REVIEW: Marvel Select Gladiator Hulk Figure (Thor Ragnarok)

Sometimes we have to wait the better part of a year for movie-based Marvel Select figures to arrive (they’re almost always worth the wait), but the latest release arrived like relative lightning—less than three months after the movie he stars in! The enormously anticipated (and also just plain enormous) Marvel Select Thor Ragnarok Gladiator Hulk figure is now shipping—can he take the crown from the Marvel Legends version as the best Ragnarok Hulk out there now?

REVIEW Marvel Select Gladiator Hulk FigureThe Right:

As usual, Hasbro was first-to-market with their movie-based Thor Ragnarok Gladiator Hulk figure by a wide margin. While everyone from Hot Toys to Mezco to Bandai Japan have their own Ragnarok Hulk figures on track, Hasbro hadn’t had any super-articulated competition actually in stores… until Diamond Select Toys’ Hulk began arriving two weeks back.

Will DST’s Hulk win out over the Hasbro Build-A-Figure? Let’s have a look at the Marvel Select iteration and compare…

Size Comparison DST Gladiator Hulk vs Marvel Legends Ragnarok ThorFirst, I have to give mad props to Diamond Select Toys for offering us this gigantic, heavy Gladiator Hulk movie figure for the same $25 MSRP as their standard figures. He stands about 9.5” tall—more than an inch taller than the 8.5” Hasbro Hulk.

Marvel Legends Gladiator Hulk vs. Marvel Select Ragnarok Hulk DSTI am always absolutely amazed when DST can offer these mega-sized figures at that price-point. This is especially favorable since Hasbro’s Hulk Build-A-Figure required buying $120 in other figures just to complete.

Paint Deco on DST Gladiator Hulk Thor Ragnarok Action FigureAs we’ve come to expect from the Marvel Select figures line, the paintwork on Thor Ragnarok Hulk is superb. The wash on Hulk’s skin looks good, as does the subtle weathering on his “war paint”.

Marvel Select Thor Ragnarok Hulk Armor and Helmet PlumeThe most exceptional parts of the paint deco, in my opinion, are the plume on the helmet and the metal-like detailing on the armored bits of Hulk’s costume. These are real standouts as far as realism goes.

Back of Marvel Select Ragnarok Gladiator Hulk FigureAnd while on the topic of the costume: without using actual mixed media like Hot Toys and Mezco, I don’t think any company will be able to make sculpted gladiator gear for Hulk that looks as good as this. The various textures and sculpted details on the outfit are top-notch.

Close-Up of Diamond Select Gladiator Hulk AxeMarvel Select Ragnarok Hulk comes with the same two weapons as the Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure: a war hammer and an axe. DST wins the battle for both weapons, as they’re sharper painted and colored better than the Hasbro counterparts—and without going limp and rubbery after being up for a while. (…I probably could have phrased that better.)

Diamond Select Toys Gladiator Hulk Figure and AccessoriesI complained that Hasbro’s Gladiator Hulk had only grasping hands, but thankfully, Diamond Select gives us a pair of interchangeable fists so that Hulk can pound to his heart’s delight. Thanks, DST!

Poor Fitting Helmet on Hasbro Marvel Legends Gladiator Hulk BAF vs. DST VersionOne of the pitfalls that the Hasbro Marvel Legends Gladiator Hulk Build-A-Figure fell into was having a removable helmet. While it’s a fun feature, the helmet being removable meant it had to be a bit oversized and rubbery—making it look sort of goofy crowning Hulk’s head.

Close-Up of Diamond Select Toys Gladiator Hulk Head with HelmetDiamond Select Toys sidestepped that peril by giving us two heads for Hulk—both with the same neutral(-ish) expression, but one with helmet and one without. I’d have preferred one to have an open-mouthed, roaring head, but I don’t want to be too greedy considering what phenomenal value we’re getting here to begin with.

Marvel Select Thor Ragnarok Hulk Movie Figure ReviewWhile Marvel Select figures will almost without fail have less articulation than Hasbro Marvel Legends, I think Diamond Select makes the best of the points they have built-in.

