OPINION: Figures.com TOP 10 Toys of 2015


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    Oct 2001
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    Figures.com TOP 10 Toys of 2015

    The Staff Picks Their Favorites...

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    Every year the staff at Figures.com reflects back on all the cool toys that came out and joined our collections. Presenting our annual TOP 10, a personal look at our favorite collectibles of 2015.

    New Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys were something many of us anticipated this year, with "Force Friday" (9-4) promising their debut in a grand fashion (read about my experience HERE). Despite the disappointment of not finding the collectibles we really wanted, the joy of mingling with other Star Wars fans made the midnight experience all worthwhile.

    Other major movie properties were mostly ignored as collectibles this year. Except for this recently announced gem, my favorite 2015 film - Mad Max: Fury Road - was a desert wasteland of toys. Marvel's ho-hum Avengers: Age of Ultron gave the Hulkbuster some collectible creed and Ant-Man, while a fun film, only had an ant-sized serving of figures. DC Comics pretty much spent all of 2015 building the hype for Suicide Squad and Batman vs. Superman, two movies I'm sure we'll see tons of toys for in 2016.

    Nostalgia was still a safe bet for most toy companies. Funko's retro ReAction take on Jaws was brilliant and NECA's passion for the '80s gave us everything from Aliens and Commando, to the holiday classic Home Alone. Video games were also a surefire sell, with hit titles like Fallout, Batman: Arkham Knight, Titanfall and Evolve all receiving some much needed toy love.

    Join us as we celebrate another incredible year in action figure collecting...

    - Jeff Saylor and the Figures.com/Action On-Line Team


    Figures.com Editor

    (In No Particular Order.)

    #1 - AMOK TIME/DUNK – 1:1 PARASYTE VINYL FIGURE - What the…?! That’s what I thought when I first saw this highly unusual vinyl figure. It’s just SO WEIRD, weird in a way that totally appeals to me. From the anime “Parasyte,” this figure is actually a morphing creature named Migi that has absorbed the right hand of the main character Shinchi. Created by DUNK and imported to the U.S. exclusively via Amok Time, this large 14-inch tall vinyl combines my love of strange monsters with the obscurity of modern art toys. Aware of that art toy vibe, solid colorways exist for the Parasyte vinyl, including neon green, pink and orange. My money, however, is on the realistically painted version, with life-like eyeball and steely blade appendages. So weird!

    #2 - ART FIGURES 1:6 "BOY BLACK (RIDDICK) – I walked into seeing 2000’s Pitch Black blindly, not knowing what to expect. I left the theater having just seen a spectacular sci-fi film and wanting to know more of this mysterious new actor Vin Diesel and his cool-as-ice anti-hero, Riddick. Two more Riddick movies solidified my love of the actor/character. Alas, aside from a small run of figures from SOTA Toys in 2004, there have not been any Riddick collectibles produced. So imagine my surprise when Art Figures announced a 1:6th scale Riddick action figure. Like last year’s “Heavy Armoured Special Cop” (aka: Judge Dredd), the oddly named “Boy Black” is everything this Riddick fan could want in a figure. With trademark goggles, saber claws and phenomenal Vin Diesel head sculpt, this one sixth scale collectible totally nails one of my favorite action heroes.

    #3 - HOT TOYS 1:6 X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST WOLVERINE – They say the third time is a charm and that’s exactly how many 1:6th scale Wolverine figures it took Hot Toys until they slammed it out of the park. Hot Toys’ X-Men: Days of Future Past Wolverine features a phenomenal Hugh Jackman head sculpt, real metal clawed hands and a super cool tech-suit. While Days of Future Past Wolverine was extremely pricey considering how light the figure was on extras (read: none), this collectible is the best Wolverine figure released to date by any company. Snikt!

