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Marvel Retro 375 Collection
by yo go re

Like the lyrics to the X-Men cartoon theme say: "...Robots."

From the twisted mind of Bolivar Trask, the mutant-hunting Sentinel goes on the attack!

Oh that's weird, you're still able to print character info on Marvel packaging? Who knew! As we've said before, there's nothing companies hate more than seeing someone else take in money they could have taken for themselves, so back in 2020 Hasbro introduced the Retro 375 Collection, a blatant knockoff of Super7's ReAction line. Did they come up with the idea on their own, or did Super7 make overtures about adding Marvel to the line, making them realize they had an untapped market? Maybe Hasbro's not allowed to sub-license Marvel; after all, it's not like they have any problem with Super7 doing any of their in-house brands, like Transformers, GI Joe, or Power Rangers. Anyway, Hasbro started making their own crummy throwbacks, and we've all ignored them. Until now.

As is appropriate for the era, all the Retro 375 figures are the same size and use the same basic bodies, with only characters like Hulk or Thing being "big" by its standards. Now, however, they've done the mutant-hunting Sentinel, and have really broken out of the mold for what the line is. The Sentinel towers over everything else in the line at a daunting 8" tall, which would make it 12' tall in the 1:18 scale. That even makes it taller than a lot of Marvel Legends! And that, dear reader, is why I decided to get it: if you recall, the Sentinels as introduced in 1965's Uncanny X-Men #14 were just slightly larger than humans, so consider this one of those older models.

Retro figures are an excuse to halfass the sculpt, so the 375 Sentinel is mostly smooth, with just the hint of anatomical shapes. Since it's a giant robot, sure, okay. They did include some piping on the torso, plus the vents on the belt and the center of the chest, so it's not like this is just a blank body painted in Sentinal colors (purple limbs and head, periwinkle boots, gloves, and body). The face is pink, with a big black frown, and although the eyes are light-piped, they don't work right: they wanted to do it so the eyes would be black with glowing red dots in them, but the spot on the back of the head doesn't let enough light in to really get to those pupils. To see anything at all, you almost have to have the light pressed directly up against the back of the toy's head, which isn't cool.

Of course, that's just on the normal head; the toy has two of them. The alternate head has no light-pipe feature, because it's instead meant to be battle damaged. The top of the head is sculpted as though ripped open, with the workings inside visible. The face is beat up as well, but that really just looks like Wolverine scraped the paint off while fighting it, because it's still mostly smooth. The damaged areas get silver paint, but its honestly just sort of slopped on, with no effort made to match it to the sculpt; that may be true to the 70s/80s toys it's emulating, but it doesn't mean we like it now.

By the same token, the articulation is minimal, because that's what they're trying to copy. The Sentinel has a T-crotch, swivel gloves, swivel shoulders, and a balljointed head. The littler figures don't get to move their hands at all, so this is a step up above the norm, but no waist? Meh. The plastic it's molded from is stiff and hollow, making the toy feel cheap in a way the price tag doesn't reflect. According to Hasbro's site, the SRP is $24.99. There is no world where this thing is worth 25 bucks. I saw this at FYE marked $49.99, which is somehow even worse than the $32 to $50 markup the 20th Anniversary Legends got there.

In addition to the alternate head, the Sentinel includes two accessories: an energy blast and a tentacle. Both of those plug into the right palm (not at the same time), and look really good in place. The blast, a translucent orange jagged cone, has its attachment peg off-center, so he can fire it forward without having to lift his unflexible wrist all the way up above his head. The cable is inflexible, just molded with bends along its length and a loop at the end that could be used to snare other figures.

As a throwback, the Retro 375 Collection is sold on blister cards, and the Sentinel is as well: it just happens to be 10" wide and 14" tall. It has the same graphic design as the rest of the line, with one big image of the Sentinel in the front, and many other silhouettes flying behind it. Because this is retro, it even gets the old Kenner logo instead of Hasbro.

If you recall, the HasLab Sentinel came with an alternate head to turn it into Master Mold, the device that builds more Sentinels. Given their comparative sizes, that figure was way too small to serve as a Master Mold for the existing Sentinels... but it's a great size for this one! Big 27" Master Mold spitting out 8" Sentinels to fight 3¾" mutants. Do it! This release can stand in for first-generation robots in a 6" collection, or it can serve as something to bridge the gap between the biggest figures and the smallest ones. It's a fun figure, to be sure, but it's only, like, $15 of fun. Don't over pay.

-- 01/23/23

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