Friday, February 15, 2013

New York International Toy Fair 2013: Recap

Hold on tight, Phantomaniacs – it’s time to take a look at the results of one of the biggest events of the year – the New York International Toy Fair!
Well, “take a look” isn’t necessarily the right term, as I don’t have many – if any – pictures. I am getting all of my information from other sites around the net. I wasn’t there or anything and I don’t want to steal those guys’ pictures. But I will provide links to the best galleries for each category so you can eyeball this stuff for yourself. My only job here is to provide analysis and commentary. Just click on the header of the category and most of them will link to the best available gallery for that topic.
Update: Action Figure Insider has graciously allowed other sites to use their pics as long as you give credit. I’ll use a few here and there, but please go check out their site for tons more awesome pics!
And remember – we’re recording the second episode of the Needless Things Podcast tomorrow night and it’s all about Toy Fair. I have a panel of five other dorks – Gnoll, Josh Wilson, Evil, Reverend Dan Wilson, and once again Beau Brown – and we’re going to dissect all of the big announcements and featured products. I don’t know how long it’s gonna take, but if you listened to the first episode you know I’ll hang in there until we’re done.
For now, it’s time to run down all of the stuff I care about. There were plenty of other announcements and products at Toy Fair that aren’t represented here. I just want to be sure and hit on the stuff I collect or found interesting. So if it’s not on here, you can probably find it by poking around one of the links.
4 Horsemen
Power Lords: This is the Horsemen’s Hot Shit license this year. I vaguely remember being creeped out by this line when I was a kid. I never had any of them. The ones on display looked cool enough, but I’m not sure I’ll get them. I’m also not sure what size they are. The ones in the pictures are labeled as 2-ups, but it’s hard to tell how big they are. My guess is that they’re 3 ¾” but I don’t know.
Outer Space Men: Jack Asteroid. Seriously. I don’t know if they meant that or not, but this is happening. I don’t know how you give a figure a name like that without sneaking in a Johnny Knoxville likeness. Also shown were some awesome new aliens – Colossus Rex, Cyclops, and Gamma X - and Terra Firma, the female human. Jack and Terra are from Earth and have matching spacesuits. I don’t like the way I said that because it sounds all Barbie, but all I mean is that their spacesuits are the same color and general shape so that it gives them the appearance of having the same origin. But that would have taken too long to say.
Colossus Rex is huge, green, and awesome. Cyclops is also very large for the line. Gamma X is really wild with some translucent parts. I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy any more of these guys. They’re a little pricey and the ordering process is kind of a pain. But all five of these new figures are very cool and kind of got me fired up again. It reminds me that I’ve still got (series) on my “To Open” shelf. Might be time to sit down and do another big Outer Space Men review.
My Favorite – Colossus Rex looks awesome. He was the one that I saw that made me go, “Oh, well I’m gonna have to keep buying these.”
Side Note: Yes, I understand how absurd the above statement – “They’re a little pricey and the ordering process is kind of a pain” – is coming from a guy who’s been buying products from MattyCollector.com for four years now. Shut up.
I suppose you can’t refer to a company that is launching a new line as “faltering”, but BBP! definitely seem to be having some time management issues. There are products from 2011 that still have yet to surface. But I can’t be too hard on these guys, as they have a number of great licenses and do make some very cool stuff.
They are also setting out to make the most abhorrent line of action figures ever:
Big Bang Theory: That’s right! Now all you self-loathing nerds that somehow find it within yourselves to enjoy a show that mocks and despises you can actually play with action figures of the hateful caricatures that the show would openly disparage for playing with action figures! It’s mind-blowing! It’s like art imitating life imitating art if the original art was being made by assholes. Why are we getting these affronts to dorkery and not IT’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia action figures? Where’s Gag Action Sweet Dee or Karate Mac? How about an SDCC Exclusive The Nightman Cometh 5-pack?
I’m not sure I’ve ever mentioned it here, but I absolutely despise Big Bang Theory. Maybe I’ll get into it another time. Let’s look at some more toys.
The Venture Bros.: I can’t say I regret selling off my Mego-style Venture Bros. Collection, but I do wish there were a better way to collect toys based on the best show on television. I just didn’t have the patience for how these were coming out.
BBP! had a few of the 3 ¾” figures on display – Hank, Dean, Doctor Mrs. The Monarch, Brock, Dr. Venture, Phantom Limb, and the Monarch and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted by these.
What they showed of the Mego-style figures was much the same as last year, except that some of the characters that were cardboard cut-outs are now prototypes. They had Shore Leave, the Alchemist, Peter White, Jefferson Twilight, Sgt. Hatred, and H.E.L.P.E.R.; all of which were new to me.
