Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

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Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:34 am

Hi gang. As some of you know, in recent years I've held an annual awards for the forum to decide upon the best toys of the previous 12 months. Unfortunately, despite efforts to encorporate prizes and get more involvement, last year's awards didn't even crack double digits in terms of voters. It was disappointing as I was feeling that the awards belonged to everyone and with minimal input it was moreso becoming my decision to pick winners.

We do have a lot of comings and goings here, although we are a small group, so this year I decided to do things differently. Each day, I will post my best of 2012, culminating in my top pick on Australia Day (which has been the traditional day of unveiling of the best toy in previous years). So today, I will start from my number 10 all the way through to number 1 over the next 10 days.

Each selection can be either a single toy or a group of toys. Even an entire line. It's my list and I'll do what I want. Razz

This is entirely subjective and limited to what I have actually bought over the year. So there will be numerous exclusions of many great toys that you may think are the best of 2012.

I encourage discussion of each selection. But I also ask that if you want to make your own list, then please start a separate thread. I'd love to see a number of posters do the same and it could form a great tool of reflection as to what we all loved in 2012.

My next post will be my #10 selection. Smile


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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Juggernaut on Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:14 am

Sounds great, Jor-El! I might just do my own thread as well Smile

In the meantime, I wanna see that Top 10! bounce

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by NiteOwl on Thu Jan 17, 2013 8:44 am

Cool, I'l be checking in.

It's a pity so many of the old timers aren't on here anymore Sad

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:25 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #10: The Dark Knight Rises Movie Masters by Mattel



When this line was announced, there was some mystery over the full line up. We knew Batman, Bane, Catwoman and Alfred were coming, a Bat signal was going to be made if you collected all 6 figures, and then found out that John Blake and Ra's Al Ghul would round out the set. There were also various exclusives or variants... most notibly a re-release Commissioner Gordon in black jacket with a shattered Bat signal piece.

For those who endured to collect the set. Bravo. Personally, I managed to snag half the set locally (props to Juggernaut for various heads up) while eBayed for the remainder. Didn't score the Gordon exclusive but he was really a luxury I couldn't afford. Alfred proved to be the hardest to get due to scarcity after his initial US release. But with a little effort, anyone out there could probably have got this set done.



The highlight of the line is completing the Bat signal. It's an awesome display piece and worth the hefty tag these figures carry ($30 in store in Australia... possibly more online... but deals can always be found).

And for those who started collecting Movie Masters during The Dark Knight's release a number of years ago, you'll have quite a varied lineup of Batman movie characters that, in my opinon, far outweigh any other superhero film franchise out there to this point.


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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by The Dr Of Style on Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:58 am

Bane snap puny Batmans neck.......

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:25 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #9: New 52 Superman by DC Collectibles and Mattel



He did what? Picked two different figures from different lines from different companies from... yeah, that's right, I did. thumbs up 2

Now, I collect all DC Direct (so hard to get used to calling them DC Collectibles now) Superman figures. I am, afterall, the boy's old man. Razz But I have a number of Mattel's DC Superheroes/Universe Classics/Infinite Earths/whateveryouwannacall'em Superman figures in my collection. So when the New 52 version from Mattel hit first... I didn't buy him...

Why? Well, I had the DCC version on pre-order at my LCS, and I'm a DCC collector because I prefer the better sculpt over the re-used bucks with more artic that Mattel produce. Afterall, I pose them and watch them in all their glorious beauty, I don't play with them.

But my eldest son is rampaging his way towards his 4th birthday, so I always get various toys out of my collection for him to play with. He loves Superman almost as much as I, so I want him to play with a Superman toy. Long story short, I eBay for it from China for a great price and I have a Superman for the boy to play with.

When I get him, I really like the look of him. I know there's people who don't like costume re-designs and I'm usually in that group. I wasn't a fan of the Superman Returns look at all. It was basically the classic look but gheyed up. I do like the variations like red and blue Superman, Eradictor, Armoured Superman... I dig those. So when the costume changes, unless it's iconic, it better have something appealing about it.

And I have to say, I like the New 52 design. It's sharp and modern and yet still captures the iconic look in spirit. I like the black S on the back. I like the red belt. I like the collar and cuff changes. I like the loss of red underpants. And I like the figures.



So I have selected both Mattel and DCC's versions as my #9 pick. One for the overall aesthetic and one for the playability. Both for being Superman (and we all know I had to get a Superman into my list... so why not 2 for 1? Razz).


