Ok, Toyhounds, we’re in the home stretch of this shit. My Final Five most disappointing purchases of 2014. We’ve waded through some real poop and heartbreak to get here so let’s dig deeper into the muck. And speaking of muck, our first stop is Dagobah!
Star Wars Black (3 ¾” Scale) Luke Skywalker and Yoda by Hasbro: I know, the 6-inch Star Wars Black series already got its comeuppance on this list, but the 3 3/4” line produced so much garbage last year, there’s no way I could let it go without its own mention. The cream of the crap was this pair of figures based on the Dagobah training scene in Empire Strikes Back. Yes, even though these were sold separately, they go together so I went with both of them. Remember this guy? It’s the Luke featuring some crazy-looking double-hinged spaghetti arms. It was like Hasbro was trying to tell us, “See? Better articulation isn’t always a good thing. NOW YOU WILL SUCK DOWN OUR 5-POA FIGURES AND LIKE IT!” Yoda, on the other hand was just a poor effort across the board, although he looks like a masterpiece next to Luke. Even pairing these together didn’t work out so well because the backpack was so damn huge. Here was an example of the old Original Trilogy Collection figures doing this pair better and that was about ten years ago… and they both game with little diorama figure stands!
One Piece Nami Bootleg Statue by Bootlegging Assholes: Purchased with confidence that this was going to be one of MegaHouse’s beautiful works of art in plastic, I instead got saddled with a terrible, waxy knock off. And therein is what makes this spot on the list rather special. It’s not just me picking on what is a truly inferior bootleg, but more importantly my way of saying “shame on you, Amazon, for selling it to me.” It’s not like I bought this from some shady crook who just happened to use Amazon Marketplace for his nefarious deeds. No sir. This was one of those “ships from seller but fulfilled my Amazon” deals. So, how or why does Amazon have a stack of bootleg product in their warehouse? I’m still looking for an answer to that one. Not only was this purchase thoroughly disappointing, I still don’t have the real version of this statue, but it’s made me look at every import I buy from Amazon now with a suspicious eye. Ah well, thankfully they have easy returns and I sent fake Nami right back from wence she came.
DC Signature Collection Ice by Mattel: Seriously, Mattel? SERIOUSLY??? What the hell is up with this figure. It’s not bad enough that the portrait sculpt went south, but she’s got so many seams on her face from the casting process that it looks like she went head first through a windshield. It’s sad to think that after so many excellent DC Universe Classics figures, it all comes down to this unfortunate plastic rendering of Ice. Sure, I still have older figures to hunt down, but for me Ice will forever be the last new release that I bought for this collection and she’s a bitter pill. And at around $25, I even paid what I consider a premium for her. The portrait is just so damn rough and the paint on the costume looks like it was applied by the night shift… at the end of the night shift.
Marvel Legends: Gamora by Hasbro: Let’s not beat around the bush, Hasbro put out a lot of shit last year and some of it was from the Marvel Legends line. Oddly enough, the two I considered for this list were not terrible figures, but rather figures that just didn’t live up to their potential. Those two were Winter Soldier and Gamora. I went with Gamora because most of my beefs with Bucky lie in his ridiculous choice of weapons. Gamora on the other hand is a swing and a miss across the board. Maybe that’s too harsh. Maybe she’s a bunt. The likeness just isn’t there and she can barely stand on her own. When you compare her to the excellent Star-Lord, Drax, and Groot (and I still think Rocket was OK), Gamora lets the whole team down.
Starfire by DC Collectibles: Here’s one that pissed me off so much that I haven’t even featured it yet. Starfire sure looked great in the box when I first got her. Great sculpt, great paint… she was an all around beauty. Then I opened up the box, took her out and her shoulder pads kept popping off. Then her right arm pulled right out of the socket. I returned her and got another one. And the same exact thing happened. In the end, I decided to just glue the shoulder back on and put her back in the box. DCC used some real shitty clear plastic for these joints, so I don’t see any reason to believe my third try will be any better. And it’s a real shame because both the Red Hood and Arsenal figures were all around excellent. Oh well, at least I got a nice Starfire from Kotobukiya last year!
Epilogue: FFZ in 2015…
And that wraps up FFZ’s Fourth Annual Week of Favorites and Disappointments. I hope you enjoyed celebrating my wins and wallowing in my pain, or wallowing in my wins and celebrating my pain. Hey, whichever works for you.
