a little on the sloppy side. But given the tiny scale of the figures and the amount of detail the designs include it seems a little unfair to even bring up this point. And in all honesty I'd much rather have a figure that sports a complex - albeit slightly smudged - paint app than one with a simplistic design. Just be aware though that there may be other figures in the packs like my Cyclops, whose paint app is a little too sloppy to really excuse. But maybe I was just unlucky and the odds of getting such a figure are slim-to-zero. It's just something to be aware of.
A fun line of blind-bagged toys fans of Marvel will really dig.
Final Score: B+
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