Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Looking Back at 2014

A couple years back, I started a little “tradition” wherein I would start a new year by counting down my top toy purchases of the past year. In 2012 I had my top 12, in 2013, my top 13. Now as much fun as I wad having with these lists, I came to the realization that at my current setup, I would be doing my top 25 in the year 2025 (which at the rate I’m going would be the year of my next blog entry after this).

So for 2014, I’ve decided to try something new. Instead of giving my cliché top 14 list of 2014, I’ve decided to give you another cliché with my 2014 year in review. This is going to be quite the undertaking because even if I didn’t do any new entries for the most part of 2014, I bought a hell of a lot of toys, so I’ll be breaking this up over a number of entries. So without further ado, lets get started.

Masters of the Universe
Like the year’s before it, Masters of the Universe Classics continued to churn out at least one new figure every month. In my opinion though, as a whole, 2014 was a weaker year since the characters released were more obscure than the previous years. As great as their quality was, I was never really holding my breathe for a classics Eldor or Flogg. But Mattel did manage to release a couple gems, characters who in my opinion were essential to the collection.

Two-Bad and Modulok, major members of the Skeletor’s Evil warriors and Hordak’s Horde respectively were finally released this year and brought us closer to completing both evil factions. It goes without saying that both were amazing sculpts. And in the case of Two-Bad, it was nice to get a straight up properly articulated two headed dude who didn’t have that springy bear hug action feature of the original vintage toy. Now all we need is the pre-Two Bad characters Tuvar and Badra..something I’m still hoping Mattel will indulge us with in the near future.

But as great as Two-Bad was, it’s Modulok who takes home the crown as the best Masters of the Universe classics release of 2014, and it’s not even close. Unlike many classic figures before him, this modern Modulok, keeps the original vintage toy’s gimmick of being able to be taken completely apart and reformed into various kinds of monstrosities. I never had or even played with the original toy so finally getting this improved version was a total treat.

For all intents and purposes, G.I.Joe had a rather quiet 2014. The toyline for the 2nd movie that was released in 2013 pretty much killed G.I.Joe on retail. So there was hardly anything new on the toyshelf for 2014. Luckily, since 2014, marked the 50th Anniversary of the G.I.Joe brand, Hasbro decided to throw us Joe collectors a bone by releasing a few 2 and 3 packs of mostly rehashed figures from the previous years.

So while most of these “50th Anniversary” releases were quite forgettable, they did manage to pepper in a few surprises with modern updates of classic characters with brand new sculpts. For Cobra, we got a brand new H.E.A.T. Viper, something that we never got before. If he doesn’t look familiar, he was a character released towards the end of the original Real American Hero line in the 90’s. I never had the original so getting this guy was pretty cool. We also got a newly sculpted Destro who looked more imposing than any other of the previous Destros before him. This one was more faithful to the original card art with a more angular head sculpt.

For the Joes, we got an updated Lady Jaye, based more on the original toy than the cartoon. But the main highlight for Joe collectors was an updated modern version of everyone’s SECOND favorite Joe marine, Leatherneck. See Leatherneck has had many releases in the 25th Anniversary line, but that figure was a poor representation of the marine. Hasbro basically kitbashed him from parts from existing characters and toped it off with a Gung Ho head with painted hair. So he looked nothing like the original figure and for years fans have been waiting for a proper Leatherneck. And in 2014, we finally got him. 

I'd call that a MAJOR improvement!

 to be continued