Thursday, February 22, 2018
The Disney Toybox Series: Disney Infinity Reimagined
It's time for a new toy series, and also time for me to buy into it without waiting for reviews!
I suppose "buy into it without waiting for reviews" sounds bad, but they're bit of a mixed bag, leaning toward good. Let's start with some background:
Have you heard of Disney Infinity? It was a game in the same vein as Skylanders (buy game, buy multiple little figurines that can be scanned into the game, play game with whatever character you scanned in). The difference is that Disney owns the known entertainment universe, so they had a million and one famous characters at their disposal. You may still be running into the figures on clearance. If you have...well, it it's obvious the game has ended.
It did well enough for many, MANY figures to be released, but it didn't stand the test of time. Heck, I never even played it myself, though I'm surprised I didn't end up with some of the figures. Disney had the brilliant idea to make one cartoony art style spread across the whole line, so all these multitudes of characters would share the same art style, regardless of coming from across the spectrum of entertainment. It made for an awesome little statue collection of some of everyone's all-time favorite characters from Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars. I wouldn't be surprised if most people just had the little figures and barely played the game.
Once the game ended, I thought it was a shame to waste that art style and leave it to die off with the game. Thankfully, someone at Disney felt the same way! What we're looking at today is four different figures from their new Disney Toybox series; a toyline based on the idea of taking those little Infinity statues and articulating them. It seems like a simple idea, but there's a few missteps along the way.
We'll start with Iron Man, based on his armor from Spider-Man: Homecoming. You can see what I mean about the cartoony art style right away; he's got big 'ol shoulders, a little waist, kinda soft features. I still love it! The style came across great, here. There's only one problem with carrying over the wonderful paintjobs from the Infinity figures:
It's all matte paint. Because of this, the paint can easily be scraped or smudged, and Iron Man is a prime example. He came out of the package with a big black smudge on his face.
I WAS able to lightly scrape off the black with micro-super-super-fine sand paper (as you can see in the picture above this one). It worked wonders, so you don't have to wear gloves while handling these, but I'd take care not to drop them, 'cause I imagine they'd scrape with little effort (even though I sanded his face and didn't take off any yellow).
Though it is easy to damage - daymn, baby - you can't deny that the paint job looks fine! It really was the only way to match the look of the Infinity figures.
...but I still have a problem, sadly.
You see how his knees are bent? That's as far as they go. But they go WAY farther in the OPPOSITE direction! For a flying guy like Iron Man, I need some deeper knee movement, and these move maybe an inch or two inward. That's pretty unacceptable for a figure nowadays, especially considering these look to be articulated with poseability in mind. The wrists work well, the elbows well enough, and the hips are fine, if not a little loose. I'm not sure why the knees weren't tested a little more before sending these out.
I can't help it! He looks so good! This may be one of the few times where looks outweigh the problems with articulation.
Iron Man comes with one accessory, which feels a little limited, honestly. There's only a few ways to do blasts, so I suppose this works. In the past, Toybiz and Hasbro have both done the hole-and-peg thing with blasts, though Hasbro has also tried blasts that awkwardly clip on to the wrists. Later on, for the Iron Man 2 toyline, Hasbro did these ingenious little blasts that just fit over the figure's hand like a glove.
Disney Toybox did none of these.
Instead, it's just a simple C-clip that pops on to his open hand. At certain angles it looks good, at others, not so much, and the flexibility of the plastic means that it'll eventually fall off with time, varying heat, and just the fact that it's stretched out so far over his hand.
...man, I'm not giving this guy a glowing review, am I? How can I still suggest buying him after all that? Ugh, well, he just looks so DAMN COOL. I can't help it. I feel like he's kinda still worth it if you like the look and don't mind the lack of a Marvel Legends level of articulation.
Why don't we see how the others have fared before making a total judgement call?
The second Marvel choice I made was Thor. He has a similar problem with the knees, but no smudges and excellent articulation in the arms. I still ran into other problems, though.
