25. Swedish Kitchen w/Swedish Chef *
The Muppets show, Palisades Toys, 2003
Utterly packed with detail, the Muppet Chef's haunt has more kitchen accessories than Wolfgang Puck. Fresh veggies, pots, pans, cabinets, a fridge... with over 40 add-ons, it's setting some kind of record.
24. Keldor *
Masters of the Universe, Mattel, 2003 (E: SDCC/WWC)
According to new continuity, Skeletor was originally the dashing Keldor who ate a vial of acid. The Four Horsemen-sculpted figure came with three heads: normal, skeletal and acid-eaten. Add in a cape and it's the coolest Skeletor.
23. Millennium Falcon #4504
Star Wars, LEGO, 2004
Sure, you have to build the thing, but the end result is an awesome rendition of our favorite Star Wars ship. The top opens up so you can put all your Lego mini-figures inside and have them yell at Han when the hyper-drive breaks down.
22. Snake-Eyes (Version 2) *
G.I. Joe 25th Anniversary, Hasbro, 2007
Sigma 6 may take GI Joe in a whole new direction, but Hasbro's 25th Anniversary figures do the same thing they've always done, just better than ever before.
21. Super Grover *
Sesame Street, Palisades Toys, 2005 (E: 2005 cons)
If the sight of Grover dressed in a cape doesn't give you the warm fuzzies, you might as well get a job euthanizing puppies, you monster. Bonus: a telephone booth and Clark Kent-esque nerd clothes!
20. Cloud Strife w/Fenrir
Final Fantasy: Advent Children Play Arts, Square Enix, 2006
Final Fantasy star Cloud Strife gets de-pixeled in this awesome import, which features a rubber-wheeled motorcycle and a sword large enough to impale even the most insolent of play dates.
19. Royal Naboo Starship
Star Wars: Episode I, Hasbro, 1999
Whether you're pro-prequel or anti-prequel, you can't argue the hard specs of this ship: it seats up to seven figures, comes with a droid and you can damage it in battle. Plus, it's huge.
18. Galactus *
Marvel Legends, ToyBiz, 2005
Hollywood be damned - Galactus isn't some sissy-ass storm cloud: he's a huge-assed dude who eats stars and craps constellations. At 16 inches tall, this first-ever Legends Build-A-Figure does him due justice.
17. Masterpiece Megatron *
Transformers, Takara, 2007
The only Transformer you should never aim at a cop, Megatron's status as iconic robot-turned-gun scum is given proper tribute here. Pure awesome, providing Customs doesn't seize it.
16. Sigma Strike Duke w/P.O.W.E.R. Armor
G.I. Joe: Sigma 6, Hasbro, 2006
Compensate much? Joe leader Duke comes with a multi-purpose cannon that can transform into a flamethrower or saw. And it actually makes sounds based on what weapon is attached! Smartest toy ever!
15. Adventure Kermit *
The Muppets, Palisades Toys, 2004 (E: 2004 Cons)
How do you make a sensitive frog an action hero? Adventure Kermit is a fedora-sporting homage to Indiana Jones. He has a golden idol of Gonzo, and for the first time, Kermit's packing heat!
14. Balrog *
Lord of the Rings Epic Scale, NECA, 2006
Delayed for years, NECA's Balrog was worth the wait. Sporting a wicked whip, flames and a 30-inch wingspan, it might just be the most formidable fantasy figure ever created. Suck it, Kong.
13. Darth Maul
Lords of the Sith, Sideshow Toys, 2006
Episode I got at least one thing right: it had a villain that (nearly) rivaled Vader for pure menace. This 1/6-scale Maul could headline any Star Wars collection with his cloth outfit and multiple versions of his dual-bladed lightsaber.
12. Indiana Jones
Toys McCoy, 1999
So real you can practically smell the Calista Flockhart on him, this 12-inch Indy gets every detail perfect. You can even remove his socks... though if he's fresh from the Temple of Doom, we wouldn't recommend it.
