2012 Year in Review

December 31, 2012 | By More

2012 was a fairly uneven, yet varied, year for me, collecting-wise. I expected a much more exciting start of the year with the release of Episode I in 3D, but that just didn’t pay off for me.

Figures from that line were late to the stores and most of what was initially available were the Movie Heroes, consisting mostly of repacks from previous years or newly tooled characters that had a reduced articulation design, with the logical result that even now, there are still a lot of those Episode I figures hanging from pegs everywhere.


I did manage to get most of what I wanted from the Star Wars Vintage Collection, but overall distribution was again a big issue with Hasbro in 2012, as they seemed to allocate most of those resources to their summer blockbuster tie-in lines for Marvel. On the other end of the spectrum, Mattel was a lot more enthusiastic in flooding every retail point with their 4 inch Batman merchandise trying to make a buck on the last movie’s popularity.


The other big issue with both manufacturers was this new frugality regarding the amount of articulation given to action figures, making a very clear distinction between the collector-oriented lines and those deemed fit for the casual, under twelve crowd.


This new design philosophy was put to the test with the lines for The Avengers and The Amazing Spider-Man movies, and to some extent also the Clone Wars. It took me some time to adjust, but in the end I think that, as a whole, Hasbro managed to strike a good balance between cost, form and function, even though there are a few notable exceptions like the crummy Chitauri Warrior or the Clone Commanders named after canine specimens that were released for Clone Wars.


This reduced-articulation approach had the effect of me picking up old figures from several lines that I had initially shun because they were not super articulated and which compared to the current offerings turn out to be much more satisfying figures.


One standout aspect to my collecting this year was videogame-inspired action figures. I kept buying Halo figures from McFarlane Toys, and even though the novelty did worn off a bit over time, I keep finding them at pretty decent prices and the launch of Halo 4 certainly rekindled my enthusiasm.


There were a few new lines I began collecting, too. The first quarter of the year I was very into the 4-inch scale Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat figures made by Jazwares. In general, these figures were OK and also quite inexpensive when compared to similar offerings, but local stores hadn’t really bring more of those for quite a while.


The really Big Thing for me in 2012 were the construction block sets made by LEGO and Megabloks. The hook was in the individually packaged minifigure lines, of course, and from there I went all out purchasing increasingly larger sets from both manufacturers. My building block collection is still rather modest, but once that gate opened, I don’t foresee it closing anytime soon.


On the Marvel front, I probably went in a bit too far with the Avengers figures, but since Marvel Universe figures were even more scarce than the Star Wars Vintage Collection ones, I was rather surprised to have managed to snag without much fuss the three or four figures I really wanted from this year’s assortment and even managed to snag a few others on a whim.


As a whole, the only real disappointment for me was the 4” Batman line. I loved the sculpture on those and to a point I could even begin to cope with the very limited articulation, but it was a horribly overpriced line laden with silly play features that just killed my interest in whatever Mattel could do with the DC license at this scale.


On a much more positive note, as 2012 comes to a close I find myself once again totally enthralled by yet another movie-based toy line, thanks to The Bridge Direct and their 1/18 scale action figures for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. At the time of this writing, I have yet to open any of the toys I have been gathering these past few days, but so far they do look good enough to me so, barring any World Ending incident, that’s one line I look forward to collect in the coming years.



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Category: Featured, Musings, Toy Reviews

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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