MWC's Picks for
Best/Worst of 2004
I wrapped up the voting for the People's Pick
Awards for 2004 today, and I'll be tallying up the results and contacting
the winners this week. But once the voting is done, I always weigh in
with my choices and comments on the year that was.
what a year it's been - retailers dropping like flies, and some companies
doing the same. Others finding a way to make a big splash in a
shrinking pond, and some tied up in the icy tentacles of litigation.
There's been some surprises, that's for sure, and it looks like 2005 is
going to get tighter before it gets better.
who rose above the pack? Here's my thoughts - let me know if you agree
The Best Overall Company
This was easily the toughest category for me to pick this year. Other
categories, like Best Male or Best Line, had clear stand outs for me.
But Best Company? Most of them were getting squeezed so tight that
their output was reduced, and very few of them had both consistent and an
overall stellar year.
like Mezco and SOTA did some great work, but only a little. They are
going to get rewarded in other categories for that work, but it wasn't
enough output to land them at the top of this category. And some, like
Hasbro and Mattel, whom I've never considered for this category before,
actually came out with some truly great work. Other dark horses
included Diamond Select, DC Direct (who have really improved this last
year), and Plan-B Toys, who didn't produce a lot but always do great work.
of my old standbys fell to the wayside too, like Toybiz. Their work on
LOTR and Marvel Legends is still amazing, but there's no way I can place
them in this category with the Marvel Legends chase issues.
who's the winners? Let's start with the Bronze medal -
Palisades. They were the big winners last year, and have been in the
top three for the previous two years. While the work they do is still
outstanding, there just wasn't as much of it this year. The Muppets
was their clear winner, and with the Backstage playset, Sweetums, Adventure
Kermit, and the Jim Henson Muppet figure, they will be top picks in several
other categories. Other lines weren't as successful, with Crittaz
bombing, but Palz turned out pretty sweet, and their work in mini-busts and
statues was excellent.
silver goes to a company that has been in the top three every year since
2000 - Sideshow Toys. There were figures that I didn't like this year
(can you say Faith?), and their quality was off at times. But if you
look at the overall body of work - Planet of the Apes, James Bond, Hellboy,
Modern Horror like Freddy, Jason and TCM, Buffy, Van Helsing, X-Files, and
the Civil War and historical figures - you have to be truly impressed.
And while the market has toughened up for everyone else, Sideshow seems to
be able to continue to produce tons of figures direct to the
collector. Not only are the figures great, but they have the business
savvy to make it through tough times.
the big winner may come as a big surprise - NECA takes the gold. They
continued the cool, bargain priced statues through their Marvel Collector's
Club, they branched out into the 18" market in a big way with Jack
Sparrow, Aragorn, Legolas, Freddy, The Crow and , produced two of the best
boxed sets of the year with Freddy vs. Jason and The Night He Came Home,
gave Ghostbuster's fans the coolest Slimer they'll ever see, captured and
produced on some hot licenses like Kill Bill, Nightmare Before Christmas and
Pirates of the Caribbean, and continued some of their standbys like
Hellraiser. They had consistent output all year long, and while there
was the occasional miss, the majority were top quality.
Best Overall Line
There were a ton of choices this year, much more than you would have guessed
considering how few retailers there are. DC Direct was doing a great
job with lines like Hush, Mattel did a great job with both The Batman and
the comic based Batman line (too bad it's dead), and even Hasbro brought
Star Wars back to life with some creative thinking.
But even with dozens and dozens of choices,
there were three lines that really stood out for me. Bronze goes to
the 8" Hellboy line from Mezco. Here was a movie that was okay,
but nothing all that exciting, and yet I found myself buying the entire
first series of figures. Why? Because they were just so damn
cool. Mezco managed to crank out a second excellent series before the
year ended, listening to the fans and giving them the characters they were
most interested in.
