Since 2015 I've supplemented my best of the year awards with a list called Missing in Action. This is kind of a reflective list where I look back at the previous Top 10 Toylines list and determine why some of the lines from that year failed to return for the current year's list. 2021's top 10 list only had four toylines returning from the 2020 list, the same as the year before, which means quite a few lines went missing in action! I find it interesting to look at the lines that failed to show up again in order to diagnose why they went missing. There are a few reasons why a toyline makes this list:
Missing in Action: This is a toyline that gets cancelled, ends, or just didn't have any releases during the year. It happens a lot, unfortunately, and often to some of my favorites it seems.
Demoted: Sometimes a toyline just gets outdone by others. This isn't specifically related to the quality of the demoted line and more reflective of the quality of the lines that supplanted it or of my interest shifting to other things.
Drop in Quality: This is when a toyline has a severe drop in quality that causes it to fall from grace. While most toylines get better as they go, some do indeed get worse and worse due to cost cutting, mismanagement, and quality control issues. Sometimes the price just gets higher, too, making a once impressive toyline now seem less so, and that can cause it to end up here as well.
Let's jump in and check out who went missing in action in 2021 after the break...
Alien Collection by Lanard- Missing in Action/ Demoted
I love Kenner's 1990s Aliens/Predator toys and I definitely supplemented my complete collection of them with Lanard's Walmart exclusive Alien Collection figures in 2020. While the figures were a mixed bag (cool, colorful Xenomorphs, lame humans, decent vehicles, and excellent accessories) the sets were inexpensive and delivered a lot of bang for your buck. This year the line seemed to mostly switch to a 6 inch scaled line which just doesn't fit my collection and which seems to be languishing on shelves. There were one or two bundled sets of the 1/18th scaled figures but they were just repaints of previously released product so I skipped them. I really expected we'd see more from this line as there was a lot of buzz about it when it came out and Lanard having the Predator license as well seemed like a good thing for the health and longevity of the line. Now it seems effectively dead so far as I can tell.
I really did enjoy Jazwares' Fortnite line and other than those ridiculous hinged hands which couldn't hold anything worth a darn they were fun toys. I originally started picking them up to supplement my Overwatch figures but I soon just started collecting them because they were pretty cool. When G.I. Joe: Classified came along, however, it kind of filled my niche for tactical, combat driven figures and I started losing interest in the line. Earlier this year, knowing that Jazwares was going to lose the 6 inch license to Hasbro, I decided to divest myself of them and get out. Now Hasbro has the license and while their character selection seems to have more females and more unique pieces, the accessories seem barebones compared to what Jazwares offered. This one is a case of me both losing interest and the line ending.
Mondo's 1/6th scale Masters of the Universe line made my best of the year list in 2019 and 2020 but they dropped off this year. Why's that? I put "Drop in Quality" as the reason but the more nuanced explanation is a pretty serious price hike, only one new character (Hordak), and a drastic reduction in extras and accessories. Keldor had some great portraits but was essentially just a Skeletor variant. The goes for the classic Scare Glow who was as bare bones of a release as you could find. Previously these figures came with little companions, alternate portraits, and lots of extra weapons but Mondo seems to be dropping those in favor of smaller production runs. Hopefully some new to the line characters will get things back on track again and make the elevated costs seem worth it again.
Masters of the Universe Classics is my favorite toyline of all time and last year it ended with a bang with the release of Snake Mountain and the figures based on William Stout's designs for the 1987 film. I'd love to see the line keep going, even if it was just a set of four or five figures a year through Mattel Creations, but for now this line has ended. While Mattel's new Masterverse line, which focused on MOTU: Revelation last year, was a bit hit and made my Top 10 Toyliens list, it's juts not the same as MOTUC. It was a crazy ride and a fantastic line from both Mattel and Super7 over the years. Epic, legendary and filled with characters I doubt we'll ever see in action figure form again. While the articulation model is outdated compared to many other modern releases the aesthetic of the fairly uniformly styled line still looks fantastic on display. No other MOTU line has captured the number of factions and characters as MOTUC.
This year Masters of the Universe Origins really hit its stride and Masters of the WWE Universe just didn't seem as exciting. There were still some inspired releases although the last series or two were tough to find (I never saw them) with quite a few underwhelming figures. It was a fun, unique series which I believe has now ended, so it's also considered Missing in Action. It seems like the vintage Hasbro inspired figures are making a comeback which may be more appealing to wrestling fans.
Mythos by HH Toys- Demoted
HH Toy's Mythos (Originally called Mythos in My Pocket) has been on my best of list for the past 3 years. What happened? I honestly just didn't pay any attention to the line this year. Oops. There was just a lot of other stuff that caught my attention and this series just kind of flew under my radar.
This was another year with six entries on the list including four that really and truly seem to be missing in action. What toylines that you loved ghosted you in 2021? What toylines disappointed you and lost your support? Let me know in the comments below!