The voting is complete, the caucus' wrapped, the stumping done. My readers voted on the same ballot as
the Poppies Judges, which I like to call the "People's Picks", and here are the results. It's always fun to compare what
collectors selected in the 19 categories for Best Pop Culture Collectibles of 2015 with the actual Poppies results. You should
be able to do that by the end of the week, when I post those results as well! If you're looking for my personal picks (including
some worsts), just head over here
. Enjoy, and feel free to drop me a line
with any comments!
Please share with your friends!
Here are links back to past year's picks for comparisons:
Best Overall Company:
There were a lot of great companies on the ballot this year. That usually means the votes get
spread out quite a bit, with winners getting percentages in the teens. Not so this time around, with the top three snagging
almost 70% of the total.
The third place winner is Hasbro
, with 9% of the vote. I'm betting the new Force Awakens merchandise went a
long way to warming collector's hearts once again.
In second is my top pick for the year - NECA
. They grabbed a very respectable 20% of the vote, and a silver
medal. It's hard to ignore all the fantastic work they did last year, especially with the horror and DC lines. You're going to
see their releases in the top three of a lot of these categories as you read through the results.
The winner didn't surprise me, but the dominate 39% of the vote they received did. Yep, it's Hot Toys
favorite for more years than I can count. With the Marvel, DC and Star Wars licenses in sixth scale, it's going to very, very
difficult to unseat them in 2016, but there are several companies that are going to try very, very hard.
Best Overall Line - High End:
Considering the licenses that Hot Toys has right now, I thought it was possible for
them to sweep this category this year. They didn't, but it was close.
Third place goes to the spoiler, the One:12 Collective
up from Mezco. They managed to get 11% of the vote with only a few Batman and Judge Dredd figures released in 2015, setting
pretty high expectations for their final outcome in this same poll next year, after they release some Classic Trek and Batman
vs. Superman figures.
Hot Toys takes over after that, getting 18% of the vote for their overall Marvel
. With a ton of movies hitting this year and some figures based on last year's film selection
still set to ship, I'd expect this license to fair pretty well in 2016 as well.
But it's going to be very hard for anyone, even another Hot Toys line, to block this year's winner from repeating 12 months
from now. The winner, with a whopping 35% of the vote, is Hot Toys Star
line. Is that any surprise, considering the hype and enthusiasm generated by the new film?
Best Overall Line - Low End:
With the first two categories, my winners and the People's Picks were pretty far
apart. There were a couple matches, but certainly not the top dogs. That gets better with the Overall Line - Low
Taking 14% of the vote is the terrific Alien(s)
line up from NECA. They've been crushing this one, and with the various releases of Ripley and the Power Loader, this
was a particularly good year for the series.
Taking another 16% of the vote is Hasbro's 6" Star Wars Black
series. Again, with all the fan hype over the new movie, I'm not surprised. Collectors may not be thrilled with every
release, but there's a generally positive attitude towards the overall series.
The winner snagged another 20% of the vote, and this is where I agree completely with the People. They've picked the DC
Collectibles animated Batman
series as their winner, and as
a big fan, I wholeheartedly agree.
Eddie Wires Award:
This award is in honer of the great Eddie Wires, whose work remains an inspiration in the
industry. The important quality is the paint - what collectible had a paint application so good that it took the overall
item to the next level?
My first place pick only took 11% of the vote, but that was good enough for a third place finish. The Hot Toys Whiplash MKII
remains a favorite of mine in the paint
I was a bit surprised that the second place winner didn't take it all - it's Marylin
from Blitzway. She's a beautiful statue, certainly a sight to be hold, and it's largely due to a
much nicer paint application than we usually see, even on high end statues like this. Don't worry, Marylin has another shot at
gold in the Best Statue category.
The winner snagged a very respectable 27% of the votes to take first - the 1/4 scale Iron
! I'm surprised by this for two reasons, neither of which have to do with the overall exceptional
quality of the paint. First, I had to be convinced to get it on the ballot because while it was released in late 2015, not a
lot of people had gotten it yet. And second, I keep thinking that fans will get Iron Man'ed out at some point. Clearly that's
not yet the case, and the reception for this guy has been extremely positive.
(Photo courtesy Sideshow
Best Male Figure - 1/4 scale and Up:
With all the NECA releases in 2015, I thought for sure this was going to be
The best they could manage was third, however, with 12% of the votes going to my favorite, the Batman
. I love this guy, and considering the price point, he was a great addition to the line
Second place was taken by that same guy that upset dear Marylin for the Eddie Wires award. The Hot Toys 1/4
scale Iron Man MK43
took second in the 'big and tall' category. Seems like there must have been a fair share
of international voters, since that's where this guy was first available.
