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If there’s any one thing The Avengers – and its subsequent sequel – got right, it was The Hulk. The big, raging green monster has seen a few on-screen iterations in his near 60 year history, making giant (Hulk-sized) leaps in his visual appearance each time. Long behind are the days when bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno bathed in a vat of green paint and went stomping around looking all surly and shit. It feels like ages ago when audiences were forced to endure a poorly CG-rendered (and grossly oversized) Hulk in Ang Lee’s Hulk movie. Visual effects did get significantly better in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk, with a more polished, detailed and believable on-screen design. But it wasn’t until  The Avengers that The Hulk reached visual perfection. The character finally got a digital rendering that was treated with respect and reverence to how he looked in the comics, yet managed to be hyper-realistic enough to (almost) make audiences forget they were seeing a computer-generated character.

I say all this because if there was ever a time to pick up a collectible Hulk figure – and there’s hundreds of them out there –  it would be now. And that figure would be HOT TOYS 1/6th scale Hulk collectible figurine from Avengers: Age of Ultron. The best Hulk ever gets the best figure ever.

Sideshow Collectibles was kind enough to send us one for review. Sufficed to say, it’s SMASHING! (mark that as the last time a Hulk pun will be used in this review)

PACKAGING

I can’t speak for all HOT TOYS figures, but this has got to be one of the largest boxes for a 1/6 scale figure ever. It’s huge. And heavy too, weighing approx. 18 lbs. This thing is so large that the outer mailer box comes with a friggin’ handle… A HANDLE!

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The box art features a portrait of The Hulk looking like someone just told him there are no more cookies – grimaced and ready for action – with the Avengers logo center/right. The box is brightly colored with an effervescent green throughout its front and sides, giving off an almost illuminated effect. The art would really pop if not for the enormity of box, which overwhelms the overall appearance.

Another reason for such an enormously sized box (aside from the fact that the figure itself is big) is that it comes with a whole other upper torso, head sculpt, and a second pair or hands. It’s a figure-and-a-half. If there’s ever a LEGO shortage in the world, it’s because figures like this take up all the plastic.

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Once opened, the figure is housed in a Styrofoam tray, with the other torso in a plastic tray layered above it.  This packaging really helps protect the figure inside the box due to his large size and weight. And much like every other 1/6th scale figure, the packaging can be re-sealed. No clamshell plastic or twist ties to tear apart in a Hulk induced rage. Everything is intended to be removed and replaced without it looking like a gamma bomb went off.

THE FIGURE

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Pulling the figure out of the tray, the immediate first impression is just how massive it is. Coming in at over 16 inches tall, with a chest-to-back measurement of 10 inches, he’s so huge that your eyes actually have a hard time registering just how big he is. Its like when you regretfully sit in the front row of a movie theater and your eyes just can’t take the whole screen in – that’s what looking at this figure is like (I’m hyperbolizing, I know).  He’s quite awkward to hold too. Where most 1/6th scale figures can be handled with one hand, grasping The Hulk is like trying to palm an over-sized watermelon. He’s big enough that you may even have trouble finding where to display him. A lot of collectors use those Detolf glass display cabinets from IKEA for their 1/6th scale figures, and this is one figure that (laughably) will not fit. He’ll likely need to be left out in the open, exposed to one’s impressive lack of dusting.

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As if the description of his giant stature hasn’t been overstated enough, take a look at how he compares to Diamond Collectibles Deluxe Hulk figure, and Hasbro’s 3-inch version, easily dwarfing those figures in comparison.

But HOT TOYS are best known for their head sculpts, so let’s give a look-see…

As in-the-know fans will tell you, one of the reasons The Hulk looked so good and was so expressive was because the visual effects crew on Age of Ultron used actor Mark Ruffalo’s face-scan as a template/model. They also motion-captured his performance, offering a perfect blend of monster and man. You can’t face-scan a CGI-rendered character, though, so how HOT TOYS managed to perfectly replicate the The Hulk’s face on not one, but 2, head sculpts is a modern marvel in-and-of itself.

The two head sculpts feature less than amused expressions, one being really angry (mouth open and forehead scrunched) and the other, well, a little less angry (mouth closed). If you look at it from mouth closed to mouth open, the change in expression is as if the Hulk caught wind of and then confirmed an unsuspected fart in the air. But I digress…

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The phrase goes “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” (Remember that time I said I wouldn’t make anymore Hulk references? I lied.) but if there was ever an exception to that, now would be that time. The Hulk always looks pissed off – that’s his shtick – but HOT TOYS really captured a sense of character behind the angry exterior. The hair is sculpted with a wild, messed up appearance. The teeth, gums, and eyes are downright scary-real. The faces have lines, wrinkles, pores and even splashes of gloss in spots to give off a sweaty appearance. And this might freak you out, but you can remove his hair to reveal two levers that will allow you to move his eyes independently – what HOT TOYS refers to as their “PERS System”. I dunno how necessary that is given the figure’s limited poses (more on that in a minute) and The Hulk’s exaggerated brows, but its a spiffy feature and does add a little bit of extra value.

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That detail in the face(s) carries on well-throughout the body. There is no shortage of muscles here; absolutely bulging everywhere. The hair on his chest isn’t just painted on, it’s sculpted, and the veins on his arms and legs make him look like he just downed an oil-sized drum of coffee and steroids. His skin’s tone and texture are just perfect. It’s not just straight green, it’s layered coloring – a wash of greens and faint browns. Comparing a figure to food in a review is almost always a faux pas, but honestly, the best way to describe the paint job is that of a the most well-seasoned and rich bowls of split-pea soup you’ve ever seen.

