The holidays are coming up, and that means one thing: parents scrambling to get the most popular toys for their kids. And while newer toys like Funko POP figures and LOL dolls have become the most popular choice this year, nothing beats a classic action figure. Kids all across the country are clamoring for action figures and dolls based on all their favorite cartoon, movie, and video game characters.
Fortunately for kids and toy collectors alike, there are plenty of factories and manufacturers willing to meet that demand. However, for every stellar company like Hasbro, Bandai, and Hot Toys, there are a dozen or so less than reputable brands known for cutting corners. Most of them make generic action figures and dolls, but every once in a while, they'll get their hands on some actual licensed characters.
Today we'll be looking at some of the most inaccurate and off-model action figures based on popular characters from comics, movies, TV shows, and video games. Some of them were made from flimsy plastic or were outsourced from decrepit factories, and sometimes the companies making these toys just didn't really care. And even some of those previously stated stellar companies have made a few infamous mistakes. No bootleg figures for this list, though; only actual licensed products that made it to major toy stores.
So hide your stockings and make sure you get a gift receipt, cause here are the toys that no kid's going to be asking for this year. These are 25 Licensed Action Figures that Look Nothing Like the Characters!
25 Samus Amiibo (Metroid)
Nintendo's Amiibos have become one of the most popular toy lines in recent years and have popularized the toys-to-life genre of video games. As nice as these Nintendo figures are, some of them have had bad paint jobs and modeling.
But none of that compares to the hilarious Samus amiibo with two arm cannons.
This factory defect popped up on Reddit about four years ago and was eventually sold on eBay for $2,500. I don't know how effective two arm cannons would be, but it would be neat if Nintendo included that as an upgrade in Metroid Prime 4.
24 Hawkeye (Avengers, Assemble!)
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has helped to make superheroes more popular in other media, such as Avengers, Assemble!, the spinoff cartoon based on the Avengers movie. Naturally, this cartoon spawned another line of action figures, this time based on their show appearance.
Hawkeye looks very different from his cartoon appearance, though. It turns out they just repainted some old movie Hawkeye action figures to match the color scheme from the cartoon. The result was Jeremy Renner with blond hair and purple paint splashed on his outfit.
23 Adam Maitland (Beetlejuice)
As popular as Beetlejuice was, I don't know if it's a movie that demands an entire action figure line based around all its characters. Regardless, one was made including a figure based on Adam Maitland, Alec Baldwin's character. I know Baldwin wasn't as famous at the time, but the manufacturer behind this figure didn't even try to make it look like him.
He looks more like a young James Spader than Baldwin, and why is he wearing a backward baseball cap? If you want a really accurate figure, put on that freaky beakface mask and never take it off.
22 Catwoman Barbie
Catwoman was easily one of the worst superhero movies ever made, so it's no surprise that the merchandise that came out for that movie was just as bad. For some reason, Mattel decided to produce a Barbie doll based on the titular character, and it's one of the most controversial in the toy line's history.
The doll has the standard plastic Barbie smile, the complete opposite of Halle Berry's constant snarling and hissing face. And the detachable mask never really seemed to fit, making her look even more stupid than that torn up catsuit already did.
21 Bob (Batman)
It seems that some toy lines were so desperate to produce as many action figures as possible, they didn't care if they were basing them off main characters or extras. Since nearly everyone forgot, Bob is the Joker's right-hand man in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman movie.
Maybe Toy Biz thought they could get away with making an inaccurate action figure of a character that no one would remember. And they probably would have, if they didn't print a picture of him with hair on the package. How much money did they save by making him bald?
20 Belle (Beauty And The Beast 2017)
Perhaps Mattel heard the criticism of their Barbie Catwoman and decided to make a more realistic, human face instead of the standard plastic smile. So instead of a standard Barbie in a yellow dress, we got a nightmarish doll straight from the uncanny valley.
Just seeing that very human face next to those plastic joints feels really off.
It wouldn't be so bad if the doll actually looked like Emma Watson. Instead, it looks like they threw on Justin Bieber's face with the forehead of Dwight from The Office. Mattel should stick to the animated princesses.
19 Daleks By Louis Marx (Doctor Who)
Nowadays, Whovians are spoiled when it comes to quality merchandise, but back in the days of Classic Doctor Who, not many companies cared about this cult science-fiction series. Toys based on the show would frequently be off-model, such as the Daleks made by Louis Marx back in the '60s.
Fans are familiar with the iconic design of the Daleks, so when these perfectly conical toys were released, there were quite a few disappointed children. Instead of a spooky alien menace, they had some painted shuttlecocks with plastic red tips to play with.
