The Top 10 Toys & Toy Lines of 2014!!

Welcome to our second annual Top 10 Toys and Toy lines for 2014! This was a unique year for toys and out of all the releases we had some gems that stood out from the rest. Of course we had some help in developing this list and as always you might not agree with what he have and that is okay. Besides the top 10 we also want to spotlight the top 10 toy lines of 2014! Last year Playmates ran with the number one spot with their TMNT line and who knows what they will place this year. Also take note that 3rd Party Transformers and most imports are not included in this top 10 with the exception of one company. This is due to their US partner.

Some of the critiques we used was availability, playability, fan reaction and product execution, such as articulation, packaging and so forth. All of this is critical in determining the top 10 and with that, let’s get started with number 10!

10- Marvel Infinite Deaths Head

Deaths Head was a complete surprise last year when he was announced and fans waited for his release. This character is a classic in all regards and whether or not you followed his antics, you need this figure. This was a character designed to be a throw-away for the UK Transformers comic and well fans really attached themselves to this guy. Just the simple fact of us getting a Deaths Head is indeed a miracle so if you see him, grab him, his popularity will continue to grow.

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09- Star Wars Black Series Speeder Bike and Biker Scout

The Star Wars 6″ line grew substantially in 2014 and Hasbro upped their game by producing one amazing toy combo. Fans never thought that Hasbro would produce a 6″ scale Speeder Bike and boy were we wrong. This machine has all the detail you could ever want in this scale. To make things even better, Hasbro included a Biker Scout figure! This set is amazing and it deserves to be in the top 10. Sales have been brisk and unlike Jabba (who is not a bad figure), he is tough to locate.

Speeder Bike (7)

08- Star Wars The Black Series Chewbacca

When Chewbacca made his initial appearance at Toy Fair, the media response was huge. This, to many, was a signal that Hasbro was going to continue the 6″ Black Series for a while as Chewbacca was not an easy feat. Hasbro even had to change the box design for the figures to accommodate Chewy. This figure has a ton of detail and his popularity brought him to the number 8 spot. Demand for Chewbacca is still high but he can still be found online and at retail outlets.

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07- Jakks Pacific Giant Size Godzilla

This was the year for Godzilla and Jakks had a major surprise for us all. While the big guy was destroying the theaters across the country, fans were going crazy trying to find this figure in stores. I am not a fan of the big roto style figures but this one was a must have. To me, it was a good throwback to the vintage figure from the late 70’s. The detail is superb on this figure and prices sky rocketed for a while. As the year comes to a close, the Giant Size Godzilla is starting to become more scarce. I would advise you all to get one before he is gone.

Giant Godzilla 01 Box Front

06- Hot Toys Black Widow

Hot Toys is known for their attention to detail and screen accurate figures but what happens when they go beyond the norm? The result is this figure, Black Widow from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. This figure is beyond crazy folks and the likeness is perfect. For many readers, this was their first taste of Hot Toys and wow, she is indeed perfect. I cannot stress enough how awesome Black Widow turned out and while she is still available, I would not wait to long. This figure will hit the $400-500 mark before we know it. The reason why she made this list is simple, its Black Widow and she is the embodiment of perfection.

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05- Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle LARP Turtles

TMNT has been a consistent seller for the past two years now with mutants featured on the show and some different versions of the four turtles in specialized gear. I’m typically against the geared up turtles but when they showed off the Live Action Role Play Turtles I was intrigued, and when those turtles showed up in a singular episode that explained why they were Larping, I was completely sold! The figures (like many of the Nickelodeon TMNT line figures) are nice representations of the characters in the show and are a fun variation of the regular Ninja Turtles.

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04- Diamond Select Minimates Aliens (Battle Damaged Alien Warrior)

Streamline the sculpting ingenuity we saw in the Battle Beasts Minimates, add in some brand recognition and then drop a dump case full of army builders and you have the Aliens Minimates! Highly poseable, Highly detailed and only around 2 inches tall, the Aliens Minimates came out swinging. Due to the interchangeable Minimate parts there will be tons of Xenomorph variations to be made along with the space marine crew of the Sulaco. But the one that hit the #4 spot is the Battle Damaged Alien Warrior. All the awesome sculpting of the other Alien Minimates, but this one has a cool acid blood splatter that really stands out in group shots.

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Aliens Minimates 18 Alien Tail

 

03- Mattel’s Michael Keaton Batman and Christopher Reeve Superman figures (this one is a tie folks, it happens)

This one is a surprise and the first for Needless Essentials Online as we have a tie! Mattel gave fans something we never thought in a million years we would get; a Michael Keaton Batman and a Christopher Reeve’s Superman figure! Both of these figures represent so much of our childhoods, it’s crazy! Batman is an eternal classic and I dare anyone to say something bad about the original Superman film. Now fans can create new memories with their children of relive some on their own (as I did). In the end, I am just glad Mattel released these figures. In fact, the entire DC Multiverse has done wonders at retail and part of me thinks these figures helped a ton. Just wait though, Mattel should have a few more surprises for us in the coming year.

