I noticed a trend of awesome video game toys for 2016, but that doesn't mean those were the only awesome toys! Here's a list of general favorites from my first year with a baby, so I...you know, didn't really get to talk about most of them.
First off, the picture above: Transformers! You'd think I was absolutely nuts about Combiner Wars (where you can combine them into giants in any way you please) but there's just something about Titans Return; otherwise originally known in the vintage days, hilariously, as "Head Masters." I'd heard of them and was vaguely aware of them back in the day but, as a kid, I never understood the point. Perhaps if I had owned one with an opening cockpit that the head robot could ride - that would have sold me! 'Cause it totally does here.
This line is everything I'm loving about Transformers at the moment - not too complicated, awesome designs, fun to play with - and then adding in the totally classic playability of a basic line-wide feature of removable heads that turn into robots themselves: and they can ride the vehicles their bodies turn into! That part really gets me. It also helps that many of the figures have tiny pegs on them for the head bots to stand on. Any figure is almost a tiny base for the little heads! And they're so tiny! I love it! Every bit of it. If you're not in to Transformers, now is the time to jump in before the next hot shit of a movie pours into the toilet and flushes all the good toys from the shelves.
I'm not really a traditional Star Wars fan, but I'm not gona act like I don't love it. Generally Star Wars toys wouldn't make it on my "best" list, is what I'm saying - except for this. I'm putting K-2SO on here because he's a GREAT toy. You need only a love for robots in your heart to understand the greatness of this figure. If the design has you hooked, then know that this Black Series figure is very well articulated and fun to pose in any situation. Especially in situations where he wouldn't be, normally. I know fans of K-2SO already have him (and he is hilarious, in the movie) but for you general robot fans, in the words of the police robot from Futurama: "Awwww yeeeaaah."
This is another one I wouldn't typically put on a list of the best, but here he is: Armored Batman, from the "Dark Knight" comic. I've heard a lot of bad things about this figure, since he is kind of restricted in many ways, but I was able to pull off that picture, and that's all I wanted. A nice, solid punch to Superman's face.
See, I grew up flipping through the "Dark Knight" comic before I could read, and then reading it when I figured it out. I shouldn't have. Totally not for kids. But I loved it, because it was such a mystery, back in the day! I wasn't supposed to be looking at it, so I didn't ask any questions, and just made stuff up (before I could read it, anyway). Why did everyone look so weird? What's with Batman being the beefiest dude in town? Why's he beating up mutants in the mud? HOLY CRAP DID HE JUST FIGHT SUPERMAN?!
...of course, at the time, I thought Superman was some sort of robot, or something? I saw the scene of him nearly dying in the nuclear fallout of a bomb and I thought: "Well that doesn't happen to Superman - must be some robot or something." That wouldn't happen to robots....but needless to say: My mind jumped to robots, as it often did.
ANYWAY: I love this figure. He's a perfect representation of what I remember and he's sized correctly to MotUC figures, which is something I didn't realize I wanted until MotUC figures came along. The only drawbacks are that his articulation is a little limited and he holds his gun weird. Otherwise: I'd pick it up if you love the old comic-style armored Batman.
Fugitoid! If you're a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan, then perhaps you loved the gold Fugitoid, in the back. I know I did! As explained above: My mind jumps to robots, so I was always seeking them out. Fugitoid is just pure, unadulterated ROBOT. Nothing more robotty than Fugitoid, I tell ya. I was never able to get a complete Fugitoid until my teenage years, but you don't need a complete one to enjoy the general design. Turns out: That design was just for the toy! Fugitoid, in the comics, actually looks more like the three on the left. The one on the far left and behind is from the 2003 TMNT series, and pretty much just looks like he does in the comics! The two in the front are from the current Nick series, and who I want to talk about; they're pretty much a generic Fugitoid as well.
Well, the white one. The silver one is from a shiny Target exclusive pack, so he doesn't look like that in the roon. Either way: Both are awesome robot toys, and you should get them for the same reason you might get K-2SO, save for a big difference in articulation. I wouldn't let that stop you, though! Fugitoid has always been a delight just to freakin' look at, and the new one is no different. If I could change anything, it would be to make the eyes the standard glowing dots, but it's a small change that I could honestly make myself; even with my limited abilities.