18 Edgar Friendly (Demolition Man)
As surprising as it may seem, a lot of violent action movies from the 80s and 90s had toys marketed to children, including Demolition Man, the cult sci-fi action film starring a post-Rambo Sylvester Stallone and pre-Blade Wesley Snipes. As cool as action figures of their characters would be, Edgar Friendly is a questionable choice.
Friendly was played by comedian Denis Leary, who's much skinnier than the action figure seen here. And though he leads an underground resistance movement, he never actually carries a gun, instead choosing to inspire his troops by way of comedic rants.
17 Savage World Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare On Elm Street)
It's not uncommon to see stylized reimaginings with some toys. Funko's Savage World series of action figures reimagines classic horror movie slashers as barbaric warriors. And while other characters like Jason Voorhees and Leatherface are much more recognizable as barbarians, Freddy Krueger looks completely different.
Part of this may be due to Freddy being noticeably slimmer than his villainous contemporaries, and suddenly seeing him with muscles is a shock.
He's also missing his iconic fedora, now replaced by Arkham Scarecrow's hood. And his red and green striped sweater is now just a torn rag across his beefy chest.
16 Gerry Lane (World War Z)
Fans of the book hated how inaccurate World War Z was as an adaptation, so it's only fitting that action figures from the movie would be inaccurate as well. This action figure is supposed to be based off Gerry Lane, played by Brad Pitt in the movie. Not only does it look nothing like him, it doesn't even have the same hair.
Even as its own action figure it looks stupid, thanks in large part to the weird eyes. But really, why did anyone make an action figure based on such a lukewarm action horror film in the first place?
15 John Connor (Terminator Salvation)
While many fans aren't exactly fond of Terminator Salvation, they still expected some decent merchandise from the film. So when Playmates Toys released this figure of John Connor, people were upset. John never wears a bandana and sunglasses in the film, making fans think this was a generic Resistance soldier.
The craziest part is that they actually did make a figure that looked exactly like Christian Bale. However, due to some confusion about the licensing use of Bale's likeness that toy was never released, so they just slapped John Connor's name on a common mercenary figure.
14 Dennis Nedry (Jurassic Park)
Though hardly anyone ever used a gun in the movie, the Jurassic Park action figure line gave most of the characters weapons and standard "action hero" builds. Nowhere was this change more apparent than with Dennis Nedry, the portly computer hacker turned corporate spy.
Not only has Nedry lost a considerable amount of weight, but he's traded his lab coat and Hawaiian shirt for a turtleneck sweater, gun holster, and sunglasses. Not being able to license an actor's likeness is one thing, but this is basically a completely different character and one that probably could've stopped that Dilophosaurus.
13 Lara Croft (Tomb Raider: Legend)
Lara Croft is easily one of video gaming's most attractive leading ladies. Unfortunately, she has quite a few action figures that aren't as flattering as they should be. Many people know about the infamous Toy Biz figure, but this one made by NECA for Tomb Raider: Legend is just as bad.
Comparing the figure with the box cover of the game, you can see her face is too long, her lips are too big and her nose is too high. With advanced scanning and sculpting techniques, it should be easy to make an accurate figure of a video game character.
12 Princess Peach Amiibo (Super Mario)
Here we have another Amiibo on the list, and I'm starting to question Nintendo's quality control department a little bit. Sure, at first glance, Princess Peach looks pretty much on model. Her hair and dress are the right color and her face isn't wonky. It's not until closer inspection that you may notice... she doesn't have any legs!
Like the dual-cannoned Samus, this legless Peach Amiibo is the result of another manufacturing error.
And like that figure, these have been auctioned off on eBay for up to $25,000. Maybe Nintendo should keep making "manufacturing errors."
11 Madame Web (Spider-Man)
The key word in action figure is "action," which is why I don't understand why anybody felt the need to make a figure based on a senior citizen. Sure, Madame Web is a close ally to Spider-Man, but it's not like she actually fights any villains. But beyond being an action figure that just sits there, it's also pretty inaccurate looking.
First, she doesn't look very feminine, confusing those unfamiliar with the character. Then there's the odd decision of making her legs into one piece, turning her into a geriatric version of Ariel.
10 Rick Grimes (The Walking Dead)
The Walking Dead has become a massively popular and successful show, spawning a spin-off series, some video games, and tons of merchandise. Since the "toys" based on this show are marketed to adults, you'd think they'd be a little more careful to make them show accurate.
This figure of Rick Grimes' first season appearance looks nothing like actor Andrew Lincoln. What's more annoying though is the confused expression on his face instead of the hardened grimace we've come to expect from this character.