Doctor Who: BBP! seem to be sticking with Doctor Four for their 8” cloth figures. New on display were Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars), a Cyber Leader, and Li H’sen Chang and Mr. Sin (The Talons of Weng Chiang). Totally new and a surprise tom me were Kraal (The Android Invasion), Magnus Greel (also from Talons), Eldrad (The Hand of Fear), and something called “Anti-Man” that I don’t recognize. These all look very nice, but just like I said last year – I can’t go starting a new scale. Except for when I break down and buy some of the new 3 ¾” stuff. Because I know I will.
BBP! is also producing a huge assortment of glassware and house goods for the 50th Anniversary. There is a set of 16 oz. glasses that will run all twelve months of the year with a different Doctor featured each month. They look nice and I’m going to be buying those.
Other Stuff: BBP! also had plenty of Battlestar Galactica (original series), Twilight Zone, and Six Million Dollar Man. Pretty much all of their merchandise is Mego-style figures, bobbleheads, and lunchboxes. It all looks good and my experience with their stuff has been positive. They’re just in a niche I can’t bother with right now.
My Favorite: The 3 ¾” Venture Bros. figures look awesome. If there is ever a convenient way to buy them I probably will. As it is I believe Entertainment Earth is doing a sort of subscription service. This sounds reasonable, but the figures are ten bucks apiece and with shipping on top of that I’m not interested. Especially when I’m not sure if they’ll ever even get around to all of the characters I would like to have.
Underground Toys’ booth looked more like a store display than a Toy Fair presentation. It was just cubes full of packaged items that are already available. Underground had nothing new on display here, so I’ll briefly run down the products they showed at the London Toy Fair a month or so ago. I talked about it on Earth Station Who, but never mentioned it here because I thought they would have more stuff for NYTF. The pictures in this section are from The Doctor Who Site.
Doctor Who: So Underground is no longer producing modern Doctor Who toys in the 5” scale. They are switching to 3 ¾”. The only reason I could come up with for this was that they were planning on an American launch for the 50th Anniversary. The Classic Doctor Who line will still be produced at a 5” scale. This makes no sense, but is okay because at least I can keep collecting that.
The first batch of toys from this new 3 ¾” line include the Doctor (naturally), Clara, a Weeping Angel, two Cybermen from the yet-to-be-aired Neil Gaiman episode The Last Cyberman, (more?). The toys all look really good. They have great sculpting and appear to at least equal the articulation of the 5” line. I don’t know yet if the TARDIS will feature the excellent Flight Control features of its larger predecessor, but I would hope so. UT is also producing small dioramas that feature backgrounds reminiscent of or inspired by the show and characters.
For me the big news was a series of 50th Anniversary Doctor/Dalek 2-packs that will be Toys R Us Exclusives. There are eleven – one for each Doctor – and they are in the 5” scale. The Doctors will be new decos and the Daleks will correspond to a particular story with the specific Doctor. I’m very excited to see these and hope that US stores will carry them, though I’m guessing they will be around $36 apiece. Expensive, but this is the sort of thing I will buy and display in the box.
Underground also had an insane variety of other products – RC toys (K-9 and Daleks), cookie jars, plush, bottle openers, stationary, clocks, inflatable Daleks (for you kinky weirdos out there); pretty much anything you could think of and either put a picture of a TARDIS on or produce shaped like a TARDIS. I might have been disappointed by the lack of toys, but it warmed my heart to see such a massive display of Doctor Who-themed product.
Finally, the lack of action figure product at Underground’s booth leads me to believe I was totally wrong about a big American launch of Doctor Who toys. I was pretty sure that was happening between the change in scale and the presence of select Doctor Who toys in American Toys R Us store over the past couple of months. Not so much, apparently.
Star Wars: Underground also produces a bunch of Star Wars plush – mostly cute little super-deformed things.
My Favorite – The coolest thing Underground brought to New York’s Toy Fair was the remote-controlled K-9. I’m just a little bit shocked that they had almost nothing in the way of new action figures on display.
Solomon Grundy from Batman: Arkham City looks amazing. He looks to be around a foot tall and is even larger than DCC's Darkseid. At a hundred bucks he's pretty darn expensive, but I'm going to have to have him.
They also showed a figure of the New 52 Swamp Thing. And it's the “Heavy Metal Album Cover” version. This is the crazy one with gigantic wings and horns that was so awesome that the first time I saw it I took a picture of it and posted it on Facebook saying how badly I wanted a toy. And now they're making one. I don't have a price on this guy yet, but I'm betting no less than $75.
