Whatever's cool with me...

Whatever's cool with me...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Rebel Page’s BEST OF 2014!

Coffee-holic Anonymous here I come! #cupofjoe #hangingout

I've been holding out from blogging on this subject for quite some time now. I remembered that for last year’s edition (Best of 2013), I had prepared the draft way in advance sometime in mid-Dec 2013. But that’s life. One moment you’d be constantly updating your blog and the next moment you could even forget that you even have one! I came across Michael Crawford’s page the other day and as usual during early January you’d be invited to cast your votes for the best pop-culture collectibles for his Poppies Award (I’ve already cast mine by the way) which would normally be posted sometime later in early Feb I think. So with that in mind I immediately set my goal of getting my ‘Best Of 2014’ out before the 2014 Poppies Award results come out!

Technically 2014 has relatively been a ‘slower’ year for The Rebel than 2013 in the collecting sense. I’ve actually achieved what I promised myself to do in 2014, which was to slow down on my 1/6 figures and to selectively cherry-pick MOTU Classics figures. I’ve basically bought most of the stuff I wanted to get and was even surprised to get an item which I thought I’d never get (due to budget and space constraint!).

Thereafter, I’d also share with you what I think were the best movies last year and not to forget some disappointments and low-points of 2014. Again, these are subjective and you may have your own different opinion altogether.

Let’s take a look at the best ‘plastics’ first...

What are my criteria?
As per previous years’ guideline, I’d like to say again that my Top 10 choices of best pop-culture items/collectibles were guided by several simple rules. First, price alone should not be the determining factor for determining an item’s standing in the Top 10 list. In fact, I feel that a toy should NOT be deemed as ‘THE Best’ simply because you had to sell your internal organs to get it into your collection! Secondly, ease of finding and equal distribution should play an important part in influencing entries of items into the list....but hey, we’re not living in a perfect world. Most of us collectors had to tolerate major bulls**** played out by major toy companies like Hasbro (their distribution is as efficient as the Dodo bird trying to avoid extinction!). Thirdly, I might even list a whole toy line/series/group of action-figures as among the best...it simply means that I can’t decide which of the figures inside a particular line/series/group is best among them all. Lastly, I have to actually own a particular toy before I can consider it to be part of my list.

In no particular order, here are The Rebel Page’s Best Action-Figures of 2014:

Sideshow Sixth Scale Darth Vader Deluxe

     1)   Sideshow Collectibles 1/6 scale Episode VI Darth Vader – I sold off my Episode VI Darth Vader to get this one. This is an obvious improvement from the earlier ‘taller’ version of the Dark Lord. I can’t imagine any Star Wars action figure enthusiast not wanting this one to replace the earlier version. This one came with a bunch of features that will make you drool with delight. Sure, if you’re particular on getting both versions (Ep IV and Ep VI) then by all means get both. Just remember that down the line Sideshow (or Hot Toys for that matter) might make an ESB version! Hot Toys had in fact just opened up their pre-order for the Episode IV Darth Vader. Anyway, coming back to the Ep VI Vader, I think he is a no-brainer for any Star Wars collector. He comes with a light-up base and a removable 3-piece helmet. Oh, didn’t I tell you that you could also make all his greeblies and buttons light-up just like in the movies! These three factors alone were enough to persuade me to get him....the Ultimate 1/6 Darth Vader!

The Shredder

     2)      Playmates TMNT Shredder– Sure. Call the movie what you want. ‘Bay-turtles’ might not sit well with many just like those awful ‘Bay-formers’ flicks. Now here’s the thing, my better half and our son loved the movie. For a moment there it almost didn’t feel like Bay had any hand in it. Almost. Anyway, I tend to agree that the radical re-design of the four brothers weren’t really in favour with most fanboys but if there’s a positive from the movie it’s gotta be the new Shredder design. While the action figure didn’t really 100% capture the look of the character as how he had appeared on-screen, he looks mean enough to trounce even the original Shredder toy. I did a bit of custom painting on the figure as my son complained that he didn’t look metallic enough like in the movie. This is one Shredder design that’s gonna knock your classic Shredder off your TMNT display shelf.

