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TFW's Staff Top Toy Picks of 2012

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:10 PM   #1
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TFW's Staff Top Toy Picks of 2012

As is traditional, with the arrival of the New Year we have taken a moment to look back on the last year and gather some thoughts on our favorite new toy releases of 2012. 2012 was a mixed bag of a year for Transformers, with highs including the excellent comics from IDW and the Fall of Cybertron game from High Moon Studios. Transformers Prime continued with its divisive second season and as it turns out the toy line was equally divisive from the moment it launched early in 2012.

Then along came a spider. And by that we mean Transformers Prime Airachnid, who receives this special (dis)honorable mention.

On the other side, the Generations line returned to shelves featuring Transformers Fall of Cybertron based designs and while this too proved divisive - with many bewailing the measures taken to reduce costs, and other celebrating the fact that we got so many of these toys in the first place, not least our first true five member combiner in years, and our first update to Shockwave since the Shockblasts of the mid 2000s. The Collector-focused Masterpiece series also continued to impress, with the new Masterpiece Optimus Prime being released in the US to much collector acclaim and Takara-Tomy also continuing to expand the line with releases such as Red Alert and Sideswipe.

With that little retrospective of the year said and done, join us as our staff reflect on their favorite Transformers toys of 2012.
Originally Posted by Lance Halberd
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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Soundblaster with Enemy & Wing Thing / Twincast with Stripes and Nightstalker

It's hard for me to pick which one of these two are my top pics of 2012.
Both are great reissues of previously hard to find figures (Soundblaster being released previously under the Bookstyle set and Twincast under the eHobby repaints) to have them come up again is great.
With the addition of a more screen accurate paint app and new tapes between the two, it's a great time to grab these classic figures from G1 especially with MP Soundwave so close.

Runners Up: Masterpiece Optimus Prime, Masterpiece Lambor, Arms Micron Leo Prime, Prime Vehicon & Arms Micron Jet Vehicon


Masterpiece Optimus Prime (US Release MP-10)

I really REALLY wanted to put the SDCC Shockwave HISStank with Destro here because of how gorgeous that entire package is, but Masterpiece Optimus Prime is really something that cannot be ignored. When I had first heard mention of the Japanese release of MP-10 I scoffed. I already had plenty of Masterpiece Prime molds and I definitely didn't need to spend such a high price for a smaller one.

Many thanks to Hasbro for bringing Masterpiece Prime stateside at half the price (despite the questionable pricing practices by Toys R US), had it not been for that I most likely would have never had the chance to experience this toy. This new Masterpiece Optimus Prime is even more of an engineering marvel than the original release was. In fact I am shocked at how much better this figure is and how it improves on the original in every single way. This new Masterpiece Optimus Prime has quickly earned a spot as one of my top Transformers of all time, and an excellent start to usher in a whole new era of Masterpiece transformers. I am finally excited for new Transformers again and cannot wait to see what Masterpiece figures may come next.

Runners Up: SDCC Shockwave HISStank with Destro, Masterpiece Thundercracker, BotCon Kick-Over, Generations GDO Protectobot Hot Spot

Dinobot Nuva

Fall of Cybertron Generation 2 Bruticus

The G2 Combaticons were basically the majority of my bad guy TFs growing up. When I finally did find an Onslaught to complete the set I must have only been 5, but my 2 year old brother went and broke his arms off. This thing was a dream come true, the purple camo splotches, the packaging design, the art, the tech specs, and even the way the figures are displayed on that light gray background on the back of the packaging is all perfect. While Transformers goes out of its way time and again to make the children of the 80's relive their childhood memories, it warms my heart to have some of my first transformers given such special attention with a collector's piece like this.

Runner ups: United Thunder Megatron, DOTM Wheeljack, Generations GDO Swerve, Prime Dark Energon Knock Out


Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10)

This figure is one of the few figures I was excited to find and own this year. At first, I wasn't sure I would like it as much as its predecessor MP-01, but wow. This figure is smaller, but much more anime accurate and the proportions are excellent! Also, the colors on the Hasbro version are much truer to the cartoon than the TakaraTomy version (which is usually reversed). The figure itself is not a difficult transformation and with the trailer, really harkens back to G1 Optimus Prime. This is the figure we all wanted back in 1984. I'll settle for getting it in 2012. It was well worth the wait.

Runner Up: Masterpiece Sideswipe (Lambor)


Masterpiece Lambor & Alert

This figure singlehandedly got me excited about the Masterpiece line again. Take your pic, be it Sideswipe or Red Alert, this mold reminds me of why I love the G1 aesthetic and why it will always be the incarnation of Transformers closest to my heart. While the rampant QC inconsistency left a bad taste in many people's mouths, the mold itself is terrific and brings the characters to life in a way they never have been in plastic form.

