No, it’s not January 1 yet, but it might be close enough for one retailer Down Under. Australian Fwoosher SWH happened across a fresh set of Mattel’s WWE Basic Series 1, just under 8 weeks before the new line is supposed to be released into retail. He’s graciously let me post his review here, and it answers a whole ton of the burning questions.
Without further ado, here’s SWH with his review of Mattel’s new Basic line for WWE!
I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon a very early release of these figures, because these technically shouldn’t be available until January 1, 2010. A lot of WWE fans have been eager to see how these stacked up with Jakks line. It’s been hard for a lot of people to imagine any other company making WWE figures after Jakks having such a long, largely successful run with the property.
The Mattel Superstars line is the ‘basic’ line, equivalent to Jakks Ruthless Agression line. Mattel also has a deluxe Elite line coming soon as well, which will feature more accessories, removable ring gear and yes, more articulation. Unlike Jakks Deluxe series, the Elite line is said to be in scale with the Superstars line. A great idea, because it means both lines will be compatible and interchangeable.
So, first thing most people will want to know about; SCALE. The figures are much bigger than I had expected. The best part is that unlike Jakks figures, these are all in scale with one another! Big Show towers over everyone, Evan Bourne is shorter than Triple H and so on. Just the way it should be. Triple H, Cena and Batista are the same height, possibly taller in some cases, than the average Jakks RA figure.
They’re only slightly shorter than the Jakks Deluxe figures. So, unless you’re a stickler for uniformity, you could easily integrate these in with your existing Jakks collection while the Mattel numbers are still low.
Or best of all, your large collection of accessories and play sets will still be able to be used with these figures. I’ve already given old Jakks belts to these guys, as well as things like sledge hammers and water bottles.But where these figures really improve upon the Jakks RA line is their body sculpt. These have much better proportions. They look more like real humans. In some pictures, especially compared to the Jakks figures, these did initially look like they were a bit scrawny. Not so at all! These figures are still very muscular and well built. It’s just a bit different to the build you may be used to seeing on the Jakks figures for so many years.
One thing Jakks always did extremely well was the facial likeness. I was most concerned about losing that likeness on the figures. But the good news is that these figures look every bit as realistic as the Jakks figures did. The expression on each of these figures is great. Kofi has a smile, which is quite fitting for him. Everyone else has a good angry/serious expression.
Parts reuse will play a big part in the line, just like Mattel does on their other big lines like DCUC and MOTUC, and just like Jakks did with their line. The difference has been that Mattel have a track record of making new parts WHENEVER it is needed, whereas Jakks had a real tendency to use parts that really weren’t suitable. Superstars series 1 hopefully gives a good example of what to expect from Mattel. Cena, Batista and Triple H have the same upper body, as do Kofi and Evan. Yet, each has unique parts where needed. Each guy gets his own unique boots. For Evan especially this is promising, since his distinctive boots will obviously not be used on anyone else in future, yet Mattel didn’t cheap out and just make a more generic boot they could reuse down the track. Evan also gets a unique hip sculpt with sculpted detailing of his belt and pants, rather than just having that painted on.
The paint is great. The designs on the tights are all really sharp and crisp. They haven’t simplified the designs, they each have plenty of color and detail. The guys all have their relevant tattoos, which are just as detailed. There’s really good shading done on the hair of Cena and Batista, to give the shaved look.
The articulation on this line is about what you’d be used to if you’re a Jakks collector. These are really similar to RA figures, though slightly different and improved. The shoulders look much more realistic, and articulation is hidden better. They also have cut joints on the top of the boots allowing the feet to swivel. If you’re a fan of lines like ML or DCUC… yeah, these will seem a bit under-articulated compared to such lines. These would be much better if they could even just have included a hinged hip joint to allow some sideways leg movement, like DCUC.
As far as accessories go, each guy comes with a display stand. Depending on how you plan to use the figures, that could be really useful or completely worthless. For me, I think it’s a great accessory, and I hope they stick with them. It would be nice to get suitable accessories in future, for guys with signature weapons and such. Hopefully Mattel will do that where appropriate with this line. While Jakks always included some sort of accessory, most of the time they were useless, like cookie trays or ring bells, which any collector ended up having dozens of. A display stand is easily more useful over a pointless accessory.
swh was also kind enough to share his pics of each of the Basic Series 1 figures and some scale shots. Very impressive first showing for Mattel.
Scale Comparisons – I think Superstar Scale lines up with the JAKKS Ruthless Aggression scale, with added bonus of relative height. I was wondering if they’d line it up to Movie Masters or one of the other existing Mattel lines, but I do think the RA match makes the most sense to appeal to the current collector base.
Huge thanks to SWH for the great review and pics!