Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

The Poppies...The People's Picks...MWC Picks!
The Best of 2022 as Selected by Industry Judges And All of Us

Date Published: 2023-03-30
Written By: Michael Crawford

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People's Picks 2022

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It's time for the annual Poppies! I swear that next year I'll get this rolling early again, to avoid these winter delays. Between an ice storm and a snow storm, it's been a rough winter around here. But now the process is complete, and we can announce the winners of the 2022 Poppies!

In normal years, I'd do three different posts - one for my picks, one for the People's Picks, and one for the Poppies. But last year I combined the three into a single write up, and I think that process works great. So here we have all three awards in one massive missive!

I thought I'd give a little background on the Poppies process, so it's clear how things work to those not involved in the judging. We have a list of about 150 judges from the industry - company folks, artists, retailers, media types, well known collectors - and starting in the fall, I reach out to them to begin the process. I recruit a few new ones at this time too, and if you think you, or someone you know, would make a great Poppies Judge, drop me a line. For a complete list of this year's judges, check them out here.

Around late December, we started the nomination process. We review each category, and judges can nominate any items they feel are appropriate. We discuss various topics, like combining, splitting, dropping, or adding categories, as well as the relative merits of individual items. This goes on through email, as well as on a discussion board set up for the specific purpose.

We don't want to miss any late comers, so this process continues into the first week or so of January in normal years. This year we had a lot of discussion, and it went well into late February. If something came out in late December, but the judges feel it didn't get enough distribution to have a fair shake, we hold it over as a nominee for the next year.

Once everything is hashed out, I put together two versions of the ballot. One is for the Poppies, one is for the People's Picks. I open up the voting, people do their thing, and finally, I compile the results. Then everything gets written up - *whew*

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

My picks:   People's Picks:   Poppies:  
2022 2022 2022
2021 2021 2021
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
This is one of the few categories where the same nominee can win year after year. And the top three tend to be there every time.

For me, it was a tough choice. But one of the few companies producing figures for mass retail - and if you can buy them at Target and Walmart, that's mass retail - that still pull me in over and over is NECA. Their work on a wide variety of licenses, including adding some oddballs in recent months, got them my personal Bronze.

My silver medalist matched last year - Mezco. I continue to love their One:12 Collective, and we have seen some new stuff in the 5 Points line that looks great too, but they just didn't produce enough in 2022 to make it to the gold for me.

Last year I predicted great things for EXO-6, and I was right. They came through in 2022, producing some amazing sixth scale Star Trek figures with consistency and quality, at a great price. I expect they'll stay in my top three for quite a few more years. This is my second year in a row picking them for the Gold!

The People had a slightly different take, although they chose the same three companies. They gave Mezco 9% of the vote, which snagged them the Bronze medal. EXO-6 squeaked by them with 10% of the vote. This is a pretty big deal, since this is the first time they've cracked the top three in the People's Picks, unseating Hot Toys.

And the People's Picks Gold medal goes to NECA, with a dominating 17% of the vote. Congrats!

Ah, but what about the Poppies? How do the industry judges see it? Slightly differently...they gave the Bronze, and 12% of the vote, to Hasbro. This is a company that tends to remain strong with the industry judges, but hasn't done as much it seems to impress the People voters.

They also picked someone neither myself or the People chose, this time for their silver medal. Hot Toys has been a consistent winner in the past, but neither the People or I selected them this year for a medal. The Poppies Judges had a different opnion, and Hot Toys took second with 13% of the vote.

And yes, it was neck and neck, with the gold medalist getting just 14% of the vote - NECA! They took bronze last year, so swapping up all the way to Gold is no small feat.

Place   My picks  
People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place NECA
Mezco Hasbro
Second Place Mezco
EXO-6 Hot Toys
First Place EXO-6

E.T. action figure

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Best Overall Line - High End
Last year, this category was swept by Mezco and their One:12 Collective, getting top honors from all three judging groups. Can they repeat?

Let's start out with my bronze, which went to the Hot Toys Marvel releases. They are still doing some pretty unique characters under this license, and I find myself picking them up more than I probably should.

Sadly, the One:12 series won't sweep, because I only gave them the silver. Sorry, but as much as I truly love them, the lack of shipped product, especially licensed product, in 2022 hurt them when it came to gold.

Instead, I moved up the EXO-6 Star Trek series, which had gotten my silver last year. The 2022 releases were stellar, and they are heading into 2023 with a ton of great product.

The People did not share my thoughts...exactly. They went with Hot Toys in the bronze spot, but with 12% of the vote, they picked Star Wars instead of Marvel. While I haven't picked up as many under that license, I definitely understand the feeling.

They gave 14% of the vote to the silver medalist - EXO-6 Star Trek! They had received bronze last year, so this move up in the rankings is a pretty big deal. It wasn't enough to get them to gold though, because the One:12 Collective got a huge 23% of the vote and ran away with it.

