Captain Toy's Picks for Best and Worst of 2013!

You're probably wondering where the Poppies and People's Picks awards are - I'm working on them, but it takes some time. While you're waiting, here's my own choices for best - and worst! - of 2013. Unlike past year's coming up with worsts was really difficult. I don't give a 'worst' for mediocre - it should actually deserve the designation, and while there's always plenty of meh, there wasn't a lot of truly bad work this year. On to my picks! 

Here are links back to past year's picks for comparisons:

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2013 2013 2013
2012 2012 2012
2011 2011 2011
2010 2010 2010
2009 2009 2009
2008 2008 2008
2007 N/A   2007
2006 2006 N/A
2005 2005 N/A
2004 2004 N/A
2003 2003 N/A
2002 2002 N/A
2001 2001 N/A
2000 2000 N/A

Feel free to disagree with me - that's kind of a big part of doing these lists and reading them. If you feel strongly enough, let me know by emailing me.  Now let's get to those picks! 

Best Overall Company

This is always a tough category, because there are a number of solid companies doing consistently solid work. It can be tough to narrow it down, and even tougher to decide on just one as the best.

While many of the same companies were in the running for my pick for Best this year, the separation between these companies was much smaller than usual. The bar has been raised over the last couple years, and other companies are now reaching up to close the gap.

My third place pick is Playmates. They took my top spot last year, and are still in the top three due to their work on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles line. They had plenty of cool releases, with lots of new figures and not just rehashes of the main guys. They expanded the line in several ways, included more Classic figures, and were rewarded with great sales. No other company has managed as many different successful long term series as Playmates.

Getting second place is NECA. They've done another great job this year, across multiple licenses and multiple formats. Their 7" figures are still some of the best on the market, and licenses like Predator and Alien are rocking. They re-invigorated their 1/4 scale line with improved articulation, great sculpts and excellent paint, and produced some great prop replicas as well. They continue to take risk, grabbing licenses earlier than other companies. I continue to be impressed with their common sense and business savvy. I expect to see them remain at the top of their game for 2014.

My first place winner is Hot Toys. I doubt you're surprised. They did fall out of the top spot last year in my list, but with some truly outstanding work on multiple lines, including great releases in the new 1/4 scale series and their detailed busts, they made it back on top. Other sixth scale companies continue to make noise, but it seems like only Hot Toys manages to produce consistent quality in such amazing quantity.

Worst Overall Company

This is going to be a shock - for the first time in 14 years, I don't have a Worst Overall Company. I don't mean I don't have the usual three...I don't have one. How is that possible? I racked my brain for someone to pick, and went over all the usual suspects. Mattel is always a likely candidate, but while I still have my issues with some of their decisions around Matty Collector and Digital River, their Masters of the Universe Classics remains a personal favorite. Even without a large commitment from collectors, they are looking for ways to get more DC 6" figures out in 2014, and the quality and quantity of their prop replicas has improved.

I could also go after Hasbro, but they finally came out with the 6" Black series, the first Star Wars figures they've done in years that have captured my interest. And while some of their 4" figure lines have been pathetic - more on that in some of the other categories - lines like G.I. Joe and Star Wars have remained solid.

Then there's McFarlane, a recent winner. But after a rocky start with the Walking Dead line, they've really improved the sculpts and paint work, making the 4" television series one of my current favorites in that scale. Halo remains strong, and they showed improvement across the Assassin's Creed line as well.

DC Collectibles, Jakks, Jazwares, Gentle Giant - they all have issues that have bugged me in the last 12 months. But they've also done things that I've applauded, enough so to outweigh the bad. And those companies that were truly, truly know the ones I'm talking about...have been rewarded for their incompetence and no longer exist. Like I said at the beginning, there's been enough mediocre to go around, but no one company (or 3 companies) deserves the award this year.


Best Overall Line - High End

Hot Toys is the usual assumption here, but there was some stiff competition. High end is where the money seems to be, and lots of companies are reacting.

My third place spot goes to Sideshow's Star Wars sixth scale series. They had a lot of great releases this year, including Vader, Bossk, Snowtrooper, Blaster, Yoda, and plenty of top notch Troopers to fill out the army.

