Harshing My Marshmellow, Man
October 12, 2010

I have a confession to make. I don’t get excited about much in the toy world these days. Even though I think this is a fantastic age of innovation and risk taking, I keep seeing the same titles and the same molds over and over again. There’s been very little new product or properties in the past few years that I’ve looked forward to or felt the urge to snatch up. But with the release of the new TRON Legacy merchandise, I’m afraid that’s all about to change. My nostalgia for 1982 is peaking again, and so far, everything I’ve seen from the film hasn’t let me down. In fact, this entry is going to defend this newest toy world of TRON, because I just read something that kind of pissed me off.

 

    Without naming names, there’s a site out there that regularly posts reviews of action figures and statues with such excruciating detail that you’d think you’d stumbled upon an issue of  Consumer Reports. Recently, this site posted a “review” of the Deluxe Sam Flynn action figure by Spinmaster that’s just now hitting the shelves. To say I found the review disappointing is an understatement, but more than that, it made me angry. Whether this makes me more enemies or not, I felt compelled to write about it.

    Part of my reasoning is selfish. We’ve had to develop a thick skin over the years when people have bashed our products. But that’s part of the territory. We always knew we weren’t going to please everyone. Buy it don’t buy it, it’s your choice. We won’t get approval from all action figure collectors. And I’m certainly guilty of criticizing companies and items out there that I think come up short. But this latest critique of a super cool new toy kind of blew me away.

    I’ve had an eye on Spinmaster for a while now, and I’ve been increasingly impressed with their licensed toy work. When I first read that they’d gotten the TRON Legacy license I was optimistic. The more I read and saw, the more excited I got. It all culminated with their display at SDCC 2010. Two different ranges of action figures, both with light up features. Vehicles with sound and light, Identity Discs, a Recognizer carrying case, and a bunch of nifty die casts that looked like they jumped right out of the trailer. (Not to mention the TRON retro figure in old school video game packaging- coolest exclusive of the con). But the standouts have always been the ‘deluxe’ figures of Clu and Sam Flynn. Standing at close to 8 inches tall with around 10 points of articulation, at the touch of a button the chest areas light up and a moving ‘hologram’ of the character’s face pops up behind the mask and speaks lines of dialogue from the film. They’re just about the coolest action figures I’ve ever seen.

    When TRON came out in 1982, Tomy (best known for electronic games, go figure) grabbed the license and made a small range of toys: four action figures, two different colored light cycles and a hand held electronic game. I grabbed them all, and still have them in pristine condition. Boy, I loved those things. They were like all the other action figures I’d had at that point, but to try and emulate the look of the characters in the movie, they were made of clear colored plastic with details painted on. OK, so it wasn’t quite logical, but to my 11-year-old brain it worked and those figures looked like they did in the film. Best of all, their accessories glowed in the dark, and the identity discs fit onto the figures backs. Getting an action figure to ‘holster’ or snap on it’s accessory was an extreme rarity, so the Tomy TRON stuff always seemed to me a cut above. In the years since, we’ve also had merchandise from Medicom in the form of Kubricks and some beautiful lightcycles with Microman styled figures, and of course Reel Toys did some figures for the Tron 2.0 video game a few years back.

    Now, to the latest batch.  These ‘deluxe’ figures take that world of 1982 and the mind-blowing visuals we’ve seen for the sequel, and push toy technology in the right direction. Unless I’m very much mistaken, they even use the actual voices of the actors in the film, which makes putting Clu back down on the table that much more difficult when you hear “Flynn Lives” come out of him for the first time. They also come with several accessories each, and again, just like nearly 30 years ago, their identity discs snap into place on their backs. Man, Spinmaster did not disappoint.

    The 3 ¾” figures are great too. They have loads of articulation and accessories, and all fit into and with the various vehicles that are getting released. Being overly familiar with the man’s features, my one quibble would be the likeness of Jeff Bridges on the small Flynn action figure. It doesn’t look like Jeff, or Beau, or any member of the Bridges clan that I can think of. But so far that’d be my only complaint about what Spinmaster has put together.

    So, back to the “review” on that website. Someone help me out here, but when did we start reviewing action figures with such vigor, with categories like Packaging and Paint specifically taken to task? This entry basically gives between 2 and 4 stars across the categories for the Deluxe Sam Flynn, which is fine. It’s when you delve further into it that the smoke starts to come out of my ears.  ‘Lack of posability’, ‘basic sculpting’, ‘nothing will wow you about the packaging’, etc., all written by someone that clearly doesn’t have an understanding or appreciation for the effort it takes to bring something like this to market. (I say this not to pick a fight, but because I zero in on his complaint that the lighting on the front of the deluxe figures doesn’t run down the figures’ legs as it did when shown at SDCC 2010. Ten points of articulation, accessories, a talking feature and holographic face at around a $16.00 price point isn’t value enough???). This movie is supposed to appeal to a broad selection in the audience: the adults who loved it way back, their kids, people who have no idea who the hell Tron or Flynn are, or what an MCP is. And I’m looking at this toy line thinking, that’s exactly what Spinmaster are trying to do as well. I WAS knocked out by the packaging; it’s dark and nearly glowing and has an ominous feel to it reminiscent of the trailers we’ve seen so far. I AM astounded by the detail they’ve chosen to include with these sculpts, and the paint apps are great, particularly on the teeny tiny accessories. I DID get giddy when I came across the whole line finally out in plain view, and didn’t know where to look first. And best of all, I am thrilled they chose NOT to include spring loaded weapons or ridiculous action features that are useless and ruin all the good work that came before.

    The on line community of nit pickers has harshed my mellow on so much over the years, that half the time I avoid delving too deep on any geek subject, lest some anonymous ‘expert’ take the fun out of what little there is left to get excited about any more. I’m reminded of the fan uproar over Watchmen last year. For over twenty years every fanboy pissed and moaned that whoever did bring the graphic novel to life would make a mess of it and be unfaithful, or worse, cast movie stars instead of the right people for the jobs. Then it comes out and is slavishly true to spirit, and still it wasn’t good enough. When that happens, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Have we become so proprietary of the things we love and spoiled by the world becoming more geek-friendly right now that we can’t embrace the efforts made? I’ve said it before, I never in my life thought I’d get a Rorschach action figure, and even if I’d hated the film (far from it), I’d have to be thankful for that.

    What’s my point? I

don’t know, maybe that we’re all taking this shit WAY TOO SERIOUSLY?? I think we can all agree when someone gets it horribly wrong in the genre world, whether it’s toys, TV, or film. But when did we start picking on the guys who get it right? Or just not notice when it’s done well? Are those souls ever going to be happy? Bif Bang Pow! is about to make an announcement about a new license acquisition, something I’ve been working on for a long time. Since I was about ten years old, to be precise. And we’re going to think outside the box, and we’re going to go the extra mile, and we’re going to make something very special. And I’m sure there’ll be someone out there that will rip us to shreds when we show the prototypes. So maybe in closing, I’ll ask you all now to try and think back to the last time you got really excited by something in the toy world. Not impressed, not , like, “wow, they did it again, that’s another awesome looking sculpt of Mer-Man or whoever”, but truly buzzing in that “Sears catalog item circling” way when you see something new and different in the action figure realm. I’ll bet it’s been a while. So check out the new TRON Legacy line, and if your eyes are open wide enough, you’ll find something very cool to connect with again. And if I’m wrong and you don’t, do us all a favor, don’t spend too much energy complaining about it. That’s getting old.

    Oh, and P.S. to Spinmaster, if you’re reading this, please give us Daft Punk TRON Legacy action figures. With lights and music, ‘natch.
 

