Plastic Spark's Top 10 Toys of 2018
It’s been a pretty incredible year for import figures from companies like Good Smile and Bandai, as well as some surprisingly impressive domestic releases from Hasbro! My wallet has been stretched to its limit and 2019 doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
For the purpose of this list I have excluded Transformers figures as I don’t feel it is accurate to compare them with these kinds of figures as there are different factors to consider. I’ve given them their own list here. As is the case with my Transformers top 10, this list is also based on figures I have purchased, or traded for, to add to my own collection in 2018. I have excluded figures that were on loan from friends, or provided to me as samples by manufacturers for review purposes. This also means that some figures may have been added to my collection in 2018 but may not have necessarily been released in 2018.
Here we go!
#10. Marvel Legends Domino
In my opinion, Hasbro drops the ball quite often with female characters in the Marvel Legends line. They typically have limited articulation, low accessory counts, and Hasbro quite often struggles to achieve pleasant results in the face sculpt/paint dept. With those concerns in mind I think Domino turned out great. Fantastic paint work, nice clean face sculpt and some decent accessories. There’s still a bit to be desired, her articulation is a bit limited and her accessories could be better (she can’t even hold the guns she comes with) but all things considered she’s a pretty nice figure for her line. Makes a nice companion piece to the 5 or 6 Deadpool figures that Hasbro has pumped out in the last year or two.
#9. Bandai Robot Damashii – Bracer Phoenix, Titan Redeemer, Guardian Bravo
The Robot Damashii series of Pacific Rim 2 Jaegers was a welcome surprise. After NECA handled the toys for the first movie I was incredibly happy to see a brand known for functionality handle these new designs. You can tell this is a lower budget line as the accessory count is pretty low and the paint work isn’t up to the standard of other Bandai offerings but the playability and articulation of these figures is very satisfying. I’ve put these three together at the bottom slot as they are the most limited of the series but still a lot of fun to mess with.
#8. Marvel Legends Wolverine(s)
Yes, plural. The classic Jim Lee style Wolverine in the blue and yellow looks fantastic and is built on one of the new bucks with added butterfly shoulder articulation. His face is sculpted with a gritty snarl and he’s a lot of fun to pose. A bit of paint on his not-so-hairy arms would have been nice but not a deal breaker. I’ll figure out a way to fix that up myself. Now, The All-New Wolverine, aka Laura Kinney, aka X-23, is a whole different beast (so to speak) as this is the first time, to my knowledge, that she’s been released in the blue and yellow. The figure looks amazing. She comes with a swap out unmasked head which is a nice addition and the overall figure just feels more functional and easier to pose than some of the other female Marvel Legends figures I have. I don’t really know what is different about her compared to say, Domino or the X-Force X-23 as I don’t see any major changes in the actual buck but she just came out better and is easier to pose.
#7. Figma Tracer
Figma Tracer is an example of what Figma can do when they really put their mind to something. This is an almost perfect representation of Tracer in toy form and she can pull off pretty much any signature Tracer pose you could want. Excellent paint work, awesome little logos and designs on her costume, all around excellent. Still the #1 of the Figma OW series so far in my opinion. She’d be higher on this list if she hadn’t come out so long ago and so many other awesome toys hadn’t been released this year.
#6. S.H. Figuarts Kamen Rider Genm Zombie Gamer Level X
I’m a Kamen Rider casual, no doubt about it. Don’t quiz me I will fail horribly. I love the designs and I’ve watched a chunk of stuff on Youtube, but my purchase of this figure was 100% based on aesthetics. I love the way it looks and the figure is definitely one of Bandai’s best that I handled this year. In fact almost all of my Kamen Rider purchases have been based on aesthetics so next year when Kiva and the new Decade release I will be adding them to my collection as well because they look cool. Maybe one day I will actually watch a series from start to finish.
