In 2017 Marvel released Thor : Ragnarok and as part of the Marvel Legends support for this latest MCU movie was a wave of Ragnarok characters including Thor, Loki and Hela. The Build-a-Figure for the wave was Hulk from the Gladiatorial scenes in the movie. To construct Hulk you'd need all the parts from the 6 figures in the wave, this meant the purchase of the three comic book characters also - Ares, Unworthy Thor and Lady Thor. The BAF would go on to be re-released in 2018 spread across 7 figures this time in a 'Best of the MCU' wave made up of figures from both Ragnarok and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Ragnarok Hulk follows a fairly standard format for BAF figures with a central torso, head, arms and legs. Supporting parts include the hammer, axe and helmet. If you are purchasing the 2018 version you will also get the shoulder armour separately.
Assembly is easy enough, with a plug and click mechanism on each of the joints. The legs prove the biggest challenge, with a wider peg on the hips that takes a bit of pressure to clip into place.
Gladiator Hulk stands an impressive 9.25 inches high, measuring to the crest of his helmet, and is a hefty piece of plastic in hand. The body is cast in a green base plastic and left unpainted other than the white war paint down the right hand side, which is applied to look crudely painted.
The armour pieces are detailed including a blue metallic finish on most with various darker brushed steel elements and some purple colouring through the wrist bracers and the skirt section.
The helmet looks oversized sadly, but is removable to reveal a fully sculpted Hulk head underneath. This is a new head, but while the other figures in the wave benefitted from the newly launched face print tech - there is no such application for Hulk. The only facial feature with any paint is the eyes and eyebrows. Had this been released a year previously in the MCU line it would have been fine, lined up against a face print tech Hela, Loki or Thor it looks out of place.
Thor comes with two of the weapons he uses in the arena scenes on Saakar. The first is an axe, and it arrives warped down the length of the shaft - an issue that seems to exist in some degree on all of them if you look at other photos of the figure.
The head of the axe is well cast and angular with a nice rusty wash applied. This paint app is not extended past the head and the shaft is left a plain silver with a textured section for the grip. This grip is too big to fit in either of Hulk's hands so you either have to have Hulk hold the slimmer part of the shaft in a loose grip - or heat up the hands to force the axe into position.
The second weapon is the hammer, and take all the issues from weapon 1 and apply them to weapon 2. The shaft is again warped, and the grip too big for Hulk's hand. The paint exists only on the head and in the case of the hammer is applied with less coverage so it doesn't quite give as good a rusted look overall.
The helmet is technically a 3rd accessory and is cast in a softer plastic with an added upper crest that is really well sculpted and painted to look like red horse hair plume. The helmet is also very well detailed, including internally with plates and rivets inside as well as out. The crude white war paint extends onto the helmet and lines up with the markings on Hulk's head when its worn.
The issue is sizing unfortunately and not only does it look too big, but the overall fit is very loose to Hulk's head resulting in you able to see daylight between the side of the helmet and the side of the head from some angles. My preference would have been a second head option - one with helmet and one without - mirroring how Diamond Select tackled the same figure.
Despite his size, Hulk is very well articulated with a total of 19 points of articulation. Being a BAF, several of the connection points are also joints but this does not seem to have impeded or disadvantaged the figure in any way.
Head : ball joint neck with pivot
Body : torso ball joint, waist swivel
Arms : ball joint shoulder, bicep swivel, single joint elbow, wrist pivot
Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knees, ankle rocker
The upper arm articulation is really good on the right arm, while the left is held in check by the over shoulder armour that stops any movement of the arm above the shoulder. The single joint elbows do not bend as much as I'd like them to for fighting posing and the wrist pivot is essentially blocked in also by the armour leaving the hands the ability to rotate only.
When you consider the hands cant quite grip the weaponry fully, any arm movements with weapons in place will cause the weapons to slip around in the hand grip and this does cause a bit of frustration.
The legs will move within the skirt section, although the hips will not quite move enough for any kneeling poses - not that Hulk ever kneels. The legs will support wider battle stances, with the ankle rocker adjusting to keep Hulk's weight balanced in a number of positions.
As a key part of the MCU, I am surprised we are yet to get a truly impressive Ruffalo Hulk from any of his movie appearances. The early ones are simply too basic and a touch small, while the newer ones like this Ragnarok Hulk and the subsequent Endgame Hulk are not executed as well as we'd have liked.
Ragnarok Hulk has been my slowest BAF build to date considering the first part of it was obtained in 2017 with Loki who was one of my first Marvel Legends MCU purchases as I shifted away from Diamond Select and into the web of Hasbro. I completed the set in January 2021 as I finally picked up the right arm - a 4 year wait for poor old Bruce to be sat in my drawer in pieces.
The Gladiator Hulk ticks some boxes in terms of the height and bulk of the figure and the well executed armour and war paint. I do not understand why the figure failed to get the same face print tech as that applied on Hela, Thor and Loki from the same wave which would have enhanced the figures overall looks.
The accessories are all poor. The helmet looks the part, but is ill-fitting and is far too big. The weaponry is bowed and bent and looks half painted and cheap. It also doesn't easily fit into Hulk's hands without some heat and force and that is frustrating when you are trying to pose Hulk.
For such an iconic look for Hulk, it is a shame this figure promises quite a lot and falls short in some areas that on paper are easy to fix. I hope that perhaps this is a figure Hasbro may consider a revisit on in Deluxe format in the future - giving it a face print makeover and some better executed accessories, at which point it would score higher than the slightly disappointing 3.0 that I am scoring it today.
About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...
action figures, reviews, review, articulation, hulk, bruce banner, thor, ragnarok, sakaar, mcu, gladiator, hela, loki