Jungle Extraction Dutch (Predator - Series 8) - The eighth wave of NECA's awesome Predator line of action figures celebrated the 25th anniversary of the original 1987 Predator film. Featuring new jungle-themed packaging, this wave finally gave us figures based off Arnold Schwarzenegger's character - Dutch Schaefer! Two versions were offered, but, to us, it is the Jungle Extraction version that stands above the rest! Faithful to his appearance when they first enter the jungle, Dutch features his military shirt and vest, and over 20-points of articulation! The figure sports an astonishing amount of detail and comes complete with an M-16, pistol, machete, and knife accessories. Again, a second figure of the character was released in the line, but it's the amount of detail - from the war paint to the cigar hanging out of Dutch's mouth - that really makes this figure stand above the rest! NECA hit a home run with this piece and finally gave us someone worthy of taking on their slew of 7" Predator figures!
Corporal Dwayne Hicks (Aliens - Series 1) - Late in 2012, NECA announced they would be releasing a new line based off James Cameron's classic film Aliens, and honestly, who better to take the reigns on this line then the same team behind the coolest Predator action figures in the business? The first wave was all about the 1986 classic and gave fans two Colonial Marines to pick from, one of which was based off Michael Biehn's character Hicks. Like the Dutch figure mentioned above, Hicks features over 20-points of articulation and an incredible amount of detailing - from forearm hair to custom armor touches as seen in the film. Honestly, you'd be hard pressed to find a company making film based figures as accurately as NECA does, and their Hicks figure is a testament to that statement in a big way! The figure comes complete with plenty of bug squashing weaponry, including his pulse rifle, a shotgun and a holster for said shotgun. The paint is flawless, the joints nice and tight, there is absolutely nothing negative to say about this piece! Other toy companies out there could really learn something from the type of products NECA releases to the public, they are beyond amazing! With a Hudson and Windrix figure also available, we here at Infinite Earths eagerly await the release of more Marines to take on NECA's hive of Xenomorph warriors as the Aliens line moves forward!
Arkham Origins Batman (Arkham Origins - Series 1) - The age of the Mattel 6" collector aimed DC Universe figure is all but behind us, and in that absence, DC Comics' in-house collectibles branch is stepping up to take advantage! Standing 7" tall, the first Arkham Origins Batman figure from DC Collectibles is a sign of what's to come in 2014! Although he features no accessories, or an included display stand, this Gentle Giant sculpted piece shows how far DC Collectibles has come in the past 15 years! Featuring some very nice detail, including a superb face sculpt, this Batman also sports some very Mattel-esque articulation, something fans have been demanding from DC Collectibles since 2004! Featuring an ab crunch, waist swivel and double-jointed knees, this Batman is a nice departure from the dated articulation DC Collectibles has been known for over the years and launches their figures headlong into the 21st Century! Yes, it is sad to see the age of the collector oriented Mattel DCUC figure ending, but if this Arkham Origins Batman is any indication of what the future holds for fans, it looks to be a bright one indeed!
Star Wars: Black Series Boba Fett (Star Wars: Black Series - Wave 2) - Early this year, Hasbro took Star Wars fans and collectors by surprise by announcing a new line of 6" Star Wars figures created in collaboration with Gentle Giant. Proving the brand had grown up with its fans, the figures were aimed at older collectors and featured improved articulation and attention to detail. Two Boba Fett's have been offered in the line since its debut, one a San Diego Comic Con exclusive packaged alongside Han Solo in carbonite, the other a mass-retail release with everything the con exclusive had, minus Han in carbonite. Packaged with his jetpack, blaster pistol and sawed-off blaster rifle, Boba features some amazing details, including plenty of carbon scoring, a soft-goods cape, signature Wookie braids, nicely painted wrist control panels and additional armaments including his flamethrower and wrist missile. This piece is, without a doubt, a must-own for any Fett fanboy! Yes, he's difficult to find at retail (or online for that matter), so be sure to snag him if you're lucky enough to find one! Hasbro has really done an amazing job with this new line of 6" Star Wars figures, proving that some things really do get better with age! Being a huge Fandalorian, I really don't see how Hasbro could top this amazing figure with any future Black Series releases!
Titan Class Metroplex (Transformers Generations) - Those who've been following us for a while will know this figure won our Top 10 Toy Fair Reveals countdown back in February of this year! It is, after all, the largest Transformers figure ever made, standing about 25" in height, Metroplex will easily tower over any Transformers making up your collection! He's sturdy despite his proportions and transformation is both challenging and fun! Honestly, the only real thing we could complain about, if we had to, is the amount of additional decals included with this piece. We'd say, without a doubt, that applying them is the most frustrating thing about the figure, but we would also say, without a doubt, this is by no means a reason to pass on this towering Transformer! Given his $125 price tag, Metroplex is also not the cheapest Transformer your going to buy, but he's sure to be one of the coolest!
Transformers MP-02 Masterpiece Soundwave (TRU Exclusive) - 2013 saw its fair share of Masterpiece-style Transformers, form Sideswipe (who'll be getting a second run this Spring), to Smokescreen, and each was beyond incredible! But, the one that seemed to stand out above all the rest was the Decepticon Information Officer Soundwave! Perhaps it was due to the fact that he was one of the first Transformers I ever owned, thus appealing to my sense of nostalgia. Perhaps it was due to the fact that he has received a 21st Century update with improved transformation, articulation and overall appearance that makes me wish I'd had this figure back in 1984. Or maybe it was because Soundwave comes packaged with lots of additional goodies, including his trademark shoulder cannon, rifle, five Micro Deployer cassettes and Micro Deployer accessories, appealing to my sense of value. Or perhaps it was the fact that the headphone jack on the microcassette recorder alt. mode was functional and added to the figure's overall realism. Whatever it was, Hasbro struck a chord with this Transformers fan in a big way! This is the ultimate Masterpiece Soundwave and it belongs within the ranks of any Decepticon display!