The big winner, with a whopping 44% of the vote, is Boba
from Hot Toys. This Return of the Jedi version is extremely well done, and if you haven't had a
chance to check out the amazing quality of the Hot Toys QS series, please do so. You'll be drooling.
(Photo courtesy Sideshow
Best Male Figure - 12" - 17":
I might be remembering things incorrectly, but this category is usually a blow
out. Until last year, it was dominated by Hot Toys, but Sideshow snatched it from them with their excellent Darth
Vader. This year, Hot Toys returned to dominance, but the three top figures were neck and neck with the voters.
In third place, with a very solid 19% of the vote, was the new Tatooine
from Hot Toys. I certainly get it - this is the best young Hamill portrait in this scale, and
he comes with a buttload of extras.
Edging him out, but just barely, with 20% of the vote is another Hot Toys Star Wars release - Darth
. While Sideshow's release won this category, Hot Toys couldn't quite overtake their best release of the
year. Perhaps it was the annoying light and sound features that held him back?
Whatever the reason, the winner didn't win by a lot. He grabbed 23% of the vote to slip by Vader and claim the gold: the
figure! I passed this one up, and I'm kicking myself repeatedly and with much
gusto over that one. The last time I made that big of a mistake was probably Blade...or perhaps Vasquez. The detailing
on the exposed portrait is amazing, and the likeness is one of their best.
(Photo courtesy Toy
Best Male Figure - 5" - 11":
Way to go, peoples! Another category where they got the winner right...at least
as far as I'm concerned.
In third place, with 8% of the vote, is Hasbro's First Order
, from the 6" Black Series. He's a solid release, that's for sure, and overall the line looks to
improve during 2016. The Han that just hit looks great!
We have our first (and one of only two this year) tie, with two figures getting 12% each and taking second place.
Interestingly enough, both also had similar problems with breakage. The first is the Chris
from NECA; the second is the animated Batman
from the DC Collectibles line.
I loved both of these guys, even with the brittle plastic.
But the winner puts the smack down on the rest of the field with 21% of the vote, and it's the same figure I chose: the One:12 Collective DKR Batman
! This is a line that I
expect great things from, and their Judge Dredd and Batman releases were a fantastic start.
Best Male Figure - Under 5":
There weren't a lot of choices this year - the market has definitely shrunk for this
scale, at least for now. These things are cyclical of course, and they'll be back in the game soon enough. But even with the
fewer choices, it was a very tight race.
With 12% of the vote, the G.I.
figure grabbed third. That goes to prove that even with less available product, Joe is still
mighty popular with his fans.
Sneaking into second with 15% of the vote is Rick
from the Walking Dead. This is a series that gets better with likenesses with every release, and this
latest Rick is a world apart from the first time they produced him.
Pulling in front with only 19% of the vote is the big winner - the First
from Hasbro. They didn't ship a lot of Force Awakens figures in 2015, waiting for the movie
to hit to avoid spoiling anything, but this design remains one of my favorites. Clearly the fans felt the same way.
(Photo courtesy Rebel Scum)
Best Female Figure over 11":
This category has a streak going - two years in a row, it's been taken by Black Widow.
Hot Toys has given us a new version each year for each new movie release, and fans loved it both times. With a third
release in 2015, can they keep the streak alive?
Before we get there, let's start with the third place winner. With 17% of the vote, another Hot Toys release took the bronze -
! While she had a few
issues, she was still a beautiful rendition. Now if we can just finally get the final piece in the Guardians puzzle...
My first place pick actually took second with the Peoples, and I have to admit I'm a little bummed out. Star Ace's Hermione Granger
snagged a solid 25% of the vote to
get the silver, but she already had my vote. The prototype for the older version in the ball gown looks great in photos, so
I'm crossing my fingers that the final release will wow us.
And the top winner, with 32% of the vote...drum roll please...Black
! The lovely lady from Hot Toys continues her streak, much like Meryl Streep. It's not all that
surprising, since every release has gotten better, but it will be interesting to see if 2016 brings someone different to the
top podium, or more of the same.
(Photo courtesy Sideshow
Best Female Figure - 5" - 11":
Once upon a time, Marvel Legends, DCUC and MOTUC dominated this category. They were
the only game in town, when it came to female figures. No longer!
Third place was won with 11% of the vote, with the bronze going to the "where's Waldo?" of action figures: Rey
, as seen in the Hasbro
6" Star Wars Black series. The early release had some paint issues, but the later shipments have a much improved application.
Slipping past Rey is another Hasbro Black series figure: Captain
. While she didn't get to do much in the first film, I'm expecting much badassery from her in the next
release, and this 6" version is a terrific looking figure.
The winner goes to Ripley
from the terrific Aliens line by NECA. She grabbed 16% of the vote, just squeaking by Phasma (who had 15%). She is one of the
greatest female action characters in one of the greatest sci-fi action movies, so it's terrific to see NECA doing such a great
job with the license.
