[Review] - Agent Phil Coulson Doll, By Hot Toys

In all my years of collecting, I've come across many impressive specimens. Toys and statutes that just knock the wind out of you. But it wasn't until I learned of Hot Toys that I was left speechless. Their products are beyond believable, in the level of sophistication in the articulation, attention to detail in the clothes and accessories, and of course the life like reproduction of the faces. In the era of digital scanning, that we can have toys that not only look exactly like the actors they are meant to represent, but toys that are largely indistinguishable from the actors they represent, save for the fact they are 30 cm tall.

I've long considered the Palisades Muppets line to be the greatest line of action figures ever, bar none. The Kenner Jurassic Park toys hold a special place in my heart, but this Hot Toys Agent Phil Coulson doll might just be the best thing I've ever owned.

Hit the jump for the review, and plenty of pictures.

What is it about the mundane that excites us so? Coulson is the most human, most reality based character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and arguably the most popular behind Iron Man. But he's just a man. Is it, that he is a just a man, standing toe to toe with gods and heroes, and not blinking. That the mundane for him is the extraordinary for us, and when we watch him, he hope we would be as cool and reserved if we were in his position. He has all the making of a Mary Sue, but never becomes one. He never becomes an author avatar, or is inflated beyond his own capabilities (and hopefully this will remain true in the series). The best scene Joss Whedon wrote for him in the Avengers was the scene where he spoke to Black Widow on the phone, waiting patiently. It's a hugely illuminating scene for him, boiling down the entire character into one silent, patient moment.

The same can be true in toys. How many times have we found, in the face of rotating laser canons and planets that transform into insects, that it is a rubber hoop and a pointy stick that attracts us the most? Even in details toy lines like the aforementioned Palisades Muppet line, one of the best figures was the Beauregard, who came with undoubtedly the best accessory of any figure, a mop and bucket. A mop and bucket! And it's awesome. That is what this Coulson figure is for the Hot Toys Avengers line. In the company of a litany of Iron Men, Loki with with horned helmet, and Samuel L. Jackson, Coulson is plain, simple, and spectacular.

OK, let's cover some technical details, shall we? The figure stands 30 cms tall, with as many points of articulation, and can stand on his own, though a support base with his name is included. He has one head, and is dressed in a simple black suit and tie. He has five hands, three left, two right, in various positions for holding the array of materials the figure comes with. As you can see above, he has a removable set of sunglasses, and a blue tooth headset which can be removed. The hand painted face is amazing, and looks ever so slightly better with the sunglasses on (on my figure, the right eye is drawn a little too close to the nose, giving Coulson a permanent nearsightedness). To say it resembles Clark Gregg is to misuse the word. It is Clark Gregg, in plastic. The sculpt is nothing short of amazing.

The accessories are equally impressive, and appropriately subdued. A hand gun (sadly, no jacket holster, or any holster, which I feel would have been a logical addition). His belt is loose, but not removable, but can be puckered enough to clip on the walk talkie, and hide it using the suit. His SHIELD identification tag can clip onto his top suit pocket, and clearly identifies Coulson as having access to level 7, which will be the basis for the series. A removable wristwatch and smart phone, which can fit into either of the trouser pockets, and a SHIELD file folder, which contains nothing.

The best accessory, certainly the most detailed, are Coulson's vintage Captain America trading cards, ten in total, a split between using press pictures from the film, and using panels from the original Captain America comics. The back of each has information about the card and Cap, as they would were they real. Disturbingly, rather then showing some foxing around the edges, each is splattered in blood. I suppose we should be luck that Coulson's white shirt doesn't show a wound under the left side of the jacket. These cards can be placed in Coulson's trouser pockets, but the jacket pockets are all false.

My biggest complaint, and it is minor, so that should tell you something, is that because of the cut and tightness of the jacket, the arms do not have a full range of motion. The above position is about as high as the arm can be put up without risking ripping the jacket arms. The air of indifference, however, is maintained.

The final accessory, and the only one that reaches into the chasm of extremism is the inclusion of the BFG that Coulson threatens Loki with. It lights up, and has a removable scope and an expendable shoulder brace. If someone had bother figures, it would make a fine addition to recreating that scene (a scene that, had the series not been picked up, been the end of Coulson).

Little known fact: Toons fall under SHIELD jurisdiction.

Please draw your attention to Coulson's face in the above picture. That the sculptures were able to capture expression and emotion, and yet somehow also seem to keep the face neutral is fascinating, and something I couldn't help but take advantage of. Coulson doesn't need swappable heads, as he only has the one expression: indigent duty.

Coulson poses for a rare selfie.
This figure is nothing short of impressive, from the box to the item itself. Hot Toys has a well deserved reputation for quality, and they have continued on that track with the Coulson figure. I've been impressed at a distance by their prodcuts in teh past, but resisted purcahse until now. Coulson was too good to pass up, and was a worthy purchase. Hot Toys have made a loyal customer out of me. But my opinon matters very little, compared to the opinion of the actor being reproduced. So, I conclude this review with Clark Gregg's reaction to... himself.

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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


  1. Awesome how it resembles the actors in the movie. It is very detailed and specific that its contours and outlines follow that of the actor in real life. I'd love to have a collection of the Avengers characters soon.
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