Time to review the What If…? series LEGO set 76201, Captain Carter & The Hydra Stomper (Marvel Studios). Taking place in a parallel universe, this set replaces a similar set with Captain America. I imagine the show Loki on Disney+ will explain a bit of the What If…? line with the introduction of innumerable timelines. The Marvel Universe is definitely getting much more complex, confusing and entertaining!
First of all, I really liked the design of this box. It has a Galaxy surrounded by white bricks with greyed-out images of LEGO Marvel characters all over them. Just a really cool design. Usually I could not care less about the box art, but they did a great job on it and I appreciate art that has taken some thought to produce. I decided to start here and use the box art as the background of some minifigure portraits.
The details and contrasting shapes and colors really lent to some interesting bokeh. The shallow depth of field makes the background unrecognizable. I also like the reflection in the last shot of Steve Rogers as it created a soft gradient that worked to highlight the detail of the figure.
Red Skull is a fairly freakish character with his bloody head and is a nice addition to my minifigure collection. I liked the detail of the Hydra snake head on his belt buckle, too.
Captain Carter has great details in the print, including the silver Union Jack over her torso and the flag on her shield.
The Hydra Stomper is epic! I thoroughly enjoyed the build and absolutely love to shoot robots. A robot that’s a bit bigger than a standard action figure means double the photography fun, especially when it houses a minifigure pilot inside.
I used a facial mister (thanks fourbrickstall) to add a bit of atmosphere at a small scale. Don’t worry about where you shoot. My kitchen table was the set for most of my photos in this review. Good toy photography can happen anywhere!
The entrance and exit on the head of the Hydra Stomper makes removing and replacing the driver a breeze. It also has some small clips and brackets that make it easy to swivel in order to angle the face in many different directions. This little feature makes it easier to pose in more positions than just straight in front of the body.
There is a glow-in-the-dark 1×2 plate in the front of the suit that adds a cool little detail.
My focus with this set was also to practice shooting some newly acquired gear, which included the Mitakon 20mm f4.5 Super Macro Lens. LEGO is too big for this lens and results in some very detailed shots of the paint issues from pad printing that are not visible to the naked eye.
Overall, this set is perfect for toy photography and will likely be an excellent option for more shots in the future. The detail and colors in the figures are fantastic and the Hydra Stomper has enough articulation points to get into most positions with ease. I would definitely recommend this set to shoot!
~Joseph Cowlishaw, (IG: @joecow)