Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Well, here we are with another Highlight of the year with Action Figures! This is my second year doing it as 2017's post was my first "Top Action Figures" post for my Masterless.Me domain! Well before I get into my top picks for 2018, let me echo 2017's requirements and add some things in there for last year's experience. I will say this right now that 90% of what I bought last year was definitely worth it; yes there were a small number that I regret buying or had to get for the sake of completion. But it was still a fun collecting year and this list should be an indicator of that. At any rate, here we go.
Accuracy: Did this figure capture the likeness of the source material? This is subjective since 'likeness' might also be in the eye of the beholder. There is a definitive look for a character, but there are also many different artist for someone like, let's say, Spider-Woman, that makes "definitive" really subjective.
Price: Regardless of the price paid, did it meet its overhead price? Enough bells and whistles to justify its price tag?
Availability: How rare is this figure? Was it hard to get? It's not a BIG factor to a LOT of the action figures on the list but it is something that plays a small part.
Preference: Of course some of my fandom does come into play. This might very well be the biggest factor as to WHY these action figures are on the list.
Also, an action figure/toy could have been released the year prior or even earlier but if I purchased them in 2018, they belong in 2018. Now with all those guidelines, let's get right into the action figures of 2018!
Oh man! What a year it was for Marvel Legends. I think Hasbro took the Avengers Infinity War train and just absolutely ran with it! Not only did we get the number of BAFs that we did (nine, I believe?), but we also got the Special editions to celebrate Marvel Stud10s' First Ten Years. Then we have the two packs, the exclusives... so on and so on. I got a lot of them this year and I have to say that there were some great ones as well as some fodders. The ones in the pictures are some of my favorite ones... couldn't put EVERYTHING I liked. And before I get to the Legend, I have one shout out that I acquired last year but wasn't able to review in time:
Magik is a Walgreens exclusive. She came to my collection later in the year and while I got her photoshoot done, I was not able to get the review before I started posting the best of 2018. Needless to say I will be giving her a good review in good time. Now, let's get to the main course; there is only one true Legend of 2018. That title goes to:
The 2018 Scarlet Spider didn't have the accessories that Gwenpool did. He's not a popular character like Iron Man. He doesn't even have any thing flashy with his sculpting Like Deathlok or Wolverine, nor does he come with a lot of new parts. This is the case of personal preference, obviously, but that doesn't mean Kaine doesn't have anything going for him. He's well painted, has a good Spider-Man body mold, he comes in a BAF wave that is actually pretty good, and some true-to-character homage was given attention to (the alternate hands with the stingers). He's a winner in my book and he helps complete my Spider-verse shelf.
Marvel Legends BAF
Still on the subject of Hasbro's killing in 2018. And we can't talk about Hasbro's ambitious year without talking about their BAFs. They are the bread and butter for the Marvel Legends line! This may be the last year I'll be getting this much of them so let's enjoy my catch in 2018. While BAFs come in different sizes, they are generally associated with being bigger than your average 6 inch action figures. If not that, they offer something like more details and/or a lot more bells and whistle. The BAFs that I caught this year generally fell in bigger than your average and when they weren't, what they lack in size they definitely made up for it for details. These are all the BAFs I caught this year and unfortunately some of them have some issues that almost took them out of the pic. But all in all, I appreciate all of them in their own way but only one will take the title of BAF of the year. That BAF is none other than:
Monster Venom was really high on my list. Thanos and Apocalypse were up there too but those figures I mentioned all have too much issues going against them that easily knocked them out of title. Sp//dr took it the title. Long before Into the Spiderverse hit the cinemas, I was a big fan of Penni Parker and her Evangelion-like suit, Sp//dr. In fact, I much rather prefer her comic book look compared to her Cinematic appearance. Her mech's Marvel Legend form looks almost 100% identical to the comics, have a lot of good sculpting, great accessories to allow spider-y poses, and also the painting is magnificent! Definitely my favorite #BAF of the year!
Imports (Figmas, SH Figures, Mafex, etc)
Load stands, accessories, articulation, attention to detail, and smaller figures.... when I think of imports, I think of those features. This is not the year for these imports. With the exception of one other Nendroid and SH Figuart not in the picture above, these are pretty much the haul for 2018. Regardless, even if the numbers are not high, I still obtained some pretty good action figures but only one can take the title of BEST Import. Said title goes to:
Figma always has a way to impress and the moment I saw Jeanne D'Arc on preorder, I knew I was going to have a hit. Sure I loved Raven and her 'floating' gimmick was something new. Tracer was also a pretty fun action figure to have and the Nendroids I got this year were also fun to have. At the end of the day, however, I can't deny that I kept looking at Jeanne whenever my eyes lingered towards my anime shelf's direction. Aesthetically pleasing, awesome accessories, and not a badly designed character--definitely this Figma was a winner the moment I bought her.
