Sunday, March 13, 2011

Geekcreek's Top 10 Guest List!

No, this isn't a list of who I've invited to swim in creek...of geeks.  It's a Top 10 List from Chase Variant's first ever guest writer, Geekcreek.  He's a toy geek (like most of us) whose also a globe-trotter (unlike most of us), who takes some of the most beautiful one-shots of GI Joes against real life landscapes.  If you don't know of him, check out his site, simply entitled Greek Creek!

But the guy s not just a one-trick pony, oh no.  He also does lists! If you haven't read those, check this one over at Poe Ghostal's Points of Articulation.

Yeah, he sure loves his Joes! (As do lots of us!)

So without further ado, I give you Chase Variant's first ever Top 10 List by Geekcreek!


Just as the Western media heralded the arrival of the new decade in January 2010 despite the fact that it did not begin until January 2011, the action figure scale I am discussing today is no longer technically three-and-three-fourths inches, but something closer to four inches. Still, we call it three-and-three-fourths inches, right? Huzzah for consensus reality!

As a geek who moves from country to country every couple-few years, I have recently grown to love small-scale action figures for their portability—Star Wars toys and G.I. Joes and Marvel Universe figures take up considerably less luggage space and cost less to ship than do their larger counterparts in such series as Masters of the Universe Classics and Marvel Legends.

But there is a special quality to toys in this scale that goes beyond mere convenience. Something intangible, but satisfying—so much so, indeed, that I find myself wishing that all my favorite properties were to scale with my G.I. Joes.

And so it is that I invade Chase Variant to bring you...

Ten Toylines That Should Be Produced in the 3.75-Inch Scale

Before we get to the list proper, there are two properties that warrant an Honorable Mention:

First, the world needs WWE wrestlers in the 3.75-inch scale… again. Seriously, Mattel, bring back Build n’ Brawl, already!

Secondly, the DC Universe needs to join the ranks of Star Wars and Marvel Universe… for real this time; Mattel’s efforts with the DC Universe in this scale thus far have been embarrassing where both sculpts and articulation are concerned.

And now for the ten: 

10. Transformers

One could make the case that the Transformers series just needs a scale in general—pick a scale, Hasbro, any scale, and stick with it consistently! Fighter jets should not be the same size as firetrucks and racecars! We geeks are a fragile, delicate lot, and these issues are upsetting to us!

But while we’re wishing, let us get specific: Transformers toys in a 3.75-inch scale would be transcendent. Understand, I am not suggesting that the Transformers should be four inches tall—I want them to be to scale with figures that are four inches tall. I want a series of G.I. Joe-scale vehicles that transform into robots that tower over their human counterparts.

The San Diego Comic-Con will feature a compromise of sorts in its exclusive G.I. Joe Sky Striker jet, repainted to resemble Starscream’s alt-mode. This jet won’t transform into the robotic sycophant we all know and love, but it’s a start.

09. Spawn Classics

I suspect that few geeks are mourning the loss of Spawn in the toy aisle. I admit that I don’t particularly miss Spawn, either. I looked back at the early Spawn comic books recently, and the HBO animated series and live-action film, too, and none of it holds up or is in any way essential, and while McFarlane Toys has earned its place in action figure history, and while its Spawn toys deserve much of the credit for the company’s success and notoriety over the years, the nearly complete lack of articulation in series after series of Spawn toys showed how out of touch with the collector market McFarlane Toys had grown. Spawn is essentially a dead license today, where toys are concerned.

I am convinced it needn’t stay that way.

The Tenth Anniversary Spawn figure and the recent HALO series prove that McFarlane Toys can imbue a figure with first-class articulation without sacrificing the breathtaking sculpts that brought them to the dance. If McFarlane Toys dared to release a new series of Spawn action figures that are compatible, size-wise, with Star Wars and Marvel Universe figures, featuring the beautiful sculpts for which they’re known and the articulation collectors tend to forget they can produce, Spawn could be a contender again.

The name would have to dictate the content of the series: Spawn Classics. The first wave would feature Spawn, Clown, Overtkill, Tremor and Violator, replicating the lineup of the first-ever wave of Spawn toys back in the mid-1990s. (Lacking only Medieval Spawn, whose fate is tied up in courtrooms due to a complicated series of lawsuits between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane.)

For fun, each figure’s accessories could include a miniature replica of its laughably outdated (if stunning at the time) Series 1 counterpart… and Spawn could inexplicably come with a board with a nail in it, just as he did at the start.

08. Movie Maniacs

I’m not the McFarlane Toys fan this list might be making me out to be, and I’ll say here what I said above: this series would need to adhere to modern standards of articulation in order to succeed.

Beyond that, this entry is little more than an excuse to request G.I. Joe-sized action figures of Robocop, The Fly, and Jason Vorhees.

Is that wrong?

07. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

There have already been two action figure series devoted to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Unfortunately, each series boasted inconsistent sculpts and mostly uninspired articulation.

Meanwhile, Joss Whedon fans are a crazed bunch whose obsessive thirst for all things Whedon cannot be quenched. As such, any toy company willing to take a chance on a series of attractive, articulated, readily available at retail, affordable, Star Wars-sized Buffy and Angel toys would be rewarded with absurd amounts of money.

