(I'm putting this under GD since I don't think it really fits in any of the SW toy forums or under the Toys: Other forums.)
The year is almost up, and I think it's time to share what our favorites have been from the past year from all toy lines. Use whatever criteria you wish, post in any format, just have at it. The only rule I'll set up is that all toys had to have been originally released in 2002.
I was going to do a top ten, but there were 24 (yeah, I know it's an odd number) that I thought really deserved recognition. I haven't gotten (or even seen in person) Ephant Mon, Orko, Teela, or the new Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets figures, all of which I have a feeling would rearrange this list somewhat. I don't collect the LOTR figures, though they look pretty nice, so I can't really include any of them in my list.
24. Ram Man
This is less here because of the quality of the figure (though it's very good, it pales next to a lot of other figures from the year) than as to how he completely floored me when I opened him. Seeing that he had the same gimmick that made the original Ram Man the single worst figure of all time, my expectations were zero, but the new Ram Man is a pretty awesome little figure.
23. The Fox (KISS Creatures)
I don't have this figure yet, but it really warms my little headbanging heart that, after Gene Simmons figures galore, we finally get the late, great Eric Carr immortalized in plastic. The best likeness of the KISS Creatures series, and worth the wait. (Now I wonder what the chances are of a Vinnie Vincent figure to round out the KISS collection?)
22. Disco Stu
I've gotten out of collecting Simpsons except for a few choice figures, of which Disco Stu is the coolest. This is more a case of "sweet--they actually made this!" than "this figure rocks!" But Stu's one of my favorite obscure Simpsons characters (second only to Guy Incognito), so I have to give him credit.
21. Aloha Stitch
Technically not an action figure, but a plush toy, this is one of the most fun toys I've ever seen. Sure, he just spouts canned responses to preprogrammed commands, but he has two different moods that determine his responses. And some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. ("Are you hungry?" "Not anymore. I ate your dinner!")
20. Darth Vader: Bespin Duel
I've wanted this figure for years, but was slightly disappointed by the inclusion of lame action features. This doesn't keep it from ranking, though.
19. Preview Jango
The best 3.75" Jango to date, and a piece that perfectly whet our appetites for the AOTC figures. Too bad most of them didn't live up to this standard.
This is to the classic He-Man as we are to the amoeba. I probably don't need to say more.
17. Tuxedo Kermit
My favorite of the Muppets figures, the likeness of this TRU exclusive is spot-on and the articulation is excellent.
Yeah, he's a little statue, but I really dig this figure. Not sure if it's the stand, the likeness, the "motion capture" wings, or the perfect expression on his face.
15. Unleashed Maul
Another statue, but one of the best Mauls we've gotten. I know I'm in a minority, but this, Sith Lord Darth Maul, and the Deluxe Training Maul are the Mauls to judge all the many other Mauls by.
14. Beach Head vs Dr Mindbender
The only GIJoe 2-pack to rank. Most people prefer Snake Eyes vs Cobra Commander, but Snakes has his flaws and CC is mediocre at best. Whereas Beach Head is absolutely perfect, and the Mindbender is almost as good.
13. TIE Bomber
Of the vehicles from 2002, this is the best by far. It was one of the most anticipated SW vehicles, and didn't disappoint one bit. Well, unless you count the lousy pack-in figure.
12. Samurai Man-At-Arms
I was pleasantly surprised by all the Samurai figures, which I thought were a complete waste until I saw them. Ol' Duncan is by far the best of the bunch.
11. Chewbacca: Cloud City Capture
A super-articulated, good likeness Chewie on proper scale! Finally! This would rank much higher had Hasbro included a bowcaster, or if the C-3PO wasn't a cheap waste of plastic.
10. Dr Doom
Of the Marvel Legends I've opened, Doom is my least favorite, but, hey, it's a super-articulated, kick-butt Dr Doom! What's with the removable mask and normal-looking human face, though?
9. Bespin Luke
Another excellent Saga figure hampered by a lousy gimmick. Like Chewie, this could've been one of the five best action figures ever. Why can't Hasbro learn? Sigh.
The only AOTC figure better than Preview Jango. If articulation and cool accessories are gimmicks, why not give them to all the Collection 1 Saga figures? It beats quick-draw action by a mile!
No Spin Blades, no samurai armor, no sound chip, just a cool sword and a ram-head staff. Like He-Man, a vast improvement over the original. And Skeletor was a cooler figure to begin with.
6. Ultimate Jango 12"
The definitive Jango Fett, with every feature one could think of. One of the best 12" figures to date.
5. Iron Man
I've never been an Iron Man fan, but this figure is absolutely incredible. About the only thing it doesn't have is a removable chestplate so you can see the shrapnel in his heart.
4. 12" Dooku
The best 12" SW figure ever. The new body sculpt is a dramatic improvement over the older figures in both articulation and proportion, and the facial likeness is dead-on.
Wow. This figure is one of the most gorgeous of all time. His "defensive stance" sculpt is awesome, and the light pipe in his head is one of the best uses for this feature (and the best camouflaged) in any figure that's used it. Hard to find, but worth the search.
2. The Thing
The best of the Marvel Legends series is Aunt Petunia's favorite nephew, the cute and cuddly Ben Grimm. Like the other legends, he's articulated out the wazoo, and the likeness is the best of the series.
In my opinion, not only the best figure of 2002, but the best figure ever. The detailing is exquisite, the paint application immaculate, and the action features are functional and don't detract one bit from the figure. I hope the MOTU line brings more figures of this quality in the future.