Unfortunately, 2015 continued to follow in the steps of years past, where action figure selection at regular retail stores was poor and the best selection came via cyberspace and convention venders once again. Yes, it has become clear that the days of the brick and mortar retail toy hunt are soon to be at an end, but should you know where to look, there is still plenty of awesome plastic crack to be had by all - and 2015 was no exception.
Once again, we'd like to present our list of the Top Toys for 2015. Again, this was far from an easy task, but here's hoping you'll find some of your favorite collectible action figures from the past 365 days listed below...
#15 - Legacy Collection Rocketeer (Funko) - Okay, so it wasn't the commercial success Disney hoped for back in 1991, but the character design was neat and even creator Dave Stevens praised Joe Johnston's direction of the film. While it may not have been a huge hit, the same can't be said for Funko's awesome Legacy Collection Rocketeer figure! He's full articulated, features a descent likeness to actor Billy Campbell and comes complete with swappable heads, a jetpack and his trademark pistol. We've been waiting for a figure of this magnitude since we first saw the film and, after what seemed like FOREVER, Funko stepped up to the plate and answered our prayers in a very big way!
Whether you're a fan of classic Disney or science fiction serials of the 30's and 40's, you owe it to yourself to snag a Legacy Collection Rocketeer. It's an all-around fun piece that embodies a simpler time in our history just before the world of movie making was changed forever.
Why We Love It: Embodying everything we loved about the film, Funko answered our childhood dreams and gave us a beautiful and fun piece after 24-years of waiting.
If that wasn't cool enough, Funko even released a bloody San Diego Comic Con addition with an equally bloodied Quint figure. We also got 3 3/4" retro figures of Brody, Hooper and Quint, all of whom look like they were ripped off a toy store shelf in 1975, but Jaws is clearly the crown jewel of the line. And it doesn't take a genius to see why.
If you're a fan of the Steven Spielberg blockbuster, this one belongs in your collection.
Why We Love It: It took 40-years, but Funko has finally given fans the Jaws figures we've all been waiting for.
#13 - DC Icons Green Arrow (DC Collectibles) - DC Icons, a line of fully articulated, 6" action figures based off popular DC Comics stories, debuted late in 2015 with its first offerings. While the unique scale wasn't for everyone (they're not in scale with other so-called 6" lines like Marvel Legends and DC Universe Classics) we must admit we were thoroughly impressed - especially by Green Arrow.
The fully articulated figure is based off the 1987 miniseries from Mike Grell and comes complete with a bow, arrows, interchangeable hands and a functioning quiver. Overall, we feel this DC Collectibles offering perfectly captures the look of Oliver Queen as he took a new direction in life while trying to hunt down the Seattle Slasher within the pages of that classic story.
Why We Love It: Mike Grell had a vision with his DC Comics miniseries, to bring a deeper level of sophistication and maturity to comic books. Oliver's stripped down and realistic approach to vigilantism is perfectly captured in this DC Icons figure.
#12 - Arrow: Deathstroke (DC Collectibles) - Deathstroke is a character that has been getting some real love in recent years thanks to his appearance on shows like Young Justice and Arrow. With that increase in popularity comes the inevitable onslaught of merchandise, and 2015 was no exception for 'ol Slade Wilson.
The Arrow Deathstroke figure released this past spring is based off Manu Bennett's portrayal of the character in Season 2 of the hit DC Entertainment drama - and is easily one of the best action figures we've seen all year. Deathstroke stands about 7" tall and comes fully articulated and packaged alongside a fair number of deadly accessories, but where Slade really shines is in his detail.
Sculpted by Gentle Giant Studios, Deathstroke's militaristic suit features sharp paint work and additional details - including belts, canisters, sheaths and amour plating - that make this one of the most menacing action figures we've ever seen. Couple this with a solid sculpt, tight joints and some aforementioned crisp paint and you've essentially got the ultimate Deathstroke action figure to date.
And really, does a villain like Slade Wilson deserve anything less?
Why We Love It: DC Collectibles has teamed up with the artisans at Gentle Giant to give us a highly detailed, fully articulated, accessory laden action figure based off one of the DC TV universe's coolest villains.
