As always the awards are based on what I remember being the best stuff from the past year, rather than what actually might have been best or what was actually released this year.
Anyway, enough of the preamble. On with the awards...
Giant Toy of the Year: Castle Grayskull
Last year I said that Fort Max was the most anticipated BIG toy release for 2013. Hasbro then released the even bigger Metroplex. Good as these were, neither come close to Mattel's new Castle Grayskull playset. It's not perfect (dungeon - I'm looking at you), but it is a fantastic toy and has loads of features to keep kids of all sizes entertained for hours and hours (full review coming in a few days).
Best 3rd Party Product: Quake Wave
Where there be official products, there also be creations made by fans to either improve what the Big Boys released or to plug a hole (literally, in the case of Grayskull) that the Big Boy hasn't gotten around to for one reason or another. Some are terrible, but quite a few are really good, high quality products.
The winner is Quake Wave (/Quakewave - I'm not entirely sure whether it's one word or two), an amazing Masterpiece-style Shockwave toy. The quality of this not-Transformer is incredible, easily as good, if not better, than the official products put out by Takara. It looks good in photos, it's even better in hand. You see one of this, you buy it instantly!
An honourable mention goes to the manhole cover by BadVermin, created for the Masters of the Universe Classics Castle Grayskull. Quite what Mattel was thinking when it decided to have a whopping great hole in the base, I do not know. This lid is simple and effective and looks great. An essential purchase for anyone with Grayskull.
Company of the Year: NECA
Once upon a time I labelled everything from NECA as being extremely fragile and highly likely to break coming out of the packaging. Not so anymore. There are some very good, quality pieces emerging from NECA these days, from a bunch of my favourite film franchises - Gremlins, Predator, Aliens. The 'Videogame' figures are a genius idea and I can't wait to see what else the company produces in 2014 and beyond.
Rediscovered Classic: Rock Lords
They're terrible! They're amazing! They're terribly amazing! Got to love the Rock Lords. Or hate them.
The Boys' Toy of the Year: Anything vaguely 'card' like
This Autumn Match Attax hit my boys' school. Despite knowing nothing about football they were suddenly demanding these things to trade with their friends on the playground. And they weren't alone in their interest/lack of knowledge combination. Loads of other kids who barely knew that football involved the use of a ball were suddenly walking round with piles of these things. Since then anything that's come in the form of a card has been of interest to the boys.
3yo's Toy of the Year: Pushchair
It's an oldie, but a classic. Never has my 3yo been more happy than when she's pushing this thing round. Sometimes it even has a doll in it.
Dad's Toy of the Year: ???
I really can't decide this year. It's probably Grayskull, but that's already won an award. The Horde Troopers were great, especially when you had an army of them, and Mantenna was perfect. The 6" Boba Fett figure is fantastic. The Gremlins Mogwai from NECA are equally great, as was their SDCC Exclusive Jason figure, for the packaging alone.
Actually, I think I'm going to give this to the NECA Predators. I've really enjoyed playing with those things since I first picked up series 9 in the summer. Very poseable, sturdy figures and they look great posed with the recent Alien figure.
Disappointment of the Year: TMNT Classics
I think I'm going to give up on handing out awards for Hope for the Future. In 2012 ThunderCats was a disaster and then in 2013 TMNT Classics fizzled out to nothing. I know it's still going, but the only releases this year have been Bebop and Rocksteady which appeared right at the end. Just two figures, neither of which was exactly perfect in my eyes. Next year, apparently, Playmates are releasing versions of the Turtles from the original movie. Looks like we'll have a long time to wait before we'll get 'toon versions of Shredder, Splinter etc.
Hope for the Future: Trash Wheels
So which toyline am I going to doom this year? Well it's going to be Trash Wheels. Take Trash Pack and Micro Machines - two of my favourite ever toylines - and mash them together and you get Trash Wheels! Released in the US some time ago, but only having seen release here in the past couple of weeks, these things are set to be the Next Big Thing in our house for Dad and children alike.