McFarlane Toys has just released photos of NHL Series 23, due out in January 2010. This series will feature some brand-new sculpts, as well as some re-paints. Also, it will be the first time McFarlane Toys
inflicts introduces their different “Collector Level” variations on unsuspecting eager hockey fans.
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
This figure is a repaint of Martin Brodeur 2, released in NHL Series 9 (December 2004), but of course with a different head. Given his team’s Stanley Cup victory last spring, a figure of Fleury makes sense. Too bad it is not an action pose, though.
Alexander Ovechkin 4, Washington Capitals
About two weeks back, I mentioned how tired I was of Alexander Ovechkin having a figure in seemingly every other SportsPick assortment. Well, I take that back. This toy looks fantastic. Ovechkin celebrates a goal; stick raised, mouth open and teeth missing. Oh, and he’s rockin’ the playoff beard too.
Gordie Howe, Hartford Whalers
EPIC FAIL! What should have been my favorite figure in the series is in fact looking like it will be my least favorite. I don’t mind that the figure is a straight-up repaint of the Gordie Howe figure from Legends Series 6 (December 2007). But I wish the head sculpt was different. This Howe figure looks more like Reggie Dunlop from Slap Shot…
…than Mr. Hockey at the end of his career:
If the figure looked more like Gordie here, then it would have been a winner.
Luke Schenn, Toronto Maple Leafs
Not much to say here. Good pose, glad they used the blue home uniform. Next up…
Bobby Orr 3, Boston Bruins
Bobby! According to their website, this “Bobby Orr action figure is based on his legendary 1970 season.” But big-time figure geeks will recognize this as another repaint-with-a-new head. This figure was originally Jean Beliveau way back from NHL Legends Series 2 (April 2005). Orr was 6-0, and Beliveau 6-3. Close enough in height to use one figure as another.
Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
Another decent action pose. But what’s really got me excited is…
Teemu Selanne, Winnipeg Jets
Yay! A player in a uniform from a defunct NHL team! And I’m not being sarcastic, either. Who wouldn’t want this figure? Unfortunately for old-time hockey fans and those still holding a candle for the Jets, this figure will be one of the hardest to get in this series. Which brings me to our next topic.
Apparently, the occasional chase figure was not enough. In addition to normal chase figures (say, a player in his road uniform instead of his home uniform), there are even harder-to-get chase figures, known as “Collector Level”. The levels are Bronze, Silver, Gold, Premier, All Star and MVP. Here are the reported quantities of each “Collector Level” figure in NHL Series 23. Note that this information was reported by an online retailer, but has not been confirmed by McFarlane Toys:
Bronze – 1000-2000 – Bobby Orr in white jersey
Silver – 500-1000 – Marc-Andre Fleury – Gloves and stick at his feet, base painted to look like red carpeting.
Gold – 250-500 – Gordie Howe in Green Jersey – I am not sure how this will vary from the “normal” Gordie Howe in green jersey that is part of the regular assortment.
Premier – 100-250 – Alexander Ovechkin 4 in All Star Uniform.
All Star – 50-100 – Teemu Selanne in Jets uniform.
MVP – 1-50 – Gordie Howe in white jersey with Authentic Autograph
The “Classic Chase” figures will be of Schenn or Ovechkin in road (white) jerseys instead of the normal home jersey versions.
Personally, I don’t care one way or another about a figure having a signed base like the “MVP level” Gordie Howe figure mentioned above. But making a major paint variation like the Jets Selanne figure super-limited will aggravate a lot of fans. Most of the time, variants are cherry-picked before they even hit the shelves at your local Toys R Us. Why go through all the trouble to entice us, when all 50 to 100–or however many end up getting produced–are whisked away by toy store managers or stock room boys before you or I have a chance to get one? You know that you are not going to just walk into a Wal-mart and find a Gordie Howe with signed base figure just sitting on the shelf, waiting for you.
Perhaps this is a ploy to sell more cases of toys to consumers via online retailers. Again, according to the McFarlane website, “Every SportsPicks assortment case is guaranteed to receive a special Collector Level or Classic Chase figure.”
In other words, buy a sealed case and you will either get a Classic Chase (boo) or a “Collector Level” (yay) figure.
Knowing that I won’t get a Selanne figure puts me in a poor state of mind before bedtime…
UPDATE: Where are my manners? I was so irate about the predicted rarity of the Selanne-as-a-Jet figure that I forgot to link to McFarlane Toys article about NHL Series 23. Photos are courtesy of McFarlane Toys.