One big problem - considering that this is a line for kids - is that you need TREMENDOUS STREGNTH to get that hammer in his hand. The plastic choice for these figures is HARD, so there is no give on those hands. You gotta shove, twist, press, and push that handle into his hand, and hurt your hand in the process. I am never taking that thing out of his hand, is what I'm saying.
The second problem is that I initially thought he had no neck articulation. This seemed weird, because his hair wasn't that in the way, so I figured it wouldn't be crazy to allow it to move. I didn't give up, and managed to move the head with some pliers (and some tissues shoved into the pliers so I didn't scrape the paint or plastic). The head was kinda glued in there by paint (I'm sure you've run into that before) and his head ended up being on a ball joint. Yes! It was meant to move.
...it was not meant to be moved in the way that I moved it, however.
The hair came off with it, so it kinda floats a bit when I turned his head for this last shot:
Sooo...yours may or may not have a head that turns. And maybe the hair will come off. If you use pliers.
Another glowing review! And another that ends with this: He's still so damn cool looking. Granted, it would have been cool if he had the helmet (like the Infinity figure) but I still like the look. He's SOLID, too. You could hurt someone pretty bad if you tossed it at their head. I feel like, even though he's limited, he's still worth it for the look.
Kind of repeating myself there, eh?
My next choice was Rey; one of three Star Wars characters in the line so far (the other two being Kylo Ren and a First Order Trooper). She has her own share of unique pluses and minuses. One of them being the knees - yet again - but also the hips, because her skirt thing is too rigid. Moving the legs is very limited, and trying to push the issue kinda dislodges the skirt.
Beyond that, the only other problem I have is the way she's looking; it kind of limits the ways she can pose.
She looks great, though! Just like with the others; I love this design aesthetic.
She holds the saber well, and while her poses are limited, what is available looks pretty damn good. She follows suit with the others, so far: Looks amazing, but could be better in terms of movement.
Last one to cover is the best of the bunch: Woody! He doesn't have much to get in the way of his articulation, so he ends up the best simply because of his original design. Granted, he still could have used more range in his elbows (it was tough working that pose above) but it's a minor complaint.
Not only does he move well, but he's also got the largest number of accessories: A boot, a Snake in his Boot, and his hat.
The snake is freakin' adorable, and a little latch keeps him inside the boot. It seems like it's supposed to launch the snake, but he just...falls out, instead. If I were a bigger fan of launchers I guess I'd be disappointed, but I don't find myself caring that much. He still looks cool (and ridiculous) holding the boot-gun, and the snake is neat on it's own.
Alright, that's all four! Let's break it down, minus the beat, 'cause I can't rhyme:
- Do these figures have problems? YES, sadly. Limited range of poseability despite the articulation provided is pretty bad, especially nowadays. If you make a joint: make sure it works. There's also the easily scratch-able paint, hard plastic making it hard to hold (some) accessories, and rigid clothes.
- ...however, regardless of those problems, do the figures look good? YEAH MAN, they look awesome! The Disney Infinity style is front and center, and they went a long way to make sure that was what you were getting: Articulated Disney Infinity figures. I just wish they had paid more attention to the articulation.
- So then, how are these for kids? That...is a little iffy. Which is bad, since this is clearly a kid-centric toyline. These won't be for younger kids, because I can't imagine they will survive rough play. They'll be scratched and possibly broken, though I haven't felt like they were going to break without some considerable force.
- Okay, how bout collectors? Hard to say! Did you like Disney Infinity? Well, you probably have the little statues and have no use for these. It's hard to say "Go get these instead!", since the articulation doesn't always provide enough range to get crazy poses beyond the action-heavy poses of the statues.
Alright...so how can I still end this with a good bill of health? *SIGH*, I just like them, okay? I feel like and idiot saying that I want this line to succeed, so I want to support it, despite the flaws. I just hope the designers are reading reviews and understanding the current faults, because if they can tighten up joints and make them work like they're supposed to (and maybe change something about the rigid plastic), then I believe these can be just as good as they look.
It's an awesome idea! I want it to continue, with improvements along the way. If you like the look enough, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Still...if you're on the fence, maybe just get a favorite and wait a bit to see if they listen and change what isn't working.