Marvel Super Hero Showdown Starter Pack: Spider-Man Vs. The Thing Toy Review

Marvel Super Hero Showdown Starter Pack: Spider-Man Vs. The Thing Toy Review

Trevor O Brien - July 31, 2005

2005 ToyBiz
Marvel Super Hero Showdown
Series One Starter Pack: Spider-Man Vs. The Thing
MSRP: $14.99

The Marvel Super Hero Showdown sets & figures are hitting stores, and they are impressive. In a day and age where action figures keep growing in size, shelf space is becoming more and more of a scarce commodity for both the collector and store aisles. Marvel Showdown may be just what the doctor ordered. Bigger is not always better and Marvel Showdown intends to prove it in a big way... With tiny figures.

Okay, so they’re not that tiny, but they are certainly small. Marvel Super Hero Showdown is essentially Marvel Legends style figures, scaled down to a 4-4 ½ inch scale and wrapped up in a card battle dice rolling game. I can’t tell you much about the game because that element really doesn't interest me much. I am relatively sure that posing the figures on their stands has some relevance to the gameplay, but as far as I’m concerned that is all moot. I am all about the figures. And what nice figures these are. What is incredible is that the good folks at ToyBiz were able to sculpt not only great looking figures, but ones that are incredibly well articulated as well. I am not kidding when I say that nearly all of the Marvel Legends style articulation is retained on these toys. Its quite an impressive feat on figures so small. Some of the more complex joints have been removed such as the hinged shoulder blades on many of the Marvel Legends figures. Yet, very delicate joints such as the pivoting ankle joints have been retained only simplified. Instead of a bunch of tiny pins and slots, it has been simplified to a ball and socket joint. So the ankles can still pivot from side to side, and the foot can still move forward and back. The starter pack comes with two figures and a bunch of accessories that include, game board cards, action and movement cards, stands, dice, and spring loaded weapons for ranged attacks.

Spider-Man is a wonderful figure. I absolutely love the sculpting and detail that went into this figure. At first glance he reminds me of the McFarlane style Spidey figure that was released a wave or two ago in the Spider-Man Classics line, but on closer inspection, this figure looks to be a completely new sculpt. Spider-Man clocks in at 29 points of articulation by my count. The shoulders and hips have been changed into ball and socket joints. This allows great range of motion with only two parts. The arms can be removed and replaced with ease and little to no worry of breaking the figure. Because Spidey is such a spindley guy he tends to get a little bow legged. That's okay though because the plastic is soft enough that it can be bent to the right position and looks just fine. His joints are a little loose though, but with the number of articulation points on this figure it really doesn’t bother me. Spidey comes with a stand that has an articulated arm that attaches to his back. When attached he is suspended above the stand. This allows for positioning the figure in different action poses during gameplay. He also comes with a spring loaded weapon that fires a red web missile.

The Thing is also a fantastic figure. No pun intended. I have never been a Fantastic Four fan, nor have I ever had a great liking of the Thing, but this figure is so well done that he transcends my opinion of his comic or character. The detailing is perfect in this scale. I was never really all that impressed with the larger characters in the Marvel Legends line. The Thing always looked clunky and felt kind of cheap and hollow in the Marvel Legends version. That is not the case here. This version of Ben Grimm just works on every level for me. He stands at about 4 ½ inches tall and feels solid. The sculpting on his body looks great at this scale. Every nook and cranny is accented with a light wash of brown to give it an earthy stone look. His face has a perfect “Clobberin’ Time” expression, and you can even see a hint of sadness in his baby blues. Thing is a wonderfully sculpted figure and captures the essence of the character perfectly. Thing clocks in at 26 points of articulation. Most notable he has hinged fingers on his left hand and toes on both feet! The Thing comes with the same style stand that Spidey comes with, and a spring loaded weapon that fires a small missile with a fist on the end. Its kind of dinky looking weapon for a character whose battle cry is “It’s Clobberin’ Time!” but aside from that the figure and his accessories are great.

The Marvel Super Hero Showdown line is shaping up to be a great toyline. I love the articulation and detailing on the figures, and the size cannot be beat. I am so impressed with these figures that if it takes off, I may have to move my flag over to these figures and stop buying Marvel Legends altogether. I’m sure ToyBiz wouldn’t like that idea, but I will always be more impressed by a figure that looks like a lot of love went into creating it. And these toys are brimming with the care that went into making them. The only hinderance I see in these toys taking off is the price. While the sets come with a lot of stuff, I think many people are going to be like me and buy the set for the toys and charging a regular Marvel Legends price for these figures seems a bit steep. I’m sure just as much effort goes into producing these figures as their larger counterparts, but $7.99 for a single figure is just too much. People don’t want to feel like they are paying the same price for a smaller item. I’m sure that much of the cost goes into the included cards and such, but for most it will be about the figures. And at 8 bucks a pop. It may just be too much. And that’s really my only complaint. Aside from that, I am thoroughly pleased. While the figures are definately based on current and previously released toys, each one is a new sculpt as far as I can see, and all of them are impressive. I hope ToyBiz can keep it up. With such great figures in this scale already on the market like the Microman line, and BBI and 21st Century Toys’ with their military figures, Palisades with their army builder packs, and now ToyBiz with the Super Hero Showdown sets all featuring great detailing and articulation, I’d say that Hasbro has their work cut out for them with G.I. Joe and Star Wars. The neighborhood just got a little more crowded. And they’re bringing better toys.

This set was found in a Toys R Us store. Look for the new Marvel Super Hero Showdown Starter and Booster packs in stores now.

Design/Construction: 10
Color/Paint: 8
Articulation: 10
Value: 7
Fun Factor: 10

Total: 45

Marvel Super Hero Showdown Starter Pack featuring Spider-Man vs the Thing
rates a 45 out of a possible 50.

90% OAD Approved!


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