Playskool, as a part of Hasbro, is home to many of the all time classic toy lines. Whether it is "Transformers," "G.I. Joe," "My Little Pony," "Mr. Potato Head," etc., they are all Hasbro. Hasbro is also the current license holder for toys based on Marvel super-heroes. With all these iconic properties at their disposal, Playskool has put their own spin on things for the preschool audience, even combining a few lines for all new levels of fun.
The "Transformers" or "Marvel" Mixable, Mashable Heroes Figure 2-packs (Ages 2 and up) are a prime example of this synergy. Each 2-inch "Mr. Potato Head" spud comes with two sets of removable parts, featuring either a "Transformers" robot/vehicle combo or a pair of Marvel costumes. Of course, as with all "Mr. Potato Head" toys, kids can then mix and mash the parts to create their own robots in disguise and super-heroes. The Mixable, Mashable Optimus Prime is likely the cutest Transformer you will ever see. To top things off, Optimus' truck form has functioning wheels underneath to maximize playability. Kudos to Playskool for managing to incorporate the spirit of both lines in this new combination. Other Mixable, Mashable Transformers include the Decepticon Starscream.
Comic book fans will appreciate the Mixable, Mashable Hulk/Wolverine "Mr. Potato Head" pairing, as it harkens back to Wolverine's first appearance in "The Incredible Hulk" #181. Playskool would do well to sell separate "Mr. Potato Head" spuds, sans parts, so kids are able to play with both characters at the same time. Other Mixable, Mashable Marvel two-packs include Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus.
Also, recently released by Playskool Heroes are the "Transformers Rescue Bots Rescan" figures (Ages 3-7). This line features characters from Hub Network's "Transformers Rescue Bots" cartoon in new forms. For instance, Bumblebee now changes into a motorcycle. This figure makes for an ideal starter Transformer, as it is configured to transform from robot to motorcycle and back again simply by lifting and lowering its arms. This simplicity prevents the figure from having any other articulation, which does limit its playability some, especially in terms of interacting with other robots. However, because Bumblebee also comes with no accessories, this makes a great travel toy as kids can fully play with the toy from their seat in the car or at grandma's house without fear of parts falling off or leaving pieces behind.
Bumblebee, in motorcycle form, is also molded in such a way that it can sit upright or cruise across the floor with ease. Another great consideration for young children with small hands and developing coordination. Additional figures in the "Transformers Rescue Bots Rescan" assortment include the Fire-Bot Heatwave.
Finally, from Playskool Heroes is "Marvel's Spider-Man Adventures Web Wing Car" vehicle, as part of the "Marvel Spider-Man/Super Hero Adventures" line of 5-inch action figures (Ages 3-7). Classic toy fans will love this line of figures as they are the modern equivalent of Kenner's "Super Powers Collection" action figures from 1984-86. Just like with the "Super Powers" figures, squeeze the figure's legs to see them in action! Thankfully, Playskool put some thought into each figure's action, so that it is unique and true to the character. As examples, Spider-Man's arm swings up in a web-slinging action, Hulk's arms go up and down in a smashing motion, Iron Man's arm goes up ready to fire a repulsor ray and Wolverine's arms are angled to create a perfect claws slashing motion. The figures also have a gear on their backs which activate accessories that come with the deluxe models of the figures with the same squeezing of the legs.
Playskool has made two noticeable adjustments to the figures that improve their overall function and durability for kids. The figures' legs contain no other articulation, outside of the squeezing mechanism. While that may seem like a detriment, it actually strengthens the integrity of the figure, allowing it to absorb more wear and tear from a child's repeat use. "Super Powers" figures often suffered from broken legs and this should help prevent this Playskool Heroes line from suffering the same fate. Additionally, the figures sport large feet, which makes it much easier for kids to both grip the figures in order to squeeze them, as well as stand the figures up.
While the "Marvel Spider-Man/Super Hero Adventures" 5-inch line is well thought out, in general, and much deserving of support from parents and toy nostalgic fans alike, the "Web Wing Car" vehicle is a bit of a disappointment. The racer to hovercar conversion is adequately functional, however, when one tries to fire the spring loaded "web rockets" while in racer form, the missiles fly right into the car's front wheels... every time. Even in hovercar form, the web rockets lightly graze the cockpit of the vehicle. Speaking of the cockpit, since the included "Spider-Man" figure lacks any sort of leg articulation, it lays awkwardly in the car. Not a huge issue, but taken in conjunction with the self-destroying missiles, it is hard to see how this vehicle survived the prototype phase.
Another minor, yet needlessly present, hiccup with the "Web Wing Car" toy is with the "Spider-Man" figure that is included with it. The paint on the body of the toy is not consistent with what should be the same color paint on the head and extremities of the figure. Even the blue on the upper part and lower part of one arm does not match. And this color issue is present on both of the samples reviewed. While a preschooler may not notice this color discrepancy, that is no reason not to exercise a rudimentary level of quality control over the toys one sells to them.
Overall, though, Playskool Heroes' latest offerings have taken consideration into the fun and playability of their toys and will bring children hours of play. The "Marvel Super Hero Adventures" 5-inch line will bring back great memories for the nostalgic toy fan. All of the toys mentioned above are currently available at major toy retailers nationwide, as well as www.hasbrotoyshop.com.