I’ll freely admit, I’m kind of new at this thing, so folks, please bear with me. We’re hoping to create weekly content at the site and that content will be at least tangentially related to the upcoming games. The first launch, “Space Bootleggers”, is all about smuggling things in space, so I figured I’d review an action figure of pop culture’s big new outer space scoundrel: Star-Lord. While he may be the hot new thing, he’s still got a long history (that you can read about in his entry in the Scoundrel Round-Up…haha, cross-promotion) and honestly, he’s a pretty great action figure.
For those of you not familiar with Star-Lord from The Guardians of the Galaxy, I’ll throw out a brief bio. The movie stayed pretty true to the most recent life story of Peter Jason Quill as we know him. Peter Quill was a regular Earth kid until his deadbeat space dad decided he wanted custody and grabbed him after his mother died. However, Peter thought he dad was kind of a tool so decided to roam space as a bit of a rogue. He’s rocked a lot of different looks over the years, some good and some not so good. Star-Lord’s current comic look is the same thing he wore in the movies, so the nice thing is that the Marvel Legends: Guardians of the Galaxy series Star-Lord figure can pull double duty as both a comic-based figure and a movie-based figure. There are some collectors that only collect figures that look like the characters from the comic books so it’s nice that Marvel decided the redesign Star-Lord got for the movie was good enough to pull it over to the comics. You can see him dressed like this in the current Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series as well as his solo book, Legendary Star-Lord. I haven’t followed the Guardians book that much, but I did enjoy Legendary Star-Lord, though full disclosure, I haven’t picked it up in a while because Marvel decided to do a weird crossover between the Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men that just seemed like more story than I wanted to invest in.
The Marvel Legends line (now run by Hasbro though originally brought into being by the folks at Toy Biz before they closed their doors) is a great line. It expertly walks the line between high-end collectors’ market action figures and fun toys. The line itself usually relies pretty heavily on parts reuse, but Hasbro also knows when it’s a good time to invest in all new parts. Star-Lord benefits from this and gets an entirely newly sculpted figure. Like a collectors’ market figure, Star-Lord is exceptionally well-detailed. This is especially noticeable on his fancy space pants and his space duster. Star-Lord is rocking some knee-high boots with small rockets on them to allow him additional freedom of movement in outer space. The boot jets are very nicely molded, though I do wish they were accessory pieces rather than sculpted elements. Both in the movie and the comics, Star-Lord could change the angle of the rockets and I think that would have been a nice element for the action figure to have as well. At a distance, Star-Lord’s pants look pretty generic, but up close, you can see all sorts of screen accurate details. I’m not sure why those details are there aside from making them look less like Earth-pants, but Star-Lord had them in the movie so they’re brought over to the figure as well. Star-Lord’s chest is pretty basic. While he may have fancy space pants, Star-Lord decided less is more when it comes to shirts and is wearing a pretty generic t-shirt. Thanks to his fancy jacket, though, you don’t have to worry about him being too boring. Star-Lord’s arms are designed to look like the jacket arms but the rest of the jacket is a piece that is worn over the rest of the figure. It adds some necessary bulk to the figure while at the same time allowing him as much range of motion as possible. The jacket really makes this figure. There are all sorts of screen-accurate details here and it fits Star-Lord excellently. The jacket piece is also made of soft enough material that it can be moved out of the way to allow him to get into a wide variety of poses. This can’t always be said for jackets in this scale so it’s nice that Star-Lord isn’t restricted by his jacket. Over the jacket, Star-Lord also has the satchel we saw him wearing