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The figure is rounded out with its one and only piece of clothing – a pair of tight-fitting spandex pants. They’re crafted of a high-quality material, with a look and feel of something an Olympic cyclist would wear. It features a hexagonal pattern throughout, black inlays of spandex-like material and is adorned with a couple of genuine metal rivets. The pants also cover the joints in the hips and knees, which is a good thing – the less seams that show, the less you’re reminded you’re a grown adult playing with a doll. Oh, and that rather curiously large bulge in his crotch? Sorry, but that’s S.H.I.E.L.D. level 7 clearance information. I will tell you, though, that the Hulk goes commando!

As far as the figures articulation goes, he does have surprising maneuverability for such a big guy. The head, shoulders, torso and hands rotate a full 360 degrees. The hips manage about 180 degrees in rotation and the elbows and knees get 60 and 70 degrees, respectively. Given the range of motion, though, there’s really not a whole lot of different poses to be had. Only with the alternate torso (described below) will you get a completely different display option. Then again, the guy is a hulked-out gorilla-man-monster. Would you really expect him to have crazy ninja finesse? He’s as articulated as he needs to be.

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It’s not unusual for huge and heavy figures to have loose hip joints and ankles, but HOT TOYS clearly thought this through. This figure is as sturdy as anything. In fact, bend any part of him and you’ll hear the tell-tale loud clicks of the thick armatures and joints used to keep him sturdy. No puny joints here.

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The armature on the arms (on what would be considered the main torso) is internal and covered by a soft rubber so you don’t see any ugly elbow joints, which is nice. However, when  you flex his arms too much the rubber in the inner elbow joints can fold inwards and look like a crinkled water bottle. Leaving the arms straight is pretty much the choice display option. Also, on the rubberized skin, it covers the whole torso adding to its life-like effect. The durability and shelf-life on it seems like it could be called into question. Repeated bending of the arms, or general handling over time, could possibly cause it to wear out, crack, and tear. Remember, be kind to your Hulk and he’ll be kind to you.

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One of the main selling points of this figure – over the previously released Hulk figure from the first Avengers movie – is that it comes with a whole other torso. Aside from a different head sculpt, the only other difference between this figure and the first edition would be the different pair of pants. HOT TOYS had to up the ante, and they did, though perhaps unnecessarily.

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While this second torso does provide a wonderful, mid-smash pose that you otherwise are unable to do, it’s all one solid pieced of plastic (no rubberized skin) and has no pose ability. It has all the detail and life-like quality as the other torso, yet one might find themselves swapping out the secondary head more so than switching out the torso. Fortunately, HOT TOYS did provide an option to purchase the figure sans the secondary torso. Unfortunately, however, the secondary head (the angry face w/closed mouth) only comes with the two torso set.

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ACCESSORIES

There’s not much in the way of accessories. The figure does come with an extra pair of bendable hands (thus fulfilling our dreams of making The Hulk flip the bird). The figure also comes with that other whole torso/head, so that takes up the bulk of what would otherwise be room for accessories. And, lets face it, this is The Hulk. His whole body is a registered weapon. What accessories could he possibly need? Granted, for display purposes it would have been nice to get a half-torn-apart Ultron drone. Or at least, you know, a figure stand (though his feet are so big, large, and sturdy that his figure can stand on its own without any additional support).

Does the lack of accessories cause a lack of justification as far as the price is concerned? Well, you are paying a premium for a huge, green, near-naked action figure. It all depends if you’re the type of collector that finds value in extra stuff. But I think it’s important to acknowledge that what this figure lacks in accessories, it makes up for in sheer size and detail. This figure is almost double the size of any other HOT TOYS Avengers figure and it comes with a whole other fully sculpted torso. That’s a lot of figure.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

When focusing on the strengths of the figure (pun intended), it does a lot of things right. The scale matches up with the other 1/6th scale hot toys which makes this one of the biggest HOT TOYS ever released. While the lack of accessories in favor of a complete alternative torso is a matter of subjective value, the design and hyper level of detail makes this the Ferrari of Hulk Figures. It’s miles ahead of any Hulk figure, ever!

At $374.99 for the figure set ($274.99 for the none duo torso set), this Deluxe Hulk will set you back a lot of green. But, again, this is easily the best movie Hulk figure on the market. If you’re a fan of The Hulk and like amazing display pieces, well then, this is it. Sure, for the same amount of money you could probably hire Lou Ferrigno to dress up as The Hulk and stand in your living room as a house ornament, but as far as collectibles go, this is as good as it gets.

You can head on over to Sideshow Collectibles and BUY HIM NOW.

Like our review? We have more! Check out some of our recent Sideshow Collectible / Hot Toys reviews:

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TOY REVIEW: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Rocket and Groot Collectors Set by Hot Toys

TOY REVIEW: Hot Toys Stealth Armor Iron Man

TOY REVIEW: Tony Stark With Arc Reactor Creation Accessories By Hot Toys

TOY REVIEW: Star Wars Bomb Squad Clone Trooper: Ordnance Specialist by Sideshow Collectibles

TOY REVIEW:  1/6th Scale Snake Plissken From Sideshow Collectibles

Category: Cool Stuff, Featured, reviews

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