REVIEW: Sideshow CAPTAIN AMERICA The First Avenger Premium Format Figure
Star-Spangled Marvel Movie Hero Stands Tall And Proud...
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Captain America is a superhero who has been around an awfully long time, ever since he first debuted in 1941 the pages of Captain America Comics #1. Fans know the familiar story - puny wimp Steve Rogers desperately wanted to join the war effort against the Nazis but was denied until he volunteered for a secret “super solider” program. Injected with a serum and exposed to specific “Vita-Rays” he was transformed into the pinnacle of human physiology. Cap has served his country in multiple time periods and alongside the Earth’s mightiest heroes as an Avenger. Meanwhile, the character has never been more popular thanks to his big screen appearances in the current Marvel Studios films starting with 2011’s first Captain America movie. That specific incarnation of Steve Rogers is the basis for one of Sideshow Collectibles’ most impressive Premium Format Figures to date, Captain America The First Avenger! Just one of Sideshow’s multiple Captain America statues and figures, the First Avenger is an excellent addition to any collection and the perfect complement to the sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier that comes out April 4th.
Returning Cap to the public eye, Captain America: The First Avenger starred Chris Evans as the titular character, and as his transforming alter ego. Naturally they nailed the Steve Rogers look with the blond and muscular actor, but that’s just part of the overall Captain America package. Marvel Studios had the difficult task of creating a cool and believable costume for the Avenger, and of course the iconic shield. After a decidedly retro USO costume inspired by the classic comic book look, Rogers donned what would become that film’s definitive outfit, a rough and tumble jumpsuit with gloves, boots, belt with pouches, and lots of straps. That’s the version captured in Sideshow’s PFF, and it’s both film accurate and cool looking.
Before you get to the figure itself, you have to get through its enormous box. And if anything screams “Captain America,” this is it. Nearly two feet tall, the package features wraparound images of overlapping Cap shields on a patriotic red, white, and blue background. The front panel is dominated by a huge section of the shield right out of the movie with its central star and concentric rings; at the top is the figure’s name. The shield image on the front wraps around to both sides, its curves revealing the star-spangled background along the top. Those sections in turn give way to another shield on the back of the box that’s displayed lower. It’s definitely an interesting and unique package design, though it will probably appeal less to collectors who aren’t going to open it as it doesn’t have any imagery of the awesome figure inside it.
As usual, inside the massive box you’ll find a huge styrofoam brick that holds the parts for you to assemble your Captain America. There are only eight parts, though, and assembly couldn’t be more obvious. The sturdy round base is your start, a rugged bit of terrain littered with debris and piled high with sandbags. On the underside of the base you’ll find a design not unlike the outer box with red, white, and blue theme, the figure’s name, and its edition number out of 1500. While most statues and Premium Format Figures feature a one-piece base, Cap’s includes a secondary element in the form of crossed beams (one piece that plugs into the base). The bulk of Steve’s body is one solid piece with a post and magnet in the feet for secure assembly. Both arms and the head (with two options I’ll discuss in a moment) attach via strong magnets, though you’ll want to put on the figure’s real leather chest sash-like harness with pouches first.
Once completed and mounted on his base, Captain America stands 21 inches tall (and weighs a whopping 10 lbs)! The First Avenger stands in an iconic pose, defiantly raising his fist at the forces of evil from atop a pile of sandbags so he can rally the troops. With his left hand upraised, Cap holds his right arm in front of him to present the front of his mighty shield as a warning to his foes. One of the really cool things about this figure is that it works in several different positions, whether you want Cap face on or turned to the side. The latter gives you a really good look at his costume, featuring the traditional Premium Format Figure mixture of elements, textures, and materials. While the figure itself is solid, there are tons of extras in the form of cloth pants with tons of sewn sections and seams, red cloth suspenders, and separate belt with moveable pouches and connecting straps down to the pistol holster on his thigh. Meanwhile, just about every brown strap on the figure is cloth/material including the ones on his arms and shield!
As you’d expect from Sideshow, Captain America’s sculpt is excellent. From top to bottom there’s so much going on, and the character’s intricate battle gear really gave the sculptors a lot to work with in terms of textures and shapes. One thing I really like about this figure is that it’s realistic; Cap is heroic but not puffed up with exaggerated musculature. His torso and arms look normal, with a subtle physique under the reinforced costume. That, meanwhile, is absolutely covered in tiny details including seams, stitching, layers, padding, folds, creases, and so much more. It even works seamlessly with the fabric elements like the areas that are bunched up on the arms from the position of the straps! Cap’s gloves and boots maintain the leather look while being solid, and again include tons of stitching and realistic creases and movement.
And while drab compared to the figure, the base is also intricately sculpted and full of things to look at and notice like the variegated rubble, the lifelike molding of the sandbags under Rogers’ weight, and of the fantastic crossed beams behind him with rivets, rust damage, and more. As previously noted, the figure comes with two different portraits that you can swap out at any time, masked and unmasked heads. This is purely up to your preference, as both look great. The first version wears the costume’s unique masked helmet with ear guards and chinstrap, while the other features the full Chris Evans sculpt and perfectly coiffed hair. Both versions resemble the actor strongly without going the full scanned route and feature the same focused and brave expression.
Most Captain America costumes from the comics are ultra-patriotic with tons of bright red, white, and blue... and which would look fairly garish if faithfully recreated in the real world. For the films Marvel has gone with varying degrees of subtlety in the costumes, and this one treads a nice fine line between realistic and patriotic with its colors and hues. The blue of Cap’s pants nicely matches the paint on his helmet and upper chest, which in turn contrasts with the whitish-gray of his lower chest and upper arms. A somber brown is used on all “leather” parts including the boots and gloves, which again matches the real cloth elements. One of the most interesting tidbits about this costume is the way they incorporated the traditional red and white stripes on Cap’s midsection with unobtrusive and realistic red suspenders over the white area. As befits a Sideshow product all of the paint applications are crisp, and there are tons of added details like the metallic silver of clasps and connectors, varying hues of gray on the chest straps, star symbols on the upper arms, white “A” and wings on the helmet, and more. And while the costume is nicely understated, the shield is all bright metallic colors and looks awesome. Finally, both facial portraits have excellent paint apps including soulful eyes.
Captain America fans have several options when it comes to great collectibles from Sideshow including a comic book-inspired WWII Premium Format Figure, upcoming Captain America The Winter Soldier Premium Format Figure, the ridiculously awesome life-size Captain America bust, and more. But if you’re a fan of the films, and so many of us are, the Captain America The First Avenger Premium Format Figure is the go-to version with a great screen accurate look, so much added value from the different materials, and the swap out portraits. [B]Get yours now, just in time for the April 4th release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier for $349.99 (or via payment plan) at Sideshow Collectibles.
Review and Photos by Scott Rubin
Review Sample Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles