The Future of DC Infinite Heroes…?
August 18, 2008

No current toyline engenders more mixed feelings in me than Mattel’s DCIH…  So close yet so far…

 But would they be better if they were more like this?

 

 

 It’s just a quick custom I did using a 3 3/4" Jakks WWE Figure, but it illustrates an important point.   Mattel’s Infinite Heroes are woefully behind the times.

 

 They’re nice, fun little figures, but they feel like something from 15 years ago.  If these had hit in 1993 I would probably have thought they were the greatest toys ever.  But today?  For $5 you get a figure that is somewhere between the early Toy Biz Marvel action figures and 1995 Star Wars Power of the Force.

 Now, Mattel knows the figures need to be improved.  Heck, I read in an online Q&A that they plan to improve sculpts and add articulation if the line makes it to 2009.

 So where does that leave us?  We have to support an "almost good enough" line in the hopes that it will survive long enough to improve…  Tough choice…  And risky.

 I actually suspect collectors will support it to a degree.  It’s relatively cheap and has good character selection.  My bigger worry is that if sales don’t perform retailers will abandon the line, and Mattel may have to do a DCSH to DCUC shift, re-branding to make the line viable.

 And with Hasbro’s GI Joe, Star Wars and soon a Marvel line challenging them on the small scale front, I’m not sure a lower retail price will be enough…

 Still, if anything, my simple custom (heck, it’s a straight repaint/kitbash!  Guy’s got wresling boots on, LOL!) reminded me that a small scale, better articulated DC line using current Action figure standards of construction and articulation is a fun thing…

 So, mixed feelings. 

 Is DCIH a great line?           No.            Not yet.

 Will I buy them all.              No.            But I’ll buy some.

 Will it survive long enough to improve?

 

I don’t know.    But I hope so.

 ^______^

Spy

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Jeremy "SpyMagician" Sung
It's the all new, all different SpyMagician! No longer single, no longer an educator, but still 100% Toygeek! "I make good customized actions figures, but I also collect Pokemon. Go figure..."
Read other articles by Jeremy "SpyMagician" Sung.

 

 

 

27 Comments »

  • Beast says:

    Well said.

    I think the biggest hurdle the line has in reaching 2009 for the promised “Better Figures” is the figures themselves. Mattel doesn’t seem to know who they’re marketing the line to. The figure selection isn’t going to appeal to the kiddies, who might have bought the known characters such as Batman, Superman, etc.

    And while the character selection is pretty nice when it comes to the adult collectors, the sculpting, painting, and articulation just arn’t up to snuff. And some of them may be a bit put off that they have no A-Listers to display with the numerous B/C-Listers.

    So the figure line is going to face a tremendous uphill battle with both segments of the collecting community. Which means it’s likely to die a horrible screaming death, especially once the Marvel Universe line hits the racks in March.

  • The Tekwych says:

    The JLU line has survived at 1:18 with only 5 points of articulation and it is surviving as a collectors line so there is some president for a less articulated collectors line. The surprise announcement by Hasbro that they will be offering a Marvel line at the 1:18 scale with full articulation shook a few people at Mattel. They have moved forward their articulation ramp up and are looking at the possibility of reusing some of the 4HM facial sculpts. I will be buying the full line as this scale fits the rest of my collection better than the DCUC line. I love the scale, the scope of characters being offered and the chance for vehicles and playsets. I don’t need the super articulation that Hasbro’s ML went to in some cases but better shoulders and the addition of ankles and wrists at a minimum would help me to justify spending the money

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    I don’t think the comparison to JLU holds. The Animated style does not lend itself well to articulation, it’s all about clean cartoon lines.

    I don’t think any semi-realistic or comic book based superhero line can compete without more articulation.

    Even Star Wars upped the ante on articulation. Like it or not, the bar has been raised…

    DCIH will also need to add accessories to truly compete. Even at $5 the lack of accessories really hurts the perceived value.