(Photo courtesy Preternia)
Best Female Figure - Under 5":
There were more choices nominated on the ballot than I expected, but it was exactly
the sort of tight race you knew it would be.
Getting 15% of the vote was one of my favorites, Carol
from the Walking Dead. McFarlane has done better and better with the likenesses and paint work on this series, and I suspect
it will be a major line for them for some time. While the figures are technically at that 5" mark, I feel they compare better
to the other 4" scale lines in terms of style, rather than the 6 - 8" stuff out there.
Second was won with 19% of the vote, and it's another version of the winner of the previous category - Captain
. She might be smaller, but she was still very popular with the voters. I picked her as my
winner, but the Peoples had other ideas.
It was close though. Ashoka
won it with just 20% of the vote, doing it Hillary style. This adult rendition was popular with
collectors, and pairing her up with Vader in a Rebels two pack wasn't a bad idea either.
(Photo courtesy Yakface)
There were a ton of BAF's released in 2015, and a ton more appear to be on the horizon for 2016. Hasbro
is really the company keeping the concept rolling, although other companies still get the occasional winner out there. Not
this year - Hasbro is sweeping the category.
Third place goes to Thanos
, one of
those Hasbro Marvel Legends BAF's. He took 10% of the vote and 10% of the hearts of fans. Or of fan's hearts. You know what I
Second place is another ML BAF, the big Rhino
I suspect that getting two heads with this guy went a long way to pleasing collectors and fans alike. He took 12% of the vote.
The winner took this one in a massive landslide. I don't think any other winner in the 2015 awards had this kind of
overwhelming majority over the second place finisher. With 46% of the vote, the Marvel Legends Hulkbuster
takes the gold. Makes sense to me, since he was my pick as well. He has the sort of bulk that we saw more often with
older BAF's, and he has great sculpting, great paint, and great articulation. That's always a winning combo. Poor Rhino, he
didn't stand a chance.
Best Play Set or Vehicle:
This has been a hopping category lately, with companies like Hasbro and Mattel producing
vehicles and play sets in much larger scales with more regularity. And let's not forget that there have been quite a few sixth
scale goodies that qualify too!
In third place is one of those surprise vehicles from Hasbro - the TIE
in the 6" Black series. With 13% of the vote it grabs bronze, and it also grabbed some serious cash
from collectors that couldn't resist all that plastic. You can count me in that group!
Second place was taken with 15% of the vote, and it's another vehicle designed for 6 - 7" figures. NECA has been kicking butt
with a lot of their lines, but when it comes to vehicles, their best work last year was the Aliens
. Again, it wasn't cheap, but you got a terrific addition to your Aliens display for the money.
There was no doubt about the winner, with the animated
from DC Collectibles getting 25% of the votes. I loved it, you loved it, the peoples loved
it. Personally, it was the light up feature that sent it over the top.
This was probably the tightest race of the bunch, with only a few percent between first and third, and
only the second tie in the entire process.
As I mentioned, there were only two ties this year, quite a bit fewer than any previous year. Clearly, the voters were
less spread out on the choices this time, with a lot of solid, clear winners. However, the third place spot for best statue
was one of the two ties, with both the Balrog
from Weta getting 8% each. This is a good example of what can happen when too many choices from a single company and license
are up for the same category. Had only Balrog or Smaug been a choice, it's quite possible that the majority of the 16% that
voted for one or the other would have combined forces, giving the one statue the win. Instead, the vote was watered down,
allowing other statues to take the lead.
The second place winner was a surprise to me because I thought I was the only one that liked it. With 10% of the vote, the 1989 Batman Premium Format statue
grabbed silver. As I said, this was a bit of a surprise, since collectors either complained about the matte paint job on
the suit, or the fact that his head is slightly turned. But the silent fans came out when it was time to vote, and gave
him some love.
I'm not in the least bit surprised by the winner, although the fact that she only beat Batman by 1% of the vote is kinda
shocking. There's no doubt that Blitzway did an amazing job with their quarter scale version of Marylin
, and fans of the beloved actress finally have a great collectible for their shelves.
Like the 4" action figure, 2015 was a slow year for the bust and mini-bust. Fewer companies are making
them, and fewer licenses are getting the treatment. There has been some growth in output though in more recent months,
especially with companies like DST looking to produce something collectors can more easily afford in this format.
The third place winner isn't easy to afford, however. He is beautiful though, and I picked him as my winner for the year - Smaug
Yes, this is a Smaug bust, not the Smaug statue we were just discussing. About 16% of the voters agreed with me.
The second place winner is even bigger - the DKR
Batman life size bust
by Sideshow. It's hard to not be impressed by a 1:1 scale bust, and they did a nice job
on this Bale likeness. At least, that's what 18% of the voters said.