at the top of the movie. While it’s a good looking piece, I was a little bummed to find that it wasn’t designed in a way that you could store his other accessories in it. I think Hasbro dropped the ball a little by not making it so Star-Lord could stash his accessories in there. If nothing else, it would have meant that I wouldn’t have to constantly worry about them disappearing from my desk. Up top, Star-Lord has an excellently sculpted head. When we first meet Star-Lord, he’s wearing a rather intimidating-looking face mask. It fully covers his face and if it weren’t for the clearly human hair sticking out from the top, he’d look decidedly alien. I’ll admit, that’s one of the design issues I have with Star-Lord’s look in the movie. The mask is supposed to protect him from the dangers of space, yet the top part of his head is exposed. Yes, in the movie they showed the helmet created a little force field around his head, but I still think it’s an odd choice. While I still think it’s pretty odd, I do appreciate that the front of the mask looks a bit like a rebreather that you would see divers using. It’s little touchstones like this that help me understand the purpose of the tech details on a figure. However, if you don’t like the masked head, Hasbro’s got you covered there and gives you an alternate head. Star-Lord’s heads swap out relatively easily, which is something that can’t be said for every figure I’ve had with swappable heads. The unmasked head is a bit of a tough sell for me because it really doesn’t look like Chris Pratt. I’m sure comic fans appreciate that, but it also really doesn’t look like how Star-Lord has been drawn in recent comics. He just looks like a generic white guy and that’s a bit of a bummer. For the most part, the actor likenesses on the Guardians of the Galaxy figures were spot on, but unmasked Star-Lord just doesn’t quite work. As such, my Star-Lord tends to stay masked.
To bring Star-Lord in line with standard mass market figures, he’s got some great articulation. Usually, the high-end collectors’ market figures tend to sacrifice articulation in favor of aesthetics, which is not a decision I’ve ever understood. Thankfully, at least on its larger scale figures, Hasbro doesn’t do that. Star-Lord joints in the following places: ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, and wrists in addition to swivels at the mid thigh and waist, an ab crunch joint and a balljointed head. For the most part, all the joints have excellent range of motion and you can get Star-Lord into a lot of great poses. The only joints that aren’t great are his hips. Their range of motion is pretty restricted for some reason. I’ll also admit, considering how many great flight poses you can get Star-Lord in, it would have been awesome if Hasbro had dusted off the old flying stand that a few Marvel Legends had. The flight stand was a clear piece that plugged into the figure’s back and made it look like he was flying. While I know Star-Lord isn’t someone you think of when you think of a flying superhero, with as fun as the scenes he used the jet boots in the movie were, it would have been nice to have Star-Lord flying around on my desk.
The paint work on Star-Lord is passable. There are a few missteps here and there, but that’s to be expected on mass market figures. Most of the figure is actually molded out of the proper color plastic, which helps. The biggest areas of concern are on Star-Lord’s jacket and the eyes on his mask. I’ll admit, I searched through a lot of Star-Lord’s (because he was kind of a peg-warmer) before I found one with eyes I thought looked good. None of them were egregiously bad, but if I have the option to check out a figure, I’ll take. The silver details on the jacket can have some coverage problem, but again, it’s not anything that ruins the figure in my opinion. Star-Lord’s colors work well together. The dark red duster looked quite sharp on screen and looks just as nice on my desk. The brown trim and gloves blend well with the shade of red used for the duster. The basic blue pants and gray shirt fit well with the idea that Star-Lord is just an average guy running around in outer space. He’s not wearing things that are overly fancy. His gear gets the job done and that’s all he needs from it.
