Saturday, 24 December 2011

WTRTW Awards 2011 aka 'the Palindromes'

Welcome to the first annual WTRTW Toy Awards, which I have nicknamed the Palindromes. The categories have been determined upon by the carefully considered method of 'whatever I thought up late on the Saturday night I decided to invent the awards'. There's a good chance that as soon as I post this I'll think up more worthy winners, but hey, this is mostly just for fun.

Look, I even cobbled together a proper little trophy for anyone wishing to collect their prize -

(Yes, it does look as though someone cobbled it together in 5 minutes, but... Well, I guess I don't have any excuse - it was cobbled together in 5 minutes.)

Without further delay, it's on to the winners...

Technological Toy of the Year: Hexbug Nano
Hexbug Nano

The LeapPad was a serious contender, but it's battery-eating feature went against it in the end. True, the hexbugs get through batteries pretty fast too, but they take 1 little cell battery each costing next to nothing for a giant pack from Poundland. A simple, yet effective toy.

Taking the Mickey: Doctor Who & the endless variants

How many times have Character released the exact same figure with a slight modification? Take Idris, not even a particularly exciting character. We had the single figure, then the figure with 1 psychic container & packet of 'flesh', then the figure with 5 containers & packet of flesh. 3 versions of the same character released in the space of a month? Ridiculous. The same goes for Cybermen & Silents and their open/closed mouths, slightly different battle damage, lightning/no lightning...

I know it's costly to create action figures, but releasing 'improved' variants so soon after the initial releases has to be putting people off buying them in fear a better version will be released a couple of weeks later.

Biggest Disappointment: Thundertank

Rodimus Prime almost took this, but we'd already had a dodgy MP in the line so it wasn't a complete shock when he wasn't too great. However, the Thundertank was one of the most awesome toys of the 80s. The new version promised so much, but the fall-y off claws, pointless thunderlinx gimmick and general meh-ness completely underwhelmed. It's not terrible, but I can't help but wish I'd designed it and done a whole load of things differently.

Desire to Bankrupt: Doctor Who Classics
Underground Toys/Character

6 super-expensive sets being released in December? Just before Christmas and in an economic climate when money is as tight as...a very tight thing. Are they insane? I know they're attempting to get some Christmas-present sales, but half aren't even released until the 23rd. This leaves it far, far too late for online sales and really pushing it for people buying them in shops.

Hope for the Future: ThunderCats Classics

Lion-O & Tygra are far from perfect, but they show definite promise as Bandai enter the nostalgia collector market. The reduction of future figures to 6" shows they're listening to fans, which they need to keep up (ankle-joint colours, please!). By far the best part of this line is that it's widely available in UK toy shops!

Rediscovered Classic: Micro Machines

Both regular & Star Wars versions have gone down a storm in our house this year. Why there aren't Micro Machines on toy shelves right now I really don't know.

Dad's Runner Up Toy of the Year: MOTUC Palace Guards

Originally due for release in 2010, this set slipped into 2011. For 2 nameless characters, this set is brilliant. It comes with so many extra bits and pieces to customise the armour & weapons you'll never grow bored. I have 2 in basic armour standing aside King Randor as his personal guard, and then four (thanks to a Cyber Monday price reduction) heavily-armoured chaps as a fighting force, ready to defend the palace from Skeletor and his minions.

An honourable mention goes to Swiftwind, a toy that arrived 20 years too late for girls growing up in the 80s.

Dad's Toy of the Year: Masterpiece Optimus Prime (MP-10)

Hideously expensive worth it. Coming after the wobbly, weak and disappointing Hot Rod, Optimus brought the MP line back up to Grimlock levels of excellence. He's solid, sturdy and the transformation doesn't require an IQ of 6000 (5000 is plenty). The addition of a little Spike figure to sit in the cab is a nice touch, though I'm not convinced about having the trailer. It's a nice trailer, certainly, but mine's just been stuck under my bed since I bought it as it's too big to put on display. I have to wonder whether it was really worth the extra cost.

3yo's Toy of the Year: Battleground Teela

I have no idea why - I'd understand why an older kid/grown man might like her, but, you know, he's 3! - but my youngest son loves his bikini Teela. So much so that I've had to buy a duplicate because of the wear & tear he's inflicted on mine through his playing.

5yo's Toy of the Year: The Green Alien from Sainsbury's

Bet you thought this would be Power Rangers, right? Well it was close, but since we picked up this toy from the reduced Father's Day section in Sainsbury's (the day after Father's Day) he's taken it to bed with him every single night. I have no idea what the attraction is - he didn't even choose it himself. He got the one his brother didn't want (worth noting that his little brother hasn't touched his blue alien at all).

And that brings to an end this year's ceremony. Feel free to protest my choices of winners below. And sorry about the lack of girl's toys - maybe next year when my daughter's a little older and lost her interest in gnawing Power Rangers. Or maybe not.

Meanwhile, I'll be in the bar.

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