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The Fwoosh Staff Best of 2008

The Fwoosh Staff has gotten together for a little self-indulgence to bring you their picks for their favorite action figures of 2008. There is a pretty good spread covering a wide variety of figures from some of the big companies, and some of the small one as well. Some expecteds, and some surprises. Each staffer even took some time write about their pick in their own words. We can get stuff done in a timely fashion! Check out what we consider to be the highlights of the action figure world last year!

And without further ado, we shall ask resident M.O.D.O.K. to start things off for us…

Bah! Brings you Hasbro’s Hulk Legends figure Wendigo!

Up front disclaimers:

#1 I feel rather unqualified to pick a best figure of 08 becasue I only pay attention/care about Marvel Legends. It’s a bit like asking someone who listens to exclusively to Metallica to pick the best album of the year.

#2 I’m a stupid crazy fan of this character and I’ve essentially wanted a Wendigo ML figure massively bad since the day I bought my first Marvel Legend.

But hey, with those out of the way, Hasbro’s Wendigo Marvel Legends figure from the Hulk branded, Fin Fang Foom Build a Figure series is claws down the 1st pick on my personal Best Of 2008 list. I love my Tiger Stripe Wolverine from the Target Exclusive series. I love my Comic -Con exclusive Ka-Zar. But Wendigo, what can I say — he’s the figure that I wanted to take to bed with me at night. Since nabbing him way back in June, it’s possible that *maybe* a week has gone by total that I haven’t played with the figure. As soon as I found a second one on the pegs, I bought it so that I could have one for the office at work. So never far from me is the savagery of the Wendigo. Let’s face it, could you imagine a better sculpt for the Wendigo? I don’t believe there could have been one. Honestly. As I’ve said before, when I think about the ways one could err in trying to put the beast in plastic form (see the previous 90s Hulk attempt), I shudder as if trapped in the ceaseless gales of the frigid North lands from whence the creature hails. But Hasbro nailed this one. He looks, as all the best Marvel Legends figures do, as if the most iconic pen and ink rendition of the character has stepped right of the pages. The only complaints I level at the figure are the lack of bicep swivels and the lack of the toe bend. Were those two pieces of articulation there, this figure would be perfect in my opinion. But even in light of those unfortunate choices on Hasbro’s part, and perhaps a bit in light of disclaimer # 2 — the beauty of the figure cinches it for me. So, when I look back on Legends this year, 2008 will be remembered as the the year of the Weeeendiiiiigoooo!

Next, our DC Apologist Supreme Prodigy is wearing his moniker on his sleeve as he talks up Mattel’s Deathstroke from their new DC Universe Classics line.

You aren’t supposed to like the bad guy. You’re really not. But with the DC Universe Classics series 3 Deathstroke figure you just can’t help to. Fans of DC Comics and of Slade himself have been waiting for a long time to finally get a figure that was worthy of his badass-ness, and this figure meets and even exceeded that challenge. You’d be hard pressed to find a more accurate likeness anywhere in the 6 inch world. He looks like he jumped right from the pages of a DC comic with that menacing one eyed stare, and his instantly recognizeable costume is nailed to a tee. Extraordinarily sculpted by the Four Horsemen, packed with enough weapons to make even the bravest Super Hero nervous, and with the poseability to be able to kick all kinds of do-gooder butt makes Deathstroke my pick for figure of the year.

My only nitpick is that his rifle is really bendy and not made of a hard enough plastic. It warps easily in the package and as a result most people were left with a rifle that looks like Superman took his heat visison to it. But that’s an easy swap out and the figure itself makes up for any loss in accessories. But like I said before there are plenty of those to go around. A pistol, a staff, a sword, bandolier, and the previously mentioned bendy rifle all are included to make a great figure complete. Overall Slade is a great addittion to any collection and spends his days on my shelf terrorizing any heroes unlucky enough to cross his path.

deadpool1701 picked one of the most impressive “build-a-figures” to date: Hasbro’s Hulk Legends builder Fin Fang Foom!