In second place is the terrific Masterpiece HD series of 1/4 scale figures from Enterbay. The Bruce Lee was great, and somehow all the judges completely forgot about the battle damaged T-800. They didn't produce a ton of figures in this series in 2013, but that's to be expected at this scale and this price point. What they did release was excellent.

But the top spot goes to Hot Toys not just for quality, but quantity. They cranked it up for the Avengers related figures in 2013, including Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Agent Coulson, and Loki. As they gear up for the release of Avengers 2, they have a whole slew planned for 2014 as well, making this one of the coolest sixth scale displays you'll see.

Worst Overall Line - High End

I don't have a lot to pick from here - when companies decided to do high end in 2013, they generally did it right. But I still have a burr up my butt about one.

First, let's talk third place. I don't have one.

But I do have a second place. Gentle Giant did some nice work last year, but I was overall disappointed in their Walking Dead busts. Michonne was decent, unless you noticed the knife edge shape of her forehead, the Well Walker was too small, and Rick was the weakest of the bunch. I'm hoping we see improvement on this series in the next year.

Cover Girls of the DCU gets my top worst here, pretty much for the same reasons as last year. Weak paint, higher prices, and a switch to a bland design for the statues. Hey, I'm having trouble letting it go.


Best Overall Line - Low End

People have been lamenting the end of the action figure for more than a decade, and yet there still seems to be a solid offering at every mass market retailer. This was a hard decision for me this year, with at least six lines deserving some attention. But I narrowed it down to three, starting with...

...the 1966 Batman series from Mattel. I had my issues with this series, and you might even see some of it show up in a worst list or two further on down. But the simple fact is that I begged and prayed for this license to get picked up and produced, and when it did, I was overjoyed.

The second place award goes to the Predator/Alien figures from NECA. They deserve being in the top three for the terrific sculpts and excellent paint, a collector level of quality rarely available at your local Toys R Us. They managed to keep the price in a reasonable range as well, something so few companies can do these days.

And my first place award goes to...Hasbro's Star Wars Black series. The 6" ones of course, not the smaller 4" rehashes. This is another line that I'd hoped would someday get produced, and Hasbro is doing a great job with it so far. They've got me interested in small scale Star Wars figures again, and that's no easy task.

You'll notice some serious omissions here. I could have easily picked MOTUC, TMNT, Marvel Select, or OSM for any of these spots and felt just as confident. This was a very good year for low end figures indeed.

Worst Overall Line - Low End
One of the things about the lower end - there's never a shortage of bad product. Picking three was once again much too easy.

Hiya Toys produced a couple figures in their Rise of the Planet of the Apes line. While they weren't awful, they were disappointing on several levels, and not cheap. I'm very happy to see that NECA has picked up the license for the new film, along with the original films, for 2014.

Second place goes to the very unarticulated 4" Iron Man 3 series from Hasbro. They did this with several movie lines this year (and Mattel did as well), producing very cheap, very static figures. While the Iron Man series is only an example it's a good one, showing off what can go wrong when a company tries to cheap it up.

The winner here was an easy pick for me, and this isn't the last time you'll see them in the worsts categories. I don't think there's one overall name for them, but the majority go under the 'Titan Heroes' logo for the Marvel/Avengers license. They also have them for Star Wars, Transformers, and Spider-man. You know which figures I mean - they are 12" tall, and pretty much ugly lumps of plastic. They look very much like dollar store rejects across the board, and are some of the worst figures we've seen released since the terrible A-Team 12" figures. Ugh.


Eddie Wires Award for Outstanding Paint

This award was created in memory of the amazing artist Eddie Wires. Many people in the industry knew Eddie, and everyone inside and out loved his work. The Poppies Judges thought it was appropriate to create a special award in his honor that in turn honors a collectible that stands out due to it's exceptional paint quality.

Paint is such a critical issue for any collectible. In fact, it's critical with many more art forms than just toys - watch an episode of the show "Face Off" (a show that our very own Poppies judge Jerry Macaluso was on) and you'll see how great paint can elevate make up effects, and bad paint can ruin the best concept. When a company cuts the budget for the production paint, they do it with extreme risk.

