Sometimes figure re-releases end up being a disappointment, as the demand for a reissued figure ends up being less than the manufacturer thought and the toy ends up rotting off the pegs. This is not one of those times. Collectors have been calling out for a re-release of Marvel Legends Ares Build-A-Figure for years and paying $100+ for him in the meantime. Hasbro has heard fans’ cries and responded–with the new and improved Thor Ragnarok Marvel Legends Ares figure!
Not exactly an impressive resume, but you’d never know it: the Hasbro Ares Build-A-Figure has remained one of the most popular and expensive Marvel Legends figures for over half a decade since its release.
And finally, Hasbro is throwing a bone to collectors who can’t afford to pay over $100 for the Ares BAF on the aftermarket with an updated version of the figure. And this isn’t just some lame repack–it’s a superior version of the original.
At a glance, the first thing many collectors will notice is that this figure has been repainted quite a bit from the original release. Gone is the off grey chest armor and brown pants, replaced with sleeker, cooler looking black for both parts of the costume.
Ares’ head sculpt gets a big change as well: instead of sporting mere mortal eyes with pupils, the new version is sporting powered-up “God” eyes that look downright malevolent and a whole lot more intimidating. You can remove the helmet if you want to see his newly-painted piercing eyes even more.
Because the old Ares Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure was, well… old… the figure didn’t have any ankle rockers or double-jointed knees. Hasbro has fixed this issue by giving the figure a more recent lower leg mold, which improves both his aesthetic and his functionality.
Along with the reworked legs, the Marvel Legends 2017 Ares figure also includes one new weapon: a large double-sided axe. The axe has paint deco along the edges to make it look snazzy, and having Ares be able to dual-wield his humongous sword and this giant axe increases his badass factor considerably. Excellent addition to the figure.
The two weapons from the original BAF also make a return: the humongous sword and decently-large knife (which can be sheathed on Ares’ right thigh). Both weapons now have extra gold paint deco on them, which makes them really pop and improves them visually. I love the battle damage on the sword, as well as the fact that it’s as tall as Ares himself from neck to toe.
If all that isn’t enough, though, this figure also includes the gigantic war hammer and left arm of Gladiator Hulk from Thor Ragnarok! Hasbro really wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth from this guy!
I definitely appreciate the new legs that Ares is sporting with ankle rocker ankles, but he’s still missing some standard points of modern articulation: double-jointed elbows and swivel calves/boots. Getting him into dynamic poses wielding his weapons is consequently pretty tricky, especially because of the sub-usual elbow articulation.
In addition, while Ares is sporting a ball-hinge head, it has a terrible range of motion with virtually no ability to look upwards whatsoever. The God of War can look down and straight and diagonally to the side, and it’s somewhat awkward.
The helmet is also too loose, and that led to it falling off about a dozen times just in the minutes I was photographing Ares. The head sculpt itself is wonderful, but I wish the helmet would stay on when I want it to.
Overall: This Marvel Legends Ares figure isn’t just as good as the original release–he’s better thanks to an extra weapon, new legs and improved paint deco. Even so, his articulation is still a step behind what we’re used to over half a decade after the original Ares BAF, and his helmet falling off all the time drives me nuts. This is a great-looking Ares action figure that is a definite improvement on the original, but he falls just short of being as good as the best modern Marvel Legends.