Monday, March 23, 2015

WrestleMania Week Toy Review – WWE Defining Moments Hulk Hogan from Mattel

I have found that my own personal case of Hulkamania has been creeping back over the past few years.

Not for the present day Hulk Hogan - the one that wears black jeans and has douchey tattoos and makes me sad when he shows up in WWE because his spirit is absolutely gone. Also not for WCW Hulk Hogan, who coasted along for two years before catching fire again as Hollywood Hulk Hogan after horning his way in on the nWo gimmick.

No, I’m reliving my childhood love of the Hulkster of the WWF Rock N’ Wrestling era. The irresistible force that told me to say my prayers, eat my vitamins, and believe in myself. The golden superman that might get knocked down, but always got back up. The head Hulkamaniac that ignored his doctor’s advice and defended his WWF Championship against King Kong Bundy in the STEEL CAGE at WrestleMania II, despite (or perhaps because of) the broken ribs that Bundy had inflicted just a month before.

Side Note: When I was a kid I thought that those multiple Avalanches had broken Hogan’s back. I remember watching Saturday Night’s Main Event and being horrified at what that monster Bundy was doing to the Hulkster. It was only recently that I discovered that I had been thinking wrong all these years and that the storyline was that Bundy had broken Hogan’s ribs. I’ve even written about that one here before.

What’s gotten me thinking about Hulkamania again is the wonderful combination of pageantry and virtue that Hogan presented. He was a showman and a badass and also a role model. Like, a great role model. There aren’t many of those around today, particularly in professional wrestling. I like that and I admire it. 
 
Hogan may not have had the most amazing moveset, but his matches were electric and powerful. He had a presence that nobody else can compete with, not even Stone Cold or Cena. There’s just something about watching Hogan back in the day (on the WWE Network – only $9.99!) that is magical. 
 
First Glance

In an odd way that magic carries over into this figure. Just seeing the classic wrestling look of high boots and trunks in Hogan’s signature yellow and red is exciting. Add a great likeness and that big, gold belt around his waist and this is a heck of a striking action figure. 
 
Packaging

Of course, the magnificent packaging helps.

Mattel really pulled out all the stops for this Defining Moments series of figures. This box is a beauty; almost more of a display case than just a package. The figure stands on a raised platform, with windows on the front and back. It’s a nice, subtle touch that on Hogan’s box the back is cut to resemble his t-shirt. There’s a window on top, too, to let light in to highlight the figure even more. 
 
The graphics are straight out of WWE’s Classic program. The belt plate designs look great and the pictures of Hogan are great. This looks like it should be sitting in a physical Hall of Fame somewhere.

The back features not a bio, but a description of the “defining moment” that this particular figure represents. This particular moment is from WrestleMania 3 where Andre the Giant passed the torch to Hogan in front of over 93,000 fans. A defining moment, indeed.

Looks

I believe the expression on this figure’s face was taken directly from the moment of the iconic staredown that started the match. Probably a better choice than whatever Hogan’s face looked like when he was picking the Giant up for the body slam.

The likeness is unmistakable. There isn’t one part of Hogan’s head that isn’t iconic – the cleft chin, the blonde hair and handlebar mustache, those baby blue eyes… wait. What? I would’ve bet money that Hogan had blue eyes. And I would’ve lost that money. But Mattel nailed it. The eyes and everything else are perfect, signature Hogan.

This figure has a big, thick frame. There’s a massive chest and the Pythons are a scale 24” (that would be 2” around).

I’m kidding. I have no idea how big around the figure’s arms are, but they sure do look right. All of the proportions are very Hogan-esque, right down to the slightly too-long legs, although most of the Elite series figures feature those (due to the double-jointed knees). 
Hogan’s are just slightly too-longer. I think the tall boots help make the difference.

The boots match the yellow of the trunks perfectly. They are both molded out of yellow plastic rather than painted, so the look is shiny and vibrant. The white soles and laces are solid. I also dig the red kneepads. They’re small, like they should be. The longer kneepads of other figures just wouldn’t have worked on this guy.

Side Note: Since I’ve gotten more into these figures lately, I have discovered that the kneepads are flexible enough and slide around enough that you can make use of the knee joints better than I previously thought. It’s especially true of Hogan’s.

The paint is all spot-on, from the head to the soles of the boots. It’s all precisely applied with no blotches or bleeding. The excellent paint job makes this look like a collector figure. Not that I’ve seen any Elite figures with bad paint, but Hogan just seems even cleaner and more precise than the rest. The fact that Mattel used colored plastic in as many places as possible helps. If I had one complaint it would be that the wristbands are painted on with no sculpt. It’s not a big deal, but I notice these things.

Accessories

Hogan comes with a Hulkamania t-shirt, a Hulkamania headband, a necklace, and the WWF World Heavyweight Championship belt.

The shirt is a soft rubber and is easy to remove from the figure and put back on. The front is cut to simulate Hogan’s trademark move of ripping it open. It needs the title belt to stay closed properly, but I can’t really complain about that. The seam never goes away, but it’s such a neat gimmick I don’t mind. A non-tearing shirt would have been disappointing.

The headband slides into some subtle holes in either side of the Hulkster’s hair. Once there it stays put quite nicely.

The necklace is fine. It’s nicely detailed and molded from a gold plastic. It could stand to be a little less rigid, but it looks okay.

The title belt is so shiny. The strap is a soft but durable plastic with a leather grain texture. It looks great. The plates are an extremely shiny gold. The front plate is excellent, with blue, gray, and black paint on the details. The side plates are lacking paint that they should have, but overall the belt still looks great.

It fastens around the figure using snaps rather than the zip-tie system of the JAKKS titles and it looks so much better for that. Even at its smallest closure setting the end doesn’t stick out and look all goofy.

Fun

Mattel is giving us great figures with their Elite series. Since we’re kicking off a week of wrestling figures (and other wrestling-related articles; two a day, possibly), I’ll run down the articulation on this guy.

Neck – ball joint
Shoulders – hinge/pin
Biceps – swivel
Elbows – hinge
Wrists – swivel/hinge
Abdomen – hinge
Waist – swivel
Hips – hinge/pin
Thighs – swivel
Knees – double hinge
Boot tops – swivel
Ankles – hinge/swivel

That’s a whole lot of articulation. The hips don’t have quite the range I’d like, but everything else is great. I’ve noticed that the ankle hinges on these tend to be stuck, so be extra careful when loosening those. Use a hairdryer or hot water if necessary.

This figure can achieve most of the iconic poses we associate with Hulk Hogan. It can’t really listen to the crowd chanting “HOGAN” and it can’t do the finger pointing. I’d like to imagine that someday we’ll get an Ultimate Hulk with interchangeable hands.



Otherwise Hogan is a lot of fun. He can pick other figures up, slam them, do the leg drop, and just generally be a big ol’ Hulkster. The accessories add a lot , as well. Having this many items that the figure can interact with adds all kinds of play value and a number of different looks.

Overall

This is an excellent Hulk Hogan action figure. The colors are vibrant, the sculpt is great, and the accessories are tons of fun. If you’re a Hulkamaniac, you must get one of these.
This figure has left me hoping for more Hogans, particularly a Hollywood version.

5 out of 5

Buy one now, brother!:

2 comments:

  1. I saw this puppy in Target and was tempted to buy it despite not being much of a Hogan fan because it's just such a good looking figure. It will be hard to top this level of quality for the Hulkster.

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    Replies
    1. It's a great figure. I was shocked to see twelve on the shelf at Walmart the other morning. I have a feeling the upcoming Razor Ramon won't get quite the same distribution.

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