    #4 - FUNKO JAWS REACTION (SDCC'15 EXCLUSIVE) - Steven Spielberg’s JAWS is one of my all-time favorite movies. Aside from being a cinematic masterpiece, it has been “Bruce,” the giant Great White Shark, that has always captivated me. I just love sharks, especially Great Whites. Unfortunately, JAWS collectibles have been a rarity over the years. I own the Sideshow statue and the great McFarlane 3D Poster and “Orca” Diorama, but that’s about it. Now thanks to Funko, we can all pretend we’re back in 1975 and afraid to go back in the water. Part of Funko’s retro ReAction series, the series fully embraced JAWS nostalgia with gorgeous original poster art packaging. My favorite figure of the bunch was, you guessed it, Bruce the shark. More specifically, my fave was the SDCC’15 Bloody Exclusive with Bruce the Shark and Quint together as a set. Like two peas in a pod. Nom. Nom. Nom. Awesome.

    #5 – HASBRO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS 6" BLACK SERIES – I’ve been a fan of Hasbro’s new 6-inch Star Wars Black Series since it debuted with Boba Fett back in 2013. Alas, it began to feel like purchasing Blu-rays of my older DVD collection; there are only so many classic characters I needed to revisit in this new scale. Star Wars: The Force Awakens changes everything. I feel like a young kid again collecting all the exciting new characters! Kylo Ren and his First Order Stormtroopers are by far my favorite (Snowtrooper is AWESOME!), but that Guavian “Deadpool” Enforcer is pretty rad too. Bring on the Flametrooper, Heavy Gunner, and other slick troopers!

    #6 – GECCO 1:6 BERSERK PVC STATUE – Gecco has impressed me greatly with their high-end 1:6th scale PVC statues. Like the beautiful love child of a one sixth scale action figure and a finely sculpted resin statue, Gecco’s figures are dynamic display pieces of some of the hottest properties out there. Their work on Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is to die-for (love their SDCC exclusive Raiden in white), but it was their recent release of Guts from the dark fantasy anime BERSERK that took my breath way. While still 1:6th scale, Guts dwarves past statue releases thanks to a large grisly display base, tattered flowing cloak and his absolutely massive two-handed sword, “Dragonslayer”. The Black Swordsman never looked so good.

    #7 - MECHA WORKSHOP ARMARAUDERS DELUXE BELLEROPHON – When Singapore-based Mecha Workshop announced that they had plans for an action figure based on their Armarauders comic, I honestly didn’t think it'd come to light. The fully customizable Bellerophon action figure project was extremely ambitious, the toys to feature die-cast construction, loads of interchangeable weaponry… even a poseable mini pilot figure that could fit inside. We’re talking a Bandai Super Chogokin level mecha collectible, something I couldn’t visualize a small unknown company pulling off successfully. Boy was I wrong. Everything I mentioned above came out phenomenal and the figure is an absolute blast to play with. The packaging, however, is what impressed me the most. In my many years of dealing with toy collectibles, never have I encountered a packaging design as nice as this one. Needless to say, if you love robot toys, the deluxe Bellerophon action figure is a robot lover’s dream come true.

    #8 - NECA COMMANDO/ ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK ACTION FIGURES - My fondest childhood memories come from the ‘80s. The decade produced everything awesome that shaped me as an adult: a variety of groundbreaking music, the dawn of computers and video games, and some of the best action movies ever made. The latter introduced me to some of the coolest action stars the world has known, including Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Matrix in Commando and Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in John Carpenter’s Escape From New York. Thanks to NECA’s shared love of the ‘80s, I received amazing action figures of both of these unforgettable film heroes.

    #9 – FALLOUT PIP-BOY 3000/ MINI NUKE GAME BUNDLE REPLICAS - It has been a VERY good year for Fallout fans. Not only did we get an incredible new game, but the Fallout collectible floodgates have finally opened wide. While I eagerly await the final series of Vault Boy bobble heads from Gaming Heads, the neatest Fallout collectibles I bought this year were game bundle exclusives. I’m not a PC gamer, but the life-size Mini Nuke replica that came with the Fallout Anthology was too cool to pass up. Equally awesome was the Pip-Boy 3000 replica that came with Fallout 4 Pip-Boy Edition. The well-built hard plastic prop can be displayed by itself on the included stand OR it can be worn and actually used while playing the game. Post-nuclear wasteland here I come.

