Errex’s Year in Review 2011

December 26, 2011 | By More

Ever since Hasbro started doing lines for summer blockbuster movies based off Marvel Universe characters, the availability of the other lines I collect suffered a big blow.

2011 for me started by trying to catch up with whatever did trickle at stores from the initial Star Wars Vintage Collection waves. For the most part it was a rather lackluster first quarter, but I managed to find a few figures at very reasonable prices after the holidays.

However, with the setting of spring, I managed to find in the wild, no less, the Return of the Jedi wave, with the ever-elusive Gamorrean Guard. Sure, the furry skirt could have been done better, but scarcity does wonders to appease any aesthetic misgivings caused by this piece of cloth. For what its worth, a couple months after, I found a reissued Gamorrean from a revision case and the garment was cut slightly better.

The middle of the year was characterized by the now usual glut of movie tie-in figures. Of these, I had rather high expectations for Thor and Captain America, and for the most part these lines delivered, although I did not buy heavily into any of them.

From Thor I only got the Deluxe Frost Giant and passed on the rest, in part because as usual, stores were filled to the rafters with only the first wave of figures, and in part because I felt this line would have benefited much more from a Comic inspired sub-line rather than sticking to movie-only designs.

The Captain America line I found much more interesting, although I only bought a few figures from the Comic-styled segment and this was the line were apparently Hasbro had more quality control issues in terms of paints and materials.

Concurrently, the Green Lantern action figures started to show at stores and made all other lines to look better by comparison. All I can say about this line is that the construction is solid and simple, but priced at the same price point as the Hasbro action figures they simply don’t deliver the same bang for your buck.

In a similar vein, the toy line for the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie didn’t fare much better, although the figures were a little more articulated. The figures were late at stores, and the movie was not such a big hit with the toy–buying crowd, but I still got me a few for archival purposes. And I really liked the black-light gimmick.

The only other comic inspired line that consistently has gotten better over time is Marvel Universe. Distribution is still a sore point, but the number of unique molds increased and the character selection was rather diverse. Marvel Universe is still a line I only buy one or two characters per wave, but that’s just the way I like it.

Now, regarding Clone Wars, I did buy more than a few figures this year, but I would be hard pressed to say which of them were paid full MSRP. For the most part, the figures I got came from rebate sales and mostly because I needed a quick plastic fix.

There are a few real gems in there, like the new Ahsoka, but distribution has been so lousy in regards to the single carded figures that I’d be surprised if my total tally of CW figures even approximates a dozen.

Now, the really big thing for me in 2011 was McFarlane Toys’ Halo line. You see, even though I mostly keep to collect only the 4 inch lines, and McFarlane Halo product has been available for a couple of years now, the imports company that supplied the toys to the two or three store chains that carried the line did so in rather limited quantity, which in turn led to rather high prices. I usually waited for seasonal 50% Off sales to pick up whatever was left, and still managed to build up a modest collection of the Halo 3 aliens and a few Spartans.

However, this summer a friend told me he had seen some Halo figures on sale at Blockbuster, of all places, with rebates ranging from 50% to 70% Off on older figures from both the Halo 3 and the Halo: Reach lines. And the best part is that since the new imports company managing the line is the same that brings Megabloks product, distribution is actually very good.

And speaking of building blocks, both LEGO and Megabloks, really hit it hard and out of the park with their blind packed collectible minifigs. LEGO minifigs are always nice and colorful, although sometimes the character assortment in a given series lacks general appeal. In this regard, I think Megabloks has a slight advantage with their themed minifig series, specifically their Marvel and Halo licenses. Sadly, the Marvel ones only got to the second series before the license was granted to LEGO in 2012.

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Category: Featured, Musings

About the Author ()

I've been collecting action figures since the original Kenner Star Wars days. Nowadays, I still collect pretty much anything that catches my eye.

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  1. Joseph Tages says:

    Nice review! I had the most trouble finding Vintage Star Wars stuff, with the Gamorrean Guard and Bespin Han still MIA as the year wraps up. I did manage to catch up with a couple of figures from the ROJ wave by years’ end after online sales softened up. Looks like 2012 is starting with a focus on Episode One, so I’m saving money there already.

    G.I. Joe had its best year since the 25th Anniversary, with the latest wave (Lifeline, Sci-Fi, Airtight) batting one heck of a thousand! Likewise, Marvel Universe just keeps getting better with each passing year. Now, all Hasbro needs to do is continue using the newer bucks with the improved articulation. Dr. Strange is probably my favorite from this years’ offerings and 2012 looks even more promising with Hercules, Scarlet Witch, Nighthawk, Puck, all classic characters which I love like crazy.

    DCUC wrapped up its initial retail run but I’m very happy that it is continuing under Matty. I have a difficult time with MOTUC since most of the subscription figures are characters I don’t care for, (same goes for the upcoming G.I. Joe Collector’s Club sub program) but I have high hopes for DCUC after seeing must-haves like Jay Garrick, Thom Kallor, and Metron. The Legion set’s success was a wonderful surprise and I hope it means that a second one will be on the way soon! We still need guys like Sun Boy, plus Dawnstar, Shadow Lass, and every other female Legionnaire besides Imra.

    Transformers went south for me after Generations folded. We’ll see what happens next year after the third movie line is history.

    The Hasbro movie lines were blah for the most part since I only get the comic based stuff. Captain America had at least three or four figures that were cool, but they turned out too short and lacked some of MU’s standard articulation. Wish Thor had gotten some proper comic love, too.

    Biggest “new” line I’m awaiting for 2012 is the relaunch of Marvel Legends. I’ll be interested in seeing how well it does this time around but I’ll likely be picking and choosing for the most part as I did with DCUC.

    Overall, I gotta give 2011 a B+ toywise. It would have gotten an A if most of the actual product had been easier to find, but that’s only going to worsen with time from the looks of things.