After acquiring this figure, instantly my brain shot to the idea of all the other Autobot cars getting the same treatment, and my mind was blown. The cheaper price (don't blame Takara Tomy for the poor exchange rate: this is terrifically priced in Japan), the commitment to scale, this all makes me excited for what the MP line has to offer us in the future. I just pray it doesn't sputter out before it even begins.

Runners up: Prime Thundertron & Arms Micron Leo Prime, Prime Vehicon, Arms Micron Silas Breakdown, Prime Dreadwing, Gutto Kuru Minerva


Botcon 2012 Kick-Over

This one was a hard pick for me, as I fought my inner fanboy nerd love to choose Bruticus simply because he's Bruticus, as well as the pure badassery that is the RID Vehicon/Arms Micron Jet Vehicon. Ultimately, I went with Botcon Kick-Over.

When I first got back into TF's in early 2000, Action Masters were at the top of my list of things I wanted to collect because they were cheap and interesting. Now I've mostly gotten over that, but any new figure based on an Action Master still gets me excited.

This guy took one of the top toys of 2010 and made it feel new again. The head sculpt is fantastic and the colors just pop so well on this mold. He's a great addition to my Classics collection plus, he's a toy from my first trip to Botcon, where I met a ton of really awesome people, so that adds just a little more to his awesomeness.

Runners Up: Arms Micron Jet Vehicon, Prime Vehicon, Masterpiece Optimus Prime, Prime Dead End


Masterpiece MP10 Convoy Version 2

At the start of 2012 my interest in Masterpiece Transformers was all but dead. 2011's Masterpiece Rodimus Prime (v1, with all his well documented warts) and Hasbro's shoulder-exploding follow-up left a bitter taste in my mouth. The toys were too intricate for their own good, and HasTak's relative inexperience engineering high-end transforming robots had become readily apparent. When MP10 and MP11 were announced I thought to myself "good, I don't need a second Masterpiece version of either character" and moved on. As pictures were released I began to see things I liked, but I continued to disregard the figure as something I didn't need.

A few months passed, then on January 26th 2012 a seller on Newegg posted a sale on the figure -- $199.99 shipped. I bit, and the only thing I regret is not buying him sooner. MP10 is everything a Masterpiece Transformer should be.

First, it's gorgeous in both modes. No longer is the alt mode the afterthought it was on other figures that attempted to replicate the G1 Optimus look -- e.g. MP01, THS-02. The semi truck and iconic trailer are spot on, and they're fun to play with to boot. You're doing yourself a disservice if haven't pushed this guy around your living room while making <vroom><vroom> noises.

Secondly, although you can nitpick the robot mode aesthetics of MP01 vs MP10, they're both good in their own way. However, the elimination of die-cast and the overabundance of gimmicks present in MP01 really makes MP10 feel like he's doing more with less. The figure is immensely poseable, intuitive and fun to transform, and never feels like his delicate and finicky predecessor MP09.

Bottom line: MP10 is not only my favorite Transformer of 2012, I think he is one of the best Transformers ever produced. On top of that, the fact that essentially the same figure was available at TRU in 2012 for $99.99 is beyond unbelievable. Anyone who walks out of TRU after paying even the subsequently inflated $119.99 price should feel like he just stole from the store. Masterpiece Optimus Prime is just that good.

Runners up: Botcon Classics Shockwave (not SG Longarm), Prime Vehicon, Masterpiece Alert & Lambor, Masterpiece Thundercracker


Masterpiece Sideswipe (Lambor)

If it's one thing TFW's WTF@TFW podcast does, it's make you go back and reconsider toys you had otherwise convinced yourself to pass on. As is the case with me and Masterpiece Sideswipe. I'm glad I reconsidered, as this is one helluva a figure and I can't imagine it not in my collection now. I was fortunate enough to dodge the paint issues bullet (mostly). This figures intuitive and clever transformation, poseability and overall presentation solidifies it as the number one in my spot.

Runners up: Prime Vehicon & Arms Micron Jet Vehicon, Arms Micron Breakdown, Botcon Kick-Over, Masterpiece Optimus Prime


Prime Vehicon

To be honest I would probably have put MP Sideswipe as my #1 but as I'm only picking from the ones I actually have on hand, I guess the RID Vehicon would be next in line.

RID Vehicon has all the attributes that make a great figure. Excellent car mode, great articulation in robot mode, minimal kibble in robot mode and a fun but easy transformation process. It looks great as well with the pairing of silver and purple with the black.

It certainly set a high standard for deluxe sized figures in both design an engineering.

Runners up: Prime First Edition Bulkhead, Prime Wheeljack, Prime First Edition Arcee, Masterpiece Thundercracker, Masterpiece Optimus Prime

Shin Densetsu

MP-11 Masterpiece Starscream V2

Having owned the Walmart Starscream, Walmart Skywarp, MP-7 Thundercracker and Ghost Starscream, I knew some of what to expect with MP-11. However I did not realize how much better it was until I actually got it in hand. This is a far more sturdier figure that is a lot easier to handle and transform. MP-3 Starscream was my favorite modern Transformer mold for years. I knew the nuances and what to work around. However MP-11 is a much more pleasant figure to handle, and definitely more than meets the eyes. The improvements go beyond aesthetics. The quality control and sturdiness make it feel like a leader class Classics figure. The coronation gear is a neat touch. I hope TakaraTomy can improve Rodimus in the same vein, like the did for MP-11. Definitely worth picking up even if you already have previous MP-3 versions of Starscream.

