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2011 Retrospective:
Highlights & Disappointments

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.

Vault: Hey.

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.

N: A big surprise for me in 2011 was just how huge a line Masters of the Universe Classics became.

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

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136 comments to 2011 Retrospective:
Highlights & Disappointments

  • He-Mullet

    I have to say that Mattel’s “World Class” way for managing brands was my biggest disappointment for 2011.
    The whole DCUC demise at SDCC, the Ghostbuster sub fiasco.
    MOTUC was the brand with the least issues… aside the brand manager dismissing QC issues (Hssss/Swift Wind) crying poorhouse at any chance possible.

    Bandai’s Thundercats were OK but not the best thing ever. (Change of scale from 8 to 6 inches in the classics kinda sucked)

    2012 has a LOT of stuff that I’m looking for… New TMNT, Return of ML, MOTUC, MLP!

    • The demise of DCUC was immediately number one the minute this article was conceived! From the poorly handled panel to the rollout of All-Stars (which lineups are anything but) my need for DCUC toys is at an all-time low. STRIPE and co. are still in their shipping case and I only felt the burden of paying for the Nekron wave when BBTS charged me yesterday.

      2012 looks like it could be a much better year for a lot of other lines though. I’m thankful for that!

    • AdventureVault

      Yeah, I have very little motivation to buy the “All-Star” line. The character selection has been very ho-hum, and they didn’t even bother to give Batman Beyond his wings, which I definitely would have bought.

  • you_will_forget

    My exposure to toys is a little more limited than you guys, but my own thoughts follow similar lines.

    I enjoyed what we got from DCUC last year, with the disappointment that there weren’t more GLC waves and the wasted Super Friends wave. So far the All-Stars announcements have been a bit lacklustre, so I’m hinging hopes on the sub.

    You guys don’t cover Action League, but they’re one of my highlights for last year, if only they could bring them out faster and be a little more prolific. Since DC minimates stopped a few years back, there hasn’t been a decent mini figure line.

    I got the first Masterpiece Rodimus Prime release, which was a disappointment. It felt cheap, and didn’t hold together. I don’t know if anyone got the second version which was fixed for comparison, but I couldn’t afford a second one.

    Lastly, Scarabus. I’ve told my wife I’m getting the Raven set. That is all

    Jo

    • To me, the Super Friends wave was one of the few not-wasted waves! I had a lot more fun putting together Apache Chief than assembling Geoff John’s GLA & Anti-Monitor or the final Geoff Johns wave. It’s a to each his own, but Mattel seemed to nail just about every DC fan with disappointment this year. LOL

      Vault tried to get into Action League, but they were impossible to find here. When they did show up, he’d lost interest. Did you pick up the Flashpoint Wave or is it out yet?

      I want a Masterpiece Rodimus… they say the 2nd one is a better piece than the 1.0, but I haven’t looked into it. It’s sad, but a year ago I was stoked for MP Roddy and the Protector Armor and I ended up with neither…

      • you_will_forget

        The Flashpoint wave isn’t out yet but is expected fairly soon. Maybe.

        That’s the big problem with the line – it needs to be about a wave every month/month and a half considering they’re relatively low cost. I get mine through Bnjmnlyr on AFI. See my later point.

        I suppose the way to look at part of DCUC’s failure this last year was the adoption of themed waves. There have been discussions throughout the year regarding them, but it easily boils down to the fact that people are generally willing to take the hit on one or two figures they don’t really want, but not a full wave. GL Classics and Batman Legacy are a good place to do themed waves, and I thoroughly enjoyed both waves of GLC, whilst understanding that (as someone who is pretty obsessive about being a completist or not) I could ignore those waves if I wasn’t that interested.

        The last bit of disappointment is that Mattel still won’t sell DC product in the UK. I’m comfortable buying online, mostly because I don’t have a choice, but it would be nice if I could just go out and buy the product. The big problem is store exclusives – I’ve got a couple guys who will help me out every now and then, but it’s a pain in the backside.

        Jo

        • I think themed waves could’ve worked if the choices had been tighter. Wave 16 is Batman Wave, Wave 19 is a JSA Wave, Wave 20 is a Brightest Day wave, and few balked at any of those. It’s really just the other two that drove some folks crazy. I think if the Blackest Night wave hadn’t been entirely deputy lanterns, it wouldn’t have been so bad and the SF wave would’ve been okay if it hadn’t been right after Blackest Night.

          I always admire the international collector. I don’t think I could do it if I had to import everything. Vault has to grab me the handful of imports I want here because I don’t want to deal with it.

          • you_will_forget

            It’s all about accepting that you want the figures and will have to pay more to get them – and working out the best way to do it. It’s why I don’t join in on pricing gripes. Sure, I’d love to pay less, but I’m paying more then most people for them anyway and there’s no chance that will change.

            Personally, I use CSC because they’re a little cheaper and, most importantly, I never seem to get customs charges on their shipments. I’ve used BBTS many a time as they have a more varied stock (I can get YJ figures from them, whereas CSC don’t sell them, for instance), but it’s rare I don’t get the extra charges and delay from Her Majesty’s mail police.

            And personally, I love my wave 19. S.T.R.I.P.E. is awesome, and I never thought we’d get a Sandman.

            As a side note, with Action League, I’m a bit miffed we’ve got two different sculpts for Barry (with a repaint on the way for Flashpoint), but the Zoom figure is Hunter Zoloman, not Eobard Thorne. Time to start a Where’s Wally campaign.

            And yes, I’m aware the American version is called Waldo. He’s called Wally over here.

            Jo

    • AdventureVault

      I picked up the first wave of Action League, and I even started going back to get the Brave and the Bold line. I really enjoyed the figures, but when the second wave didn’t even show up at our local stores I decided to stop. I didn’t feel like hunting out of town for figures that should have been easy to find.

  • Lemmy

    Being primarily a DCUC collector, 2011 was definatly a dissappointing year. I really did try to like the Blackest Night wave, but it just is such a let down for me. Of course, the biggest “ouch” of the year was the SDCC announcement. Why Mattel decided to use their biggest chance to get fans excited to instead tell us the line was going away, is something I’ll never understand. If I hadn’t wanted that LoSH pack so much, I might just have left the line then and there.

    I do look back, and realize that, in spite of all the dissappointment, there were some pretty cool things in DCUC. I did rather enjoy the Super Friends wave, and the JSA wave has been pretty fun (standard Mattel qc issues aside). Easily the highlight for the year, toy-wise, was the LoSH pack. 12 Great figs at once, much better qc than normal, and finally some love for my personal favorite comics team? Couldn’t ask for much more that that. Well, other than more Legionnaires!

    I hope that, for 2012, Mattel can admit to themselves where they failed the DC collector, and try to make the year much better, through the sub and the con-exclusives. I also hope the all-stars line-up starts looking better. So far, it’s screaming “cherry-picking” to me, when i’ve been solidly a completionist up til now.

    • The most annoying part of the SDCC announcement was the aftermath where they tried to blame the online rumor mill and fan misinterpretation. They’re on video saying the line is over at retail. These are PR people…

      There were some cool DCUC though. Wave 19 will probably be fun when I finally bring myself to opening it. Same with the Legion 12pk. I loved getting Kyle, the Super Friends, and I am looking forward to Reverse Flash (though I guess he’s technically 2012).

      I feel the same way on All-Stars – I have every DCUC-related piece except for the two variant Public Enemies figures. I *want* to get them all, but I just can’t see myself picking up all those “All-Stars” if the lineups continue like they are. Course, when they’re just four of them for long stretches, it’ll be hard to not pick up if they’re just hanging around.

  • The Ghost

    Thundercats Classic was a big stinker for me. When MOTUC hit a few years ago, the next dream was a similar thing to happen with Thundercats. Instead of arriving with a bang, they arrive like a wet fart – you were confident that something loud and proud was coming, but all you got was a pile of …

    It’s worse being someone who doesn’t live in the US. Choices are eBay or eBay. Luckily, my parents went on a 9 week holiday across the US and grabbed Lion-O and Tigra. But they are just as underwhelming as their pictures on websites show. Probably the first figures I’ve had no desire to remove from their package.

    Otherwise – some more disappointments… no Back to the Future figures from Mattel, like the speculation suggested; Shadow Weaver being the MOTUC sub exclusive; and what is this about DC Direct? Dammit, I need a decent Lex Luthor and Bane (can’t afford to buy a whole set of DCUC just for the Bane BAF).

    Highlights – Some great MOTUC releases… Wind Raider, Vikor, BA Skeletor (and BA He-Man, who I scored after passing on him in 2010), Panthor, Swiftwind, a fix for She-Ra, Clawful, Man-E-Faces…

    Hot Toys Chris Reeve Superman – my dream toy. Have been waiting all of my life for something like this. My first HT purchase and, unfortunately for my wallet, won’t be my last. Have been itching to track down the Dark Knight Batman and Joker but damn they are expensive. Will probably get the Keaton Batman, maybe even the Nicholson Joker.

    Hot Wheels Elite Ecto-1… haven’t bought it but damn it looks good.