#11 - MonsterArts Gamera (Bandai) - Oh, where to begin with the MonsterArts Gamera? Yonejiro Saito's fire-breathing turtle celebrated his 50th anniversary with this highly detailed, fully articulated figure from Bandai - and it's easily one of the best additions to the line to date.
The impressively sculpted 6" monster oozes awesomeness from head to tail and includes everything you'll need to recreate some of Gamera's most iconic scenes including plasma blast effect parts, interchangeable flying appendage parts, an included display base and more.
Really, what more is there to say? This is a figure that brings a monster-sized fun factor along for the ride! If you're a fan of all things Kaiju, then this MonsterArts Gamera is a must!
Why We Love It: While he may not be Godzilla, what better way to celebrate 50 years of this classic cinematic monster than with this highly detailed action figure?
#10 - Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm 2-Pack (DC Collectibles) - This 2-pack hits high on the nostalgia factor, especially if you're a fan of Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series and its numerous spinoffs. Based off the 1993 film of the same name, the set comes complete with a pair of fully articulated 6" action figures that look as though they've jumped right out of the movie and onto our shelf. Each figure comes complete with a display stand and additional accessories- including a batarang and interchangeable hands - all encased in some collector-friendly window box packaging.
DC Collectibles has created a really solid set here, one that is sure to be popular with anyone who collected the classic Kenner line from back in the 90's. Of course, this set is leaps and bounds ahead of the original line, with an utter and compete absence of the quality control issues that plagued the initial figures released in this DC Collectibles line.
Yes, whether you watched the show, collected the toys, or both, this 2-pack is for you. The figures are solid and fun with enough accessories to keep you both entertained and happy. Additionally, the set stands as proof of how far DC Collectibles has come with their products in recent years and showcase how far action figures have come since the original Kenner line was released more than 20-years ago.
Why We Love It: An update on the classic Kenner line free of the quality control issues the line was initially plagued with, this set proves how far things have come in the world of collectible action figures over the last two decades.
#9 - Star Wars Elite Series Captain Phasma (Disney) - We've said it many times, but we'll say it again - Hasbro's Black Series Captain Phasma figure is truly amazing, but the Disney version created in collaboration with Lucasfilm is that much better.
The fully poseable figure is solid, featuring tight joints and diecast metal construction, giving the figure some serious heft behind it. Rounding out this near perfect piece are an included display base, blaster rifle and a molded plastic cape which does an excellent job of concealing the multiple screw holes decorating the rear of the figure.
If you're looking for a quality piece representing one of the newest additions to the Star Wars universe, look no further then this Disney Store exclusive. It represents what a $25 action figure should be in this day and age - not perfect, but pretty damn close.
Why We Love It: A quality piece that looks good in or out of its window box packaging, this hefty trooper represents what a $25 action figure should be today and proves that Hasbro isn't the only company capable of creating quality Star Wars products.
#8 - Godzilla 1954 (NECA) - NECA has given us a slew of awesome Godzilla figures since 2014, but none can compare to the majesty of the 1954 original.
Based off the classic Raymond Burr film that launched Toho's monstrous kaiju to super stardom, this amazing figure stands over 6" tall, 12" long, features over 30-points of articulation and a bendable tail.
As if that wasn't cool enough, NECA artisans went the extra mile and gave Goji a black and white paint job that makes the figure appear as though he stomped right out of the classic monochromatic monster movie to terrorize the world anew. This one is a must for fans and collectors alike, a fantastic figure that truly celebrates the timeless legacy of one of the great characters of motion picture history. The King of the Monsters may have undergone some changes over six decades, but NECA has perfectly captured where it all began!
Why We Love It: NECA has gone the extra mile to give fans a truly unique collectible which perfectly captures the dawn of the six decade legacy of Godzilla.
#7 - 25th Anniversary Dark Horse Predator (NECA) - 2015 marked the 25th anniversary that saw the Predator jump from the movie screen to the printed page. To celebrate the Yautja's legacy in literature, NECA released a special action figure to commemorate the occasion.