Rick Grimes & Shane Walsh

       3)      McFarlane’s The Walking Dead (TV Series) figures – I’ve been a devout collector of the line since I got my hands on Series 2 (Series 1 was virtually freakin’ hard to get back then). I love Robert Kirkman’s comics and AMC’s TV adaptation although the later seasons tend to go a bit long-winded. I tend to give credit where it’s due. If you’ve been following the line closely, you could probably see that McFarlane actually improved a whole lot on the sculpts and the articulations of these TWD figures as the Series progressed. We’re into Series 6 now (a bit unfortunate I still haven’t got ‘em shipped from the States yet) and I love to see McFarlane giving us most (if not all) of the core characters in plastic form, even those annoying ones too...*cough*Dale*cough*.

TIE Fighter Pilots

      4)      Star Wars 6” The Black Series – This line has effectively taken over my interest in the 3.75” line. As a matter of fact, I’ve not been seeing many of them around anymore lately save for some re-release figures i.e. Malgus, Starkiller, ESB Yoda etc. There were even a few ‘missing’ 3.75” wave so I think most Malaysian collectors are irritated beyond belief by now as result of our frustration. Come to the think of it, I think it’s all part of Hasbro’s devious plan to divert everyone to collect the 6” figures! But then again it is such a pain in the a**to find them out in the open. There are a few figures from the line that can be considered as mere myth because you simply can’t find them on aisle anywhere unless you bring a live Leprechaun along with you! Anyway, all the negativity aside, I’m really liking the 6” Star Wars figures even if some disgruntled fans always have bad things to say about them. I’d like to give a special shout out to the TIE Fighter pilots figure....these are bad a** and has got to be my favourite figure from the line thus far!

 Agent Venom
Guardians of the Galaxy #movie #moviebuff #marvel #geekshavethemostfun #actionfigurephotography

      5)      Marvel Legends Agent Venom and the Guardians of The Galaxy (GOtG) wave – As per the Star Wars 6” Black Series figures, getting your Marvel Legends figures into your collection is equally hard. Scalpers will try to beat you to the rarer ones first. But then again I totally blame Hasbro for their un-equal case distribution system. Why not try and make more of the popular ones or at least ensure all case to contain equal number of characters? This was the ‘case’ (pardon the pun) for the GOtG wave. Everybody was trying to scalp Nova for obvious reasons thus leaving many collectors unable to complete their Groot BAF. What a bummer. We Malaysians can’t even find Agent Venom at retail over here in Malaysia as we don’t have any Walgreens. Great figures by Hasbro...but only if you can find them first!

Madam Razz: Magical Witch of Whispering Woods
Rio Blast: Heroic Transforming Gunslinger
Two Bad: Double-headed Evil Strategist

       6)      Masters of the Universe Classic Madame Razz, Rio Blast & Two-Bad– It’s no secret that Mattel tries to push the MOTU Classic franchise to go beyond 2015 by producing a whole bunch of lesser demanded characters first as opposed to completing the core character line-up. It’s all part of their marketing strategy. But on the hindsight it creates more cherry pickers because I believe many are just trying to complete their core line up before the demise of the line. I’ve pulled the handbrake quite a bit too with these MOTU Classic figures but these four figures were done exceptionally well and are my favourites from the whole lot in 2014.

 NECA Planet of The Apes Classic Series 1

       7)      NECA Classic Planet of the Apes (POtA) line – This is one of the most highly anticipated line in 2014 for me. I resisted to get the ‘new’ Apes figures because I knew that once NECA offered us the ‘Classics, there’d be no turning back for me! Great sculpt, excellent accessories and the packaging alone is mighty impressive too. I’m so gonna collect every single figure from this line. No POtA fans should go without these. Imagine yourself holding on to these action figures while you re-watch the classic movies on your blu-ray....bliss!

NECA ED-209 - Robocop movie
NECA 24" head-to-tail Electronic Godzilla

         8)      NECA ED-209 & the 24” Electronic Godzilla – Take one of the most iconic bad ‘guy’ from a classic movie and leave it to NECA to turn him into toy form. What do you get? A superbly designed toy that sits great on your display shelf AND has great playability factor too. ED-209 has always been a must for me. Robocop’s been pretty lonely on his own and now he has a worthy opponent. I love this figure. NECA gave us a pretty spot on plastic form of ‘Eddie’ which is thankfully in scale with Robo. He comes with recorded phrases from the movie too so that’s a bonus. Coming in together with Eddie is another highly anticipated release from NECA, the huge a** 24” (head to tail) Electronic Godzilla. My son loves this. It’s freakin’ huge and his electronic roar will rock your socks off! Looks great as a centrepiece for your display shelf.