The Poppies Judges added in a completely different line for their bronze medal. The TMNT Ultimates from Super7 grabbed 12% of the vote, plenty to snag third place. It's not a line I'm familiar with, but the Super7 Ultimates tend to be very high quality.

They did appreciate the Hot Toys Star Wars figures, just like the People did, giving them 16% of the vote and the silver medal. But once again, the One:12 Collective from Mezco came out on top, taking the gold. It wasn't quite the dominate difference we saw with the People though, getting 19% of the Poppies vote for the win.

What will we see next year? Will EXO-6 continue their move upward? Will Hot Toys make a comeback? Or will the One:12 continue their streak?

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Hot Toys Marvel Hot Toys Star Wars TMNT Ultimates
Second Place One:12 Collective EXO-6 Star Trek Hot Toys Star Wars
First Place EXO-6 Star Trek One:12 Collective One:12 Collective

One:12 Collective Chaos Club action figures

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Best Overall Line - Low End
We had a lot of great nominees in this category, which usually means the vote gets pretty spread out. Not this time.

Let's start with my personal picks though, beginning with bronze. While I don't collect them, I'm always impressed by the NECA TMNT figures on the shelf. I'm actually glad I hadn't gotten hooked, because if I had I'd be all in and a lot poorer. I did buy Usagi this year though - I couldn't help myself.

I went with a line that didn't get as much love as I'd hoped from the other voters - Naughty or Nice, from Fresh Monkey Fiction. This Christmas themed line is really terrific, and deserves more press.

My Gold went to a personal favorite - as it should - the Retro Batman series from McFarlane. I'm shocked we got any of these figures, let alone the number of villains and accessory sets. They keep going and I'm have to get a new shelf for them!

The People did not agree with me, not even close. With 8% of the vote, McFarlane did get a spot, but with the DC Multiverse figures. I've successfully avoided most. but even with a concerted effort, I've still fallen prey to a few.

The did give the NECA TMNT figures some love - or 10% of them did - and the silver medal. Again, I'm not at all surprised, considering the overall quality and designs. They took bronze last year, so this is a move up the ladder for them.

And another move up is for G.I. Joe Classified, which had been in second last year, but dominated with the People in 2022, getting 21% of the vote.

The Poppies judges included two other lines in this category, thanks to a bronze medal tie. Both Marvel Legends and the MOTU Origins received 8% of the vote. It's surprising to me to see how far Marvel Legends has fallen over the last few years. They won this category just last year.

The Poppies agreed with the People when it came to silver, and they gave the NECA TMNT series 9% of the vote. This was a move up for them here as well, and the G.I. Joe Classified series also moved up a slot, taking gold and a solid 22% of the vote!

(image courtesy Hasbro)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place TMNT (NECA) DC Multiverse Marvel Legends/MOTU Origins
Second Place Naughty or Nice TMNT (NECA) TMNT (NECA)
First Place 1966 Batman G.I Joe Classified G.I. Joe Classified

Spirit Iron Knife G.I. Joe action figure

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Eddie Wires Award for Outstanding Paint
Remember, what we are looking for here is a collectible - any kind - that has such an amazing paint job, that it takes it to the next level. There were some really great nominees.

The One:12 Collective is well known for its quality production paint, but their Captain Nemo stood out for me, and I gave it the bronze medal.

Another one that really stood out for me, especially once I had it in hand, was the Boba Fett from the Book of Boba Fett, by Hot Toys. The work on the face and head is really impressive.

But my gold went to Judge Q from EXO-6. I'm impressed with the quality of their production paint in general, but I thought this one was a real standout.

The People had their own opinions, but 15% agreed with me on the bronze choice, Captain Nemo. Another 17% went for Bilbo in Bag End, the statue from Weta. You gotta admit, all those super tiny details in his hobbit home are impressive.

The People gave the gold to another of my picks, the Boba Fett from Hot Toys. It wasn't even close, with more than 22% giving him the nod.

The Poppies judges took one of my picks as well, but put him in third - Judge Q. With 10% picking him as the best, I feel justified in my choice. They also gave Boba Fett the silver, with 21% picking him as the best choice.

But they came out of left field with their gold pick, selecting a nominee that neither myself or the People had put in the top three - Man-Thing from James Groman, produced by Mondo. It wasn't even close, with 40% of the vote going to the swampy dude. All the more impressive, this is the second year in a row that Mondo has taken this particular gold, speaking to the quality of their manufacturing.

(photo courtesy Mondo)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Captain Nemo Captain Nemo Judge Q
Second Place Boba Fett (Book of) Weta Bilbo in Bagend Boba Fett (Book of)
First Place Judge Q Boba Fett (Book of) Man-Thing

Man-Thing vinyl action figure

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Best Male/Female Figure - 18" and up
There was a pretty small candidate pool for this award in 2022, and there was one easy winner. Since there were only three nominees, you know they all got s medal.