*note, if we could pick besides figures, I would pick the big milenium falcon. cuz it is a SW figure fans dream. but instead… *




This year Hasbro went and gave us the Build a Figure we’ve been wanting for a long time. Unfortunately it took 2 waves to do it, but thankfully they released about the same time. You might have had to get a figure or two you really didn’t want, but boy was this guy worth it.

Breaking the cycle of the last few build a figures, this one is a giant one. He stands tall and proud along side the Sentinel and Giant Man. And he has all the right articulation too! Opening mouth, ball jointed shoulders, hips, wrists, wings and mid torso. Hinged feet and knees and double hinged elbows. No elbros!  Swivels in the tail and on the neck round out the articulation.

Foomy can get into some awesome poses to chomp down on Iron Man. He’s just fun to play with and smash things with. Or eat them. Or stare menacingly at them. In any case, I’ve spent a lot more time playing with him than the bug or the fat guy.

Plus, Hasbro did something different this year and gave you a chance to own him outright by buying the SDCC exclusive version of him. I didn’t go that route myself, but knowing how hard it was to find She-Hulk, it’s nice that the option was there.

So there you have it, my pick for the best figure of 2008. (except for the Falcon)

Next up, the one we call carl, except when we call him craarl talks up an import from Japan,  Kaiyodo’s Revoltech Revolution Kenshiro figure.

My pick is a late arrival in ’08. Chalk it up to anticipation or just plain love of the license but I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this figure once I saw it. Having it in hand now, the folks at Kaiyodo did not disappoint. Run down the list of all the things most action figure junkies care about and its clear that even for an import this figure is a cut above the rest when it comes to quality. The paint is virtually flawless and although it doesn’t quite match the quality of the prototype (what standardized paint job does?) it is still all kinds of impressive even up close. The eyes, the little studs and buckles, little fine details like the zippers they are all painted well with no visible slop of any kind.

From a design stand-point this figure is loaded with well placed articulation. Most of the joints are well integrated into the sculpt. And just about all of them offer a full range of motion. Kenshiro is loaded with accessories, 8 extra hands an alternate head, nunchaku and a display base, he boarders on “too much toy” if want to take all the accessories out and mess with them all at once but i plan to keep most of that stuff in the package and swap it out over time.

All in all this figure is the definition of hand candy. When it comes to a really good figure I’ve always had the habit of carrying the toy around the house in my pocket from room to room, messing with it at the computer looking for new poses during commercials and stuff like that. I just don’t want to put it down. This figure represents the tipping point for the Revoltech line. I only passively picked up a few of the figures over time and they were all great but because this one is just so appealing i’m going to track down and buy way more of them than i had planned to (or budgeted for). So kudos to all involved with this one at Kaiyodo, you got me hooked. I bought a lot of action figures this year and this one was the Best.

Furthermore, the Shakespeare of Fwoosh, Ibentmyman-thing, totally ignored my notes to do his write up in iambic pentameter to hype the first figure from Mattel’s awesome new Masters of the Universe Classics line. Why, it’s He-Man, of course!

After 26 years, the original He-man has returned. He’s not wearing an updated wardrobe, his weapons aren’t complex and his determined expression has remained unchanged over the years. But…he’s much more mobile than he used to be. The 4H created a flawless update of a timeless design, and to a child of the eighties, it’s quite clearly the most powerful toy in the universe. From his hard, sturdy weapons that fit snugly in his hands, to that perfectly tanned He-man skintone, this is the toy that I played with in my head as a kid. He’s now capable of everything I imagined him able to do . Even holding his axe with both hands! To show how far toynology has leapt forward, all you need to do is place He-man’s original figure next to his new one. 26 years…and it was worth the wait.

