Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Captain Toy Picks...
The Top Ten Smart Purchases

Date Published: 2017-03-29
Written By: Michael Crawford

Please share with your friends!

Planet of the Apes Gorilla Soldier action figure

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar


I had a tough time coming up with a short title for this one - it's a bit more complicated than 'smart purchases'. This is going to be one of those top tens that's VERY personal, because the items on the list are those that I'm very happy I bought at the time I did. Obviously, they are collectibles that I really enjoy, but there's more to it. Either because of rarity, or demand, or the popularity (or lack thereof) of the license, these items would be far more difficult to come by now. The fact that I got them when I did means I have them - had I waited, they would have never made it into the collection.

Early on in this 'Captain Toy Picks...' process, I did a list of my top ten sixth scale grails. You can think of this one as an opposite to that, a list of the top ten 'would have been grails if I hadn't been smart (or lucky)'. You can see 'smart purchases', while not as descriptive, was a little easier to write.

Let's get to it!

10 - Inigo Montoya's Sword, Princess Bride, Factory Entertainment
I do my best not to double dip on anything across more than one list, but this one was already the number one pick on my Top Ten Prop Replicas. And for good reason - it's a fantastic replica, and the film is one of my all time favorites.

I hemmed and hawed when Factory entertainment first released this and the sword for the Dread Pirate Roberts. I ended up buying both, but not without a lot of soul searching. They were around $250 each, no small potatoes. I'm extremely glad I did though, since both are centerpieces in my home theater, and the price has gone nuts on the secondary market. A pair just sold for $2000 on ebay, and very few ever come up for sale.

Walking Dead Merle action figure

Dividing Bar

9 - Bad Robot, Quantum Mechanix, 2011
I own a lot of cool stuff from Qmx. Their foray into prop replicas and sixth scale figures have garnered them a special place in my heart. But the one thing they did that I'm really glad I bought when I had the chance is one you might not even remember. Back in 2011 they created a small statue of the Bad Robot character. You know the one - he's the guy that comes scooting out at the end of any Bad Robot production.

He was a limited edition of 1000 pieces, and sold for around $90 depending on the retailer. It was one of those off hand purchases, something I thought looked cute, and I'm a huge sucker for the weird and slightly odd.  The guy sells for around $400 these days on ebay, on the rare occasions when he pops up.

Quantum Mechanix Bad Robot statue

Dividing Bar

8 - Lawgiver, Sideshow, 2005
I'm a huge fan of the original Planet of the Apes films. I'm a big fan of the new versions too, but nothing will ever replace my nostalgic love for the father of licensed goodies. Before there were Star Wars bed sheets, there was POTA.

This means I buy just about anything related to the old films. I have all the Sideshow figures of course, but I hesitated a bit on picking up the 18" Lawgiver statue. But I didn't hesitate long, and actually went a little nuts, buying both the regular and exclusive bloody version. You can see this harder to find exclusive in the photo below with the Hot Toys Gorilla Soldier, another figure that was a runner up for this list. The regular version goes for $300 - $400 these days, while the bleeding exclusive can net $1500. I love POTA, and I love 1/6th scale, but no way I'd pay anything near that for one of these.

Sideshow Lawgiver statue

Dividing Bar

7 - Davy Jones, Hot Toys, 2008
In 2008, my Hot Toys buying was somewhat hit and miss, and very dependent on how much I loved a particular license.  I was a big fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean, but like many collectors, I was concerned with how shallow the Hot Toys line might end up. And never getting a Barbossa still burns me up.

I wasn't sold on Davy Jones. He was short, he was sculpted, he was different than most other Hot Toys figures at the time. Still, I figured I'd regret it if I didn't pick him up - how right I was.  He goes for $500 - $600 these days on the secondary market (people often ask upwards of $1000, but rarely get it), and unlike Jack (or even Barbossa, who appears in the final film as well), it's unlikely we'll ever see Hot Toys revisit him.

Davy Jones Hot Toys action figure

Dividing Bar

6 - Wall-E statue, Gentle Giant, 2009
I bet this is one that most readers never saw, never cared about, and don't even remember. Gentle Giant did a very short lived series of statues based on some animated properties. They did Bolt, Remy, Linguini, Eve, and Wall-E. I picked up all but Linguini, and I regret skipping him to this day. The production quantity on these was low, with Wall-E at just 600. Considering the popularity of the character, it was a crazy low number.  If you need further proof, look at the prices today, where Eve and Wall-E often sell for $1000 and up. They were only $100 when I bought them, and I'm very, very glad I did.

Wall-E statue

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

5 - Back Stage Play Set, Muppets, Palisades, 2003
Regular readers know how much I truly love the Muppets series by Palisades, and there were lots of great figures and play sets produced. My favorite play set is the Swedish Chef's Kitchen, and if I ever do a top ten play sets (hmmm...that's a good idea!) it would be mighty high on the list. But it's not on this one, and there's a simple reason - it's still affordable on the secondary market, like much of the Palisades line.

But there's another set that's gone crazy expensive, making it much, much less likely I would have ever bought it this far down the road. The Back Stage play set was huge, but didn't have any where near the number of accessories or detail that the Kitchen did. It did have Rowlf, however, and this was the ONLY way to get a regular Rowlf. They never released him in any other set or single pack (there's a tux version, but not a regular), which drove the demand for the set quite high at the time, and makes the number of sets on the current secondary market quite low.  You can snag a loose set for $300 - $400, whereas the superior Kitchen will only cost you $100 or so.

Muppets Back Stage set

Dividing Bar

4 - Creature from the Black Lagoon Premium Format, Silver Screen Edition, Sideshow, 2008
One of my top three all time favorite monster designs comes from 1954 - the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Rarely has a man in a rubber suit looked this good, and while the film itself is pretty awful (admit it), the monster was outstanding.

