It's the People's Picks for Best of 2014!

The Poppies Judges nominated, you voted, I tallied - and now it's time to announce the winners of the People's Picks!

Remember, these are the awards from the readers of the site. Your votes, using the same ballot as the Poppies, decide who wins the People's Picks. It's always fascinating - at least to me - to see how this compares with the Poppies, chosen by the industry judges.

If you'd like to see who those judges are, just hit this link. If you'd rather get right to it, read on!

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

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2014 2014 2014
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

Any comments you'd like to share, just email me.  Now let's get to those picks! 

Best Overall Company

One of the things that's kind of fun is looking at how one year compares to another. Last year, fans put Sideshow in third, NECA in second and Hot Toys in first, with a commanding 42% of the vote.

This year, third place was grabbed by Lego. I'm not particularly surprised, considering how strong their marketing and product diversity has been. Along with the Lego Movie, they've been hitting on all cylinders, and I expect the company will boom over the next three years.  They took third with 7% of the vote.

NECA did it again this year, grabbing second with 14%. They had a very strong year, with multiple licenses doing extremely well.  They avoided most quality issues too, and are giving fans the sort of products they really want.

And yes, the winner is still no real surprise - Hot Toys takes it with 40% of the vote, down just slightly from last year. While the breadth of their releases has dropped a bit, with fewer non-sixth scale items and really only a couple licenses with a lot of attention, they continue to produce amazing quality and realism.


Best Overall Line - High End

There's no surprises here, either, so I thought I'd get that out of the way right up front.

Or perhaps there is a surprise in that Hot Toys managed to repeat their previously unique feat from last year and sweep this category, taking all three spots.  That's no easy task.

With 9% of the vote, their Robocop series took the bronze.  With all the discussion around the paint work on the first figure, and the issues with the rubber on the ED-209, I was a bit surprised by this. But I love my ED-209, and I have the Robocop and chair sitting here waiting for a review.

The silver medal was snagged with 11% of the vote, barely edging out Robocop - it's the Hot Toys Batman license. I think the 1966 figures helped here, as did the fantastic Armory.

But it was very, very clear what license Hot Toys did up right in 2014. The winner, with 38% of the vote, is the Marvel line, which of course includes the Avengers.  They produced excellent versions of just about every character, from Iron Man and Thor to Black Widow and Spider-Man. With figures coming for Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron this year, the only real question is which license will be the fan favorite - Marvel or Star Wars?.


Best Overall Line - Low End

We can stop talking about Hot Toys now, at least for one category. In the past, MOTUC and DCUC were always strong contenders here, but Star Wars Black started making some serious waves last year.

Coming in third for 2014, with 9% of the vote is a new comer - the Planet of the Apes line from NECA. This includes both the classic figures, and the new Dawn series.  NECA has really done an outstanding job with this line, and the 2015 classic releases look just as strong.

The second place winner grabbed 12% of the vote, and is another new comer - the Pop! vinyl series from Funko. Talk about taking the world by storm!  These things are the hottest collectibles going right now, and Funko is making sure they ride the wave all the way to the beach.  There's a Pop figure for every known pop culture property in existence, and a few from another dimension.

The People's Pick for this category was snagged with just 17% of the vote, and it's a repeat winner - the Star Wars Black 6" line!  They had some issues this year, particularly with human likenesses, but Star Wars fans are still digging the larger scale and fewer releases, allowing collectors to catch their breath between buys. I'm still hoping we'll see the sculpting and paint improve (this is a 'collectors' line after all), but I'm still in as a completist.


Eddie Wires Award for Outstanding Paint

This is the award that was created in memory of the amazing artist Eddie Wires. Everyone that knew him knew what a sweet, considerate, terrific guy he was, and the advancements he brought to the collectibles community.

The idea here is that the nominees should be special because of their paint work. The paint should bring out that particular something that makes you go 'oooo'.

Hot Toys did something here they never did before - they swept this one too. I have to say, I was pretty damn surprised.

They took the third place spot with the Iron Man MK XLII. This die cast figure has some amazing work on the battle damaged pieces, making it stand out even amongst the other terrific Iron Man suits. Personally, I prefer the paint work on the Iron Patriot, but the Hot Toys judges felt very strongly about having the XLII on the ballot instead, and clearly they were on to something. Or at least 14% of the voters agreed.

The second place trophy goes to their Robocop, with just about 15% of the voters going for him.  I have to say, I was shocked. I didn't buy this one - I have the mechanical chair version instead which I have yet to open up. I also still have my original, which I love dearly. But I did read many of the threads on this guy, and consistently saw complaints about the inaccuracy of the paint work.  Obviously, that was a vocal minority, and most buyers are clearly happy with the final product.

