Well, that year went fast! It feels like just yesterday that we were getting our lists together for the best toys of 2011. This year I got a helping hand from Ian Gonzales, who took time from curating tomorrow’s best comics list comb through his own favorite toys. Perhaps because of that there is a distinctly robotic theme to the toys we’ve picked. Here’s to our mechanical friends of 2012!
Best Super Hero in Four Inches
In a scale ruled by G.I. Joe, Hasbro shrunk the heroes and villains of Marvel Universe to four inches and has put out a ton of great figures over the last few years. This honor can go to Ghost Rider or Thanos or even some of the two packs, but it’s difficult to pick just one. I have to give a special mention to their play sets. Year 1 had a talking Sentinel that was huge in comparison to the regular figures, year 2 gave us a large Galactus who almost nabbed Toy of the Year and year 3 brought the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier from The Avengers. This is the next best thing to a modern equivalent of the G.I. Joe aircraft carrier as it measures 3 feet long!
Best Reanimated Robot in Six Inches
As much as I would have picked The Walking Dead again, their figures, while they look great, didn’t seem as groundbreaking as the first run, so this goes to the Transformer Cliffjumper. As Ian said to me in an email, “They may have killed him in the show, but you can’t keep a bot voiced by Casey Kasem and the Rock down.” So true. Cliffjumper the toy is modeled after a 1970 Dodge Challenger and, when transformed, looks closer to his cartoon counterpart than I’ve ever seen on a Transformer figure.
Best Judge, Jury and Executioner in Eight Inches
I really liked NECA’s Jason from Friday the 13th. They produced a number of different versions this year like The Final Chapter version complete with machete gash, but in the end, I agree with Ian’s pick. He chose NECA’s RoboCop figure and for good reason. Not only is this possibly the best looking RoboCop figure to date but it has a special feature that can’t be overlooked. His right thigh actually opens to reveal his Auto 9. How cool is that?
Best Mad Scientist in 12 Inches
Over the vast array of 1/6th scale figures released over the year, there is one standout. Ian made a valiant fight for Hot Toys Jack Nicholson Joker. Between the likeness and all the accessories, its hard not to pick it, but I chose another Hot Toy release: Iron Monger. It’s not the coolest character in the world, but the massive size, light up effects and detail forced my hand. This beast is 17.5 inches tall, has light up repulsers, ARC reactor and eyes and has an opening chest that reveals Obadiah Stane. It wasn’t a photo with all his weapons blaring that got me, it was a photo of the Monger holding up an Iron Man figure by the head that sold me on the sheer awesomeness of this monster.
Best MacGuffin Device Prop/Replica
NECA wins again with the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device. While I am not a Portal fan, I know many a member of Team Unwinnable is. If nothing else, most of us would love to have one of these at home or the office so that they can open up a portal and be gone. NECA did an outstanding job ripping this device right out of the game and into our hands.
Best SDCC/NYCC Exclusive
It’s no surprise that Ian and I would both vote for the Shockwave deco H.I.S.S. with Constructicon colored B.A.T. as the best convention exclusive. We both voted for the Starscream Skystriker last year and we are both fans of G.I. Joe and Transformers. I think both toys are the best examples of a toy based on a crossover. Like the Skystriker, it comes in a comic book box and also includes Destro, Energon cubes and a boom box with 3 cassettes (Soundwave anyone?).
Toy of the Year 2012
Up until a few days ago I didn’t have a Toy of the Year. That is, until I logged into Instagram and saw something amazing: some of Team Uwinnable ventured out to at midnight on Christmas Eve to see the shopping chaos and discovered the Toys R Us exclusive Millennium Falcon (creepily modeled by Chuck Moran on the right). It is wrapped in the vintage Kenner packaging but is much different than the one my brother and I got on Christmas in 1979. The modern version is ridiculously loaded with details, lights and sounds: light-up cockpit, medical bay, secret compartments, auto-opening ramp, light-up Dejarik table, missile firing weapons and a mini fighter. Whew, its chock loaded with features to explore and, at $249.99, it better be.
Follow @Kursse for Toy Fair 2013 updates and a look out his new video series, “It Came From the Vault.” Special thanks to Ian Gonzales for some last minute inspiration. For comic and toy talk, find him @IanGonzales on Twitter. Photo of Chuck by Stu Horvath.