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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by sher1888 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 3:33 pm

Jim Lee rocks and checkout the Hawkmen I think by Mattel

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Sat Jan 19, 2013 4:44 pm

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #8: Masters of the Universe Classics Granamyr by Mattel



I have to admit, I was expecting this bad boy to be my toy of the year. Don't get me wrong, even at number 8, I still think he's awesome. But ultimately, he doesn't tick all the boxes. He could basically have been unarticulated from the waist down and what would it matter? He doesn't look good in anything other than a sitting position. And basically, that's all Granamyr needs to do, even though his tiny wings can still haul is butt around if need be.

I will say, he's one of the knock out of the ballpark sculpts by the Four Horsemen. They really nailed his Filmation look with the detail we expect from the line. But here's a chance to expose some of the ineptitude of the Mattel design team, who take the Horsemen sculpts and decide on functionality and look for the production versions. This is the team that decided to reverse Stinkor's forearms, make Frosta a dirty snow grey instead of a lucious bright snow white, give us a slightly lighter green Clawful mace in the latest weapons pack, just in case he wanted to weapon up based on mood... and here they have failed to give use a decent ball joint for Granamyr's shoulders. You know, where it would actually be useful and allow more expressive options for a character who ultimate sits on his arse. And yet they supplied such a ball joint to his knees, just in case you felt like putting your bed red Greysmoke dragon in some kind of yoga position.

That aside, he is beautiful. I mean, who couldn't love a face like this?


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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Sun Jan 20, 2013 1:57 pm

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #7: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics by Playmates



This year, with new 'toon and around 5 years since the last lot of TMNT figures were around, Playmates decided to do what so many other toy companies have been doing and go retro. Obviously, there's a lot of us out there who thrive on 80s nostalgia, so while it should have been no surprise to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics announced, it was somewhat of a pleasant one for those not expecting it.

The bad news is that it's yet another line that hasn't made its way to Australian stores. We'll probably see the new cartoon versions some time in 2013, but if the Classics are released here, then colour me surprised. These are great figures, and we usually don't see the good stuff down here. Razz

The only disappointment I have is the articulation. Not because there isn't enough, there is. But the joints are somewhat flimsy at times, and the articulated fingers don't give the best weapon holding grip out there. If Playmates can tidy up that aspect, these would be right up with MOTUC as some of the best toys around. With Bebop and Rocksteady announced as the second wave, I'm hoping this line can continue to grow, and hopefully be available in stores down here.



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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Artistix on Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:10 pm

Some great choices there Joel.

#10
Love the DKR figures. Still need to get Ras to complete the batsignal.

#9
The DC Direct 52 Supes looks soo much nicer. That whopping chin on Mattels version really throws me off! I like the new costume. Loved 52 Wonder Womans before she lost the pants.

#8
Granamyr had to be on the list somewhere! What an amazing fiigure.

#7
I don't own any of the TMNT Classics yet but I plan to hunt them down, particularly since the line is expanding. Playmates have got a real winner here...I hope they keep it going as long as possible.

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Xenaphobia on Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:30 pm

The TMNT Retro-Classics are my No. 1 action figure of 2012.

I agree about the articulation. I would have been happy if they didn't have the finger and toe articulation and the torso joint doesn't make any sense to me since that movement isn't possible for turtles (mutant or otherwise).

I would have given Leo, Raph and Mikey all brown handles on their weapons. And I probably would have mirrored the original head-sculpts/expressions for all four turtles, instead of the odd mix that Playmates chose. But they're still all totally tubular to me and I look forward to buying any and all figures that Playmates release as part of the TMNT Retro-Classics line.

I don't have any of the other figures from the list yet. TDKR figures were tempting, but I never saw them in store and I didn't like them (or the movie) enough to hunt them down online.

And while I look forward to owning the New 52 Wonder Woman from Mattel, the Superman redesign just doesn't interest me. As for Granny, well that character choice is confusing for me, but it is an impressive looking dragon.

I look forward to seeing the rest of the list.

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:10 pm

Thanks for the comments guys!

#6 to be revealed tomorrow...

Spoiler:
Final MOTUC to make my list!

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Xenaphobia on Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:37 pm

^^^^

Hmmmmm. Will it be Shadow Weaver, Draego-Man or Fisto? Maybe Castle Grayskullman? Or the one and only The Mighty Spector!

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:59 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #6: Masters of the Universe Classics Snake Men by Mattel



He who is fearful of Lucy Lawless fails to pick it. And I will say this, I too am surprised by my selection. Before I compiled my list, I would have said Fisto would be on there, but the more I thought about it, I felt there were other releases that just nailed more areas for me, personally.

