Before there was a Marvel Legends Line, there was Spider-man Classics. And while the original Spider-man Classics didn't last long and was
quickly eclipsed by its predecessor. But you can't keep Marvel's web slinger down for long, and both Toy Biz and now Hasbro have produced
separate Spider-man lines. While they are usually filled with one Spider-man variant after another, or one repaint after another in the
case of Hasbro's offerings, every so often a new figure or character will sneak into the line and grab my attention. Recently they have
produced a new modern version of Venom and even a new Juggernaut figure. But it was when they produced the first Marvel Legends style
Tarantula figure that I knew they would be getting more of my money.
Packaging - 6/10The packaging for Hasbro's current Spider-man figures has a pretty basic design. The card has a swinging Spidey in the upper left corner with a city skyline for a background. The yellow hues used for the background is a bit unusual, but it is probably a good choice. It not only adds color but should contrast nicely with just about any character in the Spider-man universe. The bubble is a bit bigger than it needs to be for a normal size figure like Tarantula. But since there are plenty of other, larger figures in the line, a larger bubble make sense. And they were able to position the figure and accessories in a way to use up most of that space with out looking too out of place. The back of the card has a large photo of the figure and an actual, informative description of the character. There are also photos of the other figures available in the line. The figure is also shipping now with a newly designed card which is more narrow and features new graphics.
Sculpting - 5/10Tarantula reuses one of Hasbro's more recent, generic male bodies with new feet and a new head sculpt. The muscles on the body are a bit too pronounced, but at least it doesn't have the geometrical knee caps of the Yellow Jacket/Quicksilver body. The head is sculpted with a pronounced scowl. But from the one or two stories I've read with Tarantula in them, that isn't all that out of character. I don't like that they choose to sculpt the left hand with the fingers straight out. It makes the fingers look unnaturally long, completely unnatural when bent and just isn't a very useful pose. Then there are his pointed boots. The character is suppose to have spikes on the toes of his boots. And the original, 1970's version did have fairly thick spikes. But there is nothing on the figure to differentiate the end of the boots and the start of the spikes. So they end op looking more like he is wearing elf booties with the toes ironed flat instead of curling up.
Paint - 5/10The paint work on Tarantula is pretty basic. They did a nice job of painting the head/face including small details like the mustache. But when it comes to the details of the costume, he is pretty generic. To start with, the character is normally drawn with just a bandanna style mask covering the top of his head. but the figure has the mask extended down around the sides of his face. They got the general design of his spider symbol correct, but it is too small and the legs are too thin and kind of dull. And since they don't extend to the back of the figure, when seen from behind it is a very dull looking figure. They also extended the gloves too far up his arms.
Articulation - 8/10Tarantula is fully articulated with thirty nine points of articulation. That includes double jointed elbows and knees and an extra joint in the torso for each arm. He also retains hinged fingers and toes as well as double jointed ankles which are often missing from Hasbro's figures.
Accessories - 8/10Tarantula is one of those figures that really doesn't need any accessories. But despite having a perfect opportunity to save money by skipping the accessories, they included two wooden crates with removable lids. These are great both for kids to play with or for collectors to use in displays.
Value - 7/10Tarantula and the other figures in the Spider-man line will run between $10 an $12 depending upon which store you buy them from. That is quite a bit to spend on a nice, but not really remarkable figure. But that seems to be the way the action figure market is moving these days. And there is some value just in the fact that this is such a obscure character that is unlikely to get plastic treatment again for a great many years. (There was a Tarantula figure back in the old five inch Spider-man lines.)
Happy Hunting:Tarantula is part of the currently shipping series of Spider-man figures along with Juggernaut and the Green Goblin. The line is still carried in most stores including Wal-mart, Target and Toys R Us. So finding the figure should not be too difficult at this point.