    #10 - LEGO MINIFIGURES, SERIES 14: MONSTERS - I love the thrill of the hunt; the surprise (and disappointment) of opening a LEGO blind-bagged minifigure. That thrill escalated with the release of LEGO Minifigures Series 14: Monsters. Where past waves only contained a couple characters I had to have, this spooky Halloween-themed assortment packed in the awesome. There really wasn’t a disappointing character to be found, except when opening the dreaded double. Thankfully, my sister and her kids were along for this hunt and together we managed to get all the ghastly ghoulies we wanted. If forced to pick my favorites, Fly Guy topped the list, with the Plant Monster a close second.

    Figures.com Reporter/ Reviewer

    (In No Particular Order.)

    #1 - EAGLEMOSS STAR TREK STARSHIPS COLLECTION - Previously an “Honorable Mention” in my annual Top 10 lists, the Eaglemoss Star Trek Starships Collection has moved up to claim a main spot and it’s well deserved. The British series of approximately 5 inch metal and plastic Star Trek ships continues to impress with great sculpts and paint jobs that jump right out of the shows and films. Best of all, with this long running line Eaglemoss has been delving deep into the catalogue of ships from all eras of Trek including many vessels that have never before been made into collectibles! My personal preferences tend toward the Federation ships and I’ve recently picked up ships like the Centaur, Steamrunner class, Yeager, and even the “Armored” Voyager from that show’s finale episode. Each starship comes with its own sturdy display base and they look great on a shelf together.

    #2 - WIZKIDS HEROCLIX - Just as in years past HeroClix makes my Top 10 of 2015, and it’s well deserved. A banner year for the miniatures game started off with the DC HeroClix Justice League: Trinity War expansion before a full summer of Marvel with Avengers Assemble, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Age of Ultron storyline event tournament series, and then back to DC with last month’s epic Superman/Wonder Woman set! 2015 also saw the release of two Yu-Gi-Oh! expansions as well as a storyline series for that property plus new “Extreme” figures, great convention exclusives and prize figures, dice & token packs, and more. If you’re a fan of superheroes (like me) and want to pit your favorite characters against each other in fun battles then you should be playing HeroClix. WizKids continues to rock with great sculpts and paint applications and they’re constantly trying new things and introducing new elements to make the game even better. What we know is on the way in 2016 is really exciting too, with the debut of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles HeroClix, Uncanny X-Men, a Marvel Civil War tournament series, and more!

    #3 - HASBRO MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC COLLECTION - Yes, I’m a grown man who really enjoys My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (go ahead and call me a brony if you must use labels). The show is very well done and the IDW comic book spinoffs are fantastic, and Hasbro has kids and collectors like me stocked with a seemingly never-ending supply of ponies in all shapes and sizes. My favorite is the mini figure series that has released dozens of 1.5 inch ponies in show-accurate colors as well as alternative decos. Traditionally the figures have come mainly in blind bags and some static multi-packs, and in 2015 Hasbro added a new series called the Friendship Is Magic Collection with non-blind single figure packs with new accessories, larger deluxe packs with a figure and a vehicle or diorama, and the in-scale Sweet Apple Acres Barn Pack! These are great ways of getting specific characters to build out your collection and display, and there’s a second series hitting shelves right now that celebrates the silliness of Ponyville with multiple Pinkie Pie figures, Cheese Sandwich (the character voiced by Weird Al Yankovic), and more.

    #4 - DC COLLECTIBLES BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT ARKHAM KNIGHT STATUE - I’m not a gamer but I know a cool-looking character when I see one and that’s exactly what I thought when I got my first glimpse of the mysterious Arkham Knight from the latest Batman: Arkham series game. Like a cooler, more high-tech, and camouflaged version of the Caped Crusader, this Knight looks badass and I’ve been picking him up in various collectible forms since his debut. The pinnacle (at least so far) is definitely the DC Collectibles Arkham Knight Statue, a 10.5 inch polystone masterpiece that is just stunning. It’s screen accurate, very highly detailed, and just fearsome. It even has swap-out head, chest, and shoulder parts to turn it into [SPOILER], whom I also love!

