Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

The Poppies of 2016

Date Published: 2017-02-15
Written By: Michael Crawford

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Poppies 2016

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Here we are, at the end of the process for another year. It's amazing how quickly time flies, and how many fantastic collectibles are released every year.  The quality just seems to get better and better, and I'm not sure we've seen the ceiling yet.

This year's Poppies, like very year, started with 150 judges coming together to create a ballot based on their nominations in 19 categories. Then they voted, as did all my readers using the same ballot. The readers votes went toward the People's Picks, which I published last week. The judges, well, they get to pick the Poppies. And surprisingly, there were some serious deviations from the People this year.

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

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
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 winners!

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Best Overall Company
We're going to start off with the weirdest results of the year right out of the gate. We always get a few ties with the Poppies - with just 150 judges and often a couple dozen nominees, the vote gets spread out in some categories. But we've never seen anything quite like what we have for the Best Company category this year.

It starts with a two way tie for the bronze between Sideshow and Funko. Both companies took 7% of the vote, and both had strong years, particularly with certain brands.

And then we move to a THREE way tie for silver, with 11% of the vote going to NECA, Mezco, and Hasbro. Mezco was my favorite, and both Hasbro and NECA did well with the People, so any one of them grabbing silver wouldn't be a surprise...but all three? It all gets back to the overall higher level of quality - both in terms of product and in terms of customer service - that we're seeing in the industry, and it is leveling the playing field.

The gold was a clear winner however, with Hot Toys grabbing 19% of the vote. Of course they had an amazing year with huge licenses like Star Wars, DC, and Marvel, but here's an interesting tidbit - this is the lowest percentage they've won this category with since I've been publishing the percentages (2010). In fact, there was only one year where they won with less than 30% of the vote...and they took 28% that year. Clearly the playing field is leveling out, and rather than one major contender challenging Hot Toys, there's a whole bunch stealing votes.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Hot Toys Hasbro Sideshow, Funko
Second Place DC Collectibles  NECA NECA, Mezco, Hasbro
First Place Mezco Toyz Hot Toys Hot Toys 

Hot Toys Rey and BB-8 action figure

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Best Overall Line High End
Normalcy returns, but only slightly.  There's some surprises here as well.

Hot Toys takes the bronze and a solid 16% of the vote with their terrific Marvel series of figures.  I don't know about you, but I'm dying to get my hands on Doctor Strange, and the potential with other upcoming films is mind blowing.

Hot Toys grabbed another 20% of the vote, enough to get silver with their Star Wars line up. Let's face it, just Chewbacca was enough to get them a medal, and yet they released excellent figures from Rogue One and Force Awakens as well. As the number of new movies piles up, it's going to take everything Hot Toys has just to keep up.

But Hot Toys didn't win this year. This is only the second time in 10 years that they haven't won this category with one of their sixth scale lines. The only other time was the very first year, 2007, when there was only a 'Best Overall Line' category, not yet split into high and low. But this year they were unseated by the very cool One:12 Collective line by Mezco Toyz. I knew I loved it, but I'm still surprised by the win - 31% of the voters went for it as well. This is one of those rare cases where the People and the Poppies Judges didn't quite agree, although the People did award them a silver. With the line up we're seeing for 2017 right now at Toy Fair, I suspect this series will be a major contender in next year's awards as well.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place 66 Batman Statues Marvel - Hot Toys Marvel - Hot Toys
Second Place Star Wars - Hot Toys One:12 Collective Star Wars - Hot Toys
First Place One:12 Collective Star Wars - Hot Toys One:12 Collective

One:12 Collective Frankenstein action figure

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Best Overall Line Low End
Phew. Now we get back to a little more consistency between the People's Picks and the Poppies. It even matches up pretty well with my picks, and that's rare.

The bronze goes to one of my favorites, the Animated Batman series from DC Collectibles. With 11% of the vote, they get the third place spot, well deserved since a ton of releases this year, from the Batwing to Harvey Bullock, were exceptional.

The Poppies Judges went with the People's third pick choice, but elevated it to Silver with 14% of the vote - NECA's Alien(s) series. There were some great releases this year in the humans, not just the Aliens, and you'll see some of the individual figures pop up later as well.

