12 Infuriating Gaps in Action Figure Toylines

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?It’s rare for a modern collectible toyline to end having covered every major character from a property. Producing toys is expensive and making action figures is a gamble, involving serious planning to ensure that each series in a toyline has a mixture of core characters, minor characters and variants that’ll keep fans buying in the long term and ensuring that the investment is profitable. For this reason, sometimes pivotal characters get lost in the ether, forgotten about or held up due to licensing issues, then lost forever as action figure lines conclude, usually prematurely. Some toy lines make it to the end mostly satisfactorily – like Palisades’ Muppets – and some are canceled before even a handful of their characters are produced – like Palisades’ Adult Swim line (only one-third of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force?!). Some never make it through the starting gate – like Palisades’ glorious Sesame Street line, which I still hurt over (my love and sadness for Palisades is coming through blatantly here, may they rest in peace). But others get to the finish line with just one or two important, vital action figures left, leaving permanent gaps in our collection. These are 12 of the most painful — but feel free to mourn your own missing figures in the comments.

11 & 12) Gunn from Angel and The Judge from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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?The rich combination of Moore Action Collectibles and Diamond Select Toys left most fans of Joss Whedon’s signature series with shelves full of great action figures, covering all of their favorite characters from both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel. All, I said? Nearly all. One final series of action figures was planned through the Buffy Collector’s Club, which included the popular Charles Gunn, the only major omission from the Angel gang. One of the few major black characters from the Buffyverse, Gunn became an important character in Angel, having reluctantly left his gang to join Angel investigations. He was there to the bitter end, and is a sad gap in all of our collections. Also missed due to the cancellation of this series was The Judge, the fan-favorite Buffy villain planned as a build-a-figure. This made sense as the onscreen character was also assembled in much the same way, his body parts brought together as a lethal “gift” for young Buffy Summer’s birthday. His horrific, awesome blue visage would have made a great conclusion to the line and is sadly missed.

9 & 10) Deejay and Classic M. Bison from Street Fighter

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?SOTA’s wonderful Street Fighter line was exactly the way toy companies should tackle fighting game licenses: mixing core characters with lesser-knowns in each series, with lots of interchangeable parts and articulation for maximum poseability, and making different colored variants to cover “Player 1” and “Player 2” versions of every character. SOTA came so close to making every core character in the series, so close it’s painful. Their final “Revolutions” line concluded with all eight of the original Street Fighter II characters having been produced – but missed out on the Super Street Fighter II character Dee Jay and the thin version of series villain M. Bison. The only character designed by Capcom USA, Dee Jay was one of the four characters included in the “Super” revision for Street Fighter II and was easily the most unpopular as he’s stupid. A dancing kickboxer, he frequently gets his ass handed to him but always maintains his ridiculousness. He has appeared in nearly every Street Fighter game since, making him sadly missed in our collections. Likewise, the villainous Bison as seen in every Street Fighter II iteration was seemingly designed but never made it to shelves. The stockier version of Bison, now seen in Street Fighter 4 and all its variations, was made early in the line, but purists know this isn’t the real Bison.

8) Randy Marsh from South Park

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?We’ve seen a lot of very sub-par action figures based on Matt and Trey’s phenomenal, lasting cartoon series South Park, none of which sated fan demand until Mezco acquired the licence and perfectly captured the look and feel of the series and its characters. Although all four boys were produced (and several Cartman variants) along with many choice picks across the series, it sadly concluded before we saw a plastic immortalization of the popular Randy Marsh. Although he began South Park as interchangeable with any other adult character, Stan’s Dad has become a beloved icon, an avatar for adult stupidity, constantly falling prey to fads, events and general idiocy. He’s the driving force of a lot of the recent episodes, and it’s sad that we can’t have an action figure of him to stand tall in our collections.

7) Ripley in Power Loader from Aliens

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?Both McFarlane Toys and NECA have come through for fans with beautifully sculpted, amazingly detailed Aliens action figures. Although no one can argue that NECA’s Alien Warriors blew away McFarlane’s efforts, NECA are yet to challenge their amazing Alien Queen boxed set, and combining the figures from both companies makes a simply amazing collection of corrosive-blooded xenomorphs. Yet there’s one vital character missing – series protagonist Ellen Ripley, as played by Sigourney Weaver, in the iconic Power Loader from the grand finale of Aliens. There have been a few figures of Ripley in her power loader made — mostly in Japan, and now selling for hundreds — but none in the McFarlane/NECA scale, no matter how many fans have written, wept and begged for this. And all the easily accessible, well-sculpted Alien figures have no one to shove them out the airlock.