    • I’d love to get the Hot Toys stuff (and almost did get Supes), but I just look at them and think about how many cheaper toys I could buy for the price. That said, that Keaton Batman is coming home and maybe the Joker too. If I had a coffee table-sized glass case, I’d enshrine that Batmobile too! (way too much money for three toys though).

      Thundercats ended up just being a blip for me. I bought two, they were okay, but I just wasn’t too excited. I need to eBay off the ones I bought and stay away from the new 6″ ones.

  • Bigbot

    Biggest highlight is Scarabus. The Four Horsemen knocked that figure out of the park, and the QC is so good, none of the figures had any problems that I bought.

    Biggest disappointment was definitely Mattel. The thematic waves of Blackest Night and Superfriends made me give up the line (and it wouldn’t matter as it was ending anyway). I don’t have any intention of picking up any of the first two waves of DC All Stars. I’m done as a DC collector, even with DC comics as the new DC has no place for the Secret Six.

    As for 2012, I’m really looking forward to the re-launch of Marvel Legends, as well as what the 4H have in store for Fantastic Exclusive.

    • I want to get into Legends, but I should save the money. I already bought, enjoyed, and sold most of a big ML collection. I should be content to cherry-pick, but those damn BAFs!!

      When the 4H get to Raven, they’re definitely the ones to watch!

    • AdventureVault

      I know how you feel Bigbot. There’s only a couple of books I’m still reading, and only because I love the writers.

  • dayraven

    highlights for me this year?

    well, everyone is talking about scarabus, so i’ll be joining the bandwagon, but i want to say something that not a lot of people have observed (‘cept for bigbot) and that was the HUGE leap forward scarabus represented in QC. the previous fan ex releases have had not terrible QC (especially if one were to compare them to say, any of the mattel lines) but they’ve been plagued w/ issues. the mynothecians ankle joints are strong enough to hold up the heavy torsos on those small hooves without perfect balance over both feet… the anitherians are famously floppy, the timekeepers kind of fall apart, and the queen’s guard are kind of rubbery figs w/ glass-brittle weapons… scarabus ducked all of these woes. like a true villain, he did everything right where the heroes failed, and came off stylish and refined by comparison. truth be told, despite my long allegiance to the fan ex project, i was beginning to despair prior to scarabus… but holy crap am i happy that i held out some tiny hope. he’s just right. he’s exactly what he should be, even minus the intended ab crunch. and really, even in comparison to many of the more expensive import lines, whose paint aps or articulation may be superior to scarabus’, the solidity of his construction far surpasses any of the purchases i’ve personally made from the land of the rising sun. scarabus RULES!

    that said, NECA just wowed me left and right this year. i got a fig from bulletstorm, my sleeper fave game of the year, i got a boatload of cool new gears figs right at the end of the year (and holy CRAP does their engineering make mattel look they’re selling tinker toys right now), i got an incredible run from robocop, gremlins, and the predator line, which even got upgrades over the course of the year… in ADDITION to them re-releases some of the best figs from past years, like the raziel fig, for a 10 dollar price point… WTF?? hasbro is definitely my go-to of choice for the big two right now, but even they aren’t doing things this well. NECA is just crapping all over the big toy houses right now, and gleefully double dipping my wallet like hed w/ a pair of swedish twins. kudos NECA. and most importantly for me, when they’ve had a bad fig here or there, they’re quick to acknowledge and fix the issues. see marcus fenix in 2 pack vs marcus fenix single pack for proof… a company that listens to it’s fans and corrects it’s errors… it’s almost novel right now.

    then we get to onell… the guy’s working w/ SMC to crank out some great new accessory pieces for multiple toy lines, the guy’s helping out the horsemen w/ OSM and hopefully in 2012 the symbiotech line as well, PLUS he’s the most giving and fan-oriented toy maker going right now AND then he has the audacity to make incredible toys too, as if that were the goal or something… what a cad. ;) i kid, matt is an incredible person, and a fantastic toy maker. i bet he’s hung like a mule too… some guys have incredible luck, but i suspect matt’s success is more due to good old fashioned hard work and good living. may onell ride gylos all the way to the stratusphere and beyond.

    lastly, i want to make a nod to mcf. i bought two mcf toys this year, both brutes, from the halo reach line. and holy crap do they get everything right. solid articulation, durable construction, fantastic sculpt, great paint work… you’d almost think mcfarlane toys had at one time been the top of the action figure heap and had learned from that experience. it’s been a damned long time since i last enjoyed a mcf toy as a TOY, but these two did it for me, big time. well done mcf.

    disappointments: well, there’s mattel. then mattel. and who can forget mattel. i am watching hundreds of dollars in motuc degrade on me as i play with them, and attempt to enjoy them as toys, and i keep kicking myself that i bought in as long as i did. seriously, i feel like have been better off spending the money on hookers and blow. i bought two king grayskulls dammit, 2!!! why can’t they play w/ lord thor or wolverine, or scarabus, and still have tight joints? if i sat down and honestly & thoroughly compared my 20 dollar he-man to my 15 dollar king hulk, i’d likely cry. if i ever spend money on a mattel fig again, will someone please shove it directly up my backend? please?

    the only other company i’m less enthused with than mattel is shocker… and that should be no shocker. i tried the tick fig, i did, cuz so many folks seemed to be enjoying him… i think he sucks. he looks the part, kind of, if i’m willing to overlook hideous articulation (which i am, when it’s quality work) but he’s not quality. he’s floppy. the articulation isn’t tight, and so the big lug kind of lurches into a pose and gets left there. i swapped the head out once, and i won’t do it again, it feels too shaky to risk degradation… same w/ the hands, and the stop sign. he’s molded in one color w/ very little shading applied, and he looks stunningly like a toothbrush. i get it, the tick wasn’t overly detailed, but the paint aps left a lot to be desired. at least when xetheus was top heavy, he had the common courtesy to look incredible and come w/ cool pack-ins. the one thing that makes mattel worse to me is, shocker has never presented themselves as anything other than that half-assed d-bags that they are… mattel wants to pretend that their repeated QC errors are accidents and that they appreciate their customers. that’s a complete lie, they view us as children who don’t/won’t/can’t ever learn better and are hopelessly addicted to their product.

    • Bigbot

      How could I have forgotten NECA? Their figures are always great, and I’ve been amazed at the continuation of improved articulation with amazing sculpting and painting, all while maintaining a competitive price point. I really like the design choice they made with the Duke Nukem figure and his arms. I can give Duke any of the Gears weapons, and he holds them better than the Gears figures themselves. I’m still waiting and fully articulated T-800 and T-1000. You know they’re coming, they’ll leave them for the end of the line after everyone’s bought the half statues they keep releasing.

    • Very true on Scarabus. His QC was the icing on the cake. Between them and the Onell, Callgrim (where Jesse just seemingly through a gauntlet down for my 2012 wallet), and SMC – 2012 will see lots of my money going down the 7th Market rabbithole.

    • dean

      I agree with 99.9% of what you said, but I’m afraid I had QC issues on two of the four Scarabus figures I bought for myself. My Haures has a really loose side hip joint and can barely stand. My Azazel has a loose ankle. It sucked because these were the two I wanted the most. I love the Horsemen (more than anyone else making American figures right now), and would still rank Scarabus as figure of the year, but he was not without issue; at least for me.

      I will say the ones I bought for Christmas gifts were fine, but mine were not.

      It was probably very isolated, but it still was a bother.

      • dayraven

        i’ve heard a complaint or two hear or there, but nothing as endemic as the stuff that plagued the previous fan ex waves. and i know, it seems like bragging, which it’s not… but my scarabi were perfect. that was a delight.

        and really, even w/ the few complaints i’ve read on ol’ scarabus, it’s still a much more isolated occasion than the defects reported in the mattel lines… there’s seriously something terrible when a multi-million dollar company has a greater fail rate than a small operation like the horsemen or onell. hell, even w/ some complaints on NECA, they came out a lot more reliable than the mattel lines. why do you suppose that might be?

  • morey

    can’t believe there was no mention of some of the awesome marvel universe figures this year.i also felt that transformers generations really knocked it out of the park this year(warpath is amazing!)

    • Warpath! Definitely. I think I kinda forgot what TFs I did buy this year. I’m all lost with the line falling in and out of movie-verse stuff. Warpath was definitely one of best TFs in years if you ask me.

      As for Marvel, I think they just fell through the cracks fo the article. Vault doesn’t buy ‘em, but I thoroughly enjoyed quite a few – Steve Rogers, Scarlet Spidey, Cable, Doc Strange, and plenty more I can’t think of at the moment. I’m really excited for next year though – I will have that Orange Foom!!

      • AdventureVault

        I bought the new Dr. Doom, and he was cool! But mostly that line has passed me by. I know I’ll be getting some Marvel Legends though. Probably not whole waves, but definitely some.

  • Hm, not really too much for me, my situation being what it is. Mainly my ‘toy experience’ has been living vicariously via this site :)

    (And WHERE is that Legion 12-pack review?! Get on that!!)

    However, a couple of things.