Third place goes to a very cool, very large statue from Pop Culture Shock - Judge Dredd. They've been doing excellent work on their quarter scale statues, but this one really stood out for me with a fantastic paint job.

Second place goes to the Hot Toys Joker 2.0. Hot Toys always does well in this category, and they had three or four potential winners. But my love for this Joker is due in no small part to the excellent paint work on the main portrait.

My first place pick shows how to do mud in a realistic way. It's the Jungle Disguise Dutch from NECA, and considering the scale (he's 7" tall), it's a really impressive piece of paint work. Too often, companies assume something basic like blood, or mud, or dirt is easy to do - just slap a color on there!  It's not true, and getting the mud covered Dutch to look like the real deal took some serious effort.


Best Male Figure - 18"

Quarter scale figures are back, baby, and they are back in a big way. NECA, Enterbay and Hot Toys are all doing them on a regular basis, and I suspect we'll see some other companies jumping in over the next year.

Third place goes to one of the terrific NECA releases - the 1966 Batman. They did a great job with the 1989 version as well, along with several other releases for other licenses. But this was perhaps my favorite release out of all the 1966 Classic Television Show product, and with good reason.

It's hard for the high end figures not to dominate in this category, although dollar for dollar, I think the NECA releases are the much better overall value.  Still, second place gets snagged by the much more expensive Enterbay Battle Damaged T-800. This is a fantastic looking figure, with a ton of extra goodies.

There was an easy winner for me - the Hot Toys Dark Knight Batman. I only have three quarter scale 'action figures' on display with my Premium Format statues, because generally the quality isn't quite there. But along with last year's Enterbay Joker and this year's Hot Toys Endoskeleton, the Christian Bale Batman is certainly worthy. He also came with a ton of extras, and is surprisingly poseable considering the suit.

Worst Male Figure - 18"

While there were a ton of new entries in this category for 2013, there weren't a ton of awful releases. In fact, there's only one, and I reviewed it recently. My only pick for this category this year is the NECA Man of Steel Superman. Perhaps it was that so many of their other releases in this scale wowed me...perhaps it was the breakage right out of the box, or the wonky articulation. In the end, he was my only real disappointment in the quarter scale arena.


Best Male Figure  12 - 17"

While it says 12" to 17", we really know what this is - Best Sixth Scale. And we know who has dominated here for the last several years.

But Hot Toys weren't the only ones doing great figures in this scale for 2013. Sideshow had some great releases, including the Snowtrooper and the new DC Joker, but it was their Bossk that takes the third place spot for me. This is how you do a Star Wars alien right.

Second place goes to ThreeA, who had several amazing releases last year as well. My personal favorite is their Carter  from the Halo line. A well articulated body, a great looking paint job, and a terrific light up feature set this guy apart. I almost picked him for my Eddie Wires choice, that's how good the paint work is.

But the first place winner did get a top three spot in the Eddie Wires picks - it's Hot Toys Joker 2.0. Hot Toys had plenty of great releases this year - you could put the BD T-800 here, or the Hulk, or the MKVII, or one of several others and feel completely justified. But for me it was the Joker that stood out from the pack, thanks to another amazing sculpt and paint, as well as some really useful accessories.

Worst Male Figure 12 - 17"
This was soooo easy this year. Not because a lot of the high end stuff sucked, but because there was one serious stand out. I'm betting that if you got messed up in the Amazing Spider-man amazing breaking shoulders situation, you'd have that guy pretty high on your list. Fortunately, I avoided that one.

Hasbro managed to produce way more than three figures in their Titan Heroes series that fit perfectly in here. They are only called 'titan heroes' for the superhero line, but they did Star Wars and Transformers too. Picking on them is a little like shooting fish in a barrel. They are really awful, done to be super cheap. The problem is, they look like dollar store rejects. I reviewed the Anakin, and he is sickness inducing. But my pick for the worst of the worst is their Bumblebee in the Transformers series. First, it's a Transformer that doesn't transform, making it a moot point. Second, the body is smooshed flat in this weird almost 2-D way. And third, it's a form of torture to give your kids something this bad.


Best Male Figure  5 - 11"

I have a hunch that the voting is going to be very, very close this year in this category. There were a ton of really good releases, all nice enough to take the top spot.

I mentioned my third place choice earlier, picking him as a winner in the Eddie Wires award. I'm taking Dutch here, with his Jungle Disguise paint job. A great sculpt, great paint, and great articulation nabs him a third place trophy with me.

In second is a a Mattel release - the DC Universe Dark Knight Returns Batman. A great example of re-use, they pulled off a terrific looking DKR Bats, and he's now one of my favorites.

I'm going to reward Hasbro with the winning slot here, since they finally bit the bullet and started producing their 6" Star Wars figures under the Black label. I know a lot of folks loved the Boba Fett, and the Sandtrooper was quite good as well, but I'm going with my favorite - Greedo. He didn't get as much love from other fans, but I thought the articulation worked the best with this particular design and sculpt.

Worst Male Figure 5 - 11"
I can tell this has been a good year - I had no trouble coming up with plenty of figures in the 5 - 11" scale to consider for the Bests, and very, very few that were even possible for the Worsts.

There's still a few though, and I'm hitting up the Koba from Hiya Toys again. The price point and quality were a mismatch here, and I'll re-iterate that I'm glad that NECA has picked up the license for the next movie. They also did Caeser last year, who was slightly better, but still not anything to write home about.

Silver goes to the DC Unlimited Injustice Joker. I loved the DKR Batman, but this Joker was just a hot mess all the way around.

And speaking of a hot mess, my worst figure of the year in this scale was the Marvel Legends Hyperion. Bad sculpting, bad paint, weak articulation, no accessories - the definition of bad.


Best Male Figure under 5"

I 've gotten out of this scale over the last few years...just as the amount of product on the shelves has really boomed. I did pick up a few things though, and checked out even more on the pegs.

I really like the Venture Brothers figures that BifBangPow is doing in this scale. I'm picking their Dean Venture for third place, but you could pick almost any other and I wouldn't argue.

The second place spot goes to one of the Marvel Universe figures - Abomination.  I think the big guys in these series always look the coolest, and he was a stand out for me.

But my top pick might be a surprise, especially considering how often I complained about the figures in this line at the beginning. McFarlane was not doing the Walking Dead line justice with their first couple series, but they improved them across the board, and this year's Merle was a real stand out. I almost went with their SWAT Team Zombie, but Merle finally won me over. I'm still not loving the price point, but the quality has seen a tremendous step up.

Worst Male Figure under 5"
There were some pretty weak lines in this scale - that happens whenever you get a lot of product, especially product intended for kids. It's too bad toy makers think kids don't mind crappy sculpts, paints and articulation - they underestimate them.

My third place spot goes to Robin, from the Teen Titans Go series. I love this show, but I'm not really feeling what they've done with the toys so far. Robin shows a poor design, terrible paint, and weak articulation.

Second place is won by one of the other Walking Dead figures from McFarlane - the Well Zombie.  This wave was the last wave that was weak, and they still have some pretty lame 'action features' for the zombies that were more trouble than they were worth.  Thankfully, it looks like the mediocrity is now behind us.

And first place goes to one of the many cheaply made poorly articulated figures in the 4" scale that Hasbro and Mattel produced in their various movie lines this year.  I'm picking on the Shatter Blaster Iron Man from the Iron Man 3 line, but there were plenty of them in several lines that were poorly done.


Best Female Figure over 11"

While there were plenty of male figures in the 18" scale this year, there weren't that many females. We left the category as it was last year, so that anything over 11" ended up here..

Hot Toys tends to dominate this slot, as they tend to put out a wider range of female figures in this scale. For me, they were the go to company in this category once again.

But that's not to say they swept.  Original Effects is doing some very detailed, interesting female figures in their Army Attractive line. There were several releases, but I like the detailed costume on the Sunayuki Hasuike These aren't traditional, but the work is quite beautiful, a quality lacking in far too many female figures.

