Pixel-Dan's Top 10 Action Figures For 2016

by Jay Cochran
December 31, 2016
By Pixel-Dan:

Here we are once again ready to usher in a new year as we say goodbye to 2016. I think we can all agree itís been a pretty wild ride this year. But before we welcome 2017 with the hopes of it being a better year than the last, let us take a moment to reflect a bit; reflection on the important things that came out of 2016. Important things like, you know, all of the awesome toys we got!
Just like every year in recent memory, 2016 delivered a lot of great product for us collectors to gobble up. And like years past, I found it a bit difficult to go through everything I bought and narrow down exactly what my favorites were. But I think Iíve got it squared away, so here I present to you my personal Top Ten Toys of 2016!
As always, this listing is based solely on the toys that I personally own and consider to be my favorites. Your list is likely different, as it should be! But hopefully that wonít keep you from enjoying my countdown. Here we go!

10. He-Man Ė Filmation Masters of the Universe (Club Grayskull) from Mattel

There is no denying that MattyCollector has been a bigger disaster than usual in 2016. With the online store closing down as the year ends, the entire MOTU Classics (and ThunderCats Classics) line as seemingly on auto pilot throughout the year. Quality control issues have run rampant, and many of the last few figures have been a bit disappointing for one reason or the other. But He-Man here is the shining star of the year for me. I was excited when a new line based solely on the designs of the original cartoon series was announced. Sure, weíve always had He-Man toys. But until now weíve never had a He-Man that looks just like the animated version many of us grew up watching. Of the entire Filmation lie that was released in 2016, I still feel that He-Man here stands out as the best one. The sculpt and paint both do a great job of giving him that animated appearance, and I was legitimately surprised by just how much I loved him after getting him in hand. Heís easily the one MOTU item I love most from this final year of Matty. Come on, Super7! Iím rooting for an awesome 2017 for MOTU!

9. Pixus Ė Mythic Legions from Four Horsemen Design

Full disclosure Ė this particular action figure is named after me, thus I do hold a bias towards it. But make no mistake; I love the Mythic Legions line! If you love the fantasy genre, I would highly suggest checking out this amazingly detailed line of 6Ē action figures. The sculpts are wonderful, giving us an amazing assortment of knights, skeletons, orcs, and more. The quality of the figures is a step up from some of their past work as well, as the plastic used is incredibly durable which allows you to pose the figures and even swap parts between figures without any fear of breakage. The amount of figures they have already pumped out is staggering, really giving you the opportunity to build legions of warriors just as the name of the line suggests. I personally feel that this is some of the very best work the Four Horsemen have ever done, and thatís saying a lot considering all of the amazing product theyíve worked on. And seriously Ė how awesome looking is a Skeleton Spartan wearing that sweet blue armor?!

8. TMNT Krangís Rampage from Mega Bloks

First thingís first: TMNT has had a pretty big year in the toy world. Since Iím a big fan, prepare yourself to see a lot more Turtle Power on this countdown.

Iíve been really impressed with the Mega Bloks line-up of TMNT offerings. I think itís really cool how theyíve managed to release so many minifigs and sets based off of the various incarnations of the Turtles ranging from the current movies, the Nick cartoon, and of course the original cartoon. Mega Bloks has really come into their own with their mini figures. These little Turtles are basically like tiny, nicely sculpted and articulate action figures rather than just brick men! I really love them!

This particular Krang set was my favorite of the bunch, giving us some outstanding Turtle minis, a really fun build that gave us a fully articulated Krang Android body, and even a little Krang mini that fits inside! Itís just an all-around awesome package that is sure to be exciting for fans of the original series. Iím really looking forward to everything else Mega Bloks (now known as Mega Construx) has coming out for this line in 2017.

Oh, and it should also be said that while I did purchase the Technodrome set, I have not had a chance to build it yet. If I had, thereís a good chance it would be in this slot instead.