Gladiator Hulk Marvel Select Figure with Arms RaisedThe articulation scheme for DST Gladiator Hulk is as follows: ball-jointed head and upper torso; ball-hinge shoulders and wrists; swivel biceps and thighs; swivel-hinge hips; hinged elbows; double-hinged knees; and hinged feet with rockers. For a Hulk figure, all of the most important points of articulation are covered.

Marvel Select Thor Ragnarok Hulk Movie Figure Loose WristsThe Wrong:

I so wanted this Marvel Select Ragnarok Hulk to be perfection itself, but it falls just a bit short. While I can cope with the lack of an open-mouthed alternate head, one thing that I definitely can’t deal without fixing is the hands.

For whatever reason, Gladiator Hulk Select’s wrist joints are really loose, to the point where they twist and flop around incessantly when trying to hold up the heavy weapons. I’ve heard some folks have the hands falling out of the sockets completely, but I haven’t experienced that myself.

Diamond Select Ragnarok Hulk Figure Kills ThorI’m dealing with the problem right now by adding some Blu-tack around the ball-joints of the wrists, but it’s not fully fixing the issue. I may end up adding a bit of super-glue to tighten up the joint later. It’s a real shame that this QC issue is present, because this is otherwise such a perfectly-executed toy.

Marvel Select Gladiator Hulk Action Figure Review PackagedOverall: Marvel Select Gladiator Hulk is basically exactly what I expected it to be: a bigger, better, and cheaper alternative to the Marvel Legends Thor Ragnarok Hulk BAF. While Hasbro’s version was available prior to the movie and has better articulation, that’s all it has going for it in comparison to Diamond Select’s larger, heavier, better-painted beast of a movie Hulk.

The superior weapons and sculpting–plus the extra head and fists–are the icing on what’s an almost straight-up better version of the character. The loose wrists are an annoying issue, but otherwise, this is a pure gem of a Jade Giant. A (literal) huge success for DST.

GRADE: A


Comments

REVIEW: Marvel Select Gladiator Hulk Figure (Thor Ragnarok) — 10 Comments

    • Mine isn’t too bad. I may also be giving leeway because – as a MCU BAF – I really don’t care enough to be bothered by something like a wobbly helmet. So I may not be noticing. I hate the design in general as it is just a norse rip-off amalgam of the Planet Hulk and House of M looks. And Planet Hulk is far superior of a story-arc than anything involving Thor in the first place…

      Yeah, I don’t like Thor almost as much as I don’t like MCU figures.

      TL;DR – Mine fits pretty well.

  1. Great review! I absolutely love this figure, the sculpt is spot-on! The detail and likeness on the head sculpt is so good i can easily overlook the fact we don’t have an open mouth alternative. The sculpt and paint app are also top notch, with varying textures and colors, something you’d expect from a Hot Toy but for a fraction of the price! The metal armor is very realistic with it’s metallic sheen and texture. It’s hard to imagine the MEZCO version would be better enough to make up for the massive price hike! I think a lot of collectors will skip the MEZCO and S.H.Figuarts figures with their high price points for this ‘BEAUTY OF A BEAST’!!! MS hit a home-run with this Gladiator Hulk!

    • He was available for $25 shipped on Amazon proper when I posted the links on our Facebook/Twitter. Hopefully they’ll get a restock and sell him for that again, although this figure is selling unusually briskly for a Marvel Select.

      • Ah! Thanks! I’ll keep my eyes on it.

        I can forgive everything about the Hasbro BAF Hulk, but NOT the limp weapons. That just drives me nuts! I have to replace it, and I’m sure many are getting the same ideas.

        Thanks for your review as always.

  2. As far as the problem with the weak wrists, it’s not as bad as i thought it would be after reading the review. The wrists are only weak if you want him to hold the weapons at certain angles, also it mostly occurs with the large hammer which is top heavy. If you add a thin layer of hot glue to the peg of each hand it tightens them up enough to hold any pose. I noticed that not each hand had this problem however, some were tighter than others. If you have no hot glue i would think a small piece of gum (as gross as it might sound) stuck into the socket would keep it stiff enough to hold poses. Otherwise no issues with joints or articulation.

  3. I guess we’ll never get that 3rd Marvel Zombies villain. We got the trio zombie heroes with their base, but only Zombie Sabretooth and Zombie Magneto. When you put those two bases together it’s obvious there was an intended 3rd figure that was never made.

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