Cavalier, Thief, Magician! The full party has finally come together in the Hasbro Dungeons & Dragons Cartoon Classics as Eric, Sheila, and Presto have joined Hank, Diana, and Bobby. This collection of wayward amusement park ride fans has been at the top of many action figure collectors’ most-wanted lists for a very long time. It almost feels surreal having them together, and for me, they make for a pretty satisfying collection.
I have been one of those collectors, even though I only caught reruns of the old cartoon in scattered afternoons and Saturday mornings. I have subsequently gone back and watched the entire run of the show, and I enjoy it, so much so, I would love to see this line continue past these newest releases for some of the more secondary characters. I have been mostly satisfied with this line thus far, probably more so than many as I did not have any issues with my figures after giving them all a hot water bath, something that is common for a lot of new figures. Sure, I wish some of the articulation was better, but overall I find these to be good representations of the cartoon counterparts, and these figures fit in well with a lot of the lines I currently collect.
Overall, I find this second series to be stronger than the first offerings, but that is mostly due to me having more of an affinity overall to the character designs. I think Sheila and Presto especially have interesting looks, but that is splitting hairs a bit because all of the kids look cool. Eric is probably my least favorite of the three, and that isn’t just my dislike of the character coming through – he just isn’t quite as accurate, especially with his color palette. That isn’t to say he doesn’t make for a fine figure, just that the other two in this group are better for me.
That said, Hasbro has done a great job of capturing the personalities of these characters, and Eric’s expression might be the best of the group. He is a stuck-up spoiled kid, who at the end of the day has to find his heroic side in various situations, and his raised eyebrow speaks to his characterization very well. Looking at the figure, you can pretty much hear Donny Most’s voice come through, so in that way he is very successful. Eric also features articulation that is on-par with Hank and Diana, so if you are familiar with them, you pretty much know what to expect. I will say that the functionality of the articulation (which isn’t the best in this line) is more forgiving with Eric because he isn’t shooting a bow, or jumping around like an acrobat. He is able to hold his included shield well as that is his signature weapon. The effect is removable which is nice, but it doesn’t *quite* capture the animated effect for me. Still, it’s not bad.
My beef with the figure is that the armor pieces are just grey variations instead of the leggings and sleeves being more blue like in the show. I am not sure why it was changed (more realistic, I guess?), but this is an unfortunate miss. If anything, these figures seem to attempt to fully embrace the animated look, so I don’t know why this has changed.
Sheila is next, and she has the ability to stand out within this collection just by virtue of her costume color palette. The pink and purple stands out amongst a lot of greens and browns, and the ability to change her look with the swappable parts is cool, too. Sheila is the thief of the group and thus has a cloak of invisibility that activates when the hood is up. Now, that presents the technical issue that when the hood is up on the figure, Sheila should be invisible, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that she does look cool with the hood up. It’s a nice consideration in a situation when there wasn’t going to really be a way to pull the effect off short of including a whole other figure, but maybe that gives us an opportunity down the road to get an invisible version. The invisibility effect on the cloak is cool and all, but I would still want to see it carried over a bit more.
I think of all of these, after the aforementioned hot water soak, Sheila moves the best, and while her cape is probably going to get in the way of a lot action posing, you can still get some great looks for her. The bummer is that she has a bit of “Hank syndrome” in that her elbows don’t have enough range of movement to get her in that iconic hood-putting-on pose. I was expecting that would be the case, but at any rate, double elbows would have gone a long way here.
Finally, Presto might be my favorite of these figures overall. Stating the obvious, his outfit inhibits a lot of lower body movement, so that is dip there for him, but everything else might be the most successfully realized across the board. Like Eric, his portraits are pretty spot-on for the characterization. What really puts him over though, is the swappable head and accessories to help create his magician’s powers. I really like the magical effect and the fact that Hasbro provided the alternate head so that Presto can be casting the spell from his hat, just like in the cartoon. From a figure standpoint, I get it, he doesn’t pose as well as some of the others, but you CAN hit those spell-casting stances, and he looks really great doing it. Presto, like all of the rest of the figures in this line comes with a unique die.
I am quite pleased to have this core cartoon Dungeons & Dragons team (plus Venger and the Dungeon Master) finally in my collection. Overall, I think these represent the cartoon designs well, and while they are not at the top of the articulation and engineering summits for modern action figures, once they have a bath, they are mostly fine. Some posing can be limited, but I think that, apart from Hank’s arrowing firing stance, most of the iconic display needs will be met.
Personally, I would love to see this line continue – there could be some variations on the core cast, but getting Strongheart, Warduke, and others in this style would be a ton of fun, and do I dare dream of a Tiamat? Lord. You can still pre-order these at Big Bad Toy Store, so head over there and getcha some.