7. Contra 2-Pack from NECA Toys

I have been a fan of NECAís video game series ever since they first released that NES repaint of Jason at San Diego Comic Con a few years back. Itís been a really fun line that are essentially repaints of existing figure molds they already had with pretty new NES packages that did a wonderful job of hitting the nostalgia spot. But what made this Contra set so special was that it was the first time NECA offered a set of brand new action figures that were based on a video game from the NES era that didnít already have ties to other releases, such as movies.

Like many, Contra is one of my favorite NES games. I have clocked in hours upon hours with this game, both in my childhood and adult life. Itís always fun to play. So getting some really great, p[roper action figures of Lance and Bill is one of those ďdream come trueĒ scenarios, even if itís a dream you didnít realize you had before! And as they often do, NECA went above and beyond by including a ton of accessories allowing you to recreate various gun power-ups from the game and housed it all in one of their very cool NES-style game boxes! Itís incredibly rad!

6. Ahsoka Tano Ė Star Wars Black Series from Hasbro

Itís impressive to see just how much product Hasbro has been pumping out for their 6Ē line of Star Wars figures. Itís almost too hard to keep up with. And admittedly, while I was so excited about this line when it first started, I have found my interest waning because there has been so much to buy. That sounds weird, I know, but maybe some of you can relate.

However, there have been a few times this year where releases in this line have had me very excited. The decision to include characters from the animated series Rebels was definitely one of those exciting times.

Kanan and Ahsoka were the first to get the Black Series treatment, and while I really love both figures I have to give Ahsoka Tano the edge here. She is an absolutely beautiful action figure. I think Hasbro did a tremendous job taking the animated looking and giving it a more realistic treatment so that she can fit right in with all of the other figures in the line that are based on the films. The paint came out wonderful here, and I even donít mind the inclusion of the cloth material on her skirt piece. I usually donít like how Hasbro handles their cloth pieces, but they worked it in with the plastic quite well on Ahsoka.

Overall, she is a beautiful representation of a character that we have watched grow up through animation for many years now. Itís definitely my favorite Ahsoka figure to date.

5. Mega Man from Sentinel

Weíve talked a little bit about video games already. I played a lot of Contra. But man, I LOVE MEGA MAN. Those original games on the NES and even the X games on the SNES will always be among my all-time favorite games.

And I LOVE MEGA MAN TOYS. Anytime a new company releases Mega Man product, Iím in. A few years ago, Bandai released some pretty great Mega Man figures in their D-Arts line. At that time I was pretty certain they were the best representations of Mega Man in action figure form and would stay that way. But then Sentinel came blasting through the doors in 2016 with their line of new Mega Man figures!

This new version of Mega Man took what was great about the D-Arts one and improved upon it! The proportions are much better on this one, making him a lot more accurate to the character model. The plastic is solid, the paint is crisp, and the interchangeable accessories are, while pretty commonplace, included and perfect. He has taken the slot as my favorite action figure of the original Blue Bomber.

Now, if we can convince Sentinel to start pumping out Robot Masters Iíll be over the moon! Why every company is afraid of doing anyone outside of Mega Man versions is beyond me. Come on Sentinel, donít let that sweet looking Cut Man figure be a tease! More bad guys in 2017!

4. TMNT SH Figuarts from Tamashii Nations

As stated previously, itís been a good toy year for the Turtles. And itís been exceptionally good if youíre a fan of the original cartoon series! NECA gave us some figures that were very close (and REALLY awesome) to the original cartoon with their incredible SDCC Arcade Game Box sets, but if you wanted some straight up Turtles that looks liked they came straight from the original animation, then Tamashii Nations was the place to look.

Weíve had a ton of Turtles figures over the years, but much like I stated earlier with He-Man we never really got true-to-animations versions of the Heroes in a Half Shell. The figures have amazing likenesses with bright, colorful paint. The interchangeable heads for different facial expressions and fun accessories are a really great touch. I was also surprised but incredibly impressed with the use of die cast metal in the lower portion of the figures to allow for great balance. The die cast parts blend together so perfectly with the plastic that you almost canít even tell until you pick them up and feel how weighted they are.

Since I grew up loving that original cartoon, these are easily among my favorite Turtles figures in my collection. Iím just waiting on my Mikey pre-order to come in so I can finish up the team! And with Shredder on the way, Iím also keeping my fingers crossed for more animated TMNT characters in 2017!