    #5 - LEGO MINIFIGURES, SERIES 14: MONSTERS - While I love putting together LEGOs I don’t buy that many of them these days, mostly because I can’t find room for all the cool, big sets. I’m even less into the blind bagged minifigures as I don’t need ANOTHER thing to collect and “catch ‘em all.” However, Series 14 which came out a few months ago was the “Monster” wave and it was awesome. All monsters, all the time meant unique and fun characters like the Fly Monster, Werewolf, Spider Lady, Square Foot, Zombie Businessman, and more. As always these LEGO minifigures have beautiful paint jobs, unique accessories and parts, and quite simply they look great. The standouts in this series for me were the genuinely creepy weeping Banshee and the adorably campy Zombie Cheerleader!

    #6 - TOYNAMI ROBOTECH SD FIGURES - As a fan of Robotech since 1985 I’m pretty much going to jump at the chance to buy any new toys, especially since they’re so few and far between. In 2014 Toynami introduced collectors to their upcoming SD Figure collection with the Skull Leader VF-1S in Military Gray exclusive, but we had to wait until 2015 to get the first series of blind box figures. While not everyone’s cup of tea these little “super deformed” vinyl figures are fun, desk-friendly, and highly collectible with two different versions of each Veritech (gunpod in hand and at the ready) and the Rick Hunter figure (helmeted and without). For those who wanted ‘em all (like me) Toynami made it easy with a sealed case getting you every figure and one extra of the Battlepod and Destroid. They also released another SD Figure SDCC exclusive in 2015, the black “Stealth” VF-1S, and at the show previewed the upcoming second wave with more color variants and a Max Sterling figure.

    #7 - WIZKIDS STAR TREK ATTACK WING - Another line that tends to show up on my list from year to year, WizKids’ Star Trek Attack Wing game continues to expand with new waves of single ships as well as larger deluxe vessels and unique items available only through in-store play. Similar to the Star Trek Starships Collection I discussed above Attack Wing is notable for bringing collectors rare and never-before-made Star Trek ships, but while the Collection just sits on your shelf these ships actually go into battle in a fast-paced and very fun game. Recent expansions I had to add to my fleets have included the translucent Valdore-class I.R.W. Vrax, Akira-class U.S.S. Thunderchild, Voyager’s Delta Flyer, and the fearsome Reman Scorpion 4 fighter wing.

    #8 - HASBRO STAR WARS MICRO MACHINES - While there may not be a fast-talking spokesman on TV in 2015, Micro Machines are back featuring Star Wars! The lead up to Force Friday brought lots of surprises and not the least of which was that the classic brand would be returning to stores with vessels and characters from the entire breadth of the Star Wars film series including updates on ships like the X-Wing and Star Destroyer as well as plenty of new designs from Episode VII like Resistance and First Order craft. I’m a Micro Machines collector from way back and have hundreds of Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and other spaceship toys and I couldn’t wait to get more. The new ships are solid and very reminiscent of the old ones with low price points and easy collectability. Inevitably you’ll find some bent parts and imperfect paint jobs but those are inconsequential on small scale spaceships at this price compared to other toy lines (some of which are on this list). The only real bummer about the new collection? No display bases are included.

    #9 - HOT TOYS 1:6 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ROCKET AND GROOT - Products from Hot Toys are not usually on my top lists, nor indeed even on my radar. I prefer my figures in the 3 - 4 inch scale, occasionally picking up something larger if it’s a favorite character or something really, really cool. Well, those qualifications certainly apply to Hot Toys’ Guardians of the Galaxy Rocket and Groot. I’ve been reading the adventures of these guys in the comics for a number of years, and of course the movie was awesome so I have a huge collection of toys, statues, and more that have come out over the last year and a half (Hasbro’s 2.5 inch toy line was on my Top 10 list last year!). But for anyone who loves Rocket and Groot, these Hot Toys are the ultimate expression of that feeling. Huge, incredibly detailed, well-articulated, and loaded with alternate parts and exclusive accessories the duo pack of these unique characters is just the best, and absolutely one of the best things released in 2015.

