HYDRA SLAYING HERCULES
DISNEY’S HERCULES (MATTEL)
“In his most courageous battle of all, HERCULES must save Thebes by destroying the terrifying Hydra. Each time he slays a head, the mighty HERCULES throws it back at the ferocious beast.”
To quote the muses: “Honey, you mean Hunk-ules!” Actually, no, to paraphrase the muses, “Honey, you mean Heracles.” Cuz, you know, if you’re gonna do Greek Mythology, maybe you should use the lead’s Greek name?
While I do look at a lot of Disney owned properties on this site, courtesy of Marvel and Star Wars, I haven’t looked at a whole ton of their in-house stuff. My two favorite Disney movies are Hercules and Aladdin. Aladdin’s never been much of an action figure property, but Disney actually gave quite a go at making Hercules one. Which makes sense, since what’s more action-y than Greek Mythology? So, there was a whole line of Hercules figures, and I’m taking a look at one of them today!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Hydra Slaying Hercules was released in the basic assortment of the Disney’s Hercules line from Mattel, which hit to coincide with the movie’s release in 1997. This is one of the line’s many variants of the main character. As the name suggests, this one’s (loosely) based on his battle with the Hydra at around the film’s mid-point. Of course, in the movie, he was wearing the same hero garb he’s got on for the rest of the action, but the figure’s opted to change things up a bit and give hims a slightly more unique design. The figure stands about 5 inches tall and he has 6 points of articulation. There’s not a ton of motion in the joints, especially the legs, and he’s rather hindered by the lack of any neck movement, but he’s not the worst thing ever, especially for the time. The sculpt was initially unique to this figure, but did see a fair bit of re-use in multi-packs and such. It’s not an incredibly faithful take on him. I mean, you can see elements that identify him as being the Disney Hercules, but he’s definitely been given an element of He-Man styling, which isn’t incredibly surprising, given the company that produced him. He’s also got the slightly tweaked outfit, which is far more ornate than Herc’s standard look. The torso is wearing a more defined breastplate, and there’s even sleeves with fringing and stuff. The wrappings on the arms and legs are also a bit more detailed, and he’s got an extra strap going across his chest. I’m not entirely sure what the genesis of the design was, but I can’t say I don’t like it. It’s actually pretty snazzy. His cape is a separate cloth piece. It’s got this nice embroidered pattern on the edges, which is cool. In terms of paint, this guy also tweaks the usual colors a bit, going for a more cool palette of blues and purples, I guess to match up better with the Hydra? Once again, I can’t say it’s a bad choice at all. Different from the standard, but definitely quite eye-catching. Herc is packed with both a club and an axe, one of which can be held in his right hand, as well as the disembodied head of the Hydra. Which is slightly morbid, but pretty cool. The head can be balanced on his left hand, and when you push the button on his back, the arm swipes downward, throwing the head. It doesn’t work perfectly, but it’s moderately amusing.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I didn’t have any of the proper Hercules figures growing up, but I found this guy at Lost In Time Toys when I stopped by for the opening day of their new location. This was the only version of Herc they had, but he’s cool enough that I don’t mind just having the variant. That’s right, I just wrote an overwhelmingly positive review of a Mattel product. This is weird.