Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

The People's Picks...
The Best of 2019 as Selected by Readers

Date Published: 2019-04-08
Written By: Michael Crawford

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People's Picks 2019

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Here we are, back with the final results of the People's Picks for Best Collectibles of 2019! You have spoken, I have tallied, and here are the winners!  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.

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...

I'll have the Poppies up next, probably this Sunday. I think there will be some interesting differences to discuss. For those that enjoy the HotToysCast, we'll also be recording a Poppies episode on Sunday.

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

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2019 2019 2019
2018 2018 2018
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
For the third straight year, the same companies are in the top three. But like last year, the order has switched up once again.

In a big surprise, Hot Toys drops to third place with 12% of the vote. I push out this info to a number of Facebook groups and other collecting communities, and I always include collectors of different collectibles (figures, statues, busts, etc) as well as different scales and types. But I have a suspicion that the sixth scale collectors were outnumbered this year in voting by the fans of smaller lines.  I think next year I may ask a few demographic questions as well, to help better analyze the results.

Anyway, yea, Hot Toys dropped to third.  Part of it is probably because they didn't have any really amazing, blockbuster release that simply wowed everyone. There were a couple great Star Wars releases, a couple great Marvel, but overall they seem to be coasting a bit right now.

The silver medal goes to NECA, who were in third last year. They barely edged out Hot Toys, taking about 13% of the vote. They had a really strong year, and getting a lot of their stuff distributed through Target has helped market awareness.

Last year's silver medal winner moves up to gold this year with a dominating 37% of the vote.  Mezco continues to kill it with their One:12 Collective line, but don't forget they still have fans of their LDD, vinyl, and other lines.  They also are hitting a very broad spectrum of collectors with the One:12 series, including some pretty B list licenses.

Joker One:12 action figure

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Best Overall Line - High End
We have a surprise here, with a bronze medal winner sneaking in and booting out one of the Hot Toys lines.

Weta gets the bronze this time, taking 10% of the vote with their terrific on-going work with the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit license. Their statues and busts remain top contenders in their respective categories as well, and it's a series you can always count on for great quality and execution.

Hot Toys did snag silver again this year with 12% of the vote going to their Marvel line.  While Star Wars had a couple nice releases, it was really the Marvel figures that stood out. This was particularly true with their work on the Black Panther license which saw several figures and the throne release in 2019.

But the gold went to the same winner as last year - the One:12 Collective from Mezco. They snagged a whopping 54% of the vote, definitely dominating this category. It will be interesting to see if the line has reached its peak, or if there are still more collectors available to come on board.

One:12 Collective Jason action figures

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Best Overall Line - Low End
This is a crowded category, with almost 30 choices on the ballot this year. That means the vote tends to get spread out quite a bit, and it takes less percentage to win.

A big surprise to me was the bronze medalist. With 8% of the vote, Funko's Pop! series of vinyl figures grabbed a medal!  Okay, that shouldn't be a huge surprise, because the figures are tremendously popular. This is just the first time we've seen that popularity translate to a strong showing in this category.

The silver medalist is no stranger to the podium, however. Hasbro's Star Wars Black series of action figures remains a top favorite of collectors, and got 13% of the vote. This is one of the few lines I still pick up regularly at the local Target, making it something I look forward to finding on my less frequent toy runs.

Hasbro also has my other favorite mass market line at the stores - Marvel Legends. 2019 was a very strong year for them as well, with some terrific releases, great BAF's, and decent distribution. Fans responded, giving them the gold with 26% of the vote.

Marvel Legends Mysterio 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.

The bronze medal was taken with 11% of the vote. This is actually our first and only tie for the year, with both Hot Toys Shuri (my favorite) and the Weta Aragorn at Amon Hen statue. I'm surprised Shuri didn't do better here, but that's just another example of my opinion not necessarily reflecting the majority. It is nice to see Weta doing well in another category.

Barely edging these two out, with 13% of the vote, is the Freddy Krueger from Mezco. This is a great example of the diversity of their One:12 Collective offerings.

Mezco also gets the top honor here, and I think that's the first time they've won this particular category. With 23% of the vote, their Sovereign Knight Batman gets the gold. Obviously it was the super clean paint work on the various portraits that got him the top spot, but overall it's a great indicator that Mezco's efforts on production paint is really paying off.

One:12 Sovereign Knight Batman action figure

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Best Male/Female Figure - 18" and up
While NECA is my go to company for this scale, it's because I can't always afford the offerings from Hot Toys. Let's face it - they're amazing, but they aren't cheap.

