Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Best Of 2019: Third Quarter part 1

So it’s that time of year again to revisit my ongoing list of top ten toys for 2019. I know I’ve said it before, but this time I really mean it when I say this quarter, specifically the month of August yielded the biggest toy haul for me in quite some time. It was really the perfect storm as a combination of preorders I was expecting in July arrived late and even more pre orders that I was expecting in October arrived early. So with so many new arrivals, there will definitely be changes in my ongoing top ten list for this quarter.

As always, not everything can fit in a top ten list, especially with so many new toys. So you know the drill, let’s start off with a bunch of honorable mentions.

Marvel Legends Shuri

For over a year, Shuri was one of my most anticipated Marvel Legends release. After 2 Black Panther themed waves of Marvel Legends, she was still nowhere to be found. Maybe it was the long wait that killed off any momentum but when I finally got her in hand, it felt like I was just checking off a box. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great figure and she does finally round up a fairly complete Black Panther display, so that alone makes her worth the mention.


Marvel Legends Stealth Suit Captain America

Now this guy has been around for years. And I had many chances in the past to get him that I ultimately passed on. And then all of a sudden, that well of opportunities dried up and he became one of the more difficult and expensive figures to find. And of course that just made me want him more. So when the rare chance came for me to finally get a decently priced one this year, I didn’t hesitate and snatched him up. Of all the numerous MCU Captain Americas released, this stealth version has a very unique look to it. And of course it represents Cap as he was portrayed in probably his best movie, The Winter Soldier. Please note though that the head I’ve got on is actually a newer one that came with the MCU 10th anniversary 2 pack.


Marvel Legends Storm

Just like Professor X before her, this figure finally filled a major empty spot in my 90’s X-Men lineup. And what a spot it was. Storm is probably one of the greatest and most iconic members of the X-Men. Why it took quite some time for us to finally get this classic 90’s version is beyond me. While I personally prefer her original black costume, this white one makes her stand out on the display more like the royalty that she is.


Orthia

What started out looking like a lackluster effort on Hasbro’s part to put out another female themed combiner team eventually turned out pretty good. In 2018, they released fan favorites Elita-1, Moonracer & Novastar as a main combiner piece and limb pieces respectively and then seemingly left it at that. Then to everyone’s surprise, they quickly rounded up the team a year later with 2 more limb bots, Greenlight & Lancer. As an added bonus, some collectors figured out a neat way to incorporate another recently released fembot Chromia, who initially had no combiner parts into a chestplate.


Orthia may not be the best looking combiner, and all four limbs are basically repaints of the same mold, but I really like the bright colors of each robot. It really pops. And more importantly, I like the fact that she is composed of the first ever female Transformers introduced in the G1 cartoon.


Black Mamba Storm Pioneer (Oversized Movie Brawl)

I was never quite happy with the original leader sized Brawl. Aside from not being exactly screen accurate, his seemingly knock kneed stance always bothered me. The new Studio Series version was definitely an improvement, but he was too small for my growing stable of oversized/masterpiece styled Movie Decepticons. Fortunately it was only a matter of time before Studio Series Brawl got an improved oversized version in “Storm Pioneer” by Black Mamba. As usual, aside from making him bigger, they added in a few aesthetic improvements and transformation tweaks that make him the definitive version of movie Brawl to date.


Siege Refraktor

I admit, I got caught up with the hype and excitement over this Decepticon trio. Since you essentially needed 3 of the same toy to get be able to get his camera mode, I expected him to be harder to find on the retail shelf. So I impulsively secured my own Decepticon trio through an organized group buy. Anyway, while I wasn’t the biggest fan of the character, even I admit that this is a really fun set. Each component is easy enough to transform back and forth and I love the way their weapons come together to form a camera tripod. Dare I say that this one is even more fun than the Masterpiece version that I own as well. Definitely no regrets here.


Mafex Boba Fett (ROTJ version)

The original MAFEX Boba Fett based on his Empire Strikes Back appearance was my number one toy of 2016. I even went on as far as calling him the perfect action figure. Despite that though, I didn’t feel it necessary to purchase a second version of essentially the same toy based off his Return of the Jedi appearance (to be honest I didn’t even know that there was a difference).


This was a decision I would eventually regret when I became obsessed with creating a Jabba the Hutt diorama a few years later. Unfortunately by this time, he was only available at inflated secondary market prices. Anyway, I was about ready to just throw in the towel on this when I stumbled across a decently priced one being sold by on Facebook in the wee hours of the morning. The seller was a customizer who had done some minor modifications to his figure. Luckily, he was more than willing to restore it to its original state (although I did ask for him to retain the cloth cape he replaced the stock plastic one with) and the deal was struck before the sun came up. Again, save for some minor color differences, this is basically the same figure as the one before it, which is definitely not a bad thing. While I couldn’t really place it in my top ten, my fortunate acquisition of this guy was one of my feel good collection stories of 2019 so he’s at least worth a special mention.

Gigapower Superator (MP Grimlock)

While they were quickly gaining a reputation of being a really slow moving third party company, producing one Dinobot a year, Gigapower surprised many by finishing off their Dinobots with 2 fairly quick releases in 2019. Their version of Grimlock, dubbed Superator, is definitely an improvement over their Swoop (Gaudenter) released earlier this year, which felt a little underwhelming for me.


Still, aside from giving us a more solid version of the Dinobot leader, his engineering doesn’t really stray too much from your typical Grimlock Transformer, which also makes this release a little less exciting for me. Still, Superator finally finishes off my Gigapower Masterpiece Dinobots, achieving yet another major collection goal for me.

Black Series Emperor Palpatine

The original Black Series Emperor Palpatine was a bit of a disappointment. Without his signature throne, he basically looked like a little shrivelled old man standing next to any other character on the shelf. I came close so many times to purchasing a customized 3D printed throne only to ultimately decide not too. Fortunately, my decision to wait worked out when Hasbro re-released their Emperor as a deluxe figure with multiple heads, force lightning hands and yes….his signature throne.


As an added bonus, I didn’t even have to get rid of my original figure since I could use the other extra parts on him. So now I have a proper brooding Emperor on his Throne and a second more menacing lightning wielding one to fry an unfortunate Jedi to cross his path.


Anyway, since my honorable mentions turned out a little longer than expected, I leave the main event for a second part. Stay tuned!

to be concluded...
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