Here’s Bill’s picks for the best action figures of the year.
2018 was definitely a transition year for the toy industry, from the end of Toys R Us in the United States, to complications with overseas factories affecting toymakers both large and small, to a focus on global outreach for major companies like Hasbro.
Despite these seismic shifts in the toy world, there were a lot of incredible action figures released over the past twelve months. Here’s our picks for the best among them.
10. Star Wars Force Link 2.0 Quay Tolsite (Hasbro)
As far as I’m concerned, Hasbro’s most-improved toy line of the year was the Force Link/ basic Star Wars collection. I’ve been a fan of these 5 POA figures and vehicles for a long time, but the quality of sculpts improved dramatically in 2018, while the range of characters grew for both Solo: A Star Wars Story and other corners of the Star Wars galaxy. The best figure in this year’s line, though, isn’t Han or Lando… it’s a minor character from Solo, Quay Tolsite. The level of detail in this sculpt is outstanding, the paint work is concise, eye catching, and very well rendered. And he’s FUN. I haven’t been able to stop playing with this guy since I opened him up. This is one weird-ass alien you should definitely consider for your collection.
9. One:12 Collective Deluxe Joker (Mezco Toyz)
Mezco’s One:12 Collective had some very strong releases in 2018, but the highlight was actually a revisit to an older figure. The Joker had become one of the most sought-after sold out One:12 releases, so Mezco put him back into production… as a Deluxe Edition with lots of great all new accessories. The Deluxe Joker features a perfectly rendered cloth trench coast, new weapons, and new alternate headsculpts which enhance the fantastic original figure perfectly. This was a very smart way to reissue an already sought-after figure while making the new version a genuine value for everyone. I do still wish the cool new accessories had been offered separately for collectors who already owned the first Joker, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate such a well thought out and perfectly executed reissue.
8. Movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (NECA)
Another (sort of) reissue on the list! NECA killed it with their 18″ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles based on the 1990 live action movie, delivering perfectly screen accurate renditions of the four Turtles. But this summer at Comic Con, we were treated to a more space-friendly option, a box set which includes all four brothers plus lots of awesome accessories. The 7″ versions of the movie Turtles not only retain all the detail of their Q-scale counterparts, they actually feature more articulation. The figures are perfect, the accessories are a ton of fun (especially the pizza complete with tiny cardboard Domino’s box), and the packaging was the coolest of the year, a replica of the VHS box art of the movie, but featuring the action figures. It’s the perfect box to house these truly remarkable figures.
7. Marvel Legends Cable (Hasbro)
Marvel Legends had another big year in 2018, and one of the things that made me most happy was how many comic style figures moved beyond the basic buck bodies (which I find are getting quite tiresome), to deliver more visually interesting toys. Cable is a great example, utilizing newly sculpted shoulder pads and web gear that enhance the boring base body and make him a very engaging action figure. The perfect Liefeld era headsculpt and the giant honking guns give this figure the exact early 90s vibe he needs to be one of the best comic book figures released this year.
6. Star Wars: The Black Series General Veers (Hasbro)
Star Wars: The Black Series was another toy line loaded with highlights this year, but one of the definite stand outs was the Walgreens-exclusive General Veers. We were treated to a few really cool Imperial Officers in 2018, which are nicely sculpted and smartly articulated. But Veers tops the list, with not only an outstanding portrait of Julian Glover, enhanced with real scan paint apps, but also his cool AT-AT Commander armor and helmet. The swappable Imperial cap and helmet and removable body armor allow for multiple looks for Veers, a fun feature that gives him the edge over other outstanding Imperial figures like Tarkin.