It was a consistent pick for the top place winner - Marvel Legends. I picked them, the People picked them, and the Poppies judges completed the triad by picking them. Or at least 17% of them did, enough to grab the gold. That's nice to see, since the praise rewards Hasbro for putting more effort into the quality of the figures in 2016, from the plastic to the paint.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Dark Crystal ReAction Alien(s) Animated Batman
Second Place Animated Batman Animated Batman Alien(s)
First Place Marvel Legends Marvel Legends Marvel Legends

Marvel Legends Hobgoblin action figure

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Eddie Wires Award for Outstanding Paint
Paint, paint, it's all about the paint. Perhaps the single most critical aspect of any collectible, great paint can elevate a simple sculpt to dizzying heights, and a weak paint job can annihilate even the work of Michelangelo.

With 14% of the vote, one of my picks takes the bronze medal - Tweeterhead's 1966 Batgirl statue. I think this overall series is the nicest set of collectibles based on the classic show that we've ever gotten - and probably will ever get. I should have a review of Egghead soon. The paint work on this Batgirl was clean and neat, but it's the work on the costume, creating just the right look to mimic the original material, that sets it apart.

Their second place winner is another outstanding One:12 Collective release - Mr. Spock. Mezco crushed it with the tiny, clean details on the face and hair, mirroring the sort of quality we see at twice the size - and three times the price. Twenty percent of the voters agreed.

The gold medal winner took 30% of the judges - Boba Fett. They agreed with the People that the Hot Toys release sports an outstanding paint job, with some amazingly detailed and realistic wear and tear on his always cool armor.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place First Turtle Batman One:12 66 Batgirl Statue
Second Place 66 Batgirl Statue Spock One:12 Spock: One:12
First Place Grishn'akh Boba Fett Hot Toys Boba Fett Hot Toys

Hot Toys Boba Fett action figure

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Best Male Figure 18" and Up
There were some serious contenders from NECA this year, and Hot Toys and Mezco snuck in a couple as well.

The very expensive but very cool Iron Man MKXLV snagged the bronze and 20% of the vote. Hot Toys continues to impress in this scale, but I'm hoping we see them move outside the Iron Man realm in 2017.

My favorite was the favorite of 26% of the voters, but that was only enough to grab silver.  NECA's Deadpool took the second place honor, although he's number one in my heart.

The Poppies judges matched the People with their pick for the gold - NECA's TMNT Donatello. This figure gave you some serious value for the money, and proved once again that NECA can do comic book based turtles better than anyone.

While it's not uncommon for the People and the Poppies judges to agree on gold, this was one of the rare occasions where they matched in every place in figure and order.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Tygra Iron Man MK45 Iron Man MK45
Second Place Donatello Deadpool Deadpool
First Place Deadpool Donatello Donatello

Photo courtesy of Monte Williams, action figure photographer extraordinaire. Check out his Flicker for more great shots.

NECA 1/4 scale Donatello TMNT action figure

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Best Male Figure 12 - 17"
It's time to get back to some real surprises, with little consistency between the three awards.

A solid 12% of the Poppies Judges voted for a figure not in the top three of either myself or the People - Ant Man!  He was a great design, no doubt about it, and one of the stronger Marvel releases for Hot Toys this year.

The silver medalist was beloved by all three groups, but placed in different spots by all three as well.  Captain Kirk from Qmx was my big winner, but the People only gave him bronze. The Poppies Judges showed him a little more - well deserved - love however, handing him second place with 17% of the vote.

Just barely squeaking out the win with 24% of the vote - another oddity - was the Hot Toys Deadpool. Yep, the merc with a mouth takes the big win this year, beating out some serious competition from other Hot Toys releases and a number of great choices from other companies. It appears that the wrist issue wasn't as big a factor for the Poppies Judges as it was for the People.

The pick of the People, the BvS Batman, didn't even make it in the top three for the Poppies Judges, a huge surprise and shock. Maybe the movie affected them more than the other voters?

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place T-45 Armor Fallout Captain Kirk Ant Man
Second Place Deadpool Deadpool Captain Kirk
First Place Captain Kirk BvS Batman Deadpool

Hot Toys Deadpool action figure

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Best Male Figure 5 - 11"
One particular character seemed to get an awful lot of love from the Poppies Judges in this category this year.