Hot Toys takes second place with their Selina Kyle. I almost didn't pick her though - that damn mask is so easy to break. But if you can manage not to snap it, you'll end up with a terrific looking Catwoman.

Hot Toys also takes first, and this was a female figure without any breakage issues. Their second attempt at Black Widow, based on her look in Avengers, was even better than the first. I love the short hair, and they are finally getting to a point where rooted hair looks as good as the rest of the figure fabrication.

Worst Female Figure over 11"
I didn't have any figures to even consider for this category this year. I don't know if that's because nothing really awful was released, or just simply that I didn't pick up enough female figures in this scale. Either way, they avoided my disapproval for 2013.


Best Female Figure 5" - 11"
The DC and MOTUC figures didn't do as well this year in the male categories, but they still hold a tremendous sway on the female categories..

Third place goes to the Movie Masters version of Fiora, from the Man of Steel. The Movie Masters line for this movie was pretty nice overall, but it was Fiora that stood out. I love the detail work on the armor, and of course it helps that she was so bad ass in the movie.

Next up in second place is the Octavia from the MOTUC series. You knew either her or Shokoti had to be here, and I just can't resist a woman with extra arms.

My winner comes out of the DC Universe line - it's the Injustice Wonder Woman! Poor Wonder Woman rarely gets the treatment she deserves, but there was something about the design, sculpt and articulation on this version that really won me over.

Worst Female Figure 5" - 11"
With so few female figures released, you'd think there'd be less chance for any to end up here. Sadly, it's not so.

In third place is a figure I own but never reviewed - the 1966 Batman Television Show Catwoman. I know a lot of fans were happy with this series overall, but I had my issues. The Catwoman was perhaps my biggest letdown, looking very little like the lovely Julie Newmar.

Second place goes to Silk Spectre from Mattel's Watchmen series. It might have been partly due to the high hopes I had (the rest of the series is quite good, especially the Comedian), or the terrible paint. Either way, this poor young lady ended up on the wrong list.

The winner - or loser - in this category was the Star Wars Black series Slave Leia. I know I've been saying lots of good things about this series, but this figure was my one disappointment. While I could live with the wonky articulation, it's the awful paint work on the face and hair that killed it for me. Considering this is a higher priced 'collectors' line, that's not acceptable.


Best Female Figure under 5"

There weren't a ton of releases in this scale, but there were some nice ones.

I mentioned it in this scale for the males, and I'll say it again here - I like what BifBangPow is now doing with the Venture Brothers. This small scale suits the show much better, and I'm putting their Dr. Girlfriend in third place. She has a few issues to be sure, but c'mon - it's Dr. Girlfriend!

I'm going with an odd one for my second place spot - Terra Firma from the Outer Space Men by the Four Horsemen. It's only odd because I suspect a lot of collectors haven't been paying attention to the terrific OSM line up, but this female astronaut looks good in just about any of the paint variations.

The top spot goes to another McFarlane Walking Dead figure. That's a win in both the male and female category - quite the accomplishment!  I'm going with Michonne, who was one of the first figures to really show off the turn around in the series.

Worst Female Figure under 5"
This is another category where I saw some mediocrity during the course of the year, but nothing so God awful that it warranted a 'worst'. Your mileage will surely vary.


Best Build a Figure

While there weren't a ton of the BAF style figures this year, there were a couple that I felt really deserved a mention. With two already on the shelves for 2014, I suspect our pickings will be a little better next year.

I didn't end up completing the Iron Monger myself, but I did see him in person, and he's quite nice. The Marvel Legends BAF's remain outstanding...almost always.

Second place goes to a set that was supposed to finish up in 2012, but didn't quite make it. It wasn't until 2013 that Round 2 managed to get the final pieces released for the cool Hawkeye costume for their Captain Action series. This is a great addition to the series, and fans of the nostalgic style loved it.

My top pick was really easy this year - it's the very cool Spot and Staircase diorama for the Munsters. DST did a great job on this one, and it was well worth picking up the full set of figures to compete the diorama.

