Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

The People's Picks...
The Best of 2017 as Selected by Readers

Date Published: 2017-02-14
Written By: Michael Crawford

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People's Picks 2017

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The People have spoken, the votes are tallied, and it is time to announce the winners of the People's Picks for Best Collectibles of 2017!  Readers vote using the same ballot as the Poppies, making for an interesting comparison with the results and adding some fuel to the debate. I'm tallying up the Poppies right now, and I should have those results ready very soon as well.

The People's Picks are kinda like the Golden Globes or People's Choice - they can give some indication as to how the Poppies might go. Of course, there's always those exceptions...

Here are links to past year's picks (and this years) for comparisons:

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2017 2017 2017
2016 2016 2016
2015 2015 2015
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

On to the list...

Best Overall Company
This is a category that gets almost 100% of the voters casting a vote, not abstaining. Even with a ton of good nominees, the winners were pretty clear cut.

First, there's a honorable mention. Weta pulled in 10% of the vote, but was just a couple votes short of the third place finisher. That's a really strong showing for them, and their fans really turned out this year.

The bronze medal goes to NECA, who also had about 10%, but just a handful more votes than Weta. Their dominance of the 7" scale action figure market these days is a driving force, with a wide variety of licenses and figures still at the local Toys R Us.

The silver medal goes to my personal favorite for 2017, Mezco. They took 13% of the vote, thanks largely to their work on the terrific One:12 Collective series. Don't be surprised when you see that series take some more medals in this competition.

The big winner, with a solid 22% of the vote, was the perennial favorite, Hot Toys. This wasn't as strong a year for them in general, but they did have some fantastic specific releases, and I think the Marvel and Star Wars licenses have been very good to them - and vice versa.

Hot Toys Netflix Punisher action figure

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Best Overall Line - High End
There's some surprises here, at least for some collectors.

Hot Toys tends to dominate this category, and they took bronze with 13% of the vote. Their Marvel figures have been terrific, and they've even broadened the line a bit by bringing in Netflix and a number of B characters to offset the million Iron Men and Captain Americas.

They also took silver, with 17% of the vote going to their amazing Star Wars series. This is the sort of license that takes a company to a whole new level, and I suspect we'll see some amazing releases from Hot Toys over the next couple years. They've managed to continue to produce old school characters while hitting the highlights of the new movies, and doing it with the same quality we've seen from them consistently over the last decade.

But here's the surprise - they didn't take the top spot. With 25% of the vote, Mezco's One:12 Collective pulled off the upset! I don't know that I should really be surprised - after market prices have gone nuts on the early releases, and key characters like Punisher and Batman are in extremely high demand. It's clear collectors are high on this line right now, and Mezco has a very promising 2018 in front of them. I just hope they don't walk away from the lesser licenses that need a little love too.

One:12 Collective Space Ghost action figures

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Best Overall Line - Low End
There were a LOT of choices on the ballot, all of them good. But it ended up not all that competitive, with the top three covering 40% of the vote.

The third place trophy goes to DC Collectibles Batman: The Animated Series line of figures. They took 10% of the vote. Sadly, I don't expect to see these on the ballot again in 2018, and it was nice to see them get one last hurrah in before they fade away.

They were barely edged out (with just 11%) by an amazing series that simply doesn't get enough press - the Mythic Legion from the Four Horsemen.  If you're into fantasy characters, this line of unique creations is right up your alley.

The winner gobbled up a solid 19% of the vote for the easy win - Hasbro's Marvel Legends. I can't say I'm surprised. Hasbro put out a ton of waves, and every one of them were quality stuff. They covered comic and film favorites, along with some interesting B and C characters.  Even the BAF's were well designed, and thanks to good distribution, picking them up was fairly easy.

Marvel Legends Thor Ragnarok Hulk action figure

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Eddie Wires Award for Outstanding Paint
The Eddie Wires Award is intended to highlight a collectible where the paint work was so exceptional, so amazing, so eye catching, that it set the figure apart from everything else.

I was a little surprised, but my favorite for this category ended up in third. Yep, the One:12 Collective Punisher, with that amazing extra battle damaged portrait, didn't get the gold, but he did steal the hearts of 15% of the voters.

Second place goes to another of my personal favorite figures, Hot Toys Doctor Strange. He snagged 16% of the vote, edging out the Punisher for the silver. The paint work went a long way to making the portrait one of the best of the year.