#5. Star Wars Black Series – Jaina Solo
I stopped buying Star Wars Black Series a while ago. I still have a bunch of Stormtroopers and Boba Fett. I had dreams of completing a bounty hunter collection until poor distribution coupled with ravenous demand and scalping brought an end to my interest in the line. One day I happened to meet a fellow collector while out shopping in a London Drugs looking at all the shelves packed with Rogue One overstock and we got to talking about Black Series. I mentioned to him that I had stopped collecting but I was keeping an eye out for Jaina Solo and Darth Revan. No sooner did I say that than he told me had an extra that he’d happily trade for one of my figures. That was a cool moment. It’s hit or miss sometimes meeting other collectors but this guy was way cool. Made for a fun experience. The figure itself is really nice. Great paint, layered removable flight gear, helmet that actually works and doesn’t look ridiculous, and a lightsaber with removable blade and a hook on her belt to hold it. Her face could benefit from the improved face tech in the later Black Series figures but all in all she looks pretty great and is a nice value for the asking price.
#4. Bandai S.H. Figuarts – Kingdom Hearts II Sora
I’ve been waiting years for good, 1/12(ish) Kingdom Hearts figures and now there are so many options! Bring Arts has the KH3 crew covered, and Bandai came in hot with some Kingdom Hearts II renditions. I love this figure a lot it’s incredibly well done. Bandai did some clever stuff to over come the limitations of Sora’s outfit and there’s a lot of cool engineering, like hiding the ankle ball joints inside his big-af shoes. This figure would be higher if he came with a proper smiling face as that’s my only real “complaint” about an otherwise incredibly remarkable figure.
#3. Figma Joker – Persona 5
I went back and forth on #3 and #4. I still have a hard time trying to justify Joker as being a better toy than Figuarts Sora but ultimately I think there’s a few factors that he fulfills just a tiny bit better. This is such a phenomenal representation of Joker from Persona 5. Figma did a fantastic job making Joker just right and including a nice selection of accessories and face options for most of my needs. Paint is on point, face sculpts and deco application are top notch, and his black and red color scheme just pop. I’ve just received Anne and I’m looking forward to assembling the rest of the team soon.
#2. Bandai Robot Damashii – Gipsy Avenger, Saber Athena, Obsidian Fury
I paid $25 CAD for each of these… I’m still kinda in shock. Yes, they are a budget line as I mentioned in the #9 entry but these three in particular are absolutely phenomenal. The fact that I could walk into Toys R Us and purchase these locally for a fair price point made them even better. Pacific Rim 2 wasn’t all I wanted it to be but it was still a fun action movie about giant robots and these toys are fun in the same way. I can’t wait for the final battle Gipsy and the drones to be released if they weren’t cancelled for some random Bandai/Bluefin related reason.
#1. Bandai S.H. Figuarts – Kingdom Hearts II Goofy and Donald Duck
I’m not really sure how we got here. Trying to put together this list I had a really hard time trying to think of any one figure that I’d picked up this year that stood above the rest. Ultimately I decided to go with the ones I had the most fun with; Figuarts Donald Duck and Goofy. These guys are hitting the top spot as a set, though it should be said that Goofy is doing most of the heavy lifting (just like in Kingdom Hearts Heeeeyoooooooo!) when it comes to toy functionality but realistically I don’t think you can split these guys up. They fulfill their role perfectly and are an exceptional supplement to the Figuarts Sora figure. They also conveniently work with the Bring Arts Sora as Goofy and Donald (Heal me please you duck!) didn’t really change in appearance between the two games. I was really hoping that Bandai would include extra Keyblades or something with these guys to help balance out their fairly substantial price tag but all in all they come with everything you need to display them interacting with your other Kingdom Hearts figures and they are damn near flawless representations of their characters with surprisingly extravagant articulation and engineering.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Top 10 Toys of 2018. Sorry it was so late but I hope you enjoyed it all the same. Let me know what your top toys of this year were in the comments! Did you like some of the same ones? Not on board with my choices? Let me know! As always thank you for your continued support and I look forward to sharing more photos and toys with all of you in 2019.
-Josh (Plastic Spark Photography)