Thursday, January 14, 2016

Top 15 of 2015 part 1

2015 will go down in the record books as one of the most memorable years for me. If you noticed prior to this post, my previous post was way back in Oct 14. Well 2 days after that post I welcomed my first born daughter…. the heir to my collection, into the world ☺

The future owner of my collection
So the next two months were basically spent learning how to be a new …and responsible parent, and then the holidays slowly crept in and there was absolutely no time to write any more new posts for this blog until now. But despite the fact that I was not writing any new entries…between not getting any sleep and learning how to properly change diapers, I did manage squeeze in a new toy purchase here and there, so there is quite a lot to catch up on. And what better way to start the New Year then by looking back at the year that was and recapping the best stuff I got in the past 365 days!

OK so as usual, I did get quite a lot of stuff in 2015, probably more than I really should have but well what can I say…I am passionate about my hobby. So before we get into the meat of this post, which would be the top 15 toys I got in 2015, here are some honorable mentions that didn’t quite manage to crack the top 15.

Star Wars Black Series Hoth Wampa
The vintage Wampa was the only toy that I can recall throwing a tantrum over. So when Hasbro released this modern version I just had to get him (no tantrum required this time around). He’s big, white and furry with blood dripping down from his mouth…what else more would you want from a toy?

Generations Arcee was one of my top toys of 2014. So When Takara remolded her into an obscure character from a single episode from the original Transformers cartoon, I was immediately interested. It’s the same great toy with a real cool makeover into a ninja robot! And speaking of ninjas….

This was Mattel’s desperate attempt at cashing into the whole Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze of the late 80’s. Ninjor, the evil demonic ninja with the monster feet is quite an odd fellow…but that’s the beauty of the whole Masters of the Universe world, it’s full of crazy characters which on paper shouldn’t work…but do. Ninjor is no exception and this modern version is a perfect upgrade from the original vintage version.

50th Anniversary Spirit
This Joe was part of a 2 pack with a newly sculpted version of Cobra ninja Storm Shadow. While Storm Shadow was supposed to be the selling point of this 2 pack, Spirit ended up impressing me more. Hasbro smartly got rid of most of the stupid cliché native American details of the original leaving a smart, modern version of our favorite Joe tracker.

So with that out of the way, here we go with my top 15 toys of 2015!

15. Marvel Legends Agents of Shield 3-pack
I admit when this Agents of Shield 3 pack was announced, I wasn’t all that excited. I knew it was going to be a popular set and a bit difficult to obtain seeing it contained the first ever Marvel Legends representations of agents Phil Coulson and Maria Hill. I just didn’t really feel the need to add them to my collection. Then I saw it available online at retail price and for some reason I just bit. It was definitely an impulse buy, but one I totally did not regret. While the third figure, Nick Fury wasn’t all that exciting; it was still a good figure in itself. But the true stars were definitely the aforementioned Coulson and Hill. Sure Maria Hill was just a repaint of Black Widow and Coulson a regular guy in a suit, but their head sculpts were pretty spot on and seeing all three of them standing side by side on the shelf is pretty cool. Plus, it made my wife extra happy to have a Robin Scherbatsky in our collection.

14. Marvel Infinite Series Emma Frost
As opposed to the Shield 3-pack, when Hasbro announced an Infinite series X-Men 3 pack consisting of modern Cyclops, Emma Frost and Juggerlossus, I got really excited. While I couldn’t really care less about Juggerlossus, adding a proper modern Cyclops and White Queen to my Marvel U collection was definitely a must for me. Then just like that, the 3 pack got cancelled.

Eventually, we got a single packed Cyclops (which I eagerly scooped up) and a Juggerlossus (which I ignored) but Emma Frost definitely took her sweet time to get released. Eventually she was and I assumed that she would be virtually impossible to find in retail and I would have to resort to second market prices to get her. To my pleasant surprise, I did manage to find her at retail price and finally I had my White Queen. Admittedly she isn’t the best looking figure around, but compared to previous Emma Frost releases, she definitely is the best of the bunch.

