TOP 10 OF TOY FAIR 2017! *WITH BONUS PICKS*
By Jarrett Kruse
So I have had a good few days and a cross-country flight to process everything that the AFJ team got to see at Toy Fair '17. All in all, it was an amazing time and it was a very packed five days in NYC of unseasonably warm weather. It was like Bizarro world as I left Los Angeles in chilly East Coast temps & grey skies yet arrived to 65 degrees in midtown Manhattan. Despite the spring-like temps, Toy Fair '17 yielded some amazing new toys that Junkies are going to love in 2017.
After spending almost three full days of processing and examining images, picking just 10 was too tall a task. So I asked Bob to change the header from "Top 10" to "Top 10 with Bonus Picks" because I thought it would be a disservice to the Junkies if they did not get a detailed look at some of the coolest stuff that we came across in the wildly fun and exciting four days at the Jacob Javitts Center. So after days of trimming the fat off the list and leaving a few toys behind that I wanted to keep, here are our Top 10 with Bonus Picks because listing just ten for Toy Fair is just not very Junkie-like.
*NECA 1/4 SCALE TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES
The Quarter-Scale Kings of New Jersey did not disappoint this year with all four Turtles on display along with two of their baby iterations. It was wild to see the culmination of this ambitious project from NECA with all four of the 90's TMNT starters in 1/4 scale form. The original TMNT films may be a little dated but these amazing replications are anything but. Incredible sculpts matching the original film characters vibrant pop on screen, if you buy one, you just have to buy them all.
*QUANTUM MECHANIX Q-FIGS
By the time we got to the QUANTUM MECHANIX booth, it was the last day of Toy Fair and lot of folks on the floor were just about ready to skip town. However, this was the Junkieverse's first meeting with QM so I was raring to go and absolutely fell in love with their Q-FIGS. I know that they are not brand new to market but I had an immediate fondness for the highly collectible pieces. Probably because I grew up watching my older brother draw classic cartoons in a very similar style. Immediately I pictured a Captain Junkie & Scalper Q-FIGS prototype because of the similarities. Really sharp looking and ornate to boot, I think that Q-FIGS are really going to catch on with the Junkies in 2017. They are also a terrific way to introduce Lil' Junkies to action figure collecting without having to worry about them breaking the piece in 5 minutes. Q-FIGS are quite sturdy and you just cannot beat the cost.
*MEZCO ONE:12 COLLECTIVE GHOSTBUSTERS
The ONE:12 COLLECTIVE from MEZCO is on a hot streak--a big one. It does not seem that a week can go by without a new ONE:12 reveal from Mez and his band of Junkies. I finally got to see all of the new members of the COLLECTIVE and for this 80's kid, the '84 GHOSTBUSTERS stole the booth. Venkman, Stantz, Egon & Zeddemore (and Slimer) never looked so good in this hybrid of old school MEGO-style mashed up with 21st Century digital enhancements with all the bells & whistles. These are must have's for any Junkie that grew up on the original GHOSTBUSTERS and have waited patiently 33 years for the best figures of our favorite NYC paranormal investigators and eliminators, ever.
*HASBRO MARVEL LEGENDS-NETFLIX SERIES
MARVEL LEGENDS are always at the forefront of conversation at Toy Fair and 2017 was no exception. After wading through all of the LEGENDS that are hitting the pegs in 2017, and their are a whole lot, the four standouts for me were the NETFLIX series TV figures. These really blew me away in person and I think that their quality matches the excellence of the streaming shows that they are based on. Love to see Jessica Jones finally get some LEGENDS love at long last!
*BIG CHIEF STUDIOS--JAMES BOND SERIES
An amazing showing at Toy Fair '17 from our pals from across the pond. Their JAMES BOND line was absolutely epic to witness first hand. The detail, sculpts & pure artistry that brought this project to fruition is second to none. The Brits are proving that they are coming to the table with a loaded deck and that the UK toymaker is not short on talent. As a kid growing up with a father obsessed with all things 007, these figures were a regal change of pace at the show in a sea of a lot of familiar properties. In other words, I did not expect to be so bowled (see what I did there with a reference to Oddjob's hat?) over when I got to see BIG CHIEF's body of work in person. Impressive to say the least and the kind of epic toys you purchase for the true fan of British espionage.
*NECA ROCKY & MICKEY MAQUETTES (LE 1500 & 3000)
Way back in 1995, LIPTON Iced Tea had a brilliant commercial that aired with Sylvester Stallone's blessing, his voice and the condition that he got to keep the puppets when they were done. Anyone that knows me knows that I am pretty much obsessed with all things Balboa since I have always had a special connection to the property. And I remember this commercial so well because I spent that summer at camp reciting all of Stallone's lines from the ahead of its time TV spot. However, I really did not expect for NECA to be revealing anything from the ROCKY property as the 40th Anniversary of the film was last year. So when I saw these in person and then saw how quickly they sold out online, I realized that even after 41 years, ROCKY still packs a punch.
