First and foremost.....Happy New Year to all loyal readers & followers of The Rebel Page. The Rebel Crew wishes all of you all the joy and happiness of the new year. May all of your geeky wish and wants come true in '13! I can't think of a more fitting way to start 2013 than a retrospective look back into the various hits and misses (on pop-culture and others) I had throughout 2012.
Sit back, have a cuppa' and enjoy my 1st ranting for the new year.....
2012 gave us a whole bunch of exciting action figures. In a nutshell, let's see what rocked my world last year...
The MOTU Classics line started brilliantly with the release of heavy hitters/fan-demanded figures such as Shadow Weaver and The Sorceress but soon my interest towards the line dwindled towards the end of the year when Matty Collector/Mattel decided to release more and more obscure characters and 'concept' figures (*cough...Vykron.....cough*) rather than core characters. Heck, I even dig the Bubble Power She-Ra but soon after, Matty gave us a bunch of characters which did not even appear in the Filmation cartoon nor the mini-comics. Major bummer.
Of course, there were also the Ghostbusters' figures produced by Matty to which many felt were sub-par to say the least. I'm just glad we made it all the way thru to see Vinz Clortho and Zuul being produced for us (although I still haven't picked them up yet from my usual toy-pusher dude!).
Let's not forget the excellent 23" Voltron figure we've received from Matty. Finally, after more than a year waiting, we've ended up with the Black Lion to complete the Defender of The Universe! Matty was criticised for making the Lions to only be made available online. Many fans/collectors felt cheated because of the relatively high price slapped onto every each of the Lions....and let's not talk about the shipping charges imposed by the online store. Nevertheless I'm glad we get to finally complete them and that it's finally possible to build an 'insane scale' Voltron for our collection!
There were many permutations of the Transformers toys lately, mainly due to the different 'universe' aka cartoon series/video games being released to support the action figures (or the other way round!). Apart from my personal favourite Generation One era, we've come to see the TF Prime series on TV as well as the War for Cybertron and Fall of Cybertron video games spawning countless versions of our beloved TF characters i.e. the many toys that followed. I stayed true of course, to the ones released under the Gen One banner.
The 'new' Thundercats was a very promising line indeed (both the 3.75" line and the 6" line). I was really looking forward to collect the 6" new 'Cats but hope soon faded when the cartoon series ended prematurely. Heard it was cancelled due to poor ratings. What a bummer. I can only hope that the 6" 'Classic Cats' line will persevere (we've only got Lion-O and Mumm-Ra thus far) and not following the path of the doomed 'New Cats'.
Them VOTC Star Wars action figures are proving harder and harder to find at retail. Even if you do succeed in finding them, chances are they were 'under-stocked'/short-packed or simply didn't make it onto retail shelves at all. Really frustrating time to be a Star Wars collector.
Although I did get lucky a couple of times. In particular, my wife found me these 'myth'-like Darth Malgus - Starkiller - Shae Vizla figures for me!
On the 1/6 scale front, I must say I was pretty gutted this year for not having the dough to pick up most of my pre-ordered 12" stuff mainly because of certain circumstances which shall be best kept close to myself. Still, I managed to pick up several Hot Toys releases along the way so I guess it ain't all that bad....and considering one of 'em is the excellent Jack Nicholson Joker who is on the forefront of becoming one of the 'Toy of the Year' on many other established toy blogs, you can say that I'm rather happy I got him.
2012 also marked the "Return" of the Marvel Legends line. Yea, so Hasbro did take over from Toybiz all those years ago but they gave us sub-par 'Legends offerings, even Hasbro themselves wanted to forget those bleak period of mediocrity and promised to re-boot the line sometime in the near future. We got just that when the re-hashed ML line was released into retail (sometime late '11 actually for those in the States). But we Malaysians only got them en masse at retail pegs only recently circa October '12. While Wave 1 (the Terrax wave) was initially hard to come by....shortpacked and all, Hasbro did recently stocked the pegs with ample stocks....meant that EVERYBODY had a fair chance to cherry pick or get the full wave to assemble the BAF. Hail Hasbro and death to SCALPERS!
As for Marvel Universe, I just wish the same could be said on the availability of these smaller Marvel figures. They have been proven very elusive to find and it can sometime be heartbreaking to know that you simply can't find the figures you want. It's either they're ridiculously short-packed or them darn scalpers have already beaten you to them.....or sometimes BOTH. The MU line has given us some really excellent 3.75" figures this year.....trouncing the previous versions done by Toybiz, in particular...The Scarlet Witch (pictured below).
There were some interesting 'random' toy find during the year. There's this toy company called EMCE Toys and they had produced one of the most under-rated toy of the year....the 'army-men' -style zombies vs zombie hunter set! This proves that a toy need not be hundreds of dollars in value in order for them to be deemed 'cool'. The set was just USD8 and was such a fun set to have!
I also dig the 'unmasked' Andrew Garfield Spiderman from the Amazing Spiderman Movie Edition 6" line. Again, Hasbro short-packed this one coz I've only seen this twice on the retail pegs ever. Guess it's probably due to the fact that its a Walmart Exclusive.
