Holiday Gift Guide 2022 Figure Friday: Autobots, Decepticons, Black Costume Spider-Man

It’s a Friday. It’s December. So it must be time for a Figure Friday Gift Guide entry!

I’ve only got TWO of these FFGG entries so I’ve got to make them count. The plan here is to split the column right down the middle with some great stocking stuffers and a nice action figure that should be on everyone’s list this year.

Transformers Studio Series Core Class 

When I sat down to write my last Figure Friday entry that included the Transformers Studio Series Core Class Ratchet figure I had no idea I’d be returning to that line so soon. As fate would have it, two new Core Class figures came into my possession in the last week and I am absolutely taken with this part of the Transformers toy line.

If you’re not hip to the Core Class figures, these are the small, entry-level Transformers toys that are usually priced between $10 to $12 USD. Honestly, before right now I never paid too much attention to this class of figure aside from the odd gem they would drop occasionally (Soundwave and Rattrap were both standouts from the last couple of years). When I picked up Ratchet I could see that the line had more potential than I previously gave it credit for.

This week’s acquisitions were the Studio Series Autobot Wheelie and Decepticon Rumble (Blue) and they’re both amazingly good figures. I had my eye on Rumble previously, so I had preordered him for fear I would not be able to find him at retail, and Wheelie I just happened to find on the pegs while passing through Target when I was supposed to be Christmas shopping. 

Yes, that’s a slingshot. He’s basically robot Dennis the Menace.

As far as Wheelie goes…I don’t know if he’s going to be anyones favorite Autobot but there was quite a bit of fan outcry when the Studio Series Grimlock came packaged with a non-transforming version of the character. I don’t know if this Wheelie was always planned as a separate release but it feels like the figure we should have gotten the first time around. It’s a solid version of the character, super posable, and the transformation from robot to car is easy and a lot of fun. 

First we crack the shell…ah, you know the rest.

However, the real star of the line is Rumble…words cannot express how great this figure is. Which is unfortunate since it’s literally my job to tell you of its greatness. Oh, cruel fate…you have made a fool of me once again. Alright, this version of Rumble is the new gold standard by which all other Rumbles should be judged…and that’s saying a lot for a figure that tops out at TWO INCHES TALL and turns into a cassette tape.

My favorite thing about about the figure is a tie between his attachable arm-pistons (which were used in the cartoon to create earthquakes) and that Hasbro labeled the figure as “Rumble (Blue)”. Longtime Transformers fans will know what an inflammatory statement that is. Of course, real ones will know that Rumble is actually purple (and so is this figure, so it’s a win all around).

The core class figures are great and you canNOT beat the price. Buy a few and jam them in someone’s unsuspecting stocking.

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars MAFEX No.147 Spider-Man (Black Costume Comic Ver.)

This Spider-Man figure was always going to be on my list and it’s most assuredly going to wind up on my year-end list of best figures. 

Over the last six (!) decades Spider-Man has had a lot of cool costumes but none have been cooler than his first major departure from the classic red & blue threads… The Black Suit, aka the Symbiote Suit, aka Venom. Maybe it’s a controversial statement but I’d put forth that Venom was created purely as a reason for Marvel to keep the Black Costume around? 

Over the last several years, my collection has pivoted from quantity to quality. When I’m going to buy a figure now I’d rather pay a few extra bucks to get a “definitive” version of that character and with this Spider-Man I think I can safely say that there’s not going to be a better version of this figure in this particular scale out there. 

No shade on Marvel Legends, they’ve really shown up to play in the last few years and, frankly, with the increase in their price point this year they kind of have to. I had the Marvel Legends version of this character on preorder but I opted to cancel it since I’ve already got the three prior ML releases and their new one seems wholly unnecessary for me as a collector. 

Back to MAFEX…When I got the Ben Reilly MAFEX figure around this time last year I knew that I was in trouble. That figure ended up being incredibly solid, well balanced, and a lot of fun. For me, it was the first super posable figure that was capable of pulling off those impossible web-slinging poses from the comics.

Ta-daa! Jazz hands! Stage freeze!

All of the above is absolutely true of this version of Spider-Man, which makes it a great gift for the Spider-fan on your shopping list. The figure comes with a total of three swappable heads, several pairs of hands, a web-backpack, and a articulated stand. I should also point out that it’s not just a plain black & white figure either, there are subtle blue highlights that perfectly mirror the shading from the comic books. It’s that kind of attention to detail that doesn’t really come across until you see the figure up close.

Now, the clock is ticking! Get out there and hunt for these toys or get your orders in before it’s too late!

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