Monday, August 4, 2014

Top Ten Toy Finds From July


At the end of each month I, Brunpuppies, will put together a list of the top toys that I acquired over the course of the month. The number of entries will differ depending on just how many toys I got over the month. The order of the list will be based purely on my personal opinion of the items and is in no way definitive. I'm sure you the reader will have you own favorites and I am open to hearing about them in the comments section.

July was another good month for toy collectors, especially if you were able to go to this year's San Diego Comic Con.  I, however, did not go and will probably spend the August trying to track down some of the better exclusives. I've done pretty well in past years with getting all the ones I was looking for. Hopefully this year will be the same.

You may have noticed that in the past month I've done almost no posts for the HiddenLevel.  The reason for this is because I was getting a little burnt out from all the social media that goes along with promoting a site and I wanted to have some time to reflect on what I wanted to accomplish here at HL. I think I've decided to cut back on the "news" posts and focus primarily on the reviews.

Let's get right to the toys and hopefully I'll be able to do some in depth reviews of these figures soon... 

10. Hot Wheels 2014 HW Race - Track Aces - Let's Go (Mattel)
I'm very new to collecting Hot Wheels and Match Box vehicles. Sure, I had a ton as a kid, my dad would always buy me one when I was doing well in school, but as an adult collector I never had very many. Lately I've been picking up any TV or movie related cars from the main $1.00 range line. (I never dip into any of higher priced specialty lines.) The only other vehicles I pick up are that ones that are compatible with Lego minifigures. The first one was a truck called a Fig Rig which has come in a variety of different colors. It's very cool that you could place minfigs on them in a variety of poses, but it's a bit awkward that they are such drastically different scales from one another.

With the latest minifig compatible Hot Wheel, that issue has been eliminated. In this case, it's a go-cart that is perfectly scaled to work with Lego people. If there is any question that this is meant to work with Lego rather than just the Mattel brand figures, then just look at the vehicle's name:
I'm sure these will be made in a few other colors and I look forward to having some of my figures displayed in these cool looking go-carts.

9. Target Exclusive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Mutating Leonardo 3 Pack (Playmates)
I wasn't sure if I was going to pick up any more of the movie Ninja Turtles toys, because other than Raphael (which I already picked up) I didn't like the look of any the Turtles. When I saw this Target exclusive, I figured if I was going to get Leonardo, I should at least get this version. The unmutated turtle and the young teenage Leo are exclusive to this set, the older Leo is the same as the one you will find in the single packs.

I'm not wild about these figures, but I also don't hate them. The turtle is just a turtle with some blue paint on it's shell. The young Leo is a bit of a boring design and it has very little articulation of any use. The older Leo is okay, but the character design isn't as interesting to me as Raph's. He is also missing quite a few paint applications. If I hadn't already picked up half the Turtles, I think I would have skipped this and bought the Target exclusive 4 pack that has all the Turtles. This 3 pack just doesn't seem all that great. My opinion may change if this movie comes out and turns out to be awesome. We'll see, but I'm not holding my breath.

8. Transformers Prime Beast Hunters Voyager Class Optimus Prime (Hasbro)
I found this figure at TJMaxx clearance section with a deeply discounted price. Because I'm a sucker for Optimus Prime figures, I just had to get him. I bought him with the intention of repainting him, because the green just seemed silly, but it ended up growing on me.  I already have a ton of red, blue, and silver Primes, why not one with bright neon green?

The figure itself is pretty great, well at least his robot mode is.  The Truck mode is a little bizarre to me. It's not bad, it just doesn't look like a very good truck.  The shape of the cab is very awkwardly shaped. As a robot, Prime looks and moves great. I would have loved some wrist and neck articulation, but as he is, he's still fun to pose.  He's no where near my favorite Optimus Prime that I own, but he is definitely a worthy addition to my collection.

7. DC Comics Multiverse 3.75" Superman 1978 (Mattel)

Damn you Mattel for making a figure of yet another character that I've wanted for years, in the "wrong" scale!

Much like the Keaton Batman that made the list last month, this figure would have ranked much better on this list if only it had been 6" scale instead of 4". I really wish the Movie Masters line had continued rather than getting this DC Multiverse line. At this scale, the sculpt and articulation isn't that great.  The likeness just barely looks like Christopher Reeve. I think at this size the sculpted logo doesn't look very good either and that they could have gotten away with just printing it rather than having it be a raised element. While there is quite a bit of articulation, there are very few good poses you can get out of it. And why is it so hard to get a Superman figure that can look up so he can be in a flying pose!?

I'm still happy to have this icon in my collection and I keep him front and center on my desk. He just doesn't happen to be the figure I hoped for.

6. Transformers Hero Mashers Optimus Prime (Hasbro)
Hey, look at that, Optimus Prime made the list twice. I told you I was a sucker for the Autobot leader. This figure has the classic Generation 1 look witch is my personal favorite version of the character. It's fairly accurate to how he looked on the 80's cartoon show. Being a Hero Masher, he can't turn into his truck mode. This doesn't mean he can't be "transformed". The figures in this line can be taken apart and the body parts can be arranged in different configurations and even be combined and switched with parts from other figures.  It's a great, kid-friendly toy line.  I think the concept is really fun, although these Transformers seem to be softer and have looser joins than the Marvel Heroes counterparts. Personally I think that robots lend themselves better to this type of toy than superheroes, it's just that the quality doesn't seem to be quite as good.