Firstly, I loved the Eternian Guards. The extra heads, the modulation... I have like 9 guards in my collection and I've never army built like that before. But the ability to make them unique in their own way is what sells them for me.

So any kind of army builder like that is auto-win for me. When I first saw the Snake Men pack I was like, "Where the %#$@ are my Horde Troopers, dammit!?!?" I didn't know if I'd bother with multiples. But they grew on me. I liked the reviews, and they extra heads, they had modulation... so I got an extra set. And I'm happy I did.

Now, for me, I can't slap any head on them like I can pretty much do for the Eternian Guards. But that's ok. I do love me unique characters, so I'm fine with having just the two sets. And I feel that's enough for me from these guys to form kind of a pawn army for the Snake Men as a whole. I also love the decor... it allows a bit of variance to make them feel a bit more unique, and they don't need that uniformity that the Eternian Guards have. They're Snake Men FFS.



What ultimately landed these guys on my list above the likes of Fisto was that I wasn't expecting to love them. I've never been a huge fan of the Snake Men, and until we got a few in MOTUC, I didn't know I wanted them so much. But as you can see, I've given them a bit of a glamourous display. I really think out of all the releases, the Snake Men were the one that just excited me once I received them more than any other.

Now give me my %@^#ing Horde Troopers already!!!

---------
Tomorrow we crack into my top 5!
Spoiler:
There's some rules to be followed...

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Xenaphobia on Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:30 pm

^^^^

Interesting. I've never understood the appeal of the Snake Men in MOTU. I think I must have missed the releases of the original "snake" toys back in the day. I did have Kobra Khan, but I thought he was meant to be a lizard and therefore he was known as Lizard Man to me.

But, the Snake Men army builders do look impressive. And the heads and armour provide for a variety of options. I'm hopeful that Mattel do something similar with the Horde Troopers and allow fans to "build" General Sunder (although I think that's probably unlikely since it doesn't quite fit the "army builder" concept as he's a single character).

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:10 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #5: Gremlins by NECA



It was never my intention to grab these. When NECA did Gremlins years ago, they looked a bit off. I also didn't like them being out of scale with my other movie figures. So I'd always skipped past them.

But in recent years, my collection refinement has allowed me to appreciate separation in my displays. Instead of lumping all my figures together in one massive crowed, I've been able to segment them and this has allowed me to develop a more well-rounded display that I enjoy. Instead of a sea of toys, I can see each "mini-collection" as stand alone while also appreciating the overall awesomeness of what I own.

So when NECA released their first wave of Gremlins in late 2011 (and I'm counting them as 2012 here Razz), I didn't plan on picking them up. Then I saw some reviews and it was moreso the Mogwais that grabbed my attention. And the Flasher Gremlin was just hilarious, so I figured I'd pick up the Mogwais and the Flasher, and that's it.

Then I'm thinking I should maybe get the other Gremlins. So I do. Then I have to track down some older ones, mainly Brain and Mohawk. But they are expensive due to the line resurfacing. Managed to score an awesome auction of all previous Gremlins released before NECA rebooted it recently from someone in Greece, of all places.

So I'm set to collect whatever is coming. They aren't the most articulated figures out there, and even the rolling eyes for the Mogwais isn't done very well (they will be very loose, so keep the tab they come with in there to keep them in place). But they look great together as a big set.

Hopefully, we'll see series 3 of the Mogwai soon and, if successful enough, more Gremlins. But even still, with what's out there, it's a fun collection to have and makes me want to re-watch both films a few times over (just need to wait till the kids are old enough Razz).



---------
#4 is up tomorrow...
Spoiler:
... and these toys are pretty wonderful

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:21 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #4: Batman and Joker (1989 Batman film versions) by Hot Toys



Where does he get those wonderful toys?

Probably my most anticipated release of 2012 was these guys. My 2nd and 3rd Hot Toys purchases respectively, I was over the moon to finally see a Michael Keaton Batman and Jack Nicholson Joker, let alone ones that are this brilliant.

And these two are simply beautiful. Fantastic sculpts and magnificently tailored costumes that just make it look like someone shrunk the real life versions down and put them in my collection. They are an absolutely stunning spectacle and something I'd never have imagined owning, even just a few years ago. That's how brilliant some of the sculpting and toy design has become. A completely new level.