Taking first is another surprise, at least to me. While I appreciate all the hard work Diamond Select has put into their
cheaper busts and statues, I hadn't expected to see one win. And yet, the animated Harley
bust did just that with 23% of the vote. I've been buying all their animated product, and have to
say it's a terrific value, with great quality for the price. And Harley is always a favorite with the fans, so my surprise
seems less and less appropriate as I type this.
(Photo courtesy Entertainment Earth)
There was a pretty broad range of choices on this year's ballot, from the mass market to the
specialty release. The top three reflected that as well.
In third is the adorable Hulkbuster Cosbaby
from Hot Toys. He's much larger than the average Cosbaby, which is as it should be, and he has a beautiful paint job. He
also has 11% of the vote!
Number 2 is also from Hot Toys, but not a Cosbaby this time. Their line of 'artist mix' vinyl bobble heads gets it's
name because they are designed by famous toy artists for Hot Toys. The Tony
Stark designed by Touma
took home 14% of the vote and a second place trophy.
The big winner is an interesting one. I picked him as my winner too, and while he is from Funko, he's not technically one of
their vinyl figure releases. Instead, he is part of the ReAction line...but the judges felt he fit best in this
category. They must have been right, because Bruce
the Shark from Jaws
took top honors with 27% of the votes!
(Photo courtesy Cardboard Connection)
Best Prop Replica:
When it comes to great prop replicas, big and expensive tends to win the day.
That's certainly the case with the third place winner, who took 15% of the vote. There have been a ton of Captain
produced over the last couple years, but the one from eFX remains a huge fan favorite.
Another big, beautiful but expensive replica took second place, this time with 17% of the overall vote. I'm a big Batman
fan, and I'd love to have the Arkham
Origins Bat Cowl
from Triforce. They've done a number of sweet cowls, but this one really stand out.
But the winner wasn't quite as expensive, and was even available at mass market retailers like Toys R Us and Target. Hasbro's
new FX Kylo Ren lightsaber
was one of the few 'toy' releases to sell out quickly, and it also grabbed 26% of the votes. I think fans really miss the days
of Master Replicas, and this is the closest we've seen to that sort of work in quite some time.
(Photo courtesy Toys R Us)
Best Building Set/Figures:
We switched this category up last year as part of the on going evolution of the
awards process, and it was a great idea. In the past, we simply selected a company, but now the ballot lists
specific sets or lines of sets, so that voters can be far more specific with their favorites.
About 9% of those voters went for a set that came out fairly late in the year, but was a fantastically cool release - Doctor Who
! While there's a
number of Doctor Who items as part of the new game, this set really raised the bar for the regular releases.
Someone other than Lego took second place, grabbing 12% of the vote. That would be McFarlane with their very cool Walking Dead
sets. As I said in my picks, these are more like models than traditional building toys, but the detail and quality
are pretty amazing considering the scale.
The winner goes back to Lego, who received 26% of the vote for their overall Star
releases in 2015. Between the new and old films, they hit up a lot of very cool vehicles and
locations, and were some of the best toy releases for Force Awakens overall, particularly before the movie opened at
(Photo courtesy Lego.com)
As the number of categories in the Poppies has grown, the nominees for the Misc category get
stranger, and stranger. This year there were definitely some odd balls, and the winner is a perfect example. The
winner also pulled off the biggest domination of any of the categories for 2015.
The third place spot was taken with 11% of the vote. Fans of the 1966 Batmobile are always looking for something new, and
DST supplied it with the uber cool Batmobile
I can't guarantee you'll look cool using it, but it is cool enough on its own for you
The second place winner received a respectable 13% of the vote, edging in to the top three. NECA's Aliens line has
shown up repeatedly in these awards, and I expect they will in the Poppies too, and their Red
Queen Alien figure
grabbed a spot here. You'll notice a change this year with this figure. Normally, she
would have been included in the Female figure category, since she is a figure and she is female, after all. But the judges
agreed that wasn't really fair, being she's an alien, and we placed her in the Misc for better representation. I'm leaning
heavily toward adding a new category for next year, a single "Best Alien or Monster" category that will allow some of the
more gruesome figures across all the scales a chance to battle it out. Let me know what you think!
The top winner in this final category crushed all comers with a whopping 52% of the vote. Once again, NECA did it up
right for the Aliens license, producing this super cute and fun carton
of alien eggs
. This is a perfect example of exactly the sort of bizarre thing that belongs in this
category, and it's exactly the sort of silly thing collectors love.
(Photo courtesy of the Clearance
Please share with your friends!
And there you have the People's Picks for 2015! A few surprises, a few not, but it will be very interesting to see
how these results match up with the judge's choices in the Poppies. I should have those ready to publish at my next