Friday, January 3, 2020

The Best Of 2019 part 1

And just like that, another year has come and gone. And it is finally time to revisit my list one more time to set in stone my definitive top ten favorite toy purchases of the year 2019.

2019 was quite the year for Marvel Legends which continued to churn out wave after wave of figures almost every other month. It was almost impossible to keep up. Fortunately to balance this out, with my Transformers masterpiece collection being almost pretty much complete character-wise, I didn't get too many new bots this year and was mostly replacing existing versions of characters with better ones. I also picked a few Siege figures here in there as well because well...that line is pretty fantastic. And finally Star Wars Black series was also thankfully not very prolific although they did manage to release quite a number of highly anticipated characters towards the end of the year to keep up with the hype of Episode Nine and the Mandalorian series.

So let’s get on with it. And just like every list before this, let’s start all the toys that didn’t quite make my list but are worth a special mention nonetheless.

Black Series Mandalorian

Thanks to the fantastic Mandalorian series, 2019 ended on a high note for Star Wars fans like myself who were left cold with the lackluster and disappointing Episode 9 (my opinion at least). While he has been pretty much overshadowed in popularity by his little charge, “baby yoda”, the Mandalorian himself is a pretty cool character. And fortunately, his action figure is pretty great too! And even though I’m almost positive we will be getting an updated version decked out in his shiny Beskar armor in 2020, this original version is a keeper in my book.

Black Series Heavy Infantry Mandalorian

In the box, this guy looks like a clunky brick. In hand though he is quite fun and mobile. But then you equip him with his huge space gatling gun and he just looks awesome. I’m definitely looking forward to more Mandalorian figures from the Black Series line (Mandalorian blacksmith please!) in 2020.

Black Series Wedge Antilles

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a fan of Wedge Antilles, for the simple fact that he was one of the only other named Rebel pilots to survive the original trilogy (RIP Biggs & Porkins). Now I know this figure is basically just a reissue of the X-wing pilot Luke Skywaker with a new head and differently painted helmet but I don’t care. I think Hasbro did a fantastic job on this guy.

Since he was barely seen without his helmet in any of the movies, I didn’t really care much for his new head sculpt, which to be fair is pretty good.. But once I stuck his helmet on, it was like pure magic. I finally have a perfect plastic representation of my favorite rebel pilot not named Luke on my shelf.

Black Series Clone Commander Fox

I know all these Clone commanders are just repaints of mostly the same figure, But I am just a sucker for these troopers. Even before I knew anything about Fox, when I first saw him in the Clone Wars series, I thought his armor design was really striking with his predominantly red color. It really makes the figure pop and stand out even from all his other fellow Commanders.

Siege Ratchet

Since this bot was a stateside Walgreens exclusive, Siege Ratchet was a pretty difficult toy to get here in Manila. So on a whim, when the opportunity presented itself to get one through a friend in Singapore at a really good price (about half of what it was selling for here in local hobby shops) I jumped on it. I’m not the biggest Ratchet fan, but even I’ll admit that this is a really fun toy. He looks great in both modes (with an additional 3rd medical bay mode) and I just love the simple yet smart transformation. And sometimes that’s all you really need in a good Transformer toy.

Siege Thundercracker

Thundercracker is my favorite Decepticon. The original blue diaclone jet that he was based on was my first ever “Transformer”. So it’s pretty much a given that I get as many versions of Thundercracker that I can get my hands on. This Siege version emulates his pre-Earth tetrajet mode that was shown in the first episode of the G1 cartoon without being too slavish to the original simplistic design. And the result is a cool retro looking spaceship. I particularly love how the long nose cone splits up to form Thundercracker’s signature shoulder vents in robot mode. And speaking of the robot mode, it’s fantastic. It’s got great articulation. And more importantly, it’s a properly sized voyager, something we haven’t had in a while.

Siege Powerdashers

The Powerdashers were one of the most obscure characters from the original G1 toyline. They were basically mail away figures so they were hardly featured in any Transformers media. This didn’t stop Hasbro though from releasing this trio as part of their Siege line. 

They were basically recolored Deluxe Weaponizers with new heads, which were faithful to the original toy designs. Which means that just like the original Weaponizers Cog, Sixgun and Brunt, the Powerdashers Aragon, Cromar and Zetar are really fun toys that you can completely take apart to arm and equip other figures, or reconfigure into other cool combined battle modes. These guys are truly a highlight of the Siege line for me.

Fans Toys Jabber (Masterpiece Blurr)

For the past year, I already had my “Masterpiece” Blurr in Unique Toys Buzzing standing on my shelf. But as nice as that toy was, he was always meant to be a placeholder for this guy. Despite his rather overly complicated engineering and breakage issues (which is par for the course of most Fans Toys offerings), Jabber is simply more screen accurate in size and proportion than Buzzing, who in turn I find too tall in robot mode and too wide in vehicle mode. So this was really a no brainer for me. The only reason why he didn’t make the top ten list is more because I’m not a big fan of the character...but he is integral to the 86 movie lineup.

Marvel Legends Jean Grey & Cyclops

One of the major highlights for X-men collectors in 2019 was the completion of the popular Blue and Gold teams from the 90s. An updated Jean Grey was the final piece needed and they delivered her in spades. Aside from being a major improvement of the older version released a few years back, they included her in a 2 pack with another highly sought after figure, 90’s Cyclops in his signature bombers jacket. Oh yeah they also threw in another useless Wolverine figure accessory. I kid. Despite being the third wheel figure in the set, Wolverine with his bone claws is actually a pretty decent figure as well.

Marvel Legends Doctor Doom

Marvel has got quite a number of iconic villains in its stable from Apocalypse to Thanos to the Red Skull. But none of them in my opinion hold a candle to the ruler of Latveria Doctor Doom. For the longest time, Hasbro held off on giving us an updated Doom. Maybe it had something to do with the movie rights of the Fantastic Four “universe” being owned by Fox, who knows. Anyway with Fox now being owned by Disney, we finally got our Doom and he is pretty close to perfect. This was the last Marvel Legend purchase for me this year and it was quite a fitting way to close out 2019.