Based off the cover art for Dark Horse Comics' 1990 premiere issue, Predator #1, the 25th Anniversary Dark Horse Predator features a very unique 90's design that includes a shaded body and metallic blue armour. Included with this special figure is a new ceremonial skull accessory, along with a shoulder cannon, wrist-blades and even a commemorative mini reprint of Dark Horse Comics' Predator #1.
Everything about this figure, which stands 8" tall and features over 25 points of articulation, has been designed with the purpose of reminding collectors that this Predator is something really special. Even the collector-friendly window box packaging is designed to mimic that classic comic, with the inner flap decorated with panels from the story.
If you're a collector of all things Predator, and looking for a unique collectible marking a momentous milestone in the history of the Stan Winston designed alien hunter, this one is for you!
Why We Love It: From the unique figure within to the mini comic and specialty packaging, this is how you do an anniversary action figure right. What better way to mark 25 years worth of Predator comics?
#6 - Aliens: Series 4 Ellen Ripley (NECA) - Proof that dreams really do come true! Based off Sigourney Weaver's character in the 1979 Ridley Scott classic, Alien, the figure stands 7" tall, features the likeness of her on-screen counterpart, a highly detailed Nostromo jumpsuit and plenty of articulation. Throw in a flamethrower and Jones the cat and you've got the ultimate Ellen Ripley figure.
Interestingly, before it was initially announced that NECA would be releasing several versions of the character back in 2014, it honestly seemed like an Ellen Ripley figure was nothing more than a fan boy dream, but the team at NECA continued to persevere and, in the end, made many a fans dream come true.
We chose the '79 jumpsuit Ellen Ripley because it's the version of the character we're most familiar wit. While all three of the current NECA Ripley figures are stupendous, this is the one we wanted most of all - and boy, did NECA ever deliver on the final product.
It may have taken 36 years to get a really awesome Ellen Ripley action figure, but the end product was well worth the wait! Kudos to Randy Falk and the team over at NECA for giving us the absolute best carded action figure of 2015.
Why We Love It: It may have taken 36-years to get a really descent Ellen Ripley action figure, but NECA persevered and not only proved why they're the coolest collectibles company around, but taught us all that, sometimes, dreams really do come true.
#5 - Star Wars Black Series First Order TIE Fighter (Hasbro) - It doesn't take a Jedi Knight to decipher why the Black Series First Order TIE Fighter is on this list. Measuring an astonishing 26", this is the ultimate Hasbro Star Wars vehicle to date.
Revealed back at San Diego Comic Con this past July, the TIE comes loaded with features including detailed paint applications, rotating guns, a detailed cockpit capable of holding two Black Series figures and it even comes complete with a fully articulated 6" First Order TIE pilot.
Granted, it's not the cheapest piece on the market, but whether it's displayed behind glass, or suspended from fishing wire in your man cave, it's sure to be one of the most impressive.
Why We Love It: Honestly? It's a hulking 26" TIE Fighter with rotating guns and an included 6" pilot! Need we really say more?
#4 - Aliens Deluxe Power Loader (NECA) - 2014 gave us the Alien Queen, while this year we got the 7" Aliens Ellen Ripley figure. So, in the words of the immortal Mr. Spock, the release of the Deluxe P-5000 Power Loader was "only logical."
Perfect for loading heavy ordinance and battling vicious Xenomorph Queens, the NECA Aliens Power Loader towers in at 11" tall and features more than 30 points of articulation, 20 screen accurate wires and hoses, working pistons and an astonishing level of detail. Additionally, this Deluxe vehicle will fit most 6.5" - 7" action figures, so if you want Robocop or the T-1000 to put some serious hurt on the Queen, you can go right ahead and do that if you wish.
An excellent companion piece to last year's Alien Queen and this year's Ellen Ripley, the last major player needed to recreate one of the coolest battles of modern cinema has finally arrived!
Why We Love It: NECA's Power Loader is leaps and bounds ahead of the classic Kenner version from the 1990's and finally lets us put the hurtin' on that Queen Mother Alien from last year in a very big way.