DCC had a number of new 3.75” figures as well as many New 52 6” scale figures. I really like the Leatherface Joker and I'm pretty sure Mattel won't be touching that particular design, so I'll probably buy him. New 52 Black Adam and Martian Manhunter also looked awesome. I might be dropping New 52 titles as fast as they can launch them, but I have to admit that the character designs make for nice-looking toys.
I was stoked when I saw that DCC was producing figures based on Aardman Animation’s DC Nation shorts. As much as I like Aardman and their interpretations of DC’s characters, these things are way pricey. The Batman and Robin 2-pack was recently solicited at $49 and that’s crazy unless these things are eight or nine inches tall. And they aren’t.
I don’t normally mention statues, but I’m going to make an exception here. “DC Comics Bombshells” is a new line of statues depicting the females of DC Comics as 40s and 50s-era pin-ups. I think these things are going to sell like mad and have a huge potential to cross over into the regular market if DC can promote them properly. This style of character could easily follow in the footsteps of DC’s anime-style statues, which spawned a line of small-scale figures and even a comic book. I think the concept is nothing short of brilliant and if they weren’t $125 apiece I’d be buying them. Here’s hoping I’m right and we get smaller scale versions as well. Although I’ll probably get Batgirl anyway once they get around to her.
Update: BigBadToyStore is currently taking preorders for Wonder Woman and Supergirl and they’re only $99 apiece.
My Favorite: While that Solomon Grundy is awesome, the Leatherface Joker is great. One of the nicest-looking figures at Toy Fair, as a matter of fact.
Universal Monsters: In their ongoing quest to do everything Sideshow already did, DST is releasing black and white versions of the Universal Monsters action figures. However, they are producing full color Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde figures, which Sideshow never did. Also on the way is a great-looking Hunchback of Notre Dame and a Mole Man. Both of these actually look better than the Sideshow versions.
You want to know what gets me excited, though? Super-articulated figures of the Gill-man and Son of Frankenstein. The sculpt and paint on both of those is outstanding. They don’t ship until 2014, but now that the world didn’t end last December I think we can all feel a little bit better about far-out release dates.
Star Trek: The new light and sound NCC 1701-D is beautiful. Sadly it isn’t in scale with the rest of DST’s Star Trek ships, but that probably would have been a little pricey. The NCC 1701-E is also coming out and it is bad ass. I don’t know how many of these I will pick up at sixty bucks apiece, but I’d love to have an entire Starfleet hanging from my ceiling. Also shown was a Cutaway Model version of the original 1701. It is absolutely amazing. It was offered in February’s Previews, but at $180 I had to pass.
DST is launching a new line of figures that I simply do not understand. They have some points of articulation, but are largely posed. To me they seem inferior to previous releases. One is Spock with a diorama and the other is Kirk battling Khan.
The Munsters: I am not as big a fan of The Munsters as I am of The Addams Family, but I have to say that DST’s Munsters figures have looked so good I’ve been awfully tempted by them. Obviously they have been successful, as not only is the line continuing with new versions of Grandpa, Herman, Lily, and Uncle Gilman but they are producing a playset of sorts – the staircase with (Spot?) underneath. It looks great and would be really awesome with the whole family standing around it. If I had the money and the shelf space to devote to a set, I would totally buy these figures. I wish DST would go after the Addams license.
Finally, DST is producing a prop replica of Mr. Fusion. I am speechless.
Hasbro
Hasbro still makes some of the best action figures on the planet, but I’ve got to say they didn’t hit the mark very often last year. I would love to give them more of my money since they have some of my favorite licenses, but it looks like the other companies are offering stiff competition.
Star Wars: Obviously the6” scale Black line is the big deal this year. Hasbro had pilot Luke, Darth Maul, R2-D2, and a Sandtrooper on display. The only one that really impressed me was R2-D2. Me and Evil were discussing the line one night and I said if they were going to do an Artoo then he had better damn well come with all of his extensions and scopes and all that jazz. And since Hasbro isn’t Mattel, he does. I know I’ll end up buying a few figures from this line (at least Boba Fett), but it won’t be a regular thing. Speaking of Boba Fett, from what I hear he’s going to be the SDCC Exclusive, though I’d imagine he’ll be a variant or have special packaging or something.
The 3 ¾” Black line was honestly even less impressive. It was all characters we’ve seen before with no noticeable improvements. I don’t get it. And the packaging looked very Dollar Tree to me. Maybe it’ll look better in person.
Also coming this year are
  • Biggs’ X-Wing (to go with the previous releases of Luke’s and Wedge’s, which I have so this is a must)
  • Republic Gunship from Geonosis with Yoda, two turrets, and two Clones
  • A Darth Vader “NOOOOOOO” set with an operating table and 4 figures
  • Two different packs to complete the Imperial Scanning Crew (very cool)
  • Ewok catapult with some Ewok figures (awesome!)
