Spider-Man Epic Hero Series Action Figure
Item No.: Asst. F6900 No. F6973 Manufacturer:Hasbro Includes:Web Action Feature:n/a Retail:$9.99-$10.99 Availability: March 2023 Other: Only one web-slinging hand
I was planning on "Marvel Monday" to be all Kenner stuff until I ran out, but in the public interest I'm going to salt in some of these new Epic Hero Series action figures. This is the first one I opened, and I'm not gonna lie to you. Venom's better.
I got a lot of Spider-Man figures. Usually when I see a new format, I want to try it out - be it a new action feature, new articulation, a nod to a new (or old) TV show, it's something worth looking at - especially if it's for kids. In this case, Hasbro is kicking off a new scale of 4-inch - so, yes, larger than 3 3/4-inch figures called the Epic Hero Series. They come in little boxes, are cheaper than the Retro line, have more articulation and accessories than the retro line, and seemed aimed at kids. On paper, this is 100% of what I wanted Hasbro to do - make something for kids that can engage fans and collectors at a competitive price. (Specifically, competing with Spin Master and Mattel figures, who have been offering similar wares for less for a few years now.)
Hasbro has done a lot of fascinating experimentation in its 3 3/4-inch and 4-inch toys since it took over Marvel from Toy Biz. The prices went through the roof quickly, but we've also seen cool things like (I would argue) better packaging art, and kid lines are always kind of tough to get right. As a toy in beta, I'd say that this figure may be evidence of great things to come. But if you have several other 3 3/4-inch Spider-Men - Amazing, Ultimate, Spectacular, or otherwise - you may not find this to be a reason to get rid of any of them.
As someone who has been hoping for a Hasbro 4-inch kid line revival - we've seem some great products out of Spin Master and Mattel around the same size at a lower price - this was something I had great hopes for, but you should probably ratchet yours down a bit. Spidey's left leg goes forward about 45 degrees, while the right goes about 75 degrees. Each elbow is quite stiff, but bends 90 degrees - and they're frustratingly tight. The shoulders rotate quite nicely, and have a subtle ratchet when you move them to the sides. The knees move well. The outward motion on the hips are also quite good - some of Hasbro's best. If you need a figure to ride a dinosaur or something with a saddle, this could be your best bet.
The figure has a snap-on white web accessory, and it's a little tight. You can clip it over his web-slinging fingers, and it's much less "gummy" than other web accessories. I don't want to force it, but I think a lot of these are going to snap and break - there's not a lot of bend here. I wouldn't necessarily call it "brittle," but I doubt any of these will make it to a thrift store or garage sale in one piece after a tour of duty in a child's toy box. Adult fans should be able to handle them just fine.
The sculptor did a good job with the web, which has little oozy tips and webby bits in it. Similarly, the figure sculpt is pretty good - but a bit weird. The knees look like they have pads and the arms are a little short, but otherwise? It's a nice Spider-Man. He has big eyes with painted white and black elements. The spiders on his front and back look fantastic, and the ribbing in the costume looks perfectly good. The bulk of the blue on the figure is painted - not molded in color like Spider-Man [FOTD #2,453] from the bagged line. Notably, the upper and lower legs seem to be blue plastic with molded red plastic for the feet to keep costs down.
On paper, Hasbro made the right figure with the right features at the right price, but the design could have benefited from more time in the development oven. If anyone from Hasbro is reading, I'd suggest: a) give the hips a little more clearance to swing forward, b) reduce the tension in the elbows, and c) make the webbing a little more flexible. (And if the figure could be a little more visible in the packaging, that would be lovely.) The unpainted webbing, I understand, that costs money. I don't think this figure would necessarily benefit from ankles or wrist joints, either. It does a good job of delivering Spider-Man, although considering the Hasbro Titan Hero Series figure is about $10-$12 and stands 12-inches tall, maybe this one could be the slightest bit better at the smaller scale.
I'm not shy about trying out new formats and I generally prefer kid-focused stuff. Almost each and every Spider-Man figure that Hasbro offered up something unique, different, better, or weirder for the web-slinger. This one is a lateral move. I am hoping it's a 1.0 product that gets revised, because the concept is sound and the bones are pretty good.. Hasbro does a lot well here, but the stiff joints and some tight clearances seem to result in the figure's body chewing into his legs if you swing his legs forward. That shouldn't happen on a collector product and it's just unpleasant for something where kids wil play with it. The arms are a little short. The elbows are incredibly stiff, and the range of forward swinging on the hip joints may well be the worst of my Spider-Toys. - but the sideways leg movement? Absolute best-in-class. I'm not suggesting you run out and buy one to try, but if you like the design of Spidey - or Venom, or Miles, or Groot, or whoever - give it a whirl. There's nothing bad about this figure that can't be improved upon by the next iteration of Spider-Man for about the same price. (Actually I like Venom quite a bit, and recommend him if you don't have a 4-inch Venom hanging around already. But we'll get to him later.)
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