The bronze medal goes to said character, Judge Dredd, from 3A. While I also love the various versions Mezco has produced, I have to say that the 3A version of this particular character outdid them. About 9% of the Poppies voters agreed with me.

However, another 13% did not. They picked the Mezco Judge Dredd (even though there was really only one newly released figure in 2016) as the silver medal winner.  I can't really argue all that much however, since this is another amazing figure.

The winner is also from the One:12 Collective by Mezco - Mr. Spock. There's no surprise here at all, and I suspect that Mezco is going to own this category for the next few years if they can keep the quality up on this line.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Joker DC Icons Deadpool Judge Dredd 3A
Second Place Judge Dredd 3A BvS Batman One:12 Judge Dredd One:12
First Place Spock One:12 Spock One:12 Spock One:12

One:12 Collective Mr. Spock action figure

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Best Male Figure Under 5"
Here's another category full of surprises, where the judges went in a very different direction.

Their bronze pick was a popular favorite however: Boss Fight Studios King Leonidas. He is part of their terrific Vitruvian HACKS series, and the mix and match designs and high quality articulation really set this line apart. Just under 11% of the voters agreed.

In second place, with just under 13% of the vote (yes, this category was hotly contested) is the People's winner - Hasbro Star Wars Deathtrooper. Hasbro took a lot of heat for some of their character and figure choices in 2016, but it seems that this particular character is a favorite.

And then we come to gold. I picked Kids Logic Ryu, the People picked the Deathtrooper...and the Poppies Judges picked Jen, from the Funko ReAction Dark Crystal line!  Talk about a dark horse! I get it though, as this was a figure and a complete line that impressed even me, and I'm not a fan of the ReAction series. If you're a Dark Crystal nerd, do yourself a favorite and check this line out. Just under 14% of the voters would suggest it!

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Yondu King Leonidas King Leonidas
Second Place King Leonidas Statler Deathtrooper
First Place Ryu Deathtrooper Jen - Dark Crystal

Photo courtesy of Funko.

Funko ReAction Jen action figure

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Best Female Figure Over 11"
Let's be honest - it's going to take a Herculean effort for any company to take this category away from Hot Toys.  Right now, they're really the only company producing multiple female figures each year, and unlike the male category, are still dominating in terms of quality.

The third place spot was won by their Scarlet Witch, who took just 8% of the vote.  I wasn't a huge fan of the figure, but I am happy to see rooted hair designs getting some serious love. I think it's the way to go with creating more realistic hair styles, and market support will help push it forward.

Scarlet didn't have a huge percent of the vote, but that's because the silver and gold medalists took a whopping 58% of the vote between them...and they were barely separated by just a few votes.  Coming in second place, with 28" of the vote, is the People's favorite, Rey (who came with BB-8). She is a great figure, and the multiple costume looks increases her value.  Add in the nifty little BB-8, and the two pack was a definite winner.

Taking gold is my favorite - Princess Leia. She took another 30% of the Poppies judge's vote, just edging out Rey. We all know she had a couple issues (including the slightly baggy costume), and it's always possible that the loss of Carrie Fisher at the end of the year created some bias, but you really can't argue with the overall outcome of the vote.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Hermione Casual Dress Scarlet Witch Scarlet Witch
Second Place Rey w/BB-8 Princess Leia Rey w/BB-8
First Place Princess Leia Rey w/BB-8 Princess Leia

Hot Toys Star Wars Princess Leia action figure

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Best Female Figure 5 - 11"
It's been awhile since we had a tie - not since the very first category, in fact.  But we get one again here, where the Poppies Judges gave the bronze to two ladies.

Getting third with 12% each are the Walking Dead Michonne, and the Star Wars Ahsoka. Yep, both lovely figures, and both very tough, strong female characters.

Just in front of them - just barely - with 13% of the vote is Spider-Gwen. The Marvel Legends female figures have come a LONG way over the last couple years, and just about every release in 2016 was far more attractive and properly proportioned than in years gone by.

And the winner is...just edging out Gwen with just under 14% of the vote...NECA's Vasquez!  Talk about your tough, beautiful, ass kicking ladies - Vasquez has always been a favorite character of mine, and NECA did a fantastic job with their 7" release.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Michonne Batgirl - DC Icons Michonne, Ahsoka
Second Place Batgirl - DC Icons Harley - DC Icons Spider-Gwen
First Place Nico Minoru Vasquez Vasquez

Photo courtesy of Lyle's Movie Files.