13. Sphero BB-8
OK so this definitely was a purchased based on hype. But sometimes things seem meant to be, and when it came to this droid, it was almost if the stars aligned in my favor. First, while I missed out on the initial release I managed to place a back-order for it online at regular retail price (it was and is still going for almost 3 times the regular price here locally). And when it finally came in stock, it was delivered to my sister in the US (free shipping) at the same time my brother was visiting her, so he was able to bring it home with him a few days later and I got to avoid crazy international shipping and additional taxes! NICE!

Oh and the toy itself? Yes this is definitely the droid you need to be looking for…well if you’re a fan of BB-8 that is. It definitely is a technological marvel and does pretty much everything it was advertised to do. So for simply being that, it made my list, but really, at the end of the day, he spends most of the time on the shelf where he doesn’t look all that exciting. Which is why I really couldn’t rank him any higher than this.

12. 50th Anniversary Gung Ho
While once again, G.I.Joe collectors had little to be happy about this year, there was thankfully one really bright spot. Last year we got finally got a proper rendition of or SECOND favorite Joe marine, and this year we finally got a proper version of our FIRST! Mr. Ettienne R. LaFitte, code name Gung-Ho finally made his proper modern debut this year as part of another modest series of 2 & 3 packs released by Hasbro. The fact that he was paired with another “sort of” new release, the Shadow Guard (ok so he was simply a repaint of a Crimson Guard…but he looked cool) meant that this specific 2 pack would be one of the most sought after of the bunch. And boy was it hard to find! Pretty much all pro-orders of this pack were sold out online so I literally lucked into this one!

One day I was watching a video on Youtube by another local collector where he was showcasing his latest toy purchases (yes…I do watch those) and he was proudly showing off his newly purchased Gung-ho/Shadow Guard two pack which his wife found for him in Singapore ON RETAIL! For some crazy reason, Toys R’Us Singapore got a bunch of the new 50th line released on their shelves (long before the pre-orders in the US even shipped out). I immediately contacted my Singaporean friend and asked him to track him down for me. A few days later he got back to me with great news…he found them ☺ And a few days later, thanks to another friend coming home from Singapore, I had them in hand! Some things are really meant ☺

Oh and as for the toy itself? It’s fantastic! It took forever to finally get this figure out and replace the original 25th version released a few years back but it was well worth the wait. He’s a vast improvement over the original version, which definitely did not age well. While the original was disappointingly…small, this new Gung-Ho towers over most Joes, as he should. The sculpt is also fantastic, complete with his massive mustache and the detail of his huge chest tattoo is quite accurate to the character art….this is definitely the PERFECT representation of Gung-Ho.

11. Sheng Yuan Heroes Assemble Avengers Quinjet
In 2014 I started delving into the dark evil world of Lego knock-offs, starting off by completing my “Lego” minifigures Avengers lineup…all for the measly price of about 200 pesos (around 4 USD). So naturally, given the obsessive collector that I am, I moved onto bigger things in 2015. Ever since it was released after the first Avengers movie, I have secretly desired to get the first Lego Quinjet. Of course at that point I was avoiding getting into any new toy line….ESPECIALLY Lego which can get insanely expensive over here. No matter how many times I told myself that it would be a one off purchase, I knew myself better. And so I resisted the temptation to buy it, no matter how much I wanted it.

Fast forward to 3 years later and I am walking through the 2015 Toycon here in Manila. By this point I had gone all in on knock off minifigures. And while a lot of actual knock off Lego sets had already been released, I never bought any of them out of fear that well…the build quality may suck…or worse some pieces would be missing. It’s one thing to make knock off minifigures, but an entire set with hundreds of pieces? I felt that there was too much risk there.

That all changed when I found my most desired Lego set in knock off form displayed right in front of me in this one vender booth. I caved and got my KO Quinjet…and since I was taking a chance on this, I decided to take a chance on an X-Men Blackbird Jet and a Batman Tumbler as well. All three sets for the sweet price of about 50 USD! Which was almost half the price of just a legit Lego Quinjet ALONE!

So how did it turn out? Quite well actually! While not as perfect as a Lego set, the set was quite accurate and the build fun. There were no missing parts at all! And just like that, I have gone all in on KO Legos….yes I know, I’m evil for indulging in knock offs…but what the hell, I’m able to placate my yearning to build and at the same time not burning yet another major hole in my wallet, so there.

to be continued...