BEST OF 2011 - Most Innovative Toys
Cool and creative collectibles...
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#4 UNDERGROUND TOYS' DOCTOR WHO CHARACTER BUILDING MINI SETS
When you think of properties that would make great block-building toys, what would you say to a 48 year old British franchise? Well, if that franchise were Doctor Who then it would be a great idea! Underground Toys this year has been releasing the first mini sets and figure packs of the Doctor Who Character Building line to a huge response from fans. Who is an international hit and has never been more popular among Americans, and these blocky, silly miniature figures and sets are a great way to capture the fun and whimsy of the show. This year saw the debut of the mini sets with the TARDIS (with Doctor and Amy), the Time of Angels (with Weeping Angel), and the Dalek Progenitor Room along with a blind-package figure series, Army Builder packs of Daleks and Cybermen, and an incredible TARDIS-display box of all eleven Doctors! Best of all, the line is just ramping up with even bigger and more complicated sets due out in 2012. Young or old, American or British, Doctor Who fans everywhere are remembering the fun of constructible brick toys with Character Building.
#3 BANDAI'S BEN 10 PLUMBER/ ULTIMATRIX TOYS
Role-play toys are often hit or miss, with a lot of junky foam swords and shields targeted at little kids and filling up the toy aisles. Bandai has long been ahead of the curve on toys that let kids (and older fans too!) get into their favorite characters and this year was no different with their line of Ben 10 Ultimate Alien Ultimatrix and Plumber Gear. While Ben Tennyson’s Ultimatrix allows him to transform into different aliens, Bandai’s versions include the Ultimate Ultimatrix, with half a dozen light and sound sequences right from the show, and the Revolution Ultimatrix that lets you turn the Ben 10 mini-figs (that come with the action figures) into a spin top battling game! Get even closer to the action with the Ultimate Chest Badge (with lights, sounds, and transformation effects) or the Ultimate Alien Arms, turning you into a cool alien with projectile launchers. Finally, there’s the Ben 10 Tech Blaster, a Plumber gear case that separates and converts into multiple toys and role-play weapons with lights and sounds.
#2 SKYLANDERS/ FREAKY PETS
2011 once again saw action figures and the internet intersect with two lines of collectibles based both in the physical and the electronic: Skylanders and Freaky Pets. While companies have experimented with toys and video games before, no one has done it better than Activision with their new property Skylanders. Based around a high-quality, multi-platform video game, the concept involves players returning one of a multitude of unique characters to a mythical land called "Skylands" through a "Portal of Power" that links via USB with your PS3, XBOX 360, PC, Wii, or Nintendo 3DS in order to save their world from an evil sorcerer called Chaos. The characters, including Spyro the Dragon, are each represented in a cool, collectible figurine that you must purchase in order to play as that particular character. Each character figure includes a trading card, stickers, and a special code to unlock that character in an online version of the game. The Skylanders figures feature a special chip that records all of your gameplay data so you can take a character and place it on any portal, anywhere, and continue playing with all of your stats intact. Two players can even get in on the action by placing two Skylanders characters on the portal at the same time. With over 30 different creatures to collect, a cool video game, and a fun and inspiring concept, Skylanders has become one of the must own toys this year for good reason!
Freaky Pets, transformable plush creatures with two display options (cranky and cute), provide children of all ages the opportunity to display these intriguing characters in different ways. Likewise, collectors can log onto freakypets.com to play as their characters and create their own Freaky Pets online, interacting with other owners and pets from all over.
#1 12-INCH MUSCLE BODY
Revolutionizing the 1/6th scale collecting and customizing industry in 2011, three companies - Hot Toys, ACI, and Kaustic Plastik - mass produced articulated 12" muscle bodies which provide customizers and collectors a better platform upon which to build their own creations. While each has its own benefits - be it the impressive head sculpt and accurate articulation of Hot Toys' TTM19, the massive size and sculpt of ACI's Andrew 12" body, or the sturdiness and high quality production of Kaustic Plastik's Realistik Muscle Body - every die-hard 1/6th scale collector and customizer should have these 12" bodies in their collection.