NECA Aliens Vasquez action figure

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Best Female Figure Under 5"
Alien and Aliens figures of all kinds have gotten love in various categories this year, and that streak continues here.

We have another tie, with the Aliens Ripley from Funko (part of their ReAction line) getting 12% of the vote, and Lady Thor from the small Marvel Legends figures (this one part of a comic book two pack) also getting 12%. Both of these figures turn my head when I spotted them on the pegs, no matter how many times I've seen them.

The silver winner was one that really turned my head - I practically had whiplash the first time I saw her on the pegs.  She also got my top vote for this category, and 17% of the voters agreed, giving Aughra from the Funko ReAction Dark Crystal series second place. She's worth having even if you don't buy any of the rest of the line...but why would you want to do that?

The Poppies Judges agreed with the People on the winner though, picking Medusa from the Vitruvian HACKS series by Boss Fight Studio. It's a very cool figure, and sports some pretty amazing articulation. Twenty four percent of the voters were impressed enough to select her.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Lady Thor Lady Thor, Jen Erso Ripley, Lady Thor
Second Place Medusa Ripley - ReAction Aughra
First Place Aughra Medusa Medusa

Photo courtesy of General Joes.

Vitruvian HACKS Medusa action figure

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Best BAF/CnC
As with the People, Hasbro crushed the competition this year in this category, sweeping all three spots.

The Poppies judges, or at least 12% of them, liked my gold medal pick, Dormammu.  Sadly, that was only enough to get him the bronze, and I suspect at least part of the problem was his earlier availability through the SDCC pack. Still, any figure with a flaming head is a winner in my book.

The silver medalist *barely* edged past Dormammu, getting just about 1 more percent of the vote. Giant Man, who also took silver with the People, pleased 13% of the Poppies Judges. While I like the bulk of the older release, I have to admit that the new movie look makes this one extremely appealing.

And the winner, with a solid 18% of the vote and the favorite of the People and the Poppies, is - Juggernaut! As I said earlier, I think a big plus here is the scale. We've seen Marvel Legends Juggies before, but going the BAF route let them up his size a bit and create a more appropriate look with the rest of the line.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Grapnel Blaster Onslaught Dormammu
Second Place Onslaught Giant Man Giant Man
First Place Dormammu Juggernaut Juggernaut

Marvel Legends Juggernaut action figure

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Best Vehicle/Play Set
In regular years, extreme agreement between the People's Picks and the Poppies isn't that rare, but in 2017, it's the exception rather than the rule. This category is one of those exceptions.

The bronze medal goes to the One:12 Collective Lawmaster from Mezco. This is a fantastic vehicle, with enough bulk for their Dredd to look terrific on its back. Lights and sounds work great, adding to the value and play-ability. This one was my personal pick for best of the year, and 14% of the judges agreed.

In second place, snagging 23% of the vote, is the terrific Batwing from the Animated Batman line by DC Collectibles. Their Batmobile won last year, and it's no surprise to see the Batwing do well here. The sheer size of any 1:12 scale vehicle is impressive, but a plane? You need some serious display space for this baby.

When it comes to the gold medalist, as it was with the People so will it be with the Poppies - the Delorean from Hot Toys takes the top spot! You might be saying "oh, that's no surprise!" and I'd agree...except there is a bit of a surprise with the actual numbers. The DeLorean wasn't a huge winner, taking just under 24% of the total vote, edging out the Batwing by the slimmest of margins. Of all the categories this year, I think this one has the largest set of truly qualified nominees top to bottom, and that made for an extremely tight race.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place DeLorean Lawmaster - One:12 Lawmaster - One:12
Second Place Batwing Batwing Batwing
First Place Lawmaster - One:12 DeLorean DeLorean

Photo courtesy of Sideshow/Hot Toys.

Hot Toys Back to the Future Delorean

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Best Statue
Here's a category where the voting was really spread out across the nominees, with everyone getting some percentage of the vote, and the winners separated by just a few.

The bronze medal goes to the very cool Minas Tirith statue (or environment, I suppose) from Weta. We aren't seeing a lot of Lord of the Rings merchandise these days, so it's great to see Weta keeping the quality so high. Just over 8% of the judges went with Middle Earth.