Well, unless I pulled one of my weird acts and went outside the nominated list, which has been known to happen before. But there's a reason there was only three nominees - there's not a lot in this scale available right now, which is a shame. Perhaps NECA will pick up the ball in 2023.

My bronze is the re-issue of the MK XLII. I have the original version, and it's a thing of beauty. It's also nice to see Hot Toys giving collectors a chance to get some of these older items at retail. I know some folks hate these re-issues, but I'm not one of them.

Their Grogu was great as well, and was an easy choice for silver. But there's only one choice for gold - Galactus!

The People agreed with me completely, giving the Iron Man 9% of the vote, Grogu 25% of the vote, and of course, Galactus gets 66% of the vote! Not much competition there.

If you were expecting some sort of upset with the Poppies judges, you'd be expecting wrong. In fact, they matched the picks of both myself and the People (although with only three choices, that's about the least surprising thing possible), and they gave the Iron Man the bronze with 10% of the vote, Grogu the silver with 25% of the vote, and Galactus the gold with 63%! Haslab has had some missteps, but Galactus is clearly not one of them.

(Photo courtesy Hasbro)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Iron Man XLII Reissue Iron Man XLII Reissue Iron Man XLII Reissue
Second Place Grogu Grogu Grogu
First Place Galactus Galactus Galactus

Haslab Galactus action figure

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Best Male Figure 12 - 17"
Variety is the spice of life, and this is a category where we tend to get a lot of it. This year, out of 9 different medals, 6 different figures took one home.

I picked the Pennywise from Hot Toys as my Bronze medalist. He tends to get forgotten because he was released very early in the year, but I think it's a fantastic representation of the character, and the accessories are excellent.

My second place pick also goes to Hot Toys and their Book of Boba Fett release. The sculpted version in the simple desert garb looks amazing on the shelf, and of course, it's always a plus to get two figures you can display on the shelf at once.

My top choice should be no surprise though, considering my earlier picks for company and Eddie Wires awards - Judge Q from EXO-6. I'm loving all the Trek releases, but this one really stands out to me.

The People mixed things up a bit, starting with the bronze medal going to the Hot Toys Miles Morales. About 12% of the voters gave him the nod, and I can see why. Talk about amazing Accessories and getting more than one look!  I have him as well, and he looks great on his own and even better with Spider Gwen.

They also threw in a new contender with their Silver medal winner, Asmus' Bilbo Baggins. He got 14% of the vote. This older version came with two different portraits, and two different outfits as well. Hmm, I'm seeing a trend here...

And yes, they went with the Hot Toys Boba Fett as well for the gold, giving him 16% of the vote.

The Poppies judges decided they had a trick up their sleeves as well, and picked the classic video game version of Spider-Man from Hot Toys for the bronze. He grabbed 14% of the vote.

But that's as crazy as they got. Another 18% of the vote went to Boba Fett, enough to snag the silver, and the Miles Morales grabbed 19% of the vote to edge him out for the gold! That was a close one, but the exceptional quality of Miles just couldn't be beat.

(image courtesy Hot Toys)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Pennywise Miles Morales Spider-Man (Classic Video Game)
Second Place Boba Fett (book of) Bilbo Baggins Boba Fett (Book of)
First Place Judge Q Boba Fett (Book 0f) Miles Morales

Miles Morales sixth scale action figure

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Best Male Figure 5 - 11"
We had a TON of great nominees in this category this year.

My bronze is going to a new comer - Santa from the Naughty or Nice line by Fresh Monkey Fiction. They are doing some really great variants, as well as some cool extra characters, like elves and Krampus.

NECA produced a fantastic Usagi Yojimbo last year (there's a black and white version available now, as part of the Haulathon), and it was easy for me to put in at silver. I'm not a huge fan of the character, and yet I had to pick one up.

But my top winner comes out of the One:12 series, as it has for the last few years. This time it's Death Dealer, a terrific Frazetta themed Conan character with a ton of accessories and a great costume.

The People pulled a G.I. Joe Classified figure in for their bronze. Spirit Iron Knife picked up 7% of the vote, which was enough in this diverse and large field to take the third place spot.

Boss Fight Studios got the silver with their terrific Popeye. They grabbed 8% of the vote for second. Seems like any time anyone does a Popeye, it ends well!

The People, or at least 9% of them, picked the Usagi Yojimbo as the gold medal winner. The design is so accurate, and the paint operations so good, this should be no surprise.

The Poppies judges went a completely different direction with their third place spot. The bronze was won with 8% of the vote going to the Iron Giant from DST. I have this one as well, and can attest to the quality for the price.

The Poppies judges were feeling the spirit as well, or at least 9% of them, picking Spirit Iron Knife as their favorite and cementing him a silver medal.

But those Poppies judges are smart, agreeing with me on the gold, giving it to the Death Dealer! This killer barbarian got 14% of the vote to take the gold.