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02- Hasbro Transformers Leader Class Jetfire

There are several reasons why Jetfire came in second on this list and we will share them with you. First, this is our only chance at getting a MP style Jetfire and Hasbro delivered the goods. This figure can stand perfectly with the MP scale figures and his likeness to the original G1 Jetfire is spot on. Fans can even remove the face plate and transform him into Skyfire. This figure is superb and he beat out all of the MP figures for the year. His bulkiness is not a hindrance nor is his chrome that big of an issue. I know some fans despise the red chrome but I could care less. His transformation is very similar to the original G1 design and fans appreciated that. Overall this figure is top-notch and fans should take notice that Hasbro is putting a ton of effort into the line.

Generations Jetfire 01

01- Lego: Ghostbusters Ecto-1
  

LEGO had a ton of offerings this year and pinpointing the top one was very difficult. We received some amazing sets from LEGO, which included The Lego Movie, Star Wars, Super Heroes and so much more. This became a daunting task so we had to look past the norm and really dig into what fans liked. The one stand out set that everyone seemed to enjoy was the Ghostbusters ECTO-1. This is truly a special set, especially when you consider this was a CUUSOO set (now LEGO Ideas). Besides getting this iconic car, we got 4 Ghostbusters as well, all with proton packs! The retail price was great and so was the build. Once you take all of this into consideration, you can see how we reached this decision. Here is what LEGO had to say about this set:

LEGO has taken the world by storm and there is no slowing this machine down! Celebrate 30 years of ghost-busting action with the iconic Ghostbusters Ecto-1 car! Selected by LEGO® Ideas members (formerly known as CUUSOO), this fun and iconic vehicle from the blockbuster ‘80s movie is fully loaded with all the paranormal detection equipment needed to track down those ghastly ghosts. It also features cool Ghostbusters logo decoration, removable roof, tracking computer and seats for 3 minifigures. This unique set also includes a fascinating booklet containing building instructions, selected images and behind-the-scenes details about the classic Ghostbusters movie. So if there’s something strange in your neighborhood, strap on your proton pack and get ready to help Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler and Winston Zeddemore bust some ghosts! 4 minifigures with proton packs included.

Congrats LEGO on producing a true work of art and we all enjoyed the Ecto-1! Thank you!!

 

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There you have it, this years top 10 toys! Now onto the toy lines!

10- Marvel Infinite Series from Hasbro

Many fans feared the worst when Hasbro faded out the Marvel Universe figure line. Unbeknownst to us, there was a figure line ready to swoop in and take the reins from the master. Marvel Infinite series was a nice change to the Marvel Universe line and one that gave us some excellent figures. Wasp, Deaths Head and Red She-Hulk are just a few fan favorites and for many, there are tons more. We were also treated to single carded releases for the Guardians of the Galaxy figures. Surprisingly, these sold briskly considering the 3 pack was “rotting” on the shelf. This was a bold move by Hasbro and one that paid off for the fans wanting a Rocket or even a Star-Lord. As someone who works the convention scene I was surprised how well they sold. Hasbro realized the potential for the movie and they had to get something out quick for all the new fans. I see great things coming from this line and congrats for coming in at number 10!

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09- Marvel Legends from Hasbro (Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, Spiderman)

This was a huge year for Marvel Legends, one that many collectors will never forget. Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, Spiderman and Captain America ruled the toy aisles but for some, these figures were tough scores. Thanks to online retailers such as BBTS and Hasbro Toy Shop, several figures were easily obtained. The overall availability of the Legends line has improved but there are still obstacles to overcome. Still, we got a few fan favorites this year such as the build-a-figure Groot and Jubilee. Lets not forget about Nova ,Stryfe and Black Cat!  Plus all the other we were able to get this year. I know some fans grumbled over the price point but the figures have improved greatly over years past.

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08- Funko Pop’s

What is this POP phenomenon and how do I get in on it? POP’s have taken the world by storm and these little guys are everywhere. Some compare them to Beanie Babies due to their sheer volume at Cons but trust me when I say this, the only comparison between the 2 is nothing, absolutely nothing. Unlike BB (Beanie Babies for short), POP’s are cutting a large swath  in the collectors community. There is so much to choose from and there is something for everyone. Fans of all ages and gender love these little guys and I see no end insight. It is cool to buy POP’s and I guarantee you will find something you want from this line. Welcome to number 8 guys, you deserve it and we all look forward to seeing what you can do in 2015.