    1. I’ve dipped into the world of Imaginext, the Robot Police line with a couple of side trips to the Space line. Man, these are FUN. POLICE TANK!!! I think I’ve managed to get the entire Robot Police line except for the big base, which I think is discontinued. I’ve bought a couple of the Space monsters because they’re just damn goofy. I may pick up a couple of the weird Airplane line toys next. I also find myself attracted to their DC Heroes line (the same scale ones, not the larger stand-alone line) just because it’s so FUNNY, with the smiling Batman and happy murderer Joker and Two-Face. Plus Vehicles! Batmobile in several flavors! Batboat! Batcopter! Penguin Sub!

    2. I’m really into ‘role play’ toys and Hasbro releasing the line of ‘Ultimate FX’ Lightsabers is the fulfilment of the long-awaited promise made by Kenner back in ’78. After Years of oversized hilts and exposed extending hollow tubes (and the adult collectibles that even as they came down in price were still out of reach) we finally, FINALLY get a mostly realistic ‘actual size’ hilt even with the always extended blade. This, THIS is the toy I wanted when I first saw Star Wars in ’77. It also seems pretty durable and would stand up to battling. The only thing that would make this perfect would be a detachable blade but ya know, that would introduce a serious weak point and I’d rather have a sturdy toy.

    3. Hasbro makes yet another small attempt to return GI Joe to its proper 11 3/4 inch (because 12 inch sounds dirty) glory, with proper removable clothing and accessories. It’s nice to see some new figures, and the ‘improved Action Man’ body is decent, but once again the line won’t really go anywhere because of the utter lack of separate uniform sets. Collectors really don’t need dozens and dozens of bodies. The *POINT* of GI Joe was changing the clothes! So, the line will tank again and Hasbro will learn the wrong lesson again and argh.

    4. I have bought some My Little Pony toys. I really wish Hasbro would make them look like the cartoon. That’s all I need to say.

    5. Continuing on Role-play toys, I’ve finally gotten my Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver. Two, actually, one each for the 10th and 11th Doctors. Happy Happy. Yes I need the one for the 4th Doctor to go with my hand-knitted scarf. Shut up. :)

    6. I’ve dipped my toe into the DCU pool. It’s not right that the Art Asylum Captain Kirk figure is taller than Superman. I’m going to have to segregate the DC figures from everything else. And Batgirl keeps falling down.

    That’s about it. Nothing I’m really looking forward to in ’12 except more fun from IAT. :)

    • He-Mullet

      I agree with your 4th Point… Quick Question: Molded or rooted, hair?

      • Wooo, that is really tough. Rooted hair keeps with the ‘girl activity’ interactive action, as well as tradition. Molded (and there’s the playset I bought where they do have molded hair) gives the needed final ‘push’ to match the cartoon look. Having swappable parts really doesn’t work for this kind of toy.

        Being ‘hip’ to the realities of the toy world I think I’d go rooted hair. I’ll trade that kind of thing for articulation and the cartoon look. And Applejack gets her proper cowgirl hat.

        How’s that? :)

        • He-Mullet

          Sadly none of them are THAT accurate… NO AJ with a correct hat…
          So far the only Rooted hair pony almost Show Accurate is Fluttershy. and Pink Rooted hair Celestia is Ginormous next to any pony… I’d KILL for Show Accurate AND Articulated Ponies…

        • manekochan

          I really wish the ponies matched the show too. I love the show and the stupid rooted hair looks nothing like it. Th only way to get the accurate ones is with that stupid Celestia that, somehow, manages to not be the right color. Check out some of these customs with resin hair. It’s as close as you’ll get for a while, I guess… http://otakusquirrel.deviantart.com/art/Fluttershy-and-friends-271489017

          • That’s very nice work! I guess Hasbro could do that if they wanted, huh? but I think they’ve already given up on this iteration of the Ponies, just like their foolish dismissal of the true GI Joe. They OWN this stuff! It’s a NO BRAINER, just make decent product and let the market find itself!

            I can tell you, from long history of talking to customers, and my nephews, and the kids of friends, all children want toys that LOOK LIKE WHAT’S ON TV. That realism creates a connection and enhances the play experience. ‘Regular’ Batman ALWAYS gets more play than carmel-dipped Lava Fighter Batman.

            but what do I know.

            • manekochan

              Exactly! I was one of those kids that didn’t want it if it didn’t look right OR even if it was the wrong scale. I was a horrible child.

          • He-Mullet

            I’D SO BUY THE HECK OUT OF THOSE!! Sorry for the Broken Caps Lock first sentence, but like I said, I’d buy the heck out of that!

            They say Retailers wanted a Pink Celestia. I find it funny that the show does it’s best to avoid being So Girly that no one (aside little girls)would bother watching it, yet Hasbro seems to willingly ignore the customers who’d like show accurate ponies.
            Sure, they can do show accurate Joes, SW, or Transformers… but doing a show accurate Pony is madness!

          • AdventureVault

            That girl did some awesome work on those hair pieces, and I love Applejack’s proper hat.

    • Steve, you had to go and start a pony thread… hope Vault doesn’t find it…

      Yeah, the Legion 12pk (looks over shoulder). There is the unopened Legion Tower sitting in front of my toy shelf. I will get to it… eventually…

      Imaginext is pretty cool stuff. That will draw Vault out to comment for sure… LOL

    • AdventureVault

      Imaginext is hard to ignore. I’m trying to stick with the Dino Riders line, but it’s very tempting to get more.

      I’m not a huge fan of rooted hair, but that sculpted hair box set was really tempting to me. But I ended up not getting them because Hasbro never announced plans to make the rest in that style. Also, what the hell is their problem in making a proper cowgirl hat?

      I had to buy the 11th Doctor’s screwdriver when it originally came out. His first season was just so fun that he ended up being my favorite Doctor. I’m definitely in trouble if they make a more sophisticated and proper replica of his sonic.

  • Nicholai

    Highlights of the year for me are the LoSH 12-pack, the Crime Syndicate 5-pack, assorted figures from the last couple waves (Kobra, Sandman, Magog) and the Christopher Reeve Superman figure by Hot Toys.

    I’m excited by the LEGO superhero and the Hobbit announcements and may take that chance to get into LEGOs again in 2012.

    Otherwise I haven’t bought a MOTUC figure since Marlena and don’t collect Marvel Universe (scale) and don’t have much interest in non-licensed stuff like Scarabus. I just don’t care about the figures.

    • I totally hear ya on the non-licensed stuff. 2011 was a big year for me in really making a switch to the non-licensed stuff. I think a large part of it is just filling happier sending money to the folks at 4HTD, Onell, Callgrim, SMC, etc. They’re working hard and earning it instead of running my favorite licenses into the ground. :D

    • AdventureVault

      I’ve been waiting for LEGO LotR since I first played the original LEGO Star Wars game. Those toys are going to be so fun, I can’t wait to have no money!

  • how do youy guys overlook the biggest dissapointment of the year from Mattel DCUC- getting rid of the Rocker ankles!!! Every DCUC since wave 12 has had these awfull recession inspired ankles that seriously SUCK for crouched/fighting poses…I just cant understand it…wave 9 they finally improved the rocker ankles, and it was awesome…wave 10, and 11, they were getting better and better…then wave 12- they dissapeared….like, why? it was clearly a budget cut, nobody can convince me it wasnt…..I started the movement behind the dissapearing neck articulation that showed up in waves 9-11, and I LOVE that itsalltrue.net went ahead and investigated the matter even further and wrote the best article EVER concernig the issue, and next thing you know the head articulation returned in wave 12 and so on….

    PLEASE write an article about the Recession ankles so Mattel can understand that giving us back that POA, and maybe improving more on it(just look at Toybiz ML Captain Britain, that figure has the most PERFECT rocker ankle action ever, and if Mattel added that to the DC Universe figs, I’d buy more figs from them!)…also, the new Recession ankles seemed to inspire yet again, more factory mix ups…I never had swapped feet until the Recession ankle design reared its ugly head into my life…the wave 14 Tyr I got has 2 right feet, the GLC Maash I have has 2 left feet, and a Red Lantern I got had 2 right feet?!?!?! this was NEVER a problem until they changed the design……….and hit me up for some really great comparison pics of both the previous and recession ankles- I would be glad to help you guys address this matter, because these ankles SUCK and I dont understand why more fans arent speaking out about it!!

    ….the lack of rocker ankles is exactly why I completely stopped buying Hasblow ML figs…it drives me nuts when the feet dont lay flat on the surface-NUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!

    …also completely agree with you guys on Swamp thing…they know we have all been waiting YEARS for a super articulated Swamp Thing fig for DCUC and look what the hell they give us…seriously, I have more fun posing a crash test dummies figure…..the Swamp Thing sculpt is heavenly, I’ll admit that, but really, it was a major, major let down for us fans that have dreaming endlessly for a super articulated Swamp thing figure…the super wacky chan scale of the fig did nothing but turn the knife in my chest even more…..so sad, we all expected DCUC to deliver us the BEST Swamp Thing figure ever, and we got, a rubbery MCfarlanesque addidition to our book shelves……..

    • I think that was more of a 2010 issue, but you are completely right about the lack of rocker ankles being a big disappointment into 2011 too. I think Vault and I were just focused on the overall line falling apart that specifics didn’t really factor.

      The funniest thing in the rocker ankle debacle was at one of the Hasbro/Marvel panels where they kept mentioning that MLs will have rocker ankles.