But not happy enough to unseat the number one winner, who took a solid 24% of the vote. The Battle Damaged T-800 does have an amazing paint job, highlighting the abuse and injury on the face and body. He's another one I still have to get around to reviewing, but he's a big favorite of mine as well.


Best Male Figure - 18"

I did get a bit of a surprise in this category, but perhaps I hadn't expected people to go my way.

The third place winner garnered 10% of the vote, and certainly my heart - it's Mr. Bean from Enterbay. As I said in my picks, I thought they did an amazing job capturing the likeness and personality of the character, and clearly lots of fans agreed.

Next up is second place, taken by another Enterbay release - Robocop!  This guy includes sounds, movement, a remote control - how cool is that? It doesn't hurt that he's smokin' hot as well.

And those two winners were a surprise to me, simply because NECA had released so many great figures in this scale this year. They couldn't be ignored forever though, and their Michael Keaton Batman took first with 23% of the vote. For those of you that have been paying attention, this figure was also nominated in 2013. So how could he get nominated twice? I did that on purpose, because I felt that he hadn't gotten out to enough of collectors last year, being one of those crossover figures who started shipping in December but really didn't start showing up much til late January. I'm glad I did too, because he was definitely appreciated and rewarded. That's a learning experience going forward, and I'm going to try to ensure that we keep our nominees each year to things that didn't just ship, but shipped in enough quantity so that people had a chance to see them.


Best Male Figure  12 - 17"

We're clearly back into Hot Toys wheelhouse here, but I think there's a surprise awaiting you. I went all the way back to 2008 looking at this category before I hit a year where Hot Toys didn't sweep the top three spots. That's 5 straight years where the fans picked their figures for the bronze, silver and gold - that's impressive. But 2014 was the year the streak ended.

Third place is a tie between two of the Hot Toys best - the Iron Man MKXLII Die Cast, and their Star-Lord. Both of these figures received 15% of the vote. I think Star-Lord may be like the 89 Batman in the previous category, getting shorted because he hasn't made it into enough hands yet. I know I can't judge because I haven't gotten mine, and I bet that's true for lots of folks.  However, I'd be surprised if he makes the ballot next year, considering the other planned releases they have for both Marvel and Star Wars.

But Sideshow breaks the stranglehold that Hot Toys has had on this category with their own Star Wars release - Darth Vader! This was one of their best Star Wars releases, and is certainly the nicest rendition of the character in this scale so far. 16% of the fan voters agreed.

Hot Toys does win it all though, but not by much - with 18% of the vote, Robocop (with the mechanical chair) wins! I have this guy sitting here (literally) waiting for a review, and I'll get to him soon, but he's certainly deserving. He wasn't my choice, but I can't argue with the outcome.

I believe this is the lowest percentage that they have ever won this category with. That's worth noting, because it means the other figures from companies like Star Ace, ThreeZero, 3A, Sideshow, Big Chief, etc. garnered a bigger chunk of the pie this time. Hot Toys is still the leader in the sixth scale market, but they are being seriously challenged.


Best Male Figure  5 - 11"

When I picked the Creature as my winner in this category, it was because Diamond Select created the best version of one of my favorite characters in this scale. I suspect the overall winner was picked by its fans for the very same reason.

However, let's start with third place, where the animated Batman from the new line by DC Collectibles took it with 8% of the vote. The breakage issues aside, these are some terrific figures, and fans of the old shows seem to be responding well.

The second place winner received 10% of the vote, and he's one of NECA's best releases this year -the ED-209! Robocop fans had a fantastic year, getting great figures from both NECA and Hot Toys, making it one of the most popular licenses overall.

The winner is also from NECA, and took 18% of the vote. For fans of the Burton Batman, their release of him on a throwback Toybiz style card was a dream come true. This is a terrific figure, and NECA went out of their way to get it released. For many fans, it was the highlight of the year.


Best Male Figure under 5"

I mentioned that I don't play around much in this scale anymore, and I think that's true with a lot of collectors these days. This was certainly one of the lowest vote count categories, with many voters abstaining.

Still, it was quite easy to see who the winners were. This category is always a tight race, with lots of the nominees receiving at least a few votes. But all three winners had at least double digits this year.

In third place, taking a solid 15% of the vote, is the Funko ReAction Alien. This makes sense to me - out of all the licenses using this style, this one works the best, and this character works the best.

Taking 19% of the vote and second place is the Darth Vader (#26) from the Hasbro Star Wars Black series. The small guys, not the 6" series. This was clearly a well loved figure, and with the character showing up more than once in the overall list, I'd say he's still a mighty popular guy.

The winner grabbed a well deserved 21% of the vote - Mario, fro the S.H. Figuarts line up of Super Mario Brothers. Great articulation, great accessories -a really terrific action figure of a fan favorite game. (photo courtesy Tomopop).