You'll notice the percentages were low to win here, and they were very close. That's indicative of how competitive this category was this year, and there were a lot of figures with almost enough votes to rival these three.

(photo courtesy Mezco)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Santa Spirit Iron Knife Iron Giant
Second Place Usagi Yojimbo Popeye Spirit Iron Knife
First Place Death Dealer Usagi Yojimbo Death Dealer

Death Dealer One:12 Collective action figure

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Best Male Figure under 5"
This is not a big category for me anymore, but it still got a ton of interest from the voters.

I put McBain from the ReAction Simpsons figures in the third place spot. I wasn't too sure about these at first - ReAction figures can be pretty hit or miss - but once I picked up this first wave, I've gone all in on the Simpsons releases.

I didn't buy him, but it says a lot that I picked him up on the peg more than once and *almost* did, even though I don't do much in this scale anymore. Of course, I'm talking about the Boba Fett based on the Droids cartoon.

My top spot went to a figure I loved - Sam the Eagle from DST. I really hope we see them continue this license.

Something unprecedented happened with the People's Picks. All three medals, bronze, silver and gold, had a tie! We've never had that happen before in all these years.

The bronze medalists got 8% each - Roger Rabbit from ReAction, and Green Lantern from McFarlane's Super Powers series. I particularly like Roger, a character - and license - we don't have many collectibles based on.

The People couldn't make up their minds on silver either, with two figures getting 13% - Droids Boba Fett and Boss Fight's Flash Gordon - and winning second place.

And when it came to gold, another 14% went for Sam the Eagle from DST, and 14% went for Judge Dredd from Hiya Toys! While the People were clearly divided, they were all great choices.

The Poppies judges weren't quite so split, but they did end up having a tie for third. Both McBain and Sam the Eagle got 9% each.

They were a bit more clear on their Silver medalist, giving 13% to the Judge Dredd. Hiya Toys has been doing some amazing work in this scale for some really great licenses, and if you haven't checked them out, do so.

They also had just one gold medalist, but it was awfully close. It was just 14% of the vote that gave it to the Droids Boba Fett, squeaking past the competition!

(image courtesy Hasbro)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place McBain Green Lantern/Roger Rabbit McBain/Sam the Eagle
Second Place Boba Fett Droids Fett Droids/Flash Gordon Judge Dredd
First Place Sam the Eagle Judge Dredd/Sam the Eagle Boba Fett Droids

Star Wars Boba Fett Droids action figure

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Best Female Figure 11" - 17"
One of my favorite categories is the Best Female 11" - 17", thanks to my love of all things sixth scale.

Mondo has been doing some great work in their Masters of the Universe series, and the 2022 release of She-Ra was a stand out. I picked her for my Bronze. I just wish we were getting as many animated Batman figures from them!

My second place pick was a figure I didn't pre-order, but once it was shipping and I saw the in hand shots, I couldn't resist. I love the Margot Robbie version of Harley, and the Caution Tape release from Hot Toys has become a favorite.

But my pick for the top spot was really easy - Bo Katan from Hot Toys. They nailed the head sculpt, and the costume looks fantastic. She has a real shelf presence, and while the accessories were light, I still felt I'd gotten my money's worth. She was one of my best sixth scale purchases of the year in any license.

Hot Toys got the bronze medal from the People, with 14% of the vote going to the 84 Wonder Woman. The movie had some issues, but the figure was a great release.

Another 25% of the People voted for the Mondo She-Ra, agreeing with me on her quality and sculpt. Current word is the changes at Mondo won't affect their toy and figure production.

The People, with a whopping 32% of the vote, agreed with me on the amazing Bo Katan, giving her the gold.

The Poppies judges went their own direction with their Bronze medal, giving it to the Hot Toys Black Widow. She took 14% of the vote, and while there's been plenty of versions, I think the white costume on this one really sets her apart on the shelf.

When it comes to silver, the Popplies judges agreed with the People, or at least 27% did, and gave the medal to She-Ra. It's worth noting that it's very rare for a different company to do this well in this category, since Hot Toys tends to dominate.

In fact, She-Ra almost won, and Bo Katan just edged her out with 28% of the vote. I agree with the outcome, but it surprised me to see how close it turned out to be.

(photo courtesy Hot Toys)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place She-Ra Wonder Woman 84 Black Widow
Second Place Harley Caution Tape She-Ra She-Ra
First Place Bo Katan Bo-Katan Bo-Katan

Hot Toys Bo Katan sixth scale action figure

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Best Female Figure 5 - 11"
Another category with a ton of great nominees this year!

And there was plenty of differences of opinion as well. I loved getting the Greta Gremlin in her wedding dress, even if it was an exclusive. Overall, the Gremlins figures from NECA continue to be a focus of my on going collecting, and Greta was a great addition. That was enough to snag my bronze.

I enjoyed the She Hulk show, a lot, And the Marvel Legends release was a fantastic sculpt, especially in this scale. She gets my silver, easy peasy.