The silver medal
goes to Street Fighter from SOTA. Here's a company with tremendous
possibilities, and they produced a hit line even on an old property that's
been already done many times. With some fantastic articulation and
excellent sculpting, they managed to get Street Fighter fans excited again.
there's the gold. This year, and probably for the last year, it goes
to the Muppets. Here's a line that lost retailer support in 2004, and
yet still gave us three of the coolest figures of the year in Sweetums,
Adventure Kermit and Jim Henson. It doesn't look like the line will be
a big influence in 2005, but in 2004 they still managed to produce some
Best Mini-Figure Line
There have been so many new mini-figure lines produced in the last year
that I figured I just had to add a new category. It just wasn't fair
to lump them in with the very different style of figures in the larger
Bronze was easy. I've been hoping for
mini-figures of my favorite DC Comic characters, and Art Asylum came through
with the C3 building sets and figures. Okay, the sets weren't perfect,
and I still have nightmares from putting together the Batcave. But the
figures themselves combined the best of mini-mates with DC, and that made me
Silver was easy as well. I was less
than impressed with the Buffy Palz when I first picked up the Suncoast/Media
Play exclusive three pack, but once I had the regular figures with all the
ultra-cool accessories and transforming action, I was hooked. Now I'll
be picking up the whole line, and I'll be giving the X-Files version a much
Mez-itz are actually my favorite style of
mini-figure, with the little sculpted heads and nifty style. There
weren't enough of them for my liking this year, but the Hellboy set was fun,
and the second Monster set was a winner.
Best Male Figure (18")
This year saw a much larger number of figures in the quarter scale, done
in all plastic and also in Sideshow's 'mixed media' style. Almost all
of them were top quality though, so making the picks was a little tougher
than I'd anticipated. NECA could have made a sweep here, but Sideshow
and Mezco managed to jump in there as well.
Bronze goes to Spider-man from Toybiz.
You won't have too many more articulated figures in your collection than
their 18" version, yet all those joints were tight and useful.
Here was a surprise figure that popped up with very little fanfare, but
became tremendously popular with collectors and kids very quickly.
Silver goes to NECA for Jack Sparrow. They
actually did a number of great 18" figures this year, including Michael
Myers, the Crow, and Aragorn, but my favorite is Jack Sparrow, hands
down. With two different head sculpts to choose from, and a great
choice of voice lines, this is currently one of my favorite figures all
The gold goes to Mezco, for a figure they
produced many months ago - Hellboy. This big, rotocast bad boy was
impressive when it hit back in March, and it's still impressive almost a
year later. With a combination of cloth and plastic, Mezco managed to
approach the level of style and sculpt of the much more expensive Sideshow
quarter scale. The Hellboy line in general was Mezco's major diamond
for 2004, and this figure was one of a couple of their best.
Best Male Figure (under 12")
The market continues to boom for Dragon, bbi, Sideshow, Ignite and
others, but it was still easy for me to pick my favorite three.
Bronze goes to the Knight of Outremer from
Ignite. I love the historical warriors, and while Ignite's stuff is
damn expensive, it's pretty much worth the high cost.
Silver is given to Leatherface from Mcfarlane.
He's not a traditional sixth scale figure, but they did an excellent job
bringing the gruesome cannibal into this scale. You can't argue with
the amazing sculpting, although the lack of articulation puts some folks
Gold goes to Sideshow - is it any surprise
considering this category is their specialty? They produced a lot of
good male figures this year, but Black Beard, another historical figure, is
the stand out for me. With an excellent expressive sculpt, and great
outfit and accessories, he stands out on my shelf and draws comments on a
Best Male Figure (under 12")
Here's another category with a billion choices - but this one was really
easy for me. There were a handful of figures that leaped out from the
pack this year as truly outstanding.
is awarded to the 10" Battle Troll from Toybiz. This is the best
ten bucks you could have spent this year, and a perfect example of how to
use rotocast to get a larger scale figure produced for a reasonable cost.
The silver goes to Slimer
from the Ghostbusters line. He's just about as perfect as you can get,
and is one of those figures that remains on my shelf even after the rest of
the line is in a box. He goes great with other 'monster' lines, and
has the kind of paint and sculpt quality that proves NECA is here to stay.
the gold goes to da man - or da frog...it's Adventure Kermit. This
figure has it all, with an amazing sculpt, excellent articulation and
accessories, and a combination of two of my favorite licenses, Muppets and
Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was a brilliant idea, and it makes me
smile every time I see it. What more could you ask for?
