Sunday, February 17, 2013

Toy Fair 2013 - The Takeaway... Wow. Just as it seemed ToyFair was becoming irrelevant in the wake of San Diego Comic-Con, 2013's edition has arrived and many of us are still picking our jaws up off the ground. NECA is leading the charge to be sure. I felt they had started to drop off a couple of years ago as factory paint jobs were well falling short of prototypes and I worried a McFarlaneesque scenario was creeping into place where Gears of War would be the only license sustaining them.Those worries proved unfounded as NECA had a Company of the Year comeback in 2012 with huge releases on numerous properties across a couple of scales. 2013 will see the return of their Predator(s) series with Dutch in Series 8 and 9 and a re-imagining of the Kenner line. We also get a 1/4 scale Elder Predator, and Big Red. Oh yeah, the AVP Predators make their return to 7" scale. Damn. Some collector's have asked for a break from the ugly bastards, but anyone yearning for the most comprehensive of Predator lines got their wish.

I think we need to talk about 1/4 scale and the impact it is going to have on the industry. Now, Enterbay and Hot Toys have decidedto take their high end war into 1/4 scale which is breaking the piggy banks of most collectors. Their 1/4 scale figures are running between $360- $475 at the moment and will only get more expensive. You do get a lot for your money, tons of accessories and highly detailed sculpts and costuming. NECA has taken a very practical approach to their own entry. They keep up the level of quality in the sculpts, but by limiting articulation and fabric to a degree they are going to save collectors tons of money in the process. Consider that for the price of one Enterbay Batman or Joker, you can buy about 4 of NECA's new 1/4 scale figures. That means you can snag yourself Captain America, Iron Man, Batman 1989, and Batman 1966. Now most collectors who do any kind of displaying aren't going to be posing their figures daily. Do the math and ask yourself which is the better value when the look of these figures, while not quite a toss up between the high and low ends, it is pretty damn close.

Mezco has been a bit under the radar the last couple of years, but they came back in a big way by snagging the Breaking Bad license. That isn't what I want to talk about though. Staying in the lines of the 1/4 scale discussion, Mezco has very quietly put forth one of the best lines for any company in recent memory. Their "Mega" scale Thundercats figures are some of the best looking figures on the market right now and they go for a pittance of anything else in that scale range. Thundercats got a raw deal when Cartoon Network screwed the pooch on marketing the reboot, and Bandai false started on a really promising toy line. Pop Culture Shock put out a line of statues that died after Mumm-Ra and Lion-O got released because they were just too damned expensive. Icon Heroes and Hard Heroes both put out  lines of smaller scale statues that died after a few releases themselves. Mezco is still out there in the wild keeping the fires burning. They recently announced Cheetara for the line keeping hopes alive that we might just see the entire adult Cat roster in the same scale for the first time since the original line. Granted Diamond Select is doing mini mates, but that feels a little like cheating.

The other trend is the explosion of 1966 Batman merchandise coming from just about every major company. Wow, the selection is going to be immense. Collector's will have their pick although I'd be lying if I said I didn't have any fears for the longevity of such an endeavor with so many companies dipping their toes in. Sideshow and Hot Toys will have their say before everything is over so if you thought you couldn't get enough of the Barris Batmobile, you are about to get your fill.

I have so many thoughts on this Toy Fair they can't fit one post, so I'll call this good for the sake of timeliness. There is a lot to talk about because this is going to be an amazing year.

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