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Heroics - Batman, Joker, The Flash

Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids


When I was a kid, you could pop a nickel (or even a penny) into a gum ball machine, and out popped some cool, freaky little figure. They weren't great quality, they were rarely licensed, but they were cheap and fun.

These days they still have such things, although finding a machine that takes less than 50 cents is rare, and a buck isn't uncommon. The reality is the quality hasn't gone up - just the price.

But not all toys of this style are to be found in machines. There's a new set of small plastic superhero action figures that you can pick up at your local store in the action figure aisle instead of the front door. Called Heroics, they are from Treehouse Kids, a company best known for knock off adventure and construction vehicles, playsets and action figures.

They are producing mini-figures for both DC and Marvel, and will have figures based not just on classic comic book designs, but on upcoming films like the Avengers and Dark Knight Rises.

Let me re-iterate that these are SMALL. Really small. We're talking 1" tall max. I haven't yet seen the Marvel series, but the DC series includes eight different figures plus two 'chase' figures. Not sure what the chase figures are supposed to be, but their website shows two versions of Batman, three versions of Superman, the Joker, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter. If you're counting that makes nine, not ten, so I'm not positive who the chase figures will be.
Click on the photo below for a life size version
Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids
Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids
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Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids
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Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids
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Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids
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Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids
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Packaging - **1/2
Each figure comes in a small, hard case ball. There's a tight plastic band around the center to keep the contents enclosed til you get home, but the actual 'heroics' logo is printed right on the ball itself. That's a nice touch, and I like the logo design and ball package.

The lower score here is due to the blind nature of the packaging. You'll have no idea what you're getting til you get home and open them up, and regular readers know I hate the concept. However, it's not as odorous with these - they only cost about a buck each. If you end up with a few extra Flash or Green Lantern figures, no big whoop. That's a sight better than the $5 or even $10 blind boxed figures we get from some companies.

While I doubt there's any correlation, I will say that my Flash came in a white ball, the Joker came in a yellow (mustard) ball, and Batman came in a red ball. I doubt that's consistent, but I thought I'd mention it just in case.

Sculpting - ***
It's important that I make this very, very clear - these are about 1" tall. That might not seem like a big deal, but click on the LifeSizer photo above to see just how tiny that really is.

It wouldn't be particularly useful for me to use photos that showed the figure at normal scale - you shouldn't have to squint at your monitor. But it is important for you to realize that these macro photos are going to show you imperfections in paint and sculpt that are simply too small for you to see with the nekkid eye.

That being said, there are still a few issues that even at this scale could be better. There's some proportion issues with the heads, arms and legs that could have been improved on, especially with Batman and Flash. 

The scale between figures is also off. Just because they are cheap doesn't mean the Joker should be taller than Batman and the Flash, even when taking into consideration the poses.

On the plus side, there's some very nice small detail work considering the scale, particularly on Batman's muscles, Flashes face, and the Joker's clothes. I also like the selected poses, especially the Joker's. The exude the correct personality for each character.

They all stand great due to the large base, and there's no confusing who each character is suppose to be. These are the sort of figures that look better in groups than individually.

Paint - **1/2
Even tougher than sculpting is paint, when working with small scales. Sculpts can be done at a larger size and shrunk down - paint can't. It would be extremely easy to lambaste these for sloppy paint, but the fact that we get any details is actually pretty surprising.

All the figures have small detail work - eyes, lips, symbols, stripes...it's pretty surprising that these things are done with paint.

Of course, they show more slop in macro photos than you'd like, but when viewed with the nekkid eye, these problems *almost* disappear. There's still some large issues that are pretty clear - like the boots not covering the entire foot, the oversized eyes on Batman, or the green spot on the Joker's forehead - but for such a small and cheap figure, these aren't too far off expectations.

Articulation - Bupkis
This score in no way effects my overall - it's informational for those who have not yet seen these little figures. There is no articulation, which when you see them in person should be no surprise.

Accessories - Bupkis
See above. I didn't expect any accessories, since you'd need a magnifying glass to see them, but I thought it would be useful to mention.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While some folks might believe that it requires an 8" action figure with tons of articulation for a kid to have a good time, I'd have to differ. Plastic army men and other totally unarticulated figures are great for play, especially when they are cheap enough that a kid can get a bunch. The poses work for battles, and the figures all stand great on their own with the large base, two big pluses in this category.

One of the things these guys are really good for - giving your action figures action figures.  If you're looking to do a photo shoot where your sixth scale figures are talking about or playing with action figures, these small 1" guys are perfect.

Value - ***
When was the last time you bought any action figure - no matter how tiny - for a buck? These are on par with the gum ball machine figures of yore, but even those cost 2, 3 and 4 quarters these days.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing, other than the cat swallowing them.

Overall - ***
These aren't going to rival DCUC or Marvel Universe figures, but they aren't supposed to. These are intended as very cheap, very small, fun little figures, that kids can buy in quantity, trade, and play with without concern for losing them or breaking them. The paints and sculpts are reasonable all things considered, and with such a broad range of superhero licenses, this is one of those rare times when you can combine your favorite Marvel and DC characters together in the same display.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - Bupkis
Accessories - Bupkis
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
I came across these at the local Wal-mart, although I expect you'll see them pop up at other stores as well. At just a buck each, you can't really beat the price.

Related Links -
Check out the Heroics website for tons of info on both the DC and Marvel series, as well as games and activities.

Discussion:
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Heroics DC mini action figures by Treehouse Kids


This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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