NECA also gets my gold, but this time it's with their Gargoyles series, another one I'm buying in an on-going way. Demona was a terrific figure, and I'm looking forward to the Angela being just as good.

The People didn't agree with me - much. For their bronze, 8% of the voters went for Ashoka Tano from the Star Wars Black series. I can't say I'm surprised, considering how popular the character was on the Mandalorian.

The voters in the People's Picks had a tie for silver, with two great ladies - Zarana from G.I. Joe Classified and Spiral from Marvel Legends - getting the medal. Hasbro got 13% of the vote for each of these characters.

They finally saw the light and agreed with me on the gold, with 16% of the voters going for Demona. I told you she was great!

Some of the Poppies judges, 12% to be accurate, agreed, but that was only enough to get Demona the bronze with them.

Instead, they loved the People's silver medalists, with 13% voting for Zarana (netting her the silver) and 16% voting for Spiral (netting her the gold!). While the Marvel Legends line overall didn't do as great this year, it's nice to see them still doing well in this category.

(photo courtesy Hasbro)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Greta Wedding Dress Ashoka Demona
Second Place She Hulk Spiral/Zarana Zarana
First Place Demona Demona Spiral

Spiral Marvel Legends action figure

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Best Female Figure under 5"
We've seen this scale make an uptick in lines and licenses in the last couple years, which is a big plus for fans.

It's a great scale for some of the smaller, independent manufacturers too, and I picked the Cult of San Reia Allie as my bronze winner. The whole line is great, but Allie is particularly nice.

When I gave out my silver, I went back to a big boy, Hasbro, and their terrific Armorer. I really like the character, and even though I'm not a big collector of the scale, this one was tempting.

But for my gold, I went to a small company again, and I picked the female version of the Knight of Asperity. I'm really impressed by the work of some of these smaller companies, especially in the fantasy genre.

The People voters, or 14% of them, picked a surprise - Jessica Rabbit. I own her, but only because I wanted the whole set of ReAction figures for Roger Rabbit. I wasn't as impressed with her, but they obviously disagreed with me.

But when it come to silver and gold, they were right in line with me, giving 16% to the Armorer for second place, and 17% to the female Knight of Asperity for first. It's nice to be validated!

The Poppies judges agreed with the People, just not in the same order. It was really, really close. For them, the Armorer took bronze, and 16% of the vote. Sneaking by her was the female Knight of Asperity, getting the silver with 18% of the vote. And a big surprise to me, Jessica Rabbit grabbed 19% of the vote to take the gold!

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Cult of San Reja Allie Jessica Rabbit Armorer
Second Place Armorer Armorer Female Knight of Asperity
First Place Female Knight of Asperity Female Knight of Asperity Jessica Rabbit

Jessica Rabbit action figure

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Best Build-A-Figure
This is a category we almost dropped a few years ago, but thanks to companies like DST and McFarlane joining Hasbro in producing BAF's, it's back bigger and stronger.

I didn't get many this year, but I did check them out on the pegs and in photos. Bonebreaker gets my bronze, mostly because it's just so cool to get a character like this in any format. He's actually a perfect choice for a BAF, because he's not someone you'd likely get as a stand alone release, yet he is really cool.

My silver medal goes to a character I really like, and who deserves more releases - Solomon Grundy. McFarlane included the parts to make a really nice version.

McFarlane also gets my gold with Starro. The Suicide Squad movie gave Starro new life with the modern fans, and the McFarlane BAF is a great version.

The People put Solomon Grundy in their third place spot, with 14% of the overall vote. They also awarded McFarlane the silver, but for a figure I hadn't considered - Batman's horse. This was part of their Dark Knight Returns series, and 16% of the voters loved the release.

Their gold also went to McFarlane and they appreciated Starro as much as I did, with a huge 28% of the vote going to him.

The Poppies Judges, or at least 13% of them, went for Solomon Grundy as well, which was enough to snag the bronze medal. He was barely beat out by Bonebreaker for the silver, who got 14% of the vote.

But the big winner was Batman's horse - clearly there are a lot of Dark Knight Returns fans in the Poppies judging panel Just over 16% of them gave the equine baf the nod.

What I think is very interesting is that out of 9 potential medal wins, McFarlane got 7 of them, dominating Hasbro and Marvel Legends. I did not see that coming.

(photo courtesy xiaomukuo)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Bonebreaker Solomon Grundy Solomon Grundy
Second Place Solomon Grundy Batman's Horse BoneBreaker
First Place Starro Starro Batman's Horse

Batman's Horse action figure

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Best Vehicle
This year, this category had some nominees that were available at the local Target, and some that cost thousands online.

One of the former was the McFarlane Super Powers Supermobile. Lots of collectors have enjoyed their Super Powers series, and the vehicles are a big part of the line. I really like the Supermobile, a new design that mirrors the style of the old series nicely, and I gave it my bronze.