Best Female Figure (12")
You might notice that there's no best female in the 18" category this
year. That's because there was only one that I know of - The Bride
from Kill Bill. When you're the only guy on the ballot, you pretty
much have it locked up.
But there were plenty of 12" females
this year, especially because of Sideshow's work. It should be no
surprise that most of these awards, at least for me, end up with them.
bronze goes to Asuka from the Cy Girls. bbi continues to produce some
bad ass females in this series, with great articulation and tons of
Silver does go to a Sideshow
figure, Vampire Willow. There were a few minor issues with her
costume, but she was one of those figures that showed just how much the
company listens to the fans. They weren't happy with what they saw
with the original prototypes, and let them know. Sideshow reacted, and
fixed the issues that were pointed out, producing a figure that Buffy fans
were very happy with.
Sideshow gets the
gold too, but some folks are going to disagree with me. I think the
likeness on Scully is one of the best they produced this year, capturing her
far better than any company had before. It also helped that the
costume and accessories for the X-Files line has been top notch.
Best Female Figure (under 12")
There are never as many female figures to choose from as male, and
that's just a fact of life I suppose. But there were enough this year
to certainly make things interesting, especially with DC Direct providing
tons of female superheroes and villains.
up is the bronze for Willow from DST. Sort of fitting, since that's
the club they hung out in back in Sunnydale. I was really surprised by
the exceptional head sculpt on the smiling version, and it is the best
Willow I have in my collection so far.
silver goes to one of those comic villains - Catwoman from Microman.
The figure shows off some amazing Microman articulation, with tons of fun
and play value. Not everyone is thrilled with the particular style of
Catwoman, but you can't argue with how cool the Microman figures have been.
the gold goes to Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas. Here's
another line that had already been done, and yet NECA found a way to do it
better. Excellent sculpting, fantastic articulation, and a great
assortment of movie specific accessories made Sally my favorite lady of the
The chasm between articulation and sculpt continues to widen, with more
people polarizing on either side. Fortunately, several companies this
year stepped up and proved that you could have both.
Most people only think of sixth scale
manufacturers in this category, but let's face it - the 12" figure body
peaked about 4 years ago and has made very few new strides since.
However, I'm giving bronze to Sideshow because of the very cool wrist and
ankle joints they they've used with their figures, and for a couple other
innovations this year like the swappable head on Trevelyan from the Bond
line, and a greater use of the ball jointed neck on several of their lines.
silver goes to a dark horse - Plan-B Toys. Too many folks overlook
their military and emergency worker lines, not realizing how great they
are. They find ways to add useful articulation and still manage to
maintain fantastic sculpts. Ladder 49 might not have been a box office
smash, but the figures from Plan-B were excellent.
the gold goes to...SOTA. There's no denying how cool the articulation
was on the Street Fighter line, but SOTA does that with everything they do,
including the Riddick figures from last summer.
Every year the bar gets raised in this category. Companies keep
pushing the envelope on the quality of the sculpting, going way past toys to
create true art in plastic form. Of course, while this award goes to
particular companies, many of them are using the very same sculptors to do
the work. Still, if it wasn't for the vision and perseverance of the
company, many of these figures would never look as good as they do.
giving bronze to Palisades. They consistently deliver quality
sculpting, although their licenses aren't perfect for everyone. It
took awhile for us to get the Invader Zim figures, but once we did, they
proved again they could capture even the most difficult likenesses.
hangs around the neck of NECA. They produced many amazing works this
year, with fantastic sculpting. And because they are doing some
figures that had been done before, you can clearly see how far sculpting has
come over the last few years.
giving the gold to the company that remains champ in this category -
Mcfarlane Toys. They didn't have a big year for me, since most of
their lines were more hook and pegleg than innovation and creativity.
