No better way to end the month than with a look at the Bandai-Tamashi Nations SHFiguarts John F. Walker Captain America Action Figure. This design is based on his appearance in the Disney+ "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" television series and is a fairly remarkable representation. Given that I have yet to obtain the Walmart Exclusive Marvel Legend version of this figure, I'm really pumped to have found this one.
After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Steve Rogers has handed the shield and by extension, the mantle of Captain America over to Sam Wilson. Sam's reluctance to take on the role leads him to donate the shield to the Smithsonian Institution. However, unbeknownst to Sam the U.S. Department of Defense had different plans for the shield and hero. Taking the shield and nominating their own candidate to replace Rogers, the D.o.D selected former Army Ranger Captain, John F. Walker to take over. After receiving approval from the President of the United States, Walker is introduced to America as "The New Captain America." Walker's prowess in the role would soon be put to the test as he and his partner Lamar Hoskins began pursuit of the super soldier serum enhanced Flag Smasher terrorist group. Working parallel to Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, after having been rejected by the duo, Walker finds himself limited by his own lack of enhanced physical attributes and traits. During one battle, Walker comes across a small bottle of the serum the Flag Smashers are using to be enhanced super soldiers and after realizing he is no match, physically, discussing the implications of taking the serum with Lamar, and after having been humiliated by the Dora Milaje downs the serum to give himself the same physical advantages that his opponents possess. What Walker fails to realize though is the serum enhances everything about the individual, including personality traits, including his dangerous anger, which has already been displayed several times. In a subsequent battle, Walker, while restrained by a Flag Smasher, watches helplessly as Lamar is killed. The Flag Smashers attempt to escape and after catching one, in a fit of rage Walker ruthlessly murders the surrendering terrorist with his shield in front of a horrified group of onlookers, including Sam and Bucky. The pair eventually defeat Walker, who is then turned over to the U.S. government and stripped of his rank and title. Walker would eventually fight alongside Sam and Bucky to defeat the Flag Smashers and would be recruited by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, given a new black and red suit and rechristened as U.S. Agent.
As regular readers know, Dan's ToyBox grades figures on the basis of Accessories, Appearance, Articulation, and Affordability. After each of these factors are considered, an overall grade is then given the figure on a scale of one to five toyboxes, with one being at the bottom and five the best grade. So, without further ado, let's take a look at our first A, the accessories.
One of my great loves of import figures is the fact that they come with so many neat features and accessories. the Captain America: John F. Walker figure is no exception either. Cap is packed with several additions. He comes with four pairs of hands: a pair of fists, a pair of shield strap holding hands, a pair of pistol holding hands, and a pair of relaxed hands. Add to that both a masked and unmasked head sculpt although it would have also been nice to have had an angry faced, masked sculpt too, his Shield, an "open" strap to attach the shield to his arm, two "folded" straps to plug into the shield, a ricochet effect for "throwing" the shield, a sidearm and empty holster which can be fitted on his thigh, and lastly a holstered weapon that can port onto his thigh. For those of you who have the SHFiguarts Endgame "Cap vs. Cap" figure, the ricochet effect piece is a familiar sight. As I do not have that figure in my collection (yet) this was a really cool addition to have. The shield is the same design we've seen in previous versions of SHFiguarts' Captain America figures, which means we know it has the four peg holes on the back for the straps and can also be plugged into the included effect piece. Each of the accessories are very easy to interchange, which makes for a less stressful hand or head sculpt swap. The details on each of the hands are really painted nicely, as are all of the included accessories. I'll talk a bit more about appearance in a moment, but before that I will definitely give this figure an A for Accessories.
