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2009 Plastic and Plushies: Vinyl Toy of the Year

We save the biggest category for last. It's always difficult narrowing down all of our reviews for the best vinyl toy of the year. But I think these ten figures were the strongest of the past year. You disagree? Let us know about your favorites.

vinyl pierce

#10 - Pierce and Dogboy by Carnival Cartoons
Yeah...we might be a little biased on this pick (since the Plastic and Plush Exclusive Pierce and Dogboy are still available through our shop...wink, wink). Nonetheless, the two figure pack from designer Jared Deal is a perfect addition to the rest of the Carney family.

vinyl titus

#9 - Secret Agent Titus (IWG Movie Icons) by Rocket World
Patrick Ma released a trio of IWG characters - in all new sculpts - featuring poses and weapons from iconic action hero films. Titus, sporting his silenced Walther PPK, is reminiscent of the Timothy Dalton version of James Bond.

vinyl medusa

#8 - Medusa - Black Mamba by ESC-Toy
Straight from Greek mythology to vinyl, Erick Scarecrow released his version of the evil Gorgon sister. While she definitely won't turn you to stone, the snaked-up vinyl figure is definitely the most stylish Medusa you'll ever see. And as with a majority of ESC's all about the shoes.

vinyl drazoran

#7 - Drazoran by Max Toy Company
Mark Nagata went old school with this original Max Toy Co. kaiju. Made in Japan, the vinyl piece is a great example of why Japanese vinyl is superior to all others. Fans of Godzilla and the like will obviously be impressed.

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2009 Plastic and Plushies: Plush of the Year

2009 was another strong year for plush releases. Whether you like to display them, cuddle with them or throw them at people...there was a plush dropped over the past year that will catch your eyes. Right here, we're taking a look at our ten favorite plushies of the past year.

plush stepper

#10 - Stepper (Bunk Bots) by Huge Factory
Jason Hilbourne decided to create a line of plush robots because his kids were sleeping next to their hard plastic robot toys. From that, the Bunk Bots were born. Our favorite of the line is Stepper, but each character is slightly different: shade of grey, eye pattern and hands.

plush haminal

#9 - Canned Haminal by Crystal Chesney Thompson
Already mentioned in our coverage of best packaging, the actual plush inside of that Spam-like container is also pretty darn cute. The pink plush is a combination of a hamster and canned ham...but not as tasty. Mmm...grilled hamster.

plush lion

#8 - Lion (Lubies) by RocketUSA
One of the best representatives of RocketUSA's Lubies line has to be the Lion. (I believe that's an example of alliteration) The softball style plush is soft and cuddly - perfect if you're 2 years old...or 82.

plush rue

#7 - Rue by Worry Woo Monsters
Andi Green's characters made the transition from her watercolor-styled books to 3-dimensional plush. Our favorite of the line is Rue. What, with a big ol' nose, stylin' hairstyle and soft angelic wings...wouldn't it be yours?

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2009 Plastic and Plushies: Best Articulated Figure

So what exactly qualifies as a highly articulated figure? Well, they usually have multiple points of articulation (over 20) and are often 1/6  scale or - in the case of the TCF line - larger. We've put together our top ten list of favorite (reviewed) articulated figures of the year past.

artic smart

#10 - Maxwell Smart by Tonner Doll Company
It was Steve Carell's character in The 40 Year Old Virgin that collected all sorts of articulated figures. So it's only fitting that the actor gets his own authorized likeness. The figure is based on the Get Smart movie license...but you could easily turn him into Michael Scott.

artic vader

#9 - Darth Vader by Sideshow Collectibles
Sideshow continued releasing figures from their Star Wars license, and collectors were happy to finally get their hands on the evil Vader. The hulking 1/6 scale piece is bound to be the centerpiece of any Star Wars collector's display - unless you have a lifesize slave Leia.

artic campbell

#8 - Bruce Campbell by Dark Horse
My Name Is Bruce might just be the worst film I've seen over the past year, but I'm pretty sure that's what they were shooting for. Dark Horse created an authorized likeness of the star - Bruce Campbell - who actually plays himself (or a version thereof) in the film. And you get a bunch of movie-related accessories.

