With the entertainment world on hold for the foreseeable, cinemas across the world shutting their doors, and Hollywood pushing all of their guaranteed money makers’ release dates back, it’s no surprise that despite being only days away from the original release date, we won’t be seeing the Black Widow movie any time soon.
I think the majority of us can agree that there are far more important things going on around the world and given how long the master assassin has been waiting to helm her own solo outing, what’s another six to twelve months in the grand scheme of things.
Set Number: 76162
Minifigures: Black Widow, Yelena Belova, Taskmaster
Luckily, while Marvel fans can’t get that cinema fix of new content, LEGO has you covered for new action. Released just before the pandemic put many of us in lockdown, Black Widow’s Helicopter Chase follows a pattern that LEGO seems to be following with Marvel’s less popular/well unknown characters being the one and only movie tie-in.
What I mean by this is, if you look at the solo outings from Marvel movies in recent years, Captain Marvel (1 set), Ant-Man (1 set), Ant-Man and the Wasp (1 set), Spider-Man: Far from Home (3 sets). Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 (3 sets), there’s definitely a pattern in what LEGO and Marvel produce based on expectations for success.
Also, from what the trailers have shown us, Black Widow seems more tonally similar to the likes of The Winter Soldier than the universally family friendly Spider-Man movies, so marketing to younger audiences is going to be more difficult for a toy company to pull off.
Whatever the reasons, here we are with a LEGO set entirely dedicated to one of the most overlooked and under-used characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow, and at a fairly modest price.
The set features three minifigures, all of which are named characters from the movie and have their origins rooted in the Marvel comics. Along with the titular character in a brand new variant design, we also get Yelena Belova, who comic book fans will know as the second Black Widow, and Taskmaster the villain of the MCU story who, again, has a long history with the Avengers in the comics. All of these minifigures are, at the time of writing, exclusives to this set, which will raise the interest for collectors, that’s for sure.
If we begin with a close look at this new version of Romanoff, it’s important to point out that the timeline for the movie is between Civil War and Infinity War, hence the longer red hair on the figure as opposed to the lighter colouring we see in the latter Avengers movie. We do, however, get the same head piece from the Infinity War era, which isn’t surprising given that the character wouldn’t have changed too much physically in that timeframe.
Black Widow’s new suit, seen in both the trailers, and the promotional material (including the set box), is superbly recreated in this new minifigure. Significantly different from the previous two designs (I’m not including the Endgame Black Widow because the white suit wasn’t unique to her), the printing is exquisite and captures every detail of the stealthy suit from the neck down to the knees.
Whilst the silver, grey and black outlines aren’t overly complex, when compared to say Black Panthers intricate detailing, they fill the space nicely and perfectly match that one of the real-life suit. It’s the small details that make this such a great minifigure, the belt being a prime example. Let’s face it, there are a number of examples, especially with the superhero themes, where the details on the belts are overlooked. With Natasha, however, the shape, colour, even the individual panels are impressively detailed. This is also the case with the shoulder brace which, as you can see, is detailed well both front and back. Nat is also equipped with her signature electrified rods.
Overall, I think this is my favourite Black Widow variant, even outshining the similarly impressive detail of the Age of Ultron era minifigure.
Yelena Belova’s introduction into the MCU will no doubt bring joy to many long-term comic book fans of Black Widow. She is well known in her own right under the Black Widow mantle and so expanding the wider cast of this side of the Marvel universe is definitely something to look forward to. Sadly, her minifigure debut isn’t overly exciting with a similar head-piece to Romanoff and hair piece that has been utilised many times for figures, there isn’t much in the way of uniqueness about this fig.
Even the body design is a bit bland, and more what I’d expect to see on a nameless henchman than a named central character from the movie. The problem is, it is accurate to what we’ve seen from promotional material, a very militaristic look, featuring a white body suit and army green vest, and yet it just seems boring.
Don’t get me wrong, the detail on the individual straps on the vest and on the legs printing is impressive compared to figures of yesteryear, but I’m sure there are multiple looks in the movie that they could have been drawn on to make this a much more interesting debut for the second Black Widow.
Who knows, maybe Belova is set to have a much larger role in the future of the Avengers after what happened in Endgame to poor Nat, we shall see.
Moving on to the villain of the piece, Taskmaster, a complex character with an interestingly unique power, basically super muscle memory, he can mimic the physical moments of others. As you can imagine, that should make a showdown against Black Widow one very awesome moment, once the movie does finally get released. As an MCU LEGO debut, though, I have issues from the off. The character is supposed to have a sword and a circular shield not unlike Captain America’s, so why have we not been given a proper shield and instead have to make do with a standard grey circular elements common throughout LEGO sets for years? I’m not happy about this.
Luckily the minifigure is awesome, unique, and ridiculously detailed both front and back. Having used a similar approach to the latest Harry Potter Dementors the hood combined with a solid dark coloured head with more subtle printing really works well here. The head printing features a large visor and two air vents as the main printing. There are however light lines hinting at the more scary looking character and mixed with the black hood, it’s easy to see who this is if you’re familiar with the character, even if they have toned down the skull like features of the heat and changed the hood colour – must be how the MCU version likes it, that’s Disney for you.
Looking at both the front and back designs, there is something very reminiscent of Captain America’s post-Age of Ultron minifigure designs. Take away the central star logo, add a more metallic look and a few extra armour lines and you’re pretty much there. Maybe that similarity is intentional, there is clearly a lot of Cap related stuff going on in this movie, aka Red Guardian – we’ll talk about him in a minute.
