Habro. Ok, I don't mind the repacks so much, but a lot of their selections are really questionable (HOF Anakin, PT Obi, Tatooine Luke, 600th rehash of Han, etc.). Hasbro Canada sucks, but that's a separate issue. I think they're aiming at the collector more now. LOTR has the kids dollars, recognize what yours is.
Toy Biz. Really tempting with LOTR, but I'm staying away. Not sure how to react to the trilogy stuff. Had I been collecting early on, I'm sure it would piss me off to see the same figures for $6 less (Cdn).
I like Marvel Legends and if (I'm still waiting for proof) the Phoenix and subsequent chase figures come with a companion regular figure so you don't miss out on the character, I think the line has redeemed itself. I am not a fan of announcing boxed sets down the line with subtle changes to already released characters and only a single new character (Invisible Woman, Rogue). Like the early LOTR releases, that smacks buyers (collectors, serious and casual alike) in the face for supporting early releases. The quality and quantity kicks Hasbro's ass all over the place for the price though. Up here Trilogy figures are a buck less than SW figures
Palisades - I barely collect Muppets but these guys seem like winners. A collectors club to get all the exclusives (save wedding releases) for a minimal cost. A strong line of very high quality figures with good accessories and neat playsets. I find them expensive up here but more worth that price than say an Ultra SW figure.
Mattel - sucks. One villain per Batman series with one per case. Now chase figures. Poor villain selection (IMO). Same philosophy applied to MOTU as I understand it, though don't collect it. Justice league suffers same problems. Wonder Woman 10", Hawkgirl. And why more superman, GL, Batman and no villains, save Darkseid? Kids need bad guys to play, collectors need villains for variety.
McFarlane - Very high quality for the price, but hardly action
figures. Sportspicks are nice, but player selection is lacking (opinion) and rehashes of both sculpts and players are becoming too common. Chase figures are easier to find, but interest is dwindling. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Other McFarlane stuff is, um, questionable in my mind? I'm just not the target audience for most of their stuff is probably the easiest thing to say. A good company, but seems to be falling.
Playmates - good case assortments, good availability until lately. A limited line in most respects but they did the Simpsons very well. A good deal of variety,nothing too hard and they understood their audience. The B-sharp promotion should serve as a model for how to do things (though maybe it was too succesful and lent to the eventual downfall??) to pay back your audience. Bravo.
Kubrick/Tomy - neat company IMO. The Kubrick side is a hit and I have to wonder how many more sales they'd have if located in the US. The figures are well done, high quality. They seem to understand their market as well. With respect to Star Wars, they select figures intelligently and surprisingly. A Droids R2? Didn't see that coming. But bounty hunters right away? Early bird set to mimick the vinty offer? They...just...get it.
In general, I think toy manufacturers need better market research. I'm always baffled as to why they don't haunt boards like this or RS or GH or others. Yes, they are populated with freakish, insane geeks like us. But c'mon, while being absurd characters, we tend to reflect sales pretty darn well. Tanus Spijek? Who the hell is that? No one knows for sure but you won't see many warming the pegs. The same could be said for a Catwoman figure from the Batman line. blah, blah, blah