The Marvel Select Hulk was also another absolute gem to have in your collection. Forget the 6" Walmart Movie Hulk...this is THE Hulk to have if you're planning to assemble your 6" Movie Avengers line-up. Sure it's a bit huge compared to your other standard 6" figure but hey....he's the Hulk....he CAN pull it off!
My main regret is that I wasn't able to snag any of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation figures because they were 'ridiculously' marked up by our local TRUs. Those who eventually crumbled and caved in had to fork out about USD20 to get EACH of these 3.75" figures.....madness. Anyway, I can't really understand why aren't we getting any of The Hobbits action figures yet here in Malaysia?? For goodness sake, the movie's out already!!! And where the heck are the TMNT figures (classic and new)?
The Rebel Page's TOY(S) OF THE YEAR award goes to.....
Let me just set this straight. In order for any toy to be considered as a 'winner' or a true gem, they must first be a part of my collection aka I must have actually bought them during 2012. So I won't be saying stuff like "Hey the Hot Toys Iron Monger takes the cake this year!" or "The winner's gotta be the TRU Exclusive Masterpiece Optimus Prime!" because I didn't get any of those (although I'm pretty tempted to get the latter sometime next year when TRU does mark them down...LOL).
And let me just reiterate that a toy need not cost an arm or a leg in order for it to qualify into your 'Best Of' list. Affordability, durability, ease of finding, fun factor are just but a few criteria you might want to consider before you start to list them down. Anyway, these are my top 3 pick (in no particular order):
1) The 'Return' of Marvel Legends line.....excellent crisp sculpt, great paint & superb BAF (thus far) makes 'em top choice for many collectors. Extra points for Hasbro for making 'em relatively easier to find in retail nowadays (heck, I even found a couple of Deadpool the other day amongst a pile of Wave 3 figures....on a weekend afternoon!)
2) Hot Toys' DX-08 aka Jack Nicholson Joker. Well, as I've mentioned earlier, I've only snagged a handful of HT figures this year but the DX-08 is a definite winner amongst them and deserves a spot in my overall top 3 award list. The resemblance to Uncle Jack is uncanny and that PERS (moving eyeball mechanism) is just too downright creepy! Costs quite a bit, being a DX and all, but once you have him in your hands you'd know that you've just bought yerself' a definite winner!
3) Matty Collector Voltron! Honestly, I haven't even got the chance to assemble all the Lions together yet to form the mighty Voltron, but you can catch reviews by other collectors on youtube and blogs out there. Sure, it was a pain in the rear to buy the Lions thru Matty's 'efficient' online store and that QC issues are just among the many complains received from fans from around the globe. But one must remember that once assembled, Voltron stands tall at 23"! The human pilots' figures are excellent...the likeness is pretty sweet and the Lions are very well designed too. I just knew from the start that this was gonna be a candidate for a spot in my 'Best Of' list for 2012.
****So, what about your top 3 choices (or 5 or 10 if you have the will to do so) for 2012? Let me know by providing me your url link here at the comment section of this article.****
Now, let's take a look at my other Favourites of 2012:
MOVIE - I'm a pop-culture geek through and through. So definitely in my books it's a toss between the Avengers and The Hobbit. Sorry, I personally felt that TDKR was quite a drag....
TV SHOWS - Again I can't make my mind up between these 2 excellent shows. Game of Thrones Season 2 left us at a cliffhanger (every geek's dream to finally have the world of supernatural/fantasy collide with the real world!)...really can't wait for Season 3! And yea...sure, Season 3 of The Walking Dead will only resume next February but it's already shaping to be the BEST Season thus far. Way to go!
Before I end......some personal thoughts of mine....
My ever present crusade against them 'scalpers' continue. There's just something disturbingly odd about someone who buys multiple of the SAME toy just to make a quick kill on eBay. *sigh*. Just the other day, my wife and I even caught some 'dynamic duo' (i.e. a scalper in action with his sidekick) at one of the nearby retail outlet swiping all 5 of the Hot Wheels Classic 'Adam West' Batmobile clean off the retail pegs. The fight goes on!!!
I'm ever so thankful to the Almighty for blessing me with such a sporting and equally geeky wife by my side. I will always have my 'lucky charm' with me wherever I go. 2013 will mark a greater start for all of us and our hard work in '12 will be justly rewarded. To those loyal colleagues around us who stood by us through all of the thick and thin, we just wanna say that you guys rock! You will always be remembered deep inside our hearts. To show our utmost gratitude, my wife thinks that she should give one Hot Toys figure to each and every one of you as a token of appreciation! That's just her.....once a geek, always a geek. =)
Then, there are those who I'd like to call as 'those-who-shall-not-be-named'. You people who disturb the balance of the Force, I find your lack of 'faith' disturbing. I just want youse to know that karma has a funny way of coming back to youse and biting you back (hard!) in the ass, no matter how hard you try to hide or run away from it.....ALWAYS remember that!
'Nuff said.......Happy 2013!!!