Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

Top 13 Independent Action Figures

I didn’t want to do anything involving Captain America or GI Joe, as seems the obvious choice for today. Independence Day isn’t necessarily about the military or even the red, white, and blue. What it’s about is right there in the name: independence.
But don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not going to get all high and mighty. I’m just going to list the best independent figures I own. As in, the ones that were so good I bought them on their own with no concern for what line they were in or anything else in the line. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t own any other figures from the line, but these will all be action figures that were so good I had to buy them even though I was not collecting the line at that point. They might be gateway figures, but they were the first ones that caught my eye and were good enough to inspire future purchases.
13 – Mazinger Z
I never had any of the Shogun Warriors when I was a kid. I’m not sure how I escaped the 70’s without one, as almost everybody I know owned one of the two-foot-tall robots at some point. But I absolutely had to have this reproduction when it was produced around a decade ago. It’s a pretty awesome toy, and definitely the centerpiece if the shelf it’s on. Damn thing is a pain in the ass to dust, though.
I never could find the accessory kit with the launching fist and a few other items. If any of you know where I could get one for relatively cheap, let me know.
12 – Hunter-Killer - Aerial
I didn’t buy any other toys from Trendmaster’s Terminator: Salvation line. Mostly because it was a pretty crappy line. But the vehicles and robots did look pretty okay and this flying drone in particular caught my eye. Once I found one on clearance I bought it. It’s a good toy that is pretty well done and is now hanging from my ceiling among all of the Star Wars, GI Joe, and Batman vehicles.
11 - Poison Ivy (Yamato)
It looks like this figure is going to end up on all kinds of lists. I am no fan of anime, but this is a pretty neat Poison Ivy. I like the base and the pose and it was a gift from a friend. I had considered buying it from the comic shop when it was originally offered, so I was more than happy when it was given to me along with a delicious pumpkin beer.
10 – Black Widow
I just recently reviewed this figure. The reason this is an “Independent” amongst my collection of Marvel figures is that I make a point of not buying DST’s Marvel Select figures. I don’t like the scale, articulation, or price and I’m typically not satisfied with the sculpts. While I wasn’t totally happy with the execution of this Black Widow, there’s no denying she belongs on my shelf. A redhead in a metallic purple catsuit? Of course.
9 – DeLorean Time Machine
I probably wouldn’t bother buying figures of Marty, Doc, or Biff Tannin if they were made, but I very badly wanted Diamond Select’s electronic toy of the time machine. It lights up and makes noises and is mostly pretty awesome. There are, however, a few significant flaws – check out my review if you’re curious.
I would totally buy a George McFly figure.
8 – “KHAAAN!” Admiral James T. Kirk
I love Star Trek, but I’ve never really collected the toys. I have a few here and there, but no sizable collection from any one line. I bought the Playmates bridge set, I’ve got some of the Mego reproductions. But my favorite is this Kirk. I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. I mean, it’s a figure depicting the signature scene from one of the greatest movies of all time.
7 – Luke Skywalker
Yes, I have a ton of 1/6th scale figures from Sideshow. But this was the very first one I bought and was supposed to be a one-off. I’ve always loved Luke Skywalker’s costume from Return of the Jedi. The cloak, the black uniform, the glove. It’s such a cool look that instantly identifies Luke as more of a badass than his white bathrobe and tan pants. When I was a kid that simple, black figure was my favorite and featured in every single story I played out. I also loved the green lightsaber.
I’m not sure if this was the first figure Sideshow offered in their Star Wars line, but it was the first that really caught my attention. I just didn’t want to spend so much on it. I think it might have been fifty bucks at the time? But after it sold out I was really bummed that I hadn’t bought one. I sort of kept an eye out online, but nothing ever turned up for a reasonable price. Even back then you still weren’t going to find any toy deals on eBay. But then one day I decided – just for the heck of it – to search Amazon. One popped up for maybe sixty bucks and I bought it on the spot. It was money well spent. This Luke is a fantastic figure and really the only Luke you’ll eve need. Now if only Sideshow would take a cue from Big Chief Studios and offer costume and accessory kits rather than entire new figures.
6 – Christopher Lee as Dracula
Yes, I do realize Luke and the Count are posed almost the same. Weird.
Some British toy company produced this excellent likeness of my personal favorite Dracula. I was hoping for more Hammer-themed figures but nothing ever really materialized. Maybe they realized they severely undercharged for this one. It is a very high-quality figure; easily on par with Sideshow’s offerings. But I don’t think I paid a whole heck of a lot for it.
5 – Giant Robocop
I wasn’t collecting large-scale figures at the time I obtained this particular toy, but it was so awesome I couldn’t very well pass it up. There are lights and sounds, a spring-loaded holster, and a bunch of removable parts. It may not be the most accurate, but this is the most fun Robocop figure I’ve seen.
Side Note: This was given to me by a dude who I’m pretty sure was nailing my girlfriend at the time. I’ve got to say, the trade-off was well worth it.
4 – Charlie Brown as Dracula
Yes, another Dracula. This was part of a set of Halloween-themed Peanuts toys. The only problem is that in the Peanuts Halloween special the downtrodden Mr. Brown is a ghost, not a vampire. But whatever. This makes for a great figure. The soft goods cape is very well done and his little fangs are hilarious.
3 – EVA-01
I don’t know jack-squat about Evangelion and tend to avoid anime, but I couldn’t very well pass up this purple and green robot when I saw it offered in Previews. I didn't even know what it was at the time.
2 – Abigail Whistler
Ms. Whistler is one of the best figures I own, and she had better be. While I am a big fan of Blade: Trinity, I am not at all a fan of paying over a hundred bucks for an action figure. I hadn’t purchased any of Hot Toys’ products at the time this figure was offered, I just knew they looked nice. I particularly wanted the first Iron Man they had made. But the prices were just more than I was willing to spend. Until they made a figure of Jessica Biel as my favorite character she had played. I preordered from BigBadToyStore as soon as they put her up. Here’s my review.
1 – Scareglow
Okay, Scareglow is obviously not independent in any way. He currently sits in the middle of fifteen square feet of Masters of the Universe Classics – not including what’s hanging from the ceiling. But he was my gateway. I had been following Mattel’s online relaunch of the He-Man toys since the start. It was an interesting idea, but nothing I felt I had to take part in. The figures were too expensive and I really didn’t want to get involved in a new line. But then they showed a picture of Scareglow. And he looked awesome. I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted him, knowing that a purchase might addict me to this line. Finally, on the big day, I logged onto and ordered. I had heard of the ridiculously fast sellouts and didn’t want to take a chance on missing this guy. He was just too cool and too right up my alley. He’s still my favorite MOTUC figure.


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