Fugitoid has always been a favorite in terms of robot toys, and each one has been awesome in their own right. If you like this kind of robot, I see no reason not to have one sitting on your shelves.
Speaking of TMNT:
There's a lot of explanation here, but i'll keep it simple: NECA made TMNT figures awhile back (2008?) and were in the process of making Shredder and Foot Soldiers to go with them - all comic style. It never panned out, for one reason or another. Come New York Comic Con last year, NECA puts together a pack of Shredder and Foot Clan members using the molds they had made back then, finally bringing people the figures that had been waiting for!
...I never got those TMNT figures, but OH MAN I was going to get that Shredder that I thought was dead in the water! Thankfully, by some act of magic, NECA did a big sale for their exclusives and I got what I thought was banned from me. This set, for one, and another set I'll talk about in a sec.
I'm usually kind of afraid to move fancy collectors figures, but these are nice! I mean, I wouldn't give 'em to little kids, but I'm not afraid to move them, either. You do have to work the joints a bit - they are stiff - but otherwise, I can do with them as I please and I'm not walking on eggshells. I know they go with TMNT, but I just love having them around as toys. Shredder is just a freakin' dream figure, and the Foot Clan members are great basic ninjas.
Now, the other set I was talking about was something I thought I wasn't going to get ahold of either:
NECA went and did an SDCC exclusive using the same molds, but in TMNT arcade game colors! They also made brand new Turtle sculpts that I wanted, but they weren't part of the exclusive sale, so I'm probably not going to get ahold of those.
That's fine, though! I've got plenty of awesome Turtle figures that'll work with these. The Foot Soldiers are the important ones! That is one of the top video game figure wants, from when I was a kid - those multicolored Foot Soldiers.
They even come with some of the wacky-ass weapons they use in the game!
Now, technically this should have been in the video game post, but I wanted them together with the other set, since they both use the same molds (just consider it yet another reason why 2016 was a great year for video game toys). Both sets are awesome for different reasons, and you're getting something great either way.
...but of course, I'm gona be a little biased toward the dream set - the Arcade one. I mean how many of you had always wanted those crazy Foot Soldiers from the game? Just awesome.
And exclusive. And out of reach for most collectors. Both of these sets. Which is the worse part of all of this. These should be regular figures in the stores, but there's something about the license that says they can't be, I think. I don't know all the details, but it all boils down to this: It's a big damn shame. Every fan needs these. I hope NECA can work something out with Playmates sometime and get these out in some other way.
Now, speaking of NECA and things you CAN get:
Ash, from the current series Ash vs Evil Dead. You'd think I'd be excited because I was an Evil Dead fan, and I do like it, but my heart lies with Army of Darkness and I'm not ashamed to say it. I am loving the hell out of the current series, though, so I'm very happy to have a figure of his current age. I want an Army of Darkness figure at some point, but I'm not gona act like this figure didn't have me excited to get it.
The likeness is just amazing, the articulation is...good, not great, but it gets the job done, and the accessories leaves nothing to be desired. There's a chainsaw arm, cheap-ass mechanical hand that would in no way work in real life, and his Boomstick. Nothin' else to it.
He's also got two heads: One for "Eh?" and one for "SHIT!" Like I said: The articulation isn't going to blow you away, but you can do a lot more with him than it seems by just looking at him in the package. The best thing about this figure is that it's not a "timeless" Ash, the way he's usually portraying in "vs" comics where he cameos and takes out all the Deadites. This is pissed off older Ash that has seen too much shit, should know better, and doesn't. He doesn't know better at ALL. Ever. And I love it.
I'd give this a shot if you're an Evil Dead fan.
Oh hey, Mythic Legions! I don't need to mention them, do I? I think my posts have shown my love for this line enough, but this IS a favorites list, and Mythic Legions were a big damn favorite from 2016. They've got their second kickstarter going on NOW, so check that out for some extra dudes and a ton of brand new females (and some elves, 'cause they're thinner and the new molds work for that too).
