Yes, I am of course talking about the movie Avengers Minimates two-packs, which are a relatively cheap way for you to "assemble":
To see what I thought of these... join me after the jump!
In addition to Iron Man/Hulk I also picked up Rock God Thor and prissy stick-in-the-mud Captain America...
But that's not all that's on offer. Check out the back and you'll see more still...
And that's STILL not all that's on offer. You know, the way they've released these is kind of confusing for a casual buyer, and I had to do some research to figure it all out...
I saw a two pack of Chitauri aliens which I passed on, but there was also a Maria Hill and a Chitauri footsoldier (which I regret passing on) which turns out to be a comic store exclusive. And there's a Black Widow and Hawkeye two pack but it's a Toys R Us exclusive. Okay... And apparently there's also a Loki and Nick Fury two-pack but I have no idea how you purchase that one. I assume you have to stand at the crossroads at midnight in your mother's best Sunday dress and cut open your palm or something.
Okay, so now we all (don't quite) fully understand all that, let's take a look at the figures themselves. I'm going to start with the least interesting figure and work my way up to the most exciting figure. This is because I am a showman and I want you to climax exactly when I say so. Figuratively speaking.
Thor is one of my favourite film characters but his figure is a little on the bland side. Mostly because (unlike the others) there's only one way to display him (the other's have alternate looks). That said, it's still a decent block-style version of the character. And I dig his hammer:
My criticism with Thor is that he is missing his cape! It's there on the front but it doesn't exist at the back - it just terminates at his shoulders! Even Lego Thor has a cloth cape so this is a bit of a disappointment. But I guess this is sleeveless walking around the helicarrier Thor who doesn't have a full cape on? Fair enough, but full battle Thor would have been more appropriate I think. As opposed to the lazy-ass sitting on deck reading an Asgardian magazine and drinking a mead version.
Also notice his stand? I think it's great that these clear stands exist but we only get one of them in the two-pack! That's an odd choice. That's like having two young children and buying one ice cream. Inevitably someone is going to end up in tears.
Captain America is one of my least favourite characters in the films but they do a pretty good job here. Wrapping yourself in a flag may indeed be a little goofy, but there's no denying that it has some pop:
The standard bodies are so basic that I think this style of figure really needs the additional sculpted pieces to bring them to life. Even just the addition of the boots and removable helmet gives Cap a lot more heft and visual interest. The shield pegs onto his arm and is such a wonderfully iconic accessory but the paint applications are a little slap dash.
Worst of all, however, is that the tape that was holding it into the blister pack has left a fair bit of gunk on the shield. This will wash off I'm sure BUT WHO HAS TIME? What questions would be raised should my girlfriend find me at the sink (no doubt next to a pile of dirty dishes) delicately soaping Captain America's tiny shield? No. I put the onus on the factory to find a new solution and preserve my dignity. Parts of other figures also suffered the same fate, covered in suspicious gunk from errant packing tape. For shame!
I wrote a paragraph about sticky tape. That's what we do here, folks. "Fruitless Pursuits" is not just a clever name.
Okay, more positives about Cap. You can take off his helmet and slap on a blonde toupee (complete with built-in ears) for the unhelmeted version:
Strangely, as simple and as noseless as the face is, I can absolutely see Chris Evans lurking in there. The artists do a great job of capturing the actor's likenesses with very few lines. Let's throw a party for them!
Okay, but now we're going to move on to my real favourites. The Minimate triumphs! The gold - or green in this case - standard!
I love what they've done with the Hulk! He has a ton of additional sculpted pieces: his chest, his shoulders, his forearms, and his feet. It's super effective and gives him the bulk he needs. I had a series 1 Hulk Minimate many, many years ago and he just had the regular body and skinny arms and he looked kind of ridiculous (were the old ones smaller too?). Anyway, it kind of put me off the brand at the time, but all is forgiven now. This one is fantastic. Incredible. I meant "incredible". I am incredulous.
If you're worried that Hulk looks a little passive here then fear not because he comes with an alternate head (although I wonder why they didn't just go the Lego route and print the second face on the back of the neutral one). But ours is not to reason why, we should enjoy the full, unleashed fury of this tiny, angry Hulk!
GRAARAGGGGH!! RARAARAGLEE RAARRR! RGAARAGG!
The only thing to watch out for here is that those extra pieces are heavy so his feet keep falling off. Won't be a problem while he's standing on your shelf, menacing your dust, but it can cause you grief when you're trying to pose him. Leper Hulk!
And last, but certainly not least, is billionaire industrialist alcoholic Tony Stark/Iron Man. His helmetless version isn't quite as successful though... to me he looks a little... squished...
Can you see Robert Downey Jnr in there? I kind of can. I can also see Dante from Clerks. "Cool it, Loki. I'm not even supposed to be here today."
So discard that hairpiece and let's look at him helmet open:
Now that's a lot better. Not to mention all the great sculpted pieces that Tony's been blessed with also. You'll note that this is the Mark VII armour, where we're back to the chest circle and have far more details on the legs.
And of course, finally, here's your third option: the full Iron Man version. And check out his awesome base:
Love the jet feet. There's a lot of added value to this figure, and if you were only going to pick up one of these out of curiosity then Iron Man/Hulk is a total no-brainer. You do not require a brain to make that decision.
So here's my assembled team, including the Black Widow that I ebayed earlier:
OKAY! YES! I GET IT. I'm missing Hawkeye. Sigh...
See the bind I'm in now? This is that sickening collector mentality at work. Because now I have to track down Hawkeye too. Who comes with Black Widow. Who I already have. Sigh. And the Loki looks pretty sweet if I can find him... Oh! And did you know there's a two-pack of fass-bending Magneto and Katniss Mystique from X-Men First Class? And they made Jubilee! And Lockjaw the time travelling dog! ARARRAARRRARRRRRRRGGGGGGHH!
The good news is that these are really quite cheap. I picked them up from Empire Toys here in Perth for a mere $13 for a two-pack and my guess is that you'll pay around the $9 mark if you're in America. Be quick though - I'd link you to our friends at Big Bad Toy Store but they've pre-sold out! Don't be the Ass in Assemble.