Squeaking by Minas Tirith with just over 9% of the vote is another black sheep - Spider Gwen from Kotobukiya!  This one wasn't even on my radar, and hadn't shown well in the People's Picks voting, but came on strong with the Poppies Judges.  She's part of the Bishoujo line up, a series that has done extremely well over the last several years.

But after going off into unknown territory with their silver and bronze winners, the Poppies Judges came back into agreement on the top spot, giving the gold to Sideshow's He-man statue. It was close - just 12% of the vote swung his way - but it was clear. It's a great pose, and the cloth cape really adds something to the overall look.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Robocop 66 Batgirl Minas Tirith
Second Place 66 Batgirl BR Catwoman Spider Gwen
First Place BR Catwoman He-man He-man

Photo courtesy Sideshow.

Sideshow He-man statue

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Best Bust
Agreeing with the People? Yea, you can forget all that again.

With 14% of the vote, the DC Bombshells Wonder Woman bust takes the bronze spot. The Bombshells designs that started out with statues have been successful on t-shirts, coffee cups, and other paraphernalia, but I was still surprised by how well this bust did.  Then again, the design is excellent, and Wonder Woman is on a roll with fans these days.

Just over 16% of the vote went to the second place winner - Boba Fett, from Gentle Giant. This one is a 'classic' style, without arms and a straight up pose, and the company has been making a subtle shift to this style over the last couple years.

If you thought He-man was done for 2017, you were wrong.  The life size bust from Pop Culture Shock picked up a solid 22% of the vote and the win! Fans of the license were treated to a seriously cool, seriously huge bust, the sort of thing that makes for the ultimate centerpiece in any collection.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place He-man Boba Fett Wonder Woman - Bombshells
Second Place McQuarrie Chewbacca Medusa Boba Fett
First Place Medusa Batman Animated He-man - PCS

Photo courtesy of Toy Ark.

Pop Culture Shock He-Man full size bust

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Best Designer/Vinyl
The nominees for this category were exceptional this year, with a broad range of styles, companies, and designers.  I was really pleased with the nominations by the judges, and I hope we can keep this sort of involvement moving forward.

About 13% of the voters went for the Funko Pop! Boba Fett. I think the dynamic pose and rocket flames set this guy apart from the standard Pop! style, and elevated him to the bronze.

The silver medal goes to the super cute Skeletor, designed by Joe Allard and available through Loyal Subjects. Joe did a great job with these interpretations of MOTU, and Skeletor is a stand out.

I'm pretty shocked by the winner. I was pretty shocked when it won the People's Picks, and I'm even more shocked now. Not because it isn't great - I gave it a bronze - but simply because I thought I was the only one on the planet that appreciated it. Of course, I'm talking about the First Turtle vinyl figure from Mondo. Twenty percent of the Judges went for the snazzy black and white design.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place First Turtle Skeletor Boba Fett
Second Place General Tso's Nightmare Boba Fett Skeletor
First Place Astronaut First Turtle First Turtle

Mondo First Turtle TMNT figure

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Best Prop Replica
If you had told me at the beginning of 2016 that Hasbro would sweep the Poppies for Best Prop Replica, I would have called you crazy. And you would have been right.

Hasbro gets the bronze spot, with 18% of the vote, for their Stormtrooper helmet. While it's technically a Rogue One design, the classic look is extremely popular with kids and collectors alike. While a lot of people had trouble with the voice changer feature, that clearly wasn't a deciding factor.

The silver and gold winners were neck and neck, with a sliver of votes separating them. When the dust settled, it was the Iron Man helmet (with 26% of the vote) taking silver and the Captain America shield (with 27% of the vote) taking gold. Clearly they have a winning formula - get a high quality, iconic replica into high visibility markets, and keep the price reasonable. I can't wait to see what they follow up with in 2017 - please, oh please, do Mjolnir!

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Negan's Bat Iron Man Helmet Stormtrooper Helmet
Second Place Cap's Shield Stormtrooper Helmet Iron Man Helmet
First Place STOS Phaser Cap's Shield Cap's Shield

Hasbro Captain America shield replica

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Best Building Figures/Sets
With a brand new, well reviewed, Batman themed movie out right now, the outcome of this category is probably no surprise.

