Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mattel's Hasbro Tribute Returns

27 years after the debut of the line, Hasbro's WWF action figure roster grows deeper yet again, in a way. Thanks to a popular decision from Mattel, their WWE "retro" line continues by adding six new figures in the classic Hasbro scale, joining the initial six from earlier this year. While the first series was not really themed, you could say that the Attitude Era was focused on for this round. Mankind, Triple H, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kane, and The Rock are joined by Sting in his look from the same era, albeit in WCW.

The figures are once again packaged on cards that are clearly a homage to the Hasbro line. While there are some details missing (facsimile signatures for one thing) and the card stock is just a bit thinner, Mattel again does a great job recapturing the vintage magic. The plastic bubbles are molded to the shape of the figure just as the originals were, and "Authentic Superstar Moves" have replaced "Real Wrestling Action." After all, we don't dare use the "w" word. Hasbro-looking photos were used for the packaging, looking very much like choices that would have been made a quarter of a century ago.

Speaking of the action features of the figures, two classic Hasbro features return in Series 2. Mankind and Steve Austin have the "punch" move remembered from such vintage figures as "Macho King" Randy Savage and Razor Ramon among others. Sting and Triple H are done in the "jump" style that was utilized in the early days of the Hasbro line with the first Ultimate Warrior and Superfly Jimmy Snuka, to name a few. This latter move was not a favorite of some collectors, but I appreciate all of the Hasbro "maneuver" actions returning. It especially works with Sting and his "Stinger Splash." It should be noted that the mechanism itself is more reminiscent of Hasbro's first Marty Jannetty figure, where the "neck" of the figure does not extend when the action is used.

All six superstars translated well to the Hasbro style, although my main complaint from the first series remains relevant here. Most of the figures just do not have the brightly colored attire that the Hasbro line was noted for. Kane breaks this with his striking red. The mask is perfectly Hasbro-esque, as well, and "The Big Red Monster" would probably fit in the best with the vintage line. Although they don't stand out for color, Mankind and Sting are also highlights for their unique looks. Many would have preferred "surfer" Sting to be done here, and I still would not mind that for down the road.

Just as I did with the first releases, I'm loving these. All six men are stars that Hasbro collectors have wanted for years. Don't forget that most of these men debuted just a few years after the Hasbro line ended. Series 2 is once again exclusive to Wal Mart which cannot be said for Series 3. Including a total of four superstars, the third installment already has me confident that such a glowing review won't be the case when the time comes. Stay tuned, retro fans...

No comments: