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Fwoosh Staff Best of 2010

Starting off our fond farewell to 2010, we have a bit of annual self-indulgence, the Fwoosh Staff Best of 2010. Each year, much of the staff picks their favorite figure of the past 12 months and like times gone by, we are offering a wide array of toys in various shapes and sizes. Read on to see what made the list, what might have been [surprisingly] left off and what really stoked the Fwoosh fires of 2010…

Ibentmyman-thing gets things started off Masterfully as he picks everyone’s favorite amputee victim this side of Infinita, the Masters of the Universe Classics Trap Jaw.

For the second year in a row, my pick for the Best Toy of the Year is from Eternia. This year has produced such stellar figures as the MU Juggernaut, Galactus, several DCUC, offerings from 3A and many many more, but Trap Jaw won me over early.

Trap Jaw’s all about the arm. And this one has all the additional play value, articulation and coolness that a toy fan could ask for. With an extra elbow joint and a bicep swivel in that cybernetic arm of his, he has a seemingly limitless amount of badass poses. He’s one of the more photogenic figures there is. Find an angle that doesn’t look good, a pose that he can’t make look twenty times more awesome, I dares ya. Can’t be done.

MOTUC Trap Jaw
I’m a sucker for swappable parts, and Trap Jaw did not disappoint. Not content to just give us an extra head, or an extra arm, Mattel and the 4H threw in both, so we could build his pre-damaged form of Kronis as well. They could have easily made Kronis a completely separate figure down the line, so getting him in early in this fashion ups Trap Jaw’s value immensely. It’s those little touches that make this guy the best toy of the year for me.

Matthew K is going for an A Rating for the year, in fact, he is going for 3 As, as in the 3A 1/12 Scale Nom De Plume.

My favorite figure of the year is the 1/12 Scale Nom De Plume from 3A toys.

3A Nom De Plume
Nom subverted a few collecting idiosyncrasies I’ve picked up over the years: I prefer 1/12 scale action figures, I don’t like soft goods on my action figures and I don’t care about action figure packaging. When I first heard about 3A, Ashley Wood and the character Nom de Plume from fwoosher Custom Creator, I was intrigued and mused about making a custom 6 inch version. I really liked the look of the 12 inch figures from 3A but had heard that they were pretty rare and hard to acquire. When I heard 3A was going to be releasing a 6 inch version of Nom, I had to have it. It wasn’t an easy decision as I had to buy into the 3A club to get him, which wasn’t cheap, but seems like a bargain now. When the club exclusive Nom De Plume finally arrived, I was ecstatic. The figure met and exceeded my best hopes for how cloth goods could be incorporated with 6 inch scale figures. The articulation had excellent range of motion and was silky smooth while still holding poses well. The figure just looks damn cool posed with all my bots and is the centerpiece of my 3A collection. It’s a figure I could not put down for months.

As a nice bonus he came on a super large vintage Star Wars figure inspired card featuring beautiful artwork by Nom de Plume’s creator, Ashley Wood.

Nom Card
The packaging was so cool looking that I hesitated opening it. Nom de Plume made me reconsider a bunch of my collecting ‘rules’ and that’s pretty hard to do.

Prodigy moves right along with a beautiful, yet deadly Russian – the Marvel Legends Black Widow.

2010 was a good but not great year for action figures. I had a really hard time picking out my favorite because truthfully there wasn’t that one figure that just blew me away like the last few years.

There was one figure though, that I really had a hard time putting down. Between the figure being so fun to pose and so pretty to look at while just being plain bad ass:

Black Widow

ML Black Widow
definitely prefer the short hair version of Natasha even though I know it’s not 100% accurate to the costume. I just like the way it looks. The sculpt is almost perfect and the new upper torso that Hasbro added to the Elektra/Maria hill buck is really well done. What can I say I’m a sucker for hot female Russian assassins.

Next up, canonball shows us that even when you have to follow a hot Russian assassin, robots are perennially cool with the Transformers Jazz.

I’ve been waiting four years for this Jazz.

