Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Ultimate Spiderman 'Ultra Strike Spiderman' action figure review
Whoops, someone on Hasbro's packaging design team is getting fired. Open-packaging may get kids to interact with the figure in stores leading towards a higher pitched scream and product-clutching-fingers when mom says no, but it's a nightmare for retailers. Sticky fingers, scratched paint, and in this case missing heads. Yes the ball jointed heads of these figures pop right off and you'll be seeing quite a few looking like this in Walmarts or other low security retail giants. That is except for Target which sends a shock troop of employees down the aisle if a child sneezes on a product. With only one paper twisty to hold them in I've seen two packages sans figures entirely.
Sculpting on Spiderman is simple, nostalgically classic which isn't to say it's without detail. The web lines are sharply defined and there's plenty of muscle detail. Spidey's eyes are perfect and there's no soft sculpts like we've seen in the line before this one. It's not a Marvel Legends style sculpt but rather looking like the cartoon character on which it's based and surprisingly like the old Animated Spiderman series which is why I picked up the figure in the first place.
Articulation isn't truly as 'super-poseable' as the package states but it does have more joints than the other figures in the assortment which have T-crotches and no elbows. This particular Spiderman has ball shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, and those great 45 deg ball ankles. The lack of waist or ab crunch hurts the figure's posability and you'll have to carve away some of the crotch plastic to get him into a full 90 deg sitting position. The same can be done to the back of his legs to improve the range of motion there as the ball-in-cup joints don't have the greatest of range. Still he has better movement than the last Spiderman Classics series which you can still find in stores. He also has surprisingly good balance and can be posed on one foot like in the picture to the left. No wires or stand here folks.
Most of the paint work is done using the new plastic-layering technique. The red on his body, forearms, and legs is actually bonded to the blue plastic instead of being painted. The only part painted is the blue of his biceps, black lines, and eyes. While this doesn't give you any washes or highlights (this is a kid's line remember) the plastic layering is super precise and there's 0 bleed with the colors touching. I could get use to this technique if it was refined enough to do minute detail like a figure's eyes or symbols. Here it's used well but overall the figure is basically cast in color.
Accessories include a dart shooter that clips on to his arm but will instantly find itself in the fodder bin. Pull back on the dart and it weakly leaps from the shooter. Eh, at least it wasn't built into his arm right? The dart has a hole in it which I suppose was suppose to have a web-string tied on there but was ditched at the last moment. Most 'super-poseable' figures lack weapons to budget in the extra joints. Perhaps we could have gotten a waist cut or hinges if that dart shooter had been left on the design table.
So what's the verdict with Ultimate super-poseable Spidey here? He's not a terrible Spiderman but he's not Amazing Spiderman either. The $12.99 price tag is lower than the $20 we're used to paying. For the price cut you get cut paint apps and so-so articulation. He's scaled just fine to fit in with your Marvel legends and a customizer could get his joints working much better, maybe even give him that waist he's sorely lacking. He has a solid heasculpt as does the Nova in the series but you'll have to find one that hasn't been pilfered. You can find this Spiderman line everywhere and fiddle with his limbs to see if he's a fitting Animated Spiderman stand-in for your collection.