Monday, April 23, 2012

Toy Review – Marvel Legends Thunderball By Hasbro

I know absolutely nothing about “Marvel’s Wrecking Crew”. Honestly I never even would have bought this guy if I didn’t need the Arnim Zola piece. He’s awfully generic.

Actually, that’s not true. He’s very original in that he looks like what would happen if Power Man and Iron Fist had a kid.

To keep this from being the worst, shortest intro in the history of Needless Things, I’m going to do a quick run-down of black folks from the Marvel Legends line.


– First there’s Falcon, who I always call “Red Falcon” because I’m consciously trying to avoid calling him “Black Falcon”. This is one of the rare cases where I am somewhat more racist than the people who came up with a character. This was a great figure, though the little plastic piece that keeps his bird hovering over his shoulder isn’t quite up to the task.

Power Man – This is an awesome figure. He’s big and just kind of smooth-looking. I’m glad he’s in his disco clothes, but we do need an update.

Black Panther – I wish T’Challa had come with an extra head that looked like a young Laurence Fishburne, but other than that this was a very solid figure. His hands are a little questionable, though.

Storm – I’m not totally happy with this one. Storm has always been one of my favorite X-Men, but this figure just kind of bothers me. And it’s not just that I would rather have the late-80’s mohawk version. Something about this costume just seems generic to me. Storm deserves better. I hope Hasbro does an update soon.

Bishop – This figure is utter crap. What’s up with the texture on this guy? He looks like a bunch of lumps of clay stuck together. The joints are ugly, the deco isn’t tight. As soon as a new Bishop comes out (which may not ever happen) I’m taping an M-80 to this one and making a video.

Ultimate Nick Fury – This is a fantastic figure and one of the best Hasbro had produced previous to the new stuff. He looks mean as heck and the likeness is as close to Sam Jackson as they could get (at the time, now this one has been re-released with an actual Sam Jackson head. Well, not an actual Sam Jackson head; a likeness).

Ultimate War Machine – I don’t have a picture for the regular one because somebody stole my figure. I suppose because it was so awesome, and it was. This one looks really cool, but is a repaint of Ultimate Iron Man, but with the helmet glued on so they didn’t have to sculpt a James Rhodes head. I need to track down one of the 616 versions.

Blade – Okay, I don’t have a picture for him, either. I had this policy where I wouldn’t buy the movie versions of Marvel Legends because they really didn’t fit in with the rest of the figures. But thankfully Hasbro has a new Blade coming out later this year and he looks amazing.

Deathlok – Go read my review.

And here are a few that I would love to see sometime soon:

Brother Voodoo - An obvious choice, particularly given his recent stint as the Sorcerer Supreme.

Cloak – How has there not been a Cloak & Dagger 2-pack? (and don’t bring up the Marvel Select one because Direct and Mass Market toys do not mix)

Darwin – He was in a movie that was a huge hit and revived a franchise after the destruction caused by one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life. He was cool in the movie (though his death sucked and was ridiculous), but Darwin is rad in the comics. Read X-Factor.

Gateway – Please, please, please Hasbro make a Gateway. I know he’s not very exciting to look at, but he is such a HUGE part of the awesomeness of my era of Uncanny X-Men. Plus, he’s back in Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force.

I know I left a few off the list of produced figures and there are a ton more that could be made, but I think that’s enough of an intro. Just wait ‘til I get to an Asian or Hispanic character. Now that is going to be tough.

First Glance: He’s big, but just not very exciting to look at. I’m sure there are plenty of folks very excited to be getting ol’ Thunderball, but I think it’s odd that he would see release before Wrecker; especially considering Wrecker has already been released a couple of times in the smaller Marvel Universe line.

Sculpt: Okay, that’s a great face. Thunderball is angry and chock full of character. I really dig that.

