Wow, am I late with this thing. Frankly the only reason I’m even doing it is to placate my obsessive-compulsiveness–there must be a PPF for every year, even if it takes me three months into the following year to do it.
[toc title=”Table of Contents” class=”toc-right”] Anyway, you know the drill–these are not at all what I consider the best toys from 2011. They’re simply my favorites. I find objectively trying to determine the “best” toy a fun but ultimately fruitless endeavour, destined to be argued over endlessly.
I’m sure this will be a largely surprise-free PPF for anyone who reads the blog with any regularity, so let’s just get it done.
For your edification, here are the earlier PPFs:
Favorite Action Figure Line
As I said, no surprises here. Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC) dominated my 2010, as it did for many collectors. Mattel upped the ante by adding large figures like Battle Cat and Tytus, as well as offering display stands, DC vs. MOTU 2-packs, and army builder 2-packs. The degree to which you liked these toys may vary, and obviously there were many, many problems with availability, but they represented an exciting ramping-up of the toyline–one that will continue this year with the addition of the Grayskull Weapons Rack and the vehicle, whatever it may be.
Why do I love MOTUC? It’s a bit hard to define how the line appeals to me. I love the large, chunky feel of the figures–they really do remind me of the toys I had as a kid. Unlike some collectors, the consciously retro styling of MOTUC appeals to me, in a way I imagine isn’t too different than those who collect the Galactic Hero/Super Hero Squad-style figures, or urban vinyls, or yes, even Mego figures.
If I could editorialize for a moment…I think there’s a tendency among some collectors to think that toylines need to become progressively more detailed, better articulated (though that’s often a point of debate), and often, more “realistic.” It’s a pattern seen in vintage MOTU to MOTU 200X, Secret Wars to early Toy Biz to Marvel Legends, and it’s something Hasbro has made a fortune off of, re-selling collectors the same Star Wars, GI. Joe, and Transformers characters in increasingly complex versions year after year.
And I’m no stranger to this idea, either. I loved MOTU 200X, but in retrospect I’ve come to realize that trying to make characters named Clawful, Two-Bad, and especially He-Man “badass” is something of an uphill battle. I find a certain joy in the way MOTUC embraces the obvious “toy-ness” of the characters.
Now, this one could be a bit of a surprise to you; there were a few other obvious candidates, particularly Battle Cat and Gygor. But Trap Jaw is the closest thing I have to a favorite MOTU character. Getting a new one with extra articulation, including a full range of motion on the robot arm’s shoulder, bicep, and elbow, was the fulfillment of a childhood dream.
Runners-up: Battle Cat, Gygor
DC vs. MOTU 2-Packs (Superman vs. He-Man, Lex Luthor vs. Skeletor)
This is always a hard category for me to do, mostly because I toss all my packaging and barely remember what any of it looked like. However, this year something did stand out: the DC vs. MOTU 2-packs. The sets made great use of the original Curt Swan art from those early DC one-shots, and for a while I even had the paper backing boards from behind the blisters tacked on my cubicle wall.
This one was tough. I don’t recall particularly enjoying any one review more than any other this past year. So, for no particular reason, I went Classic Predator.
Favorite Toy Website
2010 was a busy, somewhat tough year for me, and as such I didn’t spend nearly as much time browsing the Web as I used to. I did almost all my toy-related reading via Google Reader, and I have to say that there wasn’t one particular website I found myself visiting more than any other. I had my usual regular stops–He-Man.org, TNI–but they’re such mainstays it would seem odd to choose them.
However, there was one toy-oriented website who went through a big makeover and went from being outdated and obsolete to a fully-functioning blog: the Four Horsemen’s studio website. They now provide regular updates on the progress of their in-house toys, as well as keeping up with their Twitter account–all while crafting some of my favorite toys.
Favorite Pic of the Day
Crap, there are so many photos…why did I make this an award category?! Oh right, because it’s fun. Okay, wait here while I peruse 52 pages of photos.
OK, I’m back. The winner is:
I love the colors and action in this pic, and the classy way it evokes the cartoon colors on the original-comic figures.
Least Favorite Figure
I hate having negative categories, but let’s face it–they’re often the most fun.
Of the figures I reviewed this year, my least favorite was Temple of the Serpent Conan. Not due to any flaws in the figure, mind you; I gave it 4 stars, which is what I think it deserves for what it is–a plastic statue. But due to its near-complete lack of articulation, it spent a mere two weeks on display before being permanently relegated to the toybox (if anyone wants to trade/buy him off me, feel free to shoot me an email).
Finally, there’s the Poester Award! A few weeks back, I had you vote for your favorite toy among the ones I reviewed this year. And the big winner is…
BC won with 20% of the vote, which was mostly a duel between BC and Trap Jaw (who got 16%). Third place was a three-way tie (at 5%) between She-Ra, the Outer Space Men Alpha Waves and Grizzlor, of all figures.