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Jason "Plastic Soul" Lenzi
A successful television producer and voice-over artist, pop culture fanatic Jason Lenzi established Bif Bang Pow! in 2005, channeling his boundless enthusiasm as a fan and collector into the creation of the company’s highly-desired toy lines. His enthusiasm has proven contagious, earning BBP! unanimous praise from the toy community and leading to creative partnerships with the likes of comics giant Alex Ross and rock icon Scott Ian. BBP! has so far released action figures and bobble heads for 'Flash Gordon', 'The Big Lebowski', 'The Twilight Zone', 'Dexter', 'LOST', HBO's 'Eastbound and Down' and 'The Venture Brothers'. When he's not chasing down new licenses, producing and narrating various TV series, or reading every music magazine on the shelves, he's obsessively playing Beatles: Rock Band until he gets every song right.
Read other articles by Jason "Plastic Soul" Lenzi.

 

 

 

46 Comments »

  • Buu says:

    Not trying to be harsh here, but you sound like a whiny fanboy while MWCtoys actually gave the toy a comprehensive and thorough review pointing out exactly what the strengths and weaknesses of all aspects of the toy are. The fact that his reviews are comparable to something like Consumer Reports is what makes his reviews some of the best and most trustworthy out there.

    • I don’t think you’re being harsh, but how is it I sound like a ‘whiny fanboy’? Because I’m complaining about fanboys complaining about everything? I don’t get it. And calling those reviews the ‘best and most trustworthy’ is relative. What’s the point of a comprehensive review anyway? So if the site gives a mediocre review to a figure you were looking forward to getting, you change your mind? If I don’t like the look of a figure when it’s in my hands, I don’t buy it. If review sites were around 30 years ago, we wouldn’t have picked up the new Hoth Han because the likeness wasn’t spot on and there wasn’t enough articulation in the fingers? Personally I think an depth critique is pretty absurd when it comes to something like action figures. Maybe that’s just me.

  • Perry says:

    Amen!

    I don’t understand “Action Figure Reviews” and they hold absolutely no bearing on my purchases. I’m the only critic that matters and whatever some “self appointed dolly expert” doesn’t like may be the thing I like best about a toy.

    Do you have to go to “toy college” to become a reviewer?

  • demoncat says:

    i don’t blame you for your views. for hate to say it but fan dom has become a catch twenty two . the ones who are making things like the tron toys exciting and trying to make the industry be new again are dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t . and actuly have read some of the reviews of the site you did not name . and can not wait to learn what bif bang pow new license is .

  • Chris says:

    GREAT ARTICLE.
    And I agree 100% on all of it.

    And I anxiously await your announcement!

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    I’m with you Jason!

    I got DX Clu and Sam Flynn and the gimmick is probably the most fun new action figure gimmick I’ve seen in years!

    I’m just hoping the film is a big enough hit for Spinmaster to do a parallel line of Classic Tron figures. I’d LOVE to the classic characters done with today’s articulation and detail!

    Spy

    • JuliusMarx says:

      J- If they DID do a classic line would you want them to have the same light-up feature as the new stuff? Do you think that would work for the classic look?

      • Jason says:

        I assume you’re referring to a light up feature on the bodies, not the faces? If so, then yeah, absolutely, I think they could get very creative with the characters, vehicles and whatever else they’d make. I don’t think it’d work for the holographic face feature though, which works because it emulates the helmets/costumes from the new film.

        • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

          I’m with Jason again on this one!

          I think the light up lines on the body would work well on Classic Tron, ditto the Light Cycles.

          As for the Impulse Projection, I don’t think that would work on retro Tron action figures…

          BUT, I think it might make for a killer MCP playset!!!!

          Spy

      • What happened to AFI? says:

        Julius, since you seem to be passively condoning the undue criticism of Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week, perhaps you should consider removing that site from your “Friends of the Insider” Link section. It was thru the links section on his site that I found yours. This is not how you treat your “friends”.

  • George says:

    I don’t see the harshness from the review as you think there is. It’s informative and completely comprehensive in its scope. Honestly, that’s what all reviews should strive to be. Perhaps you were a bit biased before reading the review, as it seems that nothing but four stars across the board would be a travesty and such the reviewer has to be a “whiny fanboy,” which is more derogatory than anything the review said about the toy. I find it odd that you show more reverence and respect towards a toy than an actual human being, but that’s probably due to blinded nostalgia glossing over one’s manners. Take a step back, take the review for what it is and buy the toy(s) that you were planning to do regardless. I doubt any review would’ve met your expectations, or will meet them in regards to Tron, so I wonder why you even chose to read one in the first place.