3. Legend of Zelda - A Link Between Worlds Figma from Good Smile Company

Good griefÖwhen you look at this list, you can tell exactly what Iím interested in canít you? Itís all Turtles, He-Man, and Video Games. Well, I am who I am. No apologies.

The Legend of Zelda is my all-time favorite video game franchise, with A Link to the Past on the SNES being my all-time favorite video game. I love it so much that itís a game I can still pick up and play all the way through every year and still have fun with it. A Link Between Worlds was the direct sequel to that game, which was released recently on the Nintendo 3DS, and itís a pretty wonderful game itself.

So when I found out we were getting a Figma figure of Link as he appeared in that game, I was psyched! I was even more so once I got him in hand this yearÖheís incredible! For one, this version of Link is very similar to the way he looked in those very early video games -darker hair, brown sleeves and pants, etc. So seeing a modern action figure of Link based on that classic design was an instant win for me. Plus, the amazing amount of accessories this guy came with, all straight out of the game, made this the Link action figure I have been dreaming about owning ever since I was a kid!
If you are a Zelda fan, this figure is a must have.

2. TMNT Mirage Shredder from NECA Toys

I mentioned the Arcade Game box sets above. I really love those, and they were so close to making this list. If this were a Top 11, theyíd be on here. But as great as that set was, I think itís safe to say that I loved the amazing Mirage villains box set that NECA Toys released at NYCC even more.

Now, part of that is because I had all but given up hope of ever owning these figures. NECAís Mirage Turtles remain my all-time favorite versions of the fab four in action figure form. When Shredder and the Foot Clan figures were cancelled all those years ago, I was crushed. These figures have been the cancelled figures that I have most wanted to see finally get a release ever since.
And then, Randy Falk and NECA Toys worked their magic.

I love this set. I love everything about it. But man, I LOVE this Shredder! Shredder is a character that, while having a ton of action figures over the years, has never really had a truly good figure I feel. There are a few decent ones, but many have strange poses or gimmicks that hinder it. We got two good Shredder figures from NECA this year, but nothing beats this classic Mirage look with that red outfit and the comic-like shading.

I was just so happy to be able to put this figure on the shelf with my NECA Turtles. Because of the history and how happy it made me, this was almost my favorite toy of the year. But NECA wasnít done being awesomeÖ

1. TMNT Donatello ľ Scale Movie Figure from NECA Toys

Thank you, NECA! Seriously, thank you!

To this very day, the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie remains the perfect TMNT movie for me. Sure, technology is better now. Effects are better. But you know what Hollywood wonít do? Make a better Turtles movie that this.

And whenever I think of live-action Turtles, I always think of the amazing Jim Henson costumes. I always loved the original Movie Star Turtles figures from Playmates Toys for what they were, but until NECA Toys we have never had a toy that perfectly captured that amazing Henson Turtle.

At the ľ scale, this is an enormous action figure! But itís amazing how well made it is. The articulation is tight and functional. The plastic is sturdy and the overall figure is well balanced. And holy cow, the paint and the sculpt on this figure are astounding for the price point of this figure. NECAís ľ scale line is a serious bargain, and theyíve released some great stuff in this line. But for me, none have been as incredibly bossa novaÖChevy Nova?...EXCELLENT as this ľ scale Donatello. He just came out, and heís still fresh on my mind, but I think he is the clear cut winner of the year for me. Bring on the rest of the green teens, and NEA Ė please keep making TMNT toys!

Well, there you have it Ė my top ten favorite toys of 2016! Itís always hard to limit myself to only 10, but I am pretty happy with how this list turned out. Iím also very excited to see what 2017 will hold. Weíre only a few shorts weeks away from New York Toy Fair!

Yikes! I guess I better start getting prepared!

So, what about you? What were YOUR favorite toys of 2016? There was a lot of great stuff this year that I personally donít collect, so Iím looking forward to seeing what other collectors consider to be the best!

Have a wonderful New Year celebration, everyone! Until next time!
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