Robokillah. The only Fwoosh Staffer worthy enough to have his name sprawled on pastry brings us his view on Hasbro’s Marvel Legnds Rul-er, ahem, excuse me, Red Hulk

When it came around to picking my favorite of 2008, I really had to think about it. I mean, I can barely remember what I had for breakfast this morning, much less every figure I’ve bought in the last year. So I went into the toy room and sat. And sat. And picked a figure, then realized it was from last year. Picked up the ML BAF Ares, thought hell yeah, then his arm kept popping off when I went to pose him for the picture. So, that pissed me off. Looking over I realized it was this guy, who didn’t fall apart when I posed him…

Okay, so while I followed Red Hulk’s (I refuse to accept “Rulk” as it reminds me of stupid celebrity name squash togethers), I didn’t really dig it. Not to mention his identity still being kept secret. In most other cases that would be cool and mysterious, but here it’s just annoying because of the lack of history. If you’re going to throw a new character at us do it gradually. Slowly. Build some suspense. Don’t tease us with his identity 3 issues in.

But, I digress. None of that takes away from Red Hulk being an excellent figure. It’s a great representation of the artwork which may not appeal to some people but it works in this case. Especially since he’s only appeared in a handful of issues. The articulation is about as close to perfect as we’ll get with Hasbro, and the paint has subtle styling that isn’t glaringly obvious at first. Sure, he could have been a single carded figure but again, doesn’t take away from the figure itself. He’s big, he’s bulky, he feels sturdy, and he makes a good companion piece to the FO hulk we got from Toy Biz.

Summarized, bad comic concept, good figure.

Red Hulk Smash? Indeed he does.

Showing us that there is such thing a thing as female action figures (despite the fact that most companies don’t want to give us many), Snowglare makes it clear Mattel’s DC Universe Classics’ Wonder Woman is one of the best ever.

Thiiiiiiiiiiiigh Cutssssssssssss! I haven’t always been a fan of Wonder Woman. It wasn’t until the Justice League animated series that I realized she could be fun. Then I started reading her comics, and learned from Greg Rucka and Gail Simone that she isn’t the most popular female superhero because she’s been around so long, it’s because she’s the best. So, I can’t say I’ve been waiting long for this, but I’m thrilled that for the first time ever, Wonder Woman has an action figure – a toy – worth owning. One as good as the guys in DCU, ML, and other 1:12 scale lines. Whether she’s pummeling Deathstroke or chairing a meeting of the JLA (please give us a JLA/JSA roundtable, Mattel, with chairs and stickers and mini-Atom…), she looks fantastic. She got shorted a bit on accessories due to budget concerns, but that’s why her dual grip hands are so great. She can borrow Deathstroke’s sword, or my personal favorite, the spear from Play Arts’ Edward Elric. Ed can’t hold it, despite having seven interchangeable hands, but it snaps tight in either of Diana’s hands like it was made for her.

The local Commander of the Skrull Hoard keeps green skin as his theme in choosing his favorite figure of 2008. Robert Beezer (that is b0bb33zer to you) pretty much proclaims that NECA’s Leonardo (representing all of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) shows us that, even after 25 years, there is still much Turtle Power. Much.

NECA’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!! Could there possibly be a better action figure in 2008? Nay, could there be a better action figure… ever?! NECA really belted out a grand slam with this figure. With the legendary Four Horsemen behind the sculpting and NECA going outside their comfort zone to bring us one their most articulated action figures ever, we’re given the lean, green, Foot-kicking foursome in all their comic book glory! These turtles have articulation everywhere it matters to get them into all your favorite ninja poses! There’s even an ab hinge and waist cut hidden underneath those shells. The paint apps were top notch, the construction was sturdy and they come chock full of accessories including trademark weapons, throwing stars, baby turtles, ooze canisters, base plates… the works!! There is almost no flaw to be seen! Toe articulation would have been nice, but aside from that very minor quibble these toys are perfect. The finished results are Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles that looked like they jumped right out of Eastman and Laird’s inkwell, forget jumping off the page! I loved this toy so much I proceeded to buy four sets!! Leonardo, being my favorite turtle since I was a wee lad easily stands out as my favorite in this batch just on bias but with the sheer awesomeness all four possess, the margin between them is so slim that favoritism can change after a few minutes playing with them. This is the one toy I played with most, posed the most and got the most sheer joy with all year! These figures are so inspiring, I just ordered a pizza! Happy 25th Anniversary TMNT and Cowabunga dudes!

canonball shows us that Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Spiral figure is one hot lady-figure. Perhaps it is the six arms that he loves? Shhh… don’t tell canongirl!