NECA did get 16% of the vote and the bronze, thanks to their TMNT Shredder. The 1/4 scale TMNT line has been great overall, and this figure capped things off nicely.

But then Hot Toys jumps in, getting 27% of the vote with their Ledger Joker. It's interesting that last year they won with their Batman Begins Batman, so clearly there's still a lot of love for the Nolan-verse Bat collectibles.

They also won the gold, and yes, you guessed it - it's Vader. The Sith Lord took 31% of the vote, proving the Hot Toys Star Wars line is still going strong, and that you can never have too much Darth Vader.

(image courtesy the Hot Toys)

Hot Toys Darth Vader action figure

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Best Male Figure 12 - 17"
While Hot Toys actually lost this particular category a couple years ago, they swept last year...and they swept again for 2019.

They took bronze with 12% of the vote, nabbing the third place spot with Count Dooku. This is one I didn't pick up, and I certainly regret it right now. Yea, I'm not a big prequels guy, but this is still an amazing figure.

They also got the bronze medal, with a switch to one of their few unique licenses. Getting 18% of the vote is John Wick, a figure that surprised me. This is another one I didn't pick up, but am thinking about getting on the secondary market after all the rave reviews.

The winner of the gold is one I bought - Stan Lee in his astronaut suit.  Yea, they already did the definitive Stan Lee awhile back, but this one is so creative and fun you had to have it. And the suit is just damn cool! Even the packaging was outstanding. About 19% of the voters agree with me, edging out Wick by a whisker.

(image courtesy Hot Toys)

Hot Toys Stan Lee sixth scale action figure

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Best Male Figure 5 - 11"
Last year, the One:12 Collective pretty much dominated this category. No surprise, but they do it again in 2019.

They don't get all three medals, however. Hasbro sneaks in with 8% of the vote to grab the bronze with their Black Series Mandalorian.  This was a figure everyone wanted after they watched the show, and characters from the series are going to be popular all year.

Mezco does get the silver though, but just barely, getting 9% of the vote with their Punisher based on his look in the Netflix series.  Their Netflix Daredevil was not one of my favs, but they really stepped it up with this live action release.

And yes, the One:12 series also took the gold, this time with a solid 26% of the vote. They did a lot of this character in 2019, and I expect to see a lot more - yep, it's Gomez! They turned their mascot into a One:12 release, and pumped out the variations. The gold is going to the Toy Fair release though, the first and arguably the best. It will be irionic if the gold plated Gomez wins the gold medal for 2020...

Gomez One:12 action figure

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Best Male Figure under 5"
Various scales and styles wax and wane over time, rising and falling in popularity.  Right now, the 4" scale is pretty quiet, with far fewer lines coming out in this size. Still, there's some really nice stuff.

Hiya Toys is doing some terrific work in this scale with both DC and the Aliens/Predator licenses.  Their Elder Predator took the bronze with 10% of the overall vote.

The Star Wars line is still going strong of course, and 16% of the voters went for the new Lando in his Skiff Disguise. The details are great, and it's an excellent sculpt in this tiny scale.

The winner comes out of NECA - it's Chucky! This deluxe figure was part of the two pack with the Tiffany, and includes a ton of terrific accessories. He took 25% of the vote, a solid win!

(image courtesy NECA)

Ultimate Chucky action figure

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Best Female Figure 11" - 17"
Hot Toys swept the male category this year, but they didn't do the same with the ladies.

In third place, with 12% of the vote is Red Sonya, from TBLeague and Executive Replicas. Bet you didn't see that coming? I didn't. But she is an amazing figure, and shows how good smaller companies are getting.

And even bigger surprise is the silver medal winner. With 13% of the vote, Arwen from Asmus barely edged out Red Sonya. Considering all the grief I see Asmus get over their LOTR and Hobbit figures, I was pretty shocked. Hey, I liked the figure - I just didn't think that many other collectors did. It's nice to see Asmus get some credit for this series, because they have really done a nice job with the recent releases.

You saw this coming though. There's no doubt who the gold medal winner was going to be - with a whopping 40% of the vote, it's Shuri from Hot Toys. This Black Panther release was one of the nicest figures all year, male or female, so it's great to see her get her just praise.

Hot Toys Shuri action figure

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Best Female Figure 5 - 11"
As much as Hot Toys dominated the last category, Mezco dominates this one.

The bronze medal isn't theirs, however. Instead, that goes to Hasbro for their Cara Dune from the Star Wars Black Series.  I told you those Mandalorian characters would get the love! She also got 9% of the vote.

