I held off on buying a packet of Handful of Heroes for a while, and now I regret it. It seems the line won't see a third series, and Hasbro has sadly opted not to use this format for its other properties. As a kid, I had a smattering of M.U.S.C.L.E., MicroMachines, Kenner's Star Wars MicroCollection, and D.I.N.O. Mites toys. I like small figures, and this 1 1/2-inch line of figures, on paper, warms the heart. As Hasbro now preps its Star Wars Squinkies knock-off and some other "impulse" figure toys for 2012, I am saddened that they opted not to extend this style to Star Wars or G.I. Joe. They're delightful-- expensive, but delightful.
This packet included The Punisher, War Machine, Iron Man, Iron Man (MK I), Spider-Man, World War Hulk, Doctor Doom, and Bi-Beast which I've never heard of before. (I suppose before his mutation, he was merely Bi-Curious Beast. Thank you, I'll be here all week.) The poster for series 2 shows that of 40 figures, 8 are Hulks, 5 Iron Mans, 3 Wolverines, and 5 Spider-Man. So of the 40 figures, over 50% of the line are variations on 4 characters, which is a little unfortunate given that a line like this practically begs for weird characters. Having only bought one set and loving it, I'm not too keen on buying more because I got so many major characters in this set that I fear a second set would result in at least 50% duplicate characters. With 23 characters and Hasbro making sure you get Spider-Man or some major guy in every packet, they basically shot themselves in the foot for repeat purchases. Your average kid gets a Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Hulk in every box-- why buy a second packet? Sure they're awesome, but one purchase is actually quite satisfying.
While not "hard plastic," the HOH figures are not as flexible as M.U.S.C.L.E. or their cousins. If anything, they feel like a significantly higher-quality incarnation of those little green military figures we've all seen. The sculpting is crisp, the molding is clean, and there's no real danger of ugly flash hanging off them yet. (Well, with the exception of my War Machine figure, as seen below, which I decided to keep on for now.) I fear that this kind of plastic means they could get damaged if not properly stored over time, but it does have an advantage-- their feet aren't huge and they have no display stands, but they can stand with virtually no problems. This may not sound like a big deal, but I was actually stunned all 8 could stand up perfectly well right out-of-the-box and that the detailing was really nice.
The sculpts are good, but in some cases I don't understand-- why does Doctor Doom have what appears to be Mjolnir? Is it a fake hammer? Did he get it in some series? I'd have been fine if he were just holding up his fist in rage. Both Iron Man figures were great with excellent detail, and Spider-Man looked a little pudgy but still seems fantastic. The Punisher was great, War Machine seems cool with a weird helmet, and Bi-Beast... I don't know who Bi-Beast is. I'm being told he's a Hulk villain. Speaking of Hulk, World War Hulk with his axe and armor is super-cool.
If you like mini figures and are a compulsive collector, do not buy Marvel HOH figures. There are reportedly 3 colors of each of the 40 sculpts per series, and so far there are reportedly a grand total of 240 figures including all variations. I'm not crazy about the glittery or clear flavors, but I do like what Hasbro did here and would love to see it refined in the future. (Request: no more glitter/clear. More variety per pack-- I should never have 2 Iron Man or 2 Spider-Man in a set. And if you're feeling really saucy, a playset or diorama would be marvelous.) If Hasbro did Star Wars figures like this I'd be real broke real fast. I wish they handed out samples of the Marvel guys at a summer convention so I would've known I should run out and buy these prior to the line being basically over.
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