#3 - Transformers: Combiner Wars Devastation (Hasbro) - The destructive Decepticon yet, Combiner Wars Devastator allows collectors to snag all six Voyager class Constructicons in a single set. The figures in the set - Scrapper, Scavenger, Hook, Long Haul, Bonecrusher and Mixmaster - convert from robot to vehicle mode and back and, once combined into the titanic Decepticon Devastator, can handle anything the battle throws in their path.
Once fully combined, the massive warrior stands 18" tall and is ready to crush unsuspecting Autobots underfoot. Granted, he's not as large as the Titan class Metroplex from a few years back, but he's certainly an impressive force to be reckoned with. Featuring improved paint and articulation, Combiner Wars Devastatir ushers the Constructicons into the 21 Century and stands as a very impressive testament to how far the Transformers brand has come over the last three decades.
Why We Love It: The mean, green Constructicon machine stomps into the 21 Century with all new engineering that stands as a testament to the advancement of the popular Hasbro brand.
#2 - Batman: The Animated Series Batmobile (DC Collectibles) - The Internet was pretty much broken when the Caped Crusader's hot rod was revealed at Toy Fair back in February. And for good reason! Based off the design seen in Bruce Timm's Emmy award winning Batman: The Animated Series, the DC Collectibles version is a streamlined masterpiece.
Measuring 24" long, this is the ultimate collectible for fans of the DCAU of the 1990's. The Batmobile features light-up head lights, brakes, and engine, as well as independently moving wheels! It even fits two of your favorite Animated Series action figures inside - we recommend Batman and Robin of course, but that decision ultimately lies with you.
Seriously, we can't stress enough how awesome this thing is. We have plenty of Batmobiles in varying scales, and this DC Collectibles version puts them all to shame. You owe it to yourself to add this one to your geek garage, but be sure to measure for shelf space first!
Why We Love It: It's a 24" version of the Batmobile from the best cartoon ever made, and it lights up! The only thing closer to the real thing is...the real thing.
#1 - Alien: Genocide Red Queen (NECA) - If you thought the 1986 Aliens Xenomorph Queen from 2014 was impressive, you ain't seen nothing yet! Based off its appearance in the classic Dark Horse Comics title Aliens: Genocide, the Ultra Deluxe Red Queen towers over all at 15" tall and over 30" long. In addition, the figure features over 30 points of articulation, additional spines and a spectacular poseable tail.
If that's still not enough for you, the Red Queen is completely in scale with all the current NECA Aliens figures and features a new head crest, highly detailed paint deco and a pair of vicious interchangeable inner mouths.
It truly is the ultimate Aliens collectible and she's ready to take on your Ultra Deluxe Alien Queen today! Yes, this one is on the pricey side, but trust us when we say the Ultra Deluxe Red Alien Queen is worth every penny.
Why We Love It: This one embodies everything we loved about last year's Alien Queen, and takes it all to the next level thanks to an eye-catching paint deco and redesigned head crest. Another unique piece celebrating the long-standing history of the Xenomorphs in comics.
And there you have it, Infinite Earths fans, 15 of the coolest action figures from over the course of the last year. Keep in mind that this list is compiled of figures that we felt were the best of the year. Of course, not everyone is going to agree with each entry posted above, but we hope some of your favorite did make our cut and that the info we provided proves why each piece is where it is on our list.
Additionally, keep in mind that there were many, many more awesome action figures released through 2015, however we feel those listed here best represent a near perfect mixture of overall quality, engineering and design!
And so, with that, we head into 2016. The upcoming year promises to have a little something for everyone as Hasbro prepares everything from a new Jurassic World: Hybrids line to further additions to their Star Wars Black Series line, Mattel reintroduces a line of 6" DC Comics action figures at retail and NECA will unleash a new wave of Ancient Predators.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
And so, we bid you goodbye for now! May your toy hunts be more fruitful in the coming year and may your shelves creek under the weight of plenty of awesome plastic in 2016! We'll see you all back here soon enough, as we prepare to count down the Top Toys of 2016...
A Special Thanks to all our Sponsors for helping with this Feature!
Be sure to shop with our sponsors for the best deals around!
Simply click the logos posted above!
For More From Infinite Earths, Be Sure To