08.05.04 - MiniMates - SDCC Wolverine/Mariko and Cap/Punisher - Jon
Hey what's up, this is Jon reporting live from my basement. The latest thing in the past couple years has been these block figures. At first I was all like, "dude these things suck, no way am I paying seven bucks for two little Lego dudes." Not only was I wrong in using the word "dude" gratuitously in that statement but as with everything else I say I am never going to collect, it ends up here. So here I am trying to get the newest MiniMate releases, and what better place than San Diego Comic Convention. Three companies had exclusive Marvel MiniMates ... Art Asylum had Wolverine/Mariko, Diamond Select had Captain America/Punisher, and Tower Records had a Thing/Super Skrull pack. I didn't realize they were selling that other set so I never got to pick it up.
Wolverine/Mariko & Cap/Punisher -
The first thing you should note about MiniMates is that they are kind of expensive. Much like Legos you seem to get a little for a high price. Typically two-packs of these run about $6.99 and can really only be found in specialty shops. These were exclusives and ran for $8.99 to the best of my knowledge. That is not a terrible markup, and they should be easy to find at that price. MiniMates usually don't boom up in price too often so the aftermarket is a pretty viable option if you can't make it to a convention. That and most the time exclusives end up getting repacked into normal assortments. The packaging is pretty simple, but anyone who keeps MiniMates in the package is a loser (I kid, I kid!) and I will have nothing to do with them. I especially like the Captain America/Punisher one because its different. I'm like Apple and like to think different.
So the sculpts are pretty much the same for every figure. You have your fourteen points of articulation, though most people just bend their elbows and try to balance them on one foot, well that's what I do anyway. None the less the sculpts are very well done because apart from the MiniMate body they need to sculpt the hair and any accessories, and in all cases it is very well done. They manage to get the Punisher hair swirl perfect. And if you take of Captain America's helmet you see the beat up face. Wolverine has his big ole boots, and Mariko is an oriental chick, what more can I say?
The pain applications are good. There are some misses, some stray marks on some parts of the figures. Wolverine is the biggest perpetrator of this, he has a big mark on the left side of his boot. However that was just mine, you probably lucked out and got a cleanly painted one. Clearly my Chinese factory worker was asleep at the wheel while painting my Wolverine. But I forgive them, in fact if they fesses up I'll send them fifteen bucks and a free deck of Dark Horse playing cards from the show! Notice how you can switch around the parts on these figures, such a great feature. Shame it loosens up the sockets holding the parts and now my Wolverine's hand fall off all the time. I am bound to lose a piece of that figure before next week at this rate. Now that I think about that, my Wolverine is really starting to suck in terms of quality. I'll send that nice factory worker back the Wolverine with their prize package if she writes me now. Its a shame that these figures do not come with the stands the LOTR MiniMates come with, then I could put them into all kinds of provocative positions and scare my coworkers.
As far as accessories we got gypped a bit. How could you not even give Punisher a gun? I mean come on, you give Captain America a shield, and a cool see-through one at that, but you can't even give the Punisher his gun. This makes me cry.
Note that if you put Punisher's hair on Mariko, you can make a killer Psylocke custom. Just a heads up to those fans of her, personally I hate her character.
Wolverine & Mariko / Captain America & Punisher -
Articulation - 90% / 90%
Sculpt - 95% / 95%
Accessories - N/A / 75%
Paint - 75% / 92%
Price - 82% / 82%
Fun Factor - 86% / 92%
Final Score - 86% / 88%
I notice I have been giving lower scores of late, that may be because I am an EVIL, evil man and have started to hate everything that comes my way. Soon I shall be the Jay Sherman of toy reviews, however you'd have to hand me some crap stuff to get a score below a sixty I think. Though have you seen those Vintage style twelve inch Star Wars figures? Thirty dollars is the biggest insult to any consumer since they thought it would be a good idea to charge sixty for the Sandcrawler. Did I ever tell you how much I love Star Wars?