Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Captain Toy Picks...
The Top Ten Statue Series

Date Published: 2017-07-12
Written By: Michael Crawford

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DST BTAS Joker statue

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I've been on a bit of a statue kick lately, and there's nothing wrong with that. As collectibles go, statues are often seen as the closest thing to 'art' by the outside world (although us collectors know that it's ALL art), and can easily be the most expensive items in your collection.

I've covered a few of the 'bests' in different series with these lists, including the Top Ten Premium Format Statues and Top Ten Batman Black and White Statues. But those lists were all about specific statues. Tonight I'm looking at the broader picture, and discussing my Top Ten Statue Series. I'm not getting too broad - they still have to be related to a specific license or relatively narrow theme. Often these picks prove that the sum of the parts is greater than an individual piece, an axiom us completists live by.

Speaking of which, that's usually a good indicator for me as to whether the series or the single statue are the real draw.  The following ten series tend to drive completist behavior, where people want a full collection, rather than cherry picking only their favorite characters.

So let's get to the list!

10 - Premium Format Universal Monsters, Sideshow
Once upon a time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the large scale statue market was in its infancy. Sideshow came up with a pretty revolutionary idea - combine the best qualities of large statues and sixth scale action figures in a mixed media format. They called it 'premium format', and it was a hit for them.

A big license for them at the time was the Universal Monsters, so it only made sense to translate that license to this new format. They played around with some things, like limited posability, black and white palettes, and some really limited editions (we're talking 100 at times). I have about three dozen PF's that I keep on display, and no other license has as big of a chunk as the Universal Monsters (with seven), even after all these years.

Sideshow Premium Format Phantom

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9 - Lord of the Rings/Hobbit, Weta
Weta has done wondrous things with the Lord of the Rings (and then the Hobbit) license.  From busts to prop replicas to dioramas, they've translated the characters into exceptional collectibles. That only makes sense - as the designers on the films themselves, Weta was in a unique position to create the best looking miniature versions of their own work.

Their statue series remains highly sought after, and the additions to the line based on the Hobbit films continued the tradition. Yea, the movies didn't, but that isn't the statues fault...

Lord of the Rings Gollum statue by Weta

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8 - Marvel Bishoujo, Kotobukiya
Sexy versions of female superheroes is a pretty common theme with statue manufacturers. In fact, you'll see more than one such series on my list.

You'll also see more than one series from the terrific company Kotobukiya. Working in ABS and PVC rather than the more traditional polyresins, they produce highly detailed statues at a more reasonable price point.

One of their more popular lines of the last decade is their Bishoujo series. 'Bishoujo' (aka Bishojo) translates literally to 'beautiful girl', and is a design style made popular by manga and anime. Kotobukiya took that general style and applied it to the characters of the American comic book realm, as well as a few other licenses (remember Jaina Solo?). My personal favorite is their work on the Marvel ladies, although there's some terrific DC designs as well.

BTW, to be fair, Kotobukiya is also doing an 'Ikemen' series, which is the male equivalent of the Bishojo. I expect we'll see some debut at SDCC next week.

Kotobukiya Bishoujo Phoenix

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7 - Star Wars Premium Format, Sideshow
Sideshow has used the Premium Format style for dozens of licenses, so it's probably not a surprise that a second one made the list.  While the Universal Monsters take up the most spots in my PF display, Star Wars is a really close second. This is a license that they've also been working with for years now, and the newer releases are far superior to the ones from a decade ago. Regular viewers of The Big Bang Theory will remember seeing the Darth Talon PF on a shelf in Howard's bedroom. 

Light features have been a common inclusion with the Star Wars PF's, and have generally been well executed. While I hate the prequels, one of my all time favorites remains the Yoda killing the Trooper with his light saber stabbing him through the chest - really well executed design!

Star Wars Premium Format Yoda and Clonetrooper

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6 - Cover Girls of the DCU, DC Direct/Collectibles
Their are statue series that start out great, and remain that way throughout their run. Others start out rocky, but manage to find their footing and turn into something pretty amazing. And then there's the Cover Girls of the DCU.

The concept here was pretty simple - create statues based on various DC covers. In their early days, they were designed by highly talented Adam Hughes and sculpted by the equally talented Jack Mathews, a dynamic duo if there ever was one.  And yes, they were utter cheesecake. And yes, I loved them. They drifted away from the cover only designs and let Adam have a little more artistic freedom, and I was a happy least for the first dozen or so releases.

