Collecting-wise, 2014 was a very diverse year for me, although unfocused might be the better way of describing it.
Perusing the folders of pictures I took during the year, I was hard pressed to find a single, coherent theme for my collecting, as I was finding a lot of small novelty items I simply could not resist, like the LEGO-compatible cars from Hot Wheels or some cute wind-up robots.
I also tried blind-boxed vynil figures for the first time but to be honest, I find that the Imaginext or Playskool figures are a little more enticing.
While the Marvel Infinite Series feels like a natural continuation of the Marvel Legends line and the Marvel movie-related assortments did rather well at retail, I still have doubts about the sustainability of a 6-inch Star Wars line in the long run.
So far, Hasbro has managed to crank out at least one awesome character in each wave of figures in the Star Wars Black Series, but also each wave seems to have at least one dud, resulting in a very conspicuous number of peg-warmers sitting at stores, which in my opinion can only damage the brand as a whole, despite other, more interesting offerings like the mass-retail Jabba and the über-cool Speeder Bike set.
In 2014 we got to see a sort of resurgence for manufacturers of figures scaled over 3.75 inches. NECA got out really neat figures based on the several licenses they have, and even relatively smaller players like Funko had fairly solid offerings for Game of Thrones and Magic: The Gathering lines. Even McFarlane Toys had newly developed product in 2014 with their Assassin’s Creed and Halo 4 lines, although they may be banking a bit too much on the popularity of The Walking Dead, especially with their “construction” sets.
I would have to say that the bulk of my collecting in 2014 consisted precisely in construction toys, mostly from LEGO and Mega Bloks. LEGO lured me in with the Collectable Minifigures blind bags, of which I managed to snag the LEGO Movie series, The Simpsons and more recently, Series 12, as well as a number of smaller sets.
Still, I got a little bit more fun from the Mega Bloks lines. Their blind-bagged Halo minifigure are like crack to me and I even got half a dozen sets of varying sizes thanks to seasonal sales and promotions. I was particularly impressed with the UNSC Elephant set as well as by Series Alpha of their minifigures, which sport a new design similar in concept to what they have for the Call of Duty line.
And speaking of Call of Duty, in addition to the Jungle and Desert trooper packs, I loved the small sets released this year. I find that with the generalized absence of G.I. Joe product on the shelves, these CoD Mega Bloks sets do a remarkable job to quell the pangs for a military themed toy line.
I look forward to what 2015 will bring, as the shadow of the Star Wars: Episode VII juggernaut looms on the horizon. I also want to thank my friend Engineernerd for allowing me to rant about toys on this site, as well as commend the work he and the guys over at the AFB Podcast put in each week, as each show they produce is both inspiring and entertaining.