When attempting to choose my favorite figure from 2008, I couldn’t help but gravitate toward a character who first appeared in a mini-series that was a milestone for me, so I’m a little biased. In 1985, a friend gave me a comic book that was instrumental in transforming me from a causal comic reader into a hardcore comic book geek. That comic was “Longshot” #1, published by Marvel Comics. “Longshot,” while bound by the Marvel universe, was pure fairytale awesomeness and served as the perfect bridge between my pre-teen fantasy fixation and the comic book world I would come to love. Fast forward to 2006 when Toy Biz saw fit to make my wildest dreams come true with the release of Longshot AND Mojo in the Marvel Legends line. Heaven. Fast forward AGAIN to 2008 when Hasbro high-fived me with the release of a third major character from the “Longshot” mini as part of Target’s exclusive Red Hulk wave: SPIRAL! Spiral is one of Hasbro’s strongest entries in the Marvel Legends line to date and, for me, she was worth the wait. For a figure that is part of a store exclusive wave, something that is typically comprised of repaints, Spiral is singularly awesome. The figure is a great representation of the character and I couldn’t be happier to add her to the shelf alongside Longshot and Mojo. There’s a new sculpt which nimbly pulls off the difficult task of incorporating six arms in her torso, meaningful articulation in all six arms, and newly sculpted accessories unique to this figure (I would have included more swords, however). Her shortcomings are primarily from the waist down: she would benefit from ball-jointed hips and toe articulation, but even those limitations don’t detract from the figure’s appeal because there is so much more to be happy about. This figure pretty much made my 2008, and I hope Hasbro can continue to surprise in ’09 (give me a Quark, Hasbro!).

VeeBee won’t shut up about, oh wait, that is me! Well, I have been gushing about this fabulous Fish-Man since, well, it has been so long now I don’t even remember. Mattel’s classic Aquaman figure from their DC Universe Classics line gives Mr. Curry a chair at the big table.

It is good to be Aquaman. However, prior to March of this year, I am not sure that it has EVER been good to be Aquaman. Sure, he is a superhero, a Justice League founder even, but let’s let reality be our guide here- his history has been remembered more often as the butt of many easy punchlines rather than the stoic King of Atlantis. The poor guy just couldn’t catch a break from anyone- writers, artists, sculptors, you name it; that is until Mattel and the Four Horsemen got ahold of him. Now he is kicking all kinds of ass on toy shelves throughout the world. Never, ever, has old Arthur Curry been this good.

As part of series two of the freshman year of the DC Universe Classics line, Aquaman really does represent the best of what this line can offer- great articulation, fantastic sculpt, solid construction and crisp paint applications. Put all of those things together and not only do you get by far and away the best Aquaman action figure ever, you also get one of the best action figures ever manufactured. Period. The Four Horsemen were able to capture his regal, classic look while leaving the Cheez Whiz completely off the table. The most striking part of this is certainly the head sculpt. It has that look to it, a certain sense of je ne se quois that makes you furrow your eyebrows until it finally hits you: this IS what Aquaman should look like. He has his blonde lockes (perfectly realized for surface and under water situations) and blue eyes but his face is stern, while still remaining 100% Aquaman. That might just be the biggest accomplishment of this figure- for all of its well-met technical aspects, the most notable thing gained here may seem simple on the surface, but at its root is a daunting task: they made Aquaman awesome.

So yes, in a year that brought us several notably awesome figures (like many listed herein) I am casting my lot with a fish-talker. Aquaman is now officially a badass, and a great looking one at that

TheBloodyAwfulPoet picks the side of a villainous lot as he falls in with those naughty outcasts from Cobra! That’s right, the Cobra B.A.T. from Hasbro’s G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary line is his pick of the year.