Transformers Jazz
This past fall Hasbro finally gave Transformers fans what we’d spent years “patiently” waiting for – a definitive G1-style Jazz, and it actually turned out even better than we’d hoped. This figure nails it in almost every possible category – articulation, transformation, and a true-to-G1 design. In short, this figure is just plain awesome. Hasbro gets major points for not only giving us an updated, authentic G1 design, but they’ve added features (like speakers!) that only enhance the character’s personality. Hasbro knocked this ball straight out of the park and into the next park and then knocked it out again. It’s just that awesome.

Adding this figure to my Autobot shelf had me beaming from ear-to-ear, so when it came time to choose my Toy of the Year, this was really the only choice I could make because nothing else came close to making me as happy.

craarl goes across the sea to find super-articulated and super large Play Arts Sneaking Suit Snake.

Sneaking Suit Snake

My top pick for this year was the Play Arts Kai Sneaking Suit Snake. Indy already gave him his own write-up earlier in the year when he was released. And looking back I think it was definitely good enough for another mention. I was tempted to go with the T800 from Hot Toys Terminator 2 line. What it came down to was just that Snake is just more fun, more affordable, more of a toy in other words, yeah he’s detailed got some of that high-end feel about him but you can actually play with him. And I love that. This figure in general signify’s want i want out of all my action figures. In that I can’t really think of any way that Square Enix had to really cut any corners on him, this all at a time when cost saving measures are industry standard. The one downside is that the accessories leave something to be desired, especially because he’s such an odd scale so you can’t give him weapons and gadgets from other toy lines. Aside from that though just about everything I tend to want out of my figures was covered. He has tons of articulation, great paint, he is riddled with detail, and he’s a cool character with enough an interesting back story. It really makes me want for other characters done in a similar fashion. Thats something that probably won’t happen but it would be awesome if it did. Kudos to Square Enix.

Samuron is returning to the land of Marvel to gush about the Iron Man 2 Comic Series Iron Monger figure.

I don’t want to get typecast, because I picked the Marvel Legends Iron Man as one of Fwoosh’s Best of 2009. But this year, I think that the Iron Man 2 line from Hasbro, in particular the Comic series, went a long way in winning over fans who were missing their 6-inch Legends to the 4-inch scale.

Iron Man 2 Iron Monger
The line has some really great sculpts, decent enough paint apps, and some fantastic articulation at that size. And, of course, it brought us this awesome Iron Monger – the huge, classic, comic-based blue version that I never thought we’d get, since the movie-based Iron Monger lined shelves for a while.

There were lots of Hasbro Iron Man news and reviews this year, but one of my favorite posts was highlighting this custom Iron Man armory by Thor-El.

tommyboy1972 decided that, even when you are competing in the world of Teelas and She-Ras, the Masters of the Universe Classics Count Marzo looked especially good in 2010.

My most anticipated figure for this year was definitely the MOTU Classics version of Count Marzo and in no way was I disappointed. I’ve been yearning for a version of this figure ever since the first time I saw the Council of Evil from the 200X cartoon version of He-Man. Does the figure fit into the rest of the MOTU Classics line? Should this character have been made because it really isn’t a classic? WHO CARES!!! He is a totally awesome figure.

MOTUC Count Marzo
I was so impressed with Marzo’s facial expression as it truely depicted his character. The flowing barbaric hair that is slightly greyed adds a very nice touch too. Marzo’s cape plays very well with him as it appears if it is blowing in the wind right prior to him sending a spell or fireball off in his enemies direction. I also love the new molded left hand which allows him to easily hold his signature magic amulet the way it should be held – shooting out directly at his enemies. Lastly, the nice historical bio on the back of his box not only added a little bit to his character but also to the characters of King Randor and Keldor. True many of the other parts are reused molds but he surely does stand out when he is sitting on my shelf with the other Classics figs. The only icing on the cake would have been the powerless old man version of Marzo as a pack in.

This was an easy pick for me as Count Marzo was head and shoulders above any of my other toy purchases this year. Here’s hoping that 2011 may bring us a Prahvus or Goatman figure by the Four Horsemen!!

Actorjez decided he would spend the entirety of 2010 pretending like it was the mid-1970s thanks to the Retro-Action Superman figure!