      This is something we should definitely push for in the subscription, but as the MOTU line has already started falling to the almight budget, I’m still not sure what we can get Mattel to do with the DC line.

    • AdventureVault

      Yeah, rocker ankles were just another symptom of the overall disappointment of that line.

      I want them to return to all the figures, but there’s really no excuse when it comes to the runners. It’s a necessary joint and no different than swivel/hinge wrists on the archers.

      • Megatherium

        Funny part is, to save money by making a one part foot/ankle joint, they had t ore-tool the ankle/foot joint of all the re-issue figures…but that apparently doesn’t cost ANY money…hahaha

        • dayraven

          it only costs tooling dollars when they don’t want to do it. notice that after the “no 200x heads” edict, fisto gets a 200x head… again, the rule is only there when they don’t want to give us what we want.

          • I tell ya DR, we’re all missing SOMETHING about how Mattel works. I just can’t believe that all this crap just ‘happens’, right? Someone, at some level, makes these decisions because they in some way benefit Mattel.

            I just don’t see how. Probably buried under ‘misc. profits due to operational changes’ or something.

            • dayraven

              yup… that’s the great mystery, how this all benefits them. i do think there’s an air of “if we screw up, the nerds talk… but any press is good press” but it does feel like that’s not the whole picture.

        • Lee in MI

          Yeah, they make that cost claim only when the excuse suits them…and that’s why so many fans can’t stand Mattel and their BS. They are not only hypocrites, but they are OBVIOUS hypocrites!!!
          It apparently doesn’t cost money to re-tool all those ankles but it’s a tremendous logistical problem and cost issue to change a paint mask, correct a color scheme or even modify/ change packaging O_o

          My biggest disappointment this year was Mattels overall handing of the DCUCs line but more importantly the lackluster SDCC DC Mattel panel. This was the most anticipated panel for me last year and it was a complete bust. How does one come to the decision to announce the end of the most popular action figure line at retail right now at the most popular fan attended convention of the year??? It’s like leaving a bride at the alter…or better yet, showing up and announcing the wedding is off during the ceremony?!?! Why not drop that info before the con? Then they fumbled through the presentation with what appeared to be a completely uninformed new brand manager, Daneille. It was a complete train wreck. The presentation’s failure was only matched by Mattels underwhelming showing of both the last DCUCs line and the first figs of the subscription.

          They did have some shining successes…some overshadowed by widespread QC issues. Robin being the crowning example of this all too common occurrence. Great looking figure even with the slightly too obtrusive articulation joint cuts but why…WHY were the ankles falling apart all over the country?!?!

          The crime syndicate 5 pack was aweasome as well as the LoSH set. My initial set was racked full of QC issues, including some that I haven’t seen since the first TRU 2 packs…backwards ass assembly!!! But once I got DR to send me a new set, i got the largest batch of DCUCs figures ever without even ONE QC problem. That was followed by wave 19 which also had zero QC issues. That’s 18 straight figures without a dud! That deserves an accolade. Here’s one clap…did you hear it Scott & Daneille….opps, I forgot. Daneille’s already moved on to other properties. That clap was just for Scott. Good job. Only took you 18 waves to make it happen O_o

          Another disappointment was Hasbro’s non-existent distribution. The SW figs were just trickled out. Hardly found anything new last year. And despite all the retailer sales, these figures saw very little interest from kids and moms. It looks like the evergreen has finally dried up and lost its needles. Even the Xmas push didn’t help move any product in my neck of the woods. The aisles’ display looked barely touched. Even the horrible GL movie stuff got decimated but the SWs stuff just hung there. We’ll see what the Phantom F@&/Up in 3D does for the line.

  • TheBloodyAwfulPoet

    In some ways, this year has been one of the best for toys even though I ended up buying fewer of them than in recent years.
    -biggest improvement goes to Hasbro as a whole: each of their boys’ lines seems to have jumped by leaps and bounds this year. Things kicked off early with the Rotj vintage wave. The detail and articulation on this wave was excellent (highlights: Jedi Luke, wicket, r2d2) It was the same for MU: it was like after years of selling “okay” figures all using that one crummy buck body, they realized they had some money to make new sculpts. Highlights were cable, silver samurai, black spandex Wolverine, Sentinel and any version of colossus. I’m still stunned to see the return of rocker ankles (cable & cyclops)…. And it’s in a 3-3/4 figure?! And, then there’s gi joe for all the reasons everyone’s mentioned already (highlights incl ultimate snake-eyes, predator duke, lowlight). Though, I do think the reduction and cheapness in accessories that we saw with renegades is going to be the standard going forward.

    Best (1:6): hot toys Superman: even if you don’t own this one, the pictures tell the tale. This figure is amazing. The sculpt, the artic, the costume…. All exquistely accomplished. This was the Chris Reeve Superman figure I’ve wanted since I was 5, playing with an old, hand-me-down Supes.

    Best & worst (1:12): Scrabus: : like everyone else, I love this figure, BUT qc and response marred the experience. Overall, I’ve bought 4 scarabus variants. The last two were bought at the after thanksgiving day sale. One had two right feet. After all the shipping, emails back snd forth, reshipping etc (almost two months from date of purchase and I still don’t have my replacement. It’s supposed to be here this Saturday, but this kind of delay is ridiculous. I know 4h do this themselves and it’s a small operation where they only ship once a week, but I they should have sent me the replacement while all of this was going on instead of waiting until they’d received the defective figure first. All of this reminded me why I swore I’d never buy from storehorsemen again after qc issues with ramathor (bubble had been ripped from the card, bubble was smashed, figure was loose in the box – all inside a pristine, well-padded shipping box). When I complained, 4h said it must have been a problem with the card glue in transit, but it was obvious for the packing material that the figure and card were packaged in this condition. Bottom line: love the scarabus, understand the occassional qc isdues, unhappy with the resolution.

    Best other: MP-10 Optimus Prime: this one represents another childhood want crossed off the list. A lot of people griped when takara/hasbro

    • TheBloodyAwfulPoet

      Didn’t go with a new char, but I think this one fixed a lot of the flaws of mp1 that were apparent even when that one was new.

      As far as wort, I can’t think of anything. I guess I managed to avoid a lot of the junk this year (thanks in part to reviews here).

      • Sorry to hear that you had some QC issues with your Scarabus. Prolly sucks to have to hear so many of raving about the QC… it’s just that as DR listed, Scarabus really overcame some previous issues. Were your other three okay?

        The MP-10 Prime… I so want it, but I’m just not ready to drop that much change on one figure! I have the MP-1 and I like that he’s huge, so this one being smaller is kind of a drawback (but I like that he is smaller too because it does a lot of the line as a whole). So not sure what to do about him.

    • AdventureVault

      I’m also sorry to hear about your troubles, Poet. I hope your new one turns out good. Which versions of Scarabus did you end up getting?

      I totally agree with you on Hasbro, they’re really kicking ass in multiple lines. With the return of Marvel Legends, they might finally have a bigger pull on my wallet.

      • TheBloodyAwfulPoet

        Thanks for the sympathies, guys.

        Picked up regular scarabus, dormant (favorite), melcholm and nergall. Nergall’s the one who couldnt wow the ladies with his disco moves. His replacement actually arrived today, but I haven’t had a chance to check it out. Frankly, I’d have been fine with 4h just sending me a left foot that I could boil and pop into place myself.

        Noisy, I was going to hold off on mp10, but ages3andup had $50 off for one day only after new years. For about $200 shipped, I had to jump on it. I like the smaller size for scale with the few tfs I have. The articulation is much better. The ratcheting hip joints on mp1 allowed you to pose prime only either with legs too close together or widely splayed. No inbetween for any kind of natural pose. That always bothered me, but this one doesn’t have that problem. The new leg and ankle articulation is insanely good. If you don’t HAVE to have the trailer, I’d wait for the enevitable us tru release. It’ll probably be around $50 if history is any indicator. The only flaw I see is the gun: the foldable nature of it has left the gun prone to droopage. The entire barrel will just sag forward at the handle joint. There’s no ‘catch’ to lock the gun when unfolded. It looks like an elephant trunk or john holmes after shooting has wrapped for the day.

        • I really want MP-10 and you’re not helping. :D Great points on the limitations of the first release, it’s really just his size that impresses and that’s less impactful surounded by my recent 12″ purchases, Unicron, and Stay Puft anyway.

          $50 off? Awesome! I think I will have to him eventually and I need the trailer though… I still haven’t snagged MP9 Rodimus version two though so it’s going to get mighty expensive real quick…

          • TheBloodyAwfulPoet

            Having bought the first release of mp9 (no spring issues yet), if I had it to do all over again, I would have just waited for the $50 tru version. In retrospect, the trailer wasn’t worth the extra $170, especially since its a glorified shell (complete with extra front cab) that rodimus’s car mode just fits inside. Plus, I was always more of a hot rod fan than rodimus.

