‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ was, without a doubt, the biggest movie of the summer. Nay, the whole year. It took a rag tag group of C-level characters from Marvel’s comic universe, and turned them into household names in the span of a two-hour runtime. Now, Diamond Select Toys is bringing the Guardians home to you in the best way they know how… Minimates! The all new Marvel Minimates Wave 57 ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ just hit Specialty stores this past week, and wow is this a nice set! It’s worth noting that there were some ‘Guardians’ Minimates released earlier this summer exclusively at Toys R Us, but that series did not contain all of the figures in the current wave, and even had one exclusive figure (which we’re also going to talk about here)!
So first off, for the uninitiated, what’s a Minimate? Minimates are DST and Art Asylum’s ongoing line of mini-figures that are based on anything and everything you can imagine! Each figure (well, most of them) stands 2-inches tall and has interchangeable parts that work with almost every other Minimate, making these guys great for customizing and making your own original figures! Minimates have been in production since 2002, so with over a decade’s worth of figures on the market, it isn’t hard to see why the line has such a huge fan base!
So let’s talk about Marvel Minimates Wave 57, shall we? This wave is made up of four sets of two figures each; Starlord with Ronan, Gamora with Nova Corps Trooper, Drax with Groot (and mini Rocket), and Nebula with a Sakaar Trooper. The two packs featuring Gamora with Nova Corps Trooper and Nebula with a Sakaar Trooper are exclusive to specialty stores, so you’ll only find these at your local comic shop or anywhere else that orders directly from Diamond ‘Previews’ catalog. Additionally, as mentioned earlier there was a Toys R Us Exlclusive 2-pack as well, featuring Yondu with another Sakaar Trooper.
First up we’ve got the film’s lead, Starlord; aka Peter Quill. Starlord is a well designed figure with a great sculpt and lots of fine details built in to really bring the character to life. He’s wearing his buttoned longer trench coat as seen in the beginning of the film, which really limit’s the figure’s movement and takes away from his mobility, but overall looks really great. The long coat piece has a lot of small details sculpted onto it, including Quill’s satchel as one solid piece, so it looks entirely screen accurate. It would have been nicer if the figure came with an open, shorter jacket as well, as it probably could have just re-used the same arms as the longer coat, but with everything else that DST packed in with this figure, I can see why it would be left out.
Starlord’s head design is spot on and looks just like actor Chris Pratt! The smirk is easily recognizable, even if the hair color used for his facial hair is way too light and blends in with his skin to the point where it’s really hard to see it. Aside from the standard head, Starlord comes with his iconic Helmet. The Helmet is masterfully sculpted to include every minor detail and really makes the figure pop! So if the bearded unmasked look doesn’t do it for you, the helmeted look surely will! Another really cool piece sculpted exclusively for this figure are his boots, which have his rocket-boosters sculpted onto the sides.
The key example of what makes this figure work so well is his accessories. Starlord comes with his highly detailed dual pistols, as well as his walkman with headphones. The pistols look like they’re pretty screen accurate, and fit perfectly into this figures hands. The walkman on the other hand, doesn’t work so well. While the walkman itself fits perfectly into the standard Minimate hands, the headphones themselves are a bit n the small side, and don’t actually fit around Peter’s head (helmeted or non), so they just sort of sit awkwardly. They sort of work if you just leave them sitting around his neck, or if you photograph them at an angle, but overall they’re kind of a throwaway accessory. It was great of DST to include them for fan service, but they were ultimately too small.
Starlord is ultimately a great figure and a key piece of this series. While a shorter jacket accessory would have made a world of difference, there are easy work-arounds for that ( but more on that later!), and the longer coat version still makes for a excellent display piece.
Ah Ronan The Accuser. This is the films ‘big bad’, and wow did he do a great job of it in the film! This Minimate version, however, doesn’t quite carry the same weight. Ronan has a great overall sculpt, and the ornate details of his costume and face paint are not lost in the translation from film to 2-inch plastic figure. If he’s just being used for display, he looks just as dark and imposing as he should!
The main issue with the Ronan Minimate, is his headdress. It looks great on him and DST clearly put a lot of effort into making sure every detail was captured in this figure’s sculpt. But with the length of his headdress, and the fact that the shoulder pads are sculpted onto it to form one solid piece, means this figures head and arm movements are exceedingly limited and pretty much have zero range. Other than bending at the elbow or turning at the wrist, Ronan has no real arm-movement while wearing his headdress, which is kind of an issue. If the shoulders had been made as a separate piece, it probably would have worked better, but luckily Ronan isn’t known for being someone who moves a lot or runs around. He’s a powerhouse with a big hammer who stands around being imposing, which luckily this figure can do in spades.
Speaking of Ronan’s hammer? It looks fantastic. The sculpt for this accessory is spot on, and the fact that the handle slims down so that the Ronan figure can grip it easier makes a world of difference. Unfortunately, Ronan can’t really swing his hammer around too much due to his limited arm movement. Still, he makes a great figure to stand around pointing and commanding his Sakaar Troopers!
Drax ‘The Destroyer’ is a pleasant surprise! He uses mostly standard Minimate body parts, but features an add on bulky chest-piece to show his larger body mass and muscles. The figure has an ornate paint job to showcase the red markings on the characters skin as seen in the film and comics. Every detail is captured here, and DST didn’t miss a beat when translating Drax into figure form.
Drax’s accessories are limited, as they should be, to a pair of bulky boots and a set of two curved daggers. The daggers are pretty cool and feature a new sculpt not previously used in other Minimate series, so they are a very nice touch to compliment this figure with.
