So, I’m mixing things up this year and casting off my week of traditional week long Top Ten lists for something a bit more laid back, before taking the weekend off. The lights are dimmed, my trusty cat is cleaning his asshole on the side of my desk, and I’ve poured myself a nice tall Jameson. It’s a little taller than the last one, but not as tall as the first one. It’s probably about the size of the three or four I had in the middle. So let’s do this thing, and take a whimsical romp through my Ups and Downs of Toy Collecting in 2016…
Up: Mythic Legions! Nobody should be surprised to see this Kickstarted line appear so prominently on my list. If you’ve spent any time this year reading my deranged ramblings about toys here, than you already know that I’m absolutely smitten with this line and that it has been, without a doubt, the highlight of my year. It was a brand new toy-line, it wasn’t tied to any existing media or franchise, and I spent a shit ton of money on it. Although technically a good deal of that money was spent in 2015. These figures are like magic to me and I’m still in awe of my display whenever I pass by it. I’ve got more figures coming soon and I’ll be going deep into Wave 2.0 Kickstarter… DEEP!!!
Down: The rest of the Kickstarters. I didn’t have the funds to go in on Dime Novel Legends, because… Fiscal Responsibility! I am, however, hoping those figures will be available to buy at some point down the road, because I really want to get some of those when my belt isn’t pulled quite so tight. I was also hoping for the folks at Warpo to come out of hiding and reveal a new line this year, but sadly it didn’t happen. Vitruvian HACKS finally shipped this year, and while they were incredibly solid figures, the fact that I still have a lot of those left over to look at in 2017, shows just how overshadowed they were by Mythic Legions.
Up: Combiner Wars and Titans Return have been a treat since day one, and I’m hoping that Titans Return continues strong through next year. Sure, Combiner Wars started feeling rather played at the end with a lot of mold recycling, but we still got some amazing combiners and some pretty damn cool Leader Class figures. As for Titans Return, the Deluxes have been the high point of these lines for me, but then I still have quite a few of the bigger figures from Titans Return to pick up… not to mention Fort Max himself! I went into 2016 thinking that it wasn’t going to be a big year for me and Transformers, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Down: Third Party Transformers… Now don’t get me wrong, those third-parties are still churning out some fantastic stuff, but 2016 is the first year in a little while that I didn’t buy any Third Party figures. In fact, the last third-party product I purchased was back in the middle of 2015. I’m still planning on finishing Fansproject’s Lost Exo-Realm series, but after that I don’t see myself going back to that well again. I don’t regret any of the purchases of elicit convertobots that I’ve made in past years, but getting that monkey off my back will be a relief to my wallet.
Down: Masterpiece Transformers… Again, I’m not slagging on Takara’s amazing MP line, but the fact is that I only picked up two MP figures in 2016 (Tracks and Ironhide) and both were in the first quarter of the year. Still, next year should see more activity on this front. I still hope to get Ratchet at some point, Megatron is pre-ordered, and Inferno is going to be coming home to me soon.
Up: Marvel Legends… Back when Hasbro rebooted this line in 2011, I never could have guessed that it would become the (dare I say it?) Juggernaut that it’s become today. Legends is at the point now where it has surpassed the 3 3/4-inch Marvel line as a Universe building series and we continue to get a great mix of B-listers and C-listers tossed into the mix. Not all the figures have been exceptional, but very few have been truly bad. The fact that it was a struggle to keep up with this line throughout 2016 was a nice problem to have, and I hope Hasbro can keep it going strong in 2017.
Down: Star Wars Black… The 6-inch Black line continues to sputter between solid and disappointing releases. Very rarely are these figures terrible, but even some of the better ones are a far cry from what my expectations were after the initial wave. I keep asking myself are these really any better than what we got (or could get) in the 3 3/4-inch scale and the answer is invariably no. On the other hand, they aren’t flooding the pegs like Marvel Legends is, so I keep collecting these without breaking the bank.
Matty and Matty!
Up: 2016 was Matty Collector’s last year of operation and while some may hate to give them credit, I’ll concede that they accomplished just about everything they set out to do. We got all the vintage figures as Classics updates, plus a bunch of Filmation style figures and other characters no one ever thought possible. Not to mention vehicles and playsets and mounts. I look at my beautiful collection of Masters Classics and I can’t help but smile and say, good on you, Matty. And thanks for all the great figures.
Down: Of course, there was a lot of typical Matty bullshit in 2016 as well. ThunderCats Classics was cancelled leaving us yet again with just bits and pieces of an incomplete line. By the time most of us had purchased the ThunderCats SDCC Exclusive, news trickled in that the line was dead. QC didn’t seem to be nearly as tight on some of the MOTUC figures as the line neared its finale. Plus, there were horrible delays on most of the figures towards the end. In fact, I have a huge box of figures from the last two months that were all dumped on my doorstep last week because of delays in shipping. One might think that Matty was hoping fans would see them off with tear-filled eyes, and yet they did their best to fill us with rage and contempt. The legacy of Matty Collector will certainly go down as a bitter-sweet one.
And The Rest…
Up: NECA… If it weren’t for The Four Horsemen’s Mythic Legions, NECA would have won the year for me. From their excellent Aliens and Predators figures, to Rocky and their new Heroes of the Storm line, NECA knows how to get to my wallet. Not to mention the incredible Ultimate Series of releases, which never fails to live up to its name. These guys are true craftsmen at their trade and I’m looking forward to throwing a lot more money at them in 2017 just to get caught up. The only downside to NECA is that they’re usually impossible to find in my area, so I have to hunt them online and usually wind up paying a premium… but hey, they’re worth it!
Up: Hot Toys… It’s always a good year for Hot Toys, but in my case 2016 started with a lot of additions to my collection and gradually petered out during the final half of the year. I finally completed my “one of each” of The Avengers and dabbled a little in The Force Awakens, including two figures that I have yet to review. I’m suspecting that 2017 will be somewhat light for my Hot Toys purchases. With most of my Marvel Universe covered, so far I’m only committed to picking up Drax and Doctor Strange. And hopefully Poe will finally get his due.
Up: DC Icons… I swore I wouldn’t get into this line when it was first revealed. I didn’t want to start the whole DC Universe again in a slightly smaller scale. But in the end, I buckled. I caved. I gave in. And I’m glad I did. These figures have been excellent from the very first release, and judging by next year’s solicitations, DC Icons has every chance to take up the mantle that DC Universe Classics left behind. So long as DC Collectibles keeps up with their own release schedule, you can expect to see a whole lot of this line featured on FFZ in the new year.
Down: Doctor Who… Let’s face it, being a Doctor Who fan in 2016 sucked. There was no TV series and the action figures have all but dried up. I looked at only two offerings from Character Options this past year, and both of those were in the beginning of the year, leaving me with just the 12th Doctor Sixth-Scale figure from Big Chief later on. Part of me was really hoping that Character Option would have a few surprises for the 5-inch line throughout the year, but even the crappy 3 3/4-inch figures seem to be drying up.
Up: Prize Figures… The beginning of the year was a strong one for my Kotobukiya Bishoujo habit, but the releases got fewer and farther between as the year went on and I needed to find another solution to get my fix on little plastic anime gals. As a result, 2016 was the year I started collecting Prize figures, mostly from Taito and SEGA, with a few from Bandai and Furyu thrown in. It became such a prolific new area of collecting for me that I had to create the Anime Saturday features just to cover all my new acquisitions.
And that’s it for me for the year, Toyhounds. I’ll be back on the first with a brief announcement about next year.
Until then, have a safe and happy New Year.
Thanks for reading and keep collecting!