Before we begin, I want to give an honorary mention to the ThunderCats. They nearly made the list because even though the line was revamped in 2011, there were some new releases at the start of 2012 that seemed ready to usher in the year with a slew of new ThunderCats stuff. Sadly the 'Cats went the way of the dodo bird and were canceled. This was quite unfortunate because the ThunderCats seemed poised for a comeback. There was a great new animated show. A new toy line that was all about the new and the old. I really wish it had caught on more. But, maybe next 20 years or so, right?
Top Ten Toys of 2012
10. Pop! Vinyl
POP! Vinyl toys from Funko were trying to take over 2012 much like they did in 2011. The Funko line continued to see products made of virtually any property you could think of. Did you want various movie POP! figures? Or how about the Walking Dead? Was Hello Kitty more your style? Funko went above and beyond in 2012 to release even more of these cute little things. They even added a nice new set of Disney characters too as seen by Ursula and Ariel. My only complaint with these visions of vinyl goodness are the paint applications. Sometimes you have to search for just the right one. Eyes can be painted sloppily while other painted aspects look like poor airbrushing. All in all though, this was a solid toy line to collect in 2012.
What's in Store: Plenty. 2013 already looks to be a great year for the POP! Vinyl toys. There will be Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. (That Pink Ranger is to die for.) Disney will continue to see an onslaught of vinyl goodness. But probably the best items to come out in 2013 will be the Masters of the Universe series that Funko has planned. I am living for that She-Ra vinyl toy.
Lego knows their stuff. Over the past number of years Lego has gotten very creative with their products. From their movie licensed lines to the ever growing popularity of the mini figures, Lego has found a way to continue to stay relevant in the toy store. However, 2012 was the year of the mini figure for them. Lego got really creative with a number of their mini figures. There was a cool Mer-King. An Alien Queen with hot pink brains. And who didn't want the Jem knock off? Lego was just making us all grope those foil bags like we were... well... Lego Maniacs.
What's in Store: 2013 is going to be an interesting year I think for Lego. They have announced a line of building sets based off of the new Lone Ranger movie. This seems like a strange property to base a set off of, but some Lego fans have been waiting for a Western themed Lego series for awhile. The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sets are trickling in at the end of 2012, but it will be fun to see what Lego does with even more sets in the new year. Of course the Lego mini figures are poised to continue capturing our collective hearts for sure.
When Mattel announced at the 2011 SDCC that Voltron would be making a grand comeback in 2012, fans everywhere were excited to get their hands on this special toy line. Updated pilots with their Lions? Yes please! The sculpting was wonderful. It was nice to see Voltron again, especially with an all new animated television series too. It seemed like Voltron was finally ready to catch on again. (The exclusive Sven figure didn't hurt at all.) I was also hoping for a different scale of pilots. My one hope for the Voltron line had been a larger scale of the figures. I understand why Mattel made the line that they did, this Voltron was an update from the original. But I would really love a fully articulated 6 inch line of the pilots. If you are interested, fellow friend to Diary and a Clip 'n Save file person Paladin wrote some in depth articles on each Lion and pilot on NerdSociety. Click on the links to read about each one. Green and Yellow. Red and Blue. Black.
What's in Store: Sadly nothing as of right now. Voltron sales were apparently not that good and Mattel does not have any plans to further develop the Voltron line. This is unfortunate because there was still so much that could have been explored with this toy line. Updated enemy figures. My silly dream for a larger scale of pilots. Oh well, maybe next time.
DC products from both Mattel and DC Direct were abound in 2012. DC actually got a bit of a makeover with their "New 52" comic book launch. As a result I started reading Wonder Woman and actually love her new costume and figure from DC Direct. The DC Universe Classics line by Mattel also came out with one final line in stores that featured Dove. She is an interesting character so I was glad to finally pick up her figure. Of course fans of the Bat got a treat with some new wonderful Catwoman figures based from the movie. In two different scales, I was more than happy to have as much Catwoman that I could get my hands on. And last but not least, Mattel issued out a really nice DCUC Poison Ivy that was just the perfect Poison Ivy. For a self proclaimed Marvel girl, I did find myself in bed with DC quite a bit in 2012.
What's in Store: Well Mattel will be making their own figure for the New 52 Wonder Woman, which will be a nice treat. And of course there will be a brand new Super Man movie over the summer that will more than likely see an onslaught of merchandise. However I am not sure that there will be much I will be searching for by way of DC next year. I'm still waiting for that Wonder Woman movie. Now that is some merchandise I can really rally for.
6. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
It is more like Hasbro is Magic. 2012 was the year of the Brony and Pegasister. My Little Pony has been around in some incarnation since its inception in the '80s and I am always there for every revamp of My Little Pony. It is just one of those toy lines that is tied to my childhood. However when the 4th Generation of Ponies came out at the end of 2010, no one would have guessed what a huge cultural impact these Ponies would have. The toys are popular. The show is popular. I mean this latest version of Ponies has given way to a whole new type of fandom. Bronies and Pegasisters are a force to be reckoned with! I love it. This new My Little Pony has shades of the original but there is also a flair about it that is just a lot of fun. 2012 was also the year that Hasbro really seemed to pick up on that. Fan demanded characters finally saw their toy releases. Nightmare Moon? Check. A glow in the dark Zecora? Check. Derpy? Check for an SDCC exclusive and a Funko exclusive at Hot Topic. My Little Pony is chock full of characters, exclusives, and even the mini-figure Ponies. It was a good year for Pony fans.
