By Jarrett Kruse & Robert Trate
I knew that I wanted Bob to help assist in the official 2016 AFJ HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE. His work has been vital to me as the reconstruction of the new AFJ website is underway halfway around the world. All in all, it has been a momentous year for the Junkies but now is our "busy season," the same way April is for accountants. This is the time of year that we treat ourselves just a little bit nicer and get that elusive piece you have been eyeing from afar since March. Its the time of year where all those waves you coveted finding appear on Amazon for almost half price. That being said, it is a glorious time to be an Action Figure Junkie. Now, here are our personal picks on what you should be picking up this holiday season for pretty much every price range. Happy Holidays to all and please drive safely while toy hunting! -Jarrett
JARRETT'S AFJ HOLIDAY GUIDE 2016!
HASBRO Marvel Legends
Just when you think you are all done for the year and you are already taking orders for the first waves of 2017, a long-rumored wave makes a pre-holiday strike onto toy shelves. Now, Junkies are scrambling to find the new SANDMAN BAF Wave featuring all sorts of Spidey good guys & bad guys and an exceptionally popular Ms. Marvel with a real whammer of a fist. Tack on previous 2016 waves costing just about $10-$15 from many online retailers, and the Legends phenomenon continues as Junkies fill in the missing gaps in their collections as 2016 comes to a close.
DC COLLECTIBLES Batman: The Animated Series Batwing
This epic, 3-feet long epic, vehicle made its debut at last year's International Toy Fair in NYC with DCC jester Jim Fletcher holding court as buyers & press marveled at the massive new Batwing. The 36-inch monstrosity fits two 6-inch action figures from the Animated line making this more than just a pretty piece of toy architecture. The almost 12-pound vehicle is bigger than a toddler and includes retractable landing gear, battery-powered interior lights, and a slide-open cockpit canopy. They really did not leave anything to chance with this epic iteration of a Bat-classic. As if this giant Batwing was not enough, you can also nab a sweet new Batman & Robin set with a Bat-Signal that stands close to 7-inches! All this Bat-sweetness can be yours for the low price of $144.99 for the Batwing and just $59.99 for the Dynamic Duo and best Bat-Signal for figures ever produced!
NECA 1/4 Scale Figures
The Quarter-Scale Kings of New Jersey are flooding Junkies with new product as the holiday season approaches. All ranging in the $90-$110 range, these 1/4 Scale figures are an absolute must-have for the Junkie in need of a piece to really jazz up their display case. These are $100 figures that look and feel like $500, with ridiculous articulation and posing ability to boot. Not only has the epic Keaton '89 Batman been reissued, but there are also now TWO different DeVito Penguins and a Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman that we have long been itching for in figure form.
Not only will a lot of Gothamites be available (theirs a new video game Harley Quinn in 1/4 Scale that is dynamite), you will also, fingers crossed, hopefully, have your very own NECA Deadpool before the clock strikes 12 in just a few weeks. After the year that the Merc with a Mouth has had, it is only fitting that NECA gives us the quarter-scale figure of the ultimate underdog antihero in their go-to size. 2016 has been another banner year for NECA as they continue to prove their mettle in a crowded marketplace, maintaining fair prices top-notch product.
I really cannot say enough about the CREATUREPLICA figures since they first arrived at my door back in March. Once I trekked into the woods of New Jersey to shoot pics of them, I knew that these were serious contenders for what to buy the AFJ member in your life come holiday season. From the minds of Jean St. Jean & Jeff Beyers, the pair has given us an entirely new mythos on old classics. The things that go bump in the night are very real and the lore is absolutely fascinating. These figures are perhaps the most bang for your buck that you will find on my part of the holiday gift guide. Using his unmatched sculpting skills, Jean St. Jean is able to translate the amazing CREATUREPLICA vision that has turned toy industry heads more than Bigfoot looking back at the camera in the storied Patterson-Gimlin film. BUY THEM HERE: http://CREATUREPLICA.COM
SUPER7 Masters of the Universe Ultimate Figures
It is the kind of save that Junkies love to hear about and can really get behind. With the MOTU ship sinking with a dilapidated MattyCollector website, upstart SUPER7 swooped in to take our collective breath away with brand new versions of one of the most classic brands in action figure history. While these will not deliver until after the holidays, I just had to add them to my list so that you can try and find them for pre-order on the secondary market. Originally, the set of five figures was $175 plus tax & shipping but some e-tailers have already reserved their cases and jacked up the prices for those that missed out on SUPER7's very fair and diplomatic purchase system on their website that went until Sunday, December 4th. Through a well-thought-out social media campaign, SUPER7 was able to garner interest in the classic 80's brand that now has them saying, "I have the Power!" after dropping some gorgeous (but not final) classic packaging for the figures. January cannot come soon enough when these are expected to ship. A great holiday place-holder if ever there was one.