My silver medal pick is the One:12 Collective Waverider, designed for their Captain Nemo. This isn't the first time we've seen them produce a Waverider for a Nemo, and while this one is very similar to the original, it's still a terrific addition.

But my gold medalist is a big ticket item - the 1966 Batmobile from Jazzinc. I deeply regret not having the money to buy one, but that's life for you. Of course, it is my birthday today, and I must have at least one ultra rich and generous reader out there...

The People voters also liked the new Waverider from Mezco, adding it to their One:12 Nemo display. About 8% of the voters went for this one, giving it the bronze.

A whopping 25% of the voters picked the Serpentor's Air Chariot, plenty to get the silver. In fact, that's normally plenty to get the gold, but somehow the Jazzinc Batmobile edged them out, getting 26% of the vote and the top spot in the People's Picks.

The Poppies judges had a slightly different take on the bronze medal spot. Seven percent of the voters went for the Spinmaster version of the Batmobile, based on the film. That might seem like a low number, but that's because the silver and gold winners took a huge chunk of votes.

In fact, the silver medalist got 27% of the vote, a big percentage. They agreed with the People, and gave the second place spot to the Air Chariot. G.I. Joe Classified has done well across several categories!

But the big winner of Gold is the Jazzinc Batmobile from the 60's show. Damn, I really need this thing...maybe if I sell blood? Just under 29% of the judges agree, and if every one of them sent me fifty bucks...

(image courtesy of Jazzinc)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Supermobile Nemo's Waverider Spinmaster Batmobile
Second Place Nemo's Waverider Serpentor's Air Chariot Serpentor's Air Chariot
First Place 1966 Batmobile 1966 Batmobile 1966 Batmobile

1966 Batmobile

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Best Play Set
This category was a bit light on nominees this year, but we did have some pretty amazing sets.

Mattel is doing every possible version of Castle Grayskull, and this year released a new one based on the Netflix cartoon. It's not quite as complex as some of their past releases, but I picked it for my bronze medal.

I personally like all the accessory sets we are getting from NECA, but the Gremlins set included a couple really great extras. There were parts to make two more Gremlins if you picked up additional bodies, as well as the Gizmo in the Barbie car and one of the oozing eggs. It was an easy pick for my silver.

The gold goes to the Villains Lair for the Retro Batman line by McFarlane. I'm loving this whole series, but getting play sets like this is just amazing. With the Library coming this year, expect to see them in my top three again for 2023.

With 14% of the vote, a NECA accessory set did snag the People's Picks bronze, but it wasn't the Gremlins, it was the Mummy! They've since also released the Frankenstein and Dracula sets, sure to be on the next Poppies ballot.

Another 21% agreed with my top pick, voting for the Villains Lair from McFarlane. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough to give it the top spot, but it was enough to snag silver.

The top spot was won with a whopping 34% - Castle Grayskull! Clearly, the People voters had a lot of MOTU fans in there.

But here's the thing - The Poppies judges mirrors the results exactly, giving the Mummy Accessory Set the bronze with 12% of the vote, the Villain's Lair silver with 17%, and Castle Grayskull the gold with 39%, and even bigger number of gold votes. Now the question is, can Mattel come up with another version for 2023?

(image courtesy Mattel)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Castle Grayskull Mummy Accessory Set Mummy Accessory Set
Second Place Gremlin Accessory Set Villain's Lair Villain's Lair
First Place Villain's Lair Castle Grayskull Castle Grayskull

Castle Grayskull Netflix play set

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Best Statue
We had a really terrific set of nominees in this category, and I have to admit some surprise as to the results.

My third place winner is the Batman Batcave Edition from from Prime 1. If you're a Batman fan, you'll love this thing. And if you're rich, you can buy one too. Sadly, I can only look at the ones owned by others.

Another huge and expensive statue gets my silver - Hulkbuster, this time from Queen Studios. They are doing some amazing work in statues, and we've just started to see the potential with their sixth scale figures. I'm sure the DK Joker will be on the ballot for 2023, and perhaps Gandalf.

My top pick is another huge one - Swamp Thing! This guy comes with swappable parts, a rare statue feature that I really love.

The People voters did not agree with me AT ALL. That's pretty rare, when we can pick a completely different set of nominees for all three medals. And the People had a tie!

The tie was for the bronze, where the Wonder Woman from Queen Studios got the same 7% of the vote as the Joker on his Throne from Tweeterhead. Beautiful work on both of these of course, but the silver medalist edged them out with 10% of the vote. That second place winner would be Teela, also from Tweeterhead!

The big winner for the People was a surprise to me. And it wasn't even close, with 20% of the vote going to Bilbo Baggins in Bag End, the diorama style statue from Weta. This guy did great in the Eddie Wires category as well, so I suppose I shouldn't be that shocked.

The Poppies voters appreciated Bilbo Baggins in Bag End as well, but not quite at the same level as the People. Just under 10% voted for him, enough to snag the bronze medal.