What's in Store: With the third season airing, there is no telling what Hasbro will release to go along with the cartoon. There was so much released in 2012 I can only imagine that 2013 will be even bigger and better. I am hoping though that Hasbro will continue to release character specific Ponies. That would be fun. Also I want to really see more Nightmare Moon.
There are many Marvel toys released throughout any given year. But there were two lines of Marvel products that just really knocked every other Marvel item out of the park. The first is the highly detailed Marvel Selects line by Diamond Select Toys. They finally came to their senses and released by far the best Storm figure that has ever been made. Storm is one of my favorite heroines and I am always patiently waiting for the next best Storm figure to hit shelves. Usually when a toy company releases a Storm item, she is wearing her garb that became famous in the early 90's, that whole black jumpsuit with thigh high boots. I love that look, but there are so many other wonderful versions of this wonderful character. So this year Marvel Select really delivered. (I'll be featuring her in something else soon, so stay tuned.)
After a glaring absence in 2011, Marvel Legends came roaring back in 2012 with a vengeance. Hasbro really listened to fans and as a result gave us a fantastic start to the new Marvel Legends. Much like a Phoenix rebirth, the 2012 Marvel Legends line blazed a trail through our hearts and could have devoured a star if the line had really wanted to. The sculpting was top notch as were the unique variant selections.
Hasbro really picked some interesting character selections too. Hope Summers made up one of the unique selections in the first wave of figures. The details on the figures all look great and Hasbro really seems dedicated to making characters that have not really seen the royal figure treatment, like Madame Hydra, Madame Masque, and Dani Moonstar. Granted there is a great deal of parts reuse, but if it means getting to see a larger cast of female Marvel Legends characters, I am down. (And wasn't that exclusive SDCC Psylocke just lovely?) Now all that Hasbro needs to do is not take so much time between releases.
What's in Store: Hasbro has shown no signs of slowing down the Marvel Legends line (even if it takes awhile to release each new wave) but 2013 should see the line get even more releases. I believe there is a Red She-Hulk in the works. There was also images of a White Phoenix to be included later on down the line. And of course Hasbro has also hinted that they will be doing right by their failed attempt at Emma Frost from their very first ML line a few years ago. I am very curious to see what Hasbro does with an all new Emma Frost!
4. Monster High
I remember when Monster High first came out. It was the summer of 2010 and they just seemed like a throwback to the kinds of dolls that were released yesteryear, but with a slight edge. Each doll had a personality and a pet for crying out loud! There was something very fun and splashy about the line. Much like fabled dolls of the past, I was concerned that this line wouldn't last very long. I am glad that is not the case. Monster High has done something that only a few doll lines have managed to do, it has stuck around for more than a minute. 2012 saw all kinds of various releases of creepy cool characters not to mention a growing fan base that includes the younger set as well as the folks that are grown. MH has branched out from some episodes on YouTube to a full fledged DVD release and a real movie in the works by Universal Studios. One of the things I love most about MH in 2012 was not only the new characters, but also the new leg hip system. Older dolls featured hips that were connected by an elastic band that would have no doubt dry rotted in time. Mattel has now put in place a better leg/hip system that looks to last for awhile. A sure sign that Monster High won't be going anywhere for the time being.
What's in Store: Plenty. Some new characters were just released at the tail end of 2012, Jinafire Long and Skelita Calaveras. (No relation to Skeletor, but couldn't you just die if she had been the daughter to Skeletor?) Everyone loves the classic monsters and since MH has branched out so, I am sure there are plenty of amazing dolls ready to come out in 2013. Of course, Mattel could always just go back and reissue the original dolls with the new leg/hip system for us to collect all over again.
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
They're baaack! And at a time that couldn't be better. After we were all licking our wounds with the failed attempts of both ThunderCats and Voltron, I think a lot of us were hoping for some vintage line to come back and show signs of sticking around for a little while. Enter the Turtle. Playmates has never gone wrong with their sporadic reboots of the popular toy line, however the Turtles of 2012 were special. The new line was all new with a hint of vintage flavor and enough time had passed that a side line dedicated to the original Turtles made perfect sense too. There is just something fun about the Ninja Turtles that has yet to get old, which is very evident because this version of Turtle Power is selling out like hotcakes on the shelves. I think a lot of boys and girls will be getting some Turtle products for Christmas. The Turtle Classics also gives a fan like me something that I love: a larger scale for a version of toys that I loved growing up.
What's in Store: Well I don't know yet. Playmates has not really shared a great deal about the future of the Turtles. There is the partnership with Lego. And there seems to be new characters lined up and ready to be made. But my hope for the Turtles in 2013 is an expansion on the Classics. I want to see Playmates make more Turtles Classics featuring our favorites like April, Splinter, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Shredder. Come on Playmates! You know you want to!
