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Review : Marvel Legends Black Widow, Avengers / Winter Soldier

Pros : The best MCU Widow available to date, particularly for Phase 1 and 2. Good articulation, good paint job.

Cons : The gripping hands have nothing to grip. She needs to come with two hand guns and not the fake ones molded into the holsters

The Mandroid wave in 2014 was the start of the Marvel Legends line as we know it today, it moved away from blister packaging to the shaped window box. The Logo was updated and now incorporated the "Infinite Series" subtitle. And most importantly it absorbed the MCU figures into the Legends line fully - up to now theyd been released on movie specific cards like Iron-Man 3 and Avengers.

In this first wave, alongside comic book figures, we got four figures from the MCU all based on Captain America Winter Soldier. There was a Stealth Suit Captain America, a WW2 uniform Cap, a Winter Soldier and the figure we are looking at here - Black Widow.

The Winter Solider movie logo was used across the MCU figures in this wave, including Widow both front and back of the window box. Black Widow had been absent in the 2012 Avengers wave, and Hasbro it seems recognised that and while they gave us the Scarlet Johanson head from Winter Soldier with the longer straight hair, they also included a crimped short hair version so you can make an Avengers Widow from this figure.

Out of the box and Widow sits in the inner stray with her Avengers head and two alternative hands to one side. The rest of the pack is filled with the giant torso of the Mandroid BAF and its shoulder cannon.

While the cardback looks like a plain grey, it is nice to see the inclusion of a Captain America shield logo in the background piece.

Starting with the longer hair head sculpt that comes on the figure in the packaging, and it is showing its age a little compared to the newer sculpts and paint finishes. That being said I can see the Johanson likeness in the sculpt. The lipstick is a bit too thick and bright pink in colour and the eyes quite cartoonish.

The hair is nicely sculpted to flow down over the shoulders and does include a touch of wash to bring out the depth of the sculpt.

Moving down to the body sculpt and this is well executed in most areas, although the waist is perhaps a touch too thin and the hips a touch too wide to accommodate the ball joint articulation. The suit while looking one colour initially is two tone with a dark grey colouring interspersed with panels of black.

The outfit has a bunch of details including the red clasp on the upper waist belt, the SHIELD logos on the shoulders and the neatly painted clasps and zips throughout. All the paint is neat and I have found no issues with bleeding or wayward splodges.

It is worth noting at this point that the outfit has been sculpted as more of an Avengers outfit rather than Winter Soldier. While the two are very close in design, the Avengers version has the double strapped thigh holsters - while her Winter Soldier version has singled strapped and she was also often shown with her belt slung loose and at an angle

Widow's slim build means her articulation is impressive and you get good range of movement out of just 16 points of articulation. The legs, as we've mentioned, start with a ball joint hip and under this is a thigh swivel that will move despite the holsters being connected to the parts either side of the joint. The knees are double jointed, allowing for kneeling and crouching posing, you will struggle however for any martial arts kicks. Her feet are articulated just above the ankle with rockers and despite the wedged heel of her feet and small surface area she is not overly difficult to pose standing.

The arms have a ball jointed shoulder with a full range of movement. There is no bicep swivel, and the elbows are a single rotating joint only. That being said the slim arms allow this joint to do more than enough for arm positioning. The wrists are jointed with a plug in hand, these are not hinged so they will only rotate within the sleeve.

Widow comes with a pair of open hands and a pair of gripping hands. These are tight to swap and what is odd is that the gripping hands actually have nothing to grip? The holsters on her waist are for show only and the guns in them do not come up and are a molded piece. If you want to arm Widow you will need to find some suitable 1/12 handguns from elsewhere. I have also seen some complaints about missing batons, but of course she didn't start wielding these until Age of Ultron and then into Civil War.

The final two joints are on the trunk of the body with a torso ball joint sitting just under her cleavage. This does not give much movement forward or backward, but it can rotate the upper torso - but doing so takes the zip out of line and does spoil the look of the upper torso.

The head is a ball joint and of course is designed to be popped off to put her alternative head in place. This operation is a little easier than the hands and the heads clip into place with a satisfying snap.

I am pretty sure (although my eyes aren't the best) that the head sculpt is the same on both heads, and it is the hair piece which has been changed. But what a difference the hair piece makes, and this second Avengers head to me has a much closer likness to ScarJo than the first and is my choice of head for display.

Black Widow would go on to be re-released in 2016 in a Best of the MCU wave with a Hulkbuster Build-a-Figure. This wave was released solely for the UK and European market. If you purchased this figure in its re-release in the 2016 Best of MCU wave this Avengers head sculpt is the only head you will receive.

The head included in this Best of MCU release was painted so the hair colouring was slightly darker, making it a slight variant. I prefer the newer look with the darker hair and less pink in the lipsticks, but there is very little in it.

Regardless if you want a WInter Soldier Widow or an Avengers Widow, this figure ticks a lot of boxes in terms of a good (but not brilliant) likeness, a well executed body and costume and a decent level of articulation. But it also disappoints when you consider the holding hands have nothing to hold and her guns in the holsters are molded in place.

Despite being 4 years old, this is still arguably the best Widow for your MCU Legends collection with the following version for Age of Ultron being a repaint of this figure with the batons added in and a tweaked head sculpt - and that is not easy to find being part of an Amazon 4-piece exclusive box set.

I score the 2014 Black Widow a 3 out of 5.

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