  • manekochan

    My disappointments for the year include the … well, the ridiculous prices of things. I’m not much of a collector but I sure as hell won’t be upping my purchasing amounts at current prices and they only seem to go up. Not being able to get my damn Sgt. Frog figures for less than $100 because of the increasing value of the yen has been a real annoyance.
    Honestly, the cancellation of the DC Classics line has torpedoed any hope I ever entertained (no matter how small) of getting an Ambush Bug figure.
    I was disappointed with the articulation on the new Godzilla (with that price it should have been great), the odd combination of awesome and “ha ha! Screw you, consumer!” in the new Monster High custom doll collection, and one particular Revoltech figure that Vault has yet to review but really illustrated the difference between their regular line and their slightly cheaper line
    LEGO Heroica was something I was really anticipating given my love of RPGs but after reading many online reviews and considering the price I decided against it. The fact that I own a bunch of the other LEGO games and have played them all of one time kind of helped out and having bought Arkham Horror (a $60 board game) the day before we finally found them probably helped in that decision as well.
    It hasn’t been all bad. I am looking forward to trying out the new LEGO Friends series. They’ve put so much research into it and I really want to see what it’s yielded. I also loved the Ori-fig line and am excited that they might get to release to America in the near future.

    • I got Sil some Lego Friends, she’s enjoyed them so far. I was cracking up about some of the stuff they can do or come with. It looks like an interesting foray on Lego’s part.

      The price of things… is only going to go one way, sadly…

      • manekochan

        I mostly bought it because I enjoyed reading the articles about the research they did. I would have sprung for a bigger set (since TRU had was about to up them and I still could have gotten it for $70 instead of $81, $5 off coupon and a partial GC but Vault wouldn’t fork over his GC, damn him. How dare he hoard his Christmas gift for himself… >:( ) because I’m mostly interested in the process/story for them and I think that one will have the most story-based stuff.

    • AdventureVault

      Technically the Sub is the perfect place for Ambush Bug, but we’ll be lucky to even pull Wally West I think…

      We finally broke down and got the LEGO Friends Tree house. It looks cool, and I can’t wait to play around with it, but I think Maneko is doing the review. This should be interesting. Maybe Sil should do a review of hers too?

  • JamesLynch

    My biggest disappointment was almost anything from Mattel. They have some great licenses, and some of the talent they have should basically make anything they put their hands to a slam dunk. On paper. In reality, we’re still dealing with a crappy website, terrible distribution, and poor quality control. Raise your hand if your Robin or Mercury suffered a busted ankle or wrist. Heck, my Anti-Monitor lost a hand the first time I tried to turn the wrist (it’s now locked on with super glue). The two WWE figures I bought this year, Randy Savage and the Rock, can both barely stand up on their own, their ankle and leg joints are so loose. The Young Justice 4″ line looks like Happy Meal toys, and the 6″ line is just a bizarre case of how not to market a toy (a figure that looks like it’s cobbled together from two separate toy lines; one realistic, the other cartoon, packed in an oversized box that comes with a odd diorama base that no one asked for, released only two at a time to almost guarantee that later releases will be impossible to find and the line will die before the core cast is completed, and jack the price up by five bucks to pay for all of this).

    Oddly enough, the easiest time I had this year finding a rare figure at a decent price and with a pain-free buying experience was buying Red Arrow (easily the best of the YJ figures) on the Shop-Mattel website. A coupon code even got me the figure for below retail. That whole set up must be run by a different “Mattel.”

    Biggest high? Probably the announcement of Marvel Legends’ impending return, including some of the figures being made (modern Thor, Steve Rogers, Hope Summers, Bucky Cap, Extremis Iron Man, Madame Hydra/Masque, Big time Spidey). Even the 4″ line has dramatically improved the quality, to the point where I’ve started to become a fan. The POC/GI Joe 30th line is awesome, though there’s been a couple of phantom waves that have bothered me (everyone’s going on about what a great figure Low Light is, and I’m sure I’d love him if I ever saw one with my own two eyes, but no such luck). The Transformers Prime figures were a pleasant surprise, almost good enough to make me forget how sore I am about never having found a Reveal the Shield Perceptor or Wreck-Gar (and no, Junkheap is not “good enough”).

    In fact, add “phantom waves” and “poor distribution” to my list of disappointments. I’ve heard the 6″ Captain America and Thor figures are so plentiful in some areas that they’ve started to go on clearance, but I’ve never seen one at any of the three Walmarts I frequent, and Walmart never puts their exclusives online. I’ve also pretty much given up on finding Sif and the Warriors Three from the 4″ Thor line.

    • JamesLynch

      Oh, and add “S.H.Figuarts getting U.S. distribution” to my list of highlights. Between Shinkenger Figuarts getting shelf space at Toys R Us to Tiger and Bunny and Kamen Rider Figuarts showing up in the Previews catalogue, it’s a good time to be a fan of this kick-ass line (even if the cost is still a bit much and there are still too many basic figures being produced only as exclusives).

      • AdventureVault

        I was so surprised with that too! I’m really curious to see how many more imports TRU is going to carry this year.

        • I’m betting not that many, given that the Figuarts are sitting and sitting, getting more shopworn day by day.

          I’ll wager Bandai somehow continues to force their stuff to the TrU online store. Gee, it’s really too bad Bandai Japan is rolling up all the American Bandai divisions with only Bandai America (toys) hanging on by the skin on their teeth. I bet a Bandai Online store would be the PERFECT place to sell things. Huh.

          • manekochan

            Maybe everyone interested is waiting for them to go on clearance… $35 is a lot for a toy when you don’t know the reason (and even when you do…).

            • Yeaaaah, well, who, I say, who would do such a thing? :)

              And is it just me or have they made those self-scanners really hard to find in the store?

              I was just in the local TrU not an hour ago, with more than enough money in my pocket to pick up one of these and I just could not do it.

    • You’re right on on the YJ comment. I’d love to have that team in 6″ and Mattel is just making it difficult and expensive for no real reason. I will be amazed if we ever actually get to Miss Martian.

      Marvel Legends will be the big story of 2012 – I’m not sure if I want to get back into it fully, but the lineups are pretty nifty so far. The running changes to new characters does scare me a little bit though. Especially because, like you say, distribution is spotty on the current 6″ stuff. I have one WM (out of 13) in 65 miles that carries those figures and they got tons of Thor, few new IMs, and one Cap case.

    • really??? I’m shocked to hear your dissatisfaction with the 6″ YJ line…I mean, I’m the not the biggest fan of the animated look, but the formula of the product is brilliant!!! Awesome base(which I love, I LOVE bases & accessories!), plenty of accessories, super articulated 6″ figure, and reasonably priced at $20(come on, compared to what you get in a DCUC packge for $16? I wish the new DC Allstars followed the exact same 6″ YJ formula, your telling me you wouldnt love to buy Larfleeze with a cool mound of hoarded crap base, his lantern, his orange globulas buddy and a construct or 2? Or the Flash with a sidewalk base, lightning bolts, electric flash constructs, and some other pack in?

      • If the bases had any kind of inter-connectability or overarching theme, I might be more enthused with them myself, but as it is, they’ve all just ended up in the toy cellar while the figures are on the shelves.

        • well, not every base is a home run, but come on, your not using those rooftop bases in your Batman displays??

          i just thought it was refreshing to see bases back in the 6″ scene…they havent really been around since toybiz ML wave 8, and this is really the first time Mattel has used scenic bases for 6″ DC figs ever!

          • dayraven

            it doesn’t help that the box is huge and the displays awkward either. like the robin rooftop is fine… the aqualad base… what the hell is that? the “water” looks like a john holmes spit take, he’s in a sewer (i didn’t know kaldur was a ninja turtle!) and the sewer base really doesn’t display well w/ the other bases. hell, they have two rooftop bases in the line, and they don’t match up… that’s just a no-brainer. at least the ML bases, while they didn’t fit together, made sense for each of the characters they came w/.

            • AdventureVault

              Some of the ML bases worked together. I’ll always love the dead Sentinel theme they had going. I wish they could have made all the pieces to him.

            • JamesLynch

              When it was just the first couple of bases, I didn’t mind it as much, because, hey, a rooftop base is cool and can work with multiple characters, and a training room makes sense, even if Artemis’ shooting range is a fairly unimpressive ten (scaled) feet long. But it was Aqualad’s “chunk of concrete and busted pipe” that really soured me. It’s an incredibly useless base, and the figure can only be displayed on it in one position (with his water-bearer plugged into the non-removable water stream). If the bases built on a theme, like half were pieces of the rooftop (that actually connected) and half were part of a training room (that actually connected), I wouldn’t mind them as much. Even the 4″ line gets a Hall of Justice facade. That actually makes some degree of sense. What we’re getting with the 6″ line is a hunk of plastic that we’re charged and extra $5 that in many cases either becomes s nuisance for display or gets tossed aside.

          • They do have some merit and I do like the idea of bases, it just feels like a lot of DC stuff was put out without much thought this year and the bases are among them. If I knew I was going to get one more rooftop piece that fit snugly between those two, I’d flip back to enjoying them.

      • AdventureVault

        I personally like the YJ line, but they really need to get the team made. Our first Superboy shouldn’t be in his white outfit, and we really don’t need a Batman (even though I know he’ll sell). I really want my Miss Martian, and I’d love to get a Red Tornado and Black Canary.

