In spite of having gone through a couple of different phases of action figure collecting, I’ve never bought anything from Marvel Legends, either in its ToyBiz or Hasbro iterations. This is because I really didn’t like a number of things about them when I first came across the ToyBiz range in ’03-’04. Who cared if a toy had 397594579 different points of articulation if the end result looked as ugly as sin? And who were all of these crap, no-name characters?
In hindsight, I was young, ignorant and needlessly harsh on the line. While numerous figures from those early days have not aged well, Marvel Legends was actually a really good line. Lots of original sculpts, good paint and tons of characters who’d never had figures before – not to the diorama bases and ENORMOUS Build-A-Figures. There were a lot of things the line was able to do that would probably just not be possible in today’s climate.
So, today we have my first entry into the line – Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch. Wanda has been a member of the Avengers since the 1960s, after initially debuting as a villain for the X-Men. Imbued with (somewhat vague) mutant powers that allow her to alter reality, she’s since supplemented her natural gifts with the study of arcane and occult arts. It’s kind of a lazy and overly simplistic comparison, but to put it in DC terms she has Wonder Woman’s prominence with Zatanna’s skillset.
She’s quite a prominent character in the comics world, but she’s had a more difficult time breaking through to more mainstream popularity. Last time she got a Legends figure was all the way back in 2004, and what a disaster it was. Figures like that typify why I didn’t like the line at the time. The promo art looked okay, but the finished product was dreadful. ToyBiz knew it too; it was officially cancelled at the time, though a few did manage to find their way to stores. She was then absent from the shelves until 2012, when she popped up the 3.75” Marvel Universe line, looking substantially better.
But here we are in 2015 and on the cusp of seeing her cinematic debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which probably explains why we’re now getting a new 6” version. However, this figure is much more heavily based on the comics than her appearance in the movie.
I’m not familiar enough with the character to pick out which artist’s work she’s based on, but over at OAFE they’ve indicated that she’s not based on any particular depiction of the character; rather she’s more of a “greatest hits” version, capturing the overall vibe of the character but not specific to any one iteration. To me, she looks like it’s taken a lot of cues from the 2012 Marvel Universe figure. The head is different, and you can tell the cape is newly sculpted rather than simply being sized up, but the basic look is quite similar.
Overall, I think she looks pretty good. She hits the right notes for someone like me who has a passing familiarity with the character but isn’t familiar enough with the minutiae to find fault. My main issue from a sculpting perspective is that the tops of her boots aren’t sculpted as on the 2012 figure; rather, they’re just painted on. This is likely to do with the logistics of costing and parts re-use, but it’s a bit of a shame nonetheless.
She’s not quite perfect though. The cape is cast out of a harder plastic than you might expect, and is a little too long. Combine this with the way it’s been sculpted and it makes her teeter backwards, so getting her standing in a neutral pose was near impossible for me – though it does work well is something a little more action-y or combat ready. Invest in a stand if you want her on full-time display though.
Wanda has the following articulation:
Her neck is very restricted by her hair and cape, as are her shoulders (particularly the left one). Some will bemoan the lack of ab-crunch, but I don’t tend to be a big fan of these from an aesthetic point of view.
Most of her is cast in the relevant colours, so there’s not a huge amount of paint. But the paint that is there is well-done over the whole figure; her face was nicely aligned, and her hair has a great wash that hasn’t spilt over onto other areas too. She has some nice overspray on the cape too, which is a great little touch that I didn’t expect to see.
I had a couple to pick from in the store, and there’s a couple of areas to you should check prior to purchase – the bustier area and the pink/red on the thighs/boots are the potential trouble spots I noticed. However, these are pretty minor points on the whole.
Scarlet Witch comes with two accessories – two of her hex blasts, which can clip onto her wrists. Both are cast in reddish-pink plastic. I had a bit of a tricky time clicking them on her wrists, but it got done eventually. Just be careful that you don’t break the wrists or the hex blasts while you do it -- in fact, popping off the hands and putting them in place is probably a better option.
She also comes with a few pieces of this wave’s Build-A-Figure – the Allfather. Specifically, she comes with the cape, Odin’s head and Gungnir, Odin’s spear. (Scarlet Witch’s swap figure, Captain Marvel, comes with an elderly Thor head and a different coloured cape, so you have your choice of who you can build).
Scarlet Witch was a very satisfactory first entry into the world of Marvel Legends, and I can definitely see myself picking up a few more in the future. They’re a little pricey at retail ($35AUD – even more if you’re getting them from a speciality store!) but if you can find them on sale I think they’re worth picking up.
On a side note, I would love to collect the Allfather Build-A-Figure, but I am just not sold on most of the figures I would need to buy to get him. Thor and Captain Marvel both look fantastic. Hawkeye’s designers have done a good job of turning an unacceptable costume into something that looks pretty good…but Machine Man, Iron Fist and Sentry are tougher sells for me. I don’t think I can justify it, unless I suddenly come into some big money.