I went driving around trying to find the Hulk and other bagged "value" figures from Hasbro and came up short - Walgreens stopped stocking them, and so did the other several Walgreens, and continuing to search would cost me a couple of gallons of gas. So I just gave up and bought the collection online, which is not my preferred way to do things, but $5.59 is a lot for gas when compared to free shipping. (Even though, as we all know, it's not actually free.) This Hulk is a simple sculpt, a 4-inch figure, not too big but bigger than the other guys due to his Hulk-ness. My sample may not be perfect, but it's a weird and I assume intentionally ugly throwback so as to compete with the $9.99-$11.99 Marvel Legends 375 figure - which has pretty much the same paint and articulation, but a different sculpt and a real retro package.
This sort of thing isn't unusual - we can point to a few instances where the same figure is in "collector" and "kid" packaging at the same time, but the "kid" packaging costs a couple of dollars less and often has more gear (and at times, a display stand.) The collector version tends to sell out first, because there's some weird stigma against buying toys meant for kids, despite the fact that the entire hobby is built on toys for kids and how you were probably a kid when you first started to like the idea of collecting toys. This is why I am a big advocate for buying actual toys as an adult - they can be fun, and are generally 60-75% cheaper than the collector stuff. It's arguably the most old-school Marvel figure I've bought in quite some time.
Let's start with articulation - on my sample, the neck joint seems stuck. (Boiling water doesn't seem to help here.) I don't know if it's a one-off problem or if they're all like this, but it's still a nice figure with shoulders and hips that swivel without any fuss. If I see another Hulk in stores, I'll grab the bag and if the head twists, I'll buy it. When seated, the big feet and wide stance will prevent it from sitting in a number of vehicles - but it still fits in some. This means it's a lot like the old Kenner figures. While most releases fit in pretty much everything, the big boys like Gamorrean Guards and Rancor Keepers were more limited in what their limbs could do and where they could fit.
His sculpt is a mix of good and bad, mostly veering toward older, retro figure designs. His hair isn't very wild, nor can his fists hold anything - this is a lot like the old Mego figure. For some reason the sculpted pants are very low-rise, so some of his torso is painted purple to give his pants a waist. He doesn't have nearly as many muscles as modern Hulk toys - I assume this is intentional so kids see other ones as "stronger," with wilder hair and visible teeth that make him seem more powerful. This one seems more like a very strong man painted green, not some ridiculous green giant - again, this is more in line with the plastic output of Mego 45 years ago. I would not be entirely shocked if they gave this to a less experienced sculptor, but who can say? Hasbro has similarly made a lot of its Transformers Authentics toys with designs that are at times a little weird or off-model, I assume once again to work as sort of a "legal bootleg" that kids would prefer to a generic knockoff action figure in their intended markets of dollar stores or overseas markets where collector toys don't really exist. They'd probably be well-served to set up flea market booths with these guys - I remember some pretty gnarly fake TMNT offerings in the early 1990s.
Other than the neck problem, I love this figure. You can just have him stand, and he stands. If you want to have him punch Boba Fett in the face, merely raise his arms and sock your other figure in the jaw. Nothing falls out because of tiny pegs, you don't need to pose a hip or an elbow just-so, it's simple and it works. I have no doubt collectors will continue to ignore this line, but I really hope Hasbro revisits it. This is a good mold and a decent design, if they made sofubi-esque repaints inspired by Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or Red Hulk or Composite Hulk and played them up like some weird artisan collector figure thing, I'd buy them all. This Hulk is a real toy with molded feet and fists that won't get paint wear with abuse, too, and even though I know there are better figures I like this one. This entire line is only six figures at press time, and I wish they'd consider expanding it with a Thanos or a Loki or even a Black Widow. (If they did X-Men like this, I'd be all-in.) As someone with too many action figures, this is the kind of thing I really liked buying when I was younger. I don't want a $14 or a $29 figure, I want something for $5 or even less that I won't think twice about buying. Hulk is good, long live Hulk, and please sell me an orange or a translucent orange Hulk.
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