  • Amazon Exclusive Boba Fett Slave-1 with Han in carbonite (also a must-have and presumably a repaint of Jango’s Slave-1)
My Favorite: That 6” scale R2-D2 really does look fantastic. If I buy one to review, it’ll be that one.
There’s actually a decent amount of Star Wars stuff to get excited about this year if Hasbro can just get it into the fucking stores.
GI Joe: All of the crap from last year is finally coming out. Go take a look at my 2012 Toy Fair coverage.
I think Hasbro realized they needed to keep up appearances and offer some good toys. I bought Roadblock and Zartan from the movie line last year and they kind of sucked. Minimal decos and Roadblock had some stupid gadget permanently affixed to his hand. I never got around to reviewing them. But this time Hasbro is slipping some classics into the line y way of new “Ultimate” figures. Storm Shadow and Cobra Commander are the first ones I’ve seen and they do, indeed, look ultimate.
Also new is an update on the best toy helicopter ever made – the Tomahawk. Only now they’re calling it the Eaglehawk, either because of racial sensitivity or because somebody else trademarked “Tomahawk” when Hasbro wasn’t looking. This one has some new tooling to accommodate the 30th Anniversary-style figures and looks awesome. I will buy it.
My Favorite: I love that Tomahawk. The only thing better would be a new Killer W.H.A.L.E., which they will probably announce as the SDCC Exclusive just to try and break my heart. I never did find last year’s Shockwave for a reasonable price and I’m still fuming about it.
Transformers: I didn't pay too much attention to Transformers stuff, but it is the toy line's 30th Anniversary. So that's worth mentioning. Also, you couldn't help but notice the new Metroplex figure, which looks amazing and is huge. Be sure and tune in to the podcast next week to hear all about Hasbro’s 2013 Transformers lineup from Josh Wilson and Gnoll.
Marvel Legends: Tons of new Marvel Legends were shown, which I hope means that Hasbro intends to improve their distribution. Among the new figures were White Phoenix Jean Grey and Jim Lee Jean Grey, Rocket Raccoon (who doesn’t get the parenthetical exclamation point he would’ve last year thanks to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie), classic Hawkeye and modern Hawkeye, a particularly crappy new Black Panther, Sentry, Hyperion, white Iron Fist, Wrecker, a build-a-figure Puck, modern Rogue, modern Emma Frost, and a Phoenix Force Cyclops, which surprised me not only for existing but for requiring four more figures – two of which are clad less modestly than your average pole-dancer – to make sense.
I also keep seeing references to a “Wolverine Legends” line, which I am assuming is Hasbro’s version of Mattel’s movie tie-in lines.
My Favorite: I’m not exactly frothing at the mouth for this lineup of characters I already own and characters I don’t want, but I am stoked that we’re getting a Rogue. Now I don’t have to pay fifty bucks for that X-Treme X-Men version. If I’m being totally honest it’s pretty hard to get excited about a line when you’re still frustrated trying to find current series. If future releases are going to be as difficult to find – and that’s not even considering the variants – then I might be checking out of this line sooner than later.
Marvel Universe: I don’t collect these (and kind of wish I did), but be sure and tune in to the second episode of the Needless Things podcast to hear Reverend Dan Wilson’s exclusive coverage that you won’t be able to hear anywhere else!
Star Trek: All Hasbro seems to be producing are their LEGO knockoff Kre-O building sets. They look neat and all, but I’d love to see an actual 3 ¾” line. I suppose they’re wise to be wary of a full-on boys’ action figure lien given the dismal failure that was Playmates’ attempt. I didn’t feel like there was anything wrong with the toys themselves, but they launched far in advance of a movie that was mostly an unknown quantity and had odd purchasing requirements if you actually wanted everything. I know Hasbro could do better, but perhaps they’re waiting. I almost wonder if a Holiday launch of classic Trek alongside new Trek would be a good move.
These people are fucking nuts.
It looks like their only thing is the Presidential Monsters line, which crosses United States Presidents with monsters and sounds fucking stupid. But these 8” Mego-style figures are so well-executed and the likenesses are so good that the line works. It’s this bizarre pop culture thing that sounds like ultra-niche nonsense but has produce a line of what basically amount to 3D, high-end Garbage Pail Kids.
Yeti Roosevelt is my favorite.
Actually, it looks like they produce a Scary Godmother doll as well, but there aren’t any good shots of her.
It looks like JAKKS is done with SLUG Zombies, which I think is tragic. I gave their stuff a cursory look and couldn’t see anything interesting, so let’s just move on.
As much as I love all things LEGO and would like nothing more than to buy every single set in their new Monster Hunters collection, I don’t have the money or the display space. I bought a couple of their castles a few years ago when they got marked down dirt fucking cheap on clearance and ended up selling them to Gnoll. I had a blast putting them together, but had nowhere to put them. Speaking of Gnoll, he’s going to be giving us his exclusive rundown of LEGO’s 2013 Toy Fair offerings on the podcast, so be sure and tune in.