2. Jem and the Holograms
If you had told me in 2011 that I would be clamoring for a brand new Jem doll that cost as much as the original on eBay in 2012, I would have laughed at you. However 2012 is the year of egg on my face, because Jem came back in a big (and expensive way.) It is worth it though. Hasbro partnered with Integrity Toys (a high end doll line produced by designer Jason Wu) to create a highly detailed and collectible line for Jem fans. Fans of the truly outrageous star have been asking and rising in numbers for a proper return to one of the most popular 80's cartoons ever. And there is no doubt that she is indeed back. I have yet to get one of the new dolls. I ordered one as a Christmas present to myself, but it is still out for shipping. However I have been checking out other people's photos and reviews, and she is truly worth every penny. The amount of work and detail that went into this doll is out of control. Leather soled shoes. Dresses with the kind of attention to detail that would normally be reserved for real people. I mean it is outrageous.
What's in Store: Well there will be more Jem dolls added to the Integrity lineup in 2013 for sure. The toy company is dedicated to delivering some high quality Jem dolls. With that said, I do kinda hope that Hasbro could also produce a less expensive line for those who won't be able to afford everything that Integrity will have to offer. This can either be done as another exclusive web based doll line or it could be something done at the retail level. I don't care, I would just like to see more Jem product available in 2013. I'm finally getting the chance to make up for my past mistakes at never collecting Jem when I was younger. (For that sordid tale, click here.)
1. Masters of the Universe Classics
For the second year in a row, MOTUC comes in at number 1! This has probably been my favorite year so far for the infamous MOTUC toy line. After so many releases, MOTUC is reaching the point where we are now getting to all the good stuff. (At least in my opinion.) The Sorceress, a long demanded character, saw her release and she was stunning.
Fans also were fortunate enough to add to their Evil Warrior ranks with the fan favorites Spikor and Stinkor. I always thought these characters were cool growing up, but my 5 year old self never would have wanted either of these guys. I was terrified that Stinkor would smell like farts and what self respecting dorky girly girl would want that? And I also used to think that Spikor would actually be too dangerous to touch. Oh the things that rush through a child's mind. Spikor's spikes are hardly sharp and Stinkor smells more like a hippy than bad gas.
The hits also continued throughout 2012 with more fan favorite villains. Mosquitor has certainly made more than just a few happy, like Pixel-Dan. Of course there was also some controversy. The move to have Shadow Weaver as an exclusive for the 2012 Subscription rubbed just a few people the wrong way. This was one villain that many fans had never thought would be made. To have her included in the line and made in such nice detail by the fabulous Four Horsemen, well, I quickly got over any controversy. I was happy to sign up for her. But she wasn't the only reason that made MOTUC the top toy of 2012. No, that would go to the Star Sisters.
Ah the much maligned Star Sisters. I have never in all my years of collecting seen such a guttural reaction to action figures in all my life. Some said they were going to burn them once they arrived from their subscription. Other people prophesized that all the pink, glitter, and ugliness of these figures would spell the end of MOTUC as we know it. Some tried to joke that they looked like ugly men in drag. There was an endless supply of negativity for the Star Sisters. However gliding past the hate, I was one of the few that was oh-so-thrilled to own these beauties. During the days when the She-Ra toy line was in stores, Mattel had been working on a way to continue the line. So the Star Sisters were part of that continuation. They were prototypes that were on the verge of being released. I mean these gals were going to be the next She-Ra items in stores. However the plug was pulled on that line and they never saw the light of day. Until 2012. Not only did fans such as myself get Shadow Weaver, but we also got the Star Sisters. It was a truly great year for certain fans of MOTUC.
Of course no talk of MOTUC would be complete without Frosta. She also saw her release in 2012. Fans of the Great Rebellion had a lot to rejoice about. Granted there were some issues with Frosta, the end result was what mattered. White or gray, switched arms or not, icy hair, none if it ultimately mattered because this figure was very nice and has left many fans on the edge of their seats for the She-Ra characters that will show up next.
What's in Store: Well a big chunk of 2013 has already been announced, and it seems that the next year will continue to deliver the hits. The new year is going to start off with the captivating Netossa and the long awaited release of Ram-Man. Fans will also get their hands on a never released figure by way of Octavia. And that is just what I am excited about. There are many more releases that look cool. Of course this is all talk of figures. 2013 will also be the year that fans get their paws on a brand new Castle Grayskull for the Classics line. I'm just saying it right now, I think MOTUC might be number one next year too.
So that is about it for the Top Ten Toys of 2012! After much back and forth I finally got the list together. It was not easy though, there were a few other items that came out that could have easily been on this list. Anyways, I am looking forward to what 2013 will have in store. I have my fingers crossed that it will be an even better year than 2012. (I also have my fingers crossed that Mermista will finally see a release in 2013. Can't you just feel it?)
The year is winding down so there may be just a few more posts on Diary. I am working on a few things that I might post about and of course I am trying to figure things out to make this blog even more fun in the new year. So I hope everyone is doing well, and keep it here! You never know what I will be rambling about next. Take care!