The silver goes to my pick in this category, Hela from the One:12 Collective. Another 20% agreed with me, enough to get the second place position.

But Mezco gets the gold with their One:12 release of the classic Wonder Woman. She picked up 24% of the vote, and was another in their excellent DC line up in 2019.

One:12 Collective WOnder Woman action figure

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Best Female Figure under 5"
The three winners in this category couldn't be much more different.

In third place, with 11% of the vote, is the old, crotchety, Aughra. Funko did a nice job with the action figure line for the new Netflix series, and this particular figure was the best of the bunch.

Chucky took home the gold in the male version of this category, and his lovely bride Tiffany gets the silver here with 23% of the vote.  She's a looker, that's for sure, and this deluxe two pack really was a fantastic release.

The winner comes from the land of comic books - Injustice Harley, from Hiya Toys. I mentioned earlier what a great job they are doing in this scale, and I hope we see more terrific figures in both the DC and Predator/Alien line up in 2020.

Injustice Harley action figure

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Best Build-A-Figure
Both Mattel and Hasbro had quite a few BAF releases in 2019, but other companies weren't quite as prolific. Hopefully we'll see the BAF get more love from lines outside of Multiverse and Marvel Legends in 2020.

The DC Multiverse gets the bronze award, taking 13% of the vote with Lobo. A terrific character design that always seems to translate into a terrific action figure, Lobo makes for the perfect BAF.

Hasbro takes over at the silver spot, earning 22% of the votes with their very cool fat Thor. Let's face it, we all loved the character on screen, and it was brilliant to give us an action figure of Thor. We can all relate after 3 weeks in quarantine.

The winner took a solid 30% of the vote, grabbing gold easily. Kingpin was a fan favorite from his announcement, since Marvel Legends had never produced one in their extensive series. Big and bulky, he's just the right size for a modern BAF. I'm sure folks will still want a Netflix Kingpin, but this one is definitely a terrific comic book version.

(image courtesy Marvelous Toy News)

Marvel Legends Sauron action figure

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Best Vehicle
We see a real variety in this category for 2019, something we rarely see in other categories where particular lines or licenses dominate.

We start off with a Batman vehicle - the BTAS Batcycle. With 16% of the vote, DC Collectibles gets the bronze. Their BTAS line has been woefully overlooked by a lot of collectors over the last few years, and they will regret it in the decades to come.

From a completely different license and company, we have the Marvel Legends Professor X Hover Chair. I love how they've been doing these smaller 'vehicles' with a figure in a two pack, and every one I've picked up has been a winner. Twenty percent of the voters agreed.

Hasbro jumps in there for the big win with Star Wars. With 32% of the vote, Jabba's Sail Barge takes the gold! Hasbro worked with the fans to get this done, and it's one of the most amazing vehicles in this scale they've ever produced. I'm not surprised by its win in the least!

(images courtesy of Hasbro)

Star Wars Jabba's Sail Barge action figures

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Best Play Set
The play sets saw a similar diversity for 2019.

We start out with the nifty Batcave from Imaginext. They have really done a fantastic job with the overall DC series, and Batman has had some very cool play sets. They seem to do a new version of the Batcave every year, and every year it does well in this category. This time it took 14% of the vote.

Jabba gets another medal, this time taking 26% of the vote and the bronze for Jabba's Palace. This update to a vintage set turned out great, although getting it was a tad difficult.

The winner from last year is the winner from this year - I know that sounds weird, but that's sort of what happened. NECA did an exclusive Street Scene that took the gold in 2018, and then in 2019 they released the Street Scene again...but stripped down and in a more accessible manner. With a wider release, this version picked up the gold again!

(image courtesy NECA)

TMNT Street Scene playset

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Best Statue
Remember when I said it was nice to see Weta getting extra love this year? Read on.

The bronze medal winner, with 11% of the vote, is the Samus Aran in her Varia Suit from First4Figures. While this was a variant release, it's a suit that's quite recognizable to fans.

Squeaking by with 14% of the vote and snagging silver was a late arrival in the year - the Qmx Batman Family statue. Using a new material developed by them, they produced a really fun, light-hearted look at Batman, quite a bit different than most modern takes.

The winner also squeaked by their closet competition, getting 15% of the vote. The gold goes to Weta for their terrific Aragorn at Amon Hen statue. It's a fantastic, dynamic design with great quality production paint work.

(image courtesy of Weta)

Aragorn at Amon Hen Statue

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Best Bust
There aren't quite as many busts getting released these days as at their peak of popularity, but the 1:1 market is doing extremely well.

