2007 has to go down in Minimate collecting history as the year we never had it so good. All of a sudden DST were soliciting ‘mates based on all kinds of licences, but one of the biggest surprises was the announcement of a set that fans had been clamouring for. If we were getting Avengers, then we had to have Defenders too. So in partnership with online retailer Action Figure Express (AFX) they gave them to us!
A similar style box to the Spider-Man Classics and Marvel Zombies box-sets. A blue background – which if you look closely enough features art from the comics – frames a groupshot of the characters with an burst of light behind them. The Marvel Minimates logo takes up nearly all the space on the slanted section of the box while the Defenders logo is especially prominent at the base. The yellow logo against the blue background is really dynamic and should leap out at the casual buyer. Sadly this set will only ever see the inside of speciality stores so the casual buyer is unlikely to be tempted.
Headshots of the team appear on the sideflaps. The rear of the packaging has the Defenders logo at the top of the card with brief character biographies underneath. I like the idea of the biographies; they’re a nice addition, which could carry over onto the regular marvel two packs. A smaller group shot of the team sits at the base of the box along with the usual array of company logos. Strangely there is no mention on the box of this set being an AFX exclusive. The figures are nicely presented within an inner plastic tray which is covered with a lid, much like the regular Marvel two-packs.
Arrogant playboy surgeon: Stephen Strange, has car accident which renders him unable to perform surgery. Seeks help from ancient mystic. discovers humility. Becomes Master of the Mystic Arts. Occasionally rediscovers arrogance.
The likeness on this ‘mate is spot on. I can not find a single fault with it. The arched eyebrows and neatly manicured van-dyke combined with those steely peepers leave no question that it’s Dr Strange you’re looking at. The hairpiece, though largely occluded by the collar has some very nice grey detailing on the temples.
Strange’s cape and collar combo are his signature look and are captured well here. The only complaint I have is that the collar sweeps almost straight up where really it should flare out at more of an angle. This hides a lot of the design on Strange’s hair and face and also makes moving the head difficult. Another complaint is that Strange’s Amulet doesn’t really stand out from the cape, in my opinion a more metallic paint should have been applied.
Strange’s tunic has been well handled; the chest design looks accurate and it’s nice to note that the designers have opted not to give him rippling chest muscles. He is, after all, a mystical sorcerer, not a pants and capes style superhero. Black legs and feet finish off the figure and while fairly plain they do help to accentuate the cape and the tunic.
Dr Strange has no accessories. It would have been nice to have had a couple of Scarlet Witch style hand covers to give Strange the look of casting a spell. A missed opportunity. Dr Strange has C3 feet and a peg holed head.
In conclusion, a nicely executed version of a long awaited figure. The angle of the collar does detract from an almost perfect Minimate.
MMC Score – 8 out of 10
If Stephen Strange was arrogant then Namor the Sub-Mariner is the man (being?) that the word was invented to describe. Half Human-Half Atlantean he rules the undersea nation of Atlantis and has an uneasy alliance with the surface world.
Another spot on likeness, Namor absolutely exudes contempt for whatever he’s looking at. Arched eyebrows and slightly downturned mouth hint at barely controlled disgust. If this Minimate had a nose he’d be looking down it at you. The hairpiece is well done, it’s thin and streamlined and Namor’s pointy ears are also present.
Somewhat surprisingly DST/Marvel have opted for Namor’s black and gold costume rather than his classic swimming trunks. I’m not sure when this costume made it’s debut but I believe it was a gift from Reed Richards? The jacket chest piece is well rendered and the gold paint app is pretty much perfect. It should be noted that DST have also added a quilted texture to the black area of the jacket. This level of attention to detail is always appreciated. Under the jacket Namor’s been given a very buff chest (including Minimate nips!) he’s powerful enough to go toe to toe with the Hulk so it’s only right that he’s given the impression of incredible strength. Sadly there is no detail on Namor’s back. A little hint of shoulder blades and spine would have been nice. Gold wristbands complete the upper body.
Like Doctor Strange Namor has fairly standard black legs and feet. However between the legs and feet is a sweet little insert that has Namor’s ankle wings attached. It’s a clever piece of design and really helps make the ‘mate.