Hasbro Generations Leader Class Jetfire...or Skyfire (your mileage may vary!)
Transformers Generations Deluxe Class Arcee

        9)      Hasbro’s Transformers Generation Leader Class Jetfire & Deluxe Class Arcee – One could never complete his/her best action-figure list without sneaking in at least one Transformers figure. Being a hardcore G1-only collector, I couldn’t care less about any other genre or TF sub-lines. Naturally when Jetfire and Arcee was announced I was ecstatic. Some say that Arcee is virtually impossible to find out in the open due to her popularity (I think it’s the same in the States too?).  I restrained myself from getting Jetfire too initially. But when a nearby retail store slapped a major discount on it (practically was on clearance!) my dear wife snagged me one! These were the two best TF offering from Hasbro in 2014....hands down!

MP-21 Cybertron Espionage Bumble (Bumblebee)
MP-20 Wheeljack

     10)   Tomy Takara’s MP-20 (Wheeljack) & MP-21 (Bumblebee) – My first foray into the Masterpiece line. I’ve blogged about how awesome these figures are a couple of days ago. You might wanna check that one out here.

Honourable mentions:

Matty Collector’s Castle Grayskull – My better half surprised me with this one. A real shocker for my birthday in Dec last year!!! How can a hard core MOTU Classics collector go without this one in their collection! I didn’t plan to get this one but my love of my life secretly saved up to get me this one. Awwww! This one doesn’t qualify to be in my 2014 list as this is a 2013 release (but who really cares anyway right?).

Lego movie’s President Business Evil Lair – I love this set. My son had a blast with this one. There’s just so much stuff goin’ on with this set.

Lego The Simpsons – It’s a pity that they only made one wave. One wave isn’t even enough to give us a fraction of the denizens of Springfield!

Marvel Legends’ Rocket Raccoon Wave – There were just 3 figures in the wave but by Odin’s beard they are 3 perfectly executed action figures I’ve seen from the ML line in recent times! Oh and gettin’ a comic-version Rocket Raccoon is just an icing on the cake. Sweet!

Hot Toys’ Man of Steel Superman – The eerie resemblance to Henry Cavill is so evident that it gave me a headache to decide which Hot Toys Superman likeness I like best (Reeve vs Cavill). My son loves this Supes over Routh’s version too and these alone gave me enough reasons to get this into my collection.

The Rebel’s pick: Best Movies in 2014...

After several rounds of debating over coffee, The Rebel Page crew finally agreed on the following movies to be the outstanding ones in 2014:

Guardians of The Galaxy, The Lego Movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Amazing Spiderman 2, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Maleficient

I should’ve made the time to watch these in 2014...
Birdman, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, The Maze Runner, A Million Ways To Die in The West, Interstellar, Dawn of The Planet of the Apes, How to Train Your Dragon 2, John Wick, Lucy, Edge of Tomorrow

Some disappointments in 2014.....

I’ve talked about this in last year’s edition....I’m still bummed out with Hasbro’s ‘efficiency’ in managing their distribution of toys. Hence I still have the same wish this year. It’s for Hasbro to practice the same method of putting their action figures on the shelves throughout all retail stores. It’s not cool when you can’t find the latest wave of the Black Series at one store but it’s already been stocked to death at another. I think most will get me here.

I should’ve done more blog postings in 2014. It was by far my most un-productive year with regard to my writings on this blog. I want this to improve in 2015....Godspeed!

A few parting words....

I’m setting a personal goal of going back to the purchases I’ve made throughout 2014 (some even stretching as far as 2013) of which I’ve done no reviews whatsoever on them. Those are gonna get reviewed soon on this blog. I know that most bloggers (yours truly included too) are guilty of spending way too much time on other more ‘convenient’ social media such as instagram, flickr or even fb these days hence neglecting their blogs.  I still hold a special place for blogs in my heart because this was where I made many friends from all over the globe before I went all out with my instagram and flickr.

You might also notice that I still haven’t watched some of the supposedly good movies in 2014. Again my Top pick movies for 2014 might’ve been different altogether. But let’s not dwell too much on that. You’ll have your own preferences too.

At the end of the day, you might have your own versions of your Top 10’s. You might even disagree with some/completely with what I’ve laid out for you as the best among the best for 2014. These are purely The Rebel Page’s opinion (and The Rebel Crew chipped in their 2-cents’ worth too in coming up with the lists) and I’d love to hear how yours might turn out to be.

Do share your links over at the comments page so I can take a look into what yours would look like.

Till next time....excelsior!

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