It's Part 2 of our look back at 2016...
Diamond Select Toys are one of the smaller Toy companies, but 2016 has seen them put out some fantastic product. Of course their Marvel Select output is their bread and butter, but 2016 saw them expand their Gotham series with two more waves - and launch their brand new Ghostbuster 7" figures.
Gotham now has 9 figures in total, with wave 4 due in 2017. While many would argue the Gotham line is a lot of men in suits, it is a nice change from the spandex laden Marvel collections and DST are doing a decent job of capturing the likeness of the key Gotham characters like Alfred, Gordon and Bullock. The criticism of the range has to be the character choice for Wave 3 which we will be reviewing soon - we still have no Fish Mooney or Butch, whilst we are getting not so regular henchman Victor Zsasz
Ghostbusters is one of my favourite licences, and whatever you think about the 2016 reboot it has done fans of the original movies a big favour in terms of new licencees for the franchise - including the 7" Select figures from Diamond. Originally planned as a 12 figure run across 4 waves, there are now 15 figures announced. Diamond also went the extra mile with their build-a-diorama pack in which by the time wave 5 hits in 2017 will see us able to build the Rooftop Diorama.
The Select figures aren't the greatest in terms of likeness, but Diamond certainly pack in a hell of a lot of value to each release while keeping them around the £20 price point. They have also done an awesome job with the Ghostbuster characters with plenty of detail on the Proton Packs and with swap out hands and accessories. And it is from this new range that I chose one of two Diamond figures for my top 10 of 2016. While Winston and Ray were first to hit shelves, my pick is the series 2 Egon Spengler release - a childhood dream, brought to reality after 30years.
So to Marvel, and any collector will tell you that the collecting of Marvel Select figures is both awesome and frustrating. While Hasbro can pump out huge volumes of releases in a year, Diamond are restricted to a small number each year across both Comic book and Movie releases. Whilst the detail and sculpt on most DST figures, in my opinion, is better than the Hasbro offering they do lack in articulation and depth of character releases often leaving collectors frustrated at getting one main character in a movie and not the others.
This is definitely true of the big release of 2016, the figures associated with Captain America Civil War. DST went with three releases from the movie - Captain America, Iron-Man and The Winter Soldier. While the Bucky figure was a welcome addition, some fans saw the release of Cap and Iron-man a waste when other characters like Vision and Scarlet Witch are yet to get a Select figure. I liked Bucky, although he did come with incredibly small hands. The Iron-Man was however a disappointment - being much too small and looking out of scale alongside the other human figures and the previous Iron-Man armours.
My other pick of figure of 2016 is this aforementioned Captain America figure. This is arguably the best Marvel Select Movie release to date in terms of sculpt and paint job - at least level with the 2013 Wolverine. He also comes with a brilliant diorama piece to build a back wall of the Avengers facility, however this wasn't handled particularly well by DST and the four pieces planned were reduced to three, and to finish your diorama with a 4th piece you will need to double-dip on the Captain America figure which is now coming packed with the "not very good" Winter Soldier unmasked head sculpt as a Disney Store Exclusive. That all being said, if you want a 1/10 scale Cap in your collection - then this is the best of the three released and holds its own against other 1/10 figures like NECA and McFarlane.
Before I finish, I will talk about a few of the comic releases put out by Diamond in 2016. I am not a collector of these as such, but even I couldn't resist the Avenging Captain America and the Black Panther that went into Disney stores in Spring. It is the innovative new figures like these that are really pushing the Select range to a new level and I look forward to what will hit Comic Book shelves in 2017.
Part 3 coming soon, where we look at NECA