Pixel Dan’s Top Ten Toys of 2017
Monday, January 1st, 2018 by Pixel Dan
Well here we are. A brand new year! It’s time to put away the Holiday decorations, bundle up for a cold, long winter, and think back on the really important things from the past year.
Everyone has a list of their favorite toys released in a given span of time. This is mine! So without further adieu, I present to you my picks for the toys I most loved in 2017!
Number 10 – Disney Afternoons Action Figures from Funko
This is one of those times I’m going to lump more than one figure into a slot. But in this case, I really feel like these all deserve the praise together as a set. Funko surprised everyone this year with the announcement that they were releasing a series of action figures based on the Disney Afternoons cartoons! I was excited by the announcement, and I really felt the figures delivered! The quality is fantastic, with a great solid feel, great cartoon accurate sculpts and nice paint. The character selection is fun, with what can be considered the “main” characters from shows like DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, and Darkwing Duck all present. My hope is that this isn’t the only set of Disney afternoons figures Funko plans to release, because this line has serious potential! There are so many characters that deserve to get action figures. Come on Funko, don’t do what Playmates Toys did to me in the 90’s! Give me a GizmoDuck!
Number 9 – Masters of the Universe Classics Ultimate Skeletor from Super7
In 2017, the Masters of the Universe Classics line made its shift from Mattel over to a much smaller toy company known as Super7. Fans were excited to see that the line would continue, but were also nervous about a smaller, more niche company like Super7 taking on such a huge task. And rightfully so…no one really knew what to expect. Super7’s first official release in the Classics line was their series of Ultimates: reissues of some of the more popular figures with brand new packaging and even some new accessories. And while there were some missteps, such as some loose articulation points on some figures, I feel like overall the figures were a pretty great addition to the series. Skeletor here was easily my favorite of the batch. I love that retro inspired package, which is quite the breath of fresh air after nearly a decade of the same green brick design Mattel gave us. And the inclusion of so many accessories and alternate heads allowing for multiple ways to display Skeletor really did make this version feel like the Ultimate release. Unfortunately, these figures were sold by pre-order only, and are now commanding high prices on the aftermarket. Hopefully some of the main characters will get another release down the road.
Number 8 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Usagi Yojimbo by Playmates Toys
2017 marked the final year of the modern Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series that began in 2012, which means this was also the final year of action figures based on it. While we didn’t get a ton of original characters released as action figures this year, the few we did get ended up being some of the best in the line. Usagi Yojimbo here is easily one of the best in the entire toyline, in my opinion. For a line that is often criticized for its lack of paint and accessories, Usagi here clearly got a lot of extra love than most of the non-Turtles released since 2012. He’s a wonderful representation of the classic character. And Playmates went all-in on him, giving him multiple figures throughout the year, any of which would make for a good version to add to your collection!
Number 7 – Ghostbusters Firehouse Playset by Playmobil
Playmobil released its first non-sports licensed property in 2017 – Ghostbusters! When it was first announced, I was surprised and slightly curious why they opted to release new toys based off the original GB films. But once the product was revealed and I got to see it in person back at New York Toy Fair, I knew instantly that these would be must-have toys for me. The Firehouse Playset is incredible. It’s the best looking Ghostbsuters Firehouse ever created as a toy, and it includes so many amazingly fun little accessories. If only it were scaled a little larger, you could use it as a stand-in for your old Kenner action figures. But regardless, it’s a wonderfully fun playset that should be in the collection of every Ghostbsuters fan.
Number 6 – Mortal Kombat Scorpion by Storm Collectibles
I’m a sucker for a great video game action figure, especially when it’s based on the games I grew up playing. Storm Collectibles caught my attention the moment they announced that they were doing a highly detailed collectible line of Mortal Kombat action figures based on the look and feel of Mortal Kombat 1 & 2! Scorpion was the first figure released in the line, and he absolutely blew me away! The sculpt and paint are fantastic, the articulation is incredibly functional allowing for fun poses. And the interchangeable parts allowing you to recreate a Fatality are a stroke of genius! So far we’ve mostly gotten a rainbow of ninjas released after Scorpion, with Sub-Zero, Noob Saibot, etc. But we finally have Shao Kahn on the way! Here’s hoping for more characters to join this roster. Oh, and where’s Goro?! We need that Goro!
Number 5 – Mantis Alien by NECA Toys
At this point it’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the wacky colored Predator and Alien action figures that Kenner produced in the 90’s. NECA Toy’s updates of many of the Kenner Predator figures have been some of my favorite releases from the company, so when they announced they were following suit with the Aliens I was stoked! The first series of Kenner Aliens were released in early in 2017 (in fact, some folks may have actually got them at the tail end of 2016, but I got mine in 2017 so I’m counting it). The Mantis alien here was the one I was most excited for, because the translucent green Kenner figure from the 90’s was my absolute favorite. And this new version from NECA did not disappoint! From the amazingly details sculpt all the way down to the translucent green plastic, this is hands down my favorite NECA Alien figure. And that’s saying something, because I adore all of their Aliens.
