The Avengers First Appearance boxset was released in 2008 through AFX and featured four characters from Avengers #1. Thanks to many extra pieces included in the set a lot of alternative figures can be created.
The box was much larger than the current model and probably a lot more expensive to produce due to the curved front. It no doubt ended up being changed for a flatter model for expediency in packing and durability. The box has a large photo on the front featuring the four figures set against a yellow background. The sides of the box have headshots of the figures as well as a small image of the cover to Avengers #1 and a brief precis of the plot. The back of the box has potted biographies and also shows the figures in their alternate guises. I think this may be a first.
This is Hank as readers of the Marvel Universe first saw him, a brilliant scientist who used his inventions to fight crime. Hank has been through a lot of superhero identities (including Yellowjacket and Goliath) but before them all he was the Ant-Man. His patented Pym-Particles enabled him to shrink to the size of an insect and he could communicate by way of the transceiver helmet he wore.
What stands out about this otherwise fairly ordinary Minimate is the helmet. It’s Ant-Man’s signature look and it has to be done right. And DST did it! It looks great, has a very kitsch retro feel to it, but appears exactly as it should. The two antennae represent the head feelers of an ant and the large microphone held in place by two booms that jut out along the jawline give the impression of ant jaws. Obviously there aren’t that many ants that are red and black with silver heads, but if there were they’d be damn cool ants. The eyeholes are very deep but line up perfectly with the eyes. Unfortunately the depth of the eyeholes make the eyes appear very dark.
I have to say I think the costume on this ‘mate is superb. It’s probably helped by it’s primary colour scheme and lack of fussy detail to the chest. The silver print at the midriff stands out well from the black and red background and the blue paint on the wrists and ankles is very well applied. It’s a shame the blue doesn’t quite match with the blue of the hands and feet but that’s not something that’s easily fixed as the hands and feet are cast in blue plastic, where as the arms and legs are cast in red.
Hank comes with enough alternate pieces to make two further versions of himself. Simply remove the Ant-Man helmet and use the blonde hairpiece and it’s Hank Pym the scientist. However there are also enough alternate parts to make Hank’s other early 60’s identity, Giant Man. A slipover head piece, a chestpiece with a slightly different design and a belt/crotch piece bulk out the figure, though let’s face it. Giant Man wasn’t bulky. He was just big. Unfortunately there’s no real way around the restrictions that Marvel and DST have placed upon the Minimate licence, though I am surprised at the lack of ‘duck’ feet.
Regardless of alternate pieces In my opinion there’s only one way to display Hank Pym and that’s as Ant-Man.
In conclusion: Ant-Tastic! Giant less so.
MMC Score – 8 out of 10
Golden Armour Iron Man
Essentially the same figure as the 2004 AFX exclusive Classic Iron Man but with a few tweaks. This is early Iron Man, not as early as his first appearance perhaps, but the armour is far from streamlined. It looks more like a robot from a 1930’s Flash Gordon serial than a superhero.
The obvious difference between this and Classic Iron Man is the colour of the armour. A burnished bronze/gold colour compared to the dark, utilitarian steel of shell-heads’ original armour. The less obvious differences; Firstly a pair of good old Minimate wristbands, secondly the detail around the bottom of the feet that gives the illusion of tread, thirdly the inclusion of a grill on the back of the chestpiece.
Then, there’s the mask! A slipover mask that has its details printed rather than sculpted, and very nice details they are too. From the weld line and rivets that run up the sides and across the top, to the very clearly defined eyes and that wonderfully subtle bit of work on the mouth piece. Seriously, if you have this ‘mate in your collection pick it up and admire it. The print on the mouth appears simple but is far from it. Very subtly done too.
The figure comes with an alternate arm that is essentially a whopping’ great telescopic hammer. There are also alternate arms and a hairpiece that combined with removal of the chest and skirt pieces (really, what else can we call that piece?) gives us a 60’s era Tony Stark replete in the chest cover he used to have to wear to keep his ticker going. It’s a lovely touch, and one I was totally unaware of until writing this review as there was no reference to it on the box. I always did wonder who those spare arms belonged to!
In conclusion: Totally true to the look of the day. I love this Minimate!