Best Female Figure over 11"

Here's another category generally ruled by Hot Toys in the previous 5 or 6 People's Picks. They don't always sweep, but it's rare when they let someone else in...

But Sideshow slipped into the third place spot with my favorite, Harley. She took 16% of the vote, and the Joker's heart.

Hot Toys took the silver medal with just a few more votes, getting 17% for their Maleficent. She's another of those late shippers that not a lot of us have seen yet, but seems to be popular with those that got their shipments last month.

The winner is a perennial favorite in this category - Black Widow! Hot Toys won this category in 2010 with their first version of the deadly Russian, they won the category in 2013 with their second version of her, and now, the third variation wins again! I assume we'll see another version of her in 2015 for the Age of Ultron, but can she be beat? This year she dominated with a whopping 35% of the vote!


Best Female Figure 5" - 11"
This was a very strong category this year, with lots of female figures on the ballot, and all of them very deserving.

In fact, there were a whole bunch that got votes, making the second and third place spots tight.  The bronze medal goes to the animated Catwoman from DC Collectibles, with 7% of the vote. Obviously the breakage issues didn't dampen the spirit of many collectors, and I think that's due in large part to the proper response to the situation by the company.

With just 9% of the vote, she was edged out for second place by the Black Widow from the Marvel Legends series. Both her and Black Cat were well done, but I have to agree with the judges and give her the nod.

The winner was very dominate however, with a sizable 34% of the vote.  NECA's Alien Queen was one of the best figures all year, not just in this category, and while she might not be a traditional female, she's one bad ass action figure. Just don't call her 'lady'.


Best Female Figure under 5"

Another really good category this year, and it bodes well for female figures in general.  Hopefully we're seeing the end of them being after thoughts and short packs.

This was a very, very tight race, and in the end we had a tie for first place! Taking third, with 11% of the vote, is the nifty Harley from the DC Multiverse series by Mattel. They've done a nice job with the game based figures, particularly considering the scale.

In second place, slipping by Harley with just 13% of the vote, is an unusual one - Samus Aran from the Amiibo line up. Yep, she's part of a game, but let's be honest, a lot of people are collecting the figures never play the game. She's also very much in demand right now.

As I said, the gold goes to two figures, both with just 14% of the vote - the Michelle Pfiefer Catwoman, also from the Multiverse series, and Funko's ReAction Aliens Ripley. While I didn't like the Catwoman quite as much as the Penguin, I have to admit that she's a solid choice for this category. And while I loathe the ReAction line overall, they are really cool when applied to the old Alien series. The concept fits best - and is executed best - with that particular license.


Best Build a Figure

This is a category that didn't see a lot of action in 2014, but Hasbro did what they could to keep it alive. They produced several pretty cool figures too, and it looks like the same will be true in 2015.

The third place winner has a very small percentage - just 6%. Mandroid grabbed the bronze, and was one of my favorites as well.

Second place didn't get a lot more, with just 9% of the vote. It's another Hasbro figure, and was my personal pick for this category - Green Goblin. Clearly enough people like this new look to get him in the top three.

The reason these two figures had so few votes and yet still made the cut is simple - the winner didn't just dominate, he crushed all competition. I don't remember any collectible ever getting 71% of the vote in any category, and clearly fans and collectors love the Groot BAF. He was a great character in a great movie, so it's not really a surprise.


Best Vehicle or Playset

We haven't had a lot of blow outs this year, but here comes one.

Third place was taken by the very cool Battle Ram by Mattel, the last vehicle we'll see in the line unless something surprising happens. It's a nice one too, with more than one mode and plenty of room for the figure. The Ram took just 6% of the vote, but that was enough to make the top three.

Better is the 15% taken by my favorite of 2014 - the Speederbike in the Hasbro 6" Star Wars Black series. I'm hoping we see them really turn things around in 2015 too, producing better sculpts and paints across the board, so that more of the figures will end up on the ballot next year.

The big winner is one of the coolest things Hot Toys did all year, particularly if you're a Batfan. The Bat Armory, including the Batman and Alfred figures, had a metric ton of extras. It's one of the coolest diorama pieces for the Nolan license, and a must have for any big Bat fanatic. (photo courtesy Jingobell)



Best Statue

A number of judges and voters told me this was a really tough category this year.  And yes, we did discuss the Hellboy PF, but he didn't make the final cut.

Of the statues that did, it was a serious race. Everybody got votes, leaving many of them with 5 - 7%.  Third place squeaked in with 8% - the Judge Death from PCS!  I really liked this one, and if you're into quarter scale statues you should be watching PCS. They are doing great work at a reasonable price.

The silver was won with just 9%, with the very cool Chewbacca Premium Format statue edging out da judge. It's hard to get a really great Chewie, and I think that fans appreciated the work Sideshow did.