But it doesn't have to be a line I find interesting for me to see the
amazing quality of the sculpt. Who else could actually make an old man
in a wheel chair cool?
Some folks think packaging doesn't matter, but of course it does.
Otherwise, they'd just stuff it in a plain white box. The package has
to be both functional and artistic, providing a safe and secure method of
selling the figure, and also catching your eye on the peg. Some
companies do this far better than others.
Mcfarlane gets the bronze this year. I
am a fan of the clamshells of course, but McToys has done an excellent job
all year with tremendously attractive inserts. A few instructions
would be nice now and again, but for the most part their packages do
everything they need them to and more.
goes to Sideshow. Okay, I complain now and then about minor issues, but
overall their boxes are truly works of art in themselves. With
fantastic use of text and graphics, and an eye for collector friendly
packaging, they manage to produce the best sixth scale packages on the
The winner of the gold might be
a surprise - Hasbro. What? How could that happen? Simple -
Vintage Original Trilogy Collection. Going with the old style
packages, with great new figures inside, was a brilliant idea. They
didn't swamp us with it either, only doing a small set. It was one of
the best ideas this year, and certainly one of the niftiest package
Best vehicle/play set
Play sets continue to be big this year, and companies are getting more and
more creative with diorama type settings. With figures becoming more
art than toy, it only makes sense that the original concept of a play set
for 'play' has switched to a diorama for display.
Bronze is going to Playmates this year, for
the World of Springfield Town Square. I'm doing this partly out of
nostalgia, since with the end of the line came the end of an era. The
Town Square was far from the best play set ever produced in the WOS line,
but it was still pretty damn good - and a fine way to end.
goes to another one of those dark horses - the Kluger Mail Truck from
Playing Mantis. This cool vehicle from their Santa Claus is Coming to
Town line was a surprise to me. With their usual flair, they produced
the perfect vehicle for this Christmas classic.
bet you think I'm giving the gold to the Backstage play set.
Nope. It was a close call, I'll admit it, but the Night He Came Home
diorama from NECA looks just so damn cool on the shelf, that I had to give
it the nod. I know a lot of folks will disagree with me on this one,
but I think the sculpt on both figures is perfect, and the creative design
of the diorama works extremely well.
Best New Idea
I am a little disappointed looking back at 2004 and original ideas.
There just weren't a whole lot, at least not like there had been in the
previous three or four years when the market was really booming. There
were still a few concepts that worked well though.
goes to the 18" quarter scale craze. Companies had tried it
before, but without much success. But now with Mezco, NECA and
Sideshow pushing the envelope on what could be done, it's really started to
catch on. I know I have a whole lot more than I ever expected to own!
giving the silver to the increase in the use of rotocast. Mezco and
Toybiz both really did a fantastic job producing figures in the 10" to
18" range using this manufacturing process. They managed to
improve the quality of sculpt and the types of joints that are possible, so
that it became an excellent alternative. Using rotocast, we've gotten
large figures cheaply that otherwise might never have been made.
finally, gold goes to the VOTC packaging. Yep, I already rewarded them
in the packaging department, but it was such a good idea that it was worth
rewarding them again. And let's face it, poor Hasbro gets so few kudos
from me that they might have a stroke with two gold's.
Now on to the Worst of 2004. Most
other sites don't pick worsts. Nobody wants to upset anyone, but the
truth of the matter is that not everything is a winner. It might be a
dirty job, but somebody has to point out the suckiest sucks of a suck.
Worst Overall Company
It's gotten harder to find worst companies - most of them have ended up
going bankrupt. That's the way the market works, and is a good
thing. Don't listen to the fans, and you lose.
This year, the award's are going to companies that managed to either a) seriously disappointment or b) piss me off with their goofy, backward ideas. Without further ado...
The tarnished bronze is awarded to Toybiz. I bet you can guess
why. The chase figures with the Marvel Legends were a bad idea from
the start, but they have no excuse. History has shown over and over
that chase figures are bad, and can actually kill an otherwise healthy
line. Still, companies refuse to believe it and repeat the mistakes of
The blackened silver goes to Disney. They almost redeemed themselves
with the Incredibles store exclusives, but I was far less enamored with
those than many folks. And their work with the Indy figures, I have
tremendous fears for what we might see with the Muppets in the future.
