Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Marvel Select Silver Surfer

Series: Marvel Select

Scale: 7”

Company: Diamond Toys

Year: 2013

The Silver Surfer is one of my favourite Marvel characters. He is quite well known in comic fandom, but has never been able to break through to A-list status, and his presence is usually confined to guest appearances or infrequent miniseries – though word around the campfire is that he will be returning to a monthly series in April this year.

But I digress – I found myself with a gift voucher for my local comics store after Christmas (thatnks to my brother-in-law), and the Marvel Select line has been intriguing me for a while now. It’s slightly larger in scale than Marvel Legends – if not as heavily articulated – and the diorama bases it includes can be quite impressive.  So after eyeing this figure off for some time, I decided it was time to get the purchase happening.


The Marvel Select packaging is definitely designed with collectors in mind. It’s ridiculously large compared to the average retail figure, it’s covered in cool graphics and the figure is clearly displayed, for those who like to keep things MoC.
Unfortunately for MoCers, they’re also somewhat easy to ding – the Silver Surfer I picked up was the last one in the store, and it was in “good” rather than “mint” condition. Not a problem for me, since I’m a chucker anyway, but something to watch out for if you are a little fussier about your packaging.

The Surfer looks to be something of a hybrid of his 1960s and 1990s versions. He still seems to be wearing trunks as in his early appearances, but he also has the ludicrously ripped physique of a post-MacFarlane comic character, before things went back to being a little more restrained in the noughties.  

I purchased the DC Unlimited Hawkman a couple of months ago, and found very quickly that his legs – seemingly cast in metallic plastic – had a very disappointing range of movement. I had concerns that the Surfer would be similar, and that most of him would be rendered immobile.
Articulation-wise, this is what he offers:

*ball-jointed neck
*ball-jointed shoulders

*swivel biceps
*hinged elbows

*pegged wrists
*cut waist

*peg and swivel hips
*double-hinged knees
*swivel ankles

His posture is somewhat slouched – good for when he’s in surfing poses, but it might have been nice to have an adjustable neck for when he’s standing up straight.
The combination of swivel hips with hinged knees meant it was initially kind of difficult to get him into a good-looking surfing pose – which is a bit of a bummer for the Silver Surfer. I think a better approach would have been cuts on the thigh for a greater range of motion and/or ball-jointed ankles – though cut thighs may have left me complaining about a spoiled look on the figure.

However, these issues are more to do with the style of articulation chosen, rather than plastic QC issues. His range of motion is actually really good! All of the joints move smoothly, and he’s easy to set up for a good looking photo. His wrists were initially quite stiff, but I didn’t have any worries about breaking any of his other joints – something that I sadly can’t say about many other collector’s figures that I’ve bought.
Combatting evil wherever in the galaxy...or Detroit...they may go.
The other thing I did like is that while the range is on the exaggerated side of 7”, Silver Surfer still fits in quite well next to Arkham Origins Batman. Though his proportions are slightly larger, this can easily be explained by the fact that he’s an alien, not a human. Additionally, he’s not so “realistic” that he looks silly placed next to my TMNT. Those who follow me on Instagram (lupinefunclub) will have seen a few photos already – more should follow soon.                                      

Surfer comes with eight accessories – a staggering amount in this day and age, particularly when you consider that other figures costing only a few dollars less (or more) often come with one or none.

*diorama base
*Silver Surfboard

*two energy blasts
*three alternate hands

*the Infinity Gauntlet

Two of the alternate hands look virtually identical to one another – just the hand held flat, presumably for surfing poses. The other is in a kind of grasping position – probably for holding the board when it’s standing upright. The energy blasts are cool, but they can be a little tricky to fit over the hands. However, I can see it being put to use for a number of other effects, too -- gunshot explosions, bullet wounds, etc.
The Infinity Gauntlet can fit over the Surfer’s left arm once his hand has been removed. You’ll need to wedge it on a little to make it stay, but it does look great once it’s on. I’m curious to know how many other Marvel Select characters it will fit onto, as well…Deadpool, perhaps? 

Sadly not many of my other figures have easily removable hands – otherwise I could definitely see potential for a few zany crossovers (Lava Planet Predator gets hold of the Infinity Gauntlet – sounds pretty 90s to me!).
The diorama base is quite simple. It’s some kind of lunar-looking landscape with an energy “swoosh” attached for the surfboard. There have been more complex bases in this series, but this one is nice because it’s relatively understated – I can’t stand the ones that come with big unarticulated figures. They almost invariably look terrible. The only real downside is that the Surfer’s feet don’t quite fit in the footprints. I think there should definitely have been a flat area with a peg for the foot on the base, but I don’t like the footprints themselves being embedded permanently in the sculpt. Still, I have paid similar amounts for figures that came with far, far less, so it seems churlish to complain about such minor quibbles. 

As might be expected, there’s not actually a lot to say about paint for the Surfer (and his board). He seems to be primarily moulded in a silver colour, with his joints apparently cast in clear plastic and then painted silver. You’ll see the unpainted areas show in certain poses, but it’s no biggie – after Hawkman, I’m just happy that he can move!

The only real detail area is his eyes – these have been cleanly done, with no trace of slop.
Accessories-wise, the Infinity Gauntlet is okay, but unspectacular. It colours all of the gems, and gives it a wash to add a bit of depth to the glove itself, but it just feels a little flat for such an important artefact. Perhaps a slightly glossier finish might have been the right approach? 

The energy blasts are unpainted, but I think they should have been given a drybrush highlight so they don’t look so obviously plastic-y. This is something I may fix myself in future.
The diorama base is simply painted too. The energy swoosh is moulded in the appropriate colour, and the landscape is seemingly just a basecoat and some drybrushing. Still, that’s all that’s needed to provide the appropriate effect.

In spite of the Silver Surfer being one of the more visually striking characters in comics, this has not traditionally translated into paint jobs that stand out as particularly striking. Metal is hard to make look good at this scale, and very few companies succeed. I’d rate the paintwork on the figure as “pretty good”. There’s nothing obviously wrong with it, but it doesn’t quite go that extra mile in the same way as the NECA RoboCop’s multi-toned silver did. The accessories are also perfectly acceptable.  

Though the current range of Marvel Select characters at my local store aren’t my cup of tea, I could definitely see myself picking up a couple more in future. I particularly like the look of Deadpool, though I suspect I’ll have a mission tracking him down. Or perhaps Thanos, to continue the spacefaring, cosmic theme of this toy – and to provide a worthy adversary for Norrin Radd. 
Silver Surfer was not my favourite figure of 2013, but he hit all of the right notes – good sculpting, good paint and lots of accessories (particularly for a character who’s mainly noted for having one). All of these things should be standard for a figure of this cost, and Marvel Select definitely gets props from me for doing it. Other companies should take note!
"Dammit MIkey! Bring it back - NOW!"

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't noticed his swimming costume before -- I'm no surfing afficionado, but I don't think ANY surfer wears 1956 Olympic swimming costumes - especially silver ones. With the silver body spray, he looks ready for a trip to Sydney's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras -- perhaps a fluoro necklace or two? Comment from Seymour Knutts