Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012: The Action Figure Year In Review

Hello dear readers. This year I was very Halo Reach focused. And since it's almost the end of this year let's look back at what my keen action figure mind noticed in stores!

My current favorite peg warmer!
Marvel Universe:

The great action figure line of last year failed to make a good impression on me this time. Things were announced, but almost none of it showed up. And if it did, it was sparingly. Given how hard it was for me to find the Gambit and Adam Warlock comic packs last year. I decided not to stress myself. And it was a good move.
6 months later. These show up in Target again.
I also realized that with Marvel Universe it's easy to play catchup with the popular characters. Although I still don't own regular Vision, Blade, and regular Ms. Marvel.

Marvel Legends:

Hey, he looks just like Wolverine!
The big "HOOPLA!" this year was the return of Marvel Legends. On the Marvelicious toys podcast they talked good things about the line. And mentioned how people compare Hasbro to ToyBiz.

No one loves you, Lady Deathstrike.
For me it's all about the value. With ToyBiz you got a figure, a base and a comic. At the end of the line they went so far as to use the cardboard backing as a displayable background. That was genius!!!

Hasbro Legends now with more air!

Now Hasbro wants you to be happy with a figure and a piece of build a figure. And out of spite, now they've reduced the size of the build a figure and this years series 3 just had lame bases.

The character selection isn't that great. Hope?! Constrictor?! Klaw?! Madame Mask?! Madame (I'm Ugly) Hydra?! Big Time Spidey?! Drax?! Another Iron Man based on the peg warmer Extremis design?! Talk about being out of touch with your audience.

A Marvel Legends variant in Rite -Aid?! Say it isn't so!
Granted it takes a year for a figure to go from concept to stores. But you need a new plan. If things failed the first time, why not take steps to prevent it again?

The $14.99 price tag is on the same level as Halo Reach figures so it doesn't come off as expensive, but I have no interest in the line.  If I see Deadpool I'm putting him on Ebay. :)

Everyone loves the Pool! Get it?!
Transformers Prime:

Likeits1985's gift to me.
This line started introducing repaints very early with the Bumblebee and Arcee NYCC Exclusive last year. And they have been doing that ever since. Just look at the Hot Shot and that Wheeljack repaint to name a few. I'm not too crazy about the designs of the Decepticons like Megatron, Starscream, Soundwave and Airachnid.

Hard to find. Ugly to look at.
The Autobot designs are decent and I was really looking forward to getting Ratchet. But after seeing the toy in a review, I was put off by the toy. I expected it to transform and look the same way he did in the show. But I guess after Transformers Cybertron that's too much to ask for.

I love the packaging though, and the use of the CGI artwork for the characters. But the line isn't doing as well as it should be if the figures are starting to show up in discount stores, and some figures have been cancelled.

$6.99! Didn't this toy come out this year!
The Fall for Cybertron stuff looks too toyetic and plasticy. Jazz, Optimus and Shockwave had horrible looking robot and vehicle nodes. Well except for Jazz. I was almost tempted to but him. but the gap in his chest was huge. Prime and his repaint Ultra Magnus are terrible. So terrible was giving him away!

An ugly truckling.
I love the Bruticus concept and figures. Some of the alt modes are lame, but I love big robots. And it's the first time in a long while that we get a combiner in the deluxe line. But $17.00 a pop is too rich for my blood.

Look at the gap in his chest!
Even Grimlock sucks, just look at his shoulders! Or lack thereof.

YO JOE!! Or for this year, NO GO!!! The Retaliation stuff looks as bad as the Rise Of Cobra stuff. I did buy some figures from Rise of Cobra, but it was the cool stuff like Helix and Flash that weren't in the movie.

Pretty good for a movie figure
If Hasbro introduces some figures like the Pursuit Of Cobra line into the movie line, maybe there is a chance. But the fact that they have been holding onto the figures that were already produced means it's movie garbage. In the future I will make a post in my guide to collecting about how movie figures don't sell.

Gundam 00P better than AGE.
All AGE all RAGE!!! But rage in a bad way.

Gundam 00 brought me back into the fold after SEED made me leave. The character and mecha designs of Gundam AGE were not good. After seeing that nothing happened in the first 5 episodes I jumped ship. By Episode 5 in Gundam 00, Allelujah was saving a space station from some terrorists!!

Save the day!
Gundam Unicorn while beautiful was set in an UC era where the designs weren't fun. I'm not a big fan of Jegans or Jagd Dogas. And they warmed pegs everywhere when the action figures were in stores. I wanted to love the Delta Plus. But I've yet to see it in action.

The 6 month gap between OVA's didn't help either.

I haven't built any gundam kits, because I haven't had the time. In the past I've regretted selling off some master grades I didn't have time to build. So for now I'm holding onto the ones I have. So when I have the time I can get back to work.

Is this post over yet?!
 Some other things I have observed this year:

  • I stuck with Halo Reach and as I always do, I was able to play catchup and get most of the figures from the line that weren't exclusives. Thanks to and Rite-Aid.
  • As a retailer, I realized that Gundam merchandise doesn't have the consumer base it used to. There are still fans but the product is too expensive for them.
  • Halo is for the occasional gamer. It's popular but obscure, if that makes sense. It might be the mature rating and the fact that not everybody plays shooter games.
  • Marvel is the most popular line out there. With the success of Marvel Legends it just proves it. And they have lots of product in stores, from Squinkies to Hot Toys. If you were to invest money in a company let it be Marvel Comics.
  • G.I. Joe has hit a decline. There is no cartoon on TV, and the previous one got cancelled. Or put on Hiatus (which is a nice way of looking at it). Having the movie moved to next year was a major set back. And something I've never seen happen to a film before.
  • Modern Transformer toys are too complicated for the little kids these days. I think kids have the same mentality as me. Just open the package and play. The franchise is popular, but the toys aren't. I think it's mostly nostalgia. I can understand how it's easier to watch robots fight and bicker, than it is to transform a toy.
My Adorable Nephew and Niece
To end this post, I want to let you guys know what the kids in my life like:

  • Skylanders
  • Regular Show
  • Adventure Time
  • Barbie
  • Monster High
  • Role Playing Video Games
  • Action Figures (What kind I don't know. That's what my Sister sent me.)
My older brother likes Halo 4. And I love Halo Reach, but of course you know that.

My Spartan IV
For next year I would love to see:

  • In the Marvel Universe line: More X-Men and Avengers
  • In the Halo 4 line: Team Majestic
  • In the Transformers line: cool vehicle designs that transform into cool robot designs.
  • And a new Gundam show that looks good and doesn't suck.
Hope 2013 bring good things,  I'll see you in the toy aisles!!

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