Mattel
Mattel and MattyCollector.com both have problems. As an entity responsible for the production of a large percentage of the toys that inhabit the Action Figure aisle, they seem to have a lot of misunderstandings about how to produce toys. But at the same time, they have managed to hold onto their market share and their licenses for a very long time now. So they must be doing something right. Further proof of that is that no matter how mad I get about their poor quality control or distribution or character selection within a line, I am still giving them a bunch of my money.
This year, they are getting even more. Despite the fact that all of Mattycollector.com’s reveals got leaked late last week, Mattel still blew the doors off of Toy Fair with the remainder of their showcase. I don’t think it can be disputed that the mighty king of 2013’s Toy Fair is Mattel’s Batman TV Masters – a toy line based on 60’s Batman TV show.
MattyCollector.com
This is the stuff that got leaked. I covered it last Friday, but I’ll give you those pictures now.
Masters of the Universe: The new thing we know – that some guessed correctly at – is that Matty is offering a new Filmation sub. It will begin in July and run through December. In theory this will provide one figure each month. My little joke was that the last three figures will ship in January of 2014. It will not ship together with your other subs until the second month, so you’re already getting jacked for around ten bucks right up front. Matty also never bothered to figure out how to combine shipping on their early order thing, which I think is pretty shitty.
The first three figures of the Filmation sub are Batros:
Icer:
And Shokoti, who they keep calling “Shakoti”:
I can’t decide if I want these or not. I like all three of them. There’s a good chance Sea Hawk will be part of this sub and he’s pretty much the Han Solo of the MOTU universe. But I just don’t know that I need (a silly term when you’re talking toys anyway) these figures. Especially for twenty-five bucks apiece. I’ve got until March 4th to go to the site and order my sub. I’ll keep you informed.
I haven’t been able to verify it, but Action Figure Insider reported that the New Adventures He-Man figure was a 2-pack. It looks like one figure is He-Man with armor and a helmet and the other has the bandolier and no helmet. Obviously this is stupid if it is true. Plenty of people don’t even want a NA He-Man, let alone one that takes up a valuable 2-pack slot that could have been Horde Troopers or Skeletor Robots or any number of other things. I can’t imagine why Matty would think this was a good idea. NA He-Man should require no more than an extra head and interchangeable bandolier and armor accessories. If that’s too much for one figure they should have just waited and made a new price point for next year. Or even made him the SDCC Exclusive. Quite frankly, NE He-Man isn’t even as important as Queen Marlena, so I can’t imagine anybody getting too upset over that. Okay, well, people would. But it would have been a better idea.
Then, of course, there’s Castle Grayskull. I can’t say I’m unhappy with it, but I totally understand why some folks are. I stopped believing anything Toy Guru says a while back. I took his “manage your expectations” catchphrase to heart. So I was ready for all sorts of disappointment regarding Matty’s Grayskull playset. Sure – the fact that it’s two inches shorter than the dimensions we were guaranteed (and yeah – that’s the right word) is lame. And the fact that the result of that is the Jawbridge being too short is also lame. And the fact that Toy Guru’s response to this is to tell people to go and cancel their orders is just plain lousy. Here’s a hilarious video detailing the ways in which this playset does not live up to the expectations that we were supposed to be managing:
But I’m still excited. I didn’t expect it to be that good, to be honest. And I have to give Matty credit for allowing people the option to cancel if they want to. Here’s the thing – there was never any way that Castle Grayskull was going to be scaled to the figures. To expect that was absurd. Yeah, it would be nice if He-Man could actually walk through the doorway. But guess what? He-Man would never walked through the doorway anyway because He-Man is a fucking action figure and this is a toy line. You simply have to make some allowances for reality when dealing with things like scale and form in a toy line and I have to say that I’m quite pleased with the amount of Grayskull we’re getting for the price. I just paid $150 bucks for the new TMNT Sewer Playset (review coming soon) and while that thing is awesome, it isn’t half as nice as this Castle Grayskull is probably going to be.
I understand that there is still plenty of potential for disaster. It could be made of shitty plastic, the paint job could be bad, the pieces might not fit together; all kinds of problems could occur. We already know that the dungeon sticker from the original will be a sticker again even though we were told this playset wouldn’t have any stickers. Personally I’m glad it’s a sticker rather than being painted. If they aren’t going to sculpt it I don’t want it there at all.
Matty also laid out the current schedule of availability. Of course, what was shown at Toy Fair:
was completely different from what is on the website:

