For fans of comic books and movies, action figures are one of the finer things in life. You get to recreate iconic scenes with great sculpts and cool accessories. On a good day, you get to re-live your own childhood, or pass some of the joy of your childhood down to your children. However, some action figures are downright scary. We’re not talking about ones that are meant to look scary (what up, Skeletor) or ones that are made to look gross (looking at you, Garbage Pail Kids). No, we’re talking about when you see a figure and it’s the worst likeness ever.
Some actors have faces that are hard to capture. And to be fair, designers are often limited in the amount of detail you can put on a small figure. Nonetheless, we’ve gotten several figures over the years that look nothing like what they are based on. These are the toys you take to the thrift shop because you’re not entirely sure they won’t come to life at night and kill you. What are these terrible toys? You don’t need to visit your childhood attic to check these things out. Just keep scrolling to read all about 15 terrible action figures that look nothing like the character!
15 AUNT MAY
Some would say it was weird to make an Aunt May figure in the first place. However, she’s one of the most important people in Spider-Man’s life, so it makes a kind of sense. The young and the young and heart can always use people like May to give Spidey someone to rescue. Too bad Toy Biz made a damned monster!
This toy was part of a line intended to recreate famous comic covers. However, May ended up as a rubber-faced frreakshow. She’s got bug eyes that seem to follow you wherever you go, and a face that makes her look more like a figure of Aunt May’s dead body. This toy’s terrible likeness is almost singlehandedly why we don’t have many Aunt May toys.
14 WONDER WOMAN
Wonder Woman was designed as the most beautiful woman in the world. And from Lynda Carter to Gal Gadot, some of the most beautiful actors have recreated this character. The character’s mythology says this beautiful warrior was molded from clay, so Mego got it half right: they made a mud monster!
There’s not a lot to say here. This isn’t just a bad likeness of DC's premier heroine, Wonder Woman -- it’s barely an approximation of a human face! Swap her star-spangled underwear for some generic space clothing and she would fit right in as a Star Trek alien. While Mego would eventually learn to make a Wonder Woman figure that doesn’t make children cry, this early attempt is one of the worst figures that has ever been made.
13 THE BARONESS
The first live-action G.I. Joe movie was plagued by a number of issues that ranged from character issues to a truly bizarre plot (and not in a fun cartoon way). However, the movie had a very solid cast, including Sienna Miller playing the beautiful and mysterious Baroness. Unfortunately, her toy is no beauty and all mystery…and the mystery is ”what the hell happened here?”
It looks like some toy designer went rogue and took a sledgehammer to Miller’s wonderful features. What is left is a figure with a caved-in face and a mysterious smirk, as if she knows what went wrong but will never tell. Even Miller hated this figure, complaining about its crossed eyes and huge chin. That’s the true mark of a terrible likeness: when even the original actor thinks this looks nothing like them.
Many people have not seen the terrible live-action Super Mario Bros. movie. Those that have seen it know that it was more like a fever-dream than a real movie, with a plot involving people being mutated into fungus. Our heroes include Luigi, played by John Leguizamo…but you’d never guess the actor based on this figure.
First off, he has truly bizarre proportions. It looks like the design aesthetics of the movie and the video game got smashed together, resulting in a figure that is a bit hunched and squashed together. Also, the face of this figure looks almost nothing like Leguizamo at all, to the point that this could have been a generic action figure head that was added to our plucky plumber figure at the last moment!
11 BATMAN RETURNS PENGUIN
Very often, a bad toy likeness is a bad accident. The designers give it the old college try, but we nonetheless get a terrible figure. That would be the case with many early Hasbro Star Wars figures, where they tried to do something cool and really screwed it up (looking at you, swole Luke Skywalker figure). In the case of the Batman Returns Penguin, though, the bad likeness comes from pure laziness!
As the popularity of the live-action Batman movies exploded, so did the demand for toys based on the heroes and villains of these films. So, Kenner ended up cutting some corners and putting out repaints of figures that had previously been released as Superfriends toys. That’s why this Penguin looks nothing like Danny DeVito, but he does look like his Superfriends version is going through a goth phase.
10 BOB THE HENCHMAN
Part of what made the 1989 Batman movie so fun is how weirdly it subverted many of our ideas about superheroes and superhero movies. Even today, in an utterly crowded field of superhero cinema, Tim Burton’s masterpiece stands out as an odd one. Perhaps our best indicator of this is the weird choice of henchmen.
Batman arguably has the best rogues’ gallery in comics. However, The Joker in this movie doesn’t get a colorful or famous sidekick: instead, he gets…Bob the Henchman. And Bob ended up being a pretty cool guy before Joker shot him, but if he looked at this toy likeness of him (the design instructions seem to have been “give a potato face a half-assed beard””), he might have saved Joker the trouble and shot himself.
9 ETHAN HUNT
When the old Mission: Impossible TV show was rebooted as a series of movies starring Tom Cruise, it seemed like a no-brainer to make action figures based on these characters. Nonetheless, you don’t see a lot of merchandise based on the movies. This may be because these first toys were so bad.
In this toyline, Ethan Hunt got the Batman treatment. As in, there were countless figures that were meant to showcase Ethan in different scenarios. Unfortunately, all of them have this horrific facial sculpt that is basically “unhinged, smiling white dude.” Not featured in these pictures are the masks included for Ethan to impersonate others…their horrific sculpt and paint job made it look more like Tom Cruise is carrying around faces that he has cut off!
