What a year for figures in 2021; even with the shipping issues, shortages, and pandemics, companies like NECA, Hasbro, Super7, McFarlane, Mattel, and so many more pumped out an insane amount of figures these last 12 months. When I sat down to make this list, it felt kind of impossible. But I did it. I narrowed it down to my favorite ten figures for 2021. Full disclosure: I was going to take an epic photo of all ten together, but I caught COVID this week and am quarantined away from my figures at the moment, so I will have to use other photos for this article. That being said: I own all of the toys on this list. Okay, let's get started.
NECA Pizza Monster
A late entry on the list, I wasn't sure this would make it before the end of 2021, but NECA delivered. This may be my favorite TMNT Cartoon line figure at this point. As a kid, this was my favorite episode of the animated series, and as a huge Alien fan, this one was right up my alley. Then you get it, and not only is the classic oversized VHS packaging great, but the figure is also exceptional. The tail especially is great; I love how adjustable it is. The best part is the yellow deco; it somehow looks like the figure is made of pizza cheese. Excellent stuff.
I did not back this HasLab. I picked this up after the fact, out of complete FOMO, and boy am I glad I did. This thing is epic and a centerpiece of any Marvel fan's collection. When Hasbro introduced this program, I was skeptical that they could really deliver bang for your buck. Once I got this in hand, from the fantastic box to all of the included accessories, they over delivered. It led to me backing Galactus and the Skystriker as well, so there you go.
NECA Chrome Dome
Another entry for the NECA TMNT Cartoon line, this one I was not expecting to like. While impressive in size, I didn't really think I needed Chrome Dome. Once I got him out of the box, I realized my mistake, as this is one of the most impressive BIG figures ever made. It may be the most articulated BIG figure ever as well, this guy moves around like a smaller figure, and it is damn impressive. Not to mention this is probably the best application of NECA's cell-shading paint aps for this line. The white with grey accents look so good. Great job here.
GI Joe Classified Cobra BAT
Another late entry to the list, the Cobra BAT ends what has been a stellar year for the GI Joe Classified line. I will say here that it is my line of the year. So many good figures and they became easier to find as well. But the BAT has been a figure a lot of us Joe guys have been waiting for, and the team at Hasbro knocked it out of the park. So many interchangeable parts, so many looks, and one of the best sculpts in the line; it is the ultimate army builder. This is also the perfect figure to show someone who collected back in the day and get them excited about this line. I need so many of these.
Toony Terrors Captain Blake
The Fog is one of my all-time favorite horror movies, but almost nothing is made from it. So, anytime I can get merch, I will jump at the chance. The NECA Toony Terrors line is one of my favorites as well; I love how they look like Saturday morning cartoon versions of our favorite monsters and slashers. Captain Blake is a perfect example of how cool this line can reinvent these characters. Hmm, I wonder if Universal MOnsters could be coming next year…
Speaking of Universal Monsters, they started coming out in the NECA Ultimate line this year, with Frankenstein being the first. He is my favorite Ultimate figure of the year, as they completely nailed the Boris Karloff likeness in a way nobody has in this scale before. With the amount of care and love that this figure received, nobody can wait for the rest of the line to come out. We hoped that NECA could get this license for years and years, and they did not let us down.
The Super7 Thundercats line is spectacular, though collectors would be forgiven for having their patience tested by it. Wave Three partially shipped before Wave Two this year, but that was okay with me because the figure I wanted the most arrived. Slithe was always my favorite 'Cats figure when I was a kid, and this huge, beefy version truly is the ultimate version of him. The team made him as big as needed without sacrificing articulation, and his skin paint aps are my favorite on a figure this year. I couldn't be happier; now just get us more Thundercats and fast Super7.
Marvel Legends MODOK
I waited years and years for this figure to be made, and the second I got it, I knew it was one of Hasbro's best Legends figures. Ever. The sculpt is perfect, the little articulated arms and legs are amazing, the interchangeable faces are great, and his flame base rocks. I love how it tilts slightly to like he always seems to in the comics. He never seems to fly straight, and the figure nails that. Throw in that he can grip his controls and that you can house all the extra parts in his body, and this is the best Legends figure of the year by far.
GI Joe ReAction Figures
When Super7 let us know they would be making GI Joe figures, the first thing I hoped for was ReAction. I love 3.75-inch 5 POA figures so much. The thing that sent me into toy collecting was Kenner Star Wars, and getting modern Kenner-style figures will always appeal to me. The endless possibilities for this Joe line have me anticipating its future more than any other toy line in 2022. I love that they are cartoon-based, setting them apart. They feature some of the best sculpts of any ReAction figure, and that a file card comes on the cardbacks seals the deal. I am all in.
NECA Ultimate Part 7 Jason
You probably noticed a lot of NECA on this list. They are my figure company of the year, and I can think of no other figure to best represent that than their latest stab at Jason Voorhees. This is the tenth Jason Ultimate, and after years of making the character, NECA continues to innovate and outdo themselves with these. One of the gnarliest action figure sculpts of the year, loaded to the gills with accessories, and featuring standout packaging that makes you cry that you have to open it, each release by this company is not only an event but a complete work of art. I cannot wait until we see what 2022 is bringing us from them, and hey, we are only three away from having every film version of Jason in Ultimate form. Fingers crossed, we get another one next year.
What were your favorite figures for 2021? What company blew you away? Let us know below, let me know on Twitter, and stay safe out there, everyone. See you figure fanatics in 2022.