Bebop and Rocksteady (TMNT Classics) - As exciting as it was when Playmates released updated versions of the classic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures in 2012, 2013 would see two much-loved Turtle baddies get the TMNT Classics treatment in the form of the bumbling duo of Bebop and Rocksteady! While they may not have had the same amount of articulation as the Classic series Turtles, nor looked 100% identical to their 1987 animated series counterparts, these two were still a nice taste of what fans could expect in the future from this line. Encased in some very nice retro-style packaging, and alongside updated versions of their classic accessories, Bebop and Rocksteady are must-owns for any turtle fan! Now, hopefully Playmates will give us updated versions of Shredder, April, Splinter and Krang before too long!
D-Arts Pokemon - Another big surprise this year came in the form of some amazing Pokemon figures from Bandai! Released through the D-Arts line, these 4 figures were based off some of the original 150 Pocket Monsters from back in 1998, during the heyday of the Japanese fad! Gone were the motionless PVC toys from back in the day, replaced, instead, by some beautifully updated monsters, complete with loads of articulation and character specific accessories, that make this fan happy to be part of the best Pokemon generation! Currently, only four pieces have been released, but there is talk of more coming soon, so grab these while you can, because at about $50-$70 a shot, it's gonna get pricy if you Want to Catch 'Em All! Still, any first generation Pokemon fan who grew up in the days of Blue and Red should really consider adding these figures to their collections, they're totally awesome and are sure to keep your love of all things Pokemon burning bright, even after 15 years!
S.H. MonsterArts Biollante - 2013 would not only see the release of the largest Transformer made by Hasbro, but also the biggest S.H. MonsterArts figure made by Tamashii Nations and Bandai! Biollante was planned, sculpted and approved by Fuyuki Shinada, the original creator of the Biollante model used in filming the classic monster flick, Godzilla vs. Biollante! The figure's chest area even features a special light-up gimmick that can be changed with a special switch! Biollante features a full range of articulation at every neck joint allows fans to easily re-create classic poses from the film and, standing at a mighty 12" tall, this massive monster dwarfs even the previously released MonsterArts King Ghidorah! Anyone who ever said size doesn't matter obviously never had this beastly kaiju sitting on their shelf. She is seriously mind-blowing!
SDCC NES Jason Voorhees - This unique figure is just another reason why we here at Infinite Earths love NECA so much! Revealed in May, a few months prior to San Diego Comic Con, the figure depicts the classic villain as he appeared in the rather awful 1989 Friday the 13th title released on the Nintendo Entertainment System! The figure features a garish purple paint job, glow in the dark hands, feet, mask and weapons, and came to you encased in some beautiful window-box style packaging made to look like the box for the classic LJN Nintendo title! NECA really thought outside the box with this one and gave fans a figure that was eagerly snapped up! Since then, other classic 80's characters have received the NES treatment by the team at NECA, but Jason makes the list for being the first, and most surprising, of the bunch! What a great piece to help fans recall why we love those horrible NES movie-based game titles from back in the day!
Super7 Vintage Alien Figures - Back in 1979, Kenner was granted license to created Star Wars-style figures based off the film Alien. However, with the film landing an R-rating, the plans for the line were soon scrapped altogether. Rumors of prototypes for the line existing have become something of a legend amongst collectors and fans, but it wasn't until this year that those dreams became reality when Super7 released a set of vintage-style Alien figures as part of their ReAction figure line. Featuring basic designs and simple articulation, these five pieces, consisting of The “Big Chap” Alien, Ripley, Ash, Dallas and Kane in Nostromo spacesuit, are everything Kenner had hoped for all those years ago! They aren't the easiest, or the cheapest, figures to track down at the moment, due to a limited production run, but, thanks to a new partnership with Funko, the figures will soon become more readily available, and at a much more affordable price!
Lego Back to the Future DeLorean - Okay, it's not an action figure, but come on? How cool is it that we can now walk into a store and purchase a Lego set that let's us build Doc Brown's time traveling DeLorean DMC-12? Part of Lego's LEGO’s CUUSOO platform, the proposal garnered massive support from fans and was approved by Lego rather quickly. Available through the Lego Store for $35, the set also includes mini-figures of both Doc and Marty! For a kid who grew up trying to design his own Lego Back to the Future DeLorean, and never really succeeding, this set is a dream come true!
And there you have it, Infinite Earths fans! It took some doing, but we were finally able to select the Top Toys of 2013! It has been a fun and exciting year for toy collectors and 2014 looks to be just as much fun! 2014 will see the release of toys based off movies such as RoboCop, Captain America, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Godzilla, just to name a few! On top of that, NECA will be debuting a line celebrating 35 years of Ripley Scott's sci-fi classic Alien, DC Collectibles will be releasing figures with improved articulation in lines based off Arkham Origins, Earth 2 and the DC Animated films and Playmates will be releasing Classics-style figures based off the movieverse Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! And all this is just the tip of the iceberg! Toy Fair is almost here and you can expect top notch coverage from our team once again as we attempt to showcase all the great plastic crack coming down the pipes in 2014! Stay tuned, Infinite Earths fans, it's going to be a great year!
Until Next Time!
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