Square Enix's: Ultimate Playarts Kai & Bring Arts
This category is a bit odd since it can easily fall on the Imports genre--and by all account Playarts Kai and the newly introduced Bring Arts are both imports. My love for Final Fantasy, however, gives them enough reason to be separated to their own category and I bought enough of them this year to give more justification for that. Also, with the exceptions of Bring Arts, they have a higher price point compared to the likes of Figma. Regardless, whether or not Playarts Kai and Bring Arts should be included should or should not be on the Imports category is my own choice and this year, they'll be on their own spot to talk about. So with that said, let's talk about the one to claim the title of the Ultimate Square Enix product:
It would be easy to say that Dissidia NT was the biggest reason for my rekindled love for Terra Branford, yes, but a few weeks before the game was released, I preordered the Playarts Kai Terra Branford because I adore the FFVI protagonist. Sure, as a Playarts Kai she suffers the same issues like Noctis and Lightning, but overall, she's got a lot of redeeming qualities. The accuracy to Amano's design is all thanks to Dissidia but Playarts Kai translated it to plastic form so well, gorgeous paint and fine sculpting and all. While lacking some alternate faces, the one given to us is pretty and I certainly grew to like it more when I had her in hand. Sure I had to borrow from Marvel Legends to get some special effects, but come on now, Terra would have had to win over the other two Final Fantasy characters; and Bring Arts was still too new and their YoRHa Unit 2B they released isn't the biggest introduction. So should be no brainer that Terra Branford took the cake on this one!
The Most POPular
Oh man! If there was a toy brand that I really allowed to get out of hand this year it would definitely be Funko's POP series. Before 2018, I was able to count the numbers of my POP with both hands but 2018 shot the POPulation to extreme and unforeseen numbers. Despite their stylized form, most of these POPs had outstanding sculpts that retains the details of the characters they are representing. The coloring, while not the best, still had enough level of vibrancy and cleanliness that accuracy was not an issue. And of course the poses chosen are now a far cry from the neutral and insipid stance POPs used to have. Needless to say I had so many prospects but only one really deserved the spot as the most POPular piece:
Could POP Spider-Woman's victory be entirely out of personal preference? YES and NO. She has an amazing paint job, alluring pose, and the sculpting for the tiny wings and eyes are all standard POP quality. Sure Corvus Glaive, Daito, Mercy, etc. may have the winning bells and whistle with details. Bronx, Mickey, and Mark 50 Iron Man may have amazing poses. Spider-Woman has those in her own limitations and come on, I've been waiting for a Spider-Woman POP for a LONG time so it should come to no surprise that I picked her to be the most POPular toy in this category.
Statues are a treat because they are allowed all the sculpted details, the likeness, the sharp & bold colors, paint variation, and beautiful fluid posture that adheres to the character/s trait that they are representing. All of these are possible without being hindered by articulation gimmicks. Bishoujo is always a great source of entertainment for me and 2018 didn't provide with as much new releases that I wanted to get but they still supplied with some good ones. Diamond Select and DC Collectibles grabbed my attention with their release of two characters that I like, but all in all, there can be Only one Best Statue for 2018 and that title goes to:
It's no secret that Bishoujo is a series dedicated to making sexy female characters even more sexy. For Chun Li's case, if she wasn't sexy enough in her original attire, give her a dress that leaves very little to the imagination, give Kotobukiya the rights to put her in Bishoujo form, and the final result is, well, the Bishoujo Chun Li in Battle Dress. The Bishoujo Supergirl Returns was a close runner up and as well made as Bishoujo was, it couldn't top off the work put on Chun Li. The pose, the dynamic motion of her hair, dress, the little details, the coloring... it's a perfect statue for this version of Chun Li, that's for sure. It't the statue I constantly stared at in my Game Room during 2018.
MISC Shout Out
There are other toy lines/brands that I get throughout the year that don't accumulate in numbers as something like Marvel Legends would. Some won't even get more than one. Some join the other categories like Diamond Select statues that would go in the Statues category (And just to clarify, this particular category (the shout out is dedicated to an action figure/statue that left a mark but couldn't quite hit the number one slot). This figure I was hesitant to get at first, but I eventually caved in and purchased Toys-Era's "Lady Crimson" (Spider-Woman) because, hey, it's Spider-Woman! This company is a 3rd party and doesn't seem to have full license on any of the characters they produce. They did one on Spider-Woman and dubbed her "Lady Crimson". Quite rare to see Spider-Woman merchandise so I had to jump on getting her. She may not have the best bells and whistles, accessories, and articulation, but Lady Crimson is a unique addition to my Spider-Woman shrine that not a lot of people will have. Any Spider-Woman fan will probably have the Marvel Legends, the Funko, or probably an expensive Bowen statues, but this gal may be out of the radar for a lot people. She feels like a doll, yes, but she resembles Jessica Drew enough so that is more than a plus for me.
ACTION FIGURE OF 2018
Whenever I acquire a Hot Toy for the year it usually lands on this spot. How can I not though? And the Hot Toys of Mark VI from Iron Man 2 (supposedly this is from the Avengers movie, but no it's not) is one of my favorite Cinematic Universe armor so how can it not win the top spot? Sure it might be lazy and anticlimactic, but there are plenty of reasons why a Hot Toy almost always deserves this slot for me: accuracy to the source material, tons of accessories, beautiful sculpting and designs, different display options, and I feel as if a collector gets what they pay for. Pricey, yes, but I go through Sideshowtoy and they allow for a payment plan that makes an action figure affordable. I definitely feel that every collector out there should at least have one, granted that Hot Toys made their favorite character into a Hot Toy.
So that concludes my list for 2018's Action Figures, Statues, etc. Needless to say this past year was something to celebrate when it comes to this collecting addiction I have. Hasbro dished it out some good ones, Funko made their mark, the imports all had highlights, and overall, it was a satisfying year to be an Action Figure collector, that's for sure. 2019 already looks promising so let's see where this road takes us! So farewell 2018 and hello New Year of collecting! To my fellow collectors, happy hunting and keep on collecting!
Until Next Time!