        • JamesLynch

          I’ll add Mister Twister and a pile of robot monkeys to that list. There’s a wealth of awesome designs/redesigns on the show, but the figure line looks to have a remarkable lack of depth in its character/design selection. We’re getting white-suit Superboy because it’s cheaper than sculpting any new parts (though I still think they could easily get away with reusing 90s Starman’s legs and a plain upper body), and we’re getting Kid Flash’s spandex look (that he wore in the premier), rather than the armored/padded suit he’s worn for the rest of the series, because it requires no new tooling. It doesn’t matter that a properly tooled Kid Flash could be recycled several times into Stealth Kid Flash and Arctic Kid Flash. This is a line that’s not going to go for easy variants because Mattel seems intend on trickling these figures out as slowly and painfully as possible.

  • I curbed my buying of actual new product this year – check my blog, I bought more stuff from the 60s this year than non-Onell product, so my list is succinct:
    Highlights – everything Onell! No dud products here. My sole nitpick is the wings on Commander Comet in OSM – I understand why the production had to be the way it is, but I can choose not to like it.

    Mattel MOTU – I know, the most hated line in all the land. But it gave me everything I wanted from a MOTU line. I suppose I’m just not that critical of things. Just about every figure released this year could stand up – something you couldn’t say of 2010.

    KREO Transformers – I really dug these! The idea of a Transformer driving himself as a giant mech suit or a vehicle really appealed to me. I hope this line continues in 2012.

    Ben 10- another strong year from Bandai on this one. I wish Hasbro made figures as solid as Bandai, and that Bandai could paint their figures with Bandai consistency and Hasbro paints.

    Count me in on Imaginext. I would collect more of it if space and money were more available after my Onell collecting.

    Disappointments – I didn’t feel that strongly negative about anything this year.

    What I can say is a big thanks to Michael Bay. Saved me a couple of grand in Transformers this year with the movie designs – I bought maybe five items with the movie aesthetic, and maybe five “Classic” style figures.

    I’m also perturbed by the number of 3rd party Transformers that are in the pipeline. The more we buy $100 Deluxes from them, the more they will do it.

    • TheBloodyAwfulPoet

      I kow what you mean about the 3rd party tfs. I’m really tempted by that igear ratchet, but I’m going to hold off until some reviews start popping up. I will definitely have to get the superalloy powerglide when that becomes available.

      • Man, I so want to have the Devastator, but $600? I just can’t bring myself to do it, even if I spread ‘em out. I have a normal aversion to buying “high end” stuff (or at least high price stuff), but I’ll probably be getting more over it in 2012 (much to my wife’s chagrin). For example, I know I’ve gotta have that iGear Ratchet (noticing a theme there?).

        • TheBloodyAwfulPoet

          I’ve managed a reprieve on making a decision on that devestator until the Maketoys version (giant) hits. That one’s supposed to come out in a green 6-figure set for $300 at some point. I like the larger scale of Hercules and the ongoing “fix kits” being included with upcoming releases to fix reported issues with the earlier bots. Though, most of the hercules’ individual bot designs do look clumsy to me. Giant has more appealing individual bot designs, lower price and the company seems to have a better rep with collectors. As far as the combined not-devestator forms, I can’t decide which I like better. Herc is more streamlined, appearing closest to he cartoon, while giant’s design really emphasizes the more realistic appearance of it being built from individual construction vehicles. Both are great for different reasons.

    • What did you not like on the wings on Comet, Doc?

      I’ve bought one Kre-O, Ratchet, and he is a lot of fun, but I don’t know that I need a ton more. I have a feeling all the big bots will eventually end up in pieces and, while I love the little guys in particular, I wasn’t sure that I needed to spend all that dough to have ‘em. Ratchet is a lot of fun though. We need some Joe Kre-O’s so I can finally put my Joes in my TFs! lol

      • you_will_forget

        I looked at Kre-Os, but stopped myself when I realised the main draw for me is the minifigs. I couldn’t find a way to justify buying the sets to my wife just to get the little guys.

        Jo

        • AdventureVault

          It’s funny. I don’t think the main Kre-O line would sell if they offered the minifigs in blind bags.

        • JamesLynch

          I feel the same way. There was a rumor going around that they’d be selling the minifigs on their own somewhere down the line, and if they do, I’ll be buying them by the handful, but even at clearance prices I couldn’t justify buying the construction sets just to get the little guys.

      • Site ate my reply!

        The wings on Comet are attached via a separated glued piece. Ideally, the peg would be part of the wings. It’s only something that people will have an issue with if they subject the figure to excessive and reckless wing removal. :)

        I have a ton of Lego in my collection, so I like the concept. What I really like about KREO is the ability to have Jazz driving a Jazz car. It makes little sense, but it was a fun experience to build the car and have a minifigure with (for the most part) the classic G1 design.
        Of course, the line will get clipped halfway through and we’ll never have everybody, but that is to be expected. Looking forward to Toy Fair to see if they have more on display.

    • manekochan

      Vault is always getting coupons from TRU (more than any human should, really) and can rarely find what he wants. We end up staring at the Ben10 figures and Secret Saturdays eventually. I have to say, the Ben 10 stuff is always tempting and I do think we did end up with some purple werewolfy looking thing at one point. I can’t find a pic of it when I look up Ben 10 so maybe it’s the wrong line. ^^; At any rate, eventually, on some disappointing toy-run, we’ll probably get that weretiger thing.

  • Evil Ed

    As far as toy collecting goes, I had two major highlights this year. My first highlight was being introduced to the S.H. Figuarts line,thanks to your Kamen Rider Skull Crystal review. I have spent a lot of money on those. I am particularly fond of the Showa Era Kamen Rider figures. The Gokai figures and the S.H. Monsterarts figures are looking more interesting with every review. The second highlight was most definitely the Masters of the Universe Classics line. You were right on about the MOTC figures. The good ones were great, the lesser ones weren’t exactly mediocre, but some of them were definitely missing something. Unfortunately, my biggest disappointment came from Matty as well. I was a member of Club Eternia until July. The credit card I had used for my membership had expired. I made several attempts to redirect the charges to a different card, but despite the fact that the people on the phone (Sidebar: there was no option to renew online. I think that’s weird for a web-based service.) assured me that everything would work out, I was never charged, which of course meant no figures. I had to pay second market prices for Clawful (who I was really looking forward to. Every character is someone’s favorite. Stop judging.) and Man-E-Faces because I was assured that everything would be fixed so I didn’t bother picking up either on sale day. If I didn’t love the figures so much, I’d quit dealing with them altogether. All in all, the good far outweighed the bad this year.

    • AdventureVault

      Glad to have a fellow Figuarts fan, also sorry about killing your wallet. :P Those Showa Rider figures are the best, and you already know I love the Gokai! Speaking of which, Green’s review will be coming up soon and he’s going to be tempting because he comes with an awesome little Navi figure.

      My next Monsterarts figure isn’t until May, I think. So you’ll be safe for a while.

      I’m with you on the MOTU Classics. We had some credit card confusion and ended up losing our sub also. Maybe one of our biggest disappointments should have been dealing with Digital River…

    • The subscription thing was just ignorant on Matty’s part, but it did end up saving us some money (and costing them).

  • Evil Ed

    Also, G.I. Joes are getting better with every line. I never thought I’d want a Red Dog figure so bad. I know, I know, every character is somebody’s favorite. But come on, it’s Red Dog. Somehow they made him awesome. Can’t wait to see whatthey do with the Super Trooper or Captain Grid Iron.

  • j1h15233

    The biggest disappointment for me was the quick demise of JLU when it seemed like we were headed for another big surge. We got to see all those great figures we had been asking for since the line began and then Target pulled the rug out from under us. Of course Mattel contributed to that as well but it was still sad to see that happen and then deal with all the aftermath that’s still happening today.

    • JamesLynch

      I will never dismiss another collector’s sorrow over the demise of a beloved line, but the JLU line had a hell of a run, lasting twice as long as the show it was based on. I can’t think of another property that has kept going like that.

      To be honest, while I loved the show and collected the line for a little while, it had been along time since I was really into it. The three packs, I always thought, were a terrible marketing idea. Sure, it was awesome when you could get three new characters, but I hate having doubles in my collection, so being forced to have dozens of Batmen, Superman, and Flashes to get every figure was a major turn off. It didn’t help, either, when Target raised the prices to $9 for a single figure, and even then I could never find new product (John Stewart Power Ring? The umpteenth release of Superman? No problem. Big Barda? Might as well have never existed).

    • JLU was definitely something else we overlooked! Tons of bad news on the DC front.

  • AdventureVault

    With so many toys, it’s easy to forget a few things.

    One of the biggest disappointments for me this year was the end of the Godzilla Kaiju in the Sci-Fi Revoltech line. The Monsterarts line is good, but the Revoltech line was cheaper and better articulated. The Kaiju will be missed.

    A huge surprise for me was the return of Big-O figures. I never expected my favorite anime to get toys ten years after the fact, but I’m so happy they did! Having Roger and Dorothy together is a fantastic feeling, and finally getting the three Bigs in a single scale is terrific too.

    Monster High also deserves a mention. They’ve actually improved on the body design and they’re beginning to experiment with customizable ideas. Both of which are a nice surprise.

