Distribution was spotty and local stores seemed to reorder product only two times this year, at the beginning of summer and what’s arriving in stores now at the end.
I don’t feel I actually got anything current in the 3.75-4 inch scale, as most of my purchases consisted in catching up to already cancelled lines, like Star Wars Vintage, Iron Man 2 and Clone Wars; although I still got quite a few new pieces.
I consider myself to be mostly a 1:18 scale collector, but in 2013 I got rather heavily into the 6-inch plus scales this year. All started when the Marvel Legends Hit Monkey wave arrived at stores and then I found myself going through the Iron Man Legends line, with the odd leftover character from previous ML waves thrown in.
They really got me when local Wal Mart stores brought out for this holiday season the previously unavailable, exclusive 6-inch Movie Series Avengers from last year, as well as the first wave of 6-inch Star Wars Black Series, which I ended up getting.
A highlight for me during this year was NECA. I usually fill the slow months with small distractions from the likes of LEGO and Megabloks, or whatever leftover Halo stuff from McFarlane Toys I can find on clearance, but this year local Blockbuster stores had a couple of interesting sales on NECA’s Assassins Creed, Gremlins and Predator action figures.
Now, I had already some experience with NECA stuff, since the Gears of War 4-inch scale figures were among the first few things I got in 2013, but even though those were pretty decent figures, they don’t really set the bar too high in terms of company expectations.
Overall, I found the larger scale NECA figures to be quite impressive. Specifics vary from line to line and from character to character of course, but the overall quality and design of the figures I got from these lines made NECA one more company I’ll be keeping an eye out for.
A controversial issue in 2013 was action figure articulation. I complain that I didn’t get much new stuff from Hasbro in 2013, but that is not strictly true, as there are a lot of figures warming pegs in each Hasbro line, designed with only five points of articulation and at stores right now.
Initially, it was much easier to dismiss them outright as toy-aisle clutter, but since prices have dropped so dramatically as time went by, I actually added a few of these 5-pointers to my collection for archival purposes. I have to say that they do have a certain retro-appeal, but I don’t see myself buying heavily into them in 2014.
One of the biggest disappointments I got this year came, not surprisingly, from Mattel‘s Man of Steel line. It is like they are not even trying anymore, even though apparently the DC license is due for a shot in the arm in 2014. On the other hand, Playmates Toys scored big in my books with their Nickelodeon-inspired Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys.
I wish for Hasbro to fix the distribution issue 2014, as I expect to see exciting new figures based on the upcoming big-budget movies scheduled for release in the coming months.