    • Sorry, but for the record, I never called anyone a ‘whiny fanboy’. That was what Blu referred to ME as. Also, if you read my post again, I point out the fact that the review gave between 2 and 4 stars for everything, which is fine. My problem is with the nit picking, which to me, ends up sort of negating the positive things that were written. I see this all the time with reviews, heaping praise on a detail, and then turning around and taking points off for something like calf rotation. Again, if this is what people want to spend time analyzing, so be it. It just seems like chasing the proverbial tail. And I read the review, because I was so giddy about the figure I just got and thought I’d have a look.

    • Miss Manners says:

      “I find it odd that you show more reverence and respect towards a toy than an actual human being, but that’s probably due to blinded nostalgia glossing over one’s manners. Take a step back, take the review for what it is and buy the toy(s) that you were planning to do regardless.”

      Well said.

  • TRDouble says:

    I read the review in question and I am a regular reader of said site’s reviews. I guess the whole concept of detailed toy reviews doesn’t bother me much and I take it as the opinion of the writer and use that to make my own judgement. I don’t agree with everything written. I’d take off more for packaging figures that cause limbs to warp than its’ attractiveness, but I am mostly an opener; I have shaked my head over the ‘nitpicking’ of accessories — what accessories does The Flash or Superman really need?!? But the smart reader analyzes and gets what they want out of it. If you prefer detail over articulation, then that’s probably the area one will focus on and a low score given to a semi-statue really shouldn’t matter. I can understand how someone might be worried that this particular site has enough reach to hurt a new, innovative line (by the not-so smart reader who let’s others decide for them), but I can say that I have never let a review deter me from buying a figure I really want; in fact, some reviews have helped discover & buy figures I might not have originally bought. But I can also understand the complaint here, especially from one in the industry. I have never truly been in the music industry, but I stopped reading music reviews because some were so off-base and you could tell the reviewer had no idea about the genre of music that they were reviewing. Drove me crazy!

  • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with nitpicking, especially as part of a review. If I’m really interested in knowing more about something, I want it to be exhaustive.

    I think the real problem is a score or rating, as that’s really subjective. What might be a real deal-breaker to you might not be such a big deal to me.

    For example, I think the concept of the TRON light-up visors is cool, but I’m not a big fan of the execution. So I’d ding that product appropriately to help me make my purchasing decision. That’s really all reviews are good for; I’m smart enough to see through the bias and bullshit, I just like more info to help me make up my mind.

    • Jon says:

      Exactly. That site has great photos, that is what is helpful more than anything else. Much like the AFI’s archive, it has photos that are helpful for scale differences and variant figures side by side. Seeing a produced product out of the packaging is key to seeing if I want to spend my hard earned cash on it. Many a time have I been excited by press pics only to see the actual product on that site and be grateful to save my cash. We need more reviews like that, less of the press releases that every site carries.

  • What happened to AFI? says:

    Buu nailed it. Sir with all do respect, I can’t believe you ever got invited by Julius Marx and ToyOtter to be on this site. Your blog entries are consistently arrogant, self-promoting, and self- congratulatory and have little to do with anything outside your own company. It’s hard to read “plastic soul” every time you come write a blog that prattles on with how great your own company is, on a site that used to be known for being objective and independent of all these large and small companies out there, while still having good contacts with them. I can’t give credence to anything you share while you are hyping your own company in every single entry. I can only think that you are paying ad money to write here, instead of your own site at biffbangpow, or you have blackmail pictures of some other staff members in compromising positions.