Unlike some of the Marvel Legends figures, Star-Lord gets quite a few accessories. The lack of accessories in the line really doesn’t surprise me since some superheroes like Spider-Man and various members of the X-Men don’t really have gear, but it always makes me happy when Hasbro accessorizes the Marvel Legends figures well. The most obvious choice for accessories to give Star-Lord is his pair of element pistols. While they became your basic sci-fi laser gun in the movie, in the comics, they’re pretty cool. Star-Lord can manipulate earth, wind, fire, lightning and ice with these things and uses them quite effectively to surprise his opponents. They fit snugly in his hands but they’re not too tight that you have to worry about damaging either the figure or the accessory. If that’s all Star-Lord came with, I would have been happy, but he also has three additional movie-based accessories. He’s got a removable pair of headphones that fit either head quite well. Hasbro’s designers really did a great job with the heads because there is a subtle depression in his hair that holds the headphones steady but it’s not obvious enough that Star-Lord looks like he’s missing something if he’s not wearing the headphones. That’s some good design work there. Since the figure’s overall look reminds me of the first scene from the movie, he’s also got the small silver ball that he was stealing in that opening scene. He can hold it relatively securely in his right hand so if you don’t want Star-Lord carrying both element guns, he can hold the silver ball just like he did in the movie. The final accessory is probably the least effective because it’s not really clear what it is. It’s a small orange rectangle that looks kind of like a Walkman, which is a nice nod to Star-Lord’s Awesome Mix, but at the same time, it’s really out of scale with the figure. As someone who was born in the 80s and remembers his 90s-era Walkman, I have to say that Star-Lord’s Walkman is way too small to be believable. He can hold it in his left hand but it looks positively dinky in his hand. If it weren’t for the fact that there are molded details that look like the play button and the door of a Walkman, I’d almost assume it was the Awesome Mix tape, but it’s clearly got details that wouldn’t be on a tape. If it were the tape, I could almost forgive it being that small, but it’s clearly the Walkman and that’s just the wrong size. I applaud Hasbro trying to reference that piece here, but they did such a poor job with it that I almost wish they hadn’t. It just looks weird, and it’s even stranger that it’s molded out of orange plastic. That color just makes no sense aside from giving him one accessory that wasn’t grayish.
Filling out the figure’s box, there’s also a piece of Groot. Yes, to encourage toy buyers to buy all the figures of a series even if there are a couple of lame ones (Guardians of the Galaxy Iron Man, I am definitely looking at you right now), a lot of toy companies have started the practice of letting you build another larger figure from pieces included with each figure in the particular series. Making Groot the Guardians series build a figure was a no-brainer. He definitely became popular enough after the movie to entice people into buying weak figures to complete him and he is also a big enough figure that it would be cost-prohibitive to release him on his own. Star-Lord comes with Groot’s right arm. Like other Marvel Legends figures, the arm is very well detailed and while I haven’t built my own Groot because most of the Guardians series figures were kind of hard to track down, I can imagine Groot is a pretty good looking figure. The arm itself is about half Star-Lord’s height so Groot is going to be a pretty big guy. The sculptors captured Groot’s movie look very well and I do wish the Guardians figures weren’t as hard to find as they wound up being.
Star-Lord is a very well executed figure. I’ll admit, when Marvel announced the Guardians of the Galaxy film, I thought for sure they were crazy. The Guardians are a C-list team at best that no one’s heard of. I’m a die-hard Marvel fan and even I didn’t know a lot about them going in. I’d always felt the reason Marvel was so successful with its first films was that they stuck to characters that people at least kind of knew about. Iron Man and Hulk may not have initially been household names, but they both had cartoons and action figures in the 90s and have been around for a while. However, the Guardians were a bunch of random folks, and the team has changed quite a few times. I figured for sure Marvel made a dumb call and that this would be their first failure. Man, was I wrong! Personally, I think casting Chris Pratt as Star-Lord was a stroke of genius and it really won me over. Star-Lord definitely felt like an Earth kid who wound up in space after being abducted by aliens and that’s what the movie needed to work. Without Star-Lord as everyone’s touchstone in this alien universe, I don’t think Guardians would have been the blockbuster it was. While Rocket and Groot wound up being more the breakout stars of Guardians, Star-Lord worked really well and I liked him enough I took the time to find a good version of his action figure. If you were reluctant to give the Guardians a chance, like I was, you really should take in the film. I think it will surprise you and they made it fun enough that I wanted to get my own Star-Lord. Heck, I think I might have gotten Star-Lord the same day I saw the movie, I was that impressed with him in the film.