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Aug
13

A Marvellous Selection

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When movie producers discovered that Superhero movies were capable of making ridiculous amounts of money they began to make as many deals as possible, and with the growing popularity of caped cinema came tons of merchandising possibilities. Unfortunately not all characters have gotten equal time in the limelight, unfortunately some characters, despite how badass they are, get pushed into the shadows. Fortunately fans sometimes get lucky and get the chance to add a certain red-headed super spy to their collection.

To say that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow has been getting very little love in the merch department is an understatement. Considering the crazy amount of STUFF that has come out since the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008, and how well received ScarJo’s character was when she debuted in 2010, its embarrassing how difficult it is for a fan to find some BW swag.

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Are we still living in a world that thinks that Girls do not read comics? Or that Boys don’t want female characters? Maybe the problem is that we are… maybe things have not improved as much as I like to think. Well, I for one am greatly disappointed by the lack of Black Widow in my life. I think its fair to say that for every piece of Black Widow memorabilia there are 500 Iron Mans, and that’s just wrong.
Why assemble a team if you are going to ignore 1/3 of the members? Poor Hawkeye also gets the shaft. (archery pun)

Here is a link to a particular article that really pinpoints the blatant choosing of Cap and Stark over Natasha.

youAmazinglyFailedWhile Hasbro has been doing a terrible job at giving us more Black Widow, Diamond Select has selected (see what I did there) Agent Romanoff as one of the 3 figures they will be releasing based off the Age of Ultron movie; and I could not be happier.

We first learned of this figure at Toyfair 2015.
Ermmm mixed feelings. The suit is of course based off the new movie, she has her new fancy batons which is nice, of all the pictures to surface online this is definitely the best one, the others showed a very tall forehead, hopefully just bad photos.

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After three blockbuster film appearances, Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow joins the Marvel Select Avengers line-up, just in time for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron! This 7-inch scale figure features her look from the new movie, has 16 points of articulation, and includes a diorama base that connects to Age of Ultron Thor’s to create a scene from the film. She comes packaged in the now-famous Marvel Select display packaging, with spine artwork for shelf reference. Sculpted by Gentle Giant!

This was one of those few occasions when the figure was released before I even had time to wonder if it will ever actually come out, or maybe I just got lucky and my LCS got a nice early order in. Either way, she is mine now… and that sounds creepy. Onwards!

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The packaging is your standard Mavel Select setup. Nice open window in the front, great artwork on the side, and a little writeup on the back. Before getting the figure in hand I was really worried about that forehead, fortunately its not nearly as bad in person, actually it looks really good.
There was only one figure remaining at the shop when I arrived, so I was unable to ensure I got the one with the best paint applications. For the most part I am happy with the one I got but DO look closely at not just the eyes (common source of screwups) but also the chest. Really anywhere with flesh-tone, the chest on mine has some imperfections, but its not the end of the world.

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First impression after removing the figure from the blister is mostly positive. As I already mentioned, the paint apps on the usual problem areas are pretty good, figure feels good in hand, no wobbly joints to report. Her hair colour is much more on the brunette side than expected, but otherwise no initial complaints.

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She stands surprisingly well considering her shoes, something that female figures always suffer with. The proportions are really nice and realistic, again something that always plagues female figures. Her posture does seem a bit weird though, from certain angles she seems rather hunched.
The face sculpt is actually really nice, the paint is very well done, but Marvel Select is always top notch in this department. I would not say that she looks identical to ScarJo but there definitely is a resemblance, and overall she looks really good. You can see the flaws in the chest better in this image here, also the colour doesn’t quite match the face… maybe something to tend to later on.

The details in the suit are just awesome, which isn’t a surprise being that its a Marvel Select figure. The belt was sitting a bit high on her body when I popped her out of the package which made her look frumpy haha, pushing it further down definitely helps, I still feel like it sits a too high though.
The suit is mostly black with a few blue highlights and some red on the forearms; not really a fan of the blue but thats what it looked like in the movie so…

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Accessory-wise we get a single, all black gun that fit into her holster, but looks awkward. She has her electric baton things which is cool but they are made of softer plastic so they aren’t straight. To better hold the batons she has a second set of hands, but no punchy hands which is a big disappointment. Swapping the hands out was no easy task either, definitely not something I plan on doing often for fear of breaking or stretching the pegs too far. Will just keep the batons hands for now.

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Other than the hands and shoddy weapons she comes with a base, half a base, the other half comes with Thor. Ummm the base is not bad, but just seems random and unnecessary since I can’t tell what scene its from… also it doesn’t have any pegs which is a bit odd. I’ll take it I guess, would rather have gotten better weapons though… or a base with Ultron drones!!.. or just SOMETHING referencing Ultron!

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Hrmmm the base might actually be good for Minimates…
Before moving on to the figure’s articulation I wanted to again mention how much I like that she has real proportions, she actually has some meat to her! Its no secret that women (as well as men) are drawn with cray, nigh-unattainable bodies, which look extra bizarre when translated to plastic format. The fact that I am impressed that this figure can stand on its own, and in various poses, says a lot about the state of women in the action figure world. Marvel Select actually gave us a figure based off a person. And that is great.