    “maybe that we’re all taking this shit WAY TOO SERIOUSLY??” The fact that you even wrote that, blogging on a action figure news site, and geek collectables “shit” are your source of income, it boggles the mind. I would think you should be professional enough to give credit to MWCToys and the work he and his guest reviewers do. the fact you felt lead to refer to his review of a new Tron figure as a “review” is extremely unprofessional of you, and an example of what you are railing against. He has consistently given honest and professional reviews for years, and shows some class and professionalism, on a regular basis. He reviews are well written, relevant, entertaining, objective, and contain photos that are clear and show scale in relation to other lines. He makes sure to convey his views are different than a kids, who is happy with almost any toy, and writes reviews for collectors, and collectors that are parents.

    Since when do AFI bloggers attack other sites over a difference of opinion? Much less being too thorough? His pictures don’t lie. I could see where you would be upset over his review of say, your twilight zone mystic seer bobblehead, which only got an average score, and low scores in packaging since both of his sample were broken in box due to your packaging design? or how he praised your venture brothers mego style figures? while at the same time questioning the market for such style figures based on new properties? are these examples of what may have influenced your views on his site? Look, I even plugged your company’s products in my comment!

    MWCToys invites anyone to submit a guest review. Perhaps you should go purchase some of the new Tron line and review them for that site, if you feel so angry over a toy review, instead of being an industry manufacturer fan boy and getting “angry” and complaining about one of the web’s best sites for anyone who enjoys action figures and toys? When you have products you can’t move, or can’t get a license, consider turning that critical, foul mouth at the mirror instead of another toy journalism site that doesn’t have a toy company head as one of it’s voices eh? I understand your views are your own and not AFI’s, but your arrogant tone towards someone whom the collector community respects is disappointing at best. He has earned that respect sir. You have not.

    • Hey What happened to AFI, thanks for the feedback. You are, of course, entitled to your opinion of me and whatever it is I choose to write about. It’s unfortunate that you seem to think that all I’ve done on AFI is “prattle on about how great my company is” because if you go back into the archives, you’ll see that I talk about the company about 10% of the time, while filling up the rest of the space with my love of toys. I hold no grudges with MCWToys, they’ve reviewed two or three of our items in the past five years, and whether they slated us or sang our praises, I actually appreciate the fact that they’ve taken the time to give space to our efforts. Again, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and I always love a good debate. Thanks for reading.

    • Oh, and I DO actually have pictures of Julius Marx in compromising positions, but he’s not ashamed of them, and they therefore have no blackmail power.

    • Well, you’re a presumptuous fella, aren’t you? I didn’t get the memo about “the collector community” appointing you as its spokesperson. One guy takes photos and types out his opinion on toys other people imagined, designed, manufactured, and convinced retailers to buy. The other takes real risks to get stuff like The Big Lebowski and Dexter action figures on the market. I don’t always agree with everything Mr. Lenzi (or anyone else, for that matter) has to say, but you couldn’t be more off the mark. When all else fails, turn to the logical fallacy that is argumentum ad populum, eh?

      • What happened to AFI? says:

        Jon Edwards, I presume nothing. I refer to the “collector community” you lend your opinions to. If you bother to click on the “Links” tab on the bottom of your “caped crusader” blog, you’ll note the community you are supposedly a part of. Raving Toy Maniac, Toy Otter (of course), Iron-Cow Productions, Ring of Collectors, FWOOSH online, RebelScum, Action Figure Times, Michael Crawford’s Review of the Week, Action-Figure.com, and Millionaire Playboy. THIS is the collector community of which you are a part of by proxy. Which until this blog, has always been fairly friendly. I suppose all of these sites “take this shit too seriously”.

        That is the only “memo” you are apparently missed or are willfully ignoring. If you agree with Jason and think ripping on a independent blogger who reviews your toys, one who is in your ‘action figure’ network community, is perfectly appropriate, then I don’t understand why you bother to list “Friends of the Insider” Link section. It was thru the links section on his site that I found yours. This is not how you treat your “friends”. I have enjoyed your blog on occasion, this is disappointing to say the least.

    • Wyatt Doyle says:

      “Since when do AFI bloggers attack other sites over a difference of opinion?”

