Hasbro sent out this Captain America as a post- New York Comic Con goody bag - it's a rare advance figure as these won't be shipping for at least a couple of months. A quick history lesson - before Pop! Vinyl, Hasbro pioneered the $9.99 collectible big-head figure with Mighty Muggs for Star Wars, Transformers, Indiana Jones, Marvel, and beyond. They were snatched up by people who liked designer vinyl figures - a darling in the mainstream press - but who wouldn't normally buy traditional toys. Hasbro actually nailed the formula for what would later make Pop! Vinyl figures a phenomenon, but they get bored quickly and stop playing with their toys - they let it languish. Some people preferred the Muggs, but without new releases fans either quit or moved on to Funko's plastic empire-to-be. Now Hasbro's back with a product that takes some of what they learned from Funko with their own concepts, and the end result is fantastic. It also is likely to be seen as a rip-off despite being a new take on a classic concept.
The 2006 Mighty Muggs were much larger - about 6-inches tall. These ones are closer in size to a Pop! Vinyl figure at 4-inches tall. Much like the original, the arms are jointed with flat sculpts on the body and limbs. All detail are provided by paint except Cap's shield, which is embedded in his fist and I can't seem to lodge mine loose. The new neck doesn't swivel, most likely because of the nifty head mechanism that works even if you leave the figure in the packaging.
If you push down on Cap's cap, the face rotates from one of his many faces. He has a stern face, a happy smile, and an angry roar. The box even has a hole in the top that allows you to switch the faces without opening the box, which is how you can tell they took a cue from Funko to plus up the basic stackable box collectible. That hole connects to the bottom of the base, so these lock nicely and won't easily topple over. The box is sealed with 2 clear pieces of tape and some tabs, with the figure attaching to the bottom with some proprietary plastic fasteners. They're basically screws, and can be removed with a flat-head screwdriver.
Without a doubt, this is Hasbro's best packaging in years - it's durable and pretty, plus you won't want to throw it in the garbage. I wish their other toys would come in something like this, because young collectors love that "forever in package" look that stays even if you open the toy. This is a trend that comes and goes, but it never stops being great.
Cap's helmet - along with the other figures - is a unique sculpt, but the face itself is a fleshy tube that's painted in three sections. I wish the deco was a bit brighter, but it's still good and the style is different than the previous generation's simpler look without the black outlines. I know most of you won't be sweet on these, but I insist you take a look at them when they hit stores. Hasbro has a lot of great ideas here, and while I assume the Pop! loyalists won't hop on board I really do hope Hasbro keeps this format going and takes cues from the packaging down the road. What I wouldn't give for Marvel Legends in boxes like these.
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