The Rocky & Mickey two-set is a Limited Edition of just 1500 pieces and the solo Rocky is also a Limited Edition of 3000. AFJ was fortunate enough to get a tour of the booth by our pal Summer Mullins who we met last year on our tour of the NECA workshop. She regaled the whole story of Stallone and his conditions for doing the commercial and how it all came to pass. No dummy, NECA and company swooped up the original puppets at auction last year when Sly himself sold them from his personal collection. Like ROCKY, getting these maquettes actually made at all was a million to one shot.
*MCFARLANE TOYS COMMANDO SPAWN
Sometimes, going back to basics is not necessarily a bad thing. I always loved SPAWN in action figure form because he was always kind of the reluctant antihero you were on the fence about. Their did not used to be a ton of those so it was a very daring lead character in a comic book series back in the day. Although I have the first two iterations of the newly streamline SPAWN figures, when I saw COMMANDO SPAWN, I flipped because it is almost like a SPAWN figure as if he were in the movie COMMANDO! Lots of firepower and some of the most detailed sculpting that I have ever seen, COMMANDO SPAWN is both a beautiful and affordable for all Junkies.
*QUANTUM MECHANIX STAR WARS MILLENNIUM FALCON
It is frustrating that as a toy collector, I have not owned a really awesome STAR WARS Millennium Falcon since the 1980's. It is a major bummer too because it is very difficult to think of a more iconic spaceship in the entire canon of pop culture. Sure, their is the Enterprise but I am a STAR WARS kid so it is not really a contest for me. (Heck, I'd take the SERENITY before the Enterprise!) My Midichlorian count aside, QUANTUM MECHANIX has produced an amazingly functional and beautiful reproduction of the Falcon that is a dream come true for Junkies that have been itching to get in the cockpit with Han & Chewie. Well, maybe not Han so much anymore.
Thankfully, Jack Westerkamp from QUANTUM MECHANIX opened up the glass and let AFJ get some interior shots of the vehicle without having to worry about the glare of the glass. Just take a look at the inside and the attention to detail; its inspiring and a real achievement. I was just about ready to play a Wookiee in Holo-chess when I was done shooting this meticulous marvel. According to Jack, the response to the new Falcon was overwhelmingly positive at the show last week. When it is released, the final Millennium Falcon from QUANTUM MECHANIX will have over 350 individual parts. Enough space to smuggle Tattooine orphans, old wizards & even a couple of droids.
*SPINMASTER STAR WARS HERO DROID BB-8
This was AFJ's first year with an appointment with Canadian rock star kids toy company, SpinMaster. Anyone with a news feed knows that SpinMaster was kind of a big deal in 2016 with the HATCHIMALS craze. This year, our toy friends from up north had a mega-sized booth worthy of a breakout year. Right away, I thought, "This is the perfect company to partner up with for AFJ FAMILY." It just felt right as we snaked through the booth with two of the nicest ladies in the business that I have ever come across.
Many STAR WARS fans left the movie theater in 2015 thinking that BB-8, like R2-D2 in 1977, stole the show from his co-stars with acting training. I was hesitant to purchase the SPHERO BB-8 when Episode 7 was released and I am so very glad that I decided to wait it out. In 2017, SpinMaster is releasing the BB-8 we have been looking for and it has all the bells and whistles. The demonstration was awesome and it is literally like having a pet in the house. If you say the words, "Kylo Ren," the almost 1:1 remote control replica starts to have a droid panic attack! Cute and fun with ease of playability, this BB-8 is going to be a major toy to watch going into the 2017 holiday season when THE LAST JEDI is released. If he can steal scenes like he did in E7, then I won't be surprised to see this $230 piece up on eBay for a cool $1000.
*DIAMOND SELECT TOYS-MARVEL SELECT NETFLIX DAREDEVIL
It is hard to beat the $24.99 price-point of DST's MARVEL SELECT line and in 2017, the very busy toy arm of DIAMOND is going to be releasing some real gems that won't cost you an arm and a leg. I have been a huge DAREDEVIL fan since I was a kid and my Grandfather Harold was legally blind. He was still able to do all these amazing house-hold tasks just by feel so the enhanced senses of Matt Murdock were always an interesting superpower to me. Then the NETFLIX series began and it was executed with such perfection that the Man without Fear rocketed to the top of my "must-have, please make this now" SELECT figures. The quality we are getting at this low, low price from DST just continues to improve with time.
*KOTOBUKIYA ArtFX+ AGENT VENOM STATUE
It was really hard for me to pick just one but KOTOBUKIYA's ArtFX+ statue line has a new wave of the "Spider-Man Hall of Fame" and Spidey is my favorite MARVEL character. So when I saw the choices they were giving us, it was between the AGENT VENOM below and the SPIDER-MAN 2099 which was also brilliant. In the end I had to give the character Flash Thompson embodied the win because it is just an epic look for the character. KOTOBUKIYA's pieces are delicate but still manage to evolve with every new Toy Fair. I love that they now have magnetic bases so Junkies need not worry about having to constantly balance their statues, busts & figures and hope for the best. Standing about 7.25" tall, if you are looking for a conversation piece in your 2017 lineup, consider getting one of KOTOBUKIYA's ArtFX+ statues. You won't be sorry!
