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  • Randy of AFTimes

Randy's Five Favorite Figures of 2022... and 2023?

Randy here. First off, Happy New Year 2023 to all of you! I hope for the best for all of us in the coming year.... we deserve it!

As is always my year resolution, I hope to have more news, interesting posts, and more... well, ME, posting in "Ask Randy". The world is filled with things that take your eye off of work you could be doing.

But before we jump fully into 2023, let's take a quick look back with an end of the year list! As is usual with end-of-the year lists, whether toys, movie, books, videogames, etc., I'm cheating. Firstly, it is in no particular order.

Secondly, these are solely my opinions, on figures that I actually OWNED by 12/31/22. Thirdly, there's more than five entries...

RUNNER UP: Star Wars Black BOOK OF BOBA FETT Fennec Shand figure.

This figure was a no-brainer for Hasbro to produce. The only issue was how long to wait. Still, upon release this has one of the best facial likenesses of the Black Series so far, trully nailing the image of Ming-Na Wen (And where's our "Agents of SHIELD" Melina "The Cavalry" May figures, DAMMIT?!) Along with the likeness, the removable helmet was great as well as the outfit and rifle. This WOULD be "Top Five", but there's another Black series likeness that's just a "little" bit better...

Marvel Legends THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER Winter Soldier figure.

I've been looking for a good Winter Soldier figure for a while now, and neither comic nor MCU versions from Marvel Legneds has worked for me. But THIS one, from the flashback sequences in the Disney+ "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" show, finally hit the mark! Now to see about doing a little customizing in order to make him more along the lines of Captain America-Winter Soldier version...

GI Joe Classified Spirit Iron-Knife figure.

There were a LOT of good GI Joe Classified figures this year, with several showing up RIGHT at the end of the year (looking at you Crimson Guard and Zarana). But the Spirit Iron-Knife figure I think hit it on so many levels. The figure comes across as alive and unique, with an excellent head sculpt and body that doesn't look like another figure "buck" reuse (even if it may!). The accessories feel unique to this character while updating it from the 80's to today, from the backpack with the bird roost to the sniper rifle, to the pair of knives, one military, one tribal. The biggest accessory is Freedom the bald eagle, who not only have articulation, but a separate set of outstretched wings to customize him! Then nailing it all together with the beautiful package artwork by Jeffrey Veregge. It's really the GI Joe Team at Hasbro doing top notch work.

Star Wars Lucasfilm 50th Anniversary Princess Leia figure.

The Lucastfilm 50th Anniversary line is a becoming the publishing version of the GameStop Gaming Greats line, using the majority of prior figures with some new parts and paint-ops. This line, while very new, is turning into a favorite of mine, since by touching on Star Wars comics and books, we also get access to Legends part of Star Wars history. Since I stumbled onto the first issue of the Marvel "Princess Leia" comic, I knew I wanted a version of her in the white outfit with cape. It was a simple outfit but really came across as Leia in full fighting Rebel look. Naturally, I took too long trying to put a custom together-and Hasbro beat me to it! They nailed it.

Star Wars Black THE MANDALORIAN Cobb Vanth Deluxe figure.

Like many (MANY) people, I'm not a fan of the recent "deluxe" figures in the Star Wars Black line, as they seem to be mostly "Boba Fett Tax" (not my line) of increased price for something simply because it's Boba Fett (Looking at YOU Throne Room Boba Fett!) The exception to that was the Cobb Vanth deluxe figure. Featuring a whole lotta paint-ops, including new one for Boba Fett's helmet and jetpack, as well as all-new body sculpt, the need for it being a deluxe figure CAN be argued. But the real beauty of it is the EXCELLENT face printing of Timothy Olyphant. It' the best of the year, as far as I'm concerned. I imagine, with his appearance in "Book of Boba Fett", Season 1, we'll be seeing another version in the near future - and HOPEFULLY NOT AS A DELUXE!

NECA HALLOWEEN II Dr. Sam Loomis and The Shape 2-Pack figures.

"It's time, Michael."

I remember seeing NECA's "The Night He Came Home" HALLOWEEN boxed set when it came out. I passed on it, figuring that NECA would release Dr. Sam Loomis as a single figure, and I'd pick it up then...

THAT was 2004!

With the issues with licensing of the original 1978 Halloween, the waiting seemed like it would never come to pass,

But The Toy Gods smiled upon me!

A little bob-and-weave around lawyers (thank you Halloween II!), NECA was able to what they did and pushed it farther! And the result was worth it!

  • The improved facial likeness of the late Donald Pleasance.

  • Additional arms for Loomis to be in or out of Trench coat.

  • Additional hands for Loomis and The

  • Multiple weapons and pistols.

  • Multiple heads for The Shape.

  • Flame effects making The Shape engulfed in fire.

This is NECA doing all that they do best - Turning iconic horror legends into plastic figure perfection!

That's a wrap for 2022!

But after looking back on 2022, here's a little bit of looking forward for 2023 and a few of the pieces I'm looking out for...

And MUCH MORE! REALLY, there's A LOT of figures and vehicles I'm looking forward to - and that's BEFORE the companies let loose with their plans for the 2nd half of the year! Thank you for coming back and hanging out and listening to me at the start of 2023. This will NOT be last you'll hear of me this year! Until then Be seeing you! RANDY

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