It’s the mark of an amazing action figure when it’s so good you’re gleeful about spending $19+ on a character you seriously don’t give a crap about. For the last decade The Wrecking Crew have been the punching bags of the Marvel Universe, a group of construction-themed super-villains who have shown up to fight (and lose) against virtually every team in the Marvel Universe over the years (even in the teenaged Runaways). I previously reviewed Future Foundation Spider-Man, Drax the Destroyer, and all of the Series 1 Marvel Legends, and you can find all those reviews in the Toy Reviews Index. Piledriver is a character I was looking forward to less than virtually all of those characters that I reviewed before, as he doesn’t get much in the way of character development in the comics very often, and whenever he shows up it’s a foregone conclusion he’s going to lose. Despite that, I’m blown away by this action figure, and it’s forcing me to have a little more respect for the perpetually-losing Piledriver…
My favorite part of this figure is the only part that’s unique to Piledriver: his all-new head sculpt. The head sculpt is incredibly expressive, I’d daresay more so than any other figure in the first two series of revived Marvel Legends. The head sculpt manages to convey the cocky, mean-spirited asshole personality of Piledriver perfectly. At the same time, it’s perfectly clear from his expression that Piledriver is not the sharpest construction tool around. This is the jock school bully that pushes you down and steals your lunch money with a smirk. I love this head sculpt–love it.
Piledriver is frickin’ enormous. Despite being a basic figure, he’s just as large and impressive to look at as Terrax, the Series 1 Build-A-Figure. As he should, Piledriver towers over regular-sized figures like Captain America and Spider-Man, and he can stare down Thor eye-to-eye as an equal. As expensive as Marvel Legends figures may be, I definitely feel like I got my money’s worth with Piledriver.
At first glance Piledriver appears to be your typical underarticulated super-size figure, but he’s actually heavily-flexible and well up to the Marvel Legends standard. Piledriver has an exceptional 26 points of articulation including a hinged neck, ball-jointed head, clicking ab-crunch upper-torso, swivel waist, ball-jointed shoulders, double-jointed elbows, swivel forearms, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, hinge toes and double-jointed ankles with ankle rockers. All of the foot articulation is superb and enables a figure that could have been top-heavy and hard to pose a cinch to stand stably. Unlike Thor, Piledriver is totally uninhibited by clothing and can pull off a ton of great wrestling poses, including a crushing bear-hug. This is the level of articulation I expect in my $15-$20 6″ collector lines of action figures, and I feel that Hasbro has come through completely for me with this first new series of Marvel Legends figures.
The paintwork on Piledriver is simplistically great. There’s a subtle blue paint wash over the white to add depth which works beautifully, and the rest of the paint is applied neatly and cleanly. The vibrant orange hair draws attention to the killer head sculpt. I couldn’t be happier with the paint deco on this figure.
Piledriver includes one weapon: the giant chained wrecking ball commonly associated with Thunderball. Obviously Piledriver includes this weapon due to being a repaint of Thunderball (with a new head), but he can hold it frimly I’ve never actually seen Piledriver use this weapon in a comic book, but it’s a free bonus, so what the hell. You can never have too many giant wrecking ball accessories, right?
Piledriver has a couple of bonus items that come with him related to Series 2′s Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola. I was actually surprised that Piledriver included any Build-A-Figure parts, as he’s such a huge figure on his own and includes the large wrecking ball accessory already. However, he does in fact come with the “head” (so to speak) of Arnim Zola and his Control Rod. I do think it’s very fitting that Piledriver be released as part of the Arnim Zola wave, since Arnim Zola was responsible for powering up The Wrecking Crew at one point in time. I’ll talk about all of build-a-figure pieces of Terrax in-depth when I review Arnim Zola.
In addition, Piledriver comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Arnim Zola” featuring the Red Skull on one side (instructing collectors on what comic they can read to continue the story), and a checklist/diagram for how to build Arnim Zola on the reverse side. It’s no replacement for the full comic books that Hasbro Marvel Legends included, but it adds an air of important to the BAF and it’s still worlds better than the awful “collectible comic shots” Marvel Universe figures are including in 2012.
Finally, the generic packaging blurb. I’ll be brief: I love the 2012 Marvel Legends packaging. It’s bright, vibrant, and character-specific. The huge artwork on the front and back of the card depicting the character you’re buying is engaging and a real treat to look at, and it’s a shame you have to utterly destroy the packaging to get at the figure inside. I particularly love that the packaging art for Piledriver depicts both Thunderball and Piledriver of The Wrecking Crew, as I was pretty let down that the Future Foundation Spider-Man still had only the “Big-Time” Spider-Man art on it. The only thing I’d like to see improved is slightly more text about the characters on the cardbacks, but in general this is some of the prettiest packaging on the market today and it absolutely blows the Marvel Universe 4″ line’s packaging away.
There’s really nothing I dislike about the Piledriver figure itself. I think it’s a little bizarre that Piledriver is a variant that presumably has a lower run than Thunderball, as pretty much anyone buying Thunderball is going to want to build the whole Wrecking Crew. I’m not sure exactly what Hasbro’s thought process was on this, but this figure is so terrific I’m just glad to have him, rare variant or not.
Piledriver is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 2. He’s packed at one-per-case only in the variant cases and is very likely going to be much more difficult to find at retail than his fellow Wrecking Crew member, Thunderball. As of writing, these figures have only been sighted at retail at Toys R Us, where they retail for $17.99 + tax.
Ebay is always a great option for looking for deals on new-release action figures, as ebay tends to have listings for figures literally the day they turn up in any store. Click here to check out the current ebay listings for Marvel Legends Wrecking Crew!
BigBadToyStore stocks virtually every Marvel product Hasbro releases each year, and have the set of 7 containing all of Marvel Legends Series 2 for $119.99 as well as Wrecking Crew (random figure) available for $19.99 individually.
Overall: I don’t give out perfect grades frequently or lightly, but this Piledriver figure is quite honestly perfect. I’m not thrilled about his distribution as a chase variant, but from his size to his articulation and paint deco, this figure could not be any better. He may not be the most ornate action figure ever, but this is the definitive Piledriver and it does everything right. Despite being a character that I honestly have zero emotional attachment to, Piledriver earns my absolute highest recommendation. If you have any interest in this character, you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice not picking up this phenomenal figure.