FigureFan’s Disappointments of 2012, Part 1

Ok, we’ve seen my favorites, and now it’s time to check out the turds floating in last year’s punchbowl. Again, this was tough, because I try to avoid buying things that look like they will be crap. So maybe the word turd is a little harsh in some cases. Almost nothing on this list is total crap, but everything here definitely disappointed me in some way.

TMNT Classics: Donatello by Playmates… The Classic Turtles are great figures, but they got upstaged on my “Favorites List” by the smaller modern guys in a major way. Nonetheless, Donatello represents here for one reason and one reason only, because of his mad eyes. Ok, I suppose that’s two reasons. The point is that by giving him wonky eyes, Playmates not only ruined the figure, but seriously marred the entire set. How can anyone appreciate their team of turtles on the shelf when Donny is standing there in the back looking like he got kicked in the head one too many times. It’s a crazy example of how one brush stroke can mar an otherwise excellent toy.

DC Universe All Stars: Superboy Prime… Besides turning out as a terrible looking figure, Superboy Prime earns Mattel a Disappointment Award for doing the bait-and-switch. The final product saw major changes from the pre-release images, and while that is bound to happen from time to time, the changes here made a great looking promo figure turn into a terrible release. Even worse, with hardly any brick-and-mortar stores actually carrying the DCU All Stars, I had to buy the figure online, so my disappointment wasn’t realized until I got the thing in hand and it was too late. It’s not often that I can say I regret buying a DCUC figure, but I certainly regret picking up Superboy Prime.

Marvel Legends: Extremis Iron Man… Because I only allowed each toyline to appear once in each list, this slot was a tight race between Extremis Iron Man and Future Foundation Spider-Man. In fairness, on its own this Iron Man is a fairly competent figure, but as soon as you put him up against some of the other figures in Hasbro’s new Marvel Legends line he comes up wanting. He’s too small, not terribly well articulated, and overall underwhelming. I kind of get the feeling that he was just here to fill a slot in a quick and dirty manner (that’s what she said?). And to keep the comparisons rolling, his paint and sculpting don’t even live up to many of the older, smaller and cheaper 3 ¾” Iron Man 2 figures. At least Hasbro released him in two versions, so that the crappy Stealth variant would make the regular one look better.

Duke Nukem by NECA… You’ve got to hand it to NECA, in an effort to be as accurate to the game as possible; they obviously wanted to capture the disappointment of Duke Nukem Forever in action figure form. And they did! NECA’s Duke features a solid enough sculpt, but the articulation is downright weird and the paintwork, particularly on the flesh tones, leaves a lot to be desired. And then there are the accessories. Sure, kudos for the cigar, which I promptly lost, but how can Duke come with just a handgun? Where’s his arsenal? And, no, the fact that he has feet doesn’t count as a “Mighty Boot” accessory. Duke should have come with a cool assortment of weapons, instead all he came with was disappointment.

Avengers: “Sword Spike” Thor… While most of Hasbro’s 3 ¾” Avengers figures were disappointments, this version of Thor earns a place on this list because he represented the ultimate in toy company hubris and laziness. Hasbro took what was essentially the exact same figure from the previous year, cut out most of its articulation, gave him a new shitty weapon and put him on an Avengers card. They even kept the same name, which in the new context made no sense because he now came with a halberd and not a sword. To add insult to injury, a lot of stores had this figure hanging just a few pegs away from the better articulated Thor-branded figure… on clearance! It’s the retail equivalent of Hasbro unzipping their pants, pulling out their Mjolnir and slapping us in the face with it.
Ok, that’s enough disappointment for one day. I’m going to take some Topamax and gin to level out my mood and I’ll be back tomorrow with the final five.

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