And Hot Toys takes the top spot as well, with another 19% of the vote. You might not love the character design, but enough of you love the exceptional paint work to give their Suicide Squad Harley Quinn the nod.

Hot Toys Harley Quinn action figure

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Best Male/Female Figure - 18" and up
We combined the male and female category in this scale for 2017, due to a serious drought of females to choose from. There was one though...

But before we get to her, let's talk about the bronze medal winner. With 23% of the vote, Hot Toys gets third for their Iron Man MK42 deluxe figure. This might seem like a surprise, but remember, we've gotten several quarter scale Iron Men from Hot Toys, including the MK42 before. This is the deluxe release, and it's a thing of beauty...but there's some Iron Man fatigue going around.

My pick and the only lady on the ballot in this category is the Batman Returns Catwoman from NECA. She picked up 26% of the vote. The regular portrait was nice, but it's really the battle damaged version that sets this figure apart.

NECA takes the gold as well, this time with their TMNT Michelangelo. The entire run has been great, but Mike was the 2017 standout, and grabbed a nice 29% of the votes. NECA's 1/4 scale releases prove you can get great articulation at this scale for a reasonable price point.

Photo courtesy the Toy Ark.

NECA TMNT Michelangelo action figure

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Best Male Figure 12 - 17"
If I were to tell you that Hot Toys dominated this category again this year, would you be all that surprised? Of course not.

The third place winner comes out of the Star Wars arena - K-2SO. He's also a favorite of mine (along with 8% of the voters), thanks to the ingenious engineering. We've come to accept the sort of mechanical gymnastics that the average Hot Toys Iron Man can do, but seeing them nail it again with a robot figure just proves the point.

My winner ended up in second place - Doctor Strange, also from Hot Toys. 18% of the voters agreed with me, and the combination of accurate sculpt, amazing paint (remember, he took silver in the Eddie Wires category as well), and complex costume put him at the top of so many collector's lists.

Some will think the winner had an unfair advantage. He's huge and super expensive, so he better be amazing! But those of us who collected for a long time know neither of those things are indicative of perfection.  Hot Toys did a fantastic job with their Hulkbuster, and 24% of the voters were enough to give him the gold in this category.

Hot Toys Hulkbuster sixth scale action figure

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Best Male Figure 5 - 11"
I'm not surprised that Mezco's One:12 series did well here. But they didn't sweep, if that's what you're thinking.

The third place spot was taken by 6% of the vote. S.H. Figurarts Spider-Man Homecoming figure is a terrific example of the sort of quality and amazing articulation that they put into every character. All that superior engineering is put to good use with a character like Spidey, and clearly a lot of fans responded.

But Mezco took the top two, starting with silver. Getting 11% of the vote, the very cool Joker takes the middle spot on the podium. I was pretty surprised by this outcome, simply because I didn't think this particular figure had that big of a following. Sure, I love him, but I'm a bat-nut. And with a second version coming, I thought he might not have the steam to make it up the hill. I was wrong!

I was not in the least bit surprised by the winner. Check out the aftermarket prices on the One:12 Collective Punisher and you'll see what demand can do. A solid 17% of the vote picked him, and I have to say I fully agree.

Punisher One:12 action figure

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Best Male Figure under 5"
With categories that have lots of nominees, like this one, you get a lot of spread on the voting. You also get close results. That's a good thing.

I also don't personally buy much in this scale any more. If you know how much I used to buy that was under 5" (*cough*StarWars*cough*), you'd be pretty shocked by this revelation. But there are some things that really, really tempt me. The third place finisher is one of those - Bucky O'Hare. He got 10% of the vote, and I have to admit that the terrific sculpt and excellent articulation, not to mention the cool accessories (multiple expressions!) are almost enough to suck me in.

Thanks to 11% of the voters, the Gladiator Hulk from the small Marvel Legends line gets the second place spot.  The overall gladiator design for the character is a winner in any scale, and the tiny details with this release were really impressive.

I was really surprised by the winner in this category - really surprised. Of course it was a close one, with so many great choices, and 14% of the vote was enough to give the NECA Ultimate Chucky the gold. I know it's a nice figure, but I had no idea it had so many fans. I'll be very interested in seeing how this entire category pans out with the Poppies judges, and if there's any consistency.