The Kickstarter is already ridiculously overfunded and the Horsemen are working on more stretchgoals as I type, so you don't have to feel like you need to drop all the money right then and there. Do what you can! Plus,there were multiple ways to obtain Mythic Legions after the original kickstarter, so keep your eyes peeled and get them FROM THE HORSEMEN. Seriously! Cheapest way to get these. I can't talk about them enough, and you can bet I'll be reviewing all the others I have, in time.
How about other Four Horsemen related things?
"UGH, a repaint? On your favorites list?"
Yeah, if you know me, then you know why another Evil Version of the Hero is on here. I mean LOOK AT HIM! It's a black repaint of a toy! Doesn't get any more unique than that, right? Am I right, Transformers fans?
I'm not gona act like this will be awesome to everyone. This is my THING, and he looks awesome and plays the exact part that I love.
He's a evil mirror-universe version of He-Man (from a German audiobook) with ALL THE POWER, and from the sound of him, he seems almost worse than Skeletor. At least, he's probably up to par with Skeletor if he ever won and gained everything he fought for. The figure comes with two different styles of Power Sword, two shields (standard and a repainted awesome skull shield from Castle Grayskullman) and the trademark axe. He was also hard as BALLS to get ahold of! Bah! Stupid chase figures.
Awesome, though! Totally deserving of my own favorites list, at least.
And speaking of Masters of the Universe Classics:
Skelcon! This came out right as Mattycollector closed its doors for good, and paired with a big expensive freakin' vehicle so that you couldn't easily army build him (booo!).
But...oh man is he awesome. Just classic evil disposable minion.
AND METAL AS FUUUCK. Look at that thing! I can barely put him down, he's so awesome. He's as obscure as they come, hailing from a little MotU picture book and nothing else, but who needs a background for this thing? All you need to do is look at it and understand the majesty that exudes from this figure. This is a toy you need, and one that you won't get without a huge vehicle.
So, yeah. Nice batch of unattainable favorites I've got here!
Last stop on He-Man Central is Skeletor, as he appeared in the old Filmation cartoon that everyone considers to be the definitive He-Man. And why not? That's the thing you see the most! I was in that awkward period where He-Man was just ending by the time I "woke up", so to speak, so I was reading minicomics while the show was off the air.
Still, if there's one thing about the show that stuck out to my little 2 year old self: It was Skeletor. His voice, his awesome skull face, and his freakin' LAUGH. I may not have a lot of nostalgia for the show in general, but Skeletor, above all, was an absolute must-have. He doesn't disappoint, and since I've got nearly every MotUC figure, I've got all the various Filmation gear that Skeletor used throughout the show (since they tend to give random accessories to figures that don't actually use them). Only thing I would change on him is that dang open left hand, but otherwise, he's fantastic.
Still from the Four Horsemen: Thundercats! Yeah, did you know Mattel got the licence long enough to poop out a small subscription and then let it die off? With any luck, Super 7 (the company that Mattel is allowing to continue to produce MotUC) will be able to grab the Thundercats license and continue the line.
They were great figures (marred slightly by the standard action-pose-in-the-package, which bends hands wide open and warps limbs and weapons) but there's one and only ONE figure that my eyes were glued to, and that's the mummy form of Mumm-Ra! The one on the right is my original figure from when I was a kid, and I used it ALL the time. He's in amazingly good shape, considering that fact (though he barely has any articulation, so there's not much to break).
The Horsemen faithfully recreated Mumm-Ra to look more like he did in the toon, but then ALSO gave him his awesome staff from the toy, pretty much making the absolute perfect Mumm-Ra for fans of the toys and toon alike. He has multiple hands, two cloaks (the closed one and an open one for magic casting) and just a ton of personality in that headsculpt. This figure is pretty much perfect. It's everything I could have wanted from a recreation of one of my old favorites from childhood.
And one of his hands can hold pizza really well. What more could you ask for?
Aright, what's a stark difference from this kinda stuff?
Kamen Rider! This is an S.H. Figuarts of Kamen Rider 1, in his powered up form. I didn't see the movie this was from, but I didn't need to, 'cause the original Kamen Rider is awesome and he's only more awesome in this BEEFY form. You'd think it would hinder the figure, but he's really fun to pose around, and certainly one of my favorite Rider toys, now.