MMC Score – 8 out of 10
Hulk was briefly a member of the Avengers. Very briefly.
This Hulk is different to other versions by dint of its sculpted head. I can see what DST was trying to do, they were trying to capture the look of the early Hulk as he appeared in Avengers. But that Hulk was a shambling behemoth who almost walked on all fours and had a massively craggy forehead. This guy has a craggy forehead but it looks a bit daft perched on the top of a Minimate body, I also think the expression on Hulk’s face is ‘off’ but I can’t quite put my finger on why.
Incredible Hulk has a chest piece that’s quite sculpted in comparison to the simple square block that came withDefenders Hulk. This is part of an attempt to add mass and to get the Minimate to look like the Hulk of the 60’s. It’s a good attempt, but it’s failed due to the spindly arms and legs that are part and parcel of Minimate design. They’re not suited to the larger characters and thus the overall look of the piece is spoiled. Interestingly this Hulk has a piece that I believe is fairly unique to him; it’s a variation on the modern Cylon waist insert but doesn’t extend the height by anywhere near as much. I only noticed this while taking some fill-in photos and find myself pleased by the attempt, but perplexed by lack of same for Giant Man.
I struggle to find anything positive to say about this ‘mate. I can see what’s been tried, and I can even understand why but it just hasn’t worked.
Incredible Hulk has no accessories but does have alternate ‘normal’ Minimate feet to replace the duck feet. They don’t really help.
In conclusion: Incredulous!
MMC Score – 5 out of 10
The Wonderful Winsome Wasp! That’s how Stan the Man used to describe Janet van Dyne, and who am I to argue with that? Wasp was partner to Ant-Man and her powers were essentially given to her by him. Like Ant-Man she has the ability to shrink down to miniscule proportions but she also has wings (when shrunk) and can fire energy blasts which are referred to as Wasp stings. It was Wasp who coined the groups name ‘The Avengers’.
Firstly, the helmet. Great attempt, looks good on it’s own, but sits too high on the figures’ head. There’s waaaaay too much forehead on view, the brim of the hat should be just above the eyes instead of on the hairline. Luckily DST included an alternate hairpiece. This would be fine, but it doesn’t really suit the face. I don’t know whose face it is by the way, but that’s not Janet van Dyne. The print on the face is far too low down on the head. That may even be why there’s acres of forehead between the helmet and the eyes. Certainly on the slipover mask for alternate look #3 the face is very different. The eyes are higher, smaller, and appear closer together, though the last could be an optical illusion.
The primary look of Wasp is the one with the helmet, the large V shaped chestpiece and the skirt over the dark bodysuit. The V section is ugly and the chest detailing makes me laugh. Wasp’s wings attach to posts that jut out the back of the V piece. They work okay, but are a nightmare to remove. I nearly tore one of the posts off before resorting to dunking the piece in hot water. I know I wasn’t alone in having that problem. I’m not sure I even like the wings. The dark wash effect they’ve been given makes them look more like the wings of a housefly. I also feel they should have been shorter so that they could fold up behind the figure, as when extended they take up a lot of space, and when folded in a vertical fashion they look bloody silly!
To achieve Wasp’s secondary look another piece has to be utilised. This is where I’d imagine most people had their problems with the figure as the wings have to be removed from the V piece and clicked onto a piece that’s very similar to that of Archangel/Death Archangel. It sits between the figures waist and hooks over the neck post. It does give a far more streamlined appearance though really none of the Wasps you can make with this set have really hit the spot. It’s a shame as DST have been extremely generous with the alternate pieces but the final figure is in my opinion deeply unsatisfying.
In conclusion: I feel stung! I hope we see a modern Wasp at some point.
MMC Score – 5 out of 10
This is definitely a mixed set. It’s nowhere near as strong a set of Minimates as the Defenders set or even Giant Size X-Men was. Especially lacking is a Thor Minimate. It would have been the ideal opportunity to update wave 16 Thor with a better likeness, and I can’t imagine anyone complaining about his inclusion. Sadly DST seem to have decided that four figures is the ideal number for a box set, and Thor had to take the bullet on this one.
Review and pictures by Rad Kerrigan