Ah, New Year’s Day. The day we celebrate the end of one year and the hopeful new beginnings of the next. It’s the time of year where we make resolutions to do things we didn’t do the year before and when we reflect on all the things we’ve truly accomplished.
As collectors, it’s the time where we remember all the amazing things we saw, held, and played with, and above all, we honor those figures that stand out to us. 2017 left me with my jaw on the ground so many times, I started to get road rash on my chin. It was a flood of awesome! 3rd Party companies stepped up the game, Takara Masterpiece shocked us, and Hot Toys continues its quest to tempt my wallet into suicide. Yeah, I’ll just continue to enjoy them from afar…
I’m primarily a Transformers fan, so obviously my list will be biased towards the franchise. You know, budgets and adulting and all, so a collector must stay (at least a little) focused. So, without further delay here’s my top 5 figures of 2017.
#5) Maketoys Downbeat
Downbeat brought the beat. When I was a child, Jazz was one of the coolest G1 characters. He spoke with a hip accent, reminding me of the Soul and Jazz musicians I listened to with my older family. He was a fast car, a smooth talker, and even managed to bust a move occasionally. Plus, he was voiced by Scatman himself. What’s not to love?
#4) MMC Kultur
Coming back into the fandom, I was introduced to the IDW comics. IDW took the Transformers franchise and expanded it greatly! Great, in-depth stories, fresh takes on background stories, and most of all, new characters! Chief among them for me was Megatron’s team of ruthless Internal Affairs enforcers, the DJD. This group of psychopaths was led by the devilish and twisted Tarn. A sociopathic control freak with a penchant for talking victims to death, he was the evil the Decepticons needed. Hidden behind his Decepticon symbol mask was the true mind of a killer. Sinister and dangerous, he was even too much for Megatron to control.
#3) Takara Masterpiece Cheetor
I’ll admit, I was late to the Beast Wars game. I was a G1 kid, and Beast Wars came out as I was graduating high school. I was far more interested in racing motorcycles, skateboarding, and picking up girls. It wasn’t until my son started showing an interest in the line that I came back, and boy, am I glad I did! The early CGI animation was a little campy, but for the time I’d say it was well done! What caught me was the story. Beast Wars had a very solid writing team, which resulted in a very tight and integrated bit of fiction. The characters had strong personalities, and it was darker and grittier than G1. Plus, beast modes were cool. I had seen animal based designs in the TF world before, but they were always just styled to look like machine versions of those beasts. These guys were full on organic animals! The more I watch this show, the more I like it. It’s edged G1 out of my second-place slot of favorite show, with TF Prime currently sitting at #1.
#2) Titan Returns Trypticon
Trypticon holds a special place in my heart. It was my first G1 titan and one that my grandmother purchased for me. She and I spent many, many hours playing with Transformers when I was a kid, and Trypticon was always our centerpiece. He was big, chunky, and so much fun! My grandmother was one of the most important people in my life. She more or less raised me, and she is responsible for a lot of who I am today. Unfortunately, she passed away just before Christmas 2016 at the age of 95, so when I managed to score this big guy on release at my local Toys R Us, I was overrun with memories and emotions. I won’t lie, I had a few tears in my eyes when I opened him up, remembering the same day I opened my original one with her at the kitchen table. The feels, man, the feels! TR Trypticon is a reminder to me why I’m in this hobby.
#1) X-Transbots Klaatu
I’ve bought some stunning figures this year. I’ve bought more expensive figures, more detailed figures, and more highly revered ones, but my number 1 spot goes to this chunky little weirdo. I’ve always found Cosmos to be a silly character in G1. He’s a UFO, he’s fat, and he’s a bit of a comedian. There is nothing about “robot in disguise” with this dude. As a kid, I had the original minibot toy, and he practically lived in my pocket. I took him everywhere! I picked up XTB Klaatu on a recommendation from the ROCfather himself and a few others. It was a close, near coin toss moment between XTB and the MMC offering. I’m very glad I chose Klaatu! He’s chunky and hefty, and I can’t stop flipping him back and forth between modes. He lives on my desk, always within reach. Sure, he won’t fit in my pocket anymore, but he’s the most fun figure I’ve purchased in a long time.
2017 was full of greatness. So many honorable mentions! I did spend a lot of the year buying backlog figures (I started collecting far later than most), and I’m switching from CHUG scale to MP/3rd Party. Toyworld Seaspray was hard not to put on the top 5 as was Badcube Huff 2.0. The Titans Return line gave us some cool renditions of Topspin and Twintwist that will be great until a 3rd party company does MP scale versions. There are also several figures I missed due to budget that I will pick up in 2018 if I can find them. Perfect Effect Beast Gorira, KFC Apeface and Snapdragon (I forget the KFC names), XTB Eligos and Andras, just to name a few. 2018 is looking to give us a proper Arcee from Fans Toys, some Aerialbot goodness from Zeta Toys, and of course, Takara Masterpiece Dinobot. Needless to say, I’ll be looking for as much overtime as I can get this year!
Happy New Year to my ROC family, and I look forward to 2018 with you all!