    #10 - DC COLLECTIBLES ICONS GREEN LANTERN STATUE - This one was easy. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) is my favorite comic book character of all time, and DC Collectibles was nice enough to add him to their Icons lineup with a sleek new statue. It’s a great representation of the character’s modern look with a fantastic sculpt and defiant pose that’s perfect for Hal. It also has eye-catching metallic green paint and the really life-like flesh tones that this line has perfected. While some may prefer a more action-packed statue I like the static pose and it goes great in a display with other Icons all lined up like the Justice League is standing tall against impossible odds. There’s a good chance the upcoming Green Lantern Icons Action Figure from DC Collectibles will make it into my Top 10 list of 2016, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

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    Last edited by JeffSaylor; 12-18-2015 at 08:06 AM.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Re: Figures.com TOP 10 Toys of 2015

    Figures.com Reporter/ Reviewer

    (In No Particular Order.)

    #1 - FUNKO JAWS REACTION (SDCC'15 EXCLUSIVE) - Funko’s line of RetroAction figures has been a hit and miss with me for the most part but there was something absolutely enduring about the Comic-Con exclusive JAWS set with bloody jaws and poor Quint dying in his mouth. The cost is certainly more than these things should be sold for but at the end of the day, Jaws is iconic and if you missed out on the McFarlane Movie Maniac set back in the day, there really hasn’t been anything else since then. Unless of course you’re okay with a plush shark from Universal Studios.

    #2 – HASBRO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS 6" BLACK SERIES - Hasbro’s 6” line of Star Wars figures have always been a fun line to collect but never have they delivered a vehicle of this size, even for their 4” line. Priced at $160, the massive TIE Fighter comes with an exclusive pilot but can fit two pilots in the cockpit. Decals aren’t needed here. Just pop the wings on and you’re ready to awaken the Force. The size alone makes this a highlight of the year but it also looks fantastic displayed by itself.

    #3 - NT-01 CEREBRAL (3RD PARTY KRANG ANDROID BODY FOR TMNT) - Playmates Toys have quickly abandoned their TMNT Classics line to the massive disappointment of its fans, but we can rest easy that third party companies can come to the rescue. Cerebral, or KRANG as we know him, is part die-cast, part plastic, and a fantastic, though stylized representation of Krang and his Android Body. He stands about a foot tall, towering over the turtles, but if we all remember the 80’s cartoon, it’s not entirely out of the ordinary for him to grow in size. This figure is impressive and fits in incredibly well with the rest of the turtles.

    #4 - DC COLLECTIBLES BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES BATMOBILE – There’s something about the Batmobile, no matter what incarnation that speaks to people, and toss in some old fashioned nostalgia, you have a recipe for success. DC Collectibles began rolling out a new line of Batman The Animated Series action figures but Batman is never complete without his Batmobile. This set requires batteries for working lights but it simply is one of the coolest toys released this year.

    #5 - LEGO WALL-E – Pixar filmmaker Angus Maclane has a knack for making a variety of characters with LEGOs. In fact, he excels at it. When LEGO Ideas announced that they would be selling his design of WALL-E as an actual set, I was ecstatic. This LEGO build is complicated but worth it as it becomes a worthy display piece of one of my personal favorite Pixar films. LEGO has revealed that there’s a few fixes on this guy that will be coming to future releases so if you haven’t seen WALL-E on the shelves yet, be patient. More are on the way.

    #6 - HASBRO G.I.JOE GUNG HO – We all know that the popularity of G.I.Joe has receded quite a bit but there was one figure released this year that makes it onto my list anyway. It’s everyone’s favorite Marine, Gung Ho, and he comes in a two-pack released at Toys’R’Us. He actually might be one of the toughest joes to find right now since he is the only new character among countless reissues or repaints. What sets this Gung Ho apart is that he’s a massive improvement over the previous release, quite literally towering over most other Joes. It is THE version of Gung Ho your 25th Anniversary collection deserves and that’s why he made it into the top 10 for me.

    #7 - HASBRO TRANSFORMERS COMBINER WARS DEVASTATOR – Devastator was always a fan favorite but the toy was never as menacing as he was in the cartoon. At long last, that has finally changed with the release of a complete set of six Constructicons that do in fact merge to form the evil Devastator. Designed in Japan, they knew that creating a line of Masterpiece Transformers would be difficult so they implemented as much as they could into this release so that it would satisfy both markets. The end result are six individual Constructicons that fit in with the Masterpiece world, but also a Devastator that is even more impressive than most Transformers out there.

