Category Archives: Uncategorized
Yesterday I posted my annual “best action figures of the year” list. In past years I’ve included Funko POPs on that list. This year I left them off because I simply got too many cool POPS in 2016 that they could have potentially taken over the entire list and lets’s face it, they’re not really action figures. Therefore I’ve decided to post a separate list naming the TOP 16 POPS of 2016. Since there were hundreds of these things released this year I cheated a bit and lumped a few of them together.
16. ELVIRA: MISTRESS OF THE DARK-I’ve always had a thing for Elvira. The whole macabre mistress thing just has an appeal I can’t explain. My buddy Miguel got me her autograph in Vegas a few years back and I later met her myself when she came to Halifax for a speaking engagement. She was very sweet and she still looked great. I’ve never owned any Elvira merchandise before other than some of her horrible movies so I was stoked to get this figure. Unfortunately the hair isn’t big enough and she doesn’t stand on her own very well. The standing would have been forgivable had Funko included a stand but they did not.
15. FIRESTORM-I know next to nothing about this DC character. I think he’s two guys living in the same body or something. I don’t really care but this figure was too cute to pass up. His translucent fire hair is pretty awesome.
14. GERARD WAY- This is the lead singer of My Chemical Romance as he looked during their Black Parade phase. They were one of my favorite bands and that was a great album. The gothic look of the Black Parade makes for a great looking figure. Funko also produced a “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” era Way which I passed on but I’m hoping for a Killjoys version in the future.
13. CAMMY-I was more of a Virtua Fighter guy but who doesn’t love Street Fighter? Cammy was one of my go-to characters whenever I played. Her military-thong was definitely a unique look that appealed to me for some reason. The blue eyes on this figure really make it stand out from the pack and I dig the braids.
12. SCARLET SPIDER-The clone of Spider-Man. This guy is a controversial character who has just returned to Spidey comics after his supposed death 20 years ago. I’m happy to have him back because I was always a fan even though the comics were a bit of a mess at the time he was introduced. The costume, a full body red unitard with a sleeveless blue hoodie overtop, is horrible even by super hero standards and yet I can’t help but love it. This POP was a Walgreens exclusive that I found while vacationing in Chicago a couple weeks ago. I normally don’t buy Marvel POPs because I don’t like their bobble heads but I couldn’t pass this guy up. Hopefully this doesn’t open the floodgates…
11. ALEX DELARGE-This character from Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was a must have for me. Alex is an iconic film character with an interesting look and, most importantly, he is played by Malcolm McDowell. I’ve been a Malcolm fan ever since Tank Girl in ’95 (Why isn’t there a Tank Girl POP?!) This is a decent figure but the walking stick is a little long which makes him a little topsy turvy.
10. CONAN & RED SONJA-I’m not a die-hard Conan fan but I saw the Schwarzenegger movies when I was a kid and I owned one black and white Conan comic book magazine. Even though my exposure to the character was minimal I thought he was the epitome of being a bad ass. I also enjoyed the spin-off Red Sonja movie as a kid, partly because I thought Brigitte Nielson was hot back then.
I always wanted to dive deeper into their comic books but there are so damn many of them that it’s hard to know where to start. Multiple versions of these guys were released as POPs this year. I went with War Paint Conan because I thought it made him stand out of the shelf better. With Sonja my choices were bloody or not bloody. I went with the first one I found (not bloody) because I was really excited to finally add these characters to my collection for the first time. They look great.
9. BATMAN-One of the very first POPs I got was a Batman. I thought it was so cute that it convinced me to buy a few more POPs and now look at me. I’ve started a collection within a collection when it comes to Batman because I’ve been collecting all the interesting variations of him. This year I got Dark Knight armour, BvS trench coat, Rainbow, and 3 villain imposter versions (Penguin, Riddler, and Harley Quinn). Why so many? I don’t know. I have a problem. Each of these Batmen are lovable in their own way, even the trench cost version from that awful awful movie.
8. CONOR MCGREGOR & ANDERSON SILVA-You might assume I’m not a sports guy because I have a blog about action figures. You’d be mostly right but I do love UFC. I’ve been watching for many years and these two are a couple of my favourite fighters. Silva is a soft spoken and noble warrior while McGregor is a cocky trash talking prick but they’re both a lot of fun to watch. I love how McGregor’s tattoos look on this little body.
7. STAR TREK CREW– After seeing Star Trek Beyond I developed a bit of a crush on the new alien character named Jaylah so I bought her POP figure. Then I though I should buy Chekov to display with her as a sort of tribute to Anton Yelchin (R.I.P.). The next thing I knew I had bought the whole damn crew. They look great together and even though they don’t have any facial features I can see the individual actors in each of them. For example, I can’t look at the Kirk and see William Shatner, just Chris Pine, even though a Shanter Kirk POP would be practically the exact same. Weird.
