Feb 20, 2013
Action Features: The Rant
As everyone should know by now, I love toys. As an adult collector I've complained about action features in adult collectibles (especially those with unsightly dials, buttons, levers, etc.) There IS a part of me that enjoys some of those action features. I know these are made to make the toys fun as they SHOULD be, but sometimes, the idea is only good on paper.
Here's a list of action features that I love and some that I hate... Also some that I have a love/hate relationship.
"Wall crawling" feature on some Spider-Man figures: (The Magnetic kind)...
Yes, Magnets can be harmful to electronics, but a Spider-Man that can stick to any Surface that Magnets stick to is pretty rad! In fact one of my Fridge Magnets IS a Spider-Man with Magnetic Hands and Feet. Shame that Hasbro hasn't made a Magnet powered "wall crawling Venom"!
Thunderpunch He-Man's Thunderpunch:
This is a variation on the classic Twist waist, Figure Punches stuff action. Normally this would be in the love/hate section because it reduces the poseability of the figure. But in TP He-Man's case we get 3 things here: The punching action, the explosive sound of the blast cap exploding... Like an action Figure Sonic Boom! and the scent of gunpowder in the air... (which is said to give boners to a certain Michael Bay)
"Battle Damage" As seen on the Original Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor... Also seen on some hot wheels vehicles. Like I've said on other rants before, the BA springs could go from pristine to two slashes just by looking at it wrong. As much as I want to deny it, part of me wishes that the MOTUC BA He-Man and Skeletor HAD the spring loaded drum.
Spring Loaded Weapons (when they're not larger than the figure) Yeah, I love firing up some spring loaded weapons at the toys every now and then... (sad when I lose the missiles) but only if the weapons are not ridiculous or intrusive (like 200X Battlecat or anything from the GI Joe Movies) I mostly love them but they're almost on love/hate territory.
Talking feature: Various ways depends on the character. The talking TMNT were awesome. Sure they looked weird with a giant sewercover/speaker on their shells, but the talking thing was fun! You used a special ripcord that made the turtle speak. There was a strip that said something like Pizza time and you shoved it on a hole on the side of the turtle until it came out the other side. Then you yanked the strip and the turtle would say Pizza time! It sounded differently depending on how fast or slow you pulled the strip! There's also the electronic talking figures where you pushed a button or moved a limb and the figure talked.
Light-up feature. Of course this ended up making the figure bulky with an added backpack (same as with the talking figures) but you had a mini flashlight that was super weak, but it kinda helps in total darkness until you find a real flashlight. characters like Cyclops are often seen with this feature that is really cool... In some cases like the XMC Cyclops (Jim Lee look) the battery for the light up feature is on his base, which makes him as poseable as a normal figure. In other cases like Vintage Lion-O, you had a special ring where you put a battery on it and as you shove your fist up his ass so his eyes light up...
Glow in the dark: Simple, unintrusive and Spooky, when done correctly. What's not to love about it... In fact, more Toylines should have more Glow in the Dark Elements!
Now for the ones that I have a love/hate relationship...
I'll start this list with a VERY POPULAR action Feature that in some Toylines the whole gimmick of the line IS THIS action Feature:
Transforming toys: Yes, Transformations can be a bit of a pain in the neck... G1 Transformers toys are to blame for this feature not making it to LOVE... I don't know about you, but I DID play transformers as a kid and nothing made gameplay tedious as transformations. Not only G1 toys were a bitch to transform, but making the "kch kgh grh" transforming noises for 5 to 10 minutes while trying to transform Grimlock from dino to robot can do to a kid's throat? Not every robot had an easy transformation as Ironhide...
Spring-loaded limbs: As i said before, these limit the poseability of a character. It's bearable if it's an arm or the waist. What turns it to the love/hate side is when the character has a springloaded kicking action. This usually makes the character fall if the spring has a hairtrigger (which they often do.)
Superarticulation: Wait... WHAT? Mr. I Heart Articulation has Articulation on the love/hate side? WTF!? Yes, I love/hate Superarticulation... the hate half comes from Loose joints on top-heavy figures. Weak ankles on MOTUC Figures and weak knees on some Marvel Legends, I'm talking about you. there's nothing worse than the domino effect of shelf-diving figures after one decides to fall over due to weak ankles.
Anything Slime-Related: Not only Slime is messy and parental unit unfriendly, but if that thing dries on a figure that wasn't properly washed, it's a bitch to take off... especially if that figure has an intricate sculpt... 90s TMNT Toys I'm talking about you. I oozed the heck out of you. Don't get me started on the Ooze drying inside Mutagen man!
Now for the Action Features I HATEHATEHATEHATE!
Backflipping action: Famous offenders, the TMNT and 90s Beast from X-Men...
If that thing ever did a backflip and sticking the landing, that's the moment you knew that you should play the lottery.
"2-in-1" Secret identity changes to superhero figures: Many superhero figures get these figures and are often a disaster. I still remember the old Bruce Wayne to Batman figure that had Bruce Wayne wearing some weird Superhero-esque suit that you popped in the cowl and some other pieces and he ended up looking like a half-assed Batman. Or the weird proportions on the Power Rangers that could change from helmet on to helmet off. While the "morphing" thing was cool, the bodies looked weird. But nothing beats the worst of them all: Rubber civilian clothing... The biggest offender on this is Peter Parker (Either the Spider-Man 1 Human Spider Figure or the Ultimate Parker that could be switched to Ultimate Spidey) Cloth clothes are a bit better, but look weird on anything under 12".
Anything with Missiles that are fired from the character's body: (either flick firing missiles or spring-loaded) The character looks awkward WITH OR WITHOUT The Missile. Articulation is reduced, Figure ends up having no accessories aside the missiles and having the back of the missiles sticking out of the elbows or having the arms stretched out like the old Frankenstein's monster look isn't that awesome.
Water Squirting action: I love these in theory. why are they on the hate? because the execution often screws these figures. Often they end up being hollow and underarticulated like ToyBiz's SMC Hydroman, or their faces end up looking like freaky Spray caps... Dragon Blaster Skeletor and Kobra Khan, I'm talking about you!
Anything with Dials, buttons, levers, switches that looks like the character was stabbed with a giant dial, button, lever or switches... At least the Wacky action TMNT toys tried to disguise their wind up piece with a little pouch for shuriken... Other figures have Drums for wings or other crap that ruins display options.