Masters of the Universe® Classics at MattyCollector.com

It was revealed that “New Adventures” He-Man® will come with both his animated and classic toy armor looks! In addition, August figure Castaspella™, member of the Great Rebellion, is an all-new Princess of Power® figure. This magic wielding maiden comes with her clip-on backpack (similar to Sy-Klone™) and a magic blast that snaps onto her hand. September figure Mantenna® is one of the last remaining original 1985 Horde members, and this 100% new sculpt features all four fully articulated legs. He comes with his Horde crossbow and snap-on eyes to recreate the vintage figure’s “eye popping” action feature. Also revealed were the new MOTUC package clamshells coming in March. They’re the perfect way to keep your mint-on-card figures in mint condition!
  • Ram Man®: Coming 2/15
  • Jitsu™: Coming 2/15
  • Strobo: Traveling convention figure with bonus unmasked Zodak™ head
  • King He-Man®: Club Eternia® exclusive, arrives with Sub-ternia™ poster. Coming 3/15.
  • Clam Shells: Coming in March.
  • Fang Man™: Coming 3/15
  • Snake Face: Coming4/15
  • Fighting Foe Men™: Coming4/15
  • Karatti: Coming 5/15
  • Octavia: Coming 6/17
  • Clamp Champ: Coming 7/15
  • “New Adventures” He-Man®: Coming 7/15
  • Castaspella: Coming 8/15
  • Mantenna®: Coming 10/15 (NOTE: There will be no September figure. Instead, there will be two figures in October. The second October figure will be revealed at a later date.)
  • Stackable Stands: Coming 11/15