All in all it was a great year for my collection, but I did come away from 2014 recognizing some emerging patterns in my buying habits. It was the year that almost entirely weened me off of buying toys at retail. The distribution here is so bad and the nearest Toys R Us and comic shop are too far away for me to visit regularly. In 2013 I’d say about only about 35% of the toys I bought came from brick and mortar stores. In 2014 I’d say that shrank to about 5% or less. That’s no exaggeration. I used to specifically go out of my way to Walmart or Target to do my grocery shopping so I could cruise through the toy aisles once a week. Now I don’t even bother. Almost everything comes from online. The last figure I can remember buying at retail was at a Walgreens. Do the math!
Which leads me to the other noticeable trend… I find myself continuing to move away from the “mass market” stuff. Is it a question of switching over to quality vs quantity? Well, not intentionally, but that seems to be how it’s shaping up. Most of my old toy lines have either left me or let me down. Three years ago I was still collecting GI JOE. Now its gone. Also gone… DC Universe Classics, the 5-inch Doctor Who line, and it looks like Hasbro’s 3 3/4” Marvel line may not be coming back. Masters Classics is entering its last year, and I suspect the Marvel Legends offerings in 2015 will be scaled way back as Hasbro continues to test the waters with this 2.5-inch craziness. With Generations gone, I see myself being extremely choosey about which Hasbro Transformers I buy this year. I’m definitely skipping “Robots in Disguise,” which after “Age of Extinction” will be only the second Transformers line I completely skipped since the whole damn thing started back in ’84.
But its not all doom and gloom. In place of these I am diverting more funds to higher end things. Whether it be ArtFX or Bishoujo, my appetite for Kotobukiya’s statues cannot be satisfied. I’ve taken gateway drugs for both Figma and S.H. Figuarts. I currently have no less than six Hot Toys figures on pre-order right now, not to mention another four Sideshow Sixth-Scale figures. And don’t even get me started on 3rd Party Transformers, Masterpiece Transformers, and LEGO.
What does all this mean? You may see a tonal shift in FFZ in 2015. It’s probably already started, but what was subtle and gradual last year might be more noticeable this year. It also might mean me eventually switching over to fewer updates a week, but as I stare at the huge pile of unopened figures in the corner, I realize something like that is a long way off, if it happens at all.
Anyway, I just wanted to finish up by expressing my gratitude to everyone who stops by and reads my nonsense, drops me emails, hits me up on Twitter, or comments on my features. I’ve got to know some great people in the nearly four years that I’ve been doing this and I’m most appreciative of all the support and criticism I’ve received.
Also… My first life lesson for 2015: Don’t try to sort LEGO with a cat around.
FigureFeline’s motto is “If it fits, I sits!”
Have a great weekend, and I’ll be back on Monday to kick off 2015 proper like, with a return to business as usual.
Thanks for excellent reporting on both the good and the bad. The good is always fun to read. The bad? Well that is a different situation all together. Some of the bad stuff I never even saw in the real world. There were some on the list (Luke, Leia, and most of the other Star Wars figures) that I passed on in the store since they looked so terribly bad. Others, like Gamora and Winter Soldier hurt in my heart to see on this list because they are currently standing on my shelf. I know they could have been so much better. Gamora just looks a little off, while Winter Soldier could have been a notch higher with a quality sniper rifle. Instead they cheaped out and gave him a reused rubber gun that is all bent out of shape.
Thankfully the world moves on, and new toys abound. I can’t wait to see what you post about in the new year. Sounds like there are some pretty great things on order. Hot Toys would be top on my list, if it was not so bloody expensive. I will live vicariously through you and this wonderful blog. Keep up the good work!
And hey, Gamora and Winter Soldier are on my shelf too! Like I said, I don’t think either are terrible figures just disappointing in the fact that they could have been so much better. Unlike some of the stuff on this list, I’m certainly not sorry I bought them!
Wow, the few Gamora figures I saw looked great! I thought Star-Lord had the worst likeness.
Great end of year lists.
Did you get a chance to see Luca from Neca? He’s spectacular!
Yeah, all of NECA’s POTA stuff looks amazing! Still gotta circle back and pick up some more figures!