First, let's start smaller. Gentle Giant has kept their Star Wars line rolling, and the Ashoka Tano picked up 12% of the vote and the bronze! I haven't bought many in the last couple years, but this one really stood out.

Silver goes to one of the 1:1 scale busts from Queen's Studios - The Terminator! He's quite impressive and extremely life-like. Yea, he costs a lot too, but don't the best things cost a lot?

The winner is also a 1:1 scale bust, and it was my personal pick as well - Venom from Sideshow. This guy got 15% of the vote, and the gold medal for his beautiful ugliness. You better reserve some serious shelf space for this bad boy!

(image courtesy Sideshow)

Venom bust

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Best Designer/Vinyl Figure
I was a little disappointed in the selection this year. The judges didn't nominate quite as many vinyl figures as I'd like, particularly from the smaller companies, but what can you do?

Star Ace did introduce their line of DeFo-Real deformed vinyl figures in 2019, and the quality is very much in line with the reputation of their parent company, X-Plus. The winner of the bronze medal, with 13% of the vote is their Balrog. Interesting enough, a different Balrog won this category last year.

The Pop! line always gets a large number of nominees, but only one placed in the top three. Getting silver and 18% of the vote was their Stan Lee from Guardians of the Galaxy 2. With the sixth scale version winning in that category, it's obvious fans really love this particular Stan Lee cameo.

The winner goes to Mezco for their Designer Series release of Michael Myers. We sometimes forget Mezco does more than just One:12, and everything they do is pretty sweet.

(image courtesy of Action Figure Barbeque)


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Best Prop Replica
We had a sort of a repeat in the Best Play Set category - we get another one here.

But let's start with bronze. With 19% of the vote, the third place spot went to Hasbro's Luke Skywalker Battle Simulation Helmet. I can almost see collectors recreating the Star Wars Kid moves wearing this thing.

The silver medal goes to another helmet from Hasbro. You have to admit, they've really been doing a great job with these, and producing them at an excellent price point. The Punisher Iron Man Helmet got 25% of the vote and second place.

With 30% of the vote, Hasbro gets a sorta, kinda, repeat win from last year. Remember, it was their Infinity Gauntlet that took this prize in 2018...and now it's their Infinity Gauntlet that takes it again! This time it's the Iron Man version, used in the final film to set things right. And Hasbro knocked this version out of the park once again.

(image courtesy Hasbro)

Hot Toys Iron Man Infinity Gauntlet prop replica

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Best Building Set
Next week is the big finale of Lego Masters! I didn't think I'd care for the show, and to be honest, there's a lot of insipid drivel. But the builds make it worth watching.

But before we talk about Lego, let's talk Mega.  The Mega Castle Grayskull took the bronze with 17% of the vote, and managed to stop a Lego sweep! That's pretty rare...

Lego does get the silver though, with 20% of the vote going to a huge, huge set - the Imperial Destroyer. This thing is massive, and is the perfect way to spend your quarantine time!

One type of set tends to be a regular contender - Batmobiles. This year the gold, and 30% of the vote, goes to the terrific 1989 Burton Batmobile, one of the coolest Batmobile designs of all time. They did the design proud too, with a terrific set.

(image courtesy Lego)

Lego Batmobile Castle

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Best Misc
The 'misc' category was a little thin this year, but there were still some interesting choices.

Bronze goes to the winner of 18% of the vote - the Mosasaurus from Jurassic World!  Big dinosaurs like this don't really fit all that well into the other action figure categories, so they tend to end up in misc. This is perhaps my personal favorite of the Jurassic World releases so far.

The silver medal winner is the perfect example of a oddball collectible - with 21% of the vote, the Alien Xenomorph Letter Opener takes the second place trophy! It's a pretty deadly looking letter opener, and has an awful lot of alien attitude.

The final winner of a gold medal is another dinosaur - the Brachiosaurus, also from Jurassic World. This long necked beast takes up some serious self space, but is an amazing looking addition to any dino collection, Jurassic World or otherwise.

(image courtesy Mattel)

Brachiosaurus Jurassic World

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It's interesting to see the shift from sixth scale to a greater focus on the 1/12 or so scale figures. I think adding some demographic questions next year would be valuable, and will provide some additional insight into the results.
It is clearly the peak time for One:12 Collective and Mezco. Will they be able to maintain that fervor? Will another sixth scale company carve further into the Hot Toys dominance? And will be all be back to leaving a normal life again?  We'll have to wait til next year to answer these questions and more!
I should have the Poppies up Sunday, and it will be very interesting to see if the industry judges have similar tastes this year.

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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