Since this weekend is the 2015 New York Toy Fair, I figured it'd be as good of a time as any to look back at some of the great toys that came out in 2014. While I've already released a list of my 10 favorite toylines of 2014, I also like to point out some individual figures from toy lines other than my 10 favorites that I really liked. Sometimes these are action figures and statues that were standouts in otherwise average lines while other times the are simply excellent released that weren't part of more expansive releases. (You can check out my Top 10 Individual Toys of 2013 if you're interested.) I try to offer a good bit of variety here so you'll see a mix of toys from different scales and styles. Enjoy and let me know what you think! What were your favorites last year?
If there was a standout action figure for me this year, it was this version of Batman. NECA really showed collectors how much value you can get for your money by releasing this excellently detailed figure with a soft goods cape, multiple hands, and a nice arsenal of functional accessories. For many Batman fans around my age (I'm 31) Michael Keaton was our first true exposure to the character and I can't think of any figure that captures his unique presence better than this figure. The size of this figure is really imposing (I keep him perched atop my entertainment center in my living room) and captures the quiet menace of the character in the 1989 film.
Colonel Stars and Stripes from Kick-Ass 2 by NECA
Daring Do Dazzle from My Little Pony Vinyl Collectibles by Funko
This figure is amazing! It's well designed, durable, excellently articulated, and packed with some truly amazing accessories. This is such a great version of Freddy Krueger, one of the top horror icons of all time, as he appeared in the original 1984 classic horror film. I love the idea of doing deluxe and ultimate boxed versions of popular characters and I really hope that NECA continues this trend. I cannot say enough how impressed I am with all aspects of this version of Freddy Krueger. There have been lots of Freddy Krueger toys released over the years but this one tops them all.
Mattel's DC Multiverse line is pretty shaky if you ask me and I'm not a huge fan of it. I love the concept of it and the characters they're releasing but I'm really perplexed by the bizarre "slightly larger than 4 inches" scale they've went with. While it's cool having a line that puts figures in different styles together (film and video game based), they really cannot fit in with most other Batman based lines that fans collect. Considering that nearly everything Mattel and DC Collectibles have released have been between 6 and 7 inches, it just seems almost cruel to not release a long awaited character like the Penguin in that popular scale. Still, I can't ignore the fact that this figure is incredibly impressive. The sculpt and paint work are just stellar and far better than anything Mattel has ever done in this scale. I'd definitely wager this is the best work in this scale that Mattel has ever done and would put it alongside the best work of Hasbro, the (former) undeniable kings of the 1/18th scale. While I have my complaints about size, there's no doubt this is the Penguin figure I wanted as a tot back in 1992.
Frankie J Ives commented, " Craig Windrix is the best marine produced for this line. His face is completely fearless. What a tribute." I have to agree. Not only has NECA continued to refine their technically excellent Aliens line here but they've also made a figure that is injected with love, heart, and soul. Windrix really does look awesome and fearless. I can't help but love this figure. It's great as a toy and great as a tribute. NECA has really done everything they possibly can to make both the Aliens line and this figure extremely special. Thoughts and prayers go out to the Windrix family and major respect goes out to NECA for being quite clearly one of the best companies in the business. Stay frosty, Sgt. Windrix.
Starfire from DC Comics Bishoujo by Kotobukiya
While Kotobukiya has been on a bit of a lull with their DC Comics Bishoujo statues over the past year or so (where's that Black Canary they teased at Toy Fair two years ago!) they seem to be getting back into the groove. Batwoman is already starting to hit, Zatanna is scheduled for release in August, some concept art of Raven has just been shown over the past week, and Starfire here was just released back in October or November. These are nonarticulated statues but they're gorgeous. The sculpts, the colors; everything just works together so well to create some very appealing figures of the lovely ladies of the DC Universe. Kotobukiya does some excellent work with this line and I'm excited to see them jumping back in to hopefully offer us plenty of releases in the future. P.S.: Please rerelease Supergirl and Catwoman! My shelf feels incomplete without them!
And now for some stats!
# of action figures from toylines that have appeared on a best of list before: 3 (DC Comics Bishoujo appeared in my best lines of 2012 while NECA's Aliens and Rambo both appeared in the best lines of 2013.)
# of companies represented: 6 (DC Collectibles, NECA, Mattel, Jakks Pacific, Kotobukia, and Funko)
# of action figures from NECA: 5
# of action figures from DC Collectibles: 1
# of Batman related lines: 4 (DC Comics Bishoujo includes Batgirl, Batwoman,Huntress, etc.)
# of figures from lines based on films from 2014: 0
# of toy that are newer versions of toys I played with as a kid: 6 (Batman, Anarky,and Penguin - Batman Toys, Sgt Windrix- Kenner and Galoob Aliens product, Rambo- Coleco's Rambo and the Forces of Freedom, Link- those little Nintendo PVCs from the late 80s.)
# of toylines based on new intellectual properties (first appearing in 2014): 0
# of toys that I never saw hide nor hair of at Wal-Mart: 9- I only ever saw the Penguin.
# of toys based on R-rated films: 4
# of toys appearing from lines that I was a completist on: 2 (Rambo and World of Nintendo)
# of toys from lines featuring someone who was a co-owner of Planet Hollywood: 1- Rambo
# of toys from lines that were available through Kickstarter or an online subscription method: 0
# of toys from lines in a 1/18th scale or smaller: 1 (Penguin from DC Multiverse)