The downside? Well, if I had to nitpick at all, it would be that these are not toys. Sure, you can play with them, but the delicacy of them definitely detract from that experience. One of the blades on my Batman's gauntlet came loose straight away and would come out again if played around with. They may be designed that way but the other blades are far snugger.

These work much better as display pieces, particularly with the light up stands included. And to be honest, I'm not sure if there's any real need for Hot Toys to use PERS in their DX line. It's very gimmicky and probably counter productive to the actual purpose of their releases. Sure, some people might like to pose their eyes in different positions, but to me, I'm going to set it once and never use it again.

But don't let that detract you from picking up any Hot Toys figure you desire. If I could afford it or if they cost half as much as what they do, I'd definitely purchase more, but I really have to be selective with these. Fingers crossed they can do an Adam West Batman at some point, though. Razz



---------
Number #3 is revealed...
Spoiler:
These really pack a punch

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Xenaphobia on Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:53 am

^^^^

I still hold out hope that Mattel will expand their Movie Masters line to include figures from the Burton Batman films.

I'd happily hand over my hard earned cash for Batman, Joker, Penguin and Catwoman. And maybe a couple of Joker Goons and Red Triangle Circus Gang members.

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:44 am

Same. I'm also (probably in the minority) hoping for a Arnie Mr. Freeze. But he has to have his robe and cigar! Razz

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Artistix on Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:54 am

The Neca Gremlins line is certainly awesome. I said I'd start collecting if they released Greta, & she's coming up if this lot of Mogwai sell well...so I have my fingers crossed. If she does come out I'll curse myself ofcourse as I'll have to hunt down all the others!

I was very tempted by the Hot Toys Batman stuff. Very. And when they make the Batman Returns villians I'm not sure how I will resist. Then I'll need a Nicholson Joker...*sigh* Laughing

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:19 am

The first 2 waves aren't too hard to find. I think Mohawk from the Cult Classics line is the hardest but NECA may redo him if they do a Gremlins series 3.

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:22 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #3: Rocky by NECA



About half a decade ago, Jakks Pacific brought out a line I thought I'd never see. I grew up watching the Rocky movies. Although I was never into boxing, they had that superhero like quality to them - underdog who rises to face the champion and then becomes a champion himself.

I grabbed a few. But this line became very hard to get very quickly. There were variants galore and some very strange releases... remember the slab of meat you could buy by itself? There were a variety of characters released from 6 different films. Unfortunately, they had a lot of shared parts, as Jakks just used bucks from its WWE line, but there were some great headsculpts along the way.

Fast forward to 2011/2012, and I'd gotten rid of most of the ones I had. I only had a sole post-fight Rocky (from Rocky II) to remind me of probably the only time we'd see the film franchise immortalised in six inch plastic action figures. But then NECA announce they had picked up the licence. And they blew this one of out the park...

NECA have traditionally done, basically, mini-statues. And frankly, I'm generally ok with that if it's a killer sculpt. But in recent years, they've been adding more and more articulation. And these Rocky figures, while not overloaded, do have a great deal of articulation to allow much more boxing style poses.

And the sculpts are killer. Each character given an individual sculpt to differentiate the size and shape of each of them. And from series 2 onwards, NECA started using their fleshtone plastic rather than painting the entire figure, which lends itself to a more realistic looking figure. Not only does it simulate skin tone better but it also looks like they are glistening with sweat.

Some of the cuts in the sculpt where the articulation occures are a bit unseemly, though. The abdomen one the most noticeable. Some of the elbow joints also seem unnecessary with the way extra "skin" hangs down. I felt these, most of all, could have been tidied up better. The knee and ankle joints are almost flawless and the hip joints are hidden under the shorts.

As of now, it appears the line has finished with 3 series of figures (series 1 from the first Rocky film - clean and damaged versions of Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed; series 2 from Rocky IV - clean and damaged versions of Rocky Balboa abd Ivan Drago; and series 3 from Rocky III - clean version of Rocky Balboa and serious face and angry face versions of Clubber Lang). I picked up all "damaged" versions from the first two waves along with all 3 from the third. Another thing that may be unnoticed is there is a bit of modularisation - heads and gloves are easily swappable and also the abdomen joint can be swapped over as well (I did this to make my Rocky III Balboa spitting blood and use the Rocky III head and torso with the Rocky IV pants). I really dig things like that, even if not intentional.



A great line that I never saw coming and definitely filled in a hole in my collection's heart in 2012.

---------
Tomorrow: A surprise at #2...
Spoiler:
How could anyone not like him?

