2011
19.08

PENTAX Digital Camera

Released at the same time as the First Appearance X-Men set, this boxset (also from AFX) features the same characters but in their 80’s guises. At first glance it would seem this was done as a cost saving exercise by reusing parts between the two sets. In reality there are very few shared pieces. Like the First Appearance set, the team was rounded out by a hard-to-acquire figure, this time around X-Factor Angel was a TRU exclusive.

Packaging

The standard Marvel boxset packaging comprising of a box with J-hook for peg hanging and cut outs to view the figures within. The box art features X-Factor covers reproduced in red duo-tone, with a large X-Factor logo toward the base. The sloping section of the box features Minimate Spidey along with the Action Figure Xpress Exclusive logo. Box sides both feature control art headshots of all four characters, and the back of the box has a group shot and the usual potted bios.


 

The Figures

X-Factor Cyclops

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Scott Summers isn’t looking too happy in this incarnation of Cyclops. Check out that snarl! The mask is a re-use of the one that debuted in the Giant-Size X-Men set but has a nice update care of the gold paint that’s been used around the visor. I like that this Cyke has the two red glows in the visor representing his eyes. Along with the facial expression it gives a real impression of barely held back fury.

PENTAX Digital Camera

Remove the mask and you’ll find that as with the original X-Men version DST have opted to give Cyclops a pair of ruby quartz shades, though obviously in an 80s big glasses style. This looks fine but with that expression there’s little point in displaying an unmasked version of this character. Though if you did want to go the maskless route an alternative hairpiece is also included. Again this piece is very different to the one found in the Original X-Men set. The hair is bigger (well it was the 80s) and a lot more unruly.

PENTAX Digital Camera

Cyke’s costume is a variation on his usual blue and yellow (gold?) colour scheme. Though this time a huge ‘X’ dominates the chest. I particularly appreciate the way the X continues on to the top of the t-piece, especially as it lines up so well. The tops of the shoulders are painted yellow in a continuation of the X theme though the paint is noticeably glossier than the print on the chest. Yellow gloves and boots complete the ensemble. Unfortunately there is some shockingly bad linework at the top of the boots.

Cyclops has no accessories.

In conclusion: Easy on the eye, and a good likeness of a long requested character.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10

 


 

X-Factor Beast

PENTAX Digital Camera 

This is Beast as he appeared throughout the pages of the original X-Factor run. He’d lost his blue fur and regained some semblance of a normal look but it wasn’t to last, and Beast ended up having to choose between intellect or appearance.

PENTAX Digital Camera

Of all the ‘mates in this box set Beast is the one that most closely resembles his first appearance version. This is largely down to the fact that he re-uses all of the parts used in the First Appearance X-Men box set. Mask, Chest piece, hands and feet are all the same, but that’s fair enough as Beast did pretty much revive his old costume, albeit with a bit of a makeover. Much like Cyclops, Beast has a bit of a mad-on so the ‘mate doesn’t quite lend itself to an alternate appearance, though there is an alternate hairpiece if you are so inclined. Again the hairpiece is different to that found in the First Appearance X-Men box set, but I can’t see many fans bothering to make use of it.

PENTAX Digital Camera

Beast has the most subdued costume in the set, a black all-in-one with a fairly dark red ‘X’ emblazoned across the chest. It’s true to the look of the book but does tend to get lost among the other characters. I’m a bit disappointed to note that there is no detailing on the hands on this ‘mate. On the box art Beast clearly has hair running down his arms but there’s none whatsoever on the production piece.

As with the First Appearance box set version Beast has alternate hands and (duck) feet that would make him look more like a standard Minimate. But why would you want to do that?

In conclusion: Give it a big hand! Another fine translation into block form, though spoiled by lack of detailing. 

MMC Score – 6 out of 10


 

X-Factor Jean Grey

PENTAX Digital Camera 

It’s the real Jean Grey. It turns out that Phoenix/Dark Phoenix was just some cosmic entity slumming it for a bit while the real Jean was dumped on a riverbed in some kind of protective cocoon. Retconning is great!

Compared to Cyke and Beast this is a fairly bland Minimate. There’s nothing wrong with it per se, it’s just that there’s nothing that leaps out at you. Cyke’s colour scheme draws the eye. Hank’s expression and extremities draw the eye. Jean’s green and yellow yawnfest of a costume kind of makes the eye skim over it looking for the next ‘oooh pretty!’ but there is nothing really wrong with it.

PENTAX Digital Camera

The hair is actually a nice piece, previous Jean’s have always looked a bit off hair-wise, but this seems to suit, and also looks good on the Secret Invasion Phoenix, and the wave 34 Jean Grey. The face, it has to be said, is a bit of a let down. It doesn’t really look like Jean Grey. Maybe it’s the eyes? Maybe it’s the neutral expression? Whatever it is, it spoils the figure. The costume is fine if as previously mentioned, a bit dull.

The colour scheme is that of Jean’s Marvel Girl days when she rocked a mini skirt and a spiky mask, actually, I’d quite like to see that version of Jean at some point, then we’d have all the different versions of her. One big discrepancy is the lack of paint on the neck post. It does stand out at eye level and is a surprising omission. As usual the chest tampo is crisp and clear, but some of the paint detailing at the lower leg is uneven and subject to bleedover.

There’s no alternate look to this Jean, as unlike the First Appearance X-Men version she doesn’t have a hood-type mask. However I do feel DST have missed a trick here as the hair piece covers enough of the head to have allowed another print on the other side. I know DST have stated they don’t want to overuse the gimmick, but I don’t think there’s really any danger of that happening.

In conclusion: Not all that Marvellous. 

MMC Score – 6 out of 10


 

X-Factor Iceman

PENTAX Digital Camera 

Bobby Drake in his more modern guise, though this ‘mate is taken from a time when his powers had gone a bit crazy on him. Hence the big chunky belt which somehow held them in check.

It’s great to have a new modern era Iceman but I’m a bit disappointed by difference between the actual figure and the box art. On the box Iceman appears to have been cast in white plastic similar to the frosted Iceman from wave 11. There’s also evidence of his X-Factor costume with the ‘X’ print on his chest block. In reality the figure has been produced in translucent plastic so a lot of detail is lost unless the figure is lit from behind. This is a real shame, as once the details are revealed it’s a great looking Minimate. The print on the face is just right, it has a very cool (no pun intended) expression that is Iceman to a tee.

PENTAX Digital Camera

The same could be said for the chest print. Lit from behind, all the details are apparent and it looks superb although all the inner joints of the Minimate also become apparent when you do this. Most of the time the figure will be viewed with a light source hitting the front, so either backlight it (if you can), or try to place it in front of something that will enhance the print. None of this would have been necessary if the correct colour plastic had been used. I hope DST are aware of the shortcomings of this figure and eventually produce an Iceman to be proud of.

The only non-standard piece on this Minimate is the belt. It’s a fine translation of the comic book version and does help to add a little interest to the figure.

PENTAX Digital Camera

Iceman has been accessorised with an ice blast. Again! Seriously why is there no ice slide for this guy?

In conclusion: Left me cold.

Overall Thoughts: Flawed as it is, it’s still great that AFX and DST produced this set and I’m grateful that they did. Although not many fans were impressed with the lengths they had to go to, to procure an X-Factor era Angel to complete the set. Producing the 5th member of the team as a shortpacked TRU exclusive was a real bullet to the foot. I hope lessons were learned from the backlash. 

MMC Score – 6 out of 10

 

Review and pictures by Rad Kerrigan

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