Also: He's kinda got the same draw as the Ash figure, because they're both the "current" forms of the heroes, meaning, they're both old and have seen a lot of shit in their time. Only difference is that Ash gets old and fat, and Kamen Rider 1 gets old and JACKED.
And speaking of S.H. Figuarts: Vegeta! Specifically, Super Vegeta, from that time he owned Cell's second form, stupidly waited for Cell's perfect form, and then promptly got his ass handed to him in the way that only Vegeta knows how to receive.
But let's ignore how Vegeta is only cool in short bursts and talk about the long-lasting coolness of this figure! I actually haven't been that big a fan of the DBZ Figuarts, 'cause they always have some problem or another that makes them fiddly to pose and not that fun. This one is an exception, and while the hips are the craziest articulation points and cuts I've ever seen (and probably don't need to be), they at least WORK, and I can pose this guy without parts falling off and without feeling like I'm going to break him. This is a bit beefier than your standard Vegeta, but if you're only going to get one Figuarts Vegeta: make it this one.
Speaking of DBZ: Here's a Saiyan Space Pod from a third party company called Dragon Summon. Bandai made a model kit of a Space Pod, but it wasn't really meant for Figuarts to fit in, so Dragon Summon made THIS:
Opens and closes smoothly, lights up in various colors (and has an auto-scroll feature that slowly goes through all the light colors) and is large enough to to possibly fit an eventual (hopefully) Nappa figure. It even comes with a stand, since...well, it has to. How else are you gona display a ball?
I've always wanted a toy of one of these, and this thing delivers on all six cylinders. This thing'll run you 60 bucks (though I got it on a pre-sale deal) and I feel like it's worth it. It feels quality, and the features really bring it home to that price point.
If you're a big DBZ fan, this is very much worth it as a display piece for your Saiyan Saga Vegeta.
Swinging down to the cheaper end, there's G.I. Joe Action Vinyls, from The Loyal Subjects. I've only got an exclusive from earlier last year (preordered and then forgotten) but he's more than enough to convince me to get more. If you collect Action Vinyls, then you're getting mostly what you expect, save for some extra knee joints that actually do more than they look like they would.
Snakes is glow-in-the-dark, so he's nowhere near classic, but he's sporting the purple that I love so much, from his mid-2000's figure.
I bought him on a whim, but he ended up way cooler than I expected, so I'm definitely gona get more of these guys.
Now, tangentially connected to G.I. Joe:
Marauder Valkyries! I haven't started REALLY delving into customizing these yet, but they're just as good as the men folk (if not a little better in a few ways) so don't hesitate to check them out! The figures and parts are available now and ready for you to make your own diverse armies.
You can bet i'll review these when I get time to really dig in to the options (and buy a few more), much in the same way I reviewed the male bodies.
Alright, final bit! Possibly some of my top favorite toys from 2016 and will probably continue to be on into 2017:
Battle Tribes! I was only able to squeak out a tiny review of just one figure, when they were first released, but I've gotten a TON more since then and have been wanting to do a full on review (obviously I haven't found the time). These are tiny, interchangeable, and just what the doctor ordered if you're a fan of classic barbarian figures.
And OH MAN, Glyos compatible! If you buy anything else that is Glyos compatible, then you have a whole world of biomechanical horrors open to you. Fill your barbaric post apocalyptic universe with all the burly warriors and horrific nightmares that you can imagine! And don't take up a lot of space while doing so, either!
I can't get enough of these, and you're gona want to keep track of when they release new stuff, 'cause it only gets better and better. You can buy whatever they've got in stock now, and keep up with them on Instagram for pics of new releases and cool swaps. These things got nostalgia like no other, and the ability to be whatever you want 'em to be, so check 'em out!
WHEW, okay! All done! What do you think? Any of this stuff on your radar? Anything you never heard of before and will be checking out now, because of how cool my amazing pictures are (or how hilarious and funny I am, or cool and popular?). Tell me how cool I am below! Or talk about the toys, whatever. Doesn't matter to me, you can talk about what you want.
Here's to more awesome things for 2017! Just...not too much, you know? I got a kid now. Give me a break, toy makers.