Happy New Year, folks! Let’s jump right in with the first five delectable items on my Favorites list. I’ll point out that these are not in any order because that would have taken more effort and the whole point of this song and dance was to get me a week off… let’s go!
Masters of the Universe Classics: The Wind Raider by Mattel… As much as I give Matty Collector a hard time, I can’t deny they produce some amazing toys and figures. But as I mentioned in a recent feature, I didn’t give a lot of attention to the MOTUC line in 2012. Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist grabbing the Wind Raider, and I’m certainly glad I did. Besides being the only vehicle released in the line so far, it is one big, beautiful, and very high-quality toy. At about $60 shipped, it certainly wasn’t cheap, and yet I was still totally impressed and satisfied with it when it came out of the box. The fact that Matty has managed to make it readily available for purchase throughout the year is even better. This piece really belongs in every MOTUC collection.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Nickelodeon’s Ninja Turtles by Playmates… Yep, I’m cheating on this one, because I’m using one slot for four figures. I make no apologies, because how could I choose just one of the Heroes in a Half Shell? Some may be surprised to find the smaller, modern versions of the Turtles on this list, rather than the larger Classic-inspired figures, but when you get down to it, these little guys are just more amazing. The new designs are fantastic, the sculpts and articulation are great, and they’re also some of the best values hanging on the action figure pegs today. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t like the show they’re based on! It’s no surprise that the TMNT sections were cleaned out at most retailers in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I often lament the kids growing up today without the kind of kick-ass toys I had as a kid, but these figures actually make me jealous of those damn kids.
Marvel Legends: Steve Rogers & Thor by Hasbro… I really tried to break this tie, but in the end, I just couldn’t do it. In 2012 Hasbro brought Marvel Legends back with a vengeance, and there were lots of solid efforts. This entry originally started as a three-way tie with Arnim Zola finally getting edged out. Steve Rogers and Thor are both prime examples of what I look for in a great action figure. I’d say that of the two, Rogers is more fun to pick up and play with, but Thor’s heft and sculpt capture everything there is to say about the character. If anything, these two figures showed me that Hasbro was trying to do things right with Legends this time around.
Doctor Who: “The Chase” Collector Set by Character Options… You can call this my token Doctor Who slot if you wish, but I’m putting it here anyway. Based on an episode that aired in 1965, the bulk of this set is comprised of a Mechanoid, a robot that looks like a giant Christmas tree ornament that we saw once and never again. The bottom line is that it’s almost impossible that this set exists and yet it does, and for that I love it to pieces. Doctor Who may have grown into a huge international success, but classic and obscure items like this one are geared toward a very niche market, and I congratulate Character Options for making them. The fact that it had a couple of extra classic Daleks was just icing on the cake!
Transformers Commemorative Series: Powermaster Optimus Prime by Hasbro… Sneaking onto the list as a technicality is this amazing Toys R Us exclusive. Hasbro released Powermaster Prime way back in 2003, but I featured him this year and he isn’t old enough to be a “Vintage Vault” entry, so here he is! Easily one of my favorite Transformers releases of all time, this set is so hefty and so beautifully packaged, that it puts most of the Transformers SDCC Exclusives to shame. This toy features a plethora of modes and all kinds of little custom tweaks to give it even more playability. There’s so much cool interchangeable stuff here that it reminds me of the glorious old Micronaut sets that I grew up with. This “Commemorative Edition” was also the first time that the superior Takara version of the toy was released stateside. I paid $50 for this beauty back in the day, which was a good enough deal that I eventually picked up a second set to leave packaged. Even during times when I have the bulk of my Transformers collection put away, Powermaster Prime is always out on display. I just love him that much.
Swing by tomorrow, and I’ll wrap up my Favorites List with the last five entries…