Mezco’s One:12 Collective Classic Captain America Exclusive is Star-Spangled Awesomeness [Review]
I'm not going to mince words. I love Captain America and I've been adoring Mezco's One:12 Collective since it launched a little over a year ago. Though I haven't been able to pick up every single figure released so far, I've been carefully biding my time for releases that just cannot be missed. Judge Dredd was cool, but not a character I absolutely needed in this format. The same goes for the Star Trek figures and the Batman V Superman entries so far. They've all been equally well-made, it's just that investing in figures like these on a writer's budget means you have to be particular. When Captain America was announced, all logic and reasoning went out the window.
I actually held off on ordering the standard version Mezco offered --- which was based on a more current Marvel Now! incarnation --- hoping to get one of the variants shown off at Toy Fair earlier this year. Classic, wing-ear Captain America spoke to the part of me that's been admiring Steve Rogers since I was a kid. Unfortunately for my wallet, this Classic Captain America was Mezco's 2016 Convention exclusive (it was available at San Diego Comic-Con and will likely be at New York Comic Con, too). Still, I knew it had to be mine. From the clever collector's tin, to the wonderful exclusive packaging, to the incredible figure, I don't regret this addition pushing my expenditures to the limit one bit.
To this point, Mezco's One:12 Collective figures have all come in nicely designed boxes that properly contain the figures and accessories within. I'm not one to get all excited by packaging as it's merely a device to ensure the toy arrives safely in my hands. For this Captain America however, Mezco got a bit creative, and crafted a tin made up to look like Cap's iconic shield for the packaging. What's more, beneath is not just the figure in its constrictive plastic containment, but rather a cardboard inlay of the Vita-Ray Chamber.
While that's a recent addition to the Captain America lore thanks to the cinematic universe, it makes the perfect top layer for this figure. Especially because "inside" the chamber is a lenticular card featuring scrawny Steve Rogers turning into the super soldier serum-infused hero we know him as today. When the regular Captain America package is yet to be seen, you can almost be sure it will lack the circumstance of this more limited release. I won't likely ever display the tin or insert card as they're a little cumbersome to attempt to arrange on a shelf or in a cabinet, but Mezco going that little bit further for this figure makes it that much more special.
Inside the Vita-Ray Chamber is the real treat though, and Mezco has once again delivered the goods. For the most part, I only ever get to see the One:12 Collective figures in prototype form at shows like SDCC or Toy Fair. For what it's worth, Mezco has delivered on the promise the earliest incarnations have shown with the final releases. I have but a handful of these figures, and each one looks as impressive with its wide release as it did when Mezco first showed the working model.
Classic Captain America shares almost every bit of detail with the standard release, which is slated to arrive in September. The head sculpts included --- one masked, one unmasked --- are identical, save for the addition of physical wings and ears that stick out on the Classic. The standard Cap won't have ears, and the wings will be painted onto the side of the helmet. I wish it looked a little bit more like the standard pullover mask, like the one seen on the One:12 Collective Flash, but it's also an understandable design decision to just alter the existing helmet head.
The crewcut on the Steve portrait works well enough, though I wish the two faces had some slight differences in the expression. Steve is a stoic hero, but both head sculpts being so tight-lipped is a bit of a shame. Most of the other figures in the One:12 Collective have had alternate heads with some variation in their personalities, but somehow Steve missed out. A shouting or grimacing look would have done wonders for display options, but as it stands the best bet is the masked head. I mean, how can you say no to those wings?
Cap's top also gets a slight variation for the Classic iteration, which removes the collar and alters the mail armor pattern seen on the modern version. Where modern Cap has a diamond-based armor style, Classic Captain America has that medieval style that was made more popular by John Cassaday back in the early aughts. Mezco achieves this look just by screenprinting the different patterns, giving the spandex clothing beneath a different texture in those areas, even though it runs from head to tow. It works wonderfully, and you don't feel like it will chip or break off at all. The rest of the tailoring is impeccable, with loads of flexibility for posing. That's been a huge strength for this line, and where other clothed figures fall short in maneuverability, Mezco excels in giving you great dynamic range.
The hands and feet are sculpted, and the only thing setting them apart in the various versions of the figure are slight alterations to the paint app. Classic Cap relies exclusively on red, whereas the modern era has some brown mixed in to show the difference in straps versus fabric. The gloves contain magnets in the pouches to help fasten the shield in place. Mezco wisely decided on a single firm plastic grip for the handle versus a strap of some sort, which both gives it stability in the grip and no worries for anything breaking. For all of Hot Toys' supposed genius, they continue to rely on straps for Cap's shield, which is infinitely frustrating due to how fragile they are.
The magnet can also be used in conjunction with the shoulder straps to mount the shield on Captain America's back should you want to pose him not holding it in either hand. Cap should always be posed with his shield, so why you'd want to do that is beyond me, but the option is there. You do have a bunch of alternate hands to pose him with too, like a "thumbs up," a "saluting" hand, and a "pointed finger of leadership" hand. My Captain America believes in you, so he's always giving a thumbs up.
You'll find a set of grenades and a knife, as well as an alternate pouch for his belt (to replace the canteen already attached) included, along with a dynamic posing stand and the shield base in the package. The knife stores easily in his boot, but the grenades don't have a real place to go if you don't put them in his hands. I suppose you could finagle them to the belt by their pins, but that just seems dangerous. Plus if they fall off, they'll be hard to track down. These grenades are to scale, so they are about as big as a slightly large black peppercorn. If you've ever filled a grinder and lost a few in the process, you know how tough they are to track, and they weren't part of a $100 action figure.
My adoration for both Captain America and the Mezco One:12 Collective aside, this is a top notch figure. Those other factors only make it that much more impressive for me, but even if this was your first foray into Captain America toys and Mezco's incredible line, you won't be disappointed in the least. The only real problem is the addictive nature collecting these figures may bring out in you, and trying to find out where you're going to put the rest of the Marvel heroes as Mezco releases them.
The Mezco One:12 Collective Captain America (Classic) Deluxe will be available at select conventions this year for $110. This SDCC exclusive version was purchased for review.