  • Lt. Clutch says:

    Toy Biz debuted on the scene in 1989 with its Batman movie and DC Super Heroes line. I remember supporting those lines even though they paled in comparison to Kenner’s Super Powers or Mego’s super hero figures. But once they came out with their Marvel and X-Men stuff, articulation and detailing improved with each new wave of figures.

    And eventually, we ended up with Marvel Legends.

    Toy Biz Batman Movie = Marvel Legends

    Hard to believe, isn’t it? I’ll be behind Infinite Heroes for the same reasons.

  • Beast says:

    “DCIH will also need to add accessories to truly compete. Even at $5 the lack of accessories really hurts the perceived value.”

    That’s another problem. The lack of accessories for most of the characters. Where’s Green Lantern’s lantern for instance. And doesn’t Commissioner Gordon not even come with a gun?

  • Norman says:

    The problem with more articulatio is that they get loose too quick. i bought some WWE figures and their legs would wear out way too soon. My only complaint with this line is the size, too small for that price.

  • Miry Clay says:

    I am torn…

    I WANT to support this line, I want to have Cap and Batman team up and clobber some Stormtroopers and Cobra goons. I like the scale. I for the most part like the character selection, especially with the 3 and 6 packs.

    And there in is part of the problem. Will Jim Gordon, Flash, Zoom, Mirror Master, and the rest be re-released with the promised improvements? In times when there are a lot of good toys competeing for my dollar, are they really going to ask me to buy these characters twice, or to accept the first 5 waves at a lower level of posability than the promised future waves? Let’s face it, at this point these even lack the now 25 year old biscep swivel.

    And yet, if too many folks pass on the line, it will never get the chance to reach it’s promised potential. But does if it’s not up to par, doesn’t it deserve to die?

    As I said, I’m torn.

  • jzachery says:

    Initially I was excited about this line… until I saw them in person. Just not my thing, too cheap looking, more articulation would make it worse. I’d have liked them to be in scale with JLU and Super Powers. 2 lines that prove you don’t need over articulation to make a quality figure.
    I’m passing on Marvels new line as well, just not my thing. I have almost an entire DCU in JLU, why change? I like the style better, it’s more classic, and I’d rather have a scale that can mix and match between all the DC lines of around the same size. Super Powers, Batman, JLU, etc.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    One other thing that hurts this line is that the closest TRU has them priced at 6.99. 7$ instead of 5$. I’m used to buying Justice League at 5$. The 7$ price is a turn off.

  • bnjmnrlyr says:

    Personally, and by now I have fully realized that I am completely the minority here, I love these figures just the way they are. I don’t like gobs of articulation in a figure. Between 5 and 9 is optimal for me. I don’t need super accurate and hyper detailed sculpts. I have absolutely no use for a bucket full of accessories as tehy always end up lost down an air vent or up the vacuum anyways.
    I try to tell my students “Keep It Simple Students” for best results and, as it applies to DCIH, these are perfect toys.

  • jzachery says:

    I agree with bnjmnrlyr on the articulation. I just wish they were in a slightly larger scale.

  • ZAXILLA2 says:

    Great custom, SpyMagician! I definitely think that’s how the figures should look. I’m really torn with this line. I’ve bought a few figures so far, but haven’t taken them out of the box yet. I even picked up the GCPD 3 pack and then put it down again. I think I might have to see what the future holds before I truly invest in this line.

  • Beast says:

    “I try to tell my students “Keep It Simple Students” for best results and, as it applies to DCIH, these are perfect toys.”

    Maybe perfect Happy Meal Toys.

    Regardless, thankfully Mattel doesn’t agree with you. And we’ll see some decent figures in 2009. If the line manages to last that long given how badly it’s been handled by Mattel.

  • Erik superfriend says:

    I get that Happy Meal toy feel looking at them too. It just doesn’t seem worth 5$. Then again, I don’t normally buy stuff in this scale, so maybe I would feel the same about paying for GiJoe and StarWars.

  • Beast says:

    Nah. Take a look at G.I. Joe and Star Wars.

    Detailed sculpts. Paint. Articulation. Acessories.