Let’s get something out in the open right away…I don’t play with my toys.

I pose them, display them, and look at them. As a matter of fact, simply looking at them is what I do the most of, and they make me happy…because they take me back to my childhood. So, scoff all you want, haters…but my choice has nothing to do with articulation or sculpt, and everything to do with nostalgia and heart.

In the 1970’s, if you were a kid and liked comics you loved Megos. Tearing down the steps on Christmas morning to find piles of wrapped packages that were obviously 8” window boxes or “Kresge” cards underneath…launching the batmobile off the top stairs, waking Dad up from his nap. Lazy spring afternoons connecting the “Supervator” to Mom’s hallway hutch (which was the Hall of Justice, in my mind) …or months later bobbing a sun-bleached Aquaman up and down in the water of the backyard pool, as his faded rubber face surveyed his undersea kingdom…at least until Mom said it was time for dinner. Crazy team-ups between Superman, Evel Kenevil and a 12” Steve Austin (who, in that day’s story, was hit by the Green Goblin’s “growth ray”, which explained the difference in scale…)

A couple of years later, Kenner and Star Wars changed the game for me…and, like Woody and Buzz, my Megos collected dust in a toy box. Eventually thrown away or passed down to younger cousins…gone, but never forgotten.

When Mattel and Emcee announced their Retro-Action Superheroes line this year, I wasn’t into it at all…thinking it’d be another cheap clone like the 1990 9” DC figures. I just assumed they’d miss the mark. Then I saw pictures of the line, and held my breath. Finally, I walked into a TRU one day to see them hanging on the shelves…picked one off of a peg hook, and my heart burst as I was instantly transported to the exact same sensations I first felt at age seven, thirty-five years earlier, excitedly tearing a carded Superman down off a peg board at Kresge’s.

Retro-Action Superman
From the picture-perfect cloth costume, to the classic cupped hands, to the nylon cape that “gets all puffy” where it connects at the shoulders…to the heart-wrenchingly nostalgic packaging, complete with Dick Giordano art and customized weathered “shelf-wear”…the seven-year-old inside me proudly picks Mattel/Emcee’s Retro-Action Superman as the Best of 2010.

VeeBee continues his undying devotion to all things evil on the planet of Eternia as he picks the Masters of the Universe Classics Whiplash.

It’s funny, the MOTUC versions of Beastman and Mer-Man have been my runner-up favorites for figure of the year the past couple of calendar changes, but for 2010, Whiplash has slashed his way to the top.

I really did say just about everything I had to say about Whiplash in our First Look back in August, but quite simply – Whiplash is another in a long line of MOTUC figures that has given me the perfect version of a character that I really love. Since he has been on my shelf for a few months, he has not lost any of his luster. I am a classic freak (and NO it is NOT just due to nostalgia) so as long as I got his old school spear and ugly mug head, I would be happy. But Matty went and included his modern head and weapon as well if that is your bag.

MOTU is being treated like the Cadillac of Mattel lines, and it shows in the love it gets from design to execution, it is great that the ones responsible for the line are such huge fans. I really shows. So, here’s to you Whiplash – you truly are my favorite figure of 2010 and you stand for yourself, as well as many, many other awesome MOTUC figures.

MOTUC Whiplash

Industrial tells us that even though you probably already own a lot of Snake Eyes figures, the new Pursuit of Cobra Snake Eyes is probably the best.

I’ve owned just about every Snake Eyes figure that Hasbro has produced since 1982, so I consider myself somewhat fanatical when it comes to our favorite ninja commando. When Hasbro showed off their 54th take on the character at JoeCon in Rhode Island I had to clean the drool off my keyboard.

PoC Snake Eyes

The Pursuit of Cobra line has by and large been awesome, the modern military flourishes while still staying true to the characters I grew up with is a welcome change of pace. I’d been eagerly awaiting the release of POC wave 3 Snake Eyes and having him in hand, he does not disappoint. Whether you prefer your Snake Eyes as a ninja or a commando or a little bit of both, he comes with more than enough accessories and a swappable head allowing you to put together your own perfect version. Working holsters, removable silencers, ball jointed wrists, this figure is just too darn cool. Do yourself a favor and pick up this figure if you’re a fan of great toys, I already have 3, 1 for home, 1 for the office, and 1 still on the card as a ‘backup’.

