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Points of Articulation

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yo go re
Toy of the Year

The ToY Awards started back in 1998, when I was just doing reviews on my own. Yes, there were other end-of-year awards around at the time, but most of them focussed primarily on "child safe" toys, handing out praise for educational content, safety in manufacturing, and encouraging non-violent play patterns.

How lame.

I wanted to honor the toys that older toy fans actually liked. ToyFare magazine had a similar year-ender, but when I started, they were nothing but whores to Star Wars. Then they went out of their way to ignore McFarlane. Plus, they had a tendency to include toys to which they as a news outlet had access, ToY but normal collectors did not; things that they had received as samples, but weren't due on the shelf for a few months.

Thus, the ToYs were born. The ToYs are the voice of the real fan community, covering what's really the best of the best. What started out as one "best of" award has grown and expanded to include a few more categories, but still: they're all the best of the best. We've even inspired a few imitators, but when you want the real toy of the year, you head for the Toy of the Year.

  • ToY
    Splatoon Girl DX Edition
    So they did something neat with the Figma Splatoon figures - no, not jack the prices to unreasonable heights! - they have a regular Figma release, which is just the one girl, and then the special deluxe edition, with two in opposing colors and all of the extra accessories you could want: every weapon, different clothes, alternate-color squids, ink splat effects, and more. They're in scale with Jakks' World of Nintendo figures, and next year Figma is doing a matching set of the boys.

    Other nominees included Jurassic World Brachiosaurus • Pan's Labyrinth Faun and Pale Man • DC Multiverse Alfred Pennyworth • Power Ranger Lightning Collection Lord Zedd and White Ranger • Transformers Studio Series DotM Megatron • Star Wars Black Series General Grievous and Chopper.

  • Best Line
    Fortnite
    McFarlane Toys suddenly stopped being a joke and suddenly made good figures again. They have great sculpts and top-level articulation, plus a selection of accessories. The packaging is simple but colorful, suiting the game and allowing you to identify the character within at a glance, plus the selection of interchangable Back Blings and the weapons means your can customise your favs just like in the game! Stack on the neat gliders and vehicles, at a great price, and you have the best damn line of 2019!

    Other nominees included the tiny affordable fun of Transformers BotBots • Jazwares' own Fortnite Legendary Series • the Marvel Legends 80th Anniversary Collection • all-around excellent Power Rangers Lightning Collection • the Netflix tie-in Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance • NECA's Guillermo del Toro Signature Collection.

  • Best Accessory
    Captain America's broken shield
    Nota Studio makes third-party accessories that are designed for SH Figuarts toys, but often work well with Marvel Legends as well. Want an animated-style Into the Spider-Verse Gwen head? They've got you covered. Their Captain America set features several versions of Mjolnir - plain, electrified, spinning - but the standout piece is the shattered shield Hasbro should have given us but didn't.

    Other nominees included the chairs for both Emperor Palpatine and the Pale Man • Alfred Pennyworth and Dani Moonstar's multiple heads • Star Wars' Babu Frick • Pennywise's waterlogged storm drain • the Bride of Chucky's turkey baster and cup • Night King's ice weapons • Hellboy Beast of the Apocalypse horns and flame effect • NieR: Automata 9S hacking effect.

  • Best Packaging
    Jazwares Fortnite Llama Piñata
    Such an iconic element of the game, and they function like real piñatas! You can hang them up at a party and hit them, and all of the pieces inside are individually bagged so they work in a zillion different ways. A collector can buy them and get the cool Fortnite toys and a neat pinata to display, whereas parents can get them for their little kids birthday parties and use them as a real pinata with the little toy parts as party favors.

    Other nominees include Transformers BotBots as a whole, and the Arcade Renegades set in specific • the beautiful art on the Guillermo del Toro Signature Collection boxes • the "first day" Star Wars Black Series' white boxes • similarly, the white Overwatch boxes • NECA's movie-poster inspired Godzilla boxes • the giant card for Hasbro's Retro Collection Hulk.

  • Best Build-A-Figure
    Kingpin
    No other BAF this year was as desirable as Wilson Fisk. He's a major character in his universe and majorly in need of a toy. This one has a sculpt that blends his classic and modern appearances, is sized perfectly to interact with the normal figures, and has both calm and angry facial sculpts, matching the character's two moods. Plus, the fact that the body serves double duty as the X-Men's Shadow King adds a little more value, even if it will leave a lot of fans kicking themselves as they try to track down a second.
  • Worst of the Year
    NECA's Target stockers
    For a company so desperate to replace the loss of Toys "Я" Us, NECA is really halfassing their deal with Target. They hire their own stockpeople to go into the stores and set up the toys on the shelves, but can't be bothered to actually make sure those stockers are doing their jobs. Ask online, and you'll get tale after tale of Target shelves sitting empty for months on end, and even trying to get NECA to acknowledge these gaps is a fool's errand. They promote sales, they offer exclusives, but it means nothing if no one in the company is willing to make their merchandisers actually do their job and put some damn toys in the stores!

    Other nominees included Marvel Legends Cannonball, Hasbro's attempt to sell us half a figure for full price • Professor X's oversized wheelchair • TF Siege Springer's needlessly complex engineering • Playmates' 35th Anniversary TMNT set • Yon-Rogg, which had poor proportions and was just generally boring • the inconsistency among McFarlane Toys's various lines.

  • Best Exclusive
    Ectotron
    This thing ticks all the boxes! It's an awesome design that will appeal to both Transformers and Ghostbusters fans, while also not being of interest to the general audience for either: in other words, it's not a necessary component of either collection. It was available to get fairly easily (giving it an edge over the other top finishers) and has a cool translucent Slimer accessory, plus authentic retro-styled packaging.

    The "Best Exclusive" category is open to every exclusive (convention, store, online, anything) released this year.

    Other top finishers included:
    • Marvel Legends "Worthy" Captain America (Hasbro/Walmart)
    • Batman vs. TMNT Mikey as Batman (DCD/SDCC)
    • Star Wars Emperor Palpatine (Hasbro/Amazon)
    • Fortnite Green Glow Skull Trooper (McFarlane/Walgreens)
    • Marvel Legends Minn-Erva (Hasbro/Target)
    • DC Multiverse Bizarro (Mattel/Walgreens)
    • Power Rangers Goldar (Hasbro/GameStop)

-Now that you know what's won this year, you can head on over to see our past winners. The Class of 2019 joined some illustrious ranks, and they're all archived here.


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