11. Sentinel *
ML Series 10, ToyBiz, 2006
The bane of the X-Men was a boon for collectors, as this imposing mutant-slaying robot came packaged as a 16" Build-A-Figure. Circuits and wires surround his frame, while tentacles shoot out from his palms, making him the most important figure in any X-Men collection.
10. Lt. Stone *
GI Joe: Sigma 6, Hasbro, 2006
He may not be a classic Joe, but ol' eyepatch here is one of the most fun figures ever. He sports disguises to transform him into Zartan or a Cobra Trooper, a nifty cyborg arm, cool guns, a removable beret, handcuffs... If every toy was this much fun to play with, we'd never get work done.
JLA, DC Direct, 2007
Working it like the demigod he is, this Supes - out of literally dozens of renditions - ranks at the top. DC Direct re-issued this, their most articulated figure, several times, but this version's ticked-off Tim Bruckner facial sculpt is the one we rock on our shelves.
8. Deluxe Hellboy w/Japanese Heads *
Hellboy, Mezco, 2006 (E: SDCC/WWC)
You couldn't ask for a better comic art-to-toy transition than this Mike Mignola masterpiece. The con-exclusive version also sports a cloth trenchcoat that makes it the definitive figure of the B.P.R.D. favorite.
7. Masterpiece Voltron *
This amazing Voltron is a beautiful assembly of the various lions that make up his frame. Throw in the sword and you're practically back in your footie pajamas, cutting the roof of your mouth on Cap'n Crunch.
6. Pitt *
Legendary Comic Book Heroes, Marvel Toys, 2007
The height of Build-A-Figure perfection, Pitt has a paint job worthy of the Louvre, with shading and steroid-fed musculature that does a perfect job of replicating Dale Keown's distinctive style.
5. Space Ghost *
Space Ghost Coast 2 Coast, Toycom, 2000
In honor of his Adult Swim-spawning talk show, this Space Ghost comes with a desk. In honor of his amazing Alex Toth character design, this Space Ghost boasts great articulation and sculpting to capture his iconic look.
4. Trap-Jaw *
Masters of the Universe, Mattel, 2002
It takes a good sculpt to make a Filmation character appear menacing. Trap Jaw accomplishes it, though, with a litany of weapons at his disposal - including a fugly-ass head. Mattel took everything we loved about the original and made it... way better.
3. Sauron *
LOTR, ToyBiz, 2002
Oh, Frodo gonna get an ass whooping! This plastic tribute to the end-all-be-all of villains stands an imposing 10" tall. Press his buttons and his eyes will light up, growling several phrases from the flick. You can even cut his fingers off, including the one with the Ring That Rules Them All on it. Just looking at it makes our eyes get all big and fiery.
2. Amazing Spider-Man
Spider-Man 2, ToyBiz, 2004
If Spider-Man does everything a spider can, then this massive 18-inch movie figure does everything Spider-Man can. Okay, it doesn't stick to walls, but with 67 (!!!) points of articulation, including every knuckle of every finger, there's nary a pose that Spidey can strike that this bad boy can't replicate..
1. 20th Anniversary Optimus Prime *
In the toy hierarchy, one figure stands alone. He can command the attention of any room. He's a model of design. He's even been known to sway a toy-apathetic girlfriend or two. We cried when he died in the animated movie. Hell, one random dude even changed his name after him.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Transformers, Hasbro released the ne plus ultra (that's French for "awesomest") Optimus Prime, with enough detail to make even the most demanding fan gooey with lust. His appendages bend and contort with ease, while a switch on the back of his head allows his "mouth" to move. Flip open his chest plate and marvel at the Matrix of Leadership, a glowing blue ball of light that means he's the boss. And did we mention he turns into a truck?
As the "Prime" example of the potential in toys, he's the model to which all other playthings should aspire.
Don't see a toy here that you think belongs on this list? Write in to let us know who you think was wrongfully omitted and why!