It’s that time of year ago, fellow collectors!
Time where we look back on all of the cool toys we were treated to this past year.
While production of domestically-originating toys (Marvel Legends, DCUC, Star Wars, etc.) seems to be in a period of decline, production of higher-end import toys seems to be on the rise. And that’s a good thing. Some of the toys I’m going to talk about today are available in the US in some form, but all have their origins in the Far East. With that, let’s take a look at my top ten for this year!
Starting at number 10….
10. S.H. Monsterarts King Kong
When this toy was announced, I was really excited. Secretly, I hoped for a 1962 version that could be compatible with a (hopefully) forthcoming 1962 Godzilla. Maybe the 1933 original. Hell, the 1976 version would’ve been cool. But no, we got the Peter Jackson Kong. My least favorite version. But you know what? It’s just a beautifully executed toy, and quickly became one of my favorite Kong toys. A stunning sculpt, great paint, super articulation, and lots of accessories make for a winning combination in my book.
9. Gekko/Toymunkey Studios Bubble Head Nurse
I previously reviewed Toymunkey’s first offering, the Red Pyramid Thing statue, and their follow up companion piece is even cooler. As someone who paints models and prototypes professionally, I was absolutely blown away by the high level of paint work the final production piece displays. I know it wasn’t easy or cheap, but it’s beautiful, and a real success for this new fledgling company.
8. Transformers Masterpiece Prowl
Takara’s Transformers Masterpiece series is one of my personal favorites. Some are an unabashed success (MP-10 Optimus Prime), and some are less than stellar (Rodimus), but I’ve gotta have them all. Prowl is one of the very best of the Autobot cars. They managed a way to be 100% faithful to the old Datsun Fairlady Z, all with maintaining perfect proportions and posability. Mix in cartoon accuracy, and he’s a sure-fire winner. If you’re a transformers fan, he (and his mold-mate Bluestreak) is a must-have.
7. X-Plus 30cm Godzilla series via Diamond
For the last several years, collectors like me had to be content importing this ultra cool line of vinyl Godzilla characters. They are in the 30cm scale, or 12” tall. Awesome paint and detail made this the definitive Godzilla line to collect for many folks. The drawback was that they are A) Really expensive, and B), on top of their already high price, you have to pay a bunch to import them. Now Diamond distributors has stepped in, and made them affordable and readily available at comic shops nationwide. It’s like the they read my mind…
6. S.H. Monsterarts Mecha Godzilla III (Kiryu)
I struggled on where to put this guy on the list, because let’s face it, he’s awesome. Multiple eye lens colors, add or armor & weapons, and die cast pieces are only the beginning for this awesome import. He also has the most articulated tail you will ever see on a toy of this size. There’s no downside, here, and if you’re a fan, he’s a sure-fire winner. I struggled with his place on the list, and I think he falls to # 6 only because of his price tag to size ratio. You do get a lot of bang for your buck, but he will cost you a few extra bucks…
5. S.H. Monsterarts Godzilla 1964
…Which brings us to #5, the 1964 Godzilla. This was one of my most anticipated toys of the year, and for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. He’s sculpted by the master Yuji Sakai, and is the first in the Monsterarts line to feature clear inset eyes, making it even more realistic. Some took issue with his size (I didn’t) and some with his articulation choices (not me), so I feel like he shouldn’t rank higher than 5th on the list. Love this toy, but it’s time to bring out the big guns…
4. Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave
Fan-favorite Soundwave finally debuted in the Masterpiece line, and he sold out in record time. Like Prowl, he’s dead-on accurate to the cartoon, has all the articulation, and even included Laserbeak. You could also buy add-on packs with the other 4 cassettes, but they weren’t cheap. Toys R Us fulfilled many fan wishes by selling him domestically with all 5 cassettes included for the low low price of only $120.00, but if you blinked you missed him. For those who may be curious, the US version has yellow eyes like the original US toy, and the import version (shown here) has metallic red eyes, like the G1 cartoon.
3. Transformers Generations Metroplex
As far as bang for your buck goes, Metroplex can’t be beaten. He’s a full 2 feet tall, heavy, and just plain massive. Show here is the Comic Con exclusive version, which features a chromed face and thighs, like the original G1 version. In case you missed out, you can still get the retail version, which includes Scamper (his scout character), massive missile launching guns, three-mode transformation, lights, sounds, you name it. If you collect the Generations line, this is the centerpiece of your collection. Many retailers passed because of his $120.00 MSRP price tag and the sheer about of space the box takes up on retail shelves, but he is out there. If you’re frugal and clever, you can pick one up at Costco for as little as $79.00. I probably shouldn’t have told you that, as you’re no doubt heading out the door now to grab one before they’re gone. Now you won’t finish reading the article….
2. TIE – FansToys Quakewave
OK, I’m cheating here, there’s two picks for number 2. It’s my column, sue me. Quakewave here is a third party toy which is essentially a Transformers Masterpiece scale and quality Shockwave. You see, Hasbro/Takara don’t have the rights to the original design, which is actually owned by Radio Shack (their version was gray, and called “Astro Magnum”. I prefer to call him “Shackwave”). Hasbro can make a purple cycloptic robot with one gun arm who transforms, but he can’t transform in to a ray gun. That’s where this third party gem comes in. He’s got all the quality, articulation, and even a hint of die cast you would want. Even his one eye and gun barrel light up. He includes opaque hands (shown here) to make him comic & show accurate, as well as translucent purple hands, to be G1 toy accurate. As far as a perfect Shockwave goes, you can’t get any better than this.
2. TIE – Miracle Productions Vehicle Force Voltron
This one was a long wait, but it was totally worth it. He’s big, each vehicle has die cast, and fully transforms yet retains all of the articulation you need. I reviewed the production sample here, but this final production version (shown here) improves on overall quality and even improved on a few things, making it an even better toy. For those of us who are fans of the original Vehicle Voltron, our prayers were finally answered.
And the moment you’ve all been waiting for….
1. Hot Toys Avengers
Here it is, the best import toys this year. You have to wait over a year to get them all, and take out a second mortgage, but these should top many best-of lists for 2013. Take a look at the image, and you’ll see why these pre-sold out instantly. It’s like they’re real, miniature people. Completely a set now will run you in the neighborhood of around $3,000.00, which should teach you to preorder them next time when Avengers 2 comes out.
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