NECA Ultimate Chucky action figure

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Best Female Figure 11" - 17"
In past years, Hot Toys tended to win in every category they were nominated. Interestingly, that's not the case so far this year. But when it comes to their core business, they're still impossible to beat.

They get the bronze and 19% of the vote for the deluxe Jyn Erso. She was my pick for best overall, so I can certainly understand the love. Lots of accessories and outfits are key, but the character also deserves the recognition.

She was edged out of silver by the Hot Toys Wonder Woman. 21% of the voters gave this beautiful figure the top nod. A lot of collectors dissed this figure, and I thought they were way off base - nice to see there's plenty out there that agree with me.

The winner is no surprise to me. Lots of people hated the movie, and even more hated the new design for Harley Quinn. But when Hot Toys produced their Harley figure, the accuracy and perfection couldn't be denied. She's already won the People's Picks in the Eddie Wires category, and it's not just the paint that makes her special. Great sculpting, excellent accessories, and an accurate, well made costume round out the perfection. She took 25% of the vote and the top spot here as well.

Hot Toys Harley Quinn action figure

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Best Female Figure 5 - 11"
Another surprise popped up in this category, at least for me. It's not who won, but by how much. It's also nice to see winners from three very different lines.

The third place spot went to Harley again, but this time it's the One:12 Collective Harley Quinn. There were a lot of good choices, which spread the votes pretty thin, and Harley took third with 7%. She's a nice start to the female line up for the One:12 series, and I can't wait to see how their Wonder Woman and others turn out.

Second place was grabbed with 9% of the votes. Hasbro took silver with their Star Wars Black series 40th Anniversary Princess Leia. This was technically a re-release of the regular Leia, but they did make some improvements to the sculpt and paint that were much appreciated.

When it comes to vote percents, you'll notice those were fairly small numbers. The winner didn't edge them out - she crushed them, taking 18% of the vote, well in front of the second place finisher.  The Marvel Legends Hela grabbed gold, and with good reason. Two portraits, both of them well done, and a great overall character design set her apart from the pack.

Marvel Legends Hela action figure

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Best Female Figure under 5"
More surprises for me in this category, and I'm going to be very interested to see if the Poppies Judges match on any of the female category choices. In most years, the People's Picks and the Poppies are relatively close, but I have my suspicions that this might not be true for 2017.

My first shock is that a figure I had on my Worst list made it in the top three. While I rarely agree with any of the top picks, it's odd that something I dislike that much is so well liked, but 11% of the voters feel that Funko's Stranger Things Eleven deserves top honors. That was enough to net her the bronze. I'm not sure I can explain it, other than a love for Funko and for the show.

Funko grabs the silver too, netting 12% of the vote with their 1966 Batman Batgirl. I certainly liked her, but then I'm a serious Bat geek. I think this was one of Funko's better lines in 2017, but sadly I don't expect we'll see a second series.

The big winner comes to us from Good Smile, a company that doesn't get enough recognition for the amazing work they do. Their Nenderoid Wind Walker Princess Zelda took 14% of the vote and the gold medal. It's great to see more of the Asian releases getting recognized, and this one is particularly well done.

Nenderoid Zelda action figure

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Best Build-A-Figure
If you're looking for more surprises, you'll probably want to skip this category.

You know that Hasbro and Mattel will do well - they have a million BAF's out there these days. Mattel took third place and 12% of the vote with their King Shark, part of the Multiverse series. Sadly, I've never been able to fully appreciate his glory because, thanks to the uber-crappy distribution on this line, I've never been able to finish him.

I did finish the second place winner, the Gladiator Hulk from Marvel Legends. The Thor: Ragnarok wave was a strong one in general (Hela just won in her specific category), and it was capped off by an appropriate and well designed (and well equipped!) Hulk. With 19% of the vote, he easily grabbed a spot on the podium.

But c'mon, you know who won. It's taken a couple years to get all the parts, but the huge Ghostbusters Rooftop diorama was easily the best BAF (or is that a BAP? a BAD?) to be released in 2017. And that's saying a lot, considering how crowded the field was. A whopping 30% of the voters agreed.

Ghosbusters Rooftop Diorama

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Best Vehicle
In past years, we had one category - Best Vehicle or Play Set. That makes some sense, because vehicles really ARE play sets, when you think about it, and the line between the two can get awfully fuzzy. It also made logistic sense, since there were only so many good nominees.

But in 2017 there were a ton of good choices, and it seemed to make sense to break them up into two distinct categories. Let's start with Best Vehicle.

