Friday, April 6, 2018

Let's Try Something Different

If you are a regular reader of my blog, I don’t think it will come as a surprise to you when I say I buy a sh*tload of toys every year. Every January, I go over my toy display wracking my head and trying to figure out what my favorite purchases of the previous year were. And considering the amount of stuff I buy in a year’s time, that definitely isn’t an easy task. So this year I resolved to diligently take note of EVERY toy I buy in an effort to make writing next year’s top of list easier to compile. Anyway, heading into April I have faithfully kept track of every toy that has joined my toyshelf since the new year began and this gave me an idea of something I could do different from my usual “best of” list.

Ok before we go any further, I’ll set the record straight, I am totally ripping off this idea from one of the YouTube channels I watch regularly called Toy Galaxy hosted by a guy named Dan Larson. If you’re a collector like me and have never checked his channel out, please do, it’s really entertaining and well produced. In his channel, Dan has a regular series called “Best Action Figures of ‘insert year’ (So Far)” where in well...he selects his top 10 favorites for the year. The twist in the way he does it is that he has four installments every year, uploaded every 3 months. So in April he releases his initial top ten list and then updates it every quarter.

The cool thing about this method is that it makes the creation of his list more organic, toys move up and down the rankings over time and others are knocked out of the top ten as newer additions take their place. Doing things this way will give me the opportunity to talk about certain toys that I really like at the moment that by January next year may ultimately not make the “best of” cut. And just because they don’t doesn’t mean they’re not worth talking about.

Of course, Toy Galaxy, being a Youtube channel does this in a visual way which makes the compilation of these lists more entertaining. Each installment starts with a bunch of purchases and one by one he starts removing them til he’s left with ten. Of course I can’t really duplicate that in a blog so the jury is out on how this will work out in written format, but I figure that it’s worth a shot. The worst thing that’ll happen is that I’ll revert back to my “Top 19 ot 2019”.

So instead of starting with a random number of toys, let’s just start with a few honorable mentions.

Hasbro has been going strong with their Marvel Legends 6” line and in 3 months has already released 3 FULL waves of figures plus a lot of odds and ends. So even at the start of the year choosing my favorites from this line alone is quite a challenge. So here are some of my favorites along with other stuff that just didn’t quite crack the top 10.

Marvel Legends Walmart Exclusive Modern Black Panther
The original Black Panther costume can either be viewed as cool in its simplicity...or bland. I tend to lean towards the later. I’m also not so much a fan of his later “caped” look either. This newer version with the added purple design elements (vibranium energy?) made his design more unique and interesting.

Marvel Legends Taskmaster
When you think of major Marvel villain, Taskmaster usually isn’t one that comes to mind. But ever since I saw his Skeletor crossed with a pirate looking appearance and read about his special power, which was the ability to immediately replicate any skill or fighting style he saw I was instantly hooked. Initially Hasbro gave us a modern version of the Taskmaster which while cool didn’t quite hit the spot for me. Fortunately it didn’t take long for them to fix this by releasing a proper looking Taskmaster soon after.

Fansproject Browning II
A few years back, Fansproject was considered one of the best companies producing 3rd party Transformers out there. Now they seem very dated being overtaken by other more prolific companies. Browning II a.k.a “not-Highbrow” is the latest from their once innovative Function X subline which was focused on modern interpretations of the Transformers Headmasters. Unfortunately when released, Browning didn’t get much good reviews citing loose joints to overall feeling...unfinished and more of an afterthought by the company. Of course, me being the completist decided to get him anyway. I don’t know if it was because my expectations were set way too low, but I was pleasantly surprised. It definitely has its faults, but QC wise mine came out pretty OK and his unique transformation made him enjoyable enough for me. And even if it may look awkward to some, I really like his non symmetrical design and unique alt mode.

Marvel Legends Build a Figure Lizard
Ok while the Lizard character itself would not place in any of my top ten lists. The sculpt and detail on this figure was good enough to give him an honorable mention….the guy is a green scaly reptilian sort of way.

Super 7 Club Grayskull Teela
And speaking of beautiful, when I was a kid, I had a pretty big crush on Teela from Masters of the Universe. Not just any Teela mind you, but Teela from the Filmation cartoon which looked significantly different from her actual toy. There was something about her face that I found really pretty (now that I think about it though, Filmation which was well known for reusing animations over and over again, used pretty much the same facial features in most of their women across different cartoons).

Anyway when Mattel started peppering in Filmation cartoon inspired designs into their main Classics line I got excited at the idea of an actual toy of my favorite version of Teela. They eventually released one a few years back as a pack in for their Talon Fighter/Point Dread vehicle and it was...well….you be the judge. Unfortunately something got lost in translation between the original prototype sculpt (which looked good) and the final product...which looked like her face melted down her head. It was pretty terrible...probably the worst figure in this very robust line.

A year later Mattel gave up on the Classics line and handed the reins over to another company Super 7, to continue it. And one of the first things they did was announce a proper cartoon version of Teela. It took over a year to get produced, but I finally got my hands on her this year. Admittedly it’s still not that close to the cartoon...but it’s pretty good...and a whole lot better than what we got from Mattel.

to be continued...