Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Action figures: The good, the bad, the ugly.

I buy a lot of action figures. If you're reading this nonsense, you probably do to. After a productive evening at the local retail establishments, I thought it pertinent to pontificate profusely about my findings. (oh yeah...alliteration in action, baby!)

The Good: G.I.Joe. The new figures rock. The articulation is amazing without sacrificing play value or durability. Unlike recent Star Wars figures, the Joes don't fall apart when you look at them. Sure there are lots of small flimsy weapons and accessories, but the basic figure is solid, unlike recent clone troopers that seem to shed hands and heads as soon as you pop open the package.

Gorilla Grodd. Finally got this in a JLU six-pack at Target. Rock solid, great likeness of our favorite primate. Too bad he's packaged with the rest of that junk...but more about that later.

The military toys at Target. I forget the manufacturer's name, but walk down the action figure aisle and you'll see what I mean. They're doing what Hasbro said couldn't be done. I saw a tank tonight that puts the legendary Mauler to shame, and at a reasonable price.

The Bad: It kills me to say this. Really, I don't want to. But the fact of the matter is that I purchased a 12" Doctor Who (the David Tennant variety) tonight and it stinks. I'm glad I used a gift certificate and not my own money. It's like a Mego on steroids, only crappier. One knee is all floppy. His posture is something along the lines of "bloated manatee." Awful. And this is from a man who really, really loves Doctor Who. (not like that!)

Target's Gorilla Grodd JLU six-pack. I love the Grodd figure. Maybe I could live with the "Red Hood" gimmick, especially on a harder-to-find figure like Joker. Maybe I could even live with a Lex Luthor repaint. Flash is pretty common, but hasn't been issued lately. The problem is Superman and Batman. Seriously Mattel: enough with the Superman and Batman figures!!!! They're everywhere. The popular colloquialism here is "you can't sling a dead cat without hittin' one of them." Pegs and pegs full of Superman and Batman at every Target. Enough already!!! I think we have six of each of them at our house.

The Ugly: Actually, I just added "Ugly" to make the movie reference. However, since I started it I might as well finish it. There are a lot of ugly action figures. That's too easy. I'm calling Hasbro themselves ugly. Here's why:

1. Star Wars figures are flimsy and expensive.

2. All their toys have HORRIBLE distribution. Buy it when you see it, 'cause you'll never see it again.

3. Their customer service is questionable. Maybe my standards are too high? I grew up in the day when every Star Wars vehicle came with an instruction sheet that said "We really do care" in big letters. If there was a missing part or sticker, you wrote them a letter and they sent it to you. No problem. I know because I took advantage of it several times. Same with G.I.Joe. Imagine Christmas day, finding out your Tomahawk helicopter is missing the working rope and winch attachment! No sweat! A quick letter to Hasbro and the parts were on their way. Now, when I've contacted them, they've offered "items of an equal value." Could be anything. Let's say you find a super HTF (silly ebay term) McQuarrie figure. You take it home and open it, only to find that the plastic is deformed and it has no left foot. What does Hasbro do? Sends you a random figure. Parts missing from a vehicle? They'll send you whatever is on the shelf.

4. The packaging of their mail-away promotions is a sick joke. Last year I collected all the stupid stickers and sent away for the coveted "George Lucas Stormtrooper" action figure. When it arrived in its thin poster-board box, it was completely crushed. So much for collector's item.

Well, this post has gone on too long. Hasta la vista, baby!

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