The third place winner took 16% of the vote. Hasbro gets the spot with their nifty Star Wars Black Landspeeder, another great version of this particular conveyance, done up in a 1/12 scale. The 6" Black Series remains one of the few I still pick up at mass retailers, and whenever I can get a vehicle in this scale I'm a happy camper. Not only was the vehicle great, but it came with a pretty decent Luke as well.

My top choice ended up in second with the People. The Ecto-1 from Playmobil garnered 19% of the vote. Sure, you have to build it, but once you do, you have a really fun car complete with lights and sounds. I'm a HUGE fan of Playmobil, and I love that they've branched into some licensed products.

The winner, with 24% of the vote, is the Ultimate Batmobile based on the Justice League design. I have to be honest - I didn't buy one. I was tempted, but worries about how well it worked with the phone app (I heard there were some issues with distance) scared me off of the full price. They did show up on sale at some discount stores, but sadly, those discount stores are not in my neck of the woods. But it looks like plenty of people did have a great experience with this phone app based RC car, and if I ever get lucky and stumble on one again, I'll probably break.

Ultimate Batmobile

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Best Play Set
There are very few categories where the winner took it in a landslide. This is one of them.

That's not to say the runners up didn't grab a decent share. The bronze was won with 12% of the vote, and this showing by the Ghostbusters Firehouse from Playmobil further cements just how cool and how loved these sets were with fans.

The silver winner also had a double digit percentage with 15% going their way. There's a lot of love out there for what Qmx is doing with their sixth scale Star Trek series, and the Captain's Chair, with it's lights and sounds, was certainly a highlight.

But the big winner crushed the competition by taking 32% of the vote. Nearly one in three of you chose the super cool animated Batcave from DC Collectibles. It seems fitting, since their Batmobile and their Batplane had big success in the Vehicle/Play Set category in past years.

Batman the Animated Series Batcave

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Best Statue
There were some terrific nominees in this category, and there wasn't a lot of daylight between first and second place.

The third place winner received 9% of the votes, and was based on the classic Batman comic The Killing Joke. This Joker is part of DC Collectibles Designer Series, and adds some legs to the famous cover art. Obviously collectors responded, thanks to the timeless appeal of the design.

I suspect the second and first place winners did some stumping on the campaign trail. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it's pretty silly of a company to be on the ballot and not promote it with their fans.  I know Weta did, and it paid off with a silver, with 18% of the votes going to their terrific Mouth of Sauron statue. This thing is huge and beautiful - always the perfect combination!

The winner comes from a smaller company called First 4 Figures. If you haven't heard of them, you will. Their work is really gorgeous, and they edged out Weta with just 1% more of the vote, getting 19% for their Artorias statue. This dude is from Dark Souls, and is another big boy, coming in at 21" tall in a crouched pose. Even if you know nothing about the game, you'll be drawn in by the level of detail and quality on this statue.

First 4 Figures Artorius Statue

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Best Bust
The market for busts is certainly on the quiet side, at least compared to 5 or 10 years ago. But there's still some excellent examples, especially in larger scales.

The bronze winner took home 16% of the vote. He was my personal pick for the year, but I'm still surprised he made it in the top three, because he comes from a very low cost series. Obviously, it's Man-bat from the Diamond Select Toys series of animated Batman busts. He might be low cost, but the sculpt and design are top notch.

Silver was had with 27% of the vote. That's how many voters picked the 'Deadpool as Caesar' classic style bust from Gentle Giant. The market might be slow for busts right now, but don't tell Gentle Giant, as they continue to rock out the high quality, in demand releases like this.

They also won the overall gold, bringing in 34% of the vote with their terrific McQuarrie Concept Han Solo. The original McQuarrie designs have made for some terrific collectibles over the years, and this SDCC exclusive bust was one of the best.

McQuarrie Concept Han Solo bust

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Best Designer/Vinyl Figure
We normally see a few ties - it's to be expected with 20 categories times 3 medals. But out of the 60 winners in the People's Picks this year, there was only straight up tie, and it was for second place in this category.

Here's another shocker - while Funko dominated the ballot, they did not dominate the top three!

They are the bronze winner, however. With 9% of the vote, the super cute Dorbz Skeletor (with Panthor!) grabbed a spot on the podium. Funko Pop! figures tend to get all the press, but the Dorbz are so damn adorable...and this one really stands out.

