Friday, April 15, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Gigantic Battles Savage Frost Giant and Loki

Produced by Hasbro | Released April 2011

Adopted son of the king of Asgard, LOKI was supposed to have been raised in ignorance of his giant heritage. In reality, the trickster was trapped by his nature. His compulsion to lie forced him to constantly engineer conflicts between the gods of Asgard and the giants of Jotunheim. Again and again, he plotted the destruction of his adopted home at the hands of the giants. Again and again, those plots fell apart under the hammer blows of his hated brother, THOR. Still, Loki plots, and works in secret with the giants to see the gods laid low, and the crown of Asgard upon his brow.

The Savage Frost Giant and Loki Gigantic Battles box is pretty huge, standing at around 15'' or so and about 12'' wide. The box is also deeper than that seen with the previous Gigantic Battles releases and has a good couple of inches over its Wave-mate, the Goliath/Ragnarok double-pack.

Interestingly, the packaging is from the Series 2 releases of last year and still features Norman Osborn with the HAMMER-style packaging. It's also worth noting that the box copyright gives the date ''2010.'' (The enclosed comicbook - see below - goes one step further and states it's copyright ''November 2010'' so it looks like Hasbro sat on this release for six months...)

Within the box is a retaining tray that holds both figures in-place. Loki is relatively easy to remove (like the helmet and axe, he's simply held in-place with some tape in his own little mini-tray) but the Savage Frost Giant takes a little more work. He's held in-place with number of ties that must be cut/undone from behind. Annoyingly some of these knots are quite tight. The ties also tend to dig into some of the Savage Frost Giant's joints, so be careful when removing him. 

Let's begin with one of my favourite Thor characters, Loki.

The basic sculpt is a re-use of the ''skinny athlete'' body as used by most Spider-Man figures and also shared with Iron Fist and a few others. Frankly though, I don't care, as it works perfectly here. Loki is not a huge, powerhouse character like his adoptive brother Thor. He's a tricksy, weasely, manipulator who uses his guile and brains to get his way. And this body works perfectly for that.

The head sculpt is new and quite brilliant. The ponytail and horned helmet-look of the comicbook character is spot-on (I was disappointed to see they'd dropped the look for the upcoming movie...) and the facial sculpt is quite possibly the best I've seen on a Marvel Universe figure. Whether Hasbro are employing a new modeling technique or they've hired a new sculptor, I don't know. All I do know is that I want more like this, please. The attention to detail is quite phenomenal for a figure of this scale. Not only does it look real but it also has character. I can live with the body being a re-use of Iron Fist thanks to the face alone.

Articulation is OK. There's nothing wrong with the execution and all his joints are mobile enough without being overly stiff or loose. They're just a little limited. There's no waist joint, for example and his head is a simple rotator joint (a ball joint would have been great for posing, given how much character the face has.) The feet are also a little limited in their up/down motion, but I think this is more to do with the shin having a slight ''point'' to it that stops the foot moving, rather than any kind of joint problem.

Paint is another area where the figure excels. The body features a base green costume with yellow (painted) accents and a scale-mail transfer down the centre. His neck features a yellow coif that topped with a gold helmet. It's cleanly applied (excepting a few minor edging issues around his cuffs) and is accentuated with a dark wash to bring-out the detail of the sculpt. It's superbly done, although strangely the costume design doesn't tally with that seen in the enclosed comic (even if it is accurate to some of his other costume designs.) I guess they were going for ''Classic Loki.''

The facial paint is superb. Each tooth in his insane grin is picked-out individually, his eyes are precisely painted and there are even highlights on his cheeks. The work here is superb and a great finish to an excellent sculpt.

Savage Frost Giant
Standing at around 12'' tall the Savage Frost Giant towers over Loki. Again, he's a well-produced toy although there are a few drawbacks.

Unlike the previously-Reviewed Goliath (and the upcoming Bill Foster Goliath) this is a completely new sculpt. And overall it's a great-looking figure. The basic body - which features some nice sinew and muscle details - is clad in a rubbery (and probably removable) cuirass and skirt/kilt. The cuirass is sculpted to depict multiple segmented pieces, with rivets running down the centre line. It's superbly angular and - thanks to being a separate piece - really looks like armour. Across his shoulders is an animal fur cloak/wrap (presumably from a mammoth or similar giant beast!) that's as conversely organic-looking as the armour is forged. The two work really well together and the sculpt is a winner.

Around his waist is a similar animal-fur ''skirt'' or kilt. Again, the sculpt work here is great and the rope that serves as a makeshift belt is an excellent finishing-off detail. His feet are wrapped in makeshift footwear, formed from strips of leather, which is nicely rendered in the sculpt. His toes - which are visible - finish off a great body sculpt.