This is a tough choice as 2008 was perhaps the least-exciting year in action figures that I’ve experienced in a good while. Aside from some excellent choices made by the other staffers, I suppose I was most impressed with Hasbro’s continuation of the G.I.Joe 25th Anniversary line, specifically the Cobra B.A.T. The original Battle Android Trooper from the 80’s line was one of my favorite figures period. It was also the first action figure I ever “army-built.” Yes, my Joe figures cowered before my might army of TWO Bats. Hasbro’s modern update is the perfect homage to the original: the design is the same, only tiny details have been fleshed out and refined, from all the tiny gadgetry in the arms and neck to the (now) removable sidearm and holster. Hasbro’s design team even managed to make the one and only cheesy feature of the original, the giant clear chest panel, look sensible and work with the rest of the figure’s overall look. Throw in the updated articulation (22-poa in a 3-3/4″ figure) and this a toy you MUST own to appreciate it’s coolness. In how high of a regard do I hold it? I bought several of Sideshow’s 2008 12-inch offerings as well as Hot Toys and Medicom figures this year, each valued at between $90 and $150. In a fire, the Joe B.A.T. is the one I’d grab over the others…. after the inflatable bikini Leia of course. Wouldn’t that be an embarrasing thing to have to claim to the insurance adjuster?

Big hands need big figures. Perhaps that is why Samuron has selected Diamond Select’s modern Thor figure. He appears to be large and very much in charge.

Sculpted by Gentle Giant, the Marvel Select Thor is arguably the finest representation of the God of Thunder in action figure history. Exquisitely detailed – I imagine the sculptor had nightmares about armor scales for weeks – and with paint in all the right places, with this figure I’ve finally found a worthy successor to the Marvel Legends Thor from series 3 that’s graced my shelves for so long. Ok, that’s a lie, because everyone knows I keep my action figures ziplocked up in big plastic bins in the basement – but if I had to pick just one Thor for my collection, this one would be it.

My only nit with the figure is with the articulation, but that’s a byproduct of the limitations of the Marvel Select license. Still, the toymakers did a great job of obscuring it, since Thor has those oversized boot tops and a long tunic to cover the knees and hips. Only the arms are left to show their shame – lack of bicep swivels and the use of the much-hated elbro joints.

But what about his size, you ask? The icing on the cake is that while he is sized appropriately for the Marvel Select scale, you’ll find he fits in perfectly with Marvel Legends as a larger figure. Stand him next to the Marvel Legends Ares build-a-figure and you’ll see what I mean – those two combined represent over 1,200 pounds of Marvel godliness and badassery. You could add in Hercules and bring the total to nearly a ton, but I’d suspect that Thor and Ares would spend the rest of eternity kicking his ass, in an attempt to wipe that grin off his face.

MatthewK did not pass on getting the wiley henchman of Skeletor, the Beast Man, from Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics line. Hey, if he wasn’t here, who would Prince Adam and benty beat the snot out of?

Beast Man is third on my personal Best of 2008 list. Prodigy and VeeBee are writing about # 1 and #2 on my list. This isn’t really a knock on Beast Man, however, as my top ten figures of the year are all really close to each other in terms of how much I like them as to be interchangeable. There were a lot of really good toys released this year in the lines I collect.

Released December 1, Beasty here barely made it under the wire for best of 2008 as part of the Masters of the Universe Classics (MOTUC) line. The MOTUC line itself feels like it was tailor made for this casual He-Man fan. The figures I had as a kid updated with modern sculpting and articulation by the four Horsemen? Sign me up!

Out of the three MOTUC figures released thus far, Beast Man is probably my favorite. He is fun to play with and pose which is an important criteria for me. The sculpt and feel of this figure are amazing. I literally have not put him away since I received him in the mail the first week of December. The Horsemen did such a great job capturing the feel of the classic figure and box art that at first glance, you might dismiss the figure as a copy of the classic figure. There is so much sculpted texture and detail packed into this figure that in combination with the modern articulation, it’s a completely different animal.