  • OddJob says:

    I echo the sentiments here. I saw these in person and woefully underwhelmed. Still haven’t picked one up even though I think the character selection is grand. I’m a big fan of the smaller scale stuff. But the price and the lack of accessories just isn’t good enough for me combined with the weak sculpts.

  • dave aikins says:

    “Nah. Take a look at G.I. Joe and Star Wars.

    Detailed sculpts. Paint. Articulation. Acessories.”

    yeah, but Star Wars figs are $7.99 at some stores. For me it’s about price point, as well as quality. If it can’t be done for $5, then don’t do it. If the Marvel figures are better and still $5, then there’s your answer to Mattel. If the Marvel figures are $8, well, there you go…

  • Hourman says:

    I’m not buying them. With the cartoony proportions and the big hands and the bland sculpts, I just ain’t interested. The Marvel line in the same scale blows them out of the water completely and shows up just how inadequate the DC line is. SO my DC dollars will continue to go toward JLU and DCUC.

  • Beast says:

    “yeah, but Star Wars figs are $7.99 at some stores. For me it’s about price point, as well as quality. If it can’t be done for $5, then don’t do it. If the Marvel figures are better and still $5, then there’s your answer to Mattel. If the Marvel figures are $8, well, there you go…”

    You get what you pay for. For $5.00 you get crap.

  • MisterPL says:

    I picked up one of those wrestling figures (my first wrestling figure EVER, by the way) with the express intent of customizing a DC character out of it in this scale with articulation superior to what Mattel is currently offering in its “Infinite Heroes” line. Imagine the grin on my face when I saw the images at the top of this page. Nice work!

    I also want to dive wallet-first into this line but I just can’t justify it. Even though it’s my favorite scale and my favorite comic book universe, there’s just no value in these things. Mattel needs to put more money into them – in articulation AND sculpting – before they’ll get my coin. Accessories would help, too.

    The good news is that there’s a recent precedent for Mattel to up the ante in terms of said value. Collectors harped on The House of Barbie™ about how limited the articulation was on the first incarnation of Superman and Batman 6-inch figures. Look what we have now.

    So until Mattel decides to offer 1:18 scale DC figures on par with what everyone else is producing, I’ll be making mine Marvel… and Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Hellboy and (God help me) even WWE.

  • Jeremy SpyMagician says:

    Glad you liked the custom MisterPL!

    It’s the first one I tried for customs, but those WWE figures are not bad. The joints pop out easier than on the big figures so it makes disassembly with no heat a snap. Wrists, bicep and hip joints all come apart with a tug. Downside is they are not as sturdy as the bigger WWE Deluxe Agression, but they hold together well enough.

    They do make decent Superhero base figures as the knee and elbow pads are fully removable. I used an MVP figure as the base for Guy Gardner, and all I had to do besides re-painting was dremel off the edge of the shorts on the thighs.

    Hopefully Mattel improves IH, but until then I have 2 more WWE figures just waiting to be customized into Black Adam and Hal Jordan… ^__^

  • TBoogie says:

    I have faith in Mattel. They seem to be collector friendly and pretty good about learning from their mistakes. Remember the initial Batman line when they got the license? The sculpts were ok but the articulation wasn’t breathtaking. Now? Now, I think their DCU line is better than Hasbro’s current Marvel Legends line (just my opinion). I think we’ll see an improved Infinite Heroes line before we know it!

  • Brainlock says:

    I picked up the 3pks, but have been hesitating on the singles. I can see myself buying more off-beat characters like Adam Strange and Guy, but I know the Marvels will be early on the “redo” list IF they improve the artic.

    then again, I do have to drive almost an hour to get to a store that bothers to carry them!

  • dave aikins says:

    So I just saw the figures at Meijers and the price tag was $7 per figure and $15 per 3 pack. At THOSE prices there is no verdict other then CRAP.
    $5 per fig and $10 per 3 pack was kinda okay to me, but these prices leave no doubt…

  • doug says:

    I wonder if Mattel would do a Masters of the Universe line in this scale?

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