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2005 Toy Awards: Toy of the Year

The most anticipated award of the 2005 is the Toy of the Year.  This is only open to vinyl (as we’ve already given our Best Plush toy to Thomas Han’s Cosmic Quigly).  This was a very difficult category to narrow down to only three…but we were able to do!

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Gary Taxali’s Toy Monkey simply did not get enough press last year.  It was an amazing art piece that reminds us of the early 1900’s.  Who doesn’t love that sad look and removable fez?  Hopefully we hear more from Taxali and Chump Toys.

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Have you ever heard of Joe Ledbetter’s Fire Cat?  It was made by Wheaty Wheat Studios and was, by far and away, one of the most popular figures of the past year.  We actually could have included all of the Ledbetter toys…but I chose this one as my favorite of the lot.

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STRANGEco had a runaway hit with their MARS-1 Observer.  This figure had multiple colorways – the black version being my favorite.  It’s for all of us fans of astronauts and outer space.

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2005 Toy Awards: Best Plush Figure

2005 gave us a number of new plush lines and it introduced us to some new characters from several well established lines.  We chose our 3 favorite plushies (well...one might not actually be a plush) of the past year.

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Thomas Han's trippy artwork came to life with his Cosmic Quigly plush line.  With three super limited versions, this plush from Wheaty Wheat might have been the year's best kept secret.

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The Uglydoll family added another member this past February.  David Horvath launched the Ugly Dog plush right around last year's Toy Fair.  It was the first Ugly to have two color variants - pink and orange.

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Hmm...are Circus Punks considered plush? Well, they definitely aren't vinyl and they do have stuffing...so they fall under this category (in my book).  Even though there were so many amazing designs, Sket One's Eggster Punk stands out as on of the year's best.

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2005 Toy Awards: Best Toy Line

Now start the big awards!  For the next week, we'll be presenting our 4 big categories - Best Toy Line, Best Plush Toy, Best Vinyl Toy and 2005 Toy of the Year.  The Best Toy Line Award comes down to 3 choices...all great choices. (at least I think so)

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UNKLBrand's TinPo figures are pint-sized, less "urban" version of their HazMaPo toys.  It's a line of 10 figures that are part cute, part freaky.

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Neth Creatures
by J were the surprise hit of San Diego's Comic Con.  Tucked away in a back corner somewhere, some folks were lucky enough to catch the preview of this unique art toy line.  The first series of 9 designs were just as spectacular.

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One of the most controversial lines of the year was Camille Rose Garcia's girls from Necessaries Toy Foundation.  It's one of my favorite lines of the year (you can read more about that in a future review) although some people have issues with some of the girls tipping over.  I think the design and sculpting makes up for that.

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2005 Toy Awards: The Readers’ Picks

We asked our readers to submit their choices for 5 categories.  These included the Best Vinyl Figure, Best Plush Figure, Best Toy Line, Best Company and Toy of the Year.  The resutls are in and there were some very close races.

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Best Vinyl Figure
This award went to Mr. Bunny from Joe Ledbetter and Wheaty Wheat.  A close second was Huck Gee's Skullhead figures.

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Best Plush Figure
The Uglydolls were a runaway winner...although folks seemed to differ as to which was their favorite (Ugly Dog, Limited Edition Wage, Mini Uglys).  Readers chose Shawnimals for second place.

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Best Toy Line
Readers were definitely fans of Kidrobot's Dunny line.  Qees, produced by Toy2r, came in a close second.

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Most Outstanding Toy Company
This was the most competitive category with Wheaty Wheat Studios (on the heels of their Ledbetter line) squeaking out a victory over Kidrobot, Toy2R and STRANGEco.

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Toy of the Year

You folks chose Mr. Bunny as your favorite toy of thise past year.  In a somewhat ironic twist, Fire-Cat (also designed by Joe Ledbetter and Wheaty Wheat) came in a close second.

2005 Toy Awards: Best Toy Line – Ladies Choice

As we all know, it's not just us men who are designer toy collectors.  So it was decided to add this category for the female collectors. (We're not all Andy from the 40 Year Old Virgin) So what actually constitutes a girlie toy?  We'll we're not sure...but check out these three nominees.

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The Little Uglys mini plush dolls were the hit of San Diego's Comic Con.  They were literally selling them by the garbage can full.  People were collecting the entire set (2 series so far), which means a ton of plush in the house.

