Tuesday, September 24, 2013

REVIEW: Marvel Super Hero Adventures Spider-Man

Produced by PlaySkool | Released September 2013

Marvel Super Hero Adventures
The Marvel Super Hero Adventures line is a sub-division of the PlaySkool Heroes toy line, a series of figures and vehicles designed for younger kids and collectors (Ages 3-7 according to the packaging...) Much like the Fisher-Price Imaginext line, the figures are rendered in a squat, chunky and durable manner, with oversized hands and feet complimenting the Super-Deformed look.

Presumably intended to be a compatible/rival line to Imaginext's new Collectible Figures blind-bag toys, the Marvel Super Hero Adventures range has recently introduced a series of polybag toys featuring six (well, technically five plus a variant) of their most popular characters. And today we're taking a look at everbody's favorite webslinger, Spider-Man.

Note: There are two Spider-Man figures in the line, one with the ''simple'' costume and one with the ''webbed'' look. We're looking at the former.

We've recently stopped featuring specific details on toy packaging, as most of our readers are aware of what to expect now from their favorite lines, but it's worth drawing attention to the Marvel Super Hero Adventures line's packaging, as it's not quite what you might expect.
As you can see, unlike the Imaginext, Lego or Playmobil figure sets, the Marvel Super Hero Adventures figures come in clear-fronted bags, allowing you to pick and choose which figures you wish to purchase. Whilst I do enjoy a good blind-bag toy, it's cool to be able to pick out which figure you want without having to resort to code guides and squeezing...

Anyway, onto the figure!

Sculpt & Design
The Marvel Super Hero Adventures line features slightly chunky, big-hands/big-feet, quasi-''Super-Deformed'' takes on the characters. If you've seen the Imaginext toys or the Marvel Super Hero Squad line of figures then you'll know what to expect. It's a neat, kind of cute take on the characters and the overall aesthetic is pretty cool.
As I've mentioned in past Reviews of this line's grown-up cousin, the Marvel Universe range, superhero costumes tend to be fairly iconic/simplistic and Spider-Man's outfit is no exception. That's not to say it's dull or uninteresting but Spidey is, basically, a guy in a mask and unitard, so it would be unfair to expect a figure based on that look to feature a huge amount of details or accessories.

This is actually a pretty good translation of the character's look, although - molded bug-eyes aside - much of that detail comes from the paint/tampo transfer apps, something we'll come back to in a minute. But the costume is pretty well presented, the outsize hands and feet look neat and the proportions, whilst deliberately ''kiddified'' are consistent with the line's look.
As you can see, Spidey's left hand is locked in his web-shooting pose, which is a pretty cool touch, although the upper arm's ''at rest'' shape has a kink to it which can look a little odd when posing him in web-shooting mode. But it's a minor point and I'm probably being just overly critical there.

Finally, for reference here's a picture of Spidey with one of the Imaginext toys and, as you can see, he's marginally shorter than the Fisher-Price toy.
The Marvel Super Hero Adventures figures sport the same range of movement seen in the Imaginext line: a single neck joint, ball-jointed shoulders, swivel wrists and single-joint hips, with both legs moving in unison. It's a pretty decent set-up but again, I do wish the legs would move individually.
 There's a pretty decent range of movement available but without any props and with his ''burned-in'' hand pose it can be a little difficult to really pose him in anything beyond one or two poses without him looking odd.
There's also a slightly weak feel to some of the joints. Whether it's a combination of lower-grade plastic and bad casting I don't know, but there are times that the joints - especially the neck joint - feel like they're going to snap. Maybe it's just my figure but if this is common across the line I find it worrying, given these figures are intended for younger kids who will no doubt be pretty hard on them.

With a sculpt so simple, a lot of the weight of conveying the iconic look falls onto the paint and transfer work. And thankfully both are very good.
Spider-Man's iconic red and blue look (which is a classic and should not be messed with) is represented superbly and even includes front and back Spider-Man logos, which really pop and help sell the figure. And although there's a little bit of a misapplication on my Spidey's left eye it's cool to see the amount of close-up detail on the head app.

Extras & Accessories
It would have been very cool if PlaySkool/Hasbro had included some form of play accessory - such as a web spray or even web shield - but unfortunately the line is completely devoid of accessories.

There's also no form of collector check list but the rear of the packaging does include images of each toy.

Final Thoughts
I've tried to avoid too many direct comparisons with the Imaginext line of toys but, given that these figures are intended as Hasbro's answer to that line, it's difficult not to consider them side-by-side. And this is where I'm afraid I have to report that the Marvel Super Hero Adventures line comes second to the Imaginext range. 

The problem doesn't so much lie in failings with Hasbro's line but more with the excellence of the Imaginext figures. The latter are simply larger, the sculpts are more detailed, they have more accessories, all of which adds up to simply make them better value for money. That's not to say they're bad toys or you shouldn't buy them but I do want to make it clear where I stand on the matter and which I'd choose if I was forced to buy from only one range on offer.

So with that all out of the way, how does the Marvel Super Hero Adventures Spider-Man measure up?

The answer is, pretty well, overall.

The look is definitely child-friendly and super-cute but the designers have managed to do this without compromising the iconic design of the character. The bug-eyes and very metal hand sculpt scream ''SPIDER-MAN'' and if you're a fan of the character then you'll love the way he's been translated into an SD-style figure.

Where the figure really shines though is in the paint/transfer department. The iconic costume design is captured perfectly and - an odd minor blemish aside - the app is tight, which gives him a really cool look.

Judging him solely on his merits, this is a very cool little figure fans of Spider-Man will really dig. It's just a shame his very cool look and design is overshadowed by the marginally more appealing Imaginext toys. But if you can banish them from your thoughts you'll find a lot to enjoy here.

Cute and Fun.

Image Gallery


  1. Great review Kev! And it's been a while not having one from you so i hope we will be getting more soon.

    1. Glad you enjoyed it!

      I'm trying to hit at least one Review per week but it's - obviously - entirely dependent on whether I can find anything on the shelves - which hasn't been the case recently!

    2. Yeah there really isn't alot out there for good toys right now but i do have some interest myself on those new Avengers Assembled figures because of there lower price points but really besides waiting to find a Kwinn or 66 Batman figure there is nothing i want outside of finding a couple of Masters of the Universe Classics at Big Lots i want.

    3. I've found the problem seems to be that most of the stores I shop at now not only carry the same (limited) lines but also the same products WITHIN the lines. So every Target I visit, for example, has the exact same line-up of Lego toys. And that's only in the lines I can FIND. Don't get me started on the lack of GI Joe at retail now...!

    4. On the whole Kev i hate the new Joe line i think the figures have been lack-lust(besides Cyber-Ninja who i really like) and the god awful packaging. Lack of File Cards and stands make me angry too. This new wave coming out has figure stands thankfully and there are only 2...count them 2! figures i want... Kwinn and Ultimate Cobra Commander how sad is this?

    5. I'd be interested in a few more (Jinx, Blind Master, Budo) but if I were a paranoid type I could easily be persuaded that Hasbro deliberately released a weak first wave so they could then justify not putting out as many of the more complex (and expensive) figures on the grounds that consumer demand was so limited.


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