Number 4 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Muckman by Playmates Toys
Muckman was my most anticipated figure in the current TMNT toyline. He was one of my favorite figures in the vintage line, and I loved his appearance in the new cartoon. And he’s one of those figures that took a really long time to finally get released. Finally, in the Spring of 2017, he hit store shelves…albeit briefly. The figure itself is a really great toy. He still lacks a lot of painted detail, like many figures in this line, but the sculpt is fantastic. Just like his vintage counterpart, the folks who sculpted this figure added in a ton of fun details, which make him so much fun just to study to see what all you can find. The downside is that he got a very limited release. There’s no official word on why he wasn’t on store shelves for very long. Some have speculated that he was considered too gross or too scary, and was ultimately pulled. I have no idea if there’s any truth to that, but I do know that there are a lot of folks still after this figure, and he is commanding absurd prices on the aftermarket. This figure may go down as one of the more valuable and sought after from the entire line. Time will tell.
Number 3 – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ¼ Scale Figures by NECA Toys
Alright, so I already included Donatello on last years “Best Of” list. But the other three were all released in 2017, and you know what…they are easily some of the best figures to come out all year long, especially for TMNT fans. Never has there been a better set of action figures based on the original TMNT motion picture. NECA captured every detail of the Jim Henson costumes PERFECTLY. Yes, they are massive…standing at around 18 inches tall. But that makes these some incredible show pieces for your collection. And the quality of the figures, and the functionality of the articulation…especially at this scale…is mind blowing. If you are a Turtles fan, you should probably go buy at least one of these as soon as you’re done watching this video. Actually, scratch that. Buy all four. You won’t regret it!
Number 2 – SDCC Exclusive TMNT Action Figures by NECA Toys
NECA has seriously been killing it when it comes to TMNT, making some of the absolute best in collectible action figures for long time fans of the franchise. Last year they game us the amazing video game set and finished off the comic book set. This year, for the 30th anniversary we got action figures based on the original cartoon series! The four Turtles in this set are amazing, but also included are the first ever action figures of the Foot Soldiers, Krang, and Shredder as they appeared in the show! And seriously…it’s like THE best Shredder figure ever made! To top it all off, the figures came in an amazing vinyl case that drew inspiration from the vintage action figure carry cases. I’m pretty sure this might be my personal all-time favorite TMNT action figures. And I know I’ve made that claim before…and it’s always been NECA who produces the figures that make me feel that way!
HONORABLE MENTION 1 – Grossery Gang Putrid Power
Look, I know that these aren’t for everyone. But if you grew up loving weird stuff like Madballs and Food Fighters like I did, than these figures really scratch an itch that not many modern toylines can! I seriously feel like these are the best original, non-licensed toyline you will find on store shelves today. They just scream 1980’s fun!
HONORABLE MENTION 2 – WWE Retro Figures by Mattel
I’m a long time pro wrestling fan. But as much as I enjoy it, I’ve never been a big collector of the action figures. Mattel’s new line of retro figures inspired by the Hasbro figures I grew up with easily changed that for me. I love these. They are goofy as heck, but in the best possible way. I’m excited to get more of these into my collection in 2018!
Number 1 – Bucky O’Hare by Boss Fight Studio
Maybe it’s becuase this is so fresh and new, you might be saying to yourself. This figure just came out about a month ago. But let me tell you, as a long time fan of Bucky O’Hare and a big fan of the short-lived original toyline from Hasbro, Boss Fight Studio has really created something incredibly special here. If you would have told me that Bucky O’Hare could make any sort of comeback this day in age, I’d expect there to be some sort of new cartoon attempt with an updated aesthetic that only kind of reminds us of the original incarnation. But nope. Boss Fight went straight to the source material, giving us amazing modern day action figures with gorgeous sculpts that look exactly like the characters we know and love. Throw in a solid build with great articulation, accessories, and collector friendly packaging and you have the best possible outcome for the resurgence of a classic franchise. Boss Fight blew me away with these new figures, and I am highly anticipating the next releases and eventually building out an entire collection of heroes and toads they can croak!
And there you have it! So, what’s your list? Does anything from my list make yours? Regardless of how similar or different our taste in toys may be, I think we can all agree that there has been some great stuff coming out, and I am very much looking forward to seeing what plastic goodness 2018 brings our way!
Happy New Year!