It’s easy to come up with a list of favorite purchases for a year and tough to grind it down to just ten things. In fact, if I get one common criticism on my features, it’s that I’m usually too forgiving about the toys I feature. But there’s a reason for that… I buy things that I’m pretty sure I’m going to like. Nobody’s sending me stuff to review and everything featured on FFZ is something I went out and bought because I wanted it and I genuinely expected to like it. After all, I don’t throw my monies around all willy-nilly. And so coming up with a list of ten stinkers isn’t as easy, because if something looks bad to me, I generally won’t buy it. Nonetheless, I was finally able to scrape up ten things that really let me down in 2014, and today we look at the first five in no particular order…
Doctor Who 3 3/4” Amy Pond by Character Options: This figure is a piece of garbage. It’s got a passable sculpt, at least compared to some of the others in this line, but everything else about it feels like it came out of a .25 cent capsule machine at the supermarket. (Do they still have those? Am I dating myself? Am I playing too much Shenmue???) Poor Amy’s legs are all warped to the point where she can’t stand on her own and the arms are ready to pull out of the biceps if I manipulate them at all. It’s nice that Doctor Who figures can be purchased in the US, even if it is at Walgreens, but it’s a shame that it has to be this kind of crap. CO did such wonderful things with this license in the 5-inch scale, but if this is the best they can do now, they need to give it up and let someone else have a go.
Star Wars Black: 6-inch Scale Darth Vader by Hasbro: Let me say that I don’t think Vader here is the worst figure this line put out in 2014. Obi-Wan was worse, the Clone Trooper wasn’t great, and Jedi Luke was pretty weak. But Vader graces this list for two reasons. First, he’s not that far from being a good figure. Forget the removable mask, slap a decent helmeted head on him, give him a hook to hang his lightsaber on, and I could have gotten behind this guy. If he were just pure crap, I could have moved on, but he was soooo close. Second, HE’S DARTH F’CKING VADER, Hasbro… you’re doing him for the first time in 6-inch scale. This is a collector line. Put some god damn effort into him!!!! Nobody wanted to compromise a decent and accurate head sculpt in favor of a removable mask. Oh yeah, Slave Leia gets (dis)honorable mention for clogging up the pegs and Jabba gets it for being a stripped down trade release that was criminally overpriced.
Star Trek Federation – The First 150 Years: Here’s an oddity to this list because it’s not a toy or statue and it’s not something I actually featured on FFZ. It’s a book, and it was disappointing enough to make me want to list it here. As a big Trek fan, I had my eye on this thing since it first came out a couple of years back, but it was released at like $100. Even when it turned up at the local bookstore on clearance for $50, I didn’t bite. When it hit $20 on Amazon, I finally picked it up and all I can say is I’m sure glad I didn’t pay any more for it because it was a huge letdown. The electronic base is neat, the book itself makes for an enjoyable night’s read, but it’s got at least a couple glaring errors in the canon and a lot of it isn’t terribly interesting. It’s also ridiculously short for such an expensive book and only a few pieces of the original art struck me as all that memorable. I will eventually get around to featuring this thing on FFZ in the weeks ahead, probably on a bonus weekend feature, but now that I’ve spent $20 on it and read it, I have no idea where to even put it.
Masters of the Universe Classics Double-Mischief by Mattel: The moment I opened up Double-Mischief I knew she was going to land on this list. That’s saying something, because I’m someone who can find something to love in just about every MOTUC figure I get. Even Extendor, a figure I was not at all smitten with, had his good points. Double-Mischief is just a terrible design and terribly executed. She’s ugly, sloppily painted, and I hate her. Even The Star Sisters relentlessly make fun of her. But hey, considering how many Masters Classics figures I got in 2014, one bad one isn’t at all a bad track record… but oh, boy is she bad.
Transformers Generations Legends Class Megatron by Hasbro: 2014 was a great year for me and Hasbro’s Transformers and possibly the swan song of our relationship. But besides all the great Deluxes and Voyagers, 2014 was also the year I started collecting the Legends Class figures and damn if they didn’t impress the hell out of me. That is all but one. “Til all are one!!!!” NO, DAMMIT! I SAID, “ALL BUT ONE!!!” That one was Megatron. Where do I even begin with this guy? I don’t like his colors, I don’t like the ugly bare gray plastic, I don’t like that his joints come apart almost every time I transform him, and his alt mode is just as blah. I try not to be too hard on these little guys, but with so many of the Legends Class releases turning out to be wonderful little gems, Megatron just doesn’t make the cut. At least he came with Chop Shop. Chop Shop’s cool. He can hang with me.
Blah… that’s enough bad taste in my mouth for one day. I’m going to go scrape my tongue. Join me tomorrow as I wrap up this week of canned tomfoolery with the Final Five of my most disappointing purchases of 2014…