This is a great "playable" action figure of Prime, with only a few issues.  The paint is okay but not great. It's definitely at a kid's toy level and not a collector level, which is understandable. I the legs on the figure are a bit small for my taste. I think part of it is the fact that the feet are really skinny height-wise. The hand with the pointed figure is great for some poses, but I'd love to have another fist. Other than that, he's a fun and reasonably priced figure.

5. Live Action Role Play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Playmates)

The Ninja Turtles movie hasn't captured my attention yet, but I'm still loving the Nicktoon's Turtles. The toy line to accompany the cartoon has had a lot of duds, but typically the Turtles themselves usually get good plastic representations. This set of LARP Turtles isn't quite as good as the standard Turtle figures, but they are very fun. They remind me of the classic toys that would have the Turtles in all kinds of crazy costumes. Honestly, I hope we get more figures like this, because they add a lot of flavor the my TMNT collect.  Really, how can you not love seeing Raph as a Barbarian or Donny as a wizard?

4. G.I. Joe Retaliation Snake Eyes w/ Timber (Hasbro)

I have about a half dozen Snake Eyes in my collection already, but I'm really glad I grabbed this figure for a few bucks at Five Below. He may very well be my favorite version of this character. I love the articulation, sculpt, and accessories this figure comes packed with. I really have no complaints. If you only get one Snake Eyes figure, this may be the one to get.

At least until Hasbro starts making 6" G.I. Joe figures.

Click here to see more photos of Snake Eyes.

3. G.I. Joe Retaliation Conrad "Duke" Hauser w/ Aerial Attack Drone (Hasbro)
I was lucky enough to score this entire wave of G.I.Joe figures at Five Below at a discount price, but Snake Eyes and Duke were two of my favorites. (Hopefully I can do quick reviews of the other figures soon.) This Duke fig on it's own is nothing too impressive, he's a rather standard looking character, what puts him over the top are all his accessories.  Just look at them all, there's a TON of stuff that he comes packed with! It's just crazy to think the the DC Multiverse figures are the same scale as this yet they cost more and typically come with very few or no accessories.

This is one case where lots of guns can beat Superman.

2. S.H. Figuarts Super Mario (Bandai)
This guy arrived in the mail on the very first day of the month.  Really a great way to start July.

Other than a K'Nex Mario minifigure, this is the only Mario toy I own. I've been waiting a long time for a good representation of Mario and I really don't know if it could get any better than this. He's so good that I had to get the accessory packs to go with him. Those turned out to be a little disappointing, but only because I wanted them to come with more. I need Koopa Troopas, Bob-ombs, and Piranha Plants!

I can not wait to have a Luigi to go along with his brother. I have a feeling that with his taller and skinnier frame, he'll move even better than Mario. For now he'll be proudly displayed next to my Figma Link and Mega Man figures.

1. The Defeat of Sauron - Lord of the Rings Box Set (Toy Biz)
Yep, I placed a box set that's over twelve years old in my number one spot.

A lot of us have been getting very excited about the recent 6" line of Game of Thrones action figures, but let's not forget just how good fantasy figures were just over a decade ago with Toy Biz's Lord of the Rings figures. These were some truly fantastically sculpted, painted, and articulated toys. They hold up just great compared to many of today's toy lines. Sure, there are some needless action figures or occasional poor likenesses (Aragon) in this line, but for the most part they were some great looking figures.

When I saw this set in a little collectibles shop during my vacation to New Hampshire, I thought it looked incredible. For some reason I passed on it because I wanted to save my money for the trip.  I regretted it almost immediately. How could I pass up an unopened box set containing three great looking action figures for $40? The Sauron alone was selling for more than that alone and that was for a loose figure. Luckily I had a friend that was passing that store and he was able to pick it up for me.

It's worth every penny.

Had the Sauron figure come out in 2014, it would easily be a contender for action figure of the year. It's just so incredibly cool looking. The articulation works really well, the paint is perfectly applied, and the scale is just awesome. I love the way he towers over other 6" figures.

The King Elendil and King Gil-Galad figures look amazing too. I really lucked out with a well painted set. The only down side is they both have a push-button action feature. Luckily it doesn't cause any real issues with the articulation of appearance of the figures.

These really make me wish we were getting more 6" figures from the Hobbit movies.


Click Here for a review of the Ninja Turtles Movie Raphael action figure.
Click Here for a review of the Disney Exclusive Indiana Jones action figure.
Click Here for a review of Marvel Select Amazing Spider-Man 2 action figure.
Click Here for a review of Warrior Claw Wolverine action figure.
Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Batman action figure.
Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Nightwing action figure.
Click Here for a review of Talon and other action figures.
Click Here for a review of the DC Collectibles Bizarro action figure.
Click Here for a review of the DC Multiverse '89 Batman action figure.
Click Here for a review of Link from Legend of Zelda.

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  1. If only you had gotten the Ninja Turtles in Starfleet Uniforms, they totally would have made the list!

    1. That's true, they would have. Remember, here at HiddenLevel, we are always willing to take donations. :)

  2. That's a great list.Still waiting for that Superman figure to hit the pegs.

    1. Thanks! The list for this past month is going to be HUGE! I had to break it up into 2 separate lists for new toys and old.