I’m really not a Captain America guy. I’ve read my fair share of Captain America comics over the years (and then some), but I’ve always had a hard time believing that a soldier with a shield and enhanced natural abilities can really order around the Norse God of Thunder on the battlefield. Steve Rogers just isn’t for me. Luckily, for a few years Steve Rogers was dead and we were treated to the complex former Bucky and Winter Soldier searching for redemption as the new (and awesomely-redesigned) Captain America. That period has come and gone now, but the Steve Rogers Super-Soldier figure from Marvel Legends Series 1 would be lonely without his old ex-sidekick to keep him company. Bucky Captain America was a refreshing change during Marvel’s “Heroic Age”, and this action figure does a remarkable job of capturing everything that was great about the character design. Unfortunately, like many of the comics written during the “Heroic Age”, the quality isn’t necessarily the finest…
The Bucky Captain America costume differed from the traditional costume in that Bucky’s had a metal-like blue used on the upper body. That’s been replicated here with shiny blue paint that’s eye-grabbing and visually exciting. The paint choices for the pure white and shades of red are equally ideal, and this figure will really stand out on the shelf next to his heroic brethren because of it.
One aspect that really hurt the Drax figure I reviewed last week was his horribly-designed belt. Not only is that not the case with Bucky Captain America, but his belt is actually one of the figure’s most exceptional features. Cap’s belt is full of ornate pouches, as well as an intricately-textured holster and a sheath that give the appearance of being made of real leather. The belt isn’t the first thing you think of when you visualize this character design in your mind, but it’s executed marvelously and really brings this action figure together.
Captain America joins Future Foundation Spider-Man in having some of the best articulation on a Marvel Legends action figure. Bucky Cap has 30 points, including a ball-jointed head, hinge neck, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel biceps, double-jointed elbows, double-jointed wrists, upper torso ab crunch, swivel waist, ball-jointed hips, swivel thighs, double-jointed knees, swivel calves and double-jointed ankles with ankle rockers. The ankle rockers end up being crucial on this figure due to some problems with the legs (which I’ll talk about later).
Captain America includes three weapons: his iconic shield, a pistol (that set the world on fire with controversy the first time people saw Cap wielding a gun in the comics), and a combat knife. The shield fits snugly onto either of Cap’s forearms, and can be pegged into the hole on Captain America’s back for storage. The pistol fits naturally into Cap’s right hand, and his trigger finger even curls around the trigger. I particularly like how the double-jointed wrist articulation allows a wide range of motion for Cap to aim the gun all over the place. The knife fits perfectly into its sheath on Cap’s belt, as does the pistol into its holster.
Captain America also has a couple of bonus items that come with him related to Series 2′s Build-A-Figure, Arnim Zola. Captain America contains the right leg piece of Arnim Zola. I’ll talk about these pieces in-depth when I review Arnim Zola. In addition, Captain America comes with a unique fold-out piece of paper with a “Tale of Arnim Zola” featuring Falcon 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. These inserts are no replacement for the full comic books that Hasbro Marvel Legends included, but they add an air of importance to the BAF and are 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. The only thing I’d like to see improved is slightly more text about the characters on the cardbacks, as casual Marvel fans may be a little clueless about the fact that there’s another Captain America who isn’t Steve Rogers. 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.
First and by far the most troublesome is that this particular figure seems to be made out an extremely cheap-feeling, rubbery plastic that none of the other Marvel Legends 2012 figures I’ve reviewed so far are made out of. I don’t know if it’s the nature of the black plastic Captain America is molded in or what, but this figure’s plastic quality is vastly below every other Marvel Legends I’ve reviewed so far. The thin knee joints have warped so they rattle back and forth, and the result is that Captain America is the first Marvel Legends 2012 figure I’m having real problems getting to stand up in any kind of dynamic pose–even with ankle rockers. In addition, his elbow joints are also extremely loose and rattly, though they’re not as extreme of an issue as the leg joints.
The other QC faux pas of this figure is the paint apps. While the paints chosen for this figure are gorgeous, their application isn’t up to the high standards I’ve seen everywhere else in this line. If the monochrome Future Foundation Spider-Man could be painted without any glop or uneven lines, there’s no excuses for Captain America to have red paint slop on his white stripes and white glop on his red stripes all over his abdomen. It looks fine from a distance and is unfortunately difficult to photograph so it doesn’t really show in the photos, but up-close the defective paint spots are extremely noticeable and distracting. Both of the Captain Americas I had to choose from at Toys R Us had the same issue with poorly-applied paints, so I’m fearful that this is a problem that’s going to affect many of the Captain Americas that were produced.
Finally, it’s fortunate that Captain America’s combat knife fits perfectly into its sheath–because that’s the only place it fits. The handle on the knife is just too thin for Bucky Cap’s loose grip–the knife falls out of either hand immediately and no amount of trying to force the grip shut will remedy this. It’s really the only engineering flaw with this otherwise brilliant figure, but annoying nonetheless.
“Where Can I Buy It!?”
Bucky as Captain America is part of Hasbro’s 2012 Marvel Legends Series 2, where he’s packed at two-per-case. 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. Right now there’s already loads of listings for packaged and loose Captain Americas on ebay, and you can check them out directly by clicking here.
Amazon has Bucky Cap in-stock right now from various sellers, but prices and availability change rapidly on Amazon so you’ll need to click through for the current specifics.
BigBadToyStore stocks virtually every Marvel product Hasbro releases each year, and have cases of 8 containing all of Marvel Legends Series 2 for $124.99 as well as Captain Ameribucky available for just $13.99 individually.
Overall: I really did agonize over how to score this figure. The Heroic Age Captain America is an amazingly-designed figure with impeccable paint choices, a plethora of articulation including ankle rockers, well thought-out accessories, and impressive details like his authentic-looking belt. On the flip side, Bucky Captain America (at least mine) has the weakest quality-control in the revived Marvel Legends line, with botched paint and plastic that feels more like a bootleg than a Marvel Legends figure. The design is stellar, but the factory dropped the ball and brought down the final product. Captain America is still recommended, but he could have and should have been near-perfect if tighter quality-control standards were enforced in his production.