Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Toys I Liked The Best: AFB looks back at 2011

The year is at an end, and that means it's time for me to look back at the toys and statues I've reviewed this year and choose the best. Far from an industry-wide "best of" list, these are simply my subjective choices of the items I'm happiest to have in my collection from the items I've reviewed during the year that will be nearly over when this post goes live. This blog has always been about my own journey as a collector, and this list is no different - its just my opinion!

With that out of the way, let's get started. I'm going to start with the smallest figures I collect and work my way up!

My favourite 3 3/4" figure from the year was the Marvel Universe Silver Samurai figure. This figure came in one of Habro's Comic Series Two-Packs. While the Wolverine figure it came with was instantly forgettable amongst all of the other MU Wolvie versions, the Slver Samurai was am amazing effort. The level of detail, particularly in the sculpting of all of the elements of Silver Samurai's armor, put this figure a step above my other favourites in this scale, which were the Marvel Universe versions of Taskmaster and Thanos. 

My favourite Male 6" figure from the year was the Marvel Select Magneto figure. I will always take issue with the awkward hip articulation on the male Marvel Select figures, but that wasn't enough to knock this fantastic figure out of first place in my book. Magneto's mask and cape are brilliantly constructed, and his wild eyed facial expression and powerful pose are fabulous. I'm usually not too fussed about the Marvel Select bases, but this crushed remnants of Xavier's School for the Gifted that Magneto stands astride just takes this figure to the top of the pile for me. Just below Magneto, I really enjoyed the DC Direct Brightest Day Deadman (with Boston Brand head), Masters of the Universe Classics Clawful, Batman Legacy Series 1 Joker and DC Universe Classics Bronze Tiger figures. 

My favourite Female 6" Figure of the year won by a mile - The Masters of the Universe Classics Queen Marlena / Captain Glenn figure was a real gem. Granted, Mattel had a bigger budget to work with for this figure as it was a SDCC Exclusive,  but they certainly went all out. It's not just the fact that the set contains the parts to make two completely different figures, it's how The Four Horsemen went about it that makes this figure such a winner. Nothing else in this category made it close to this standard, but I did enjoy the DC Direct Brightest Day Mera and MOTUC Catra figures. 

I can't separate the two top contenders for my favourite PVC / Vinyl Figure, so I'm letting the Kotobukiya Wonder Woman Bishoujo Statue and the DC Direct Ame-Comi Raven Statue share the title. The Ame-Comi line took awhile to win me over with its unique takes on the DC characters, but a piece like Raven shows the line has really hit its stride.  The goth stylings and the incredible detail on Raven's cape make this a clear winner. As for Kotobukiya's Wonder Woman, there's no better example of comic accurate amazement. Koto's Marvel Bishoujo line had a bit of a stumble this year with scale issues, but the sheer beauty of their efforts with Wonder Woman kept the DC Bishoujo line going strong. 

For my choice for my favourite Over-Sized Action Figure or Build-A-FIgure, I have to go back to Marvel Select for their Marvel Select Juggernaut Figure. Marvel Select has excelled at the larger figures in recent times, and while Juggernaut doesn't surpass their brilliant effort with Abomination, it is a brilliant figure. It captures the character very well, and has a great level of articulation for a figure of this size. I like the way that Marvel Select has made an effort to do some team building, and Juggy is a great addition to the Marvel Select X-verse. Another favorite in this character would be the DC Universe Classics Bane figure. 

I also have two items to list for my favourite Bust or Mini-Bust: Bowen Designs' Son of Satan Mini-Bust and DC Direct's Heroes of the DCU Demon Mini-Bust. The Son of Satan bust hardly qualifies as "mini", considering the height given to it by the pyre of translucent flames Daimon Hellstrom rests on and the staff he raises in the air. Walter O'Neal has sculpted a brilliant representation of this classic Defender that contends with most full sized statues. Meanwhile, DC Direct's Demon Mini-Bust makes the list not just to applaud DCD for its character selection, but for the outstanding sculpt of Etrigan the Demon, including his trademark inscription which runs along the base. This was one of my favourite DC Direct releases of the year, and a stunning addition to any collection. 

Hot Toys' amazing effort with their Ghost Rider with Hellcycle easily makes him my favourite 12" Action Figure of the Year. Once I saw this figure previewed, I knew that my resolve not to delve into Hot Toys collecting was about to come to an end. All I can say is that I can't think of a better way to break a vow! The craftsmanship that has gone in to every aspect of this figure and vehicle is amazing, and the light-up features are a giant bonus. Not in the same league, but fun to have, was the Marvel Universe Sentinel figure. 

I'm leaning more and more towards collecting statues these days, so there's a lot of competition for my favourite Statue under 18". Despite the large field, there's a hands down winner here, and that is the Bowen Designs M.O.D.O.K. Statue. This was a Previews Exclusive that was worth chasing down in every regard. You don't need to be a fan of Captain America and Hulk foes to appreciate the effect of this intricately detailed sculpt which displays M.O.D.O.K. in all his gruesomeness. Check out those teeth!  Also at the top of the list in this category would be the DC Direct Cover Girls Harley Quinn Statue, the Kotobukiya Danger Room Colossus Statue and the Bowen Designs Valkyrie Statue

For my choice for my favourite Statue 18" or Over, I have to go with the Sideshow Exclusive Premium Format She-Hulk figure. I have found the Sideshow Premium Format Figures a bit hit and miss, but there's nothing missing in this amazing effort. I love the pose, the choice of costume and the brilliant head sculpt that sums up She-Hulk perfectly. The Exclusive version, which has She-Hulk holding a dislodged parking meter, brings a level of humour which is so appropriate for She-Hulk, and makes this a real winner. Other choices here would be the Sideshow Premium Format Bucky Barnes as Captain America and the Sideshow Nightcrawler Comiquette. 

So, that's my list of highlights from the year, but that's just my take. Please respond with your own in the comments below or at the AFB Forum!

That's also a fitting bookend for another year at AFB. Thanks for another year of support and fun.  

Happy and Prosperous New Year to all - and here's to the year of collecting and reviews to come!

Until next time!


Unknown said...

All of these are very impressive and that Silver Samurai has much more detail and appeal than i thought.

Super-Duper ToyBox said...

that Modok is the Bomb! Really cool! I felt Silver Samurai was also excellent- a standout MU figure -Happy New Year!

chrismandesign said...

all of them have been great selections!!!... anyway you have a lot of stunning figures to choose, so there is no way to lose here =)

bigraj said...

Missed out on some good stuff from Marvel Select by not going into the comic shop more often.

JQ3x29yz4a said...

A nice look back at some great products from the past year!

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