TOP 12 ACTION FIGURES OF 2012
So 2012 is drawing to a close. That means it’s time for me to compile my annual top ten lists. I don’t care if nobody asked for them, I like to make lists. At the end of each year I always post my top 10 favorite movies and albums of the year on my personal facebook page. They usually tend to spark conversations and I love talking movies and music with folks. One year I posted a top ten list of my favorite comic book series’ but that didn’t get much attention because so few people really cared or even read comics. For this same reason I never would’ve attempted a top ten action figure list before because most people in my “real life” don’t care about such things. However since I started this blog a year ago I have attracted readers from all over the globe who share my love of small plastic men so I thought this would be the prefect place to compile and post a top ten action figure list. before I begin I should explain that I have some strict criteria when it comes to my lists. Only figures released in 2012 are eligible. If I was ranking toys that I received in 2012 then Cobra De Aco, Rancor and Invid would top my list. However since those all toys were released in prior years they are not eligible. Also I should have started from the bottom of the list and worked up to to my number 1 but I realized too late that I slapped this banner image together in the opposite order and now I don’t feel like fixing it so we’ll be starting with my favorite figure of 2012. The blurbs will be brief but each one will contain a link to the full review if you want more details. Lastly, because I had such a hard time narrowing it down to ten choices I cheated and opted to go with my top 12 of 2012. So here goes…
My number 1 pick of 2012 is Bombshell. Bombshell is one of the Insecticons, a faction of the Decepticons. I myself am surprised to have a Transformer top my list but I loved this figure from the moment I first saw images of it online and it was even cooler once I had it in my hands. This figure is actually not a licensed Hasbro Transformer but rather a third-party “homage” made by FansProject and it’s technically called Stormbomb for legal reasons. This thing looks amazing. The sculpting is killer, the colors are vivid and the real chain on the weapon is wicked cool. I showcased this figure on my facebook page to make sure people took notice of it. Just awesome.
My number 2 pick is the Shockwave HISS tank which was a San Diego Comic Con exclusive. Last year SDCC released a Joe Skystriker painted to look like Starscream which I thought couldn’t be outdone but then this year they combined my favorite Transfomer with my favorite Joe vehicle, added a ton of cool figures and accessories and totally blew Starscream out of the water. Only reason it isn’t #1 is because it’s still technically a vehicle and no matter how cool it is, a vehicle can’t trump an action figure.
My number 3 pick is Storm Shadow which is shocking to me. I like Storm Shadow as much as the next guy but he’s been done to death; I own dozens of figures of this guy. But that’s what makes this figure so great. Despite all that has come before this figure still feels fresh and cool. This is my favorite Storm Shadow figure ever released. The sculpting is superb, the minimal paint apps add just enough color to keep it from being bland and it just looks cool as all hell.
My number 4 pick is another Joe ninja and another San Diego exclusive, Jinx. Jinx was one of my favorite Joe characters and it seemed an absolute crime that she was not included in the 25th anniversary figure line. Personally I though Jinx and Zarana were the greatest omissions from the modern Joe line. Luckily I have both of those figures now thanks to the SDCC. This figure looks amazing and much more feminine than the original 80s figure. I love it and I’m tempted to open my sealed figure every time I look at it.
My number 5 pick is Leonardo of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The turtles have come back in a big way this past year and my nephews are all really into them which is kind of cool. I usually hate when they redesign properties from my youth to make them more appealing to modern audiences but in this case I love the new look of the turtles. I think they look better than ever. And the toys are vastly superior to the ones I had in the 80s. The range of movement and the detailed sculpting is excellent. Any of the turtles could’ve made my list but Leo has always been my favorite.
My number 6 pick is one of the Outer Spacemen, Xodiac. It was a little tough placing this guy on my list because I don’t have any real attachment to the character and including him meant bumping characters like Cobra Commander, whom I love, off of the list. But a list full of G.I. Joes would’ve been kind of boring and I just love how different the Outer Space Men are from anything else I collect. With their day-glow colors and clear plastic weapons and helmets they almost look like candy. They just look like so much fun and their lack of a back story makes my imagination fill in the blanks. I would’ve loved these figures when I was a kid.