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The Blythe Dolls have been around since the 1970's...but just recently have they been re-introduced to collectors.  They might be a little difficult to find in the US (since CWC is overseas), but with a traveling exhibition and Hasbro beginning to sell them online...It'll be easier to find everyone's favorite fashion doll.

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2005 Toy Awards: Artist of the Year

Choosing the one artist who has had the biggest impact on the past year is always somewhat of a challenge.  It's especially a challenge when there are so many amazing artists working their magic in this realm.  Narrowing it down to 3 was hard enough...but then selecting one was even more difficult.

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David Horvath is most widely known as 'That Uglydoll Guy'.  This past year has introduced us to a few more Uglys as well as 2 series of Little Uglies.  We also got a glimpse of the Pounda vinyl figures from Critterbox and a Little Bony vinyl from SEG.  Not to mention his Dunny, Trexi and Qee designs...

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Joe Ledbetter appears to be the talk of the town over the last several months.  He's not entirely new to the vinyl scene, as a number of his customs have been showcased in exhibitions.  However, he has introduced his first original line of toys with Wheaty Wheat Studios, and the Fire Cat and Mr. Bunny vinyls are at the top of every collectors wish list.

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2005 Toy Awards: Best Mini Line

2005 was a good year for mini figures (anything under 4 inches in height).  Of course, there were more lines of Qees, Kubricks and Dunnys than you could shake a stick at.  We chose 3 of our favorite lines of the past year...

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The world of designer toys took a step in a completely different direction when the USB Flash Drive mimobots were introduced by mimoco.  With artwork by Yahid Rodriguez and the ability to store all of your important files, what could be cooler?

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Rocket World and STRANGEco shrunk their Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo line of figures down to mini figure size.  All 9 figures were released at the same time and aren't blind boxed.  Woo who!

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STRANGEco and Mars-1 launched their Invisible Plan line at Comic Con.  It sold out promptly...and just won our best sculpting award.

Winner: Rocket World and STRANGEco's Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo
This line won our Best Toy Line of 2004 (when I was writing for a different site) back when it was a line of 6 inch tall figures.  The minis are just as cool as the larger figures.

2005 Toy Awards: Best Sculpting

Best Sculpting

Most of the figures in the Designer/Vinyl Toy Scene are based on simple designs and sculpts.  However, you do have your occasional intricate piece.  This award is to single those figures (and sculptors) out, because without their hard work...it would be difficult to go from an idea or a painting to a tangible figure.

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Wheaty Wheat and Joe Ledbetter's Mr. Bunny is up for another award.  This time, it's due to the way the figure's tail and ears are attached to the body.  You would think it would snap off in your hand, but it's a very durable toy. They were able to create a toy that is the spitting image of Ledbetter's drawings.

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STRANGEco
and Mars-1 released their Invisible Plan line in San Diego.  This was the special SDCC line in a bluish-grey.  The details on these figures (some under 2 inches in height) is great.  I'm looking forward to seeing the full color lines - see below.

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McFarlane Toys just recently released their Napoleon Dynamite line.  These toys speak lines from the movies, but are more statues than "playable" toys.  They look just like their real life counterparts...and get ready for more characters in series 2.

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2005 Toy Awards: Best Packaging

Best Packaging

Any product that is in plastic clamshell casing is automatically thrown out.  The more twisty ties, the less likely you'll be considered.  Artwork and interesting reading always help.  In 2005, this category was dominated by 3 companies: Necessaries Toy Foundation (NTF), Wheaty Wheat and STRANGEco

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NTF always does a great job "aging" their boxes to look as if they came straight out of the 1950's.  They created Todd Schorr's BunnyDuck and did an amazing job with the packaging.  Nice tidbits of info, great artwork and their aging effects.

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Wheaty Wheat Studios' Ledbetter line is a toss up as to which figure has the better packaging - Fire-Cat or Mr. Bunny.  Both are works of art in their own right.  I would probably choose Mr. Bunny's box over Fire Cat just due to the evil and happy bunnies adorning each side.

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STRANGEco and Wootini worked on the Booted Glamour Cat.  The twisty tie doesn't deduct because the overall packaging is so cool (and it doesn't take an engineering degree to get to the toy).  It looks like the figure is in it's own little traveling sideshow display.  There is reading and background artwork as well.

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