In 2012, they went off the rails, at least for me.  The New 52 is at least partially to blame, since DCD went with designs based off the new look, which largely left me cold. But they also strayed from any sort of consistency with the earlier style, and I believe this is also when Hughes' and Mathews' involvement ended. Some of the more recent releases have gotten a bit back on the original track, but it's never captured my attention again like it did in those first three years. But the releases from 2009 - 2012 are certainly worthy of a spot on this list.

Cover Girls of the DCU Harley Quin statue

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5 - DC Bombshells, DC Direct/Collectibles
Another series that I've been a completist on is the DC Bombshells. Started by DC Direct and continued on when they changed their name to DC Collectibles, the Bombshells are an interesting concept.  The terrific artist Ant Lucia has been the designer for the entire run, and mashes together two concepts - a classic DC character and a 1940's WWII Bomber art style - for each statue.  This line started out as all female, but has evolved to include male characters as well, a smart move in my opinion. I really, really, really want to see their take on Batman at some point.

For me, the concept works best when they keep the focus on the character first, and then morph the into the retro style.  I should always be able to instantly recognize who the character is, and that's not always been the case. But they've hit far more than they've missed, and I'm in for the long haul.

DC Bombshells Power Girl/Superman

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4 - Marvel Comiquette, Sideshow
Out of all ten selections on my list, this one is stretching the concept the most. Both the license (Marvel) and the 'series' (comiquettes) are awfully broad. Yet I think Sideshow has done some exceptional work under this banner, and deserves to be recognized for it. Not every design has worked for fans, and not every statue has had perfect execution. But the overall quality and style has been great, and you'll find many collectors who have a comiquette as a centerpiece of their collection.

Silver Surfer Sideshow Comiquette statue

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3 - Star Wars ArtFX, Kotobukiya
In my early collecting days, I wasn't much of a statue guy. Action figures, hell yes...busts, sure. But statues? I was immune to their allure.

And then along came the ArtFX series of Star Wars characters, and I had a couple dozen before I new what was happening. Remember, this was a time frame when the Star Wars action figure market, especially the sixth scale market, was, shall we say, not quite what it is today. The Kotobukiya statues blew away anything from Hasbro or Sideshow in this same general scale at the time, and I was hooked. I still have a dozen of them on the shelf, and their Bossk remains a favorite.

Kotobukiya ArtFX Snowtrooper

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2 - 1966 Batman, Tweeterhead
I'll happily admit that I've been waiting for great collectibles based on the original 1966 Batman television show for years and years. When the licensing nightmare was finally solved, quite a bit of product was released...but very little of it would qualify as 'great'. The real stand out for me is the series of large statues from Tweeterhead. The paint and sculpt quality is top notch, and this is a series that I'm extremely glad I got in on at the beginning. We've already gotten Batman, Robin, Catwoman, Riddler, Egghead, Batgirl, and Joker (review coming soon!). I have my fingers crossed that we'll at least see a Penguin before their done...and how cool would an Alfred be?!?!?

Tweeterhead 1966 Batman Batgirl statue

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1 - Batman Black and White, DC Direct/Collectibles
When it comes to statue lines and longevity, there is one king, one master, one God. DC Direct has been producing the Batman Black and White series for a dozen years now, and there are dozens of different Batmen to be had. A few years ago they branched out into secondary characters, and now there's a nice contingent of villains to stand along side the Caped Crusader on your shelf.  This was such a simple idea, but it has proven to have serious legs. This is also a series that epitomizes the beauty of many versus one: sure, there is the one here or there based on a favorite artist that can stand out, but the real beauty of this line comes from having dozens lined up together on the shelf, highlighting the history and evolution of the artwork.

Batman Black and White Jock statue

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There's plenty of other contenders, some from these same companies and some from a few companies that I sadly ignored. The statue market has really boomed in the last decade, and I don't see it slowing down any time soon.

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 Defunct Toy/Collectibles Companies!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Original Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top 'Remakes Required' Sixth Scale Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Sideshow Sixth Scale Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Hot Toys Portraits - Male!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Robot Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Animal Action Figures!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Action Figure Vehicles!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Television (Live Action) Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Movie Based Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Underrated Action Figure Lines!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Action Figure Play Sets!
Captain Toy Picks...The Top Ten Smart Purchases!
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!

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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