But the bronze medalist might be. Rather than go all Lego, the Poppies judges (or at least 12% of them) went for a Megabloks line - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! For fans, I think doing the comic based sets really gave them a huge boost last year.

In second, with 20% of the vote, is the People's favorite - Lego Star Wars. Everyone loves Star Wars, everyone loves Lego, and this is one of those rare occasions where mashing the two together actually produces an amazing result.

When it comes to gold, the Poppies Judges actually agreed with me - something that doesn't happen very often!  They gave the Lego Batman Movie sets the top slot and 24% of the vote.  I haven't seen the movie yet, and I know that's practically blasphemy, but I swear - I'll see it very soon! I also haven't bought any of the sets...but that's completely out of self preservation.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Ghostbusters Ghostbusters TMNT
Second Place Star Trek Batman Lego Movie Star Wars
First Place Batman Lego Movie Star Wars Batman Lego Movie

Photo courtesy of Lego.

Batman Movie Lego Building Sets

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Best Misc
The Poppies Judges, whether they are from a company, a media outlet, a retailer, or are independent artists working in the industry, all have a tremendous nostalgia for the toys of their youth.  With 13% of the vote, the return of one of those toys - M.U.S.C.L.E. - takes the bronze spot in this category. Mattel originally did these little plastic figures back in 1986, and Super7 has revived the style to much acclaim.

Another 17% of the voters went for my fav - the Vitruvian HACKS. They've done well in several categories this year, and you should really take that as a sign to check them out.  For collectors in the 4" scale, they're a Godsend.

There's a well understood truth in advertising - the best ads are the ones which make you remember the product. And sometimes the best way to get you to remember a product, is to get you to hate the spokesperson. As a kid, we had a great example - Mr. Whipple. Everyone hated Mr. Whipple. He was so damn annoying. And yet everyone - EVERYONE - knew that Charmin toilet paper was soft, thanks to the annoying Mr. Whipple. In today's age of viral video, we have Chewbacca Mom. Yep, she was super annoying. Everyone hated her. And because she was annoying the video went viral - and sold a ton of Chewbacca masks. Why? Because although she might be annoying, everyone watching also knew that the mask was a lot of fun. That's a long winded way of saying the Chewbacca Talking Mask took the gold, grabbing 18% of the vote (barely edging out the HACKS) for the win.

Place My picks People's Picks Poppies
Third Place Chewbacca Mask Predator Acc. Pack M.U.S.C.L.E.
Second Place Metals - Jada Vitruvian HACKS Vitruvian HACKS
First Place Vitruvian HACKS Chewbacca Mask Chewbacca Mask

Talking Chewbacca Mask

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There's definitely some interesting things going on this year...

Normally, the winners are dominated by DC, Marvel, and Star Wars. But this year we have some very strong showing from very old licenses, like He-Man with two wins, TMNT with two wins, Back to the Future with a win, Star Trek the Original Series with a win, and even Dark Crystal with a win! We're talking some serious old school nostalgia with these lines, but it wouldn't be possible if not for the exceptional quality every company is bringing to the table.

Speaking of every company, there was a nice spread once again this year across the industry. Sure, Hot Toys took the top spot again with 5 wins, but they lost 2 categories that they were nominated in, and one of their wins was by *this* much. They aren't dominating the way the once did, and companies like Hasbro, with 4 gold medals, are breathing down their neck. Lego always gets a win of course, and Mondo, Funko, Sideshow, Pop Culture Shock, and Boss Fight Studio all snagged one gold each. NECA and Mezco made strong showings as well, and both took two golds each. Nineteen categories were won by ten different companies - I'd say that's pretty well spread out!

I do think a couple categories went under represented this year. We've had that issue with vinyl figures in the past, but I think we have a proper mix of judges now with enough experience to create a great set of nominees. I think we could have done better this year in both prop replicas and busts, but I suspect part of the issue is simply fewer being produced right now.

One other thing of interest in 2016, at least to me - it seems that the People and the Poppies Judges were less in sync. We had fewer ties as well, and the way the vote was spread out for the Best Overall Company was quite a surprise.

If you have any suggestions for the process itself, or you know someone (or are someone) that would make a great judge, please drop me a line at Thanks!

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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