HASBRO Entertainment Earth Exclusive STAR WARS BLACK SERIES Clone Troopers of Order 66 (6-inch)
I thought that I have already given the Grail of Black Series Waves their due on AFJ's platforms (Yes, the Revan Wave!), but I am a huge fan of this 4-Pack Exclusive to Simi Valley, CA-based online juggernaut EntertainmentEarth.com. You know you have arrived when you get your own Black Series Exclusive! And if I have learned anything about STAR WARS collectors in all my years doing this, it is that you can never have enough Stormtroopers, be them Clones or otherwise. Throw in four different colors, some guns and a sweet packaging choice and holiday winner you have all for just $100. BUY THE SET HERE!
MEZCO ONE:12 COLLECTIVE Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
MEZCO's ONE:12 COLLECTIVE is sincerely impressive and on the precipice of exploding in popularity as they continue to collect licenses and tease new figures on social media. They are playing right into our collective hands and wallets as several of the announced ONE:12's swiftly Pre-Sold Out leaving Junkies to turn to the dreaded secondary market. While the SDCC Armored Batman was a major coup, I have been waiting on these two figures almost as long as a full-term gestating child! Finally, notices have gone out that these two are finally coming at long last to prove that the ONE:12 COLLECTIVE figures are massive value for your hard earned Junkie dollars. BUY HERE: http://bit.ly/2gYdCtj
THE LOYAL SUBJECTS
I am a huge fan of these little figures that pack a big punch. The die-hard fan base for The Loyal Subjects continue to drive these tiny little figures way up in price on the secondary market. The good news is that you can go to their online store and score a lot of cool ones for just $16 and above. A bargain, considering some of the coveted "chase" pieces easily go for a c-note on eBay. Highly detailed, collectible and totally awesome, The Loyal Subjects are starting to make a real dent in the super small figure market. Awesome as stocking stuffer's or for the beginner toy collector. CLICK HERE: http://bit.ly/2gilRSD
DC COLLECTIBLES DC ICONS Batgirl of Burnside Action Figure Playset
I have been waiting for this version of Batgirl/Barbara Gordon whose new suit debuted in 2015. The new, more modern & relaxed vibe of the suit finally has the perfectly made figure from the breakout DC ICONS line that seems to have resonated with Junkies after a long dormant period where solid DC figures were stuck with the ill-fated DC UNIVERSE line. Now, the DC ICONS are starting to hit their stride and its just in time as Batgirl comes with a pretty dope Bat-cycle as an added holiday bonus. I must have this uber-cool set and so can you here.
STAR WARS Elite Series Premium Figures
Just released last month and standing in some cases over 10-inches tall, these DISNEY STORE Exclusives are different than the Die-cast Elite Series. Nope, these are some super cool, hybrid deluxe figures with real cloth costumes and up to 30 points of articulation. They are kind of a throwback to the halcyon days of MEGO action figures when less was actually more. Princess Leia & Darth Vader is my personal favorites and somehow, they managed to really nail Carrie Fisher's likeness when she had cinnamon buns on her ears. And of course, AFTER I purchased them, they have come down in price to a scant $26.21 apiece--a deal and a half for STAR WARS Junkies everywhere.
ROBERT'S AFJ HOLIDAY GUIDE 2016!