They picked a completely different nominee for their silver medal, with 11% of the vote going to the Tiamat Battle diorama. It's clear D&D hasn't lost it's popularity, try as hard as Wizards of the Coast might.

Their big winner was Tweeterhead's Teela. With just under 14% of the vote, it was definitely a close race, but this terrific MOTU release won out. She was also one of the less expensive - relatively speaking of course - statues on the ballot.

(image courtesy Tweeterhead)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Batman Batcave Edition Joker on Throne/Wonder Woman Bilbo in Bag End
Second Place Hulkbuster Teela Tiamat
First Place Swamp Thing Bilbo in Bag End Teela

Teela Statue

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Best Bust
This is a category that has seen a diminished number of nominees in recent years, but 2022 was a solid year for releases, particularly in 1:1 scale.

I went with a Gentle Giant release for my bronze medal - Doctor Aphra. Okay, she wasn't on the ballot, but she stood out for me, and sometimes I just gotta do my own thing.

Getting back to the ballot nominees, I went with the Green Goblin from DST for the silver. I love their Legends in 3D line - I hope we get some more BTAS versions - and this GG was outstanding.

My gold goes to a life size bust - Skeletor. This was another Tweeterhead release, and you can see that 2022 was a great year for them on multiple fronts.

The People, or at least 12% of them, put their support behind Thanos, the life size bust from Queen Studios. And yes, it's massive.

With about 13% of the vote, the lifesize Bruce Lee took the silver. This 1:1 version of the master martial artist was done by Infinity Studios.

And the top spot goes to the 1:1 Skeletor! With almost 22% of the vote, he ran off with the People's Picks gold.

The Poppies Judges went with a different nominee for their bronze medal - Luke Skywalker in the Red-5 outfit. These busts from DST and Gentle Giant are 1/2 scale, but they are much more reasonable priced than most of the other winners. He grabbed 12% of the vote.

Another 15% of the Poppies judges went for the 1:1 Bruce Lee from Infinity Studios. He's been gone a long time, but his impact and popularity never seems to wane.

When it comes to gold, the Poppies judges agreed with me and the People, giving their top award to the 1:1 scale Skeletor. Just under 26% of the vote went to the evil dude.

(image courtesy Tweeterhead)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Doctor Aphra Thanos Luke Skywalker Red-5
Second Place Green Goblin Bruce Lee Bruce Lee
First Place Skeletor Skeletor Skeletor

Skeletor bust

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Best Designer/Vinyl Figure
There was something different about the voting this year - Funko didn't dominate this part of the ballot.

For my bronze pick, I went with a small run figure called Open Heart. Created by Jason Naylor, I really love the design.

My silver also goes to a vinyl figure with a really fun, yet though provoking design. Called Self Made, and created by Brett Crawford, it's a Pinocchio type character carving himself out of wood. And while we share the same last name, there's no relation.

For the gold, I went with the Man-Thing released by Mondo and designed by James Groman. The figure did great in the Eddie Wires category, and I think it was the best nominee here as well.

The People went for a different bronze medalist - the Tubbz Balrog, from Numbskull. There's still plenty of LOTR fans out there looking for unique items, and 17% of them showed their love.

With 20% of the vote, the Vinimates set of CM Punk and Sting took the silver. DST has continued to do some great work with this style, matching it with popular licenses.

The big winner for the People crushed it though, with a huge 40% of the vote- Man-Thing! Nice to see I wasn't crazy when I picked this guy as my winner.

For the second time this year, the Poppies judges agreed completely with the People voters, giving Balrog the bronze with 9% of the vote, CM Punk and Sting the silver with 10% of the vote, and Man-Thing the gold with a whopping 59%! We don't often see landslides like this!

(photo courtesy of Mondo)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Open Heart Balrog Balrog
Second Place Self Made CM Punk and Sting CM Punk and Sting
First Place Man-Thing Man-Thing Man-Thing

Man-Thing vinyl figure

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Best Prop Replica
I didn't get exposed to a lot of new prop replicas in 2022, but other judges had some great nominations.

I did like the Tesseract that Hasbro put out, and it was at Target for only a brief time. I'm giving it the bronze medal.

I also really like the 1:1 scale Puppet Masters Blade figure. Full Moon does some amazing work of course, and I gave this replica my silver medal.

But my top pick was a very reasonably priced replica of the Batarang from Batman Beyond. NECA has produced several of the various batarangs, and this is one of the most recognizable.

The People picked the Iron Spider Helmet as their bronze medalist. It received 15% of the vote, grabbing the third place spot.

Another 16% of the voters went with the Star Trek Enterprise D Tea Cup replica. I love this sort of simple yet attractive replica, perfect for the shelf and not too expensive.

The big winner of the People's Picks gold medal is the same as mine - the Batman Beyond Batarang! Clearly, a lot of people (or at least 37% of the voters) loved it as much as I did.

