Wednesday, 26 August 2015

POP! Marvel -- Captain America (Unmasked)

Year: 2015
Company: Funko
Series: POP! Marvel

I didn’t really come round to Cap until I read The Ultimates 1 & 2 miniseries, back in about 2006. He went from being (in my mind) a one-note jingoistic caricature to being a well-rounded character. The first series gave a really impressive showcase of how powerful the character was, while the fight between him and Colonel Abdul al-Rahman in the second series was genuinely affecting – well done, on both counts, Mr Mark Millar.

Chris Evans’ take on the character is fairly distinct from the Ultimates version (definitely not as violent), but he’s still pretty cool. So today we take look at the most recent POP release of Captain America. It’s the unmasked version, which is a Funko Convention Exclusive for 2015. Cap here is on active duty – I threw out the box, which is anathema to some collectors. But the box was dinged up and so was the plastic tray inside, so I’m sure you can forgive me.

As far as I can tell, the body and shield is identical to the regular masked release, with the difference coming in the head – it looks like a unique piece to me, though I suspect we’ll see it reused again next year, for reasons I’ll reveal a bit later. 

The paint is mostly clean, but you can see that the blue the body’s cast in is difficult to paint over. The reds and whites on his uniform aren’t quite as bright as they should be as a result, but you could kind of just pretend this is battle wear and tear if you’re bothered by it. 

On the downside, the shield was slightly warped on closer inspection; it’s a slightly softer plastic than the rest of him. It’s not major though; I didn’t notice it in the box, so it's not a deal-breaker.   

Overall, is this one as good as the regular version? Well, given that Cap spends about the same amount of time with his mask/helmet off as on, the answer is yes. But I wouldn’t recommend paying the convention premium on eBay. With Captain America: Civil War coming next year, there are likely to be a whole bunch of new Cap POPs on the way – and I’ll be very surprised if at least one of them isn’t an unmasked one, reusing this head. So maybe wait a few months and see how things go.      

On a side note, I’ve noticed POPs have been rising in price of late. I started collecting them in early 2013 and I believe they were still retailing for $15AUD at the time. Now they’ve just hit the $18AUD mark, which is getting a little too pricey for my tastes. This guy cost me slightly more than that, as he’s a convention exclusive. To my mind, though, the price should either be going down or holding steady. I’m sure that some aspect of the economics is getting past me here, but Funko POPs are far more readily available now than they were even a year ago – this suggests to me that they are selling gangbusters, which would presumably drive production costs down. However, it’s possible that the cost on new moulds and licenses is driving things up overall. Fair enough, but I think I will have to get out of the game if they go up much more. 

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