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Fri Jan 25, 2013 8:59 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #2: Marvel Select Avengers Hulk by Diamond Select



Perhaps a controversial selection so high, but this almost was my toy of the year. Marvel Select is somewhat hit or miss. Always a great sculpt, sometimes articulation leaves a lot to be desired. But every now and then, they simply nail it. And it looks like they may be doing it more and more often.

I'd already got a MS Iron Man from Iron Man II (horrid hip articulation on this one) and then picked up Captain America from his film line. So when it was time to assemble my movie Avengers team, I picked up Thor and Hulk at the same time. I passed on Hawkeye... I dunno, the character just doesn't do it for me.

I knew I'd like the Hulk before he arrived. He's such a simple design and yet over the years, I've never felt like anyone did him proper justice. I've had a variety of Hulk figures over the last decade, and settled down on the Marvel Legends Face-Off version as my Hulk of choice. But I needed a decent movie version. Would love to see a Lou Ferrigno Hulk one day, and was never drawn to the Eric Bana/Ed Norton ones. But this Hulk caught my attention.

Now, he'll get knocked out of the water by the upcoming Hot Toys version, but if you're looking for something in that 1/12th scale, this guys is your answer. And he looks way better in person than he does in photographs. They really don't do justice to the great sculpt and very decent articulation he offers.

A simple and yet beautifully executed toy.



---------
My #1 toy(s) of the 2012 to be revealed tomorrow!!

Spoiler:
A return of sorts

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Jor-El on Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:24 am

Jor-El's Best of 2012 #1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon cartoon version) by Playmates Toys



It's kind of fitting that they've finally just hit our stores this past week, because now my endorsement can serve as an advertisement for you guys to buy them. Razz And let me say, I had these guys at number one before it was known they were out in stores here, so this is in no way influenced by that. Wink

Now, I picked these guys up from Amazon in August thanks to Xenaphobia pointing it out in the TMNT Classics thread. I was just going to buy the Classics line, but the value of these little guys from the new cartoon was too hard for me to resist, so I grabbed a set of turtles from both the Classics and the Nick lines. My excitement was fully for the Classics. I thought I may just give the Nick versions to my son to play with.

But when they arrived, I just loved the Nick ones more. They have just absolutely ticked all the boxes - great sculpts, with each turtle individualised... Donatello is taller than the others, while Michelangelo is the shortest; enough articulation without going over the top; and a great array of weapons, with each turtle getting their standard weapons of choice along with an arsenal of various alternate weapons that you can use if you wish.

The paint applications are very basic, with the majority of each toy relying on the plastic to be coloured rather than applied with paint. I've seen some that have added washes to their turtles to bring them to life even more.

Now these are kids toys, but to me, they're at that better end of kids toys because of their unique sculpts and articulation. They basically are homages to the old school turtles we grew up, but for modern times. And the cartoon is really fun, so try and catch it if you have the chance.

Today I also saw the first wave at my local K-Mart and the rest of the figures are very lacklustre. Splinter looks ok, but Shredder and Krang are horribly underscale. It's like they belong in a different scaled line because the turtles, who are a bit smaller than the original 80s/90s versions, kinda dwarf them. Hopefully, we'll see better versions of those characters down the line, and I'm hoping we get the later waves that have already hit the US, with the mutant villains such as Dogpound and Fish Face, and Metalhead, plus the revealed villains coming out soon such as the Rat King and Baxter Stockman, among others.



By the way, I modded my Michelangelo nunchuks with a recipe I found on the interwebs. If anyone wants to do the same, it's really easy and they look way better than the plastic chain they are originally styled with.

So that's it folks! My top 10 toys of 2012 is a wrap. I hope you enjoyed the reveals and the write ups. It was fun doing this and please don't feel like I have a monopoly on this. I'd love to see everyone's favourites, no matter the format you choose. Let's hope to see even more great toys over 2013 and beyond!

Jor-El

Jor-El
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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

Post by Xenaphobia on Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:06 pm

^^^^

Interesting. I saw the 2012 TMNT action figures in store today and it was an easy pass for me (in preference for the Retro-Classics versions).

They did look good. And for $15.00 each, they represented slightly better value than most action figures on the shelves in Australia (although still pretty terrible value when compared to the $8.00 price tag in the US).

The individual sculpts did impress me. And they've definitely been well reviewed by almost everyone. I don't know. I guess I'm mostly a nostaglia collector, so these don't have that appeal for me. I do agree that the new cartoon is decent and seems to only be getting better and better.

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Re: Jor-El's Best of 2012: #1 revealed!!!

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