And the ultimate fool's gold goes to JAKKS. They've never been a
stellar company, but this year if there was a line coming out from them, you
could bet it would bomb. From their awful work on Van Helsing to the
disappointing work on Fairly Odd Parents, JAKKS was a name synonymous with
Think there weren't enough to chose from? Oh, I say nay nay! There were plenty, but fortunately not as many as in past years.
The bronze medal was slapped, then given to South Park. I'll admit
that I own every one of these figures so far - but that doesn't mean they
are nearly as good as they could be. I'm picking on them because they
could be so much more than they are, and like the average teenager, just
aren't living up to their potential. Don't you hate it when some old
man tells you that?
After a quick judo chop to the neck, silver was awarded to goes to Shrek
2. I don't want Hasbro getting a big head after those gold's for the
VOTC packaging. Shrek 2 is a fine example of everything wrong with the
average mass market toy line - weak sculpts, goofy action features, cheap
construction, and too expensive. Yuck.
A whole gang of other medals got together and stomped on the gold, before giving it to
the Van Helsing line from JAKKS. Ugh. Even at deep discount
prices, this entire series - both the 12" and the smaller figures -
were too expensive. Awful sculpts, cheap materials, and no play
value. They couldn't have done a worse job.
Worst Mini-figure line
This was a tough one - almost every mini-figure line is actually pretty damn
cool. But there are still a few that fall behind the others.
The brassy bronze is awarded to the
Freakables. I thought they weren't too bad, but some how Palisades
managed to miss the mark with these guys. They did a far better job
with the Palz.
The blackened silver goes to Shockinis.
I just don't get it, and never have. At least they aren't shoulder
And the faux gold goes to the Smitis.
It's not so much that they aren't good, it's that they are so damn
expensive. Perhaps going with bands wasn't the best idea for a
mini-figure line. And since I don't have any photos of Smitis...we'll
just go on to the next category.
Worst Male Figure (18")
This is a really tough call, because there really weren't any bad 18"
figures this year. In fact, it's such a tough call, that I'm not
picking any worsts. How can I? The work in this scale has been
universally excellent this year.
point out though that the high cost of the mixed media figures from Sideshow
has some folks grumbling. Then again, the quality of those big boys is
truly amazing, and I'll be getting at least one of the Star Wars figures.
Worst Male Figure (12")
Man...breaking these guys up into separate categories means an awful lot
more work for me. And I generally hate work. Oh well - I'll
There was a ton of sixth scale again this
year, and the market continues to boom for Sideshow, bbi, Dragon, Ignite and
others. Unfortunately, it's also a scale that sees its share of bad
Bronze is abused and given to Gandalf from
DiD. What is up with that bright silver hair? The outfit and
accessories are well above the weaker Toybiz version, but I simply can't
overlook the God awful paint ops on the head.
Sickly silver is going to Sideshow for their
Hellboy. Hey, they can't all be winners. With a combination of
shiny paint, poor sculpting on the Right Hand of Doom, and an undersized
body, he was the big miss of the series for them.
After gold gets drug through the desert, it's
handed over to the truly awful Van Helsing from the JAKKS series.
Some people actually found redeeming qualities in this figure, but I can't
see it. A cheap head sculpt, cheap materials, and truly awful body all
add up to the lamest 12" figure of the year. Let's not even see
another picture of him, okay?
Worst Male Figure (under 12")
It's good to know that there aren't as many choices in the worst
categories as there are in the best categories. Of course, there's
tons of stuff that ends up somewhere in the middle, but it's a pretty short
list of figures that really deserve worst awards. These three
definitely deserve it.
A medal that looks like bronze painted lead
goes to Quidditch Harry Potter. You didn't think I could completely
ignore this line, did you? Somebody decided to change the scale on the
figures, and killed the desire of anyone buying the figures to continue to
do so. This figure was a particularly goofy standout, but the overall
line was a huge disappointment.