      Indeed, let none raise their voice against an _internet toy critic_ in disagreement! With all “do” respect: Are you high, or just naturally predisposed to kiss ass? Yes, critics can _also_ be criticized — by _anyone_. That’s how it works, this whole “free speech” thing.

      That said, you miss the point entirely. Lenzi has written a column that touches on his frustration with a curiously antagonistic aspect of the relationship between toymakers and toy collectors. As Lenzi is both an industry professional and a collector himself, it’s a subject he’s rather uniquely qualified to discuss. Despite your claims, he doesn’t trash anyone; in fact, he pointedly _doesn’t_ name the site (nor the writer) that sparked the column, because neither is relevant to his argument.

      As far as your childish attempts to slag Lenzi’s credentials and credibility, go fuck yourself: As a toymaker, Lenzi’s track record of impressive licensing and killer product speaks for itself. As a columnist, he provides a passionate and opinionated perspective from someone on both sides of the toy business, and he’s a hell of an entertaining writer besides. If he wants to discuss how BifBangPow! operates or peels back the curtain to share their process with the public, I welcome it. That kind of insider perspective is a big part of what he brings to the table — and, I imagine, why he was invited here in the first place. Honesty and candor is something else he can be counted on for; where he expresses his opinion, he signs his name. That alone is enough to earn my respect — if not yours, “What happened to AFI?”

  • Perry says:

    Jason has earned my respect.

  • noshillsplease says:

    This will probably start some flamin’ (not my intention, just voicin’ an opinion).

    My only problem with MWCtoys is Jeff Parker’s reviews. How can you be objective when you NEVER pay for a toy (and haven’t for years)? He always writes glowing reviews of the products he receives, and all those were a “gift” from the manufacturer. They read like advertisements, not reviews. Plus, he never mentions in his reviews that he got the toy free. It is only cited at the very bottom of the page (not by Jeff). I know the Toys are Hot, but come on.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe Parker is a great guy from his postings around the net; however, he is a company mouthpiece.

    If you get thousands of pounds/dollars a year in free toys, you are no longer an unbiased reviewer…you are a paid employee.

    Otherwise MWCtoys is my favorite review site.

  • Russ says:

    I will give Mike’s review this: while I think the figures are indeed fantastic, I think the backer cards could be better.

    But I do get tired of hearing “people may avoid these at the $15 mark”. Yes, cause everything still costs under $10, right? You’ve got an amazing light/sound feature with the likenesses, nice articulation, and a sweet sculpt, and people may find $15 to be too much? Honestly?

    Gee…reminds me how Megos were once $2.99 a piece, and then only a few short years later Star Wars figures that weren’t even half the size with piss-poor sculpts and virtually no articulation cost exactly the same. And this was when $2-$3 WAS the minimum wage.

    Yet now $15 is too much? Please…

  • gl666 says:

    First, I find the act of reviewing toys pretty amusing, and mostly ignore them. A few pictures with a list of features (POA, how easily they work with accessories) would be much better.
    Second, I think “nitpickers”/reviewers/critics can be found on any kind of fan website (esp. sports), and they almost always fall into the category of “look at me – I’m so discriminating – I’m so intelligent – I’m better than the great unwashed masses”. Yeah, ok. Ultimately, they are no better than mainstream media (and yes, that is an insult).

  • Jeff Cope Jeff Cope says:

    I, personally, don’t have much use for reviews. I like what I like regardless of what anyone else has to say about it. I mean, heck, I’m an DC Infinite Heroes fan, right? But, others do take reviews to heart and enjoy reading them. I think Michael gets nitpicky at times…BUT, that’s sort of the point of his reviews, really. But, again, reviews – be it MWC or anywhere else – are not for everyone. Just like movie reviews. Some folks read them deligently and base thier viewing choices around them. Others don’t.

    As anther AFI blogger and staff-like dude I am happy to have Jason as one of our Men of Action. I enjoy his articles (and do not find them arrogant or self-congratulatory in the least, btw) and his POV.