Much like the Black Widow figure, a lot of time and effort has clearly gone into the smaller details on the design of Taskmaster and again, when comparing the figure to the movie promotional posters, the like for like is impressive. It’s just that shield that lets down the overall figure.
Overall, the cast of the minifigures in the set is great, with Black Widow getting a super upgrade on previous designs and Taskmaster’s introduction into the bricked world giving us another unique figure for the Marvel LEGO collection. While movie accurate, Belova does let the side down a little.
The biggest disappointment for me with this set is that they didn’t include Red Guardian, the Russian version of Captain America, and probably the main reason I want to see the movie. Being played by Hopper from Stranger Things, I can’t wait to see his take on the character and I’m genuinely upset that we don’t get a minifigure of the aged, bearded warrior to enjoy.
Before we move on to the main build of the set, the helicopter, the set does also include a motorbike. There isn’t a great deal to say about it as it uses the same pieces we’ve seen countless times in a number of LEGO themes. The only thing that sets this one apart from the rest is the stickers included which feature some minor machinery detail and a logo. Not overly exciting, but the inclusion is welcomed in a set in this price-range.
The LEGO Marvel theme loves a good flying vehicle, I have numerous ships, jets, planes, choppers, more jets, you get the idea, it has become a staple of the MCU sets in a way if you look back over the last five years. What makes this new chopper interesting, however, is the design is more reminiscent of a rescue helicopter than the military inspired ones we see from SHIELD, or the more sci-fi jets we see from Black Panther and the Avengers, there is something very different about Taskmasters vehicle of choice here.
The build itself is fun and surprisingly time-consuming despite utilising a number of purpose-built larger pieces and even during the construction, this feels more like a LEGO City build than something straight out of the fantasy world of Marvel, there’s something a little bland about it – but not in a bad way.
I believe this is intentional, as I said early on, I get the impression that Black Widow is going to be much more like the Winter Soldier tonally and as a result, a lot more down-to-earth, a lot more grounded, gritty and less the bright and colourful worlds we find the likes of Thor and Spider-Man in. It would, therefore, make much more sense to have a villains vehicle be much more grounded in reality to match what we will hopefully see in the movie.
Of course, this is all guesswork at this point and until the movie releases we won’t have the context behind the inspiration for this set…if there even is one.
So what we end up with is a bulking black and grey dual rotary craft, with the majority of the additional detail coming from either big bulky purpose made pieces, or well-place stickers. The simplistic design actually gives the vehicle its charm in some way and despite the previously mentioned blandness of it, it just looks great.
Now back when I was very young, first introduced to LEGO, one of my favourite things to build were large ships which could hold little vehicles inside. They’d always turn out bulky, but I loved it and I think that’s where my love for this craft comes from. While this is a fairly bulky design without the sleekness we’ve seen in other Marvel designs, the real charm comes from the tiny details, the combination of unimposing stickers and the smaller element pieces. Just look at the base of the rotors, each simplistic and blocky in design, but each with has it’s own unique look and character.
The bulky hull does, of course, have a purpose, there’s loads of storage space inside which is easily accessible thanks to an easily removable roof. You can easily fit three or four minifigures in there. Added to that, the back of the chopper also opens up to release a cute little kart for Taskmaster to use and it fits perfectly back into place when finished with. Speaking of interactivity, the rotors on the top of the chopper are both fully rotatable, and the subtle difference in height between the two means that, much like the real-world helicopter design it’s based on, they can both move at the same time without hitting each other. This chopper also features some weaponry on each side, some for decoration, but there are two working stud launchers on each side of the cockpit for the fully immersive battle playtime.
In all honest, I’m a fan of this much more realistic take on the comic inspired vehicle.
Overall, it’s a genuine shame that despite being in the MCU for a decade, Black Widow’s well-deserved solo outing is only getting the one set. Given this sets lack of Red Guardian and what looks like an incredibly action-packed story to tell, there would be more than enough inspiration for a second or third set, much like Spidey’s last outing. Sadly, I’ll be waiting for my Hopper Guardian figure for a long time.
In terms of the set as a whole, though, for the price range, you can’t go wrong. With three exclusive minifigures, including what I believe to be Black Widow’s best LEGO variant to date, as well as Taskmaster, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. Add to this a bike, mini-kart, and a helicopter that may look bland but has a lot of charm, I recommend this set as a great lockdown/social distancing distraction for any Marvel fan.
- Black Widow’s best minifigure variant by far and a great debut for the MCU’s Taskmaster.
- A fun helicopter build that’s full of charm, despite a blander design than we’ve come to expect from Marvel.
- Great value for money.
- No Red Guardian! This should have been a must in my opinion.
- Belova, while movie accurate is a bit too generic for one of the lead characters.
- Taskmasters weapon, where’s the big Cap-style shield piece????
It’s a shame that the Black Widow movie is only getting the one set, and I’ll be forever disappointed that Red Guardian wasn’t included, but even still this is an enjoyable and worthwhile set to own if you’re a Marvel fan, especially given the lower mid-range price.
Don’t be put off by the bland look helicopter, trust me, it will grow on you as you build it. Despite the included characters, which are awesome, the larger build feels less fantasy adventure and more in line with the spy aspect of SHIELD and the Winter Soldier.
Definitely Black Widow’s best minifigure.