    • I saw the ‘water bed’ playset for the gill girl and all I could think of was “hmmm, what could I use that for?”

      If they make a Monster High ‘custom van’ for them using old Barbie tooling I’m so there because my GI Joes need a new ride. :)

      • manekochan

        That thing is so cool. It lights up, you know? :) I wish it wasn’t so expensive.

        • *psst* Keep checking Big Lots in your area. I see a LOT of Monster High deadstock showing up there. I suspect the ‘water bed’ will show up soon. Don’t tell Vault. :)

          • manekochan

            Ha ha! :D
            I reluctantly enable him on the Monster High stuff (within reason…). That bed is tempting to me, too. I didn’t know Big Lots was getting them. Ours is usually devoid of any good toys.

  • da man

    Most people have already hit on the highs (MOTUC and Scarabus) and lows (Mattel on so many levels), but I want to chime in on the Young Justice 6 inch line. Great concept, poorly executed. I think the bases are a great idea, but it almost feels like separate people worked on each figure. By that I mean why would they make several figures with rooftop bases and not make sure they match up in color or link together? Maybe they were thinking that with Sportsmaster and Artmeis?

    http://thefwoosh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=68261&start=1320

    And why would you pose Aqualad in a position that would warp his right leg so badly and not at least make the water stream removable (same with Artemis)? Yeah they look cool for people who keep things MOC, but I would think a vast majority of people OPEN THEIR TOYS!!! As much as people complain, they do it over and over. It is absurd.

    For Aqualad, I ended up customizing his weapons that are all blue and removed that handles and dremeled a small hole in the base of each weapon so they fit onto the grey handles on his backpack.

    Some of their decisions make me think they do not really have the pulse of the industry or the fans. I thought that Fangirl 2.0 was supposed to be our voice in a way, but she seems to be MIA for the most part when it comes to answering questions. They need a non-Mattel person to give input earier on in the process. I really feel like the issues we often have would get resolved then.

    On a side note, I was also a little disappointed that they did not throw in a Ryan Reynolds-like head in the way-too-short-lived GL Classics line just for fun (I know I know they claim Movie Masters are a different scale but still).

  • dean

    Disappointments:

    So much Matty related stuff (could go on for days)

    Mattel Shortlist:
    Prices (retail and Matty increases)
    TG’s ‘tude (attitude, inneptitude, etc.)
    The Cold War between Mattel and He-Man.org
    Fakergirl 2.0
    QC, QC, Q f’n C!
    Distribution
    Club Infinite Suck
    Where is our 6″ miss Martian?
    Shill reviews at other sites (you know who you are)

    General Disappointments:

    Shocker Toys (I will never buy their product with the way they treat people, and the clueless, without class way they spend their customers money after certain Cons and advertise it. I like strippers too, but c’mon, that’s just salt in a raw, festering wound, Geoff)
    Prices
    Lack of great toys at retail
    Lack of retail stores for obscure toys (old news but wearing on me. We enjoyed being able to see toys before we bought them. No going back)
    Changing the Tcat Classic scale (considering lead times, Bandai America had to have known early they were doing this, and intentionally mislead fanes on the 8″ line)
    Shill reviews at other sites (yep, big pet peeve of mine)

    Highlights:

    The Four Freakin’ Horsemen Booyah
    Small manufacturers getting their game on (not you Shocker, you suck)
    3A
    We loved the 8″ Thundercats
    Finishing Superpowers (I loved most of wave 18…not Boomer)
    Maybe a little late for 2011, but Professer Zoom!
    IMPORTS, IMPORTS, IMPORTS (Thank you Japanese toy makers for realizing you don’t have to cut corners, you just have to make awesome)
    Did I mention the Four Horsemen (These guys get the import mindset, and know how to create, design, and tool great figures, regardless of what TG thinks)
    HT Chris Reeve’s Supes (I’ll never own it, but dang that is AWESOME!)
    Places like this and Poe’s were we can post our thoughts without joining a forum.

    There are probably more, But I’ll stop my mental vomiting here.

    • dean

      Early disappointments of 2012…me posting without proofreading my comments…

      I’m not sure what it means to “mislead the fanes”, for one.

      Oops :)

  • da man

    Also, why not throw in that hard to find Batsignal that only saw an overseas release (and Mattel cannot seem to find a way to get it made again for reasons only they can understand) with the upcoming YJ Batman set. He already has the rooftop base (and that weird half smoking pellet on the ledge)

    http://bkbn.net/profiles/blogs/youngjusticebatman6inchreveal?xg_source=activity

    Better yet, why did we not see the Batsignal in any way in the ending way to soon BATMAN LEGACY line? Seemed like a perfect fit. Even a Commissioner Gordon with Batsignal would ahve been better and would have required little tooling (new head on a repainted The Question body). Sigh I can go on but will not…

      • dayraven

        “Even a Commissioner Gordon with Batsignal would ahve been better and would have required little tooling”

        this, right here, is why i nominate “da man” as new dcu brand manager. i don’t know if he has any qualifications, BUT he’s already in better touch w/ his market than TG or fangirl 69… put him in coach, he’s ready to play!

        • Waaaait a minute! I want that job! I vow completed teams, selling all C&C parts online so anyone can complete a figure, and vehicles!

          And of course my secret plan to revive Major Matt Mason… :)

        • He-Mullet

          everyone knows that the signs of a good Mattel brand Manager is to be a whiny egomaniac that must push his stamp on every line that he works on… even if it seems nonsensical. Also being completely clueless about the brand helps… If I were Brand Managers (cause I’d play a split personality disorder just to get 2 salaries) All the figures would have an Alternate Mullet head and I’d put My Likeness on a Sorceress…
          I know what you’re thinking: “But you’re a dude!”
          My Reply is: “Screw the Rules, I’m Brand Manager! I made a Cross-dressing Sorcerer when I was 9 and Dammit! YOU’RE GOING TO BUY ONE or TEN!!”

          Also I’ll release 75% of the main characters on the first wave to ensure the longevity of the line by padding it out with obscure prototypes!

          Seriously though, it seems that the BMs are completely clueless about their customer base. I mean, worrying about a character’s alternate look confusing Moms and little Timmy on an adult collector line that is bought ONLINE?
          Heck they’ve been misusing Mattycollector for a few years. Instead of selling two packs that could have sold at retail. Why not sell those characters that Moms and Little Timmy wouldn’t like, but the Adult collector would… Characters like Alferd, Commissioner Gordon, Lois Lane, Oracle, and Jimmy Olsen to name a few.

          Since they are “Special Adult collectibles” they could throw in some sort of package that would have pieces for a diorama. (Ca combination of plastic parts and cardboard backdrop.
          Picture Gordon with the Bat Signal (as posted earlier) with a cardboard backdrop of Gotham’s skyline at night. Or Alfred with an sorta in-scale Bat Computer with a Batcave Backdrop. Heck maybe you could combine some of those displays to create a bigger one.
          Like say Using elements from Both Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane’s dioramas to create a larger Superman related display… An Apokolips invasion on Metropolis or something.

          But most importantly, treat your customers with respect! I detest the condescending way Mattel addresses to us sometimes… Just casue we’re buying toys, doesn’t mean we’re 6 years old…

          • I love you guys.

            I don’t think that running a line of this nature would be fun goodtimes that it seems like it might be.

            • Oh god no. Endless meetings, and meetings ABOUT meetings, dealing with the Chinese (that is, not only the time difference but the need for translators on both ends and all that can ensue), dealing with ever-changing demands of the higher-ups based on whatever whim or article they’ve read in some trade paper, the fear of sabotage from other middle-management who what the power and prestige of your position… yeah, need lots of Maalox on hand and a jar of Tums.

              And then of course the fans. While we all are sane and rational beings here (?), I think we all know we’re vastly overwhelmed by the mass of truly….what…crazy? overly focused? whiny? who cry jihad when a final product is a number shy on the Pantone color scale from the shown colorway prototype “That Batman is Warm Gray #427! It was supposed to be Cool Gray #426! This is a defective Batman and I demand a recall!!”

              That would get very tiring. One would need a very, very heavy filter, an assistant who was keen to sort out valid issues from the chatter.

              And yet, for all that? I’d gladly take a shot at it. I would. I think what would work best would be take over Mattel and become a total Dictator over the company, complete with hangings and impaling on a needful basis. Maybe a beheading or two. What, I couldn’t do that? Dammit. How else am I to impress on the company that things like the current Mattel mascot, the ‘clearly, this man is a dick’ Matty Mattel, are bad and wrong thinking and NO. ? :)

              • dayraven

                you know what though? the first step in doing any of this is:
                A) quit being a complete tool.
                it makes the meetings less painful, the fan interaction more tolerable, the culture more interesting, and the color choices pretty damned easy (seriously, how hard is it to say “we’re using the same damned paints, and you’ll get the figure we showed in the proto because we won’t doctor the proto images”) and it makes making good choices easy.

