So, over the holidays, I was gifted some higher-end action figures, and I've been curious - what do 6" figures in the $50-$100 range give you (Super7 Ultimates, SH Figures, MAFEX, etc.) that figures in the $20-$40 price range (Hasbro, McFarlane, NECA) don't? The answer is... tricky.
The SH Figures Avengers Loki, for example, gives you an OK cloth cape, some nice detail, and a great deal of fussiness. There are, for example, two heads. With three faces. And two hairpieces. So there are a total of eight bits of plastic that make up the two heads. Helmet front, helmet back, helmet hair, normal head, normal hair, serious face, grinning face, prisoner face. All of which cling to each other either through a peg and hole (hair) or plastic friction (everything else). Getting it together and keeping it together is fussy, and shit falling apart is not uncommon.
The scepter is four pieces - short handle, short handle top, long handle, long handle top. This is to facilitate getting the handles through the gripping hand, but from necessity, the peg/hole system that attaches these bits is small and delicate. Add in the extra hands and the tiny Tesseract and it's just a fussy party.
Now, the result is certainly a figure that outshines a run of the mill Hasbro in terms of sculpt and detail, but at 3-4x the list price depending on whether you factor in the six years between them? I'm not sure.
I'd also be remiss if I didn't point out the difference in articulation, if not from the old original Hasbro, then from Hasbro's current standard. Single jointed elbows and knees, and no ankles to speak of, yet toe joints for some reason. At least Loki isn't a character given to action poses, especially the Avengers version.
Surprisingly limited articulation is also a hallmark of the Super7 Ultimates Lion-O (Version 2). My vague understanding of this line is the goal is making a near-perfect version of something that started (usually) as a toy or cartoon, so clearly a decision was made to prioritize the sculpt lines over more (and more visible joints).
What Super7 brings to the table at their price point is what I'd describe as "super-clean". There's nothing particularly fancy or wow-inducing about it, but also, no obvious flaws. Everything on the figure is on point from a sculpt and paint and design standpoint, so while you're not gonna get crazy dynamic poses out of him, which is a shame, you're gonna get a Lion-O that looks how Lion-O looks in your brain. On-model, almost to a fault.
The weirdest thing about Lion-O is the choice of accessories. There's a serious head and an angry head, which is fine. The usual assortment of hands. A fully extended Sword of Omens and a nicely-made Book of Omens. And then there are, somehow, FOUR weird claw glove things. Two that hang off the belt and hold the hilt of a non-removable short Sword of Omens, and two that fit on the hand. One pair is smoother and one pair is... furrier, I guess? I don't know if this is a "one's the old toy and one's the cartoon" thing or what but I certainly would have rather had some of the accessories that came with alternate or original Lion-O's in this one.
So, yeah. Right now, I'm entirely sold on fancy toys, although I wouldn't turn down an Ultimates Mumm-Ra to go with the Lion-O because like I said, they are super-clean. But even if the budget supported it, I don't see me dipping toes into the deep end of the pool very often. Hasbro figs are getting expensive enough.