Runners up: Arms Micron Nemesis Prime, Prime Thundertron, Prime First Edition Shining Optimus Prime, Fall of Cybertron Soundwave w/Laserbeak

Sol Fury

Transformers Prime Vehicon

I had a hard time picking one toy to hold up over all others this year, largely because I feel 2012 has delivered a lot of "good" releases but not one that I've bought that I might consider "great" (had I picked up the new Masterpieces, I might be singing a different song). All that being said, the Transformers Prime Vehicon is a great example of a Transformers toy, and I can't think of one that better represents the best of 2012 for me. It's got a clever and intuitive design, with a straightforward transformation that belies the cleverness of its engineering - the way that nearly all the car parts neatly fold away into the legs is ingenious. You end up with a nice, streamlined robot with a minimum of "kibble" and loads of poseability. Making it even better is the fact there's a second, Japan-only jet version that takes the whole mold and reshells it as a complete new design.

It's a fantastic bit of Transformers toy engineering that deserves a place in any collection.

Runners Up: Fall of Cybertron Soundwave (and Data Disks), Fall of Cybertron Kickback, Fall of Cybertron Starscream, Arms Micron Breakdown


Masterpiece Lambor:

Wow. Just . . .wow. This figure is a great blend of both toy aesthetics and his on-screen counterpart. It's got the sophistication and necessary complexity that one expects with a Masterpiece figure, but the elegance any collector expects from a Transformers toy. There's enough homages with the transformation for nostalgia's sake, but enough new things to make this figure new and fresh. Both modes look fantastic! This is an officially licensed and accurately-represented Lamborghini, and the robot is simply nice! Even though the smaller size of newer figures have been bothersome, Masterpiece Lambor pulls it off nicely.

Masterpiece Lambor (much like MP Prime and Starscream before it and MP Alert after it) really symbolize TakaraTomy (and Hasbro's?) bold new move with the Masterpiece line as a whole, and I'm much like many other Transformers collectors who welcome this change in Transformers toys.

I had a hard time picking this one over GDO Wheelie, but Masterpiece Lambor has just a few things for me that edges even Wheelie out.

Runners up: Generations GDO Wheelie, Masterpiece Optimus Prime, Masterpiece Thundercracker, Prime Vehicon & Arms Micron Jet Vehicon


Hasbro Masterpiece Optimus Prime

Like many of my fellow forum members, Hasbro's release of MP-10 tops my list for 2012! While I loved the original MP-01 mold, I found its alternate mode to be lackluster and the large size and bulk to be a bit awkward. This reinvention of the figure keeps the great robot mode and adds an awesome truck mode. The lighter frame allows me an easier time to pose the figure. In addition Tak/Tomy & Hasbro saw fit to include the trailer at launch this time around!

Thanks to this figure my love of Transformers has been rekindled after a pretty stale year for collecting. I've even bought a new Detolf Shelf just for the MP line.

Runner ups: MP-12 Lambor, Masterpiece Thundercracker, Prime Vehicon
Originally Posted by Lance Halberd
Sol Fury can be likened to a German clock. A very exact, complex, and tightly-wound precision instrument that occasionally goes cuckoo.

Last edited by GogDog; 01-07-2013 at 10:22 PM..
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:24 PM   #3
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Nice picks.

Mine goes to Vehicon / Jet Vehicon with FOC Soundwave as my runner up.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:30 PM   #4
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Doing these picks was one of my favorite parts of my many years of being the Admin here.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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My vote would be MP-10, at least for the ones I purchases this past year.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:36 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Shin-Gouki View Post
Doing these picks was one of my favorite parts of my many years of being the Admin here.
It was definitely one of the things I was very excited to be a part of when I "badged up" this year.

Originally Posted by Shin Densetsu
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:53 PM   #7
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I like how most everyone picked Masterpieces and Breakdown and Vehicon and the RtS Jazz mold (the stuff that are constantly touted as "the best things ever"), and then Dinobot Nuva's picks are all out of left field.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:54 PM   #8
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lot of MP-10 and Sideswipe votes I see....
Originally Posted by Bumble View Post
Way to support the MP line! Wish we could keep KO discussion to the KO threads in the 3rd party forum :rolleyes2
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:57 PM   #9
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Mine are MP10 and MP Lambor in 2nd, i can't imagine my collection without them.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:09 PM   #10
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mp sideswipe would be my pick as i bought the mp10 from japan cant wait to see what else is coming for 2013
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