Groot & Rocket Raccoon
He is Groot! And he is fantastic! Groot stands slightly taller than other Minimates by featuring a waist riser and his own tree-feet that were sculpted specifically for this figure. His legs, arms, and main torso are standard Minimate parts, but he sports specially sculpted hands and a brand new head-sculpt as well! Groot has a highly detailed paint job, but lacks much of the sculpting that other figures in this wave received. One major bonus is a small grip on the back of Groot’s head that allows Rocket Raccoon to perch there, making these figures both that much more screen-accurate.
Rocket Raccoon is… a small solid piece of plastic. Unfortunately, while he is sculpted to look like a tiny articulated Minimate, he is actually a solid piece of unarticulated plastic. That said, he still looks great and his sculpt and paint applications clearly received the same exactly kind of love that every other figure in this series did. While some minor articulation would have been nice, it’s totally understandable why Rocket would have to join to ranks of previous micor-Minimates like Snarf from ‘Thundercats’ who did not receive any articulation.
Individually these two both look great, but they really shine as a pair. It’s great that DST opted to just pack Rocket in with Groot and Drax to make forming the team considerably easier to do. Rocket could have easily been made slightly larger and released as his own full figure. This version is perfectly in scale with Groot and works wonderfully.
Thanos’ adopted daughter Gamora is another key figure in this series, and also one of the harder to find ones. She comes wearing her outfit she was seen in towards the first half of the film, featuring a painted fishnet pattern along with a black leathery outfit with blue highlights. Her sculpt isn’t anything particularly special, but the attention to detail on his costume design shows on most of the figure. It’s worth noting that unlike most figures in this wave, her detailing on her costume did not carry over to the back of his outfit, which stands out as kind of weird comparatively.
One key feature of Gamora’s look are the details of his facial design, which translated wonderfully into Minimate form. He hair coloration with the darker color followed by purple at the ends works really well here, although the hair sculpt used limit’s the figure’s head movement. Gamora comes packaged with the sword she uses in the third act of the film, which looks great and works really well for the figure.
In the film, Nebula feels very much like a throwaway character. As a toy, she’s just so much cooler. The one key factor that Nebula has going for her is that she looks really cool, so when she’s translated into plastic form, she’s pretty fantastic. The Nebula Minimate in this wave utilizes basic Minimate parts all throughout, and has all of her details painted on. Her paint job is probably the most detailed of any figure in this wave, and it really showcases the characters design flawlessly.
Unfortunately, Nebula did not include any weapons or accessories. It would have been nice if she had a sword or daggers to use as she did in the film, as they would seriously up this figures game in a Minimate display with Gamora.
Nova Corps and Sakaar Trooper Army Builders
These guys are essentially the generic soldiers on either side of the fight happening during the third act of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Both of them are pretty generic (as they are meant to be) and work wonderfully for army building purposes.
The Nova Corps Trooper has a freshly sculpted removable helmet with a generic face underneath. His costume design is that of pretty much every member of the Nova Corps as seen in the film, so with a head swap or the addition of hair, he can become any number of characters. His costume is detailed enough to look cool, but basic enough to not stand out much. He comes with a blaster rifle to do battle with Sakaar Troopers.
The Sakkar Troopers essentially look like walking scabs. They have no facial features, just darkened faces with what looks like pock marks, which also tend to cover the figures entire body. The helmet has a nice sculpt to it, and the costume design is still pretty generic, but captures the Sakaar Troopers’ look from the film perfectly. These guys were meant to come off as generic bad guy soldiers, and they do so perfectly. The Sakkar Trooper comes packaged with a larger rifle weapon that can only really be held awkwardly.
Bonus Figure: Yondu
Yondu is the leader of The Ravagers, and is also this series Toys R Us Exclusive figure! That makes him considerably harder to find than most figures in the wave, as he can only be found in Toys R Us Stores. Yondu’s facial design features a spot-on likeness to actor Michael Rooker, and is probably the most accurate looking facial design in this entire wave. He sports a large open trench coat and the general dark red jumpsuit that The Ravagers are all wearing throughout the film. Yondu doesn’t come with any accessories, so you won’t be seeing his unique arrow that he can control by whistling, but he fortunately does have his head fin attached as a separately sculpted raised accessory.
Aside from being a great figure, Yondu bears the burden of being excellent to use for spare parts! Most of his parts are essentially generic Ravager clothing, so they work well the change up many of the other figures in this waves look. You can throw Starlord into the full red jumpsuit from the film’s finale! Or even just toss him in the open dark red trench coat for a different look! Starlord’s undershirt is the right light blue that he wore in the film, and he has a detailed belt design, so the open coat look totally works well for him. Alternatively, you can just throw Yondu’s upper torso onto Starlord to give him the zipped up short jacket look that we mentioned way back towards the beginning of this review! Even Yondu’s pants work to put Drax in his red-panted outfit from the third act of the film, so almost every part of Yondu works for other purposes. This makes him arguably the best figure in the set, with many people undoubtedly snatching up doubles for exactly this purpose.
As a whole, Marvel Minimates Wave 57 ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ is phenomenal. While many figures have minor flaws, they get so much more right than they do wrong. This is probably one of the best waves of Minimates that DST has released to date, with so many key characters included and so many spot on figure designs and sculpts, it’s hard to see anything really wrong with it. Don’t wait too long to snatch these up if you see them, they won’t be lingering on shelves long!