9 Ethan Hunt (Mission: Impossible)
While the first Mission: Impossible movie was more a tense thriller than an explosive action movie, some toy manufacturer made some toys off it anyway because this was the 90s. Now, we've seen some poor likenesses before, but this one is truly hilarious.
There were several different Ethan Hunt figures made with different outfits, but all had the same generic face with the frozen grin. And though Tom Cruise has been in plenty of action films, his body looks nothing like this plastic muscleman.
8 The Penguin (Batman Returns)
Batman fans are divided as to whether or not Batman Returns was a good movie, but one thing is certain: It was too strange and disturbing for children, which led Warner Bros. to take the superhero franchise away from director Tim Burton.
How were they supposed to sell toys when Danny DeVito's Penguin is a spooky monster?
So when it came time for Kenner to make a figure based on the villain, they instead opted to repaint their old Superfriends version of the character. It's a cheap move, but it was much more kid-friendly.
7 Hasbro's Early Princess Leia (Star Wars)
Star Wars has had a storied history when it comes to toys. From the original Kenner action figures of the late 70s and 80s to the modern Funko POP figures, Star Wars toys are almost as iconic as the movies themselves. That's why it's such a big deal when one of them comes out wrong.
When Hasbro took over the Star Wars license, there were quite a few questionable redesigns, but none is more infamous than the "monkey-faced" Princess Leia. It's like Hasbro had some Planet of the Apes sculpts lying around and thought "this will make a beautiful princess."
6 Sonya Blade (Mortal Kombat)
Despite the controversy surrounding this tough fighter, Mortal Kombat still made toys for kids. However, the first ones produced weren't exactly on model with the video game's sprites. Take Sonya's action figure, for example. Perhaps the manufacturer thought her form-fitting tights and sports bra were too revealing for children.
So instead, they gave her some baggy green pajamas to fight in. But really, if they were worried about making weird toys for kids, they shouldn't have made Mortal Kombat toys to begin with.
5 Ratchet (Transformers G1)
Seeing as the entire series was conceived by Hasbro as a way to market transforming robot-car toys to kids, you'd think that Transformers toys would be pretty much on model with the show. Unfortunately, most of the time they were completely off, and nowhere was this more evident than with Ratchet's G1 figure.
If Ratchet looks a little bare bones, that's because the other half of the ambulance transforms into a turret for him to use, a weapon he never used in the cartoon. You may also notice that he doesn't have a head!
4 Dustin (Stranger Things)
Speaking of the 80s, Stranger Things has had several figures based off its cast of kids and monsters. And like many other figures of the 80s, there's a couple of inaccurate representations here. While the one made by McFarlane Toys is pretty much on model with the actor, this figure from Funko looks nothing like Dustin.
Not only is he noticeably less chunky to fit the standard action figure mold, his face is the really strange part.
He looks like an old woman and one who apparently has mismatched eyes.
3 Transforming Dick Grayson (Batman Forever)
After Joel Schumacher replaced Tim Burton as director of the Batman film series, the movies got noticeably campier and cartoonish. Thankfully for the studio, that meant they could more easily sell toys to kids. However, they didn't exactly improve the quality of the toys they were making.
This "transforming" figure is supposed to be a civilian Dick Grayson that can change into his Robin costume. Two big problems with that. First, his "civilian" Flying Graysons outfit already looks like the classic Robin costume. And second, that "color-change" mask never really changes from looking like green face paint.
2 Mego's Wonder Woman
As you can see by this list, action figures and superheroes go together like capes and masks. However, many early toy manufacturers weren't as concerned about retaining accurate likenesses as they are today. Take this early Wonder Woman figure produced by Mego, for example.
Not only did Mego apparently forget that Wonder Woman is a beautiful Amazon princess, they also forgot what human faces look like. Maybe this is a Clayface figure trying to disguise itself as Wonder Woman. Either way, the backlash was so severe they eventually rereleased a Wonder Woman figure that doesn't look like a weird monster.
1 Wolfsbane (X-Men)
While Avengers is big right now, back in the 90s, X-Men was the hottest superhero team around. They had several spin-off comics, video games, a cartoon series, and toys. Of course, with such a large roster of characters, some characters weren't as well-known outside of dedicated comic-reading fans.
Just so you know, Wolfsbane does not have large tufts of hair sticking off her arms, legs, and ears.
She also doesn't sweat hot glue, but that's what it looks like here. Why they felt the need to attach "realistic" hair to this figure I'll never understand.
Are there any other worse-looking action figures you know of? Let us know in the comments.