The head is also outstanding, with an expression that combines ignorance and loathing perfectly. The detail around the eyes, brow and mouth are particularly awesome, with deep grooves and fleshy folds really bringing the face to life and endowing a lot of realism (even if he is a mythical giant!) The curl of the lip is a great little stand-out - but subtle - detail that gives a real sense of expressiveness to the Savage Frost Giant.

The Savage Frost Giant's articulation is, in my view, what will make you either love or hate this figure. Let's start with the good. His head is on a ball joint, allowing for some very expressive pivots and poses. His torso features a ratcheted forward/backward motion (as if he's bending at the waist) that, although relatively limited, allows you to add some additional expression to his poses.

Arms are good - although they are ratcheted and so can be a little awkward to position at times. But even with the slight shoulder movement issues the fur wrap brings, they're still quite flexible. Both hands have rotatable and bendable wrists, which is great and - most impressive of all - his left hand features four individually-jointed fingers. His knees are double-jointed and - again although they use ratchets - they're quite flexible. Both feet can be bent up and down to a small degree but there's no side-to-side rotation here.

Now this is where things get bad. His hips - although ball-jointed - may as well not be jointed at all, given how little movement it's possible to get from them. His skirt/kilt basically locks his legs in position and that - combined with how awkward these joints are to turn - means your Savage Frost Giant is pretty much immobile from the waist down. After all, there's no point adjusting his knee joints if you can't counter-balance them with the hip joints. There's also no waist articulation.

Personally, I don't see this as an issue. He's a giant and I want him to tower over my figures in my display case. But I know that for many people this will come as a disappointment. As I said, this will probably be the real deciding factor for many.

Like Loki's paintwork, the Savage Frost Giant's app is incredibly impressive. His armour and clothing are treated with washes and dry-brushings to accentuate the sculpt's detail and the facial paintwork is superb. Every detail is applied cleanly and a very subtle dark wash around his cheeks and temples really sets off the face's malicious expression. My only real problem is with the gold bands around his wrists. They appear too bright for my tastes and look a little out of place with the more subdued colouring of the rest of the paintwork. That aside though, this is another phenomenally well-designed and equally well-executed paint app. Hasbro has really outdone themselves here.

Although Loki comes without any equipment (he doesn't even have a stand) he Savage Frost Giant comes with a couple of accessories that really finish-off the figure's look.

The giant axe is a nicely-sculpted and well-painted piece of equipment. The only downside is that it won't fit into his right hand. It's odd, given the hand is sculpted in a gripping pose that the axe simply won't fit in here. The helmet (see below) is a good fit into this hand, so perhaps that was Hasbro's intentions all along.

The axe is also a little off-balance, being quite top-heavy due to the massive blade. As a result, when it's in the left hand (the one with the opening fingers) it takes a little work to get it to stay in-place and the axe must be gripped a lot higher along the shaft than would be practical in battle, but it just about works.

The skull helmet is another great piece. Formed from a quite flexible plastic, it's a perfect fit over the Savage Frost Giant's head and does nothing to hide his vicious expression when worn. Again, the sculpt is great, with cracks and weathering being great little details and the paintwork is a delicious icing on an already yummy  cake, with the plate edges showing scuff-marks and the horns featuring lifelike discolouring.

The pack also features a copy of The Mighty Thor #175. I won't give too many details away here, as I get the feeling some of the plot-points within may be used in the upcoming Thor movie, but it's a pretty cool read and it features artwork by Jack Kirby at the height of his powers. It also includes a three page biography of Loki, not previously included with the original comic's release.

Final Thoughts
After a few weak releases like Iron Man 2020 and Spider-Man 2099, it looks as if Hasbro's Marvel Universe line may not just be back to form, but back better than ever. From the superb sculpt of the Savage Frost Giant's armour and Loki's facial details to the subtle-but-effective paintwork and excellent accessories, this pack screams ''quality.''

OK, so the actual articulation on both figures isn't as good as it should be but given how good these toys look, that's not really important (unless you're a real articulation/posing freak.) Get over the slightly limited range of movement and you'll find this to be an excellent example of just how good the Marvel Universe line of figures not only can be but should be.

Indeed, were I tasked with providing a case as to why anybody should collect these toys, the Savage Frost Giant and Loki Gigantic Battles Pack would be my Exhibit A. Really, it's that good.


Production QualityA
Final ScoreA-

Savage Frost Giant
Production QualityA-
Final ScoreA-

Final ScoreA

Image Gallery


  1. I saw both packs at Walmart yesterday. They look pretty cool

  2. I definitely think the Frost Giant/Loki one has the edge - it's bigger, more detailed and better painted, IMO. Plus it's Loki and Loki is ace.

  3. I think Lok looks excellent but am not to wild for the Frost Giant.

  4. Loki is superb (they might re-use him in some kind of double-pack with Thor at Target or something... Hopefully!) but the Frost Giant is pretty awesome. Sure it may not seem at home in the ''regular'' Marvel Universe but it's a great sculpt and a superb toy.


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