    Regarding TRON…Spy Magician beat me to it. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE for Spinmaster to release a classic line. The new stuff is cool and I’ll likely pick it up when I can afford to do so, but I (showing my age I suppose) appreciate the designs and aesthetics of the original movie more than the black-clad look of the new film.

    Keep the Plastic Soul alive, Jason!

  • I couldn’t agree more with your overall point. I’ll never understand why there’s so much complaining and nitpicking in this hobby. I don’t know if people who collect other stuff bellyache as much as action figure and comic collectors do, but it really does get old and boring. Like a couple others have mentioned, I really have no interest in toy reviews. If I think I’ll like something, I buy it. I couldn’t care less what someone else thinks about it. I don’t make a habit of visiting sites that deal mostly in reviews, and I avoid sites owned by webmasters who spam message boards with links to their reviews like the plague.
    On the other hand, I’m curious as to why you’d be “thrilled” by the lack of spring-loaded weapons. I don’t like them any more than the next collector, but they’re not intended for us. What would be the harm in an accessory that launches a figure’s identity disc at the other toys and adds play value for kids? As easy as it is to chuck those things into a box (or even the garbage), it just doesn’t make sense for adult collectors to be so bothered by them. Action features that compromise the figure? Sure. But something extra kids can enjoy and we can toss? I don’t see the problem.

    • Well said, and you’re absolutely right. These are made for kids, to be fair, so that’s valid. I guess I was pointing out that not having those features may have been a conscious effort on Spinmaster’s part to embrace more of the collector community with this line. Whatever the reason, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t grateful for decision!

      • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

        And I have to say that any tooling dollars that went out of spring loaded weapons and into light-ups, articulation and other better features is money well spent.

        Sadly, in this day and age, I think the spring loaded launcher is the easy way out, in terms of cost and creativity. Sure it is fun, hell, my 5 year old Nephew loves them!

        But stuff like the Impulse Projection technology is really an innovative gimmick, that I think kids and collectors can appreciate. It might not be for every toyline, but it’s a step forward while spring launchers are just jogging in place.

        Spy

  • Bill says:

    The only thing I find disturbing about this whole debate is finding out that someone actually likes the movie TRON.

  • Rich says:

    I dunno Dude, I found the TRON figures to be just like MCWToys said, fairly average. I really enjoy the reviews on the site who’s name you dare not speak. I’ll get the toys that I want regardless of someone else’s opinion, but I enjoy the hobby and like to hear other’s thoughts. I also really enjoy the close up pics. Plus, it’s always good to know if a figure breaks easy and how careful you need to be with it. I do agree that there is a a lot of negativity and “trolling” on toy sites, but I find MCWToys to be really positive and not trying to be snarky (the same qualtiies I like about this site). I do think the holographoc face thing is pretty cool on the big TRON figure, but I was pretty disappointed in the 4 inch Kevin Flynn. Most of the others were okay.

  • MWC Fan says:

    I hate to say it, but your article gives me a poor opinion of you. You complain about MWC bashing the TRON figure yet you feel entitled to attack his review site. Your argument reeks of hypocrisy. If you don’t want to read anything negative about toys you feel passionate about then why bother reading his reviews? Michael is one of the few professional, unbiased reviewers this hobby has. Best of all he also knows how to entertain his audience.

    • Jason says:

      I guess I need to clarify my position once again. I’m not against MWC Toys or Michael, I have nothing personal against review sites in general and certainly don’t want them to go away. If you find them useful, go right ahead and enjoy them. To answer your question, which I’ve also answered in another comment above, for the past couple of years I rarely go to the site but I popped over once I got the TRON figures to see if there was a review up because I was excited about my purchase. If you go back and re read my post, you’ll see that my irritation is with the nit picking of said reviews. Again, PERSONALLY, I think some of that is taking the hobby a little too seriously. Hope that clears things up a bit and maybe gives you a slightly better opinion of me.

  • sandman21xxi says:

    Great debate going on around there. As an adult collector, I have to say I do expect high standards for my toys, and sometimes these nitpicks and criticisms actually make a difference in creating future product for some companies that do listen (MOTUC is an example).

