Monday, January 10, 2022

The Best Of 2021: Part 1

2021 has officially come and gone. And before we can start looking towards the new year, there is still the unfinished business of looking back at the highlights of the previous one. So let’s get started on the honorable mentions for the last quarter of 2021.

Marvel Selects Titanium Man

I don’t really collect Marvel Select figures, mainly because they don’t fit scale wise with Marvel Legends. But I made an exception for this big green Russian dude since he brought me one step closer to completing the Soviet superteam Winter Guard for my shelf. In this case, the bigger scale actually fits, since Boris Bullski has oftentimes been depicted in the comics as a giant. And as an added bonus, he is quite articulate, not what you would expect from a Marvel Select figure. If he were a Marvel Legend, he would probably be near the top of my list for favorite Marvel Legends of the year.

Marvel Legends Zombie Cap

And speaking of Marvel Legends, this was one I never thought I needed in my life. I’m not the biggest fan of zombies or the macabre, but even I can really appreciate all the design work put into this star spangled zombie. This is definitely one of the best sculpted Marvel Legends figures…ever. And he’s so damn fun to pose and take pictures of.

Black Series Bib Fortuna

My Jabba’s Palace diorama is probably one of my proudest accomplishments as a collector. And for the longest time, Jabba’s majordomo Bib Fortuna was a crucial missing part of the display. So I was overjoyed when Hasbro finally announced that they would finally be releasing a figure of the creepy Twi'lek. But it was an even bigger surprise that he was released so early here in Manila and I was able to get my hands on him well before the year ended!

Plasma Series Ghostbusters

I already wrote a previous post on my whole Ghostbusters collecting experience. All I have to say is that I’m happy to have an even better set of Ghostbusters back on the shelf. And the fact that I got the entire set on clearance is just icing on the cake!

Transformers Crossover Gigawatt

I’m generally not a fan of all these Transformer crossover releases. While I think most of them are cool in concept, I feel for the most part that the end results look very underwhelming and amateurish. So I’ve generally stayed away from them all. Anyway, in a moment of weakness, I took a chance on Gigawatt since I’m a huge fan of the Back to the Future trilogy, and I thought that this guy seemed ok. And I’m glad that I did. He’s even more impressive in hand. It’s quite obvious that more effort was put into this toy. Even if it’s just a major retool of Siege Sideswipe, I can really appreciate all the extra paint details, features and accessories such as the fold up wheels and Mr Fusion engine attachment to complete the part 2 flying Delorean mode.

Origins Bumblebee

Back in December, one of the major malls here in Manila put up a grand drive thru Christmas light show, which my wife and I thought our two girls would enjoy. Anyway, the catch was that you needed to spend a minimum of 2k (around $40) in any of the mall’s stores in order to get a ticket for the show. So being the dutiful father that I am, I “took one for the team” and checked out what was available online in the mall’s main toy store, Toy Kingdom. And I found Origins Bumblebee, a toy I initially passed on since I was not the biggest Bee fan. Still, since I heard so many great things about this guy, I thought that he would be a worthwhile purchase (along with some other stuff to make the minimum purchase requirement) so that my girls could see the light show.

And I am quite happy that I got him. Holding this “flying saucer” Bee definitely brought me back to the first G1 cartoon episode back in the 80’s. And all the high praise was definitely warranted, as the engineering is quite impressive for such a small guy. And he fits perfectly with my Siege collection.

Earthrise Ratchet

Earthrise Ratchet, which came with the Paradron Medic Lifeline (teal repaint of Arcee) was one of the unfortunate 2020 releases directly affected by the pandemic. I originally had this set on pre-order on Amazon, but it was unexpectedly canceled . And then before you knew it, it became one of the hardest sets to find anywhere, with eBay prices soaring to well over $200. While I really couldn’t care less about Lifeline, not being able to get an Earth mode version of a core character like Ratchet sucked big time.

Anyway towards the later part of 2021, a number of friendlier priced sets started popping up on eBay. My first thought was that this was a reissue or worse a knock off, but I had heard no reports or news about either of those possibilities. Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I gave it a shot. I won an auction from a highly rated seller….and it paid off. So I finally got myself an Earthrise Ratchet without having to break the bank :)

Ratchet in itself isn’t that monumental of a release per se, but he was the last of the “hard to find” Transformer releases affected by the pandemic that I needed. So with him in hand, I could now rest easy for the rest of the year.

And that pretty much covers all the honorable mentions for the year. In the next part we will finish things off with the final top ten list of 2021.