The Poppies judges managed to create a mash up of the People and me, thanks to having a tie in one of the spots. They gave the Blade from Puppet Masters 15% of the vote, which was enough to get the bronze. They also loved the Tea Cup, giving it 16% of their votes as well. That snagged Factory Entertainment the silver.

But the gold went to two items in a tie. With 27% of the vote each, The Iron Spider Helmet and the Batarang both got the gold from the Poppies Judges!

(image courtesy NECA)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Tesseract Iron Spider Helmet Blade Puppet Masters
Second Place Blade Puppet Masters Tea Cup Tea Cup
First Place Batarang Batarang Batarang/Iron Spider Helmet

Batman Beyond Batarang prop replica

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Best Building Set
Let's face it, Lego still dominates this category.

The three sets I really liked this year are the Typewriter, getting my bronze, the Mighty Bowser for the silver, and the amazing Optimus Prime for the gold.

The People's Picks voters had a slightly different take, but we were close. The Delorean got 13% of the vote, winning the bronze medal. But Lego didn't sweep the People - MEGA Construx took the silver and 16% of the vote, thanks to the terrific Snake Mountain set!

But the top spot was taken by Optimus Prime, and it's hard to argue with the result. Since I picked it as my gold winner, and 23% of the People did as well, I'd say it's pretty clear how great it is.

The Poppies judges agreed with me on the bronze medalist, giving the Typewriter from Lego the bronze thanks to 16% of the vote. Tom Hanks would be pleased. They then agreed with the People by selecting the MEGA Snake Mountain for the silver, with 17% of the vote. It's pretty rare when Lego doesn't sweep.

And of course, they agreed with both me and the People, selecting Optimus Prime for the gold, thanks to 26% of the vote.

(image courtesy Lego)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Typewriter Delorean Typewriter
Second Place Bowser Snake Mountain Snake Mountain
First Place Optimus Prime Optimus Prime Optimus Prime

Lego Optimus Prime

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Best Misc
Our last category once again!

This is a great category for dinosaurs, and that's what I picked for the bronze medal. The Dreadnoughtus is just so damn cool, and Mattel is doing some really amazing creatures that I would have loved when I was a kid.

I picked an unusual line for my silver medal - the World's Smallest Action Figures. These little guys are under 2", and include various licenses.

But for the gold let's get back to the dinosaurs - the huge T-Rex! This guy is part of the Hammond Collection from Mattel.

The People, or 11% of them at least, went for the nifty World's Smallest Action Figures, which was enough to get the bronze medal. They also went small with their silver medal, selecting G.I. Joe Minimates for the honor with 26% of the vote.

But their gold also went to the super cool T-Rex from Mattel. It took a whopping 35% of the vote, dominating the category the way it dominated the earth.

Finally, it's the last set of Poppies results. With 19% of the vote, the World's Smallest Action Figures showed up again in the bronze spot. Mirroring the People, they also gave the silver to the G.I. Joe Minimates, giving them 21% of the vote.

But it was the Hammond Collection T-Rex from Mattel that took the final gold, along with 27% of the vote!

(image courtesy Mattel)

Place   My picks   People's Picks   Poppies
Third Place Dreadnoughtus Smallest Action Figures Smallest Action Figures
Second Place Smallest Action Figures G.I. Joe Minimates G.I. Joe Minimates
First Place T-Rex T-Rex T-Rex

Hammond Collection T4-Rex

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There were a few interesting thoughts that came to mind as I worked through the results.

The timing of the large lay off at Mondo came at just the same time as I was working on this write up. Seeing them do extremely well this year, winning three Poppies Golds and another Silver, I can only hope this won't affect their quality in 2023.

Some older companies are having a moment again, especially McFarlane. The DC Multiverse line is really starting to roll, and hopefully they'll get at least a few more years out of it before they let the license go.

Other older companies who have been on top for many years are definitely starting to slip. Marvel Legends once dominated in four categories - Best Overall Line Low End, Best Maile Figure 5 - 11", Best Female Figure 5 - 11", and Best BAF - but this year only got one gold, one silver, and one bronze. They were shut out of the medals entirely in the Best Male 5 - 11"!

Another company that once dominated several categories is Hot Toys. They were still gold medalists in their two key categories - Best Male and Best Female 11 - 17" - but in other categories where they were once on top, they've dropped to second or third place. Next year should be very interesting, as I expect we'll see the Joker and Gandalf from inArt making a bid for the gold.

There are some new comers making themselves known in the Poppies, and EXO-6 is probably the one making the biggest noise. It will be interesting to see who else comes up next year, and if some of the other smaller companies that have made in roads, like Boss Fight Studio, or Four Horsemen, manage to move up the ranks in 2023.

Let me know what stood out for you, and what trends you see appearing.

I hope you enjoyed this year's results, and thanks to all that voted in the People's Picks, as well as a huge thank you to all the Poppies Judges!

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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