When someone is later writing the chronicle of superhero movies, the Halle Berry Catwoman movie will be part of a period known as the "Dark Times". The movie was aggressively bad, providing a terrible original plot while completely mangling the Catwoman character. In many ways, this Barbie Catwoman is symbolic of the problems with this film.
First of all, Halle Berry’s beautiful features are shoehorned into the fairly generic Barbie sculpt. This alone is a bit offensive, as it feels like designers decided the best way to capture Berry’s essence was to make Barbie black. The vapid Barbie smile doesn’t let you recreate any of Berry’s fierce mean-mugging from the movie, and the detachable mask makes it almost impossible to capture the cinematic heroine’s masked features.
7 BRUCE BANNER
The design of Bruce Banner was always intended to give us an ironic juxtaposition with the hulk. Just as Hulk is incredibly big, incredibly strong, and incredibly angry, Bruce Banner is typically portrayed as small and mild-mannered. Apparently, the makers of this figure did not get the memo.
The best way to describe this is “anime Bruce Banner.” He’s lost his geek glasses entirely, and while he’s kept his scientific lab coat, he gets a coating of cool anime hair. He ultimately looks like an action figure based on somebody’s fantasy Bruce Banner DeviantArt than it is based on the super-nerd of the comics. Chances are pretty high that if you showed Bruce Banner this awful figure, he’d get so pissed that we’d be stuck with the Hulk forever.
6 CAPTAIN KIRK
If we’re being honest, William Shatner has a face that is genuinely difficult to capture. Attempts to recreate the look of the Captain have been mixed. Sometimes, you get the iconic Michael Meyers Halloween mask (no, seriously, that mask was meant to be Shatner’s face), and sometimes you just get a disappointing toy.
In many respects, this is a high-quality toy, right down to the fancy cloth uniform meant to emulate the look of the classic captain. However, the face is where it all starts to go wrong. It’s bad enough that it looks nothing like Shatner himself, but as many fans have noted, this is basically a Nathan Fillion action figure. Unless you want a figure for your Star Trek/Firefly crossover fanfiction, stay away from this.
5 RICK GRIMES
As Walking Dead has lasted an inexplicably long time, we have seen many different versions of Rick Grimes, from plucky law enforcement officer to bearded rebel. This toy is ostensibly based on the early seasons of the show, back when Rick retained a lot of his sheriff identity. Unfortunately, this toy retains none of his familiar features.
First off, the face looks nothing like the Rick Grimes of the TV show. In addition to the poor sculpt, his expression is weird…he looks just completely befuddled to be here. While “confusion” is an understandable emotion in the zombie apocalypse, it’s a weird one to embody in your action pose Rick. If we’re being honest, most people would have no idea this is a Walking Dead figure if you didn’t tell them!
4 DICK GRAYSON
When it comes to most superheroes, they must valiantly try to maintain both their superhero life and their secret identity. For toy makers, there is always the temptation to create a figure that allows children to transform their favorite figure from his civvies to his super suit. With this Dick Grayson figure, though, things went terribly wrong.
First off, it’s not much of a disguise. Robin retains his Flying Graysons outfit, which is just a reminder of how little effort his cinematic version went to in order to hide his identity. He also has what appears to be eye makeup permanently smeared all over his face, which is completely evocative of his domino mask. Dick Grayson doesn’t look like he’s incognito so much as a guy throwing together some ironic Halloween costume of his old self at the last minute.
3 MADAME WEB
Madame Web is a bit like Aunt May. We’re not just saying that because they are both old women in Spider-Man’s life. No, she’s similar because you’re left wondering why they bothered to make a figure of her in the first place. And after looking at this terrible figure, you’ll never stop asking that question.
First off, if “Madame” wasn’t in the name, you’d probably have trouble telling this was a woman based on her facial sculpt. From a distance, she may as well be Rick Sanchez wearing some red sunglasses. The weirdest feature are her legs, though. Like her comic counterpart, she is wheelchair bound, but the figure recreates this by making her legs look like a mermaid’s tale. This is one toy that we should never have let be part of our world!
2 DENNIS NEDRY
Neither movie director Steven Spielberg nor author Michael Crichton could have predicted the enduring popularity of Dennnis Nedry from Jurassic Park. Played by Seinfield’s Wayne Knight, this character lives on in countless memes that give new life to his brief (though memorable) role. Perhaps Kenner knew how popular the character would one day be, but it still doesn’t make up for this weird toy.
There’s no two ways about it: this doesn’t look a thing like Nedry. He’s too thin, sports sunglasses, and seems much more interested in hunting dinosaurs than getting a face full of Dino spray. As some Jurassic Park fans noted, this toy looks much more like Ian Malcolm than Dennis Nedry. Despite the weird homage, this figure is in no danger of getting ten out of ten Goldblums.
1 PRINCESS LEIA
Carrie Fisher is more than just famous and more than just beautiful. With the iconic role of Princess Leia, she became one of the most well-known characters in the entire world. However, when Hasbro took over the Star Wars line, the designer seemed to think she was from a different movie entirely.
Look, we’ll just say it: she looks like an ape. This looks like a toy that would have been based on a weird Star Wars/Planet of the Apes mashup movie rather than the iconic Star Wars line. The decision is doubly weird because Hasbro’s main deal at the time was making Star Wars figures look like generic action figures (which is how we got super musclebound Luke Skywalker). Leia, though, does not look like other action figures…she looks like the monstrous villain that is chased down by other action figures!
Do you want to defend one of these horrific sculpts? Head over to the comments!