Red Skull

July 18, 2011 | By More

Probably one of the more recognizable villains in the Marvel Universe, Red Skull has found his way into the second wave of Captain America figures as the main movie baddie.

Past that, I really don’t know much about Red Skull past the fact he creeped me out when he showed up on comic book covers when I was a kid. I know that he is basically your typical ex-Nazi bad guy with plans of world domination.


I have to say after seeing a few online images and getting the figure in my hand, it was bugging me that he reminded me of something. When I sat down to write this I figured it out. Lon Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera. Lon Chaney had that living skull thing going on in that film just like Johann does here.

The head sculpt is pretty good, at least from what I can tell from the limited images of the movie version of the character. If anything, it might be a little too skull like. There’s a black wash over the head that is mainly concentrated on the face. The wash really helps give depth to the face and adds to the depth of the shadows.

However, the wash also seems to be overdone on the end of his nose, at least on mine. It gives a look of having a puppy dog nose from a face painter. The other paint gripe on the head is the teeth appear to have a bit bigger gap than they should in them. As with all paint issue, your mileage may vary.

The hands are in a matching red with a wash. They are a bit skeletal, but not overly done.

The body appears to have a vaguely WWII German look to it. The added black detailing seems a bit out of the time period, especially the stuff on the inside of his arms.

For being a fairly plain uniform, the overall sculpt of the figure is pretty well done. The cuffs of the jacket and the boots have some nice overhanging detail to them. I would imagine a customizer could turn him into any number of different soldiers.

Notice I said sculpt above, because the paint is a different story. There are seven silver buttons on this jacket. One of them is painted right. All of the other ones look like they were painted with a brush that was three sizes too big.

On skirt portion there is a thin line of red. I’m assuming slop from painting his neck. Of course if there was a little more grey sloppiness from his collar, they wouldn’t have needed any red.

The black, in comparison, looks pretty good. Well, it looks good except for this one spot on his boots. The black isn’t the issue. It’s the bright white number printed on the inside of the boot. Was this really the best spot to put this? Really? I guess I shouldn’t complain they could have put it on the back of his head.

One last item that I’m not 100% sure about. I thought the belt buckle on this costume had a Hydra logo on it. I’m not sure, so we’ll have to wait until the film comes out to know for sure.


I have to imagine this is a bit of a hard sell. “Here Parents! Buy your kid the creepy Nazi figure to play with!”  In spite of that,  as one of the few non Captain America figures in the line at this point, Red Skull isn’t going to hang around on pegs.

Once I got him home, I thought even though the paint is a little off he’ll be okay. He will still be fun to pose and stuff. Yeah, not so much.

One thing I picked up on right away, is that his hands are reversed from the back of the card. Not a big deal, but a little odd.

The next thing I noticed, and much more major, is that his legs are kind of useless. They appear to have the “Marvel Legends” type hip joint tucked up tight under the bottom of his jacket. This hip joint, which folks that have bough other Marvel Hasbro figures will tell you, is difficult to position when fully exposed. Basically with the coat, the hips can only rotate. He cant sit, jog, or kneel.

To compound this issue there’s no ankle or other rotating joint in the leg. So you can rotate his leg, but his feet are going to point where ever you rotate it to.

The knees aren’t as bad as Cap’s, but they’re still a bit rubbery. They also make him appear slightly knock kneed. And without the ankle articulation, you are pretty much stuck with one pose to get him to stand.

Speaking of stands, like Cap, he doesn’t come with one. In this case, a stand would have been nice to keep him stable when on display.

Skull does come with three other accessories, though. The first of which is the requisite movie toy missile launcher. In this case, it’s actually not comically oversize, just slightly oversize. If anything it looks like a heavy duty energy weapon. It kind of reminds me of one of a Men in Black rifle a little.

Of course, every figure seems to come with a handgun these days. Red Skull comes with one that makes sense, a German Luger. I’m pretty sure this is a reused Indiana Jones item. It’s not a bad reuse. However, his right hand doesn’t really seem to want to hold it.  The other downside is that there’s no holster for it.

The last accessory is a Cosmic Cube. Well, a sort of cube. The translucent piece is molded with smoke or power tendrils coming off of it. It looks okay if you know what it is. If you don’t it kind of looks like he’s holding a blue flame in his hand kind of like Liz from Hellboy.


I really wanted to like this figure. Red Skull is one of deliciously evil bad guys that you can build a scene around. However, I have to say I was really let down. For a figure that was this hard to find in the wild, I really wanted something great. And yes, the head sculpt is great. But, I can’t get past the bad paint and articulation. I just can’t.

My guess is that as more actual movie figures hit the pegs, we will see at least one  more version of Red Skull. I’m guessing from the online pictures, we will see a full Hydra leather uniform version at some point. I’m guessing one with a swappable “human” head is probably not outside the realm of possibility, either.

Bottom line, if you find him and must have him, look over the paint real close. If you don’t find him, I wouldn’t despair, I’m sure we’ll see a different, and hopefully better, version of Red Skull in the future.

Engineernerd Score: 73/100


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Comments (4)

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  1. Errex says:

    Mmm. I think I’ll wait and see if I can get this one on clearance. The paint, I can correct myself, but the articulation issues are really annoying. Excellent review. 😉

  2. Engineernerd says:

    In fairness, Yo Go Re at OAFE was bit kinder in his review:

    The paint looks to be a tad better, which would have helped my disposition.

  3. Tom says:

    Have you heard if we are getting another Skull figure?

  4. Engineernerd says:

    Other than the repaints already out there, I haven’t heard anything.

    However, with Hasbro at NYCC, maybe we’ll see something there.