6. NEGAN-This is another POP that doesn’t stand up on his own very well which is annoying because it’s such a great figure otherwise. The fact that this figure has a moustache and goatee gives him more of a complete face than most POPs have and allow the sculptors to more realistically capture the actor’s likeness. It really looks like Jeffrey Dean Morgan who plays Negan on the Walking Dead. I love all the little details in this figure, especially the barb wire baseball bat and the 5 o’clock shadow. Never has such a disturbing character been so adorable.
5. BILL & TED– I watched the shit out of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure when I was a kid. Seriously, I watched it so many times. My brother and I could quote the whole thing and we often still do. It’s so awesome to finally have figures of these guys in my collection. I don’t think I ever would’ve bough lifelike action figures of these guys but there’s something about the POP format that makes everybody fun to own.
4. VOLTRON– This is probably the most detailed POP in my collection. I didn’t expect it to look this good when I heard it was coming out but it looks fantastic. It would be easy to forget that this even is a POP figure and not a standard action figure because it looks so good.All the bright colours and elaborate detailing really makes this figure stand out on the shelf.
3. B.A. BARACUS-I grew up watching the A-Team and B.A. as played by Mr. T was my favourite character. You may have noticed that I have a picture of my vintage B.A. action figure on the banner of this very blog. I missed out on the Clubber Lang from Rocky Mr. T so I’m stoked that I got this one. This look is far more iconic as this crazy getup is what Mr. T seemed to wear even when he wasn’t playing B.A.
2. WILLY WONKA-Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a fantastic movie and I loved it when I was a kid. Gene Wilder was magical as Willy Wonka but I didn’t realize just how special he was until I saw Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the character many years later. yeesh. Losing Gene this year made tracking this figure down that much more important to me. From the hat and the curls to the cane and the vest this figure is fantastic.
1. JARETH THE GOBLIN KING-This is another bitter sweet action figure. I loved Labyrinth as a kid. I saw it multiple times and replayed it over and over again via reusable stickers and background that came in Shreddies boxes back in the day. The film introduced me to David Bowie and he was captivating as Jareth. I’d always wanted an action figure of him so this was a must-buy even before Bowie’s death earlier this year.
In June 2014 I backed a kickstarter campaign to get some action figures made by Boss Fight Studio. I got an email from them this week stating that they’re about to ship the first half of my order. Needless to say, I am stoked.
Boss Fight Studio is a group of toy designers and sculptors who have worked on toy lines like G.I. Joe, Marvel, and Star Wars and for the first time ever they were planning to produce their own original toy line called Vitruvian H.A.C.K.S. The first series was to be based on characters from greek mythology. BFS’s goal was to raise $75,000 so that they could produce 4 high-quality action figures; 2 spartans and 2 gorgons. If they raised additional funds they would add additional figures to the campaign.
They raised $412,270 and that resulted in them being able to produce over 40 figures and I’m getting all of them; Spartans, Gorgons, Skeletons, and more. This line looks like it’s going to be absolutely amazing. When I got the email I quickly went about clearing off a shelf in my man cave. Then I hit up a pet store and picked up a bunch of aquarium pieces to add a little pizzaz to my display. Knowing they’re almost here has got my giddy with excitement. I’ve been waiting nearly two years for these things and i’m sure they’ll be worth the wait. Expect reviews as soon as they arrive.
I don’t consider myself a gamer by any means but I go through stints where I get hooked on certain video games. Civilization is all I play these days, but I’ve lost many hours to Golden Eye, Mario Kart, Pikmin, and others over the years. My early childhood pre-dated Nintendo. I remember when Atari was all the rage. We never owned an Atari when we were kids but we had a Commodore 64 computer and we owned hundreds of games on floppy disks. My dad would swap games with guys he worked with so he regularly brought home new disks with loads of new games on them. They weren’t very complicated games mind you. Many of them were just slight variations of popular games like Centipede and Space Invaders.
When the first generation of Nintendo and Sega systems hit retail it was a pretty big deal. The console games blew the Commodore games out of the water. We never owned either of the first-gen system but we rented them regularly from the corner video store (remember when you could do that?). The first system I owned was the 16-bit Sega Genesis. I had a decent library of cartridges but my favorite game was probably Road Rash. If memory serves, Mortal Kombat debuted on the 16-bit systems. I never owned the original Mortal Kombat (I was more of a Street Fighter fan) but my best friend Greg did and we played it at his house a lot between Mario Kart binges. My favorite characters were the ninjas, Sub-Zero and Scorpion.