Two figures tied for the silver, both getting exactly 12% of the overall vote total. And neither one of them is from Funko. First up, there's the Weta Frodo, part of their 'Mini-Epics' line. They went with the super cute animated look for these, and it really works in their favor.

The other winner of the silver medal, also with 12%, is the Wonder Woman Q-Figs from Quantum Mechanix. Obviously it was a big year for Wonder Woman and cool collectibles, but this particular design is just too damn cute.

Quantum Mechanix also edged out the rest of the competition for the gold, getting 13% of the vote for their Pinky and the Brain. I picked this one as my favorite as well, but then, I'm a huge fan of the show, and sadly, it just doesn't get much in the way of great collectibles these days.

Photo courtesy of Toy Ark.

Qmx Pinky and the Brain vinyl figure

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Best Prop Replica
There were some great replicas last year, although the overall quantity seemed down to me. Perhaps it's because there were so many helmets getting made, and I don't really get into helmets.

I did buy the third place winner though, a terrific release from NECA. Eleven percent of the voters agreed with me, giving the cool Ashy Slashy puppet from Ash vs. the Evil Dead the bronze medal. The show's great, this particular episode was great, and the replica is spot on.  Even better, he looks terrific next to your Angel puppet!

Barely edging him out with 12% of the vote is the way cool Blade Runner 2049 blaster from Hollywood Collectibles Group. HCG does some amazing stuff, but it's never cheap. You get what you pay for, am I right? And you're definitely getting the definitive blaster from the hit sequel with this one. They actually used the replicas in the new film (this is the same weapon Deckard used in the original film) - how much more accurate can you get?

But it's another blaster that gets the gold. Fourteen percent of the voters went for the Han Solo Blaster produced by Todd's Costumes. I own one of these, and yes, it really is as amazing as you think, and the price is much, much lower than you expect.  That's a winning combination!

Han Solo's Blaster prop replica

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Best Building Set
Once upon a time, we picked the company that produced the best block figures and building sets for this category. Then we switch to license. Now, we're picking the actual sets we liked best. It's called evolution, baby. Don't tell Mike Pence.

Here's a shocker - Lego dominates. Yea, other companies get nominated, but nobody does it quite like Lego. The took third place with just 7% of the vote going to their Saturn V set. Space travel is big right now, and Lego knows how to tap into trends. This set is one of the big ones too, with a lot of detail and a great design. It even includes the Lunar Lander and Orbiter!

Another great Lego set takes silver, but again, with just 9% of the vote. The Batcave Break In set based on the Lego Batman movie has a ton of play value, with lots of figures, vehicles, and extras. This is the sort of set that kids and adults alike will love, and spend hours working and playing with.

But why the lower vote counts for the bronze and silver winners? Because the gold medalist crushed it like Chloe Kim, that's why. Lego received 37% of the vote for the UCS Millennium Falcon, a monster of an amazing set if there ever was one. They've revisited this vehicle several times, and it seems like it gets better and better with every tweak.

Lego UCS Millennium Falcon

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Best Misc
We're down to the last category, where we see an eclectic mix of collectibles that the judges couldn't quite place in any other category.

The third place spot goes to the Jumbo Set of Early Bird figures from Gentle Giant. The whole jumbo line is based on our nostalgic love of the original figures, and these four commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 'early bird kit'. With Luke, Leia, R2-D2, and Chewie, this oversized set of action figures calls out to every Star Wars fan. They received 11% of the vote.

Edging them out with 12% is another Star Wars item. It's my top pick for this category, the BB-8 Hero Droid. Like the Ultimate Batmobile, this RC robot provides hours of fun.  Now you too can have your very own droid to follow you around the house!

And the last gold medal winner is...drum roll please...the Weta 1/30th scale Dol Guldor environment! It's sort of a statue...but sort of a diorama...and massive! The detail and quality is amazing, and it's a grail for many a fan of the Lord of the Rings.

Photo courtesy of

Weta Dol Guldur

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Whew - you made it! That's a lot of collectibles in a lot of categories, and as always, I really appreciate everyone that took the time to vote. I'm tallying up the Poppies votes right now (with only 150 judges, it's waaaay easier!), and will have those results very soon for you. There were some serious surprises in this year's People's Picks, and I'm very interested in seeing if the Poppies Judges match up in a number of these categories.

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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