                • DR, why would we expect someone who professes to be a toy fan put in charge of one of his favorite lines to be anything other than what we get in TG?
                  I’ll admit it here, but I find his interaction with the community HILARIOUS. Because it is exactly what I expect. The fans want to be able to take all the shots in the world at the guy, and he buries them right back with the same type of behavior.
                  I used to love when we would have a rational guy like Derryl DePriest in charge of Joe and he would post sometimes in certain places and the fans would immediately go psychotic at having his ear. He would try to answer with the dignity you would expect from a company rep, but the replies would get crazier and crazier.
                  I admire that TG even tries to explain his position on something, making it even worse because THAT IS EXACTLY what happens on every mega-forum every day. :)

                  • I remember DePriest from the Usenet alt.fan.gijoe days (I think that’s what it was, we called it the ‘Sandbox’.) and he always struck me as a straight shooter. The problems Hasbro created for themselves with the line showed me how helpless to outside forces a person with passion could be. I felt really sorry for him and thought that maybe his moving to Star Wars was a blessing for him, in some manner.

                    I think TG’s problem is/was, even if he does want to explain things he CAN’T because of corporate NDAs and the bad politics of naming names. “we can’t do that because of logistics” may well be his code for “Frank in accounting and Mary in HR have it in for me and make sure to veto any attempt to fix these issues”

                    (why Mary in HR? Because in large companies the HR department tends to believe that THEY actually are in charge. It’s true. And people in a bureaucratic occupation love to show the power they have any way they can.)

                    Not that I’m defending…Scott, is it? Toy Guru.

                  • dayraven

                    um… because i possess integrity, and i expect that to be the goal for anyone, regardless of their position. it’s a hallmark of a civilization… integrity.

                    while i’m enough of a pragmatist to know that you’re right doc, he is what i should expect, i always expect better of my fellow man than they deliver. i refuse to lower my expectations so that people around me seem more exemplary. instead, the people around me are generally barely worth euthanizing, but i keep hoping one day they wake up and be worthy of the hundreds of thousands of years worth of evolution they’ve inherited.

              • Steve, your use of the quotation mark in the one sentence killed me.

                One negative about Mattel – shareholders. Having to answer to shareholders means profit margins must be maintained.

                • I wager you heard ‘Comic book shop guy’ in that mock quote. :)

                  Yeah, Shareholders, but ya know? I really doubt any but speculators watch the quotations for Mattel minute by minute and buy and sell on that. Doing something (rocker ankles! reducing QC staff on site in China! or something) to up the profits by .01% so it’s 3% increase for the quarter DOESN’T MATTER to the vast majority of stockholders. At least in common sense. Maybe it does in our ‘live for the moment NOW make that one more damn penny!” world and I’m just way out of touch.

                  bah. :)

                  • I can only speculate on why Mattel operates the way it does.
                    I have plenty of stories about the bizarre intricacies of low-budget film investing (one investor put in a clause that he would give us money if we hired Ed Asner) and the operations of non-profit public entities (for which you’ll have to wait for my autobiography), but my working experience with for-profit megaconglomerates is low.

                    The fans online have endless time to speculate on things and relate the issues they find with product, but the reality is that it is really easy for the manufacturing to get screwed up.
                    We can never forget the lessons of Palisades – on Micronauts and AOD, being screwed by a factory that sent perfect samples but cut every corner possible during production:
                    - painting figures instead of running them in the agreed-to plastic colors
                    - screwing up the millimeter-specific pin sizes on items that were supposed to be interchangeable
                    - using plastics that could not hold up to the tolerances needed on joints (mostly on Army of Darkness)
                    - assembling the figures in a way that damaged them
                    - ignoring the agreed-to specs for the magnetic figures

                    We can sit here and state that we paid a lot of money for our Swiftwinds and he should have the correct legs – and I agree with this! But in truth, it only takes one middleman to take the order of “assemble horse with four different lower legs” and tell his workers the wrong thing to screw up the whole batch.
                    Mattel/Hasbro/etc are hampered by their size as much as they have the advantage over smaller manufacturers. But every company from Mattel to Onell can still be caught up by one guy using four of the same leg on his horsey toy.

                    • I might be evil and suggest that many of these issues mentioned are part of the problem with dealing with the Chinese factories. Distance, language barriers, time and the basic trust factor all could be eased by building a new manufacturing plant in the US, modern, streamlined and from the ground up. If I had the money I would bet that the cost difference is no longer as huge as it was 5 years ago.

                      Let’s not forget the famous ‘lead paint Hot Wheels’ event cost Mattel LOTS of money and tons of bad publicity. How much is avoiding something like that simply by being able to walk into the plant, picking up a car off the line and testing it, worth?

                      I would build this factory in Texas for transportation logistics and tax credits. I would use it for Mattycollector items at first, and as it proved itself I would expand to other ‘mainstream’ lines. I would also ditch Digital River and take fulfillment in-house which would increase the profit margin in the long term. All my plans are long term.

                      OK, sorry, my insanity is leaking out all over the place, sorry. :)

                    • sorry, have to add, that whole Micronauts thing was just epic in how tragic it was. In a sane world they’d been able to sue the factory but I don’t think China allows that.

                      That ended up killing Palisades, didn’t it?

                  • Had to reply to this, Steve, as I guess your reply was the end of line…:)

                    Palisades got killed by a number of factors.
                    The massive QC issues on Micronauts and AOD was one thing.
                    As stores like Suncoast and Tower Records died off, there was no one to release the lines they had going.
                    And they learned hard lessons on lines that had a group clamoring for them that weren’t the size needed for successful mass production. People said they wanted Ren and Stimpy or Die Hard mini figures, but there weren’t enough customers (especially after the QC issues).

                    I admire they did as much as they were able to release. But it just proves that you can’t sustain a company on niche licenses without some mega-hit to carry you through the rougher times.

                    • Beedo Sookcool

                      I thought what killed Palisades was their insane number of exclusives in every single line they made. What did they have, six different versions of Johnny Fiama, a Muppet very few people had even heard about, in various costumes, available only from certain outlets? I love Muppets (and have done since the late 1970s, when I was very young), but I gave up on that line after the first series, sensing what was to come.

                      Trying to track down stuff in their Evil Dead, Ren & Stimpy, and other lines for both myself and my girlfriend at the time was an exercise in frustration and rage management. Other toy companies could learn from this and CUT THE NUMBER OF FRIGGING EXCLUSIVES THEY MAKE. Hint, hint, Hasbro and Mattel!

    • JamesLynch

      My guess is they could afford the Batsignal or that weirdly off-putting silver paint job, and they had a pretty good idea what the fans would want more.

  • da man

    Dayraven…you honor me (and make me laugh with your humorous posts)! And you have already started to make other campaign for the position. I love it! Steve Harrison and He-Mullet, see you on the campaign trail! An JamesLynch, fans do love shiny Batmen over show or comic accurate ones so you got me there (kidding).

    Alfred with Batcomputer Idea is great and so easy. A new head on a Gentleman Ghost or Joker body! Hello Mattel, do these ideas even come up in meetings? are they shot down because you think they wont sell?

    hey Noisy, are there any are details on the “Fangirl 2.0″ (I really dislike calling her that) announcement about working on an upcoming Superman Line? Is it movie based or DCUC? We can save that for another article…

    http://dcdatabase.tumblr.com/post/15407443885/dc-universe-brand-manager-announces-new-superman-line

  • dayraven

    i do so love sowing the seeds of discord… mwahahahahaha!!!!

  • Beedo Sookcool

    BEST BITS: MOTU Classics, Star Wars, G.I. Joe, and TransFormers are all trying harder. They ain’t necessarily succeeding all the time, but they’re trying, and when they succeed, they do so spectacularly.

    Third-Party companies are now making products of equal or better quality than the original companies. Specifically, I’m thinking of the “Hercules” construction vehicle combiner and the little yellow-white-and-blue hovercraft guy who, according to his bio, found temporary employment on Earth doing voice-overs for a certain water-based Universal Masters character. The Third Party stuff not only provides sweet add-ons to further enhance your collection, but can provide collectors with entire figures of characters the parent companies are dragging their feet on.

    ==========================================================================

    WORST BITS: Companies refusing to ship or sell their products outside the U.S.A. (I’m looking mainly at you, Bandai, but you’re all guilty to some extent!)

    Poor quality control. I’ve received a few misassembled toys over the years, but this year has probably been the worst so far. And the worst of the worst has to be the fighting game figures from Jazwares. Their SFII Ken came with two right feet and a warped knee, their MK Sub-Zero had his foot broken off right in the package, and their MK Reptile had a warped knee similar to SFII Ken. And the paint on all of the figures I’ve gotten off them make Mattel’s slop look spotless by comparison.

    Badly-engineered or over-engineered Third Party products. Specifically, Sonicron. Great idea, not-so-hot execution.

    Smug Q&A gits. Just answer the damn questions and stop wasting our time. We pay your salaries. Don’t annoy us.

    I’ll probably think of more later. It’s been a big year.

    • JamesLynch

      Jazwares has never really been known for the quality of their figures. One look at the SF2 figures was all I needed to remind me that this was the same company responsible for the previous year’s A-Team toy line, which looked like half-melted dollar store GI Joe knock offs.

      • Beedo Sookcool

        Yeah, they really need to learn Hasbro’s style of insert-moulding. Their stuff is too damn fragile to even pose properly.