For the "Best of" list this year I added some categories and spread out brands over specific lines to include as many toys as possible while only covering things I've purchased over the past 365 days and that debuted in 2012.
So come now and see what my picks are for the best of the year!
Best of Third Party Accessories: Growing Pains (Beezleboss)
Honrable Mention: Junk Armor Warrior (Lucky Rogers)
Coming in a very close second place was Lucky Rogers' debut kit for the classics Junkion mold, giving us a very unique looking figure to really and some flare to the junk bot army.
Best of Third Party Figures: WarBot Steel Core (FansProject)
Poe Ghostal was referring to when he recently concluded, in response to this article, that in the near future (most) action figures would become higher-end collectibles instead of going extinct outright.
Playing with Steel Core brings a smile to my face, he's just such a neat, awesomely constructed toy. He's a robot, he changes into a vehicle and his little pack-in robot (or is he the pack-in...?) can sit inside and pilot him. A truly FANtastic toy!
Honorable Mention: MotoBot RC (Perfect Effect)
Best of Marvel Universe: Beta Ray Bill
Honorable Mention: Incredible Hulk (new)
The Incredible Hulk! This new version introduced a slightly smaller build with better articulation in his legs and an aesthetic that looked good with comic and movie figures alike.
Best of Transformers Prime: Vehicon (RID)
Hard to believe, but the nameless, sparkless, Decepticon troopers received the best figures in the TF Prime Robots in Disguise series! I can't believe I never got around to reviewing it this year, but I did manage to buy
Honorable Mention: Cliffjumper (FE)
Best of Transformers Generations: Protectobot Hot Spot
(Photo and review by SirDragonBane at Chase Variant)
Honorable Mention: Wheelie
Hasbro proved that "fanboys" can be open to new takes on existing characters and not over-analyze the fun out of these toys. Wheelie was my favorite GDO Gen figure until Hot Spot came along, but that doesn't make him any less fun. A creamy/cool color scheme, my favorite classics mold and a crazy slingshot/blaster weapon combined for an awesome release!
Best of WWE Elite Collection: R-Truth (E15)
This one really caught me by surprise. When thinking back to all the Elite figures I picked up this year all my favorites were "Flashbacks", so I decided to count those in the Legends category and re-examine the modern Superstars in the line.
I skipped the first two Elite R-Truth figures because I just didn't care for him much, but when the E15 version was revealed, I thought it was a great rendition. The crazed, wide-eyed stare. The lil' Jimmy-proof vest. The intricately-detailed paint apps on his pants. This figure stands out to me as the best in the Elite line this year for all those reasons. That says a lot considering Mattel gave us great new updates of John Cena, Kofi Kingston and Zack Ryder along with impressive debuts from Brodus Clay and...
Honorable Mention: Sin Cara (E18)
My runner-up pick is SC's second release featuring him in his white and gold attire. Masked figures lose a lot of expression in the face, moreso when the mask fully covers their head, but Sin Cara's kinetic costume design makes up for it. I'm not a fan of his debut blue attire, but white & gold create an elegant look that I couldn't resist!
Best of WWE Legends/Elite Flashback: "Macho Man" Randy Savage (nWo)
The RSC-exclusive "NWO" Macho Man delivered an impressive level of paint detail using the what is usually the hardest color contrast for action figures (black and white) and new accessories to compliment those already established for Savage figures. He faced some stiff competition including fellow nWo member, Kevin Nash, the pink-attired Bret Hart (almost won on the merits of his paint deco alone!), debut Kane, Papa Shango and SCSA with two belts!
Honorable Mention: Mankind
The runner-up is Mick Foley's most famous persona, the deranged and eventually comedic Mankind. If you really think about it this toy is two figures in one!
Best of the Rest: Nickelodean's TMNT
The figures look great and move well, and best of all are super-fun to play with! Good job, PM!
Honorable Mention: RoboCop (Spring-loaded holster)
NECA worked hard for those '80s-geek dollars with amazing offerings from The Terminator and Predator movie franchises, however my top 1980s sci-fi film is the 1987, Paul Verhoeven masterpiece, RoboCop! This year saw NECA release three different versions of the titular hero: battle-damaged, Night Fighter and this release featuring a spring-loaded holster. The only reason it wasn't my pick for BotRest is because it should have been the initial RC release last year.
Best Action Figure Accessory: ADR's Chihuahua
Best Vehicle or Playset: MU S.H.I.E.L.D. Super-Helicarrier
Best Action Figure line: WWE Elite Collection (including Flashback)
Best Toy-related Podcast: Action Figure Blues podcast
Worst of the Year: MattyCollector/Digital River
Where to start? Why even bother? Hell, I was only going to designate Mattel's Voltron as the worst of the year, but my torment didn't end there so I lumped in the whole website and the funky organization that runs it. The mishandling of WWE Legends, delayed deliveries, the most horrible customer service ever, the club subscriptions debacle... God, it just goes on and on. It's hard to believe the company responsible for this also produces the best wrestling figures at retail.
Dishonorable Mention: Bandai's ThunderCats
Mattel might be tempted to say, "Ha, guess we're not that bad after all!"... yeah, they'd be wrong, but Bandai was closing in on their title.
Best Toy of 2012: Hercules (TFC Toys)
Yeah, I totally cheated with this one! What was released as six separate robot toys combined to give G1 Transformers fans the biggest version of Devastator ever! TFC Toys devastated (pun intended!) all previous, official versions of the Constructicons and put themselves and the idea of large, multi-part 3rd party combiners on the map. Hercules wasn't perfect, but the TFC was quick to correct some major QC issues with the toy and proved how committed they are to customer satisfaction.
And there it is, my picks for the best (and worst) of the year. There were some notable franchises missing like DCUC, Marvel Legends and MotUC. While all of those surely had some great figures this year, the took the backseat in my collection and therefore were lumped into the "Best of the Rest" category.
Stay tuned for my "Toy Wishes for 2013" post in the next week or so where I'll share what I'm most excited for during the next 12 months!
That's a wrap on 2012, folks! Happy new year and see you in 2013!