    I like the fact that someone goes into detail in a review of a toy, it shows someone has the same passion and attention to detail that I have in toy collecting.

    As a reviewer myself, I think Mr. Lenzi is taking the review too seriously. Which makes the statement of “we’re taking toys too seriously” kind of ridiculous. Most reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, and that is how people should take them. Whether it affects your decision to buy or not is your own conscious decision.

  • AdrienVeidt says:

    “we’ve also had merchandise from Medicom in the form of Kubricks and some beautiful lightcycles with Microman styled figures

    And best of all, I am thrilled they chose NOT to include spring loaded weapons or ridiculous action features that are useless and ruin all the good work that came before.”

    So, decreasing the articulation in favor of light-up features that *always* go stale after a couple hours of play doesn’t ruin the good work that came before? Your opinion of good toys differs VASTLY from mine, and I’m glad to know that I can ignore all your opinions about everything you review in the future since you’ve got no idea at all about what makes for a good toy.

    • Man, I can not believe how much of what I’ve written I’ve had to jump back on here and clarify. WHERE in my article did I say there’s decreased articulation? Ten points for the deluxe figures and about fifteen for the smaller ones is pretty great, I think. I said action features and/or spring loaded weaponry was probably sacrificed, NOT articulation. And for the record, I wasn’t reviewing the figures, and that’s not really what I do. I was giving an opinion of what I thought was a cool toy. Don’t come here looking for reviews from me. Dig your ‘handle’, though.

  • Bob says:

    MWCtoys is a great website, the reviews are very well done, and I don’t for a minute think that Mike Crawford is one of these nitpicky fanboys that criticizes everything to death. He is a very thorough, intelligent blogger who has put a ton of hard work into his site and it has caught on and become the industry presence it is because he cares and he does a great job.
    I do agree with the point about fans who are too critical- anyone who has actually tried to be creative and produce something knows how hard it is, and wouldn’t knock someone for trying.
    I disagree however about the reviews- it’s usually my first chance to see actual production pieces, I love checking out the articulation breakdowns, how they relate to other figures as far as scale, etc.
    Anyway, thanks for the article AFI, discussion is always a good thing, and I can’t wait to hear about the new property you guys acquired, BBP.

    • Hey Bob, thanks for the feedback. Like I said, this is just my opinion about too-detailed reviews, not about reviews or review sites across the board. I know how popular MWCtoys is, so they’re obviously doing something right to get such a following. Hope you continue to enjoy what they do, and I’ll continue to pop over for info too!

  • Chip Cataldo says:

    I’d just like to say I hate you because more people read your blog than mine. You suck, Jason. James Bond sucks, too. ;-)

  • Off Topic says:

    You are a ridiculous man. Would you like to appear on my show (Off Topic, link in name)?

  • Jason Geyer says:

    I’m really late to the party on this one, but just wanted to respond to “Whatever Happened to AFi” guy up there:

    1.) We do not have a “party line” that we require our columnists to follow. Their opinions are their opinions, and outside of maybe issues of profanity or decency (which don’t really crop up) we do not censor others’ thoughts or feelings on any issue. Lord knows some of my posts do not make toy companies happy, and probably make other AFi folks cringe. Plus, we have a disclaimer after every full post with the usual “views of the blog are not necessarily views of AFi, etc, etc.

    2.) MWC is a friend of AFi, has always been a friend of AFi, and I have known and liked the guy since the earliest days of R.T.M. on usenet. We encourage debate, we encourage discussion. Jason comes at this topic from a different viewpoint than most here, and he’s stating his view about a type of criticism- he is not attacking a person. If he was, that would be something we wouldn’t allow from anyone here. Even if the target was Geoff Beckett (just kidding! We love ya, Geoff!)

    3.) I’m happy to see defenders of both points of view in these comments. I love that we have a passionate community, and personally I’d like more of that to come through. Who wants to read the same stuff on all the sites? Hey,that reminds me. I need to post a Mattel rant. Go read my latest Ottertorial in a couple of hours.

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