It’s no fun writing a negative review of a toy, but this week I’m afraid we have a stinker. Max Steel was a great toy line from Mattel when it was introduced in 1999.
They discontinued Max Steel in the United States after four years, but the line flourished in other part of the world, particularly in South America and The Phillippines.
The original Max Steel was a 12″ action figure who could stand toe-to-toe with GI Joe (the big ones, not the little ones). Some early figures sported amazing articulation, nearly on a level with Dragon Model’s 12″ body. The head sculpt was a little too “pretty boy” for some folk’s tastes, but overall, it was a great action figure line with cool outfits and really neat vehicles.
Flash forward to 2013. Mattel is eager to duplicate the success of Monster High, their successful fashion doll that is the only new concept to be a hit toy for the major toy companies in recent years. Rather than give Monster High credit for simply being a strong concept, Mattel decided that it was a smash hit because of the books, website and cartoons that helped introduce it to the public.
So what did Mattel do? They jettisoned everything about the original Max Steel. The whole “going turbo” thing…GONE. The characters and storylines from the original TV show (which ran for three years)…GONE. Everything about the previous action figure line, including size, articulation and quality…GONE.
Too bad the toys suck.
The new Max Steel figures are six inches tall, badly designed, and have almost no play value. The basic figures, which have between five and nine points of articulation, retail for over fifteen bucks. In addition to the limited posability, the figures are so poorly balanced that, if you dare to swing an arm or leg too far, the figures can’t stand up. Some of the bad guys in the line have weapons on their arms so heavy that they can only stand up if their arms are at their side.
They do have cheesy light-up features in their chest and some in their arms. This is something that is routinely seen in dollar-store knockoffs.
Some of the figures in the line have hands that are way larger than their heads. The weapons are over-sized, unwieldy and unrleastic and I’ve seen some that even have lousy paint jobs.
I’m focusing on the six-inch figures in this line. Max Steel also has a line of two-inch figures that sit atop spinning tops. Again, the play value with those is dubious.
The new Max Steel cartoon isn’t bad, but the toys themselves are worthless. I wouldn’t be shocked to see these turn up in Dollar Tree in a year or two.