Thursday, 3 January 2013

WTRTW Awards 2012 aka 'the Palindromes'

Welcome to the second ever annual WTRTW Toy Awards, which, one day, everyone will refer to in The Biz as the Palindromes. It'll catch on eventually.

Since these awards are made up at the last minute, I highly expect, if not demand, a large amount of controversy regarding the results.

Disaster of the Year: ThunderCats

It arrived with much fanfare and then was gone in an instant. A very good example of how not to bring back a beloved line. Wave 2 didn't even make it to UK shops properly, while Wave 1 now lines the shelves of Home Bargains for 99p each.

Discount Shop Award: Bakugan

I love the engineering involved with Bakugan. I marvel at the way the designers manage to get so many different creatures to transform out of a sphere, aided by a magnet. But this engineering excellence comes at a cost, and it's a high one as Bakugan toys cost a fortune in shops. Lucky then that the discount shops have been filled with the things all year long.

Pre-order Award: Fortress Maximus

Two giant toys were recently put up for pre-order for release in 2013. For Transformers there's the reissue of the 80s toy no one owned but everyone wanted, Fortress Maximus. For Masters of the Universe there's a Castle Grayskull for the not-quite dead Classics line. Both come in at around 3 feet in height and are highly anticipated by fans of each series.

I've given the award to Fort Max simply because a) I know what that one will turn out like since all we've seen thus far of Grayskull are some blueprints, and b) I've wanted a Fort Max for far longer. No, it's not the greatest Transformer ever created. It's a large block with limited articulation, limited features and a less than complex transformation. But how can you now want a toy that's the size of a small child?

Hope for the Future: Ninja Turtles Classics

I was late for my Governor training course last month as I headed to Forbidden Planet to get my Ninja Turtles Classics figures a whole week before the rest of the country! The hands are a little...odd, but in every other regard this figures are brilliant - a great nostalgic melding between the original cartoon and the toys released at the time. In Toys R Us at the weekend the shelves were filled with the things, which is either great news or ill, depending on how you look at it. The only potential problem is that Playmates won't be able to use the same mould 4 times over for future figures which will bump up costs rather a lot.

And we definitely don't need to think about the winner of last year's Hope for the Future award.

Honourable mention: Hobbit Collectors figures.

As a big fan of the old ToyBiz Lord of the Rings line I was really excited to see that similarly-scaled similarly-styled figures were being released for The Hobbit. The figures are amazingly reasonably priced, and it's great to see something not in 4" scale. Fingers crossed there's enough of a market out there that all the major (and minor!) characters are released.

(Re)discovered Classic: New Adventures of He-Man

It's not really a 're' discovery since I never had any of these the first time around, but the NA He-Man toys are pretty good - if annoyingly incompatible with the older Masters of the Universe toys. Nordor, in particular, is a really good vehicle/playset most people, sadly, probably never played with.

Dad's Toy of the Year: Trash Pack

It's been a fantastic year for Trash Pack. It'd barely launched in the UK this time last year and now we're welcoming in the third series. It's also spun off into colouring books, Top Trumps, video games... I love these guys. Small, squishy, collectable and it doesn't matter if you get 00s of the same character. The only problem is where to store the squillions of bins they come with.

4yo's Toy of the Year: Lego Batman Wii

The original or the sequel, 4yo couldn't get enough of these games this year. We've had many a tantrum when he's been told he's been playing for 4 days without a break and maybe it's time he stopped.

6yo's Toy of the Year: Power Rangers Samurai zords

If I was honest the winner would probably be Wii Lego games here too, but since 6yo doesn't pester quite as much as his brother to play them and to add a bit of variety to the results, I'm giving this to Power Rangers. Basically no interest in the people, but he can't get enough of the giant robots and their various combinations. Launched in 2011, but with 'Super' Samurai additions this year to ensure a plentiful assortment to collect.

2yo's Toy of the Year: Duplo Cakes

It's hard to decide what 2yo has played with most this year - her interest is usually in whatever her brothers are currently playing with - but the toy she's gone back to most are the Duplo Cakes. Simple in concept, but endless hours of fun making cakes for everyone. Even 4yo loves these - making his Dad 'cakes' as a bribe to let him play on the Wii.

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