6) Albert Wesker from Resident Evil

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?Although NECA’s top men have produced truly amazing toys from the entirety of the Resident Evil series — including pivotal characters, gruesome zombies and towering monsters — there’s one important villain they’ve sadly overlooked: the amazing Albert Wesker, the chessmaster behind every single event in every single game. Everything is part of his evil plan, from his decapitation in the first game, to his trip into space in the fourth (!!!) to being the final, murderous, tentacular boss in the fifth. NECA have responded to fan requests with “he’s just a blonde guy in a trenchcoat” – which would be fair enough, except that he’s one of the best and most ridiculous villain characters in all of fiction, and the only previous 1/12 scale version of him (as produced by my true love Palisades) is so beloved and impossible to find that it sells for hundreds of dollars on eBay, even with a sub-par sculpt that barely resembles the character.

4 & 5) Barret and Cid from Final Fantasy VII

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?Pity the poor Final Fantasy VII action figure fan. Square Enix has released two Final Fantasy VII toylines in their excellent Play Arts style — one for the original game, and one for the CG movie sequel Advent Children. In each series, protagonists Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockhart, Aerith Gainsborough, Vincent Valentine, and villain Sephiroth have each had figures released. Vaguely on fire wolf-dog-thing Red XIII and even remote-controlled traitorous robot cat Cait Sith got figures in the FFVII line. But the other playable characters, Barret Wallace and Cid Highwind, have not. Twice. Two opportunities for Square Enix to give its legions of devoted, borderline insane fans the full main cast of what is arguably their most popular game, and they… they just don’t. [Editor’s Note: Back in my Anime Insider days, I had a chance to ask Square Enix why they wouldn’t make Barret and Cid figures, and they told me they didn’t think anyone would buy them. You could hear my anguished scream for several miles, I’m told. Incidentally, I also own the Final Fantasy VII statue line from the early ’00s… which also doesn’t feature Barret or Cid. –Rob]

2 & 3) President Roslin and Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica

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?As badly as some folks felt Ron Moore’s modern Battlestar Galactica ended, collectors were still bloodthirsty for great action figures. Diamond Select Toys met many fans’ demands, giving us the chance to own our own Cylon army, several hot versions of Six, series favorites Bill Adama and Tigh, even that traitor Gaeta, immortalized in toy form. Sadly, two of the central characters – President Roslin and that bastard Gaius Baltar – were overlooked. They were supposed to be released late in the series run and just missed out on production before the line ended for good. What makes this worse is that many of the series’ most abysmal characters made it to shelves, in droves, to warm pegs while we missed out on vital, memorable players. Hot Dog, anyone?

1) Maude Flanders from The Simpsons


?Every collector knew this was coming. Playmates’ incredibly popular World of Springfield action figures did what no Simpsons line had done before: bring every iconic character from the entire run of The Simpsons to life in plastic, complete with electronic ‘environments’ of all the major locations from the series, even featuring an interactive voice feature that allowed characters to speak lines when attached to the playsets. For over five years and sixteen waves, the World of Springfield was the line to collect. When it finished in 2004, there was only one glaring omission, and that was Maude Flanders. The wife of fundamentalist do-gooder nutball Ned Flanders, Playmates had attempted to produce her early in the line but ran into problems securing sound clips for the toy, due in part to the sketchy relationship between FOX and Maude’s voice actor Maggie Roswell. After these details were ironed out she was to be produced with the Wave 18 environment Flanders’ Rumpus Room, but this wave never saw the light of day as the line was canceled (this, and everything else about the line’s history, is well detailed in Michael Crawford’s feature article here). For many collectors, this is the major gap in an otherwise complete series of action figures, and one comprising literally hundreds of characters. Fortunately, Rod and Todd Flanders included a photo of their late mom as an accessory, so at least collectors can pretend their collection exists after Maude’s untimely demise.