    #8 - TAKARA TOMY TRANSFORMERS MASTERPIECE TRACKS – I always had a thing for Corvettes growing up so Tracks was naturally one of my favorite Autobots. While his cartoon persona was a little too out there for my tastes, I still couldn’t help but love a corvette that was blue and had the ability to fly. This is what dreams were made of. Takara’s Masterpiece release gives us Tracks that can drive as well as fly. To top it off, he even comes with a stand, human named Raoul, as well as the Autobot Blaster in the form of a boom box. There haven’t been too many Transformers Masterpiece releases this year, making Tracks a standout.

    #9 - SPHERO STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS BB-8 – Since the very first teaser of The Force Awakens were released, people weren’t exactly sure what to think of BB-8 rolling through the dunes of Jakku. Is it real? Is it CG? All that was put to rest during Star Wars Celebration Anaheim when a fully operational BB-8 rolled out during the Force Awakens panel. The attendees were ecstatic, but how could you not be? This was something that didn’t seem possible, yet here he was! Sphero’s BB-8, an app controlled droid might be the toy of the year. Even at $150 retail, he doesn’t seem to stay in stock long.

    #10 - ??? - Withdrawn. Still awaiting release this year is an Ultimate Toy Story Woody from Medicom and still no sign of Mondo's Iron Giant figure. There haven't been a lot of other toys released this year that would turn my head so I'm going to leave this blank.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Re: Figures.com TOP 10 Toys of 2015

    EDITOR'S NOTE: The following bend the rules slightly with only 5 top picks each. Together, however, they add up to 10 Enjoy.

    Figures.com Managing Editor

    (In No Particular Order.)

    #1 - HOT TOYS TRANSFORMERS OPTIMUS PRIME (STARSCREAM VERSION) - If you're a fan of G1 Transformers, there's none as iconic as Optimus Prime. Combine that with the high-end quality of Hot Toys and the amazing design work of their sculptors and you have this beautiful work of art! With a massive hand-cannon and Starscream's wings and laser guns, Optimus Prime is ready to take on every Decepticon!

    #2 - SQUARE ENIX DC UNIVERSE VARIANT PLAY ARTS KAI 12" BATMAN DESIGNED BY TETSUYA NOMURA - Square Enix's Play Arts Kai 12" Batman by Tetsuya Nomura brings to life a hybrid of Japanese sci-fi and DC's classic comic character thanks to designer Tetsuya Nomura. Complete with futuristic armor and massive bat wings, this is one of the coolest Batman figures ever designed.

    #3 - HOT TOYS 1:6 IRON MAN WHIPLASH 2 - Who didn't want a high end figure of this machine monster as seen at the end of Iron Man 2? Better late than never! Hot Toys brings to life this intricately detailed armored monstrosity inn perfect 1/6th form complete with head sculpt of Mickey Rourke!

    #4 - THREEZERO 20" TITANFALL ATLAS WITH 6" PILOT - It's one if the most impressive mech designs to see the light of day in the last decade...and now, thanks to ThreeZero, it can be yours in 1/12 scale. This beautifully designed walking tank comes with a cool pilot figure, multiple weapons, all sorts of articulation and that feeling that makes you wish we lived in a future where walking robotic thanks with plasma canons were a reality...or maybe not...

    #5 - FUNKO LEGACY EVOLVE GOLIATH - While some have criticized Funko's Legacy series, made for fans and collectors, it's great to see they hit it out of the park with this beast! The hunt is on for this one as it features an wonderfully accurate sculpt, solid articulation, and the perfect size to haunt your GI Joes, MOTU or super hero figure!

    Figures.com Opinion Piece Writer

    2015 was a banner year for my collecting hobby. Much to my surprise, I got back into Star Wars Micro Machines. If someone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would be buying these miniatures in bulk by September, I would not have believed it. But I should have known. They were a game changer for me in 1994, and twenty-one years later, they’ve done it all again. But that’s for later in the list. Frankly, I had thousands of toys go through my home this year - did a lot of purging and flipping to support the family - and of the stuff I picked up and kept, here’s the highlights.

