Contrary to what some people may believe, I do buy some modern toys. I didn’t buy too many toys in general this year, though. But since I bought at least 10, I thought we could close the year out by looking at some of my favorites.
I ripped this idea off of my friend Drac. I saw him do one and had to do my own.
My list won’t be as varied as his, since basically the only modern toy lines I collect are either MOTU or Transformers related. I also like Spin Master’s Batman line quite a bit, but none of those toys quite made this list.
There’s also no GI Joe on this list because I didn’t buy any of Hasbro’s newer GI Joe stuff this year. That blue HISS looks kind of fun, though.
Anyway, let’s get into it.
10. Transformers Studio Series Jazz
Jazz is my favorite of the classic 1984 Autobots. He’s also in my top 5 favorite Transformers characters of all time, so I basically buy every single Jazz toy Hasbro releases– even if it’s total garbage.
Thankfully, this one isn’t garbage at all.
This is a very nice action figure with a fun transformation and a cool weapon. It’s probably my favorite modern Jazz figure, even if it doesn’t have the classic “door wings” because it’s going for animation accuracy. I am kind of tired of every Transformers toy having to be as close as possible to its Sunbow animation model, as I generally prefer the “toy look” over the “cartoon look.” But this Jazz basically looks perfect and is a joy to play with. And that’s all I need.
9. MOTU Origins Rise of Evil Keldor
I’m a huge fan of the 2002 Masters of the Universe cartoon. I love all of the lore and backstory. I’m also a huge fan of Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Origins line. So when MOTUO releases a character based on the 2002 series, I’m basically in heaven.
Keldor is Skeletor before he had his face melted off and made a demonic pact with Hordak to become Eternia’s premiere musclebound skeleton warlock. And this figure is a great representation of the character.
The head sculpt is perfect, and both Keldor’s sword and Havoc Staff have really cool translucent green effects. He also comes with a cape! But that’s not all– he comes with an extra head so you can make him into Skeletor, as well. That head sculpt is brilliant with its resemblance to Alfredo Alcala’s old artwork and its bejeweled eyes.
This is an action figure straight out of my wildest hopes and dreams. I love it dearly.
8. Transformers Kingdom Optimus Primal
This toy doesn’t really compete with the original 1996 Optimus Primal, but it doesn’t need to. They’re completely different things. Whereas the original Ultra Class toy was a huge, solid action figure packed full of fun action features, the Kingdom release goes for a more realistic beast mode and a cartoon accurate robot mode. It’s also much smaller.
And I’m cool with that!
It’s nice to have a cartoon-accurate Primal that’s not a super-expensive Masterpiece figure. Kingdom Primal has the character’s trademark wrist rocket launchers, shoulder cannons, and weird swords. He’s also well articulated and fun to transform. I’m such a Beast Wars nerd that I like having a “show accurate” version of a character and one that just represents its original toy look, too. So this Optimus Primal is everything I wanted from a new version of the character.
7. Transformers Studio Series Grimlock
Unlike everyone else, I never noticed the Dinobots being that much bigger than all of the other Autobots in the cartoon or the comics, so a huge Grimlock was never on my wishlist. But now that I have a huge Grimlock and it’s this nice, I have no complaints.
This figure looks both like the original toy and the animation model, and I’m totally here for it. I love the blue optics and the silly dinosaur head.
I had to buy a third party upgrade set for the figure, though, because I needed his sword and I needed a better chest plate. You’re seeing those here. But even though I had to upgrade him, I am still very fond of this figure.
6. Mega Construx MOTU Tri-Klops, Mini Comics Style
It’s no secret that Mega Construx makes amazing tiny action figures, so it stands to reason that their tiny MOTU figures are excellent. And they are. I’m in love with what MCX does with MOTU– they put so much care into each and every little bitty barbarian weirdo they produce.