Worst BAF

While there wasn't a lot of BAF figures this year, there was still one that bugged me enough to make it on the worst list. I said Marvel Legends were *almost* always great when it comes to BAF's. The Hit Monkey figure is the reason I said 'almost'. I hated this figure - small, hard to assemble, hard to keep assembled - he was really not worth picking up some of the really weak figures in the series just to put him together.


Best Vehicle or Playset

This was a really tough choice this year - there was some great vehicles and playsets released.

Third place goes to Sideshow's Heavy Repeating Blaster for their Star Wars sixth scale line. It's a great add to any display with their Snowtrooper and Vader.

As a Batman nerd, I can't pass up the chance to drool over the Hot Toys 1989 Batmobile once again. It's a gorgeous vehicle, and is a collection centerpiece for anyone.

In the end, the winner was the huge, gorgeous, and totally fun Castle Grayskull. No matter how big a Batman fan I might be, I simple can't ignore how amazing this playset is. If you haven't seen one in person, you'll be amazed when you do - this is a toy on steroids.


Worst Vehicle or Playset
There were some silly vehicles this year - remember the remote control Kryptonian cycle? Why does Superman need a motorcycle? - but there wasn't anything I saw that was really worth of a 'worst' designation. I'm betting some folks will have their own suggestions, though.


Best Statue

I think this is a category where there was some real improvement over the course of 2013, with lots of excellent choices from a bunch of companies. In fact, I bet that this is one of the most divided categories in both the Poppies and People's Picks results.

Bowen did a BUNCH of cool statues this year, and there are at least three or four great choices. I'm going with Magneto, because I love the dynamic design of the cape.

In second place, I'm going with Judge Dredd from Pop Culture Shock.  I already mentioned the amazing paint job, but overall, it's a truly impressive piece on the shelf.

My winner is likely to be a surprise - the Killing Joke Joker, by Kotobukiya. This is a statue with a light up feature and a sound feature, activated by a motion sensor, great sculpting and paint, plus you have some options in how you set up the display. That's rare, especially at a reasonable price point.

I feel a little bad - Sideshow did some truly outstanding Premium Format statues this year as well, and some of the Gentle Giant Honey Trap statues are amazing as well. But I can only pick three, and this is clearly a very competitive category this year.


Worst Statue
There weren't a lot of awful statues, but there were still a one that annoyed me enough to make it here.

Everyone knows I'm not happy about the direction the once great Cover Girls series took last year.  Of the new versions, I think Harley was my least favorite. A weird design, sloppy paint, and a higher price point combined to really disappoint me. I wasn't thrilled with Platinum or Batgirl either, but Harley was really the weakest for me.


Best Bust

Just like the statue category, there were some really amazing busts produced by a wide range of companies this last year.

In third place is a Gentle Giant release. They did plenty of cool busts this last year, but I think the detail in the design of their Hawkeye sets it apart from many of their other releases.

Bowen always does great busts, but he had one this year that really stood out for me - Groot.  The detail and quality of the sculpt is just eye popping good. Wow!

My winner is the only full sized 1:1 bust I received this year - the Sub-Zero from Pop Culture Shock. Not only is this a fantastic bust, with terrific paint and a very detailed sculpt, but it has movable eyes!  That is such a cool feature, and it works extremely well.


Worst Bust
I didn't see a bunch of weak busts this year, but there was one that really bummed me out.

The Walking Dead has not been treated right when it comes to collectibles...yet. The best chance in 2013 was the series of busts from Gentle Giant. And they did release a very nice Michonne, but their first take on the critical Rick Grimes was less impressive. I'm hopeful that like McFarlane and the action figures, Gentle Giant will get it going in the right direction for 2014.


Best Designer/Vinyl

I'm about as far from an expert in this category as you can get, so don't put too much stock in what I pick. I mostly go for whatever is cutest...

And when it comes to cute, you can't get much better than my third place choice, Muckey. C'mon, how can you not say 'awwwww'?

My son and I love to watch The Regular Show, and Funko is doing a great job with the characters. But I think Benson lends himself the best to this style, and I love the gumballs inside his head!