This rendition of the figure is a very well done, mostly accurate likeness of the character from the series. I am suitably impressed with the detailed paint applications and was hard pressed to find any real paint deficiencies. The reds are fairly vibrant against the blue suit, the matte black on his shoulder straps, belt, holster, and sidearm contrast nicely against the polished, gloss black of his combat boots and all the silver accents stand out exceptionally well. Even the small flags painted on each of his shoulder pads are cleanly rendered. As mentioned earlier, each of the hands are detailed nicely and I could find no paint errors on any of them. We've seen the shield numerous times before and this one is done just as well as any of those. The metallic red and blue have a nice matte finish to them and are rendered fairly clean as well. I did notice a tiny bit of paint slop but it took careful scrutiny to find and isn't enough to cause me any concern. I think, honestly, the only real complaint I have with the figure is the unmasked head sculpt. The masked sculpt bears a tremendous likeness to photo stills of the character and really does convey the look that the actor, Wyatt Russell, conveyed while in costume. Unfortunately, the unmasked sculpt isn't quite as accurate in appearance. My other two main gripes about this sculpt are; 1) the skin tone has a very pasty complexion which makes it look almost yellow under the lighting I used for photographs and 2) SHF went with that gold highlighted paint scheme for his blonde hair. They have done this before and it makes the hair look very unrealistic. Looking closely at the figure it looks as if they gave the hair a brown base coat and then used the gold as an overlay, highlighting certain areas. Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture above... the lighting actually gives it a horrible peanut butter over chocolate look. Great if you want candy, not so much on an action figure. Aside from that, I do enjoy the look of this figure and will most likely keep him displayed with the masked head sculpt. Even with the disappointing unmasked sculpt there is enough good going on with this figure that I'm happy to give him an A for Appearance.
One of the things that really sets import figures apart for me, is the incredible amount of articulation packed into them. Although I like SHF, I do tend to prefer Mafex in that I feel the engineering is of better quality. That being said, it's time to delve into how well this particular figure moves. Both head sculpts have a moderately decent degree of motion. They can turn side to side nicely, but looking up and down is somewhat limited, unless used in conjunction with the neck movement. Then, the range of motion is increased a bit more. The shoulders are on butterfly joints, hidden beneath the straps. Mine were very tight, so in anticipation of this being a problem, be sure to invest in a little silicone oil. Otherwise, the arms themselves will move quite well. You can rotate the arms 360 degrees and lift both into a really good T-pose. Unfortunately, there is no real bicep swivel which prevents us from getting a nice cross body arm swing. The elbows are double jointed allowing for significant bend... hands to the face range. Each of the hands will rotate on the wrist peg and can hinge up and down. Walker has a decent upper diaphragm joint which rotates and can crunch forward and back, as well as tilting side to side. The lower joint also increases the range of ab crunch and can swivel. The legs will drop down and can do a fairly spectacular split. Both legs kick forward very well and have a hidden upper thigh swivel. The knees are double jointed and will bend in very nicely. Unfortunately, the ankles on mine are very tight and though they will hinge up and down, the ankle rocker is quite limited, and the toe articulation is also very tight. Inasmuch as I typically enjoy the posing ability for SHF, in my own opinion, it is inferior to Mafex and only marginally better than Marvel Legends. I had enough stuck and difficult joints on this figure (and it might just be limited to mine) that I just don't feel good about giving him a passing articulation grade.
As far as pricing goes, we've discussed previously that import figures are, at par, more expensive than domestic. The SHFiguarts "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" John F. Walker Captain America is no exception. I found mine on Amazon and the original price point was around $90. Thankfully, mine was on sale and I had rewards points that I could apply, so my out-of-pocket cost for this figure was significantly less. To be frank though, I feel this figure is a tad over-priced. I've seen other SHF figures with more accessories at a lower price before and for the articulation issues and fewer accessories, I just really can't give this a good rating for affordability. When taking all of these things into account, I'm going to reluctantly give this figure a total of: 3.5 toyboxes out of 5.
I would really like to rate it a bit higher, but honestly, I was a bit more disappointed with the figure than I was appreciative of it. The lack of any expressive head sculpt, the limitations on articulation and the higher price really kind of drove this down for me. As always, thank you for taking the time to stop by the ToyBox and until next time... GEEK OUT!!!!