It will be interesting to see if Hasbro will manage to top this version, the only way that I can see that happening is if they start to incorporate thigh swivels and side to side ankles like those that are turning up in the Marvel Universe and Star Wars lines, but until then this version will proudly serve as my definitive Snake Eyes.

DisThunder decided he would pick Batman for his figure of the year. Big surprise, I know, but he swears this is a totally different Batman: the DC Universe Classic Knightfall Batman.

I have to be honest, 2010 has not been the best year for me. And it hasn’t exactly been rainbows and puppy dogs in the ol’ toy room, either- While there’s been some bright spots, it’s been a bit since a figure Deadshot me, or Green Arrowe’d me, or Deathstro– wait, that sounds bad– basically, one figure that single-handedly stole the show, and reaffirmed that all is well and just, at least in toys.

Luckily, one showed up in the nick of time. After much delay coming out of CA, Azrael Batman arrived at my house on New Year’s Eve, and nothing has me looking forward to 2011 as much as this guy does.

DCUC Knightfall Batman
AzBats is the pinnacle of 90’s opulence. He has spikes, and armor, and pouches, and all kinds of shiny, gravity defying goodness. Ironically enough, as a character he was intended as a cautionary tale against such 90’s indulgence- there was a desire among fans to take the Dark Knight in the direction of a more EXTREEEME anti-hero type, essentially turning the already dark hero into Wolverine in a cape. Jean Paul Valley was a potent dose of be-careful-what-you-wish-for, leaving fans clamoring for the return of the real Batman.

The irony isn’t lost on the figure, either. AzBats has more new tooling, unique parts, articulation, hell, paint applications!- than any figure the original Batman has received thus far. And sure, there’s one minor gaff in the design; the gauntlet spikes are upside down, but all the other touches more than make up for it. The chain-fed batarang launchers float freely on his gauntlets, letting you fine tune his aim. He has the often-overlooked chainmail details between the glove and armor sleeves. He has his red HUD bulb on the helmet, which itself is sculpted to look like two pieces, and they even remembered to put the small spigots on his palms for the flamethrowers. As wrong as it seems, when the real Batman gets his next figure, it’s going to have a helluva time topping this pretender.

And if for no other reason, that’s why Azrael Batman is my figure of the year.

Finally, Fwoosh Head-Honcho pablolobo believes bigger is better, especially in a smaller universe – the Marvel Universe Colossus figure gets the nod.

As a child of the 70’s (born in ’73) one of my first Marvel non Spider-man exposures was to the X-men, specifically Uncanny X-men 115 written by Chris Claremont and penciled by John Byrne. This comic featured the X-men in the Savage Land where they begin a little arc with Ka-Zar and Sauron. Being a tall kid I related to Colossus; something about the tall silent type and the killer ability to turn one’s skin to steel and have super strength was appealing to me. Colossus instantly became one of my favorite X-men.

A few years back Toy Biz released Colossus in wave 5 of Marvel Legends, this figure continues to be one of my favorites to date. For me the wave 5 Colossus embodies all the potential of the Marvel Legends line, beautiful sculpt, near perfect articulation and oodles of hours of hand candy fun.

This fall I managed to pick up a Hasbro MU Colossus and was blown away once more. This little piece of finger candy has the perfect sculpt and perfect articulation for a 4 inch figure. The scale is wonderful and stands perfectly next to my other 4 inch Marvel Figures. Hasbro even manged to get a paint wash on the figure, bringing the little details to pop.

MU Colossus

But I find that the figure looks best sitting in my son’s room on a high shelf in a vanilla pose owning the room. When I look at the MU Colossus I’m taken back to those days in the late 70’s flipping through Uncanny X-men, chewing bubble gum and drinking Big Red at the local Mr. M.

*Thanks for reading! We will have more end-of-2010 features later this week.