Thursday, January 17, 2013

Twelve for Twelve...Point Two

I’m back with the second installment of my Twelve for Twelve. This is where it gets a little tricky as a waffled back and forth with the placement order of the final three or four entries. I also wasn't quite sure if a couple of toys I was set on placing on this list were actually bought in 2012 so in the end I decided to just leave them out. Oh and in case some people may be wondering, a bunch of these entries aren't actually individual toys but a groups or pairs. I decided not to be so strict with that…anyway my list, my rules and all that…Anyway so let’s continue with the countdown shall we?

6) The Avengers – Individually these guys aren't so great. I mean sure the sculpts are very nice, but with many movie toys, Hasbro went the cheap route and gave these guys minimal articulation which really BITES. Maybe it was all the hype from such an excellent movie but I knew that despite their flaws, I had to get these guys and complete the team. And seeing them together on display *almost* makes up for the lack of articulation. Avengers Assemble!

5) TF Prime Seekers – As I've written in a previous article, I am a seeker whore. In whatever toy iteration of Transformers, if Hasbro releases them, I HAVE to complete my trio of Starscream, Skywarp & Thundercracker. When the Transformers Prime show (and toyline) started, only Starscream was introduced, and to be honest his initial design wasn't too exciting. But I got the toy anyway even without any news of a Skywarp & Thundercracker following. And over time as the show progressed, I started loving this version of Starscream and as a result the toy grew on me as well. I think it represents Starscream’s deviousness & treachery better than any previous version of Starscream ever managed to do. So when Skywarp & Thundercracker were eventually released as Japan exclusives I scooped them up immediately! These are to date my favorite version of the seeker trio.

4) Fisto – To be honest I wasn't a BIG fan of this character from the original line. So the fact that he makes it into my list (and to many other people’s online top toy lists for that matter) is a testament to how good this toy is. First and foremost, the head sculpt is VERY well done, even compared to other characters in the line, which is known for its fantastic sculpts, it still stands out. And if that wasn't enough, the add-ons to this figure give you the option to display him in accurate vintage style or based on the hyped up 200X style as well, which many have pointed out makes this figure the perfect embodiment of what Masters of the Universe CLASSIC line is or should be.

Have it your way....
3) Jinx & Footloose – When the 25th & 30th Anniversaries of G.I.Joe came and went, the few remaining original characters that didn't get some sort of modern representation started standing out. Jinx & Footloose were two of the more glaring omissions in my opinion. So when Hasbro & the Joe Fanclub finally came out with modern versions of these two I was ecstatic! Unfortunately though there were designated as special exclusives which basically meant they would cost more than your usual Joe…..a LOT more. But I can get pretty obsessive about completing things and in the end I bit the bullet, found these 2 on eBay for a fairly decent (but still high) price and got them, and I have to say they were well worth it! They both don’t overwhelm you with accessories but instead are simple straight up modern renditions of these two characters which is all I really wanted in the first place.

2) Nickelodeon Turtles – 2012 was a BIG year for the Turtles. A new cartoon came out in Nickelodeon and a new toyline debuted as well. Aside from this, Playmates released a “classic” line of Turtles as well based on the original 80’s cartoon. These guys were highly detailed & sported multiple articulation points down to the individual finger & toe! But in my opinion, they weren't the best TMNT toys released in 2012. This honor goes to the TMNT toys from the new cartoon show.

What puts them over the classic versions was that they were a nice mix of the original gritty turtles from the comics and the original cartoon ones. So they had the colored masks (which I prefer) like the cartoon but had white eyes with no pupils like the comic ones. But the best thing about this series is that unlike all the ones before them (including the classic ones) each turtle in the Nickelodeon line was a UNIQUE sculpt! Not only did they come in different shades of green, but they also came in different sizes with very subtle differences & details!  Almost immediately you will see they sport different head sculpts with unique expressions, but if you look even closer, you will see that Michaelangelo comes out shorter than everyone else, Donatello is taller & leaner, Raphael sports the most muscle and battle damage (crack on the chest shell) and Leonardo is a nice balanced turtle compared to the other 3.

This alone puts them over any other Turtle set before them. And although they didn't have movable digits, they weren't slouches either in the articulation department. Definitely would've taken the number one slot in 2012…if it weren't for THIS guy.

1) Masterpiece Sideswipe – Masterpiece Transformers are supposed to be the ultimate version of Transformers. It is supposed to be the perfect representation of a Transformer in both robot (usually cartoon accurate) and vehicle (usually based on real world stuff). To achieve this goal usually requires MAD planning on the designer’s side and they usually pull it off. And they do this by coming up with the most insane transformation sequences…that in a worst case scenario are definitely NOT fun to do and can really drive you insane! Case in point, my Masterpiece Megatron has remained in his gun mode for quite some time now since he is a PAIN to transform.

Another major characteristic of Masterpiece Transformers is that they usually cover the main iconic characters, so you got your Prime, Megatron, Starscream Grimlock etc. So it came as quite a surprise when Takara announced a second (or even 3rd) tier character like Sideswipe would receive the “masterpiece” treatment. Well the obvious reason why they probably did this was that they got the permission from Lamborghini to make their car into a toy (something that most car companies require nowadays) but other than that they probably realized there's only so many Primes & Megatrons to go around!

Anyway, although I thought it was a cool idea, I wasn't completely blown away but I did get him anyway and it was only when I had it in hand that I realized just what a gem this thing truly is. Accurate robot mode…CHECK. Accurate vehicle mode…CHECK CHECK. Transformation that isn't too simple but doesn't drive you crazy…CHECK CHECK CHECK! While the original 86 toy had a transformation you probably could do with your eyes closed, this new modern version added a few more twists and turns to the transformation that added more fun but didn't make things overly complicated…just perfect.

But the best thing about having done a Masterpiece Sideswipe? It opens the door for them to do all the other original Transformers cars. Just thinking about a Masterpiece Jazz, Prowl or even Hound can get any Transformer fanboy drooling. For me however, having a Masterpiece Sideswipe only means ONE thing….MASTERPIECE SUNSTREAKER!!!!! I mean really, what is Sideswipe without his twin Sunstreaker? COME ON TAKARA! YOU KNOW YOU HAVE TO DO HIM NOW! DO EEEEEEEEEEET!

Masterpiece Sunstreaker PLEASE!  Bob optional!