This Tri-Klops, done up in his original mini comics look, has his trademark sword and armor. He also retains the classic Tr-Klops gimmick and has three separate eyes you can rotate into place on his head. It works beautifully, even on this tiny figure.
Thanks for existing, lil’ tri-Klops.
5. Transformers Worlds Collide Blackarachnia
I pretty much did a full review of this figure back in September, if you’d like to read it. This toy has only grown on me more since then.
I love that Hasbro just went for it with this one. WC BA closely resembles the original 90s Beast Wars toy, but ups the ante by also homaging the original toy’s card art, too.
This is a fantastically weird little toy and I’m so glad it is sitting on my desk right now.
4. MOTU Origins She-Ra
What a toy! Origins She-Ra already has the line’s winning formula– great articulation, cool accessories, modular parts, and the ability to fit in with vintage MOTU figures. But instead of going with She-Ra’s Filmation look, Mattel chose to replicate the original Princess of Power doll.
And it was a great choice!
I love She-Ra’s sparkly mask, which can be positioned two different ways. Her sword and shield are also quite cool (but she also looks good with the Super7 Filmation She-Ra’s sword, as you see above) and I love her cloth cape and skirt. The head sculpt is one for the ages, too.
This figure’s existence made me track down a couple of actual vintage PoP dolls, so I think that’s some pretty high praise.
3. Beasts of the Mesozoic Chasmosaurus
I loved dinosaurs as a kid and had many dinosaur toys. Of those, my favorites were the few Dino Riders toys I had. Of my few Dino Riders toys, the Chasmosaurus was my favorite. You see where I’m going here.
These days, I don’t collect many dinosaur toys unless they transform into robots. But the “Ceratopsian Series” by Creative Beast Studios was too good to ignore. I bought three different three-horned dinos from them.
The sculpt, paint, and articulation on the Chasmosaurus is nothing short of astounding. But that’s only half the story. It’s rendered in 1:18 scale, meaning it works perfectly with GI Joe, The Corps!, Mattel’s Jurassic Park/World line, and many other toy lines I collect. In a pinch it could hang out with He-Man and She-Ra, too.
Dino-Hunters is canon. Sorry, nerds.
2. MOTU Origins Roboto
I love Roboto because he is a goofy see-through robot on a planet of wizards, snake people, and musclemen. He was also an excellent character in the 2002 animated series.
Much like Jazz, I buy almost every Roboto toy that comes out. I still even have the MOTU Classics figure and I purged that entire collection.
This is basically a perfect Roboto. He’s fun to play with, his vintage action feature is intact, and he comes with all of the necessary hand attachments. He’s an absolute joy to behold.
Any complaints anyone has about this figure are wrong because he is a great Roboto and I will not hear otherwise.
The Mega Construx version from this year is also pretty good, by the way.
1. Masters of the WWE Universe Mr. T
I’m not what you’d call a wrestling superfan. I watched my share of it as a kid and I know some of the popular names from our current hell era. I also sometimes watch stuff like Enjoy Wrestling. But I’m by no means a superfan.
I am, however, a Mr. T superfan. And a MOTU superfan. And Mattel somehow find a way to give Mr. T a MOTU figure!
I love this figure so much that I bought MOTU Classics Jitsu accessories for him because he has Classics Jitsu’s armor, so he can store those weapons perfectly. He even holds them perfectly! And they look great with him.
What I’m saying is that there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for Mr. T. He’s easily the best toy of the year.
Look, maybe this figure came out in late 2020, but I got it in 2021, so stop being a pedantic little shit about it, okay? (jk, I love almost all of you)
Hey, thanks for reading this! And thanks for reading the rest of my prattle throughout the year. 2021 was not a great year in the real world, but it was a good year for inane blog posts about old toys. I appreciate you being here and bearing with me.
Hopefully things will slow down just a bit in the next week and we can get back to some regular reviews.
Happy New Year! And let me know what your favorite toys of 2021 are in the comments!