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2009 Plastic and Plushies: Artist of the Year

There are so many talented artists currently creating, designing, and producing designer toys that it's difficult to whittle them down to only five. So we're looking at five artists that made a big impact in 2009.

artists doughty

#5 - Matt Doughty (Onell Design)
Some folks might not know who the man behind Onell Design and the Glyos figures is. Doughty spearheads the company that released a ton of new products in 2009. And if you've ever seen his creations using the Glyos figure parts - you'll wonder how he did it.

artists bwana

#4 - Bwana Spoons (Grass Hut)
Not only did Bwana release original figures and paintings, but he teamed up with David Horvath to customize vinyl Uglydolls. I was so impressed that I had to go ahead and sign up for Bwana's SARS subscription club.

artists scarecrow bell

#3 - Erick Scarecrow (ESC-Toy)
2009 saw the man (pictured on the left) behind ESC-Toy not only release vinyl figures...but he focused a lot of his time producing a number of small run, handmade resin figures. And I think this handmade stuff have been the most impressive ESC-Toy products to date.

#2 - Andrew Bell (Dead Zebra)
Bell (pictured to the right of Scarecrow) released possibly the most sought after vinyl toy of 2009. The creater of O-No Sushi not only released his own figure, but his designs were included in the BIC Buddy and Dunny lines. There was the Kidreaper, prints, customs...

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2009 Plastic and Plushies: Best Toy Line

We previously looked at our favorite blind box series, but what about all of the other vinyl, articulated and plush lines? In a mishmash of various styles and materials, we'll take a look at our five favorite lines from the past year. What makes up a "toy line"? It can't be a one-off figure...that's about it.

line icons

#5 - IWG Movie Icon Series by Rocket World
Rocket World re-imagined their three most popular Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo characters (Titus, Affonso and Hannibal) from various classic action movies.

line uppy

#4 - Uglydolls by Pretty Ugly
David, Sun-Min and the rest of the Uglydoll crew released several new Uglys in 2009. Our favorite? Uppy - pictured above.

line lubies

#3 - Lubies by RocketUSA
In 2009, RocketUSA released their line of super-soft, softball-sized Lubies plushies. Two series were released, featuring a number of cute little animals. Lions and Tigers and Bears...yep, they have all of them.

line onell

#2 - Glyos System Series by Onell Design
Onell continued their strong Glyos line by adding several new sculpts - Buildman, Armodoc, Beanbot, Gobon - to an already strong series. And they've expanded to include rotocast vinyl figures in the line.

line gijoe

**WINNER** #1 - G.I. Joe by Sideshow Collectibles
Sideshow teamed up with Hasbro and brought all of the children of the 80's a line they've been waiting for. Not only did Sideshow hold true to the classic line's styling, but they also released a quality product.

2009 Plastic and Plushies Prizes – 5 Days Left!


On Tuesday, we asked you to send in your favorite toys of the past year. Check out this post to refresh your memory. Well, here are the prizes that you could win!

  1. Complete set of Treeson and Other Stories Figures (Thanks to Crazy Label)
  2. Custom Star Trek Bunk Bot (Thanks to Jason Hilbourne)
  3. Plastic and Plush Exclusive Pierce and Nathan Carney
  4. Grab Bag Surprise
  5. BUDS Series 3 - 4 Random BUDS (Thanks to Jamungo)

So, five people will be bringing home a prize. We'll choose the five random entries from all those who have sent in a completed list (with mailing address) by January 25th, 2010 at 11:59PM EST. Winner #1 will have their choice of any of the five prizes...all the way to Winner #5 - who gets the lone remaining prize.

