Our 2nd installment in the IAT 2011 Retrospective is here: Highlights & Disappointments. Instead of doing separate lists, Vault and I tried a more back-and-forth round table article about what we liked and what we didn’t. It was an interesting effort, even though there wasn’t much disagreement.
Noisy: Since this article constitutes the opinions of two people, we’ve color-coded the responses for clarity. Black text is yours truly while blue text is Vault.
Noisy: So, when I think back to 2011, the first thing that springs to mind is how different my collecting habits changed over the course of the year. The staples are still there – DC & Marvel figures and my MOTU subscription namely, but I found myself spending a lot more cash on the “7th Market”, the independent companies that sell their wares primarily online – Onell, Spy Monkey, the Four Horsemen, etc.. While mu childhood favorite licensed characters will always be near and dear to me, the high-quality and innovative toys coming from the smaller toy companies called to me beyond nostalgia and grabbed a good chunk of my collecting budget.
I think that has to be on the list for one of the better things about 2012. Onell Designs really outdid themselves with the Glyan – not just in the fun design of the little guy, but the tremendously useful parts that are part of his makeup. He’s kind of counter-intuitive in that you want to collect him, but you also really want to poach him for pieces, more so than even the Buildman form year’s past.
Vault: I definitely agree. There were a lot of interesting Glyos releases this year, including the Outer Space Men figures from the Horsemen. I was also personally impressed with a new Chinese company named Ori Toy. Their original Ori-Fig body system has the fun stylized look of a vinyl figure with the super articulation that we’ve come to expect from action figures. And then there’s the bar Scarabus set.
N: Yeah, Scarabus. That guy’s topping Top 5 lists for a reason…
V: Nothing wrong with coming in second to an awesome skeleton figure.
N: Scarabus really showcased what the Four Horsemen can do when they’re on their own. I love my MOTU & DC figures, but Scarabus is basically the Four Horsemen unleashed – and the alternate heads to incorporate customizability?
V: I mentioned this a bit in our last article, but I feel it needs to be said again. Scarabus is a perfect example of what a real “Adult Collector” toy line looks like. He’s got a detailed sculpt and super articulation, multiple hands, heads, faces, weapons, and energy effects. They only problem might be that they’ve set a high bar to live up to for future releases, but just given the prototype pictures of the Raven figure, I’m sure they’ll clear it easily.
N: Shhh… we’ve got a 2012 & Beyond article in the pipeline here to talk about Raven. But, yeah, I’ve never wanted an anthropomorphic figure in my life.
V: That’s the power of the Four Horsemen.
V: Yeah, I was pretty happy with how much the MOTU line grew. I’m glad to see it’s so healthy, I just hope it doesn’t get much bigger on a yearly basis. I’d rather have it around for ten more years than it burn out my wallet with too many releases in one year. Matty needs to remember we all buy other lines, including some they produce.
N: Let’s see… Two dozen figures, four beasts, the weapons rack, and a Wind Raider (on a pear tree!). Mattel clearly isn’t worried about the average MOTU’s fan wallet and/or marriage.
For the most part, I was pretty happy with MOTU in 2011. Vikor & the Wind Raider were great bookend pieces. My only complaint might be that there’s a real deficit between characters that the folks behind the line have affection for and the ones they don’t. Some figures could’ve used a little more love.
V: Agreed. A few figures could’ve used a little more of a personal touch than just vintage releases.
N: Another line that really got my attention back this year was the POC/30th Joes! I mentioned this in my Low-Light blurb, but I clearly remember being so happy with 25th at the time and was sad to see it go. Now, though, Hasbro has me wanting redos of some of the figures I bought just a few years ago. The learning curve on Joes these last couple years has been great. My (awesome) wife got me the 2011 Wave three/four mixed case for Christmas and there’s not a bad figure in there (though I’m still not a fan of the plain Renegades weapons).
V: Hasbro really impressed me this year too, but with the Transformers Prime line. The Prime cartoon itself is just ok, but it spawned one of the most spectacularly sculpted and engineered Transformers lines I’ve ever seen. I’m amazed every time I see how much larger their robot modes are compared to their alt modes. And those face sculpts perfectly capture the character’s personality. I’m just a casual Transformers fan, but this is one of my favorite lines.
N: My first love is going to be the G1-inspired toys, but the Prime figures are definitely getting some purchases out of me in 2012, yeah.
Hmm. I think that’s good stopping point for the bright side of things. A lot of our favorite lines had good or decent years. There does seem to be one missing from the Surprises page. Maybe it’ll show up on the Disappointment side of things on Page 2…