Marvel Legends Showdown
Reed Richards and The Moleman
3 3/4 Inch Scale
By: ToyBiz
$9.99

Although Hasbro has had a fair amount of success with it’s Marvel Universe 4 inch line of toys, they were not the first to venture into that scale for Marvel. Many people pretty much believe that MU is the first 3 3/4 Marvel line, but ToyBiz actually did it first. With their game/toy Superhero Showdown. The line was eventually renamed Marvel Legends Showdown, in an attempt to bring it closer to the line that inspired it. Today we’re looking at Reed Richards and the Moleman who were in one of the various starter packs.

The Mole Man was originally Harvey Rupert Elder, an American nuclear engineer and explorer. Elder was socially shunned due to a combination of his abrasive personality and his homely, dwarfish appearance. Furthermore, his fellow explorers ridiculed him for his eccentric, crackpot theories regarding a Hollow Earth.

When Elder fell into a massive cave leading deep into the underground realm of Subterranea, he decided his theories had finally been vindicated. However, he suffered permanent damage to his eyes when he gazed directly upon a highly reflective deposit of diamonds. Partially blind and apparently secluded from the surface world forever, Elder dubbed himself the Mole Man and began exploring his new home.

He eventually became the ruler of the branch of Subterraneans now known as the Moloids, and the ruler of much of Subterranea and the caverns of Monster Isle. He used the Deviant-derived creatures and technology that he found in Subterranea to strike back at the outer world in numerous attempts to rule or humble the world that had rejected him. The Mole Man conducted attacks on the surface world until he was opposed by the Fantastic Four in their first adventure on Monster Isle.

I hadn’t expect to ever pick these figures up, but I stumbled across them today in a toy outlet for the low price of $1.50 and couldn’t help but check them out.

Packaging:
Because this was a game first and toyline second, the package does seem to focus a bit too much on the game for my liking. Since I picked this up in 2010, the container is actually pretty beat down. This thing has been battered and bruised, but the figures were still locked inside pretty safe.


Actually nothing was messed up inside, although the dice had been jarred loose. They’re still in good condition though. That said, the package isn’t very attractive and I don’t think ToyBiz ever did much in the way of exciting packaging.

Sculpt:
Part of the reason that many people consider Marvel Universe the first real 3 3/4 line for the Marvel characters is because of how poorly ToyBiz’s attempt was. Beyond the aforementioned game element, the figures themselves had wonky proportions, strange choices and overall shoddy design. Despite the fact that the figures were often beautifully sculpted and highly articulated.


The head sculpt on Reed looks an awful lot like Dick Van Dyke, so I can finally realize my dream of a custom 3 3/4 Diagnosis Murder toy line. But who shall play Dr. Amanda Bentley?!


Reed fits in pretty good with my MU Thing but I definitely prefer the head sculpt on the MU Mr. Fantastic that came with Ultron.


Right out of the package, poor Reed’s arm fell off. Thankfully it just snapped right back in. It just goes to show you about how poor these things were designed, though. I’d say half of Reed’s joints are either flimsy or downright dysfunctional.


Moleman, perhaps because of his girth is much better in terms of working. His sculpt is pretty good too, though I do wish his head was a little bigger. His cape seems to swallow his head a tad. I don’t know if MU will ever make a Moleman and I’m guessing he won’t be any better than this, so I’m happy to add him to the collection.

Articulation:
Both figures are loaded down with movement, but most of those points of articulation can’t function properly. They have double knees and elbows, but the plastic is so gummy that it’s more like regular hinges. Reed’s ball jointed shoulders can’t be used as a ball joint at all. Instead they work only as cut joints, going up and down.


Moleman fares a little better, but he’s still got a few issues. I applaud ToyBiz for giving these guys lots of articulation, but when it’s useless or makes the figure prone to breakage it’s highly counterproductive. It is pretty cool that Moleman who’s barely 2 inches tall has like 30 points of articulation.

Accessories:
Moleman has his cape and that’s it in terms of useful accessories.


They do come with a stand each, which are molded and nice. These are flight stands intended to be used with the game. Speaking of the game, an instruction manual and maybe some cards are included. I’m never going to play the game, so it’s fire fodder.


You also get two small red dice and a couple of firing missile launchers. I’m sort of baffled that ToyBiz could know so much about the industry and do so much right with Marvel Legends and then think this was going to fly as a game appealing to collectors. It’s just mind numbingly stupid, IMO.

Value:
These guys were originally $10-12, though they got clearanced out for lower prices. I picked mine up for under $2.00, so I’m not upset one way or the other. Basically I spent $1.50 on a cool mini Moleman. This set is a little rarer now days, so you may pay more on the secondary market.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 6
Sculpting – 7
Articulation – 6
Accessories – Game Pieces, Stand, Cape
Value – 4
Overall – 5.5 out of 10

I did that value score based on the original retail price. If you’re curious, I’d up that to about a 7 for the $1.50 price. That would give these guys about a 6 or so in my scaling. It’s a decent set but the limited articulation (despite having a million joints) and ho-hum accessories and sculpting make this just decent at best. Worth it if you desperately need a Moleman and can find it dirt cheap.

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