*NECA BATMAN VS. "JOKER" ALIEN TWO-PACK
When Summer explained it all to me, the whole toy licensing rights thing made sense. While NECA cannot knock out Batman figures the way they do say TERMINATOR, ALIENS or PREDATOR, their are exceptions. So a Batman versus a Joker Alien was probably one of the most epic mash-ups I had ever heard of let alone see with my own two eyes. Its combination may sound simple but it is just so much cooler than I could have imagined.
So when it was all said and done, I kept circling back to this epic set that is just too good to be true. Arriving in July for $47.99, I think that this two-pack has just jumped to the top of AFJ's Top Pre-Orders for March. The tooling and paint apps on the Batman figure make this in my opinion, the best Dark Knight in this scale that NECA has ever produced. While it is hard to believe that I can remember purchasing the BATMAN/ALIENS miniseries 20 years ago as a student at UW-Madison, I never thought that I would ever get to see them in action figure form. Time has been very good to Action Figure Junkies as we get rewarded with new properties from NECA every year that we never believed would come to fruition.
*DC COLLECTIBLES BAT SIGNAL
Two years ago we were given the epic BTAS Batmobile. Then 2016 saw the arrival of toddler-sized Batwing. In 2017, DC COLLECTIBLES has outdone themselves with a totally Junkieworthy Bat-Signal prop replica that all Bat-fans have been waiting on. This obliterates the $12.99 bathroom nightlight here at AFJ Headquarters that shines on the ceiling when the lights are off. No, this baby could go up on the roof and possibly summon some real live crime-fighters! Tack on the extra film that has a more classic yellow and black signal and it really is true that if you can be anyone, always be Batman.
*DIAMOND SELECT TOYS-MARVEL SELECT SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING SPIDER-MAN
Its here! It has taken 15 years, 6 movies and 3 actors but I think that SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING is going to be the web-crawling tale of wonderment that Junkies are banking on. Let's face it, Tom Holland stole the show in last year's epic CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR setting up what is looking to be an amazing new spin on the wall-crawler from Queens. Look at the Steve Ditko influence in the costume and sculpt of this perfect looking Spider-Man figure. DST continues to excel with their MARVEL SELECT line proving that their is no franchise too big that they cannot squeeze into their library spine packaging overflowing with extras & accessories for a paltry $25. Well done.
*DC COLLECTIBLES-BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES PLAYSET-BATCAVE WITH ALFRED
For just $139.99, Junkies can purchase their very own Batcave Playset with a new Alfred figure from the still going strong 25-year old BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. The show has found an entirely new generation of Gothamite's thanks to strong reactions on streaming services and platforms. DC COLLECTIBLES supplied a brilliant diorama (not seen here) on which the playset rest so creative Junkies are sure to use their noodle and find a way to implement this Batcave as the cortex of their already large Batwing & Batmobile. A beautiful set if every their was one and something I am hoping more companies will start doing for the serious collector. Playsets today are just not as wildly memorable as the ones I had when I was a kid but I think that DCC's foray into these waters is a smart move.
*NECA 1/4 SCALE MARVEL FIGURES
You may have noticed a trend by now if you have gotten this far down in the article--NECA is a force to be reckoned with in the toy game. And they only continue to get better with age. This has nothing to do with us both being from New Jersey! This is just a one-two punch combo that NECA has been building on over the past decade. While their 1/4 Scale figures are not considered new, it was not until relatively recently (in years) that NECA has run with the wildly popular MARVEL license. They are building a healthy MARVEL competitor for Junkies that cannot afford a HOT TOYS/SIDESHOW piece but can still get their money's worth for a scant $105.
After binge-watching the DOCTOR STRANGE film a good ten times the past few days while working, it is only now that I realize how epic this new addition to NECA's Quarter-Scale figures appears. Besides the sculpt, bold colors and extra accessories, they gave the cape, like in the film, its own piping allowing the collector to shape and mold the Cloak of Levitation as they see fit. It is a subtle and small touch like this that makes NECA such a wonderfully evolving toy company.
Like the AGE OF ULTRON HULK from last year, this CIVIL WAR CAPTAIN AMERICA is very much worth the wait. The sleek design of the suit that has evolved since the first film installment six years ago is on full display here and has never looked more functional in a 1/4 scale toy at this price point. It was truly difficult for me to find a single, nitpicky thing wrong with this new addition to their lineup of oversized figures.
Lastly, their was this DAREDEVIL in a dark classic comic book iteration that just does not get old. All the amazing special accoutrements that we have come to expect from NECA are here--30 points of articulation, over 18-inches tall, alternate head, weapons, accessories, a how to guide on how to read braille--this Hell's Kitchen savior has got it all!