Hot Toys Captain America: The Winter Solider Black Widow Review
The Black Widow has become one of my favorite Marvel characters over the past few years, thanks largely to the way she was portrayed in the lengthy run of Captain America and The Winter Soldier comics from writer Ed Brubaker and artists like Steve Epting, Butch Guice, and Michael Lark. I wasn't all that impressed with her appearance in 'Iron Man 2', but Scarlett Johansson's expanded role in 'The Avengers' and 'Captain America and the Winter Soldier' sold me on the silver screen interpretation.
Having only just started dabbling in the realm of Hot Toys' high-end sixth-scale figures, I was on the fence about picking a Black Widow figure to be the next to join my collection. With figures hovering around the $200 (and up) range, the modest collector has to be a bit more selective when it comes to these figures. Once I saw the Black Widow in person however, all that hand-wringing went right out the window. Despite being a fairly minimalist figure, Hot Toys' 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Black Widow (MMS 239) is quite impressive and a worthwhile addition to any Marvel fan's curio.
The Black Widow herself is portrayed (both in the films and the comics) as a very spartan character. As such, it makes sense that the figure doesn't come with very many bells or whistles. She does however come with enough hands to satisfy Ganesha. The multitude of extra fists and palms gives you the flexibility to show Natasha putting up her dukes or holding the two pistols also included in the package. There's also an extra single hand for holding the weird SHIELD cellphone thing, but it stays perfectly still in her hand like a stick of butter on a hot summer day. And now you're thinking of Black Widow trying to grasp liquefying dairy products in her hand instead of guns. Get on it DeviantArt.
Anyway, pugilistic exploits aside, there really isn't much in the way of accoutrements for Ms. Romanova. Especially when you consider one set of fists are only slightly different thanks to the blue paint application added meant to make them appear as if the Widow's Bite was active. A second pair of bracelets also reflect this small change versus the standard set. The two Glock handguns are identical to the pair that accompanied the 'Avengers' version, but they're still nice. The clips can be removed, and the racks slide, giving them an added bit of detail for such simple accessories. The pistols fit in the holsters snugly, though in her hands both guns feel a little loose. As long as you're not moving her around too much though, the guns will stay put.
Unfortunately, moving the Black Widow around won't be much of an issue as she's rather constricted. While Scarlett Johansson (and her stunt doubles) is able to be quite flexible in this costume on screen, the miniaturized replica is quite a bit less mobile. The tight-fitting uniform prevents you from taking advantage of the 30 points of articulation properly. Instead of being as nimble and agile as a ballet-trained Black Widow, the figure has the range of Senator John McCain (R-AZ). That's the trouble with being so movie-accurate with real clothes.
That said, the diminished range of motion is almost worth it for the incredible costume. It's tough to take in all the detail from afar, but up close, you can really appreciate the craftsmanship and design. The black faux leather highlights work well against black Kevlar material Hot Toys is trying to emulate. The outfit isn't as plain as the one she wore in 'The Avengers' either, and whatever intricacies you missed in the film are immediately recognizable on further examination. When working with a figure of such sparse design, the slightest imperfections are incredibly obvious. That's not the case here. Head-to-toe, this is one perfectly cut design and the stitching really shines.
None of the rest of that matters all that much though if the facial sculpt is off, and thankfully, Hot Toys has done a remarkable job capturing Scarlett Johansson's likeness. It's a strange pose to keep her locked into for all eternity, to be sure, but how much it looks like ScarJo as she appeared in the film can't be denied. The skin tone, the veins in the eyes, the bone structure; it's all there. This was the first Hot Toys figure I got with "real" hair, and while it takes some getting used to, it's actually a nice touch. It adds just that much more realism, particularly when you can observe the copper highlights amidst the straight red. It looks professionally styled, though it will also take a deft touch to keep that way. Moments after taking the figure out of the box, stray strands were springing up left and right. Hot Toys actually recommends using actual hair product to keep things controlled, and damned if it doesn't work.
While there will doubtless be another Scarlett Johansson Black Widow figure arriving in the next 18-24 months in conjunction with 'Avengers: Age of Ultron', this version of the character makes for an impressive figure. There's not a lot of flash, but not very much is needed considering just how perfectly each last detail was nailed. There's no harm in waiting to see what kind of improvements will be made to the Black Widow in another year or so, but I'm confident this will be the last Black Widow figure I'll ever need to own.
The Hot Toys 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' Black Widow is available for purchase now at specialty shops for ~$180-200. This figure was purchased for review.