Here we have a pack containing 10 (count ’em, 10!) Marvel Minimates, which was an exclusive to the Toys R Us chain and released in October 2004. Thanks to ThatBlokeTimbo on the Art Asylum board for not only getting the set for me but for also covering shipping from the States!
Of the 10 Minimates in the set, 8 of these have been released before but there are two Minimates exclusive to this set: Ultimate Green Goblin and Mr Fantastic. Mr Fantastic was later announced in Marvel wave 8 (and that version has C3 feet, meaning that technically this is still an exclusive).
On the face of it, this is quite a nice selection. It’s weighted towards the heroes, but includes big-name heavy hitters like Spidey, Wolverine, Iron Man and Daredevil. Also a quick browse of the scores above shows that there are no real bad figures in the set, plus it features the “tongue” version of Venom which still might be elusive to some people. A good set for the Minimate newcomers, certainly, but not as good value for those with 7 or 8 of these figures already, and that’s one of my few complaints with the set. It features 3 Minimates who also featured in a chase set previously, so hardcore collectors might be racking up a small army of Ultimate Spideys, Things or Ghost Riders by now.
As I have reviewed the other 8 figures previously, this review will focus on packaging, changes to existing Minimates, and the 2 exclusives.
The packaging is similar in design to the normal windowless Marvel 2-packs, except obviously much larger. It has the Marvel Universe logo running along the left hand side and dynamic poses for all 10 Minimates, with Mr Fantastic getting the central focus, presumably because he’s one of the exclusives, and a much more recognisable character than Ultimate Green Goblin. Like the smaller Marvel sets, the Minimates heads are shown on the sides on the box, 5 on each side.
The back of the box shows the waves 1 to 7 of the Minimates, in the larger size this makes a nice checklist.
The 10 figures are packed in a bubble tray, and do not have twist-ties holding them in. Instead, a second clear tray piece fits over the top and then locks in, meaning that these figures are held in well and can be seen from each side.
Overall, I really like the packaging, it uses all the cool visual cues from the smaller 2-packs and looks really good with the 10 Minimates all packaged together at once.
Before I get to reviewing the exclusive figures, it’s worth pointing out that this version of Ghost Rider has noticibly different coloured “flame hair” from the previously released version. The 10-pack one has a real yellowly tinge to it rather than the orange hue of the 2-pack versions. It’s a small change, but just like the difference hair colour between the TRU 4-pack Frodo and 2-pack Frodo in the Lord of the Rings line, it’s worth a picture:
2-pack Ghost Rider on the left, 10-pack Ghost Rider on the right
Also, one of the problems Iron Man had that I noted in the review, was that the helmet was ridiculously hard to remove once it was on. With the figure in this set, it’s a lot easier.
The Exclusive Figures
Ultimate Green Goblin
The first exclusive figure in this set is the version of the Green Goblin that exists in Marvel’s Ultimate universe. In the comic he is drawn as being a lot more bestial and physically powerful than the regular universe Green Goblin, something akin to the Hulk. And so we get a far less cartoony Minimate version than the Classic Green Goblin from way back in wave 2.
Unlike the Classic Green Goblin’s vapid smile, this version means business. His eyes are white but pupil-less, making him look very sinister, and his mouth is curved into a snarling expression. To add to the demonic appearance, his “hairpiece” is made up of protruding horns.
The figure doesn’t have an extensive paint job, but what’s there has been well done, especially the muscular detailing on the chest. Interestingly, Ultimate Green Goblin appears to be missing a couple of paint apps – on the front of the box art, and in prototype pictures, he has purple shredded trousers a la the Hulk, and his wristbands are purple. On this figure, he just gets a different shade of green on the belt and wristbands. A factory error, or a paint app removed intentionally? You decide. The cape is purple, and has been very well sculpted to look as though it’s been torn and ripped. It’s definitely a good looking cape and works well with the figure. Ultimate Green Goblin comes with no accessories.
Overall, it’s great to get another baddie added to the Minimate ranks, and specifically an Ultimate villain to school Ultimate Spidey. This is by far the better of the two Green Goblins released.
MMC Score – 7 out of 10
The second exclusive figure in the set is Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four, a scientific genius who, as Mr Fantastic, can shape his body at will. The design of this Minimate is based on the artwork of Jack Kirby.
Mr Fanastic’s facial detailing is more in line with later Marvel Minimates like Gaijin Wolverine and the Punisher in that there is a lot of line work, making the face look very “busy” but not so that it’s off-putting. The detailing adds character, as does the two-tone grey and brown hairpiece. It’s just a shame that the inside of the hairpiece is all brown because it does mar the look of the figure slightly when you can see brown edging on hair that should be grey. The first pic just to the left shows that off well – from the front the “inside” side bits should be grey to match the grey on the outside, but they aren’t.
The paint job on the costume is sparse but of high quality. Sometimes on Minimates there is some black line detailing between colours to separate them, most usually on the lower torso/boots area. There has historically been a problem with colours bleeding into each other and the detailing highlighting these issues, but on Mr Fantastic the line of the boot is clear and has no messy paint either side of it.
Mr Fantastic comes with possibly the best accessory yet seen in the Marvel Minimates line – two long arms which mimic his signature stretching ability. Remove Reed’s gloves and simply plug the arms into the wrist holes. The arms are made of bendable rubber which holds position pretty well when you bend it. Certainly a great accessory for something in this scale, with a lot of use to be had from them. Just watch out that Reed doesn’t overbalance.
Overall, Mr Fantastic is a superb figure, the extendable arms work very well and add immensely to the fun and playability of this Minimate.
Overall Thoughts: As a set of 10 figures for $20 it’s a great introduction to the world of Minimates and the 2 exclusives are of sufficient quality to merit getting the set even if you have most or all of the others. The one fly in the ointment is that Mr Fantastic is packaged with the Human Torch in wave 8, making that set a must-have for anyone trying to complete their Fantastic Four lineup, and diminishing the value of this set slightly.
MMC Score – 9 out of 10
Review and pictures by Danny Mills