The first version of Mortal Kombat that I ever purchased for myself was for the Sega Saturn system. It was called Mortal Kombat Trilogy and it contained all of the arenas and characters from the original game and the 2 subsequent sequels. The cast of characters had gotten quite large by then. I still liked the ninjas best but the designers had lazily created a bunch more identical ninjas just in different color costumes, somewhat diluting the coolness of the first too. There was the green ninja Reptile, the gray ninja Smoke, and the all black ninja, Noob Saibot. Even though they all basically looked the same I suppose the appeal of them was that they all had unique moves. I was never able to pull-off any of their special moves before Greg wiped the floor with me so I never really gained an appreciation for the ninja knock-offs based on their “fatalities”. I usually used Baraka anyway.
My Mortal Kombat Saturn disc never really got much use. I bought it second hand because I liked to have a large library of games to choose from when my buddies came over to play but I much preferred the Virtua Fighter 2 game that came packaged with the system. I was pretty over Mortal Kombat after the novelty of the first one wore off; the characters didn’t really “speak to me” and the live-action movies didn’t help much to draw me back in.
So when I saw this figure at Toys R Us last year I don’t know why I bought it. I never cared much about Mortal Kombat in general and this character in particular holds little to no nostalgic value for me. I think I was just in the mood to spend some money that day and they didn’t have anything better. They had 2 different series of MK figures, one was based on the most recent PS3/X360 version of the game while the other was based on the “Klassic” cartridge version. I bought the modern Sub-Zero and the classic Noob Saibot. If memory serves the other 3 Klassic choices were Reptile(identical figure in green), Sub-Zero (blue), and Ermac (red). So why choose Noob over Reptile or Ermac? No particular reason.
Side note: I did a quick bit of Wikipedia reading on this guy before I started this review and I discovered that he’s actually Sub-Zero back from the dead. So while I thought I was buying 2 unique characters I actually bought the same dude twice. I also learned that Noob’s stupid name comes from the last names of two of the games designers; Boon and Tobias. Now you know.
As far as action figures go, this guy is pretty bland looking. It’s sculpted in black plastic and there’s a dark shade of gray painted on. There’s also a couple dabs of mauve paint for his eyes. The paint apps are definitely nothing to call home about but it’s pretty faithful to his video game look, where he was essentially just a black silhouette. The sculpt is relatively dull too. There are no fine details to be had; no wrinkles or muscle definition in his costume. But again, it’s pretty true to the source material. I actually find his simple design more visually appealing than the more detailed sculpt on the modern Sub-Zero figure. The articulation on this toy is more impressive than you might expect. Where many toy companies are reverting to 4” figures with 5 points of articulation Jazwares opted to load this guy up with 14 points of articulation; enough to rival a modern G.I. Joe. He’s got ball-jointed limbs, a ball-jointed head, swivel joints at his ankles and wrists, and a mid-torso joint too. He actually blends in pretty well with a squad of modern Joes.
Was this guy essential to my collection? No. Is he essential to yours? Maybe. It really is a nicely put together figure. If you’re a big Mortal Kombat fan I would think that you’d like to have this guy on your shelf. I’m glad I picked him up. Besides, he was under $10 which ain’t too shabby these days. 7 out of 10.
While this site is devoted solely to my action figure collection I have many other collections as well, such as music and movies. I also have a sizable comic book collection which I hauled out in preparation of my coming move. Most of these boxes are full of old Marvel stuff. I haven’t missed an issue of Spider-Man since I was 8. I have full runs of Web of Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, Sensational Spider-Man, Peter Parker: Spider-Man, and many more. Not to mention approximately 500 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. Then there’s also full runs of Silver Surfer, Guardians of the Galaxy, and many other smaller titles.
Dragging all of these boxes out of the closets they were hiding in was exhausting and I feel I may have to do a serious purge either before the move or after. I’m not sure I’ll have enough room for all of these in my new apartment. The thought of letting anything go, even Super Pro, makes me sad.
I’ve got some sad news to report; I’m packing up the mancave. Vanessa and I have decided not to stay in our current apartment and we’ve begun looking for new accommodations. We’re hoping to give our notice by the start of February meaning I’ll be in a new apartment come March. In anticipation of the move I’ve already begun the arduous task of dusting off all of my figures, bagging them up individually with their respective weapons, and boxing them up. I know it may seem premature but I hate leaving things to the last minute and I want to ensure my figures are packed with care. My 2 G.I. Joe bookshelves have already been stripped bare. The packing up of my toys may mean fewer reviews for the next while. I do however have a decent backlog of photos already taken and I still have new toys coming in so hopefully that will be enough to keep me going during the transition period.
Farewell South Street mancave, you have served me well.
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.