My Favorite: I’m still totally stoked about Grayskull, but as far as the actual reveals go I’d have to pick Mantenna. He looks amazing.
DC Universe Club Infinite Earths: Only two figures were shown and we already knew we were getting Huntress. I am definitely happy about getting Fire, though. Fire and Ice were integral parts of Justice League Unlimited and since I count that as the best version of Justice League I’ll be glad to have them. Of course, that’s assuming they actually produce Ice, which is not a given.
Matty also updated the DCIE release schedule:

DC Universe Club Infinite Earths Figures

  • Phantom Stranger: Coming 2/15
  • Elongated Man: Coming 3/15
  • Larfleeze: Coming 4/15
  • Wally West Flash: Coming 5/15
  • Freddy Freeman: Coming 6/15
  • Huntress: Coming 7/15. Comes with cross bow.
  • Fire: Coming 7/15. Half of the “Fire and Ice” team.
My Favorite: I like both of the new figures. If I had to choose I’d go with Huntress.

Retail Lines
Not as much to report as last year.
Kid Stuff: Mattel’s kid-oriented 6” scale Batman line launched last year and me and Lil’ Troublemaker both like it. The decos are minimal, but the character designs are fun and they’re a decent value for what they are. Obviously this is one of those lines where you get 867 Batmans and one villain per wave, but that’s okay. The new thing for this year is translucent figures, which is AWESOME. There’s also a new, black 6” scale Batmobile that is in stores now.
Imaginext is introducing figures of Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman. Neat.
My Favorite: That new Batmobile looks like it might fit right in with my DCUC collection.
DC Unlimited: This is Mattel’s replacement for the cancelled DC Universe Classics line and I have to say it seems like pretty good stuff so far. Not necessarily stuff I want, mind you – just a reasonable selection of figures and a good reboot for the line. Another important factor is that – for now, at least – the figures are retailing for $15.99, not the $19.99 that many had assumed was coming. I feel sure it still is, but Mattel just wanted to ease us into it.
This line actually covers Batman Unlimited, the forthcoming Superman Unlimited, and DC Unlimited; which is sort of the catch-all. I found the first waves at Target the other day and couldn’t help but buy the New 52 Batman and Batgirl. Those are two characters that I’ll buy just about any new versions of (reviews coming soon).
As I’ve mentioned before, the New 52 Darkseid from Mattel is one of the most ridiculous-looking figures I have ever seen. The proportions are terrible and he just looks like a stack of lumpy grey dicks. It’s fucking terrible. And that’s without even comparing it to DC Collectibles’ Darkseid, which was one of the best figures I saw last year.
Also massively stupid is the Vampire Batman figure, which is clearly based on Kelley Jones’ artwork in Red Rain and Bloodstorm. Again, without even comparing it to DC Direct’s version it is terrible.
My Favorite: Squarely in the “not terrible” and “it’s about fucking time” categories is Mattel’s Damian Wayne figure, likely slated for the Batman Unlimited line. The torso is a little bland, but otherwise it looks great.
Max Steel: I can’t even begin to comprehend why Mattel did not show any Man of Steel toys. But they did show their new Max Steel line (see what I did there?). I think this is Max’s third or fourth reboot and to be honest the toys didn’t do a thing for me. The size and sculpt are reminiscent of the kids’ Batman line, so at least you can mix the two lines.
My Favorite: That these don’t look interesting enough for Lil’ Troublemaker to want.
WWE: There wasn’t anything specific that stood out here. Mattel is still making the best wrestling figures I’ve ever seen with their Elite collection. I have pretty much stopped buying wrestling figures now, but I know there’s always a chance they’ll produce something I can’t resist. As a matter of fact, the new Elite Chris Jericho is pretty amazing.
My Favorite: Yeah. That Jericho is nice.
MEZCO will be getting some of my money this year. I have given them shit in the past for having poorly-sculpted figures that are meant to look realistic, but their new Walter White as Heisenberg prototype figure is awesome. I will buy it. They’re also producing a bunch of Mars Attacks figures. I hope these do well so we can get vehicles.
Axe Cop: Yes – you read that right. MEZCO is making Axe Cop toys. Truly this is a day I never thought I’d see. Granted, it’s all because of the forthcoming FOX cartoon. These things look amazing. There is a line of figures (not sure of the scale) including Axe Cop, Avocado Soldier, Baby Man, Wexter, and Doctor Doo Doo. I hope they have a Sockarang in the works. They’re also doing plush versions of Wexter and Avocado Cop.
Universal Monsters: MEZCO is doing what they do best and making stylized versions of the classic monsters. Frankenstein’s Monster is hitting stores now. The Mummy and the Gill-man are also on the way. I picked up Frank the other day and he’s a nice, heavy toy. I was tempted to get him, but I’m definitely getting that Gill-man.
MEZCO also had a ton of their little Mez-Itz collector’s figures on display. I don’t like those, but go check out the gallery if you’re curious.
My Favorite – The stylized Gill-man is awesome. I actually saw him a while ago and can’t wait to get one. Look for it in June.

