Thursday, May 9, 2013

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Blastaar

Produced by Hasbro | Released March 2013
Created by the powerhouse team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Blastaar has been a mainstay of the Marvel Universe for almost fifty years, going up against such notable characters as the Fantastic Four, Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Although not the most well-known of characters, he's also appeared in numerous animated TV shows and videogames. So now he's finally here in plastic form, have Hasbro done him justice? Let's see, shall we?

Sculpt & Design
Blastaar uses the ''big guy'' buck and his basic body parts are shared with such other oversized characters as Thanos, Juggernaut and Apocalypse. Overall it's a pretty decent foundation to build upon but I have to admit that I'm really starting to grow tired of the weird hip-and-cut-thigh arrangement Hasbro insists on employing. We'll come back to that in a moment...
The figure's core is augmented with a new neck piece and head, with the other pieces being recolored appropriately to represent Blastaar's costume. It's not a perfect representation, though, something that the collar of the costume - which is pure Kirby - actually highlights. His chest lacks any form of similar segmentation/plate effect, something I really wish they'd put the extra effort into. Still it's a minor point and unless you're doing a side-by-side comparison with the original illustration you'll probably not even notice.
The real stand-out piece here is the head sculpt. It may not be quite as furball round as Kirby's original design (I assume this version is modeled after his more modern incarnation) but the detail is absolutely fantastic. From the snarling, tooth-filled mouth to the individual lock mane this head is frankly awesome. I'd even go as far as to say it's one of the best I've seen, not just on the Marvel Universe line but on any figure of this scale. Seriously, it's that good.
Beyond those two bespoke parts, though, this is the same figure we've seen Hasbro employ for a number of its figures, so if you own Juggernaut or Thanos then you'll be most definitely familiar with what's here.

Blastaar's articulation set-up is pretty good, overall but, like it seems every Marvel Universe figures, he has those hips.
I've said many, many times in the past how much I dislike this new arrangement but it seems Hasbro has decided this is the way forward and so we're stuck with it. I have two main problems with this arrangement. For starters, I don't know how I'm actually supposed to pose the figure using this rig. The thigh tops/hips rarely - if at all - go where you want them to and worst of all, the position of the thigh cut is at the exact point where you apply pressure to bend the hip joint. I personally don't like the idea of risking snapping a limb of my toy just to make him sit down. And in reality that's about as much as you'll be able to get him to do.
My figure's hips - and it could just be limited to this figure - have a ''spring'' to them, too and will only settle at either end of the movement range. It's frustrating to see such poor quality control compounding an already annoying piece of design, especially given that these figures now retail at around the $10 mark.

Thankfully, the paint app has more in common with the sculpt than the articulation, meaning it's very good. 
It's a little saddening to see that for all its awesomeness though, the only area of the figure that's received any paint is the face. Which is fine, I guess but I'd have liked to see some similar washes and detail applied to the figure's body. But as each tooth is individually detailed and his hair has some very cool low/highlighting going on, I can't really complain.
And although it's not technically a paint-related matter this is the variant figure, which sports clear orange ''blasting'' 'hands. I'm always a fan of clear plastic toys so I was pleased I was able to find this version.


Sort it out, Hasbro!

Final Thoughts
If you can deal with the Marvel Universe hip joint weirdness then you'll love Blastaar . The body may be a recycle of the previously-used buck but that's not too noticeable and I can excuse Hasbro using this arrangement, especially if it means getting such an amazing bespoke head sculpt. It's an awesome, lupine, angry snarly beast of a head that I'm sure figure modders will quickly find a dozen uses for beyond its original intention.

The paint app is also very detailed, being one of the better paint jobs in the Marvel Universe line. I did however find my figure had what appeared to be some glue or sealant splashed down his torso, which I assume came from the painting process. That however is probably limited to my figure, so I really wouldn't worry too much about it.

If I did have to find fault with Blastaar it would be with - as I mentioned in the opener - the articulation set-up. This is primarily a personal thing and if you like the set-up Hasbro uses for the Marvel Universe line then you don't need to worry about it - at least, not when it comes to the design, anyway. But I really, really dislike this arrangement. It doesn't work for me at all. And the fact that my Blastaar (and again, this could be limited to my figure alone) has very loose/springy thighs just compounds the matter. As I say though, if you're into the Marvel Universe twisty hip/cut-thigh set-up then you'll be just fine with this figure.

Thankfully I'm not one for playing with my Marvel Universe figures, so as long as I can get a pose out of him I like, I can almost ignore this hip-related issue. And as a poseable statue, Blastaar is superb. Just be advised that if you want him doing much more than standing around or looking angry, you may be disappointed with the articulation restrictions.

A fantastic looking figure, again marred slightly by poor hip joints.

Final Score: A-

Image Gallery

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...