A Call to Action (Figures): Hasbro

When I started collecting action figures, I was all about Hasbro. They made Marvel Universe, Star Wars, and G.I. Joe in the same 3 and ¾ inch scale. What was there not to love? The problem is that Hasbro has every major license except for D.C., and thus no real competition to push them to maintain or higher the quality of their figures. Their partnership with Disney has given them a Monopoly.

I had to.

It wouldn’t be a problem if Hasbro pushed themselves internally, but I’ve noticed a serious let down in production quality in the movie figures and the figures from Marvel Legends and Marvel Infinite. G.I. Joe has been in and out of stores since the movies. The only area they’ve improved in are Star Wars figures, which now, thank Hasbro, have more than five points of articulation finally. But the eyes of two of the three figures I bought from the latest wave of Marvel Infinite figures had messed up eyes paints. I didn’t buy any Age of Ultron figures because Hasbro sat on their hands and repacked Avengers figures from the last movie releases for the most part.

And no Vision

Part of the problem may be that the quantity of action figures they’re being asked to make is too much for them to handle, but that’s not really an excuse for a company of any side. If business is booming so hard that it can’t keep up, expand. Satisfy the market. Make more money. That’s the basic goal of a business, isn’t it?

Botched eye paint number 1

Hasbro’s lockup of all of these licenses and subsequent production of at times good but more often just passable action figures is stopping companies like McFarlane, NECA, Funko, Threezero, and Mattel from growing too. Which is probably Hasbro’s goal, to be fair, and all of those companies have found interesting ways around it whether it be scooping up adult/vintage licenses, making bobble heads, working with sports teams, or merchandising television. I hope when it comes time for Disney and Hasbro to renegotiate though, Disney goes with one of the underdogs. Not for the sake of fairness, but in the interest of satisfying the market with higher quality products. Less repackages and reused bodies.

Botched eye paint number 2

Of course, that’s Disney’s decision to make. We could force their hand by boycotting, but I for one don’t have the fortitude to give up Marvel, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and Transformers for the amount of time necessary to really hit them, and I fear these markets are primarily interested in selling to kids. I want to say that’s a shame because so many adults are now collecting action figures, but I understand that kids are still the primary market share.

Hasbro seems to be the status quo, and that’s in some ways a bad thing, but I’m sure people felt that way about Toy Biz in the 90s. Regimes change. I, for one, hope the next one can keep up their quality control a little better. In the meantime, Hasbro needs to pick up their quality control a bit.

A Call to Action (Figures) is a weekly column published on Wednesdays, chronicling my rants and raves about all things action figure. Next week I’ll be talking about who won San Diego Comic Con.

Did I get it right? Is Hasbro as bad as I say they are? Will you boycott? Or are they the greatest? Let me know in the comments!

By Bryan Stewart

Bryan first discovered an appreciation for action figures at an early age, setting up elaborate GI Joe ant hill attacks, complete with firework pyrotechnics. Due to the high injury rate for the Joes, replacements were a constant necessity.


  1. I agree that Hasbro has certainly slipped a few steps in quality control and focus. I feel like they are kinda just coasting now. It seems there are a lot of “missed opportunities” going on for lack of a better term. Why can’t we get a line of 6″ Black Series style classic G.I. Joes and Cobras? Everything is so predictable and based on what movies are out, or an updated version of a figure we’ve already had at some point. When was the last time that there was a line of mainstream action figures that were first and foremost action figures??? One of the things that was so great about G.I. Joe and Transformers was that every year we got to discover great new characters as TOYS FIRST and then got to look forward to seeing them on screen in cartoons and in comic books. When was the last time any toy company actually took a chance? Where is the Masters Of The Universe, the M.A.S.K., the Inhumanoids, the Wheeled Warriors, the Sectaurs, and the Visionaries of this generation??? Sadly, there just isn’t any. Sure not all of these lines made a gazillion dollars but they did make for some very awesome toys that were TOYS FIRST.

    1. They’re coasting. You nailed it. They should be expanding and making new lines of action figure first toys and things like 6 inch G.I. Joes.

  2. I have to agree with the paint applications being shoddy. My big gripe is that we see lots of re-use with painted but not sculpted parts. Which is a whole other issue. If this is the case, these paint apps should be spot on. I’m posting as more of a Legends collector. The quality of the Black Series has dipped a bit lately too.

    Where are the 1/12 Joe figures? I’d heard that the price of vehicles in that scale was prohibiting. After the TIE Fighter, I’m calling. Also, I’m all in for MASK.

    1. It’s a lot of reuse of everything over there. They’re being lazy because they’ve got enough of a following that they don’t need to make as good a product as they used to. Success has made them complacent.

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