The silver painted lead medal goes to the
Wolfman from JAKKS. What the hell was up with that rubber wolfman
suit? Who thought that was a good idea? Fire them. Now.
And the gold painted lead medal is given to
Otis from the House of 1000 Corpses. No, not the NECA version, but the
Stevenson Entertainment Group version from earlier in the year. NECA
has already released a great version of Spaulding, but SEG got to do the
figures first - and they sure screwed the pooch on this one. I didn't
even review this line, but a guest reviewer did, and when a guest reviewer
gives a figure *1/2, you know it's bad.
Worst Female (12")
Here's a category that's never hard to choose. Let's face it - screwing up
the female form in action figure style is almost an art form in itself. This
The scratched bronze goes to Sigrid Von Thaler from Armoury. You might
not have heard of her, and I never did a review, but trust me, she's butt
ugly. Her costume is actually pretty cool, but she has one of the
ugliest head sculpts of the year.
The dented silver the Barbie Catwoman. You know, I think I might have
saved Sideshow the disgrace of winning this category in the People's Pick
Awards by including the Barbie Catwoman in the voting, but that wasn't my
intention. I know a lot of comic book collectors bought this $50
Barbie, but let's remember that she's still just a Barbie, Catwoman outfit
And the old gold is awarded to Faith. See, that's the figure I think
would have won the People's Pick had Catwoman Barbie not been an available
choice (although I haven't actually totalled up the numbers yet).
Faith was one of those terrible combinations of a weak sculpt with even
weaker production paint ops. I love Sideshow, but everyone stumbles
now and then. Faith was their biggest stumble of the year.
Worst Female Figure (under 12")
This was a really easy category for me this year - three figures leapt to
mind immediately. These were figures so ugly that even their mommas
didn't love them.
The broken bronze is given to Go Go from Kill
Bill. Okay, so in reality the actress isn't quite as pretty as some
people remember her, but she wasn't quite that ugly either. On top of
it, the lack of articulation and awkward pose made for the weakest figure in
the entire Kill Bill line.
The sliced silver is awarded to the small
Anna Valorius from JAKKS. The entire line leaps out as one of the
very worst of the year, so it's no surprise that the only female produced
followed in the footsteps of the rest of the line.
And the grubby gold goes to the Bride from
the Haunted Mansion. This line was another fine example of the awful
work that Disney is capable of producing, and the Bride is a stand out of
imperfection. On top of that, she's expensive. You just can't
For some incomprehensible reason, some companies continue to demand that
sculpting and articulation can't live together. Some of them can do
it, and still make the claim. It just boggles the mind. There's
mostly repeats on this list from last year, so there aren't going to be any
Toycom/Mirage gets the bent bronze. Just look at South Park, with
almost zero articulation, and you can see what I mean. Satan actually
has a couple more points, but figures like Cartman's Mom can't even use her
accessory. I know the designs make articulation tough, but Playing
Mantis and Palisades figured out how to do it with tough cartoon lines too.
The mangled silver goes to Dusty Trails. They ranked higher last year,
but it looks like they might actually start delving into more articulation
in 2005 with the release of their 1/18 scale stuff. Time, and Toy
Fair, will tell.
Finally, the gold that turns your wrist green goes to Graphitti
Designs. Their big work this year was the continuation of the various
Clerks 'inaction' figures. It might be a cute marketing name, but it
doesn't make them anything more than big Homies. And yes, that's
actually an old picture of a Clerks figure from 2003, but they haven't
When it comes to sculpts, everyone is trying to meet the standard set by
Mcfarlane. Well, almost everyone.
Bruised bronze is awarded to Jazwares.