Sideshow has done a lot of great Premium Format statues, and I have plenty I love. Hey, there's another great top ten! Oh wait - I already did that... I originally bought (and reviewed) the color version of this statue, but when they offered the much more limited (only 100!) black and white version, I was all over it like hair on a bear. I sold the color and still have the monochromatic version on display in my bar. The regular version doesn't come up for sale very often, and the Silver Screen release far less. I'm betting that if you did come across one, $1500 would be a good deal.

Creature from the Black Lagoon Premium Format Statue

Dividing Bar

3 - Pixar's Tin Toy, 2010
Some of my best purchases were impulse buys, especially at conventions. When you go someplace like San Diego Comic-Con, it's a great opportunity to see things and buy things that would otherwise get completely past your radar. This is a perfect example.

We all know the drummer wind up toy featured in the early Pixar short film Tin Toy. I came across this vinyl figure - no, it is not tin, and no, it does not wind up or move - at the MINDStyle booth at the 2010 SDCC. I was immediately taken with it and grabbed it post haste.

I'm glad I did too because it's a great looking figure on the shelf. The production run was pretty low - 500, maybe? - and the original price was around $100. That's a lot, even for an SDCC exclusive with a low run, but he'll cost you $400 - $500 these days. People instantly recognize him, and it's great having a less commercial Pixar character to add to the display.

Pixar's Tin Toy vinyl figure

Dividing Bar

2 - Sam, Trick R Treat, Sideshow, 2008
If you've never watched the horror anthology film Trick 'R Treat, do it. Right now. It's loads of great fun, with some wonderful performances and nifty stories.  There's nothing earth shattering, but it garnered the writer/director Michael Dougherty a lot of praise and the possibility of working on much larger films. Sadly, none of his movies since (X-Men Apocalypse, Krampus) have lived up to the potential.

Sideshow produced this fairly large (around 15" tall) vinyl figure back in 2008. The movie hadn't quite reached cult status yet, so initial demand was low. In fact, if I remember correctly, the film hadn't even been released to full distribution by the time this figure came out, due to all sorts of problems with Warner Brothers.  It was supposed to come out in 2007, but it seems like it was late in 2008, maybe even early 2009 before it had a wide release. Thus the initial run was bought only by those really interested in the character, and while it took quite awhile to sell out, once it did, the figures were all in the hands of people that wanted him. Very few hit the secondary market.

You'll pay around $300 - $400 for one today. That could change soon, however. Mezco has a new version, about this same size, scheduled for release. He hasn't gone up for pre-order anywhere yet, so you never know...but fans are hopeful.

Trick R Treat Sam action figure

Dividing Bar

1 - Cloverfield Monster, Hasbro, 2008
Hasbro was one of the first toy companies to recognize the potential of the collector market. While they couldn't quite exploit it at the level of McFarlane, they did use every trick they could come up with to convince adult fans to collect the 90's Star Wars figures. They knew adults wanted action figures - but which ones? Star Wars was a given, but what was the potential for new licenses?

In 2008, Hasbro took a shot with something really unusual for them - the Cloverfield Monster.  This was an R-rated movie, remember, and the potential of the movie was completely unknown.  It could be a huge flop - or a huge hit. Hasbro decided to produce a large action figure based on the creature, and market it directly to collectors. It carried an adult price tag too, selling for around $100. Most collectors shied away, and the weird monster design eventually revealed on screen didn't help.  Add in some terrible paint on the actual figure, and it took quite awhile for these to sell out.

I'm glad I grabbed one though, because I love goofy, giant monsters.  Now that the Cloverfield brand is carrying on, I'm even happier with the purchase.  When the third film releases, I'm hopeful we'll get more huge beasties to go with him. While the hundred bucks almost stopped me 9 years ago, the $300 - $400 he's running now would certainly kill off my interest.

Cloverfield Monster action figure

Dividing Bar


A few notes worth mentioning. Don't ask me to sell you any of the above. The reason they are on this list isn't because I'm happy about their value, but that I own them. The prices are not an indication of importance, but of the simple fact I couldn't afford them now if I wanted to. I won't be parting with any of them any time soon.

I could have filled this with Hot Toys figures, of course.  From Mars Attacks to Planet of the Apes to the Power Loader to Dallas and Kane...I have tons of Hot Toys figures that I'm very happy I bought when I did. But I didn't want to turn this into just a Hot Toys list, so I narrowed that down to just one selection.

I'm really interested in hearing your list.  I'm betting you'll have items that I never heard of before, or that I've completely forgotten.

If you're enjoying this top ten concept of Captain Toy Picks or have a suggestion for a future list, drop me a line and let me know! I've added a section below with links to all the past Captain Toy Picks... features:

Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten McFarlane Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Bad Action Figure Ideas!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Toy Fair 2017 Reveals!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Unproduced Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The People's Picks for Best of 2016!
Captain Toy Picks...Best/Worst of 2016!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Poppies Winners of the Past Ten Years!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten DC Universe Classics Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Christmas Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Joker Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Superman Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Animated Action Figure Series!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Toy Things I'm Thankful For!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Premium Format Statues!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Horror Sixth Scale Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Horror Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Disappointments Over $100!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Disappointments Under $100!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Palisades Muppets!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Wanted Licenses in Sixth Scale!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Batman Black and White Statues!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Masters of the Universe Classics Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Female Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Prop Replicas!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Simpsons World of Springfield action figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Batman action figures!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Grails!
Captain Toy Picks...Top Ten Sixth Scale Figures!

Dividing Bar

Dividing Bar

Please share with your friends!

Back to Main Page
Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2017, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved.