The Marvel Universe/Marvel Masterworks Sentinel has arrived, is it worth your hard earned money? Large figures are somewhat harder to judge than the smaller ones, due to the fact that this figure has to meet the company’s price point, fit into the already existing product line, and still be cool/unique enough to be a must-have for an collection. For the most part, the Sentinel meets all of the criteria well.
Before we begin, we need to do some paperwork. More or less two groups of toy collectors exist, toy collectors and toy investors. Collectors collect because they love the product. The other branch is toy investors. Toy investors buy them in hopes of one day flipping their toys at a large profit. Over the last few years the schism between the two groups has grown larger and the investors have become more and more outspoken.
This brings us to SDCC. Comic Con has become quite infamous for popular toy exclusives. The problem is that not everyone can go to Comic Con. They simply can’t afford it, or they can’t get tickets to get in. Hasbro being the wonderful company that they are wants your money, so every year after SDCC their exclusives are available somewhere. Sometimes at their web site and sometimes as a website exclusive somewhere else. The toys they think will do really well, they release in retail stores. I personally love them for this.
We have now landed in last year’s SDCC, and Galactus. Galactus debuted last year as an SDCC exclusive. The problem is that the only thing that was exclusive about Galactus was his packaging. Less than two months after SDCC, Galactus was found at Toys R Us. This lead to a lot of very angry Con goers. The market had just dropped out on their toys (some convention goers pay for the trip to SDCC by selling exclusives on eBay, and mailing them from San Diego). They now had virtually no resale value on this very expensive Con toy, especially when customers can go to toys R Us and pick up the exact same Galactus for 1/2 or even 1/3 of the price. The resale value of Galactus was now dependent upon being in its original packaging, otherwise it is impossible to tell the difference between a Comic Con exclusive and something bought at Toys R Us.
Now Brody, this is a wonderful and yet pointless lecture, what does it have to do with the Sentinel? This year what I see as a move on Hasbro’s part to appease all groups, we now have two different colors of Sentinels made…the SDCC version and the retail version, or as I have been thinking of it for the last few days, the “real Sentinel” and the “silver and blue Sentinel” (Honestly, have no idea why silver and blue, I’ve tried to do some research, but I have no idea where the color scheme came from. If anyone knows I would love to hear it). We now have an instantly and easily identifiable color coded Comic Con exclusive. My only complaint on the situation is that the “real” version should have been released in retail, and the variant should have been at SDCC, not the other way around. If you want the “real” Sentinel you are going to have to visit eBay where it is currently ranging from $100 to $199. If you want the “silver and blue” you can currently buy it at Walmart and Toys R Us for $55 and $50, respectively.
WHAT DID MY $50 JUST BUY ME? (OR GALACTUS PART DEUX)
Much like Galactus, the Sentinel comes in a large window box. Much like Galactus, it comes with an additional figure. And much like Galactus…well let’s quit screwing around because it IS Galactus, mostly. Much like the 3-3/4 figures, he has a reused body. The sentinel has the same arms, torso, legs and hands as Galactus. Because he has the same body as Galactus, he has the same articulation as Galactus. One upside is that because he doesn’t have robber skirt in the way, so Sentinel’s legs are now very much posable.
Read my review of Galactus’ articulation HERE.
I do need to bring up hand articulation again, as in April Hasbro released a Frost Giant, and it had articulated fingers, why can’t The Sentinel and Galactus have articulated fingers? The sentinel also has the same casting problems as Galactus; the “Cold Slugs” (again see the Galactus review).
For me, this is a big problem with the figure. Fifty bucks is a lot of money for a figure that I already own 75% of. One of the first things that I noticed about it (before I even left the store) was that he had six pack abs and a belly button. What does a giant robot need a belly button for? Those two things made me begin to dissect the figure on the spot as it became very obvious very quickly that this was a recycled mold.
That doesn’t mean this is a complete loss, there are certain things in the Galactus sculpt that I found odd, yet when seen on the sentinel, it makes since. This has led me to believe that this was the intent from the beginning. To create a body that could function for both figures, to combine elements from both and split the difference. However, overall I think that it makes a far better Sentinel body than a Galactus body.
EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN
Along with the old boy comes some very nice new pieces. Much like Galactus, the Sentinel has an LED in his head that makes his eyes light up when you press the button on his chest. Again, the LED should be swapped out for something more powerful. I have found that the head sculpt is a thing of beauty. It has some very nice circuit/wire detail in the mouth and around the eyes. It really does look like it was lifted right out of the comics.
One of the other new features that I love is the shoulder guards. Because he is paired with Wolverine, claw marks have been sculpted into them. This begs the question as to why the motif wasn’t carried out throughout the entire body, but I now understand that it would require new molds.
Another excellent piece of sculpting is the exposed wires in the Sentinel’s wrists and ankles as they’re extremely well done. According to the box art, everything that is painted black should also be the same exposed sculpted wires. Alas…we meet another victim of cost cutting/reusing the same sculpt. One plus that they’ve added is a wrist piece that extends over the hand; it’s a great addition because it helps to hide the simple ball joint that is the wrist. Because it’s a free moving piece, it can be turned out of the way so that it doesn’t get in the way of the wrists movements.
One of my biggest problems with Galactus was the lack of detail and on the new pieces of the Sentinel, he shows varying textures. One panel will be smooth flat plastic and the one next to it is rough almost like sand paper. It’s a nice little addition because it is visible even at a distance; the smooth pieces catch the light and the rough pieces appear dull.
PAINT, PAINT, PAINT
Much like Galactus, Sentinel doesn’t have a lot of paint. His face is painted, his shoulder guards have a “14” decal, his chest is two tone black and purple, his arm is two tone silver and purple, and his hands are two tone sliver and purple. The only thing really worth writing home about are the copper colored “exposed” wires which appear on first inspection to be painted, but on closer examination they seem to be decals or transfers because some of them don’t line up correctly…which only gets worse as they wrap around the figurine.
My biggest paint gripe is (for lack of a better term) his “Tony Stark® chest arc reactor” because it’s a decal that looks like a sticker…a paper sticker…a bad paper sticker. It’s poorly made, crooked, and looks like a drunk five year old put it on but then this was made in China, so it probably was a drunk five year old. Overall the paint leaves much to be desired.
OH GOD, NOT ANOTHER WOLVERINE!
I love Wolverine as much as the next guy, but the number of versions of him is getting as bad as Darth Vader. I already have SEVEN WOLVERINES AND ONE DARK WOLVERINE! The crazy thing is that I don’t have them all, Hasbro has made more, many more that I just didn’t buy! Do I really need another one?
I have been compiling a list of X-Men who don’t have a figure yet such as Professor X, Psylocke, Rogue, and Bishop. Ok, granted Professor X is a poor choice, but what about any one of the rest?
The figure itself has the same body, with a head that has a new slightly larger mask, but the rest is the same. The paint job, is slightly better than most of his other versions, he has some nice washes, but again, is it really necessary?
As much as I have bitched and moaned about this toy, I like it, a lot. Overall, I highly recommend it for the serious Marvel collector. I am far more pleased with the final Sentinel product than I ever was with Galactus.
+20% BONUS FOR AWESOMENESS
My grade in sculpt is based on new parts. My grade in articulation is a docked because of lack of finger joints and a poor ball jointed wrist and no ab joint. Paint well what paint? Wolverine would have gotten an 85% but because I really don’t need another one so his score gets docked as a convenience fee.