Buffy and Xander and Illyria and Lorne deserve a toy aisle resurrection... and so do characters from another Joss Whedon property…

06. Firefly/Serenity

Realistically, the TV series Firefly never set the world afire, financially speaking. Serenity’s success was fairly modest, too. But I predict that a G.I. Joe Pursuit of Cobra-style series of Firefly/Serenity action figures would be a wild success for one simple reason: its fate needn’t rest exclusively in the hands of Firefly fans. When that Star Wars collector gets sick of troopbuilding Clone Troopers and that G.I. Joe nerd decides to take a break after buying his 500th Snake Eyes figure, a Han Solo-like Captain Mal and his motley crew of space ruffians would seem mighty appealing as an alternative and a supplement; the aesthetic of Firefly was so real-world and gritty and understated that a proper series of action figures faithfully reproducing that aesthetic could blend in to practically any other series of toys.

05. ThunderCats

Bandai would have been wise to have adhered to Mattel’s Masters of the Universe Classics scale with its upcoming ThunderCats series, as there is a lot of fan crossover between the two properties, and many a disappointed geek who would have enjoyed displaying his Lion-O and He-man alongside one another may just skip ThunderCats 2.0 altogether out of spite.

The 3.75-inch scale is nowhere near as natural or intuitive for ThunderCats as the MOTUC scale, but I recommend it anyway. Why? Because fans of this scale will buy damn near anything produced in this scale.

Imagine Storm Shadow wielding Panthro’s nunchucks, or Cobra Commander with the Sword of Omens in his hands… Make it happen, Bandai!

04. Pulp Adventure All-Stars! 

Alright, yeah, so I made this series up completely. But can you blame me? Why is it that in 2011 we still don’t have proper action figures of Sherlock Holmes, The Shadow, The Spider, Long John Silver, Ned Land, and Allan Quatermain?

And while I’m dreaming, why not make them Star Wars-sized?

…oh hell with it, I’m such a charitable guy that I’ll also let Hot Toys produce twelve-inch versions.

03. Centurions

For proof of the viability of a Centurions resurrection, look no further than Sigma 6, which in its first series especially seemed to be clearly inspired by The Centurions.

Wait, I forgot—collectors hated Sigma 6. Alright, bad example…

Still, one suspects that Joe-sized updates of Ace, Max and Jake—and Doc Terror and Hacker!—would get the toy bloggers talking.

02. TMNT Classics

Again I force the word Classics into an entry. And why not, it seems to be working nicely for Mattel.

The name “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics” would open the door to figures based on the original Mirage comic book designs, figures in the style of the Jim Henson suits from the first live-action Turtles film, figures inspired by the vintage animated series and even figures based on whatever new direction Nickelodeon decides on for the Ninja Turtles property.

And the 3.75-inch scale would mean that the Turtles—and Leatherhead and Casey Jones and the Rat King and others—could finally chill out with your Yoda and Reed Richards figures. ‘Cause that’s what you’ve been clamoring for, no doubt.

01. MOTU 

This is as good a place as any to copout with the concession that I don’t necessarily want these properties to abandon their existing scales. It would be financial suicide for Mattel to abandon its MOTUC scale for its Masters of the Universe figures, for example.

On the other hand, that series sells with sufficient briskness that the property could probably sustain a secondary series of 3.75-inch figures, as well. A smaller scale would also make new playsets such as Castle Greyskull and Snake Mountain more likely.

And at the risk of alienating ninety-percent of my toygeek colleagues, I’ll lay down the gauntlet:

This series must feature 2002 reboot-style sculpting, ‘cause not everyone is content with MOTUC’s fawning rehashes of squat, interchangeable toys from the mid-1980s.

…but yeah, I’ll take the MOTUC articulation, thanks.

Take those asskickingly awesome sculpts from the failed MOTU relaunch of a decade ago and update the articulation and make them to scale with Sith badasses and Cobra assassins and the Avengers, and it’d be the event of the year for myself and thousands like me who have no life.


  1. It might be because I don't especially like the 3.75" scale -- okay, it's MOSTLY because I don't like that scale -- but I'm not particularly clamoring to see any of these lines released in it! Transformers would admittedly be cool... but that'd require them to be (much) bigger than they are now, which would mean they'd take up more space and be even MORE expensive (and save sales and holiday prices, TFs ain't cheap at all). I'd probably pick up a few 3.75" Spawn and Buffy figures, but I don't NEED them -- and in the latter case, I'd much rather see the 6" line resumed with improved articulation. I feel the same way about TMNT, particularly since Turtles Forever legitimized crossovers between the various TMNT lines and even acknowledged the size differences, since vintage TMNTs ARE noticeably smaller than the 2K3 figures. And the only reason I'd want to see a 3.75" Firefly line is so I could pop River Tam's head onto a female G.I. Joe body (maybe a repainted Helix) and call her Cameron.

    Oh, and we ARE getting 3.75" Thundercats figures, so rejoice! They'll be based on the new series, but still.

  2. The part that bums me out the most about the Thundercat 3.75" series-to-come is exactly what you said--they're gonna be based on the new series! Nooooooo......

    And what you said re-opens the debate between 6" vs 3.75". I should go find out why and how companies decide to make certain brands in certain scales.

    The TF idea is interesting in the least. But I'd actually be happy if they just produced stuff in scale with each other, rather than have friggin' deluxe fighter jets look undersized next to deluxe cars, to say nothing about the size of the robots themselves when they transform.

  3. ThunderCats and Jason Vorhees are already in the four inch scale.

  4. @Soundwave - Yes, you're right about for Jason, now that you've mentioned it. As for the T-Cats, like I said, the 3.75" versions won't be the classic characters we all know and love from the 80s cartoon series. Oh well, as long as they are producing the brand in that size, we can hope... ;)


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