As far as articulation, he’s got ball joint analogs at the shoulders, neck, and hips. There are swivels at the biceps, glove tops, waist, and thighs. His elbows, abdomen, and ankles have pivots and the knees are double-jointed. Oh, Thunderball also has the stupid Marvel Legends toe joints, but his aren’t all loose so I’m not going to hold it against him.

The head has a decent range of movement and doesn’t have that weird look that some big man heads do. You know – when the top of the neck is all tiny but the head is huge. I really like the thigh joints Hasbro used here. The combination of the swivel/pivot at the hip and the swivel at the top of the thigh work very well and look nicer than the standard ball joint (which seems to be a thing of the past) or Mattel’s awkward hip joints that I didn’t even realize I disliked so much until Marvel Legends came back. The rest of the joints all function very nicely and will stay where you put them. The figure is surprisingly light and well-balanced.

Looks-wise the sculpt is nice and not as knobby as some other large figures (Maestro, Bishop, Warpath). All of Thunderball’s parts are proportionate and match up. I like that his pants have some shape rather than just being tights. It gives the figure a little more character. Also helping out in that department is the big, yellow belt. It’s plain, but the fact that it is a separate piece rather than being painted on is very important.

The only thing that puts me off is that Thunderball’s arms and legs have this weird, lined texture on them that I do not understand at all, particularly when you consider that his body does not have it. It looks odd and I’m honestly not sure what the sculptor was going for. But it isn’t as off-putting as the lines on Bishop and Warpath (despite sharing some parts, it looks like Hasbro smoothed out the lines a bit from the Warpath figure).

Design: Thunderball is pretty simple. His lemon/lime design does set him apart from most of the rest of the Marvel Legends (except for Iron Fist) and the paint job is good. There’s not really any shading, but the separation of colors is tight. My figure doesn’t suffer from any blots or bleeding.

The head looks very good, with the hair color and the yellow of the head sock maintaining their respective places. This is important when you’re dealing with black and yellow, as collectors of Mattel’s extremely spotty Sinestro Corps learned.

Accessories: Thunderball comes with his enchanted wrecking ball, Arnim Zola’s “head” and TV remote(?), and a page of the Arnim Zola narrative that I’ll probably never get around to reading.

The wrecking ball is a solid piece of plastic. Normally I would say that I’d prefer it if this thing were on an actual chain, but this actually works pretty well. The way the weapon was sculpted allows it to look good either hanging down or being swung through the air. 
Thunderball can hold it securely and it looks natural. Also, the idea of an enchanted wrecking ball is hilarious, but not quite as silly as an enchanted crowbar. An enchanted sledgehammer is, apparently, perfectly fine.

We’ll get to the Arnim Zola pieces later.

Packaging: A plastic blister taped to a cardboard back. With a couple of exceptions the art on the cardbacks has been better in the second series. This is one of the exceptions. While I do like the fact that both variations of the figure are shown on the card, the art is kind of crappy. Whoever did it took a fairly generic-looking dude and made him look even more dull.

Overall: Thunderball is one of those figures that I wasn’t too keen on initially but once I got him out I ended up liking. He poses very well and looks good on the shelf. He’s sturdy and well-designed – just a good toy. I’m pretty sure I’ll end up buying Piledriver, too, if I ever find him. I can only hope they’ll get around to doing Bulldozer (who actually looks cool) and Wrecker (who is purple and green and therefore a must for me).

4 out of 5

You shouldn’t have a problem finding this guy right now. Pretty much everybody seems to be stocking the second series of new Marvel Legends at this point and Thunderball doesn’t seem to be flying off the pegs from what I’ve seen.


  1. have to admit even though i already have his mu figure. he is not bad for a marvel legend figure. plus love that he comes with his wrecking ball though would have rather hasbro had done the wrecking crew as a boxed set and hasbro has said they do want to do cloak and dagger for they are favorites of the design team.

    1. I totally agree about the box set. C&D would be a nice SDCC set I think. Better than the garbage Matty just announced, anyway.