Marvel Legends Action Figures – Are They Worth Buying?
The action figure market is so saturated with options right now that it may seem a bit difficult to choose the right one. What are you interested in? What is your reason for buying? Do you intend on completing a collection? What do you want in an action figure? Whatever it is, Marvel Legends action figures are able to satisfy most of your desires.
Marvel has had numerous action figure releases from various toy companies and most of them have been received extremely well. There have been so many releases and re-releases of Marvel comic characters that it can be hard to keep up for the completionist collector. Which is the best (subjective), which is least expensive (again, subjective), what do they scale with? The casual collector may have an easier time, being satisfied with having a version of their favorite character.
The great thing about the Marvel Legends action figures is that they are usually very good if not great representations of the comic version. One of the downsides is that since there are so many characters in production, the body molds sometimes get reused too many times.
Marvel Is Hot Right Now
Oh man is Marvel hot right now! Once on the brink of bankruptcy, forced to sell the licensing rights to a large cast of their characters to pay the bills, they made a miraculous come back to be heralded as one of the comic and movie industries most successful companies. This, of course, was due to the success of the Marvel Studios produced Iron Man film and the success of the other movies that were planned to crossover into the same universe. Thank you Kevin Feige and Avi Arad.
Due to this success, Marvel toys started to become really popular again. What kid doesn’t want to play with his favorite super hero or villain and reenact comic scenes or now movie scenes? The same goes for grown up fans of Marvel, you know, the dad wearing the Marvel t-shirt or the guy buying the toys at Target (when he has no kids). We all love our super heroes and their villains.
So now there are a couple of current lines of Marvel action figures. There are movie versions of characters in toy form, comic versions of characters that no one would have chosen as a first choice to buy, and some really awesome versions of popular characters that are true to their comic counterpart.
Marvel Select vs Marvel Legends
Here is an interesting choice. Do you buy Marvel Select or Marvel Legends, what is the difference? This is also something a true collector will struggle with whereas a casual collector will probably not care too much.
For starters, the Marvel Select is a more detailed release when compared to the Marvel Legends line. The Marvel Select toys are typically larger than the Marvel Legends counterpart. The Select line scales at 7 inches with the larger characters in the Select line scaling larger. The Legends line scales at 6 inches with the larger characters for the most part scaling the same (except the Build-A-Figure characters). This can be troublesome if you are not being exclusive or if you are trying to incorporate the two lines for action poses. If it is all about the toy and not the pose, then this may not really be a big deal.
If you are collecting to collect, the Marvel Select line may be a better choice for you as they are larger, more detailed and usually made for character specific poses from classic scenes. The Marvel Select line does not typically reuse a body mold which is one reason that they are more detailed and they are typically more true to the character.
This is a large factor for the collector in general. The Marvel Select line does not offer a Build-A-Figure (or BAF) series. The Marvel Legends line sometimes anchors its releases upon the collector’s desire for the BAF, and giving us some unpopular characters as fodder for our universe. This may seem a bit greedy on the part of the toy company, and it may be. I would argue the point that it may be a good thing so that we are not buying the same character over and over and over. So we get some characters that we don’t care about, I’m looking at you Whirlwind…but at least you get a BAF piece.
Most of the actual BAF are really cool. Again, sometimes the BAF is a huge reason to purchase that particular Marvel Legends wave (what each set of 6 to 8 characters are called for a release). Some of the best BAF characters are worth more than the overall cost of the wave. There are some waves of characters that are better than the BAF, so collecting the characters from that wave may result in some incomplete BAF if you don’t necessarily want all the characters in that wave.
The BAF idea has become popular enough that some other action figure toy lines are also using this to help boost their sales. One example is the Dragon Ball Super Dragon Stars series.
Articulation and Play Value
The Marvel Legends line offers characters with a lot better articulation than that of the Marvel Select line. So, the ability to pose these characters and create a dynamic scene is more easily done with the Marvel Legends. Generally, the Marvel Select line offers less articulation (with a larger, more detailed and more expensive character) than its counterpart, but it is OK for standard poses. For example, most of the Marvel Legends will have a very poseable ab crunch and double-jointed elbow and knees. The Marvel Select typically has a minimal ab crunch and single-jointed elbows and knees.
The other thing to consider is are you collecting to collect, or are you collecting to play? I buy toys that my son and I play with. He loves to recreate scenes from movies or shows with the appropriate characters, and if we don’t have it he will pretend another character is the one we don’t have. So, when it comes to the two lines, I buy the Marvel Legends. We like to pose them in action scenes and display them, but in the end, they are toys.
The Marvel Select line does offer more accessories than the Marvel Legends line, but this does not really add any play value.
Overall A Good Line of Toys
In the end, the Marvel Legends toy line is actually a really good one to purchase if you are a fan of the Marvel Universe. You get to choose between classic characters inspired by the comics or the representation of the characters from the movie universe.
These are toys in every sense of the word. They do come with additional accessories to increase their pose ability or their play value, such as additional heads and hands. Some of them come with blast effects or weapons also. Even with these accessories, I tend to view them as big GI Joes, with better sculpts, better articulation and better play value. Unlike the GI Joes of my youth, these characters do not have a lot of peripheral accessories or play sets that would encourage the average buyer to purchase this and build a toy universe. It is strictly an action figure toy line.
The action figures are high quality, although not what I’d consider to be highly collectible for most people. This does not mean that they are not collectible, on the contrary, a lot of the older characters have become highly sought after and valuable. I just don’t think of them as traditional collectors items because they really are intended to be toys and be played with. If you are really looking for an action figure line for the Marvel Universe that is collectible in the traditional sense, then the SH Figuarts line may be the best choice for you.