Holiday Gift Guides are always tough. I often feel as if they should surface in October or September so that you, the reader, can actually find these items. I’ve taken that into consideration and only listed items that are obtainable. In short, yes, you will be able to find some of these if you went out to one or two Toys R Us’ or perhaps a Target. If you have a fear of maybe he or she having it already, then do a bit of sleuthing on social media. More than likely you will see some post about getting this or that or a photo of said item on his/her Instagram. One last thing, if you are buying for a Star Wars fan and have that fear they may already have it, remember no Star Wars fans care if they have two of something. Trust me on this. So let’s get to it, shall we? -Bob
Disney Infinity Starter Kit and Figures
A couple of years ago this was a hot toy/ video game. You were able to have adventures with the cast of the Marvel movies mixed with classic Disney icons. Perhaps you wanted to take an adventure with Darth Vader and Iron Man. Disney Infinity allowed you to do this. Today, the game has been canceled. There will be no more new characters or versions produced. If you look at Toys R Us or Walmart, you will find starter kits for $20, with the figures or game pieces now discounted, too. Kids under the age of 10 won’t care that the game is discontinued, they’ll just love playing it. Adults will relish in the exploring of Disney properties with their heroes and icons from both new and old properties. At the very least, the figures are done in fantastic renditions and make awesome desk tchotchkes.
Star Wars Rogue One Battle 4-Pack Figurine Set - Kohl’s Exclusive
At this point, we haven’t seen Rogue One. We can only buy into the hype. The only cool thing about buying Rogue One toys, unlike buying Phantom Menace toys, is that these figures, Rebels and Imperial Troopers, can only add to your fan’s collection. Here are two Stormtroopers and two Rebel Soldiers for the collection that make a great present. Order it here and get in-store pickup!
Pop! Funko Figures
I can think of no better holiday bauble for someone you know next to nothing about than a Funko Pop! Vinyl. There is literally something for everyone. You’ll know whether or not they are fans of Friends, The Golden Girls, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Marvel or DC Comics there is at least one character done in every likeness. Seriously, if you are hurting for an idea, just visit the Pop! section of a Toys R Us, Hot Topic, or Target. Your next decision will be which one to buy.
Whether it be for the older fan or the younger fan, a year-long subscription to Marvel Unlimited is perfect. Imagine a comic book version of Netflix, only here you have decades of comics to pick from and read. It is the chance read over 17,000 books that Marvel has made digital copies of. The current subscription is $9.99 a month, but I have seen it over the holidays as low as $60 for the whole year. This isn’t just a once and done gift, it's a whole year of being able to read comics. Get a subscription here for your comic book fan.
Alien Xenomorph (Albino Drone)
NECA has really flushed out the whole ALIEN universe between the films and comics over the years. A recent trip to Toys R Us allowed me to discover this unique and brilliant rendition of an Albino Drone. Sci-Fi genre nerds love this franchise, or certainly 2 out of the 5 films. Here is a chance to get someone a truly unique figure. You cannot go wrong.
The Dark Crystal ReAction Figures
There was a bit of excitement for the Jen and Landstrider Con Exclusive over the summer. Finally, the whole Dark Crystal ReAction 3 3/4-Inch line has arrived. The cool part about picking up the full set is that you are able to build the Dark Crystal. These are incredible sculpts and perfect for the genre fan you think may have everything. I have seen these at every Toys R Us in the last 30 days. An easy pickup.
Star Wars Black Series Figures - Troopers
The Star Wars Black Series is the epitome of cool for the fans. I won’t lie to you, there are some figures that are harder to find than others. My suggestion is to go with any Trooper you can find. There is a good chance they will already have one, but there is this little thing called “Troop Building” that collectors love to do. This means getting them a double isn’t really an issue. In fact, they will light up with joy as now they have two Death Troopers or will have a complete squad of Scarif Troopers to display.
Black Series Amazon Exclusive Stormtrooper Helmet
Many people clamored for the original Black Series Stormtrooper helmet that Hasbro released on #ForceFriday. If you have that crazy obsessed fan in your life, they may already have the white one, but the black one sold out quickly and has only now returned to the market. Not nearly as steep in price as our number 1 item, but you will see pure joy when your loved one opens this helmet. Order it here.
Captain America ONE:12 COLLECTIVE
The moral center of the Marvel Universe is none other than Steve Rogers, Captain America. Mezco Toyz has produced a stunning rendition of the first Avenger with staggering details and perfect articulation. This is not one to find in the stores. However, act quickly and order Cap so that he arrives in time. Order it here.
Death Trooper Helmet
This one is on the pricier side of things, retailing at $615.00, but it if you have a Star Wars fan in your life that has everything, there is still a good chance that they do not have this. This helmet has been on the market for a little over a month and is not on back order, yet. It is an impressive piece and one worthy of any fan. Order it here.