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07- Transformers from Hasbro

Hasbro has put a ton of work in their Transformer lines and fans have taken notice. This year marked the 30th Anniversary and things got going really quick with the line. We have seen some true masterpieces come from Hasbro and this line has gained a ton of shelf space at retail. Fans really love the MP Transformers and Jetfire, he is truly a masterpiece in disguise. The Deluxe and movie figures has performed well beyond our expectations and don’t forget about Generations. Hasbro ensured that all fans had something to choose from at retail. I can only see this brand getting stronger with the pending Combiner Wars so watch out, 2015 is going to be a tough year for Transformers and I mean that in a good way.

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06- DST Minimates

This year has been big for DST’s Minimate figures. We’ve seen a huge range of new properties like Kevin Smith’s View Askewniverse, Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and movies like Pulp Fiction, Godzilla, Kill Bill & Aliens! There are even Minimates for the Role Playing Game Pathfinder! Along with all of those new properties there was the mainstay for the past 11 years, Marvel. Marvel saw some great movie and comic sets from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Days of Future Past and the excellent Luke’s Toy Store exclusive Deadly Foes of Spider-Man box set! The innovation and sculpting have dramatically increased on these figures as well making this year a must buy year for Minimates.

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05- McFarlane Toys The Walking Dead line

McFarlane makes the list for the first time and it’s due to their wonderful work on the Walking Dead toy line(s). Fans can choose between the comic series and the TV series and each offer something unique for the fans. The main line fans go crazy for is the TV line and that is expected. The Walking Dead is the highest rated show on cable and if you never seen an episode your missing out on some good entertainment. The evolution of these figures have been superb; increased articulation, better sculpting and better character choices. Besides the basic figures we have seen some awesome deluxe figures as well. I know McFarlane has to pick and choose wisely as there are only “x” amount of figure slots available each year. This year McFarlane introduced us to their Building sets and they are wonderful! Good things are coming folks and I know I cannot wait to see what else McFarlane Toys has planned for this property.

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04- Captain America 12″ figures from Hot Toys

Hot Toys have perfected the 1/6th scale collectible figure and no one can touch them other than Sideshow, which by the way, is a Hot Toys distribution partner. The stand out line for many this year was the 1/6th scale Captain America figures, which gave us several must have figures. Black Widow was the first for many new collectors and she is a beauty for sure. The details on The Winter Soldier is spot  and that figure helped in pushing this line over the edge. Next year I am thinking that Star Wars will take the gold but who knows, those Avenger figures look really hot.

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03- Star Wars The Black Series 6″ Figures

This was the year the Black Series conquered toy aisles and collectors attention. It seems the popularity of the 6″ figure surpassed the 3.75″ figure, which to many, was a surprise. Some of the factors that led to this was better tooling, a new size, excellent exclusives and Boba Fett. This line blew up this year and the future is bright! We see no end insight for the 6″ scale and why should it? While execution in retail has been spotty, we have seen some significant improvement over the last few months. We received a Speeder Bike, Jabba, Chewi, Darth Vader, Tie Pilot, Concept Boba Fett, Anakin, Stormtrooper and much, much more! Hasbro has done an excellent job with this line and 2015 looks to be even bigger. I’m looking forward to see what Hasbro can and will do with this line and hopefully Toy Fair will shed some light on this property so until then…..

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02- Playmates TMNT line

Playmates TMNT toys are consistent sellers. I haven’t found a line from any other toy makers where the figures in the whole line are as easy to find (eventually) and replenished on such a consistent basis. The main Nickelodeon line featured a lot of new characters and versions of old characters from the cartoon this year as well as a few new vehicles. The TMNT Classics line brought us highly articulated versions of the Turtles from the 1990 live action movie and Playmates had another movie line, the 2014 Ninja Turtles line. Playmates’ TMNT toys have been a juggernaut each Christmas season with near total sell through for the past 2 years and I suspect it’ll happen again this year as well.

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01- LEGO Building Blocks!

Earlier this year LEGO achieved a level only seen by the elite (Hasbro and Mattel); they became the number one toy maker in the world! This was not an easy achievement but one well deserved. As it turns out, children and adults alike love building blocks and mix that with some well-developed toys and you have a winner! Plus having a hit movie based on your property helps a ton. LEGO has worked hard in developing their style of toys and their popularity continues to grow. The way we look at it, LEGO has the top spot but they have the most to lose. Hasbro will be gunning for this prestige position next year. Will LEGO hold on? We do not know but I am sure there will be a major toy wear next year. The best part of this is the fans will win either way. Congrats LEGO you earned it!

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There you have it, the top 10 toys and toy lines of 2014! This time we had help and feedback from several outlets and this list is really good! Just know, it was tough and trust me, there was a ton of awesome releases throughout the year.  2015 is looking good and I can’t wait to see what’s to come. Until next year, happy shopping!