I’m cheating for my number 7 spot by including two figures. The Black Spy and the White Spy of Spy vs Spy from MAD Magazine. I’ve never really been a fan of MAD but I loved Spy vs Spy. It was the video games I had on my Commodore 64 though that really endeared these characters to me. I think when Doug and I played the games we probably always used the same color spy every time but I can’t recall which one was assigned to me and therefore I can’t pick one over the other as a favorite. They came together in one box with a bunch of accessories and alternate hands. These figures are big, durable and look great on my shelf. Super cool.
At number 8 I’ve chosen Saga Turtle. This was probably the hardest pick I had to make. Regular readers know that I love the Beast Saga line by Takara. I received my first shipment a couple of months ago and new ones keep pouring in. They’re all great. I previously told you that Saga Finch was my favorite and he probably still is but I don’t think he’s the most representative of why this new toy line is so cool. I opted to include Turtle because he’s got it all. He’s cute, he looks likes a badass, he’s got great detailed sculpting, and impressive paint applications. It’s a turtle in a general’s hat. How can you not love this thing?
My number 9 pick is Bruticus. This guy may look familiar to you because I just reviewed him yesterday. Of all the figures on this list I realize his head shot looks the most boring. To really appreciate this figure you need to see his whole body. Bruticus is a Transformer Combiner which means he’s constructed of 5 smaller Transformers, in his case the Combaticons. While I found some of the individual Combaticon figures disappointing the sum of their parts makes for a really cool mega-figure.
My number 10 pick is Kraven the Hunter. This is another one that comes as a surprise to even me. Marvel Universe is probably my second largest collection after G.I. Joe and I’ve gotten lots of new Marvel figures in 2012. I’ve gotten so many great characters but unfortunately the quality of the toys is hit and miss. After looking at all the Marvel figures I got this year it turned out that Kraven was my favorite for a couple of reasons. He’s built well and free of the awkward joints that plague some of the other figures. The sculpt is excellent with some really nice detailing like on his vest. The paint apps are really well done and he has accessories which is a rarity in the line. It’s a great looking figure.
I love every single Master of the Universe figure that arrives in the mail. The sculpting, painting, accessories and articulation is always great. I could have included almost any MOTU figure from 2012 on this list but I’ve chosen to go with Drageo-Man. How could I not include the dragon man on my list? This is a brand new character created in 2012 and he is just so damn cool. All the things I mentioned (sculpt, paint, accessories, articulation) are very well done on this figure. My hat is off to the sculptors for this guy’s design. The head is menacing and he has a very impressive wing span and he didn’t cost any more than a standard figure. Love it.
The last spot on the list is a tough one. So many great toys to choose from. I’ll probably not agree with this pick when I look back at this list at a later date but as of right now I’m going with Wheelie. Wheelie is the most annoying Transformer character ever created and that is partly why I had to include him here. Hasbro took a god awful character who had a god awful toy in the 80s and transformed him into a very cool action figure. I like this toy for a variety of reasons but it’s greatest accomplishment is making me like Wheelie. It can be tough to sculpt some personality into a little plastic face but Wheelie’s got loads of it. His little smirk seems to say that he’s in on the joke, he knows how much he sucks but he doesn’t care. You gotta respect that.
So there you have it, my top 12 of 2012. Do you agree? Disagree? let me know in the comments section. There were so many great toys released this year that I could have probably made a top ten list of each individual toy line. Including only a single figure from lines such as Beast Saga, Marvel Universe and Masters of he Universe Classics was not an easy thing to do. There were so many runners-up such as Cobra Commander and the Red Ninjas, Hulk and Beta Ray Bill, Stinkor and the Snake Men, Saga Finch and Saga Bat, Atrocitus, Frankenstein and many more. Plus there was a slew of great 2012 toys that I won’t be able to buy until 2013. Well I hope that you enjoyed the list. See ya next year.