Here's the funny part - their Street Fighter figures are actually done by
SOTA! But they said let's go cheap, and when you go cheap, you get
what you pay for. It's too bad too, since a crappy release like that
can interfere with folks finding the better quality versions.
silver is awarded to Equity. They do great work for kid's meal toys,
but whenever they try to step up to the more expensive action figure market,
it just ends up looking like a kid's meal toy. They need to understand
it's a different market, and bring in some different thinking.
gold from the front tooth of Mike Tyson is given to JAKKS. They won
last year, and they win again. Van Helsing, FOP, and Universal
Monsters were enough to lock this one in for them again. The fact that
they tied up the mass market version of FOP, getting in the way of Palisades
being able to get their line out to a wider audience, only adds to my
Again, lots of people think this category doesn't matter, but then when you
see bad packaging, you know it.
was beaten down and then given to Disney. They managed to keep
themselves out of the worst sculpting category with the Incredibles line -
while it wasn't perfect, it was decent. But even on that line, they
went with difficult, plain, annoying packaging. Even when it's obvious
they put thought into it, they screw it up.
was used in awful ways, and then given to SOTA. While they did many
things right this year, the Street Fighter packaging was just bad. I
know, it's supposed to look like the game, but it just didn't work.
gold was greased up and tossed to DC Direct. DC Direct actually was on
the cusp of winning a number of the bests this year - I love my Hush Batman
- but the competition was just too stiff for them. However, the rather
plain boxes that they went with for many of their lines just didn't work,
and don't hold up well to shelf wear or storage.
There weren't too many awful vehicles or play sets this year, but that just
makes my job so much easier.
The bronze goes to one of the worst though -
the C3 Batcave. With pieces that didn't want to stay together, and
entire sections that simply wouldn't stay put, getting this together was
some of the most frustrating hours I've ever spent.
goes to another Batcave, this time from Mattel. With weak supports and
cheap materials, what could have been an ultra cool set ended up less than
And gold goes to the
Sandcrawler from Hasbro. It's greatest sin was it's price, but oh what
a sin it was. Sometimes ideas like that should never make it to
reality. Here's another one I didn't review, but a guest reviewer gave
it a less than average overall score - what does that tell you?
There never seems to be any shortage of stupid ideas. I blame the
concept of brainstorming, used in ways it was never meant to be used.
bronze goes to one of those bad ideas. Crittaz took a long time to hit
the market, and probably never should have. Perhaps it's time had
passed, perhaps it was the scale, or perhaps it was the price point, but the
little critters ended up as road kill.
already picked on Toybiz for the stupid chase figures, so instead I'll give
silver to Mcfarlane for his continued obsession with hooks and peglegs.
What is the deal here? Once is cutting edge, twice is repetitive,
three or more times is an indication that intensive therapy is needed.
of course the gold goes to the dwindling retailer scene. More and more
stores are pulling out of action figures, and 2005 won't be any better than
Most looking forward to in 2004
Okay, enough of all that negativity. Now for a little more positive
The three things I'm most looking forward to,
in no particular order:
- Sesame Street from Palisades. Woo-hoo!
Let's hope they can transfer the magic of their Muppets line to this
property, and give us a Snuffleupagus in scale.
Pirates Mez-itz. These guys remind me of Playmobil on steriods.
I'm hoping we see not just figures, but the ship as well.
Batman's Rogues Gallery from DC Direct. I love Kelly Jones artwork,
and I love the extreme versions of Batman's most non-human villains.
Companies to watch
Last year, I told you to watch NECA, SOTA and Majestic. Pretty good,
eh? Pay attention to what I'm telling you this year.
is still a company to watch. They didn't do a whole lot in 2004, but
they have the Battlestar Galactica and Vincent Price figures coming up in
2005, and I think people will be surprised by the quality.
might make another big splash with collectors with the King Kong line, if
they handle it right. It's tough to do a line that appeals to kids AND
adults, but this is the perfect license to pull it off.
the announcement of 1/18th scale figures from Dusty Trails, they might do
something interesting next year. The jury is still out on this one,
but I have high hopes.
So there's my choices. *whew* That took some serious
thought, and now I'm going to go lie down. There were plenty of other
lines and figures, and it was tough to whittle it down in some categories,
but I did my best. Let me know what you think about my picks, and I'll get
working on tallying up the results of the People's Picks this