    #1 - REDISCOVERING VINTAGE GALOOB MICRO MACHINES - Yeah, I am totally cheating. That’s the privilege of being the esoteric outsider on the site. Truth be told: nothing got me more excited about collecting this year then when I found a huge lot of these 20-year old collectibles at a flea market this fall. It was only after revisiting the old Micro Machines that I gave into the pull of the new ones. I had sold my original vintage MM collection back when pressed for cash during my college years, but danged if these well-made, incredibly engineered, extremely cool toys do not have all the appeal now that they did when I was a boy. The fact that they cram this much sculpting and paint into such a small item still amazes me. After collecting the standard 3 3/4'” scale figures and being part of the mid-2000’s 6” hyper poseable collectible craze, it’s quite a step to go back to non-articulated figures less than an inch tall. But there’s something really satisfying about having literally an entire galaxy of worlds on display (or stored in a single plastic tote). What’s more, there were a number of pieces I never got as a young collector and playing catch-up has allowed me to not only rediscover facets of the original toys I had, but also enjoy some of these archived gems for the first time. It’s been a real pleasure, providing collecting enthusiasm I have not had since the GI Joe 25th Anniversary line. I’m even branching out into the old Trek Micros now… so this renewed fandom is legit. Thanks Galoob for all you gave to us fans back in the 90’s; you made a gift that keep on giving!

    #2 - HASBRO STAR WARS MICRO MACHINES - I spoke ill of these items back during the aforementioned Force Friday article. Like Thorin before me, never have I been so wrong in all my life. Once I gave these new models a chance and started comparing the 2015 releases to the vintage ones, something became clear: for all their imperfections, they are still incredibly detailed and super-cool. Plus, the new offerings are constructed with softer plastics so that the guns, engines, and TIE wings are not constantly snapping and breaking in storage (or mid-flight)--which was a major issue with the original line. I was so taken with the vehicles that I even picked up the First Order Star Destroyer play set, a slew of blind bags, and the superb Toys R Us Exclusive Saga battle pack (this later-season release is THE STAR WARS ITEM of the season, in my opinion, $60 bucks for an overview of characters and vehicles from all 7 movies). Needless to say, Hasbro has their hooks in me again. Well played, gentlemen. Well played.

    #3 - LEGO MINIFIGURES (IN GENERAL) - I shared earlier this year why collector’s are moving toward LEGO (HERE), and Minifigures is a major part of the equation. Somehow these little dudes continue to grow in detail while retaining their classic, charming, and “fun” aesthetic. In regard to themes, LEGO provided fans with a wide assortment of Superheroes, Jurassic Dino Hunters, plus some Ghostbusters and the gang from the Big Bang Theory. On the “collectible minifigure" front, LEGO continued to put a signature stamp on various facets of human civilization, from paleontologists and assorted city folk, to a variety of monsters and warriors. Plus, they gave fans a host of Springfield’s most well-known and beloved denizens. With the announcement of series 15 and, of course, additional offerings from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, LEGO looks to continue their reign atop toy mountain in the year to come.

    #4 - MCFARLANE THE WALKING DEAD BUILDING SETS - McFarlane has not survived against the juggernauts of the industry for the last 20 years for nothing. This company thinks beyond the box and their team really brings it when they launch a new play-pattern. The Walking Dead sets they released broadly this past year were superb. With the adult collector in-mind, McFarlane has brought his signature visceral detail to durable, brick-based model-building, and the end results are simply fantastic. I truly hope he doubles-down on this line in 2016 and extends the pattern beyond Walking Dead and Game of Thrones to other adult licenses (MAD MAX FURY ROAD, BREAKING BAD), and dare I say it, maybe even a Classic Spawn set (Longtime collectors may remember McFarlane’s Trading Figures from 2007; they are in perfect scale to these!!)

    #5 - LEGO 2015 STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS MILLENNIUM FALCON - If you read my piece on Force Friday (HERE), you know I acquired this little number during the big debut of Force Awakens merchandise back in September. But full disclosure, I’ve been unable to build it. This placement is coming with a vote-of-confidence in the LEGO brand and their abilities. I know this thing is gonna be great; I just need to sit down and put her together (and I intend to during a week-long vacation this January).

    Last edited by JeffSaylor; 12-18-2015 at 08:46 AM.

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