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Review : Marvel Legends The Grandmaster, SDCC Exclusive 2019, Thor : Ragnarok


For San Diego Comic Con 2019, Hasbro took their recently announced MCU Grandmaster Marvel Legends figure and combined him in a special 2-pack with a brand new figure of his cosmic counterpart, The Collector. The set was sold at SDCC 2019, but was also globally available through the fan channel and specialist retailers.

Checkout the corresponding The Collector review here

Packaging 4/5


As an SDCC exclusive, the packaging on this set is outside the usual formats for Marvel Legends - it is also big and bold in terms of its design and shape. The piece is designed as a circular box with each figure displayed in a curved window on either half. Above each window is the Legends logo and beneath it the movie logo for the figure - Guardians of the Galaxy for The Collector and Thor Ragnarok for The Grandmaster.


Being of such a size, and with the shape, the box is prone to damage and there is also quite a lot of tape visible where it has been used to keep the top and bottom flaps secure.



The set then opens up by means of Velcro fasteners. This allows the two window segments to be displayed side by side and we now have a reverse for the box. This back segment includes features we had seen on The First Ten Years sets, with a movie poster replicated and under this a short piece of text for each figure.


The Grandmaster text reads as follows.


"The ruler of Sakaar and administrator of the Contest of Champions, the Grandmaster is an ancient and powerful being. If anyone dares to cross him, the Grandmaster takes swift and merciless justice, using his Melt Stick to reduce a victim to a puddle of organic matter."



The box opens from the top or bottom flaps of each semicircular panel. The figures slide out in a full cardboard inner piece with the figure secured into a clear plastic section that sits in front of a scenery inspired card backing. Sadly the rest of this inner piece is plain brown cardboard and not easy to display well outside of the box.


The Grandmasters backing piece is his chair, in his throne room on Sakaar. A 3D effect is created by having the chair as a separate cardboard cut out piece that sits further out than the rest of the backing card.



Paint & Sculpt 4/5


The figure has a good likeness to Jeff Goldblum but I am not sure the smiling look is quite right as the smile only seems to be at the mouth with the cheeks and eyebrows not moving to match the expression. With some good positioning of the head the smile can begin to look quite sinister, which is much more impactful. The face print technology does a brilliant job of the eyes and face tones and also colours the open mouth smile with visible lips, teeth and gums.


The outfit is reflective of the onscreen ensemble with a long gold cape that runs from the collar down to where it drapes on the floor. The left arm is sculpted to be part of the cloak, while the right is open and is in the blue of his inner robes.


The robe is an individual piece and could be removed if you wish - it is held in with a plug at the front around the red tied sash, once un-popped it can be removed with the full body sculpted and painted underneath - it will leave the left arm looking odd..


The body is essentially cast in the base colours, with paint added for the red trim - this is applied neatly with no concerns. The sandals are also well painted and the nails of the feet, and hands are painted with a blue nail varnish. The right hand even has a tiny sculpted ring on the little finger, and above this the right wrist gets a golden bracer, this is also full of texture and well painted.



This is pretty much the same Grandmaster released in the 2-Pack with Korg, the only difference being the head in its smiling look. Everything else is identical with no real paint variations.


Looking at the two of them side by side, I personally prefer the stern general release over the smiling SDCC version.



Accessories 4/5


The SDCC Grandmaster comes with his Melt Stick. This is cast in a gold plastic with some stress lines visible in the central piece. The top globe is painted a slightly darker bronze colour.


It does arrive slightly warped, but is a soft enough plastic so it can be addressed with some hot/cold treatment if you wish. It fits in the Collectors right hand - a fit that is quite tight for a Legends figure and requires some teasing back of the fingers. There are also two handed poses available with the left hand used as support.


There is no difference between this Melt Stick and the one in the General release.



We do get an added accessory with the SDCC version, the blue puddle that used to be Cousin Carlo. This is a cast piece which is hollow underneath, it is cast in a metallic blue that does give it a liquid look when the light shines on it. Unfortunately it does not seem to want to sit flush to the floor and is raised up a little on one size. This may well settle over time or you could try some hot water treatment.



Articulation 3/5


The Grandmaster has a slightly odd articulation count, of 17 points, due to two different sets of joints on each arm. The right arm gets full articulation with double joint elbows and a bicep swivel, while the left arm has a single joint rotating elbow.


Head : ball joint neck with pivot

Body : torso ball joint

Left Arm : ball joint shoulder, single joint rotating elbow, wrist pivot

Right Arm : ball joint shoulder, bicep swivel, double joint elbow, wrist pivot

Legs : ball joint hips, thigh swivel, double joint knees, ankle rocker


The arms are essentially all that can be moved effectively on The Collector with the robes putting pay to much movement for the legs or the torso. The head can rotate within the confines on the collar, and the pivot does allow some emotive head tilts.


The figure stands perfectly, with the robes giving additional stability to the legs.



Summary


Like the general release, The Grandmaster is a stunning figure and a great conversion from the screen to figure format. I do prefer the stern version to this SDCC smiling option, but under certain angles the smile does become quite sinister which really works.


The inclusion of the goo of Cousin Carlo is a nice addition, but there is an argument that should have been included in the General version. The box is big and as such Collectors may struggle to display it fully.



Thankfully this is an SDCC release that has been both relatively easy and relatively cheap for collectors to get hold of. We are talking £20 a figure (or less depending on offers) which makes the set good value for money.


I score The Grandmaster from the SDCC set a 4 out of 5.




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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...

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