The winner wasn't much higher in vote count, grabbing just 12%. Still, that was enough to give the gold to the Superman Premium Format statue, also from Sideshow. While some of their other Superman collectibles took heat, this is one statue that everyone loved. (photo courtesy Sideshow Collectibles).



Best Bust

Of all the categories, I think I differed the most from the Peoples with this selection. I'm not completely off, but we only agreed on one of the three.

Coming in third is the Hot Toys Iron Man MK XLII Battle Damaged. Hot Toys did their big set of eight busts this last year, complete with light up functions, and this one was the popular kid out of the series. Or at least he was popular with 15% of the voters. The battle damaged variation was exclusive to the set as well, which probably adds to his popularity.

With 16% of the vote, the SDCC exclusive Rocket Raccoon edged past him to take the silver. Like Groot, Rocket is a very popular character right now, and again, the exclusivity added to his popularity.

The winner has everything going for him - he's big, he's bad, he's beautiful. Taking 31% of the vote and the commanding lead, the Sideshow Big Chap Alien Legendary Scale bust grabbed the gold. Of course, 1:1 would be even better, but this character is so huge that even in 'legendary' scale, you need a room just for him. The detail and paint are amazing - truly a beautiful piece of work. (photo courtesy Sideshow Collectibles).



Best Designer/Vinyl

Funko is clearly dominating this category these days. It's hard to ignore the work they are doing, and collectors have gone nuts for their Pop! vinyl figures from every license on the planet. But they had some very stiff competition.

There's some real little guys out there in this category, and one of them grabbed the bronze with 13% of the vote. The Cahrive figure is produced by Plastic Imagination using the Glyos system, and was a line generated through Kickstarter. One of our judges really loved the concept, and ensured that they made it on the ballot. Good thing too - lots of fans got out and voted.

Second place goes to another little company, Blind Mouse. I loved their Dredd Cosplay Penguin, and so did 28% of the voting populace.  It's great to see these less well known figures making a splash.

Funko grabbed the gold though, getting 34% of the votes for one of their more popular releases this year - Baby Groot! Yep, we've already said it - GoTG was a fantastically popular movie, Groot was a fantastically popular character, and let's face it...the baby Groot is just so damn cute. (photo courtesy Funko).

Best Prop Replica
Maybe it's just me, but it didn't seem like there were quite as many kicking prop replicas in 2014. But there were a few that certainly deserve top honors.

One of those took the third place position with 14% of the popular vote - the Predator Bio Mask from Sideshow. I've heard nothing but good things from those that have picked one up.

Just getting past the mask is an odd one - the Infinity Gauntlet from Hasbro. It was the one SDCC exclusive last year that I was really bummed that I didn't get, but with Hasbro, getting the exclusives remains far too much of a pain in the neck.

The winner was one that I really, really think I need to buy - the Hollywood Collectibles Bat Cowl. Fans of the Keaton/Burton films will appreciate how well done this one is. Anybody got a spare $600? (photo courtesy Hollywood Collectibles).

Best Block Figures/Building Sets
We switched up this category for the Poppies and People's Picks this year, expanding it to lines or series, rather than just companies. That means instead of voting for Lego vs. MegaBloks, you were voting for specific lines from each company.

It's been a very big year for building sets too, with lots of companies doing what they can to challenge Lego's dominance. The results of the vote seems to indicate they still have a way to go.

Lego gets the bronze with 16% of the vote going to their very cool Lego Movie line. This one almost sucked me in, but I would have ended up a completist and broke.

They also took second place, this time with 22% of the vote going to the DC/Marvel Superheroes line. I've been smart enough to stick with just some of the Batman related sets, and I can tell you that those are really, really fun.

And yes, they took the gold once again, this time for their Lego Star Wars sets.  With a new movie in 2015, I expect this line to get all kinds of new life breathed into it in the coming months.


Best Misc

And here we come to the final category, the catch all, the repository for the undefinable. These tend to be concepts that are too broad for any one other category, or collectibles that are outside the norm.

I'm going to be honest - I'm pretty surprised that my favorite, the Caesar bust blu-ray case, only pulled 20% of the vote and a bronze medal. This guy is really cool, but I suspect his high initial price scared a lot of people off.

Second place goes to the Titanfall Collector's Edition, that included all kinds of great stuff, but it's the large statue that garnered it the love. With more and more of these interesting sets coming out for video game releases, we might have to add a new category in 2015.

I think I've made it pretty clear that I don't like the ReAction series of retro action figures from Funko, but the voters made it very clear that they really, really do. Collectors are gobbling these up right now, and the overall concept - which is what was being considered here - took a whopping 35% of the vote.

That's it for another year - I'm busy tallying up the Poppies right now, and will have those results up for comparison and discussion on Tuesday night. See you then!



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