Namor has no accessories. It would have been nice to have seen a trident included with this Minimate. As the trident is synonymous with Namor’s classic green trunks look I’m prepared to forgive DST’s oversight. Namor has C3 feet and a peg hole in his head.
In conclusion, another quality Minimate. No… An excellent Minimate! I can only find one minor fault and that’s the lack of detail to the back. But I can’t mark him down for it.
MMC Score – 10 out of 10
This is the fifth version of Hulk in the Marvel Minimates line. He’s catching up to Cyclops but is nowhere near as prolific as Spider-Man or Wolverine. For a long time now fans have been asking for a Hulk with the power-house chest piece. The zombie Hulk got one. Now the 616 version has it. Thanks DST.
The face on this Hulk is much less cartoony than the wave one version, there’s far more detail around the eyes and mouth, with the furrowed brow and the style of the snarling mouth much more intricate than Hulk mk1. The hairpiece is the same as zombie Hulk but I have no problem at all with the re-use as I think it’s a nice piece and more in keeping with the demeanour of Hulk.
As mentioned in the intro this Hulk comes with a power-house chest piece. It helps to bulk him out and appear more massive when in the company of ordinarily proportioned ‘mates. The detailing on the chest is very impressive indeed, lots of heavy definition lines suggest mass and once again we get a ‘mate with mini nips. I also like the way that the torn waistband of Hulk’s regulation purple strides has been incorporated into the bottom of the chest piece. Other than that there isn’t a lot going on with this ‘mate. There’s no decoration to the arms and while there’s a little touch of detailing on Hulk’s legs it’s nothing to write home about.
Hulk has no accessories but does have C3 feet and a peg hole head.
In conclusion, HULK SMASHING! A fine update to a fan favourite. It is a terrible shame that DST can’t make characters like Hulk in the 2.5 inch scale but the restrictions can’t be worked around and we have to accept what we’re given.
MMC Score – 7 out of 10
I don’t know much about Valkyrie, but I know what I like: Female Minimates that look feminine and have a bit of personality about them. This ‘mate is a revelation, it’s easily my favourite of the set, and that’s saying something as it’s an extremely strong set.
The face is great, Val’ really gives off an air of casual violence. I think it’s in the set of the eyes and the way that DST have given her slightly pursed lips. Whatever it is I’m in favour of it. Too many female ‘mates have ended up with blank expressions that lack personality. The hair piece is a work of art. Real attention to detail here, the hair has been molded to appear parted at the back and sweeping forward into the braided bunches (I don’t know what else to call them) that hang down the front.
The cape’s nothing special but is in character, the decoration to the chest block is deceptively simple. That silver print doesn’t look all that spectacular until you really examine it. The print’s comprised of three concentric circles with black highlighting to illustrate reflection. There’s a similar print which is practically hidden beneath Val’s bunches and cape that hints at her metal collar. There are even faint blue lines on the ‘mates torso to give muscle definition. They’re so faint they’re hardly noticeable but take the figure as a whole and the definitely help enhance it. The arm and wrist bands are character accurate, though the belt buckle appears different to the picture I’m using as reference on Marvel’s character bios page. I’m very impressed with the strapping lines on the ankles. They were one of the first things I noticed when I took the ‘mate out of it’s packaging. Yes it’s a simple pattern but it’s one that would be easy to mess up when applied.
Valkyrie is the only ‘mate in the set with an accessory – Her sword which predictably is magic and has a name… Dragonfang.
In conclusion, easily my favourite of the set. It’s also the best female Minimate I’ve seen in the Marvel line, and most other licences.
MMC Score – 10 out of 10
(I’d give it 11 if I could) [No, you can’t! – Ed]
Final Thoughts: DST have really raised the bar with this set. It’s the best Marvel box set they’ve produced since Giant Sized X-Men. I’d even go as far as to say it is THE best box set they’ve produced. Thank you DST, and thanks also to AFX for sponsoring it.
Review and pictures by Stewart Kay, who wants to give Kudos to Amazing JL from Minimate Multiverse for helping him get his hands on this set. Cheers!