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Hands down easily the best official Transformer this year is the third attempt at a Masterpiece Optimus Prime. With design elements from the cartoon, and a transformation that is very involved, he really embodies how far the brand has come since it's whirlwind debut in 1984.
First runner up is another "reboot," Masterpiece 45 Bumblebee. Also a cartoon reboot, this adorable little guy turns into a toy VW Beetle like the cartoon and G1 figure. He's got some kibble issues, but he is undeniably charming.
2nd runner up is ThreeA's non-transforming Bumblebee movie figure. Based off the CGI files, this is simply the best looking movie Transformer. He really captures the innocence of the movie's amnesiac Autobot scout.
The best Third Party release is also a cartoon accurate Optimus Prime. Newcomer Transform Element had the chutzpah to take on Masterpiece 44 at it's own game. This figure also has an involved transformation, but not nearly as mind-numbing as MP44's. Once transformed, you'd never know it was a shape changing toy. Everything tabs and locks into place, so it resembles an action figure.
No, you aren't confused. This isn't MP20. This is ToyWorld's WhiskeyJack. A miniature masterpiece, this is a great little figure with a simple, yet satisfying transformation.
2nd runner up released in 2019 Fanstoys' Roadking. 2019 saw the release of several third party Stunticon sets. Roadking manages to take the whole cab and trailer and transform both into a massive robot. With no combiner kibble, we won't know til 2020 how the final combiner looks.
Neca hits it out of the ballpark with their cartoon accurate Bebop and Rocksteady set. These guys look like physical cartoons. With articulation never found in previous versions of the villains, these guys could easily be the definitive take on the dimwitted duo.
A toy long wanted by kids since 1990, the movie Shredder from Neca filled a hole in hearts. This guy is true evil! He is shiny, sparkly, AND pointy! He's ready to take on these freaks... these... turtles!
Yet another Neca release (yep, it's a sweep!), Ultimate Stripe is a hideously perfect version of the dastardly Gremlin. Tons of accessories, a soft mane of white hair, and a gnarled face, Stripe really shows how much care and pride Neca puts into their figures.
Best Purchase of 2019
Oddly, the best purchase of 2019 isn't an action figure. The Neca Street Scene Diorama is
the most versatile purchase in my collection. With it's simple design, it fits in with
many different 1:12 scale figures of many different brands and franchises.
Well, that sums of the highlights for me for 2019! Can't wait to see what all 2020 has in store for my collection. Toys I'm looking forward to getting in 2020 include DX9's Gabriel (Omega Supreme), Mondo Mer-Man, Mezco Captain Marvel, as well as a few Fanstoys. Another highlight of 2020 will be another wave of Creative Beasts' Beasts of the Mesozoic line. Some small ceratopsians will be releasing hopefully and I'll take a look at Styracosaurus. Just a ton of fun!
Hope everyone looks back on 2019 fondly, and have high expectations and dreams of 2020!
Happy Holidays! See you all in 2020!