My first place choice is really, really cute. He reminds me of something right out of a 60's Hanna Barbera cartoon - it's Awesome Bear! He's just too cute to resist.

Worst Designer/Vinyl

Once again, I'm not going to pick on anyone in this category for 2013 - the quality is generally there, and then it just becomes a matter of taste.

Best Prop Replica
With more and more home theaters and man caves, prop replicas are becoming more and more popular with collectors. That means the quality and selection continues to improve.

A new company called Triforce has been doing video game based props, and I really liked their Arkham City Batarang. It's not just the batarang, but the presentation which adds to its appeal.

My second place prop replica comes from Kick Ass 2 - it's NECA's Betsy Ross. It's not the most complex replica, but they nailed it and they did it for a great price.

It should be no surprise that one of my favorite shows is the Game of Thrones.  Valyrian Steel had been doing replicas based on the books - and I wasn't interested. But in 2013 they started doing replicas based on the show itself, and I really like their Cat's Paw blade. In fact, I liked it so much so that I've since pre-ordered some of their upcoming releases.

Worst Prop Replica
Last year, I picked on Mattel for their very weak Back to the Future hoverboard. Thankfully, they didn't have a release that poor this year, and in fact, their work on Ghostbusters and Batman were top notch.  Nobody else leaped out at me in terms of poor work in this category either.

Best Block Figure

There were some great figures this year, and now with the Lego movie out this weekend, I bet mini-figures get even more attention.

I don't think my three favorites have changed much. I'm giving third place to the Minimates, which just seem to keep on keeping on, and have done some really cool stuff with some very unusual licenses.

I've told more than one person that if I had to stop collecting everything except one line, and one line only, that I'd collect Playmobil. With a tremendously wide range of very cool characters to choose from, the playsets and figures have always been one of my favorites.

But once again, Lego takes my top spot. And while I didn't buy much this year (just a few of the Superheroes sets), I can tell you right now that a huge hunk of my toy budget will go to them in 2014. Why? That's simple - the Simpsons. I won't be able to resist the sets based on Springfield and it's inhabitants, no matter how I might try. Easier just to give up now and admit defeat.
Worst Block Figure

Any block figure is a great figure!


Best Misc

This may very well be my favorite category - it's a wild mish mash of everything that doesn't really fit quite right any where else. How much more fun could it be?

My third place spot goes to one of the cool large scale electronic figures from Thinkway - Dave, from Despicable Me 2. This guy does everything, and does it well. It helps if you have the same taste in humor as an eight year old boy, but that's me!

The beauty of the Misc category is how diverse the choices can be. My second place goes to the Universal Monsters Banks. The Creature was my particular favorite, but they did several really cool monsters over the last few months.

My top choice goes to another collectible that has no relation to the other two - the Walking Dead season 3 blu-ray case.  McFarlane came up with an amazing concept, and the floating heads and lights look great on the shelf. This is one of those items that everyone asks about, and is one of the coolest blu-ray cases ever produced.

Worst Misc

This is always my catch all bin - and all three of my picks are pretty unstructured. In a year when more things annoyed me than I would have liked, these three took the cake.

There's only two things I'm going to whine about though.  One is the other blu-ray case I picked up this year, and this one I most definitely didn't like. It's the Predator head case that came with the 3D release. Weak paint and a wonky shape make this not worth the cash.

I didn't go back through the last couple years of my picks, but I don't think I've complained about prices recently, at least not here. And there's a reason - while prices have risen, it seems like they've leveled out with lower cost figures and collectibles.

But, that's not the case with high end collectibles, especially sixth scale figures. Average prices are hitting $200, and we've started to see 'special' figures over $300. How much more can this market take? It seems like collectors are still buying, and as long as they are, prices will rise. I'm just hoping that it doesn't get to the point where it implodes so quickly that the top companies aren't able to react in time to manage their way through any market collapse.


What do you think? Let me know at, and thanks for reading! I hope you continue to enjoy the reviews for another year, and I'll do my best to keep them fair and fresh!


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