NECA is doing 18” versions of Adam West and Michael Keaton as their respective Batmans and they look fucking fantastic. They have fabric capes. They look so good. This almost takes the sting out of not being able to afford the Hot Toys versions. I’m fairly certain if the Keaton sells they’ll do a Joker. These are huge, articulated figures, not clothed dolls. You can preorder them right now from BBTS.
There were some new figures from the Aliens line on display, including a particularly rad exploded-head xenomorph. Upon closer inspection I see that there are two Aliens in the process of getting shot to pieces. I don’t know if they come this way or if those are interchangeable parts.
Two new Prometheus figures were also on display – Elizabeth Shaw in her space suit and post-immolation geology guy. They both look excellent and the Shaw figure sports an amazing likeness of Noomi Rapace.
The Predator line is continuing with more Predators that look awesome but I have no idea what they’re from. One almost looks a bit like Kenner’s old Lava Planet Predator, another is called the Nightlord or something and looks cool. Also coming is a shirtless Dutch.
I am super-excited for Pacific Rim, but the toys didn’t do much for me. Without context they look like generic Japanese robots and would never even catch my eye. I do want to see them up close, though.
ED-209 is coming. Oh, yes. And of course it looks fucking awesome.
There were also toys from Kick-Ass 2, Carrie, The Lone Ranger, and Portal.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was undoubtedly the master of the toy aisle last year. Well, I dunno. Something else might have done better, but everywhere I went I saw empty pegs. And these weren’t “Mattel and Hasbro won’t send us new products so these pegs are empty and have been for the past four months” empty. These pegs were “we restock this stuff every week and HOLY SHIT it just KEEPS SELLING” empty.
This year we have new figures like Baxter Stockman, Leatherhead, Rat King, and Neutralizer along with new variations on the Turtles. Also coming are Classics versions of Bebop and Rocksteady. They look really nice, but I passed on the Classic Turtles; partially due to the price and partially due to the fact that I’m just not a huge fan of the old cartoon. Now, if they did original comic book Turtles in that style I’d buy them all.
Random Thoughts

Disappointed in the lack of new Doctor Who.

Disappointed in JAKKS’ seeming abandonment of SLUG Zombies, one of my favorite toy line of 2012 and the only one that I ended up being a completist about.

Why so sad? Every depiction of Superman from Man of Steel looks sad. I’m not necessarily a big Superman fan, but I like my Superman to be smiling and enjoying punching injustice in the face. This movie is making me feel bipolar. I have such high hopes and such low expectations.

Mattel knocked it out of the fucking park with Batman ’66. 
 
And now, here’s my extra-special exclusive picks for

Best In Show – Toy Fair 2013

  • Best Playset – Mattel's Castle Grayskull

  • Best Single Figure – DC Collectibles’ New 52 Joker

  • Best Vehicle – Hasbro’s GI Joe Eaglehawk

  • Best Line Overall – NECA's Reel Toys

  • Biggest Surprise – Mattel’s MattyCollector.com Filmation subscription

  • Best New Line – Mattel's Batman '66

  • Best Company Overall - Mattel

  • The One Single Thing I’m Most Excited About - Castle Grayskull
Remember, the next Needless Things podcast will go up next week. Also, go check out Action Figure Insider for TONS of detailed pictures of everything from Toy Fair!
 
-Phantom

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