Fisher Price's Imaginext, DC Super Friends Vs. Hasbro's Playskool, Marvel Heroes
Not since the 1980's Matchbox Vs. Hotwheels wars have we seen two competing toy companies throwing down to become our children's favorite the way that Fisher Price and Hasbro currently are. This is because it is not much of a battle at all. In fact, one could argue strongly that the two are pleasantly working together in cahoots. What separates the two companies is the same thing that has always separated American kid's comic books from eachother.. DC and Marvel! Fisher Price has the DC Super Friends including characters such as Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and Flash with villains like The Joker, Mr. Freeze, Cat Woman, and Bane. Hasbro has the Marvel Super Heroes including characters such as Spiderman, Captain America, Wolverine and Ironman with villains like Dr. Doom, Rhino, Doctor Octopus, and Lizard. In some cases, kids tend to favor either DC or Marvel Comics. This is often because they have a favorite super hero or villain that dominates their comic and toy collection. For them, the choice they will make at the toy store will not involve much of a debate. However, most comic reading kids enjoy both DC and Marvel mutually without too much favoritism. This means that they will want ALL of the characters from both lines resulting in an unbiased DC/Marvel mash-up playathon. Even those with one favorite will feel the need to show their dominance by beating up their rivals during play time. Since Fisher Price and Hasbro are producing figures that share the same general proportions and have the same movable parts, they can almost be considered the same. As a result, kids can share vehicles, playsets, and even weapons that are held in similarly sculpted hands. The size and shape of their feet does vary though, so most Hasbro figures will not be able to fit into Fisher Price's trademarked foot turning platforms that control playset features like the Bat Cave's elevator and the doors to the Gotham City Jail cells. The holes under their feet are completely different too, so kids will quickly realize that Kilowog can't ride along on the Super Hero Squad's headquarters, and that the Riddler can't ride Silver Surfer's board. These few small incapability issues are nothing to worry about as 99% of the time the lines of Fisher Price Vs. Hasbro are largely blurred and the kids don't even recognize the differences.
So what makes one better than the other? QUALITY! The Imaginext line is far superior in quality. Granted, Playskool's characters are for the most part made equally well; For example, the Dr. Doom and Thor figures are very detailed and of the highest quality, but the playsets and vehicles are not up to par with Imaginext. That is not to say that Playskool is low quality, but in a side by side comparison the difference is clear. This is because of the plastics used in production and overall engineering of toy parts. Hasbro's playsets are much more likely to break as well, so be sure to take that into consideration when making purchases. One such item to stay away from is the Spiderman helicopter which has a poor design making it very fragile in a few different places. As far as play quality goes, Hasbro's figures don't fit well into their vehicles and so they rattle around and often fall out or slump over. Fisher Price's figures always fit perfectly and their vehicles are usually equipt with handles that the figures hold to keep them secure during play.
For both lines, customers will face a number of problems while trying to purchase a complete collection. Below is a list of the Top 3 problems and some tips to help soften the blows.
Problem #1: Getting Duped!
In order to purchase a complete collection of all the Imaginext and Playskool characters, you will be forced to purchase dupes and variations. Playskool takes this marketing stunt to an extreme by selling you a spiderman with practically every other character you need. Spiderman and Green Goblin, Spiderman and Rhino, Spiderman and Doctor Octopus.. ENOUGH ALREADY! Some of this madness can be avoided by buying Target exclusive, Imaginext DC characters which are sold in single packs usually with an accessory for less than $5. Or Kohl's exclusive, Imaginext DC characters sold in large packs with several different DC characters and accessories for about $20.00
Problem #2: Supply and Demand
The availability of these toys is patchy at best. Toy store displays are seldom diverse rather contain the same 3 or 4 characters in abundance. With at least a dozen stores selling these lines, avoid fruitless trips by calling your local stores and asking an employee to tell you what they have. Usually they will pull the ones you want to the side until you can make it in. These toys are already beginning to flood flea markets and yard sales in used condition, so keep an open mind when driving by and seeing kids stuff for sale.
Problem #3: eBay Profiteers
eBayers are exploiting availability issues by inflating the prices on new and hard to find hereos. For example, Imaginext's Killer Croc with air boat is currently being listed for upwards of $60.00, while on average selling closer to $30 (not including S&H). This for a toy with a suggested retail value of $7.00 according to Fisher-Price.com. Please avoid buying online unless it is directly from the source (Fisher Price and Hasbro official websites).