When Industrial got back to his computer after pouting about how b0b took his first choice, he let us know that McFarlane is capable of putting articulation into their figures. From the looks of the Halo Master Chief, the can do it well too.

First off, I have to say, If b0b wouldn’t have cried like a little schoolgirl I would’ve kicked him in his mangina and picked one of NECA’s TMNT as my favorite figure of ’08, those 4 turtles are without a doubt some of the coolest action figures I’ve ever owned and I’m stoked that NECA are making more and more well articulated action figures.

But alas, I went with my second runner up*, McFarlane’s Halo Master Chief.

*MC just narrowly beat out Mezco’s 3 3/4″ SDCC exclusive Hellboy, who probably woulda taken it if he had a frikkin’ hinged elbow joint on his right arm… well, that and if Jason_in_NC had decided to write about MC instead of running off to further pursue being a preacher man you would be reading about stiff right armed lil’ Ron Perlman instead of Petty Officer John 117.

The weird part is that I have never played any of the Halo videogames in my life, at all, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never even seen anyone else play them either. I’m one of those weird toy fans that just like good action figures. I bought and enjoyed the Joyride Master Chief back in the day based purely on the character design and articulation, so when I saw that McF was venturing back into action figures with this line as opposed to the staction figures that he has become infamous for, I just had to have it. Despite the weird scale choice and being the first super articulated figure since the one-off 10th anniversary Spawn figure, he really knocked it out of the park with the entire Halo toy line.

Master Chief has a highly detailed sculpt that we have come to expect from the design team at McF but the real surprise is that he is packed with a ton of both standard and some new innovative articulation, allowing him to get into a ton of dynamic poses. Sure it would be nice if he had some double knee joints or came packed with a few more weapons, but when you bust him out of his plastic prison (OPEN YOUR TOYS!), you can’t help but mess with him for hours. Master Chief is one of those figures that we here at The Fwoosh like to refer to as ‘hand candy’.

All in all, I am very happy to own this figure and to continue to support this line with my wallet. Big thanks to the people at McFarlane who, in 2008, have once again made me a fan of their product!!

Last but certainly not least, our faithful Fwoosh leader, pablolobo talks about how there are many cool facets that go into a great action figure. Sculpt, articulation, paint, concept, being able to have a figure exclusive to your website… That’s right, from the Four Horsemen’s amazing Seventh Kingdom Fan Choice line comes the big red pachyderm that hails from the Fwoosh comes The Club of Thraugnn!

Ahh yes, the year is closing and it is time to talk about our favorite figure of the year. My choice was tough this year as there are a ton of good offering’s from Halo, to Revoltech, to Figma, MOTU, DCUC, HML, GIJOE, Star Wars the Clone Wars, etc etc. It’s really been another banner year. But I’m choosing a toy that was originally slated for 2007.

A few years ago the Four Horsemen started the Fantastic Exclusive, a new model for providing fan based action figures. A voting system allowed fans to decide on a specially designed figured that the Four Horsemen design team would produce. Their first offering was a Minotaur warrior. Their second fan based figure was an Elephant warrior.

The Fwoosh missed out on the chance to participate with the Minotaur, but we did get involved in the Elephant. Originally slated for 2007 The Club of Thraugnn, the red elephant warrior from the 7th Kingdom Fanatastic Exclusive, first hit shores in 2008, making it an ideal choice for my figure of the year.

Why? Well for one it’s an exclusive figure that we got to sell via the fwoosh. As a concept it doesn’t get much better, an anthropomorphic fantasy elephant warrior. It’s another beautifully designed figure from the Four Horseman. And it fits with just about any fantasy toys you own, Conan and Wraarl LCBH 2 pack, MOTU, LOTR, and other fantasy figures I might be leaving off the list.

The figure in itself come with weapons and armor, has multiple points of articulation. It’s big and heavy and loads of fun. Definitely my figure of the year.

Well kids, that wraps up 2008. Thanks for reading and be sure to add your favorites (or decry ours) at the link below. See you in 2009 on The Fwoosh!

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