This week, Vault & I will be looking back at the figures of 2011, what we enjoyed, and what we didn’t. Today, we’re kicking things off with a simple top ten. Vault and I have split the duties, each crafting a list of our five favorite figures released in 2011.
When Vault and I decided to do an article that featured our favorite 2011 figures, we had a healthy back and forth on the ground rules: discussing whether high-end items should be included, should multiple figures from the same line be allowed, should vehicles or playsets be considered, etc. Ultimately, we decided to establish one simple rule: we had to actually own it. No rare releases or expensive products we admired from afar. Just simple toys we had to have in our collections.
We also decided to keep things simple and split the Top Ten into a personal Top 5 for each of us. My choices are below, while Vault’s are on page two. Limited to only five choices, I quickly found myself in trouble. I bought a ton of great toys this year (and a few clunkers) and I really can’t believe I’m leaving some off this list. That in mind, I’m going to cheat a tad (don’t tell Vault!) and dole out two Honorable Mentions to Transformers Generation Scourge & Marvel Universe Cable. Both are figures that I greatly enjoyed, but ultimately just missed the cut.
#5 Crime Syndicate 5pk (DC Universe Classics, Mattel)
With DC Comics upending the universe and the Classics brand being put out to pasture, it’s not been the best year to be a DC Comics fan. Still, there have been a handful of nice pieces in the DC Classics line this year, but few left me as satisfied as the Crime Syndicate 5pk. After a couple years of buying a DCUC 5pk and immediately tossing 40% or more into the extras box, it was refreshing to
want need to have all five figures out on the shelf after I opened the box. Even better, each figure in the set was a nice addition to the line. In particular, I was really drawn to the Morrison trio (above, center three) all of which received some great newly sculpted pieces. The only thing this set left me wanting was more CSA members to complete the team rosters. For more on the CSA, check out the review here.
#4 The Glyan (Glyos System, Onell Design)
For the fourth spot on my list, I have to go with a figure that I haven’t gotten to reviewing yet (oops!). While I’ve got a lot of favorite designs in the Glyos System (Sarvos, the Gobon, etc.), the 2011-debuting Glyan really jumped out at me. Glyos collecting isn’t usually a “gotta get ‘em all” phenomenon, but the clean design, the customizing potential (there’s 25 separate pieces packed into that tiny frame), and the great colorways won me over and the Glyan became the first Glyos figure where I strived to collect all the versions released so far (I’ve got a white Glyan on the way, so a review is imminent!). While the folks over at Onell Design leave the Glyos storyline a little more open so that we may conform it to our own needs, this guy is the equivalent of Stormtroopers or G.I. Joe Greenshirts. They’re the gristle in the mill that makes everything go. With its more human-like features and the variety of colorways allowing for easy customization, the Glyan easily earns a spot in my 2011 favorites. For more Glyos reviews, check out the reviews here.
#3 Vikor (Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel)
You had to figure at least one MOTU Classics figure was going to be on my list, right? And what a MOTUC figure it is! While there was certainly a healthy selection of nice MOTU figures this year, choosing a favorite didn’t even require a second thought. Vikor was easily my favorite MOTUC figure of the year thanks in large part to the Four Horsemen turning an unused piece of concept art into a fantastic 3-D rendering with plenty of newly tooled pieces. On top of that, Vikor sported a fantastic complement of accessories, real chains, and some new articulation in his ankles. I love my vintage MOTU figures getting updates, but figures like Vikor make me desperate to see the line expand into every corner of the MOTU universe. For more on Vikor, check out the review here.
#2 Low-Light (GI Joe Pursuit of Cobra, Hasbro)
A few years ago, I was crushed when some of my favorites Joes didn’t get the 25th Anniversary treatment when the switch was made to Rise of Cobra product, but Hasbro turned that entire notion on its head in 2011. Figures like Low-Light, Steel Brigade, and Snake Eyes version 54 have left me wishing that Hasbro had skipped a few of my favorites the first go round so they could make them now instead. For the #2 spot on my list, I had to go with Low-Light. Admittedly, he does re-use almost all of Beachhead’s body, but a few new key pieces make him a faithful Low-Light all the same. What really left me with such a high opinion of this figure were the accessories – all seventeen of them. Though I almost immediately lost one despite my best efforts not to a loose 1:18 scale bullet) , his gear really enhanced the figure both for my photo shoot and subsequent shelf display. He’s just a blast to own, no two ways about it. Also, Low-Light gets bonus points for being able to stow all of his gear on his person. That will always be one of the best things about the best Joes. I’m still mad about losing that bullet, but I love Low-Light. For more on Low-Light, check out the review here.
#1 Scarabus (Gothitropolis, Fantastic Exclusive, Four Horsemen Design)
When the idea for this article came up, this was an immediate no-brainer. It should be no surprise to any IAT readers that I’m primarily a nostalgia-based collector – I love getting figures of my favorite comic book characters and modernized versions of toys from my youth. Sometimes though, a figure comes along that doesn’t need a bit of nostalgia to overlook a soft sculpt or a childhood memory to overcome poor quality control. Scarabus (and his eleven toy brothers) were that toy for 2012. Top-notch sculpting, smart engineering, great QC, plenty of articulation, and a nifty part-swapping system for the heads and faces all combined to easily make Scarabus my favorite figure of the year. The Four Horsemen knocked Scarabus out of the park and left the big toy companies in the dust. For more on Scarabus, check out the reviews here.
Alright, those are my Five Favorites for 2011. Are you nodding along in agreement or have you lost all faith in me as a toy reviewer? Let me know in the comments section, but don’t forget to check out Vault’s Five Favorites on Page 2!