I have lots of interests – one of the more fun and keeps me young at heart is the toy obsession I share with a few other friends. I remember when the toy hobby really started taking hold of collectors back in the mid-late 90’s. Star Wars figures were once again crowding the shelves with rabid fans raving about .00 and .01 backer card numbers. Of course, it all seems so trivial now – but then it meant paying a $5-$10 difference. You can see the lasting effect that the 90’s boom had on the toys today (leading the charge was McFarlane Toys) that are sculpted to perfection by amazing artists and, often times, priced at a premium keeping parents on a budget with no choice but to leave them on the pegs.
Today’s toys are surely superior to the toys of yesteryear, no? Well, let’s take a look, shall we? Let’s compare the latest offering of Zeus from Marvel and Hasbro and the 1999 Zeus from McFarlane’s Curse of Spawn line. Of course, the Zeus is recent Build-A-Figure that accompanies the Marvel Legends line. Taking that into account we will bring that up a little later when comparing prices. First let’s focus on the obvious: the sculpt, paint application and articulation.
Like I mentioned, McFarlane led the pack for where toys are today. Before McFarlane many toy companies created either “3’3/4 or 5” figures with 5 points of articulation and hardly any difference in the sculpt. For example, the Masters of the Universe line boasted all different head sculpts but the bodies were used for every figure with an added unique feature, like a rancid smelling Stinkor or a realistic Moss Man. When Todd Toys (McFarlane’s debut moniker) was released onto the toy collecting public people were in awe of the detail, the fun action and the amazing likeness from the page to plastic. Each series flaunted more detail and continued quality. One of the peaks, in my opinion was series 13 from where this figure originated.
When premiered, Zeus was the standout figure among such monstrous creations with titles like Hatchet and Raenius. But, Zeus showed off a restraint that the other original pieces did not. The Greek God has amazing detail not just on his beast knee pads (dude must be a sick boarder) but also on his skin and hair. I’ll admit without his bad ass crown of horns his hat head makes him look less intimidating – but he makes up for it with his chain wallet of human skulls.
Marvel, on the other hand, gives us a sculpt and paint job that is both cheap and unimpressive. It’s like we’re taking a huge step backwards. Not to mention
Now, we could reason that you get more bang for your buck but truth be told, McFarlane’s original price on Odin was a very reasonable $9.99 – in 1999 that was more on the expensive side – but compared to today’s $20 action figures it seems like a dream! Especially since it’s still available on eBAY close to original retail. On the other side, Marvel’s Odin is only available by collecting each piece provided in separate figures in the Marvel Legends Thor line. So, by paying $20-$22 for all 5 figures (6 if you want the optional head) then you get this inferior figure. Easily costing you a whopping $100-$120 (although, for the savvy shoppers you can find one online for $35-$40). Obviously Hasbro has been trying to figure out how to keep the Marvel lines profitable – but all at the expense of the collectors.
Winner: McFarlane’s Odin!