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Marvel Select is not known for their articulation, but they have greatly improved over the past years, lets see how well they balanced form with function this time around. Starting off with the upper body, overall satisfactory, nothing too crazy, but nothing is really missing either.
Head sits on a ball-joint, the movement is greatly hindered by the hair, can’t be helped. Ball-jointed shoulders, no bicep swivel, single hinged elbow with a swivel, ending with a hinge/swivel wrist joint. The joint on the wrist is on the actual part, as such it only moves in a adduction/abduction capacity, not an extension/flexion… basically no Spidey ‘thwip’ movement.  A decent diaphragm joint, but not much of a crunch but good swivel, which makes up for the lack of a waist joint; really I’m just happy she at least got that much. Double-jointed elbows would have made a world of difference here, but you can’t win them all…

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The batons don’t fit into the non-baton hands, so you will need to swap them out when swapping out weapons. Its a bit of a pain but she at least holds the batons nicely, but without having them actually light up… they aren’t very impressive. I’m tempted to repaint them to give them a metallic look instead.
Her belt is nice, but I’m not a huge fan. The gun holster is attached to the belt by a single strap, not attached to her thigh, the plastic used is soft so it doesn’t hinder much articulation but it does look a awkward. Along with her red BW logo in the center it has a clasp and some sort of walkie talkie looking thing? Another thing I noticed, in some images the holster is on the left, in some images its on the right. The figure gets it right, as ScarJo is actually left-handed. Fun Trivia!

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I was not worried about the articulation in the upper body as that seems to be the easy half, except for the fact that we didn’t get a double-hinged elbow its all pretty much there. The lower half on the other hand is usually where a figure loses points, happy to report that is not the case here!

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Marvel Select went all out with the articulation here, rightfully so as she is seen throwing some mean kicks in Avengers AOU. Figure has T-joint hips with good range, she has a thigh swivel which is nice but for some reason its on an angle. Double-jointed knees (awesome) and a swivel at the top of her boot! She is still rocking heels, which I don’t get, but they didn’t let the heel take away from posing possibilities. Boot has an ankle pivot and a very neat rocker joint, it’s different in that it pivots at a point half-way through the foot… as if she is wearing slippers and only the shoe part pivots… if that makes any sense.
Also look at all the details in the boots and pants! The blue line throughout is sculpted, not just paint.

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I’m thinking that the reason for the angled thigh-cut is so that they can position it high up on her thigh and not have it mess up her butt.
Much as I wanted to avoid taking a picture of her butt… here it is.

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Thanks to good hip joints she is able to open her legs very wide for some splits but unfortunately does not kick forwards a full 90 degrees, but enough to almost sit properly. Kicking backwards is very limited. Considering how good the sculpt looks I am very happy with the amount of articulation that was added into the lower half, there is little more that could have been done, especially without mangling the look of the figure.

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Oddly enough, this figure actually has better articulation that the Marvel Legends figure from the Winter Soldier wave!
At this rate ML collectors will need to stop using ‘superior articulation’ as their argument for choosing ML over MS. Personally I rather not choose. Its not like you can have too many Scarlett Johansson figures… can you?

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Speaking of comparing Marvel Legend to Marvel Select, time for some comparison shots!

“Leave me alone! You’re not my real Mom!”

Comparing the face sculpts between the ML and MS ScarJo-B.Widow figures I would say that the MS sculpt is much closer, although they are both not quite right. I never noticed how tanned the ML figure was though… damn. Although I must admit I like the Winter Soldier costume better.

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Cap: “Did you take some Super Soldier serum or something?”

Comparing MS Widow with ML MCU Cap and Widow it becomes very obvious that you will not be able to drop her into your Marvel Legends collection unnoticed. Maybe if you work the angles you can, but she is definitely better suited for a different scale.

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Paul Rudd: “Hey there… maybe you have heard of me, I’m Ant Man.”

Its funny how much smaller she looks when compared to her own kind. She almost seems too small compared to the Marvel Select Ant Man figure (which is awesome btw) but that makes sense considering that Scarlett Johansson is 5′ 3″.

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“Hey big guy, the sun is getting real low.”

I am really happy with this figure, so glad that Marvel Select finally gave us an MCU Black Widow, not to mention the new Hulk. If you have been collecting the MCU figures you now have a somewhat complete team, but they may look a bit mismatched due to the many costume changes. Personally I will hold out for new figures that will more than likely accompany the Civil War flick coming out next year.

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“Come at me bro!”

Closing thoughts: great figure. I am so happy that MS chose to go this route instead of giving us another Iron Man. I can only hope that we will see more Black Widow and Scarlet Witch stuff in stores. If not for equality than at least so collectors can complete their damn teams! But seriously can we get Scarlet Witch and Vision before another Iron Man! Please!!

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