There comes a time in every man’s life where he must make the important decisions. Fortunately I am only deciding what my favorite action figures this year are, and not something actually important. Regardless, it is still interesting to look back at the year and see what really stuck out, what sucked, and what I look forward to next year.
I know there were some amazing imports I just couldn’t get this year like Figma Link. So while I freely admit he looks like an awesome figure, I just haven’t had a chance to tinker with him so it would be unfair to make him my “Figure of the Year!” Same story with Hot Toys, I mostly have to collect them from afar by looking at other people’s pictures and reviews. So have at my figures of the year and all else in the Preternia Year in Review 2012!
Figures of the Year:
Masters of the Universe Classics – Fisto: I think Fisto is far and away the best Masters of the Universe Classics figure this year … possibly in the line. They did with him, what I sort of expect out of classics in that they took the best attributes of the vintage and modern versions and made a quintessential version of the character. Fisto lets you have both looks and on top of that finally gave us his huge modern sword that was cut from the 200x figure. Most other figures pale in comparison to this guy and not enough characters give us as many options.
Honorable Mention for Masters of the Universe Classics – Rattlor: In a line with such heavy reuse it is quite amazing (though not surprising) how much a new sculpt sticks with you. He’s also a really great figure with a lot of options as well. I really love what the 4H did with the head.
NECA Left 4 Dead – Boomer: I love me a super-articulated fat guy. The Boomer was one of the first Valve action figures to come out. It is my favorite from the Left 4 Dead series thus far and an amazingly made toy. He has so much hidden articulation, an amazing sculpt, great paints, and an alternate “dead” option. I also really enjoy how realistic his sweatpants and socks look, NECA got the texture and paint combination exactly right. He feels like that slob uncle of yours you always hope doesn’t show up for the holidays.
Onell Designs – Armorvor: These guys are like the Battle Beasts that never were. They really turned me on to the whole Glyos system craze and are one of the few toylines I will gladly buy another straight repaint. Armorvors are also like a gateway drug into additional indie lines, you start getting them and then you grab a Cyclodock, a Gobon, a Phason, and then soon you are wondering what kind of monster these Onell dudes have turned you into.
I should also mention I have not fallen in love with the Beast Saga imports (except for the Turtle, he owns) and the Battle Beast minimates are just …. something. So these guys have been my Battle Beasts in spirit. I’m glad to get a new color scheme every time they come out!
NECA Half-Life 2 – Gordon Freeman: It’s honestly surprising there has never been a Dr. Gordon Freeman action figure done before. I am glad NECA was the first company to take a stab at it though. Who knows? Had Valve licensed him out when the game was first released we could have figures similar to the Duke Nukem Resaurus line … and who wants that? NECA stepped up to the plate with not only Gordon but their entire Valve line, continually improving their sculpts, paint, and articulation. Gordon comes packed with so many awesome Half-Life accessories including the head crab, crowbar, gravity gun, extra hands, and grenade. Sure I want more Half-Life but Gordon was the first step and NECA hit a grand slam with him.
Company of the Year:
NECA: Communication, Quality Products, Great Licenses … you name it, they did it this year. They had an amazing Toy Fair in 2012 showing off their Portal Gun Replicas, Valve action figures, Bioshock Infinite, Gremlins, Horror figures, Dutch, Rambo, Kyle Reese, Prometheus … get the point yet? They sweeped up this year and every day we get a new little tidbit of what action figures these guys are working on. I must have similar tastes for the most part with Randy at NECA because I just love everything they are doing. And even if I have little interest in the property, the quality of the toys brings me right in too.
A lot of companies have become stagnant or just plain lazy (*cough* Mattel *cough*) while NECA continues to innovate and find new ways to make amazing action figures and collectibles. Judging from what we have seen planned for 2013, this is going to be a hard title to take away from them.
Thanks for a great year NECA!
Looking forward to in 2013:
NECA Predator 2 Trophy Wall: No, I do not have all the trophy skulls (in fact my first NECA Predators were the TRU two pack I picked up this month) but I sure will be hunting them down come 2013. NECA has shown a picture of the wall and it looks incredible. It will go great with the lost tribe and probably be the centerpiece of any Predator collector’s display. I will be doing my due-diligence next year to obtain the skulls that need to be obtained … and possibly finishing the tribe. One step at a time!
Hot Toys Joker 2.0: Yeah I got this guy preordered, and can’t wait for him to get here. He will join my Bank Robber Joker as my second Hot Toys item. The price keeps me from collecting these, but their Dark Knight Jokers are just SO GOOD!
Hoping for 2013:
MOTUC Snake Armor He-Man: I know we already have King He-Man and NA He-Man scheduled, but Snake Armor needs to be done. Especially with the amount of Snake Men we have gotten this year how do we expect He-Man to battle these guys? Seriously though I think it is one of the more inventive armors we got in the 200x line and would love to see a Classics version. —- Taking that picture of the old 12″ Snake Armor He-Man reminded me how cool a Classics 12″ He-Man would be … shame Matty would charge something like $80 for it for no good reason.
NECA Valve Left 4 Dead Tank: He’s big and bad and I want him to join my Boomer and Smoker. Now that I know Atlas (and most likely P-Body) are coming this guy is my next biggest want. After that I will have to go into Half-Life 2 and DOTA 2 characters. I don’t need survivors, just monsters, all I ever need is monsters.
Hot Toys Evil Dead Ash: I would buy this in two seconds of the announcement. I hope both the interest is there from the fans and by Bruce Campbell. This would need the the DX treatment because I want to give him crazy eyes. One can dream!
I just want to give some props to some other companies that have done some great stuff this year, while they aren’t “Figure of the Year” they definitely aided in making for a fun hobby.
The Bridge Direct Hobbit line is really fun. Seems the company is a little slow on info and putting out product, but they had a good load out in time for the movie’s release. I think their 3 3/4″ line is terrific and would love to see them flesh out that universe even more.
I will give a shout out to Hasbro’s Marvel Legends only because of their amazing Wrecking Crew figures. Thank you for starting this group and hopefully finishing them next year. I don’t really collect Legends anymore, but I love the Wrecking Crew.
If it wasn’t for Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel, I would say you are the worst company (that I collect) this year. I deal with a lot to get a line I really do love, high shipping charges, price increases, lost accessories, no real consistency (except buck reuse) on figure styles, and the list can go on and on. If I didn’t love Masters of the Universe Classics so much I would hate you. Yes, we finally got that Castle Grayskull you said would never happen, but we also paid $250+ for it and had to deal with the smoke and mirrors of the thermometer. That same thermometer that magically shoots up 30% at the last-minute …
Then again, we are going to be getting a Classics sized Castle Grayskull! See what you do to me Mattel? You drive me nuts.
And what the fuck is going on in Sparks, NV and Fishers, IN? Why do my packages always take long weekends in those two places? Thankfully I will be using UPS as my new shipping company in 2013, the extra couple bucks seems worth it to avoid another Mattel cost-cutting process.
I think I got it all out of my system for now. Happy New Year everyone! I have some (hopefully) exciting stuff in store for 2013 … you keep reading and we’ll keep writing, even if you stop reading I’ll still write a lot of stuff. Sorry you can’t stop me.