2009 Plastic and Plushies: Best Resin

Over the past few years, resin figures have really grown in popularity. Whether it's that artists can hand make small run art pieces at home - and you don't have to outsource production to a factory in Japan or China - or the medium just works better than rotocast vinyl, resin figures are starting to pick up steam.

resin foo

#5 - Foo Dog by Patch Together
This design was submitted to Patch Together by artist Melita Curphy (Miss Monster). It's an articulated roto-resin piece (you don't see that too often) that really conveys the artist's work.

resin tentatiger

#4 - Tentatiger by Patch Together
Another collaboration between Miss Monster and Patch Together yielded the Tentatiger resin figure. We like this one a little better than the Foo Dog due to the complex sculpting...and the snake tail.

resin destroyer

#3 - Destroyer by Argonaut Resins
I had a chance to customize one of O_Negative's blank Destroyer resin figures (it's the one pictured above). Not only are they great for customizers, but the overall design is great.

resin ducksauce

#2 - Ducksauce by DynomightNYC and Suckadelic
The Sucklord produced bootleg styled Ducksauce was the first figure released from DynomightNYC's Cthulhu Juice Crew series. And they even created a few specially made figures for some of their favorite toy news sites...

resin rascal

**WINNER** #1 - Big Rollin' Rascal by Scott Tolleson
Artist Scott Tolleson has cornered the market on cute girls riding three wheeled vehicles. Whether you like the Tricycle Terror or Big Rollin' Rascal better, Stolle has sped ahead of the resin competition...albeit on a Big Wheel.

2009 Plastic and Plushies: Best Customizer

Toy customizing is an art form in and of itself. Some of the top customizers are able to take a rather bland base figure and turn it into a masterpiece. Often, the prices of these customs overshadow those of original paintings. So here are our top five toy customizers of 2009.

custom wuzone

#5 - WuzOne
Responsible for some great representations of classic and current cartoon characters on vinyl, WuzOne has jumped onto the scene with customs like the one shown above.

custom rotobox

#4 - Rotobox Vinyl Anatomica
No one can customize a Qee like Rotobox. Go ahead and try turning a regular old Qee into a crazy transformable robot. Can't be done!

custom dead pres

#3 - Dead Presidents (Matt Walker)
No one does pinstriping like Matt Walker. He can do some amazing things with making Glyos figures look like little pieces of candy.

custom jpk

#2 - Jon-Paul Kaiser
Jon-Paul Kaiser is known for his amazing black and white custom paint schemes. He can create spot-on likenesses using only two colors. The above pictured version of Bob Marley was one of our favorite custom creations of 2009.

custom plaseebo

**WINNER** #1 - Plaseebo (Bob Conge)
While you might not know that artist Bob Conge was actually a college art professor, you've definitely seen his amazing custom work. Whether it be his mash-up figures or custom paint schemes...his work is unparalleled.

2009 Plastic and Plushies: Best Blind Box

Whether you love or hate blind boxes, you have to admit that they're a big part of the designer toy world. Rarely, do blind box series feature an entire set of strong designs...but these five come pretty close. Even though you don't know which figure you'll get, you should be happy with the result.

mini cupcake

#5 - Miss Cupcake by Dreamland Toyworks
Call me biased - as I love cupcakes - but this line (from artist olive47) features an assortment of the tasty little confections. While rotocast vinyl isn't as tasty as sugar and flour, the line would be a super cute addition to your collection. No matter which version you get.

mini treeson

#4 - Treeson & Other Stories by Crazy Label
Treeson fans were obviously super-excited to see a number of new characters added to Bubi Au Yeung's classic Treeson figure. It's one of the few blind box lines that's not a platform figure - these are all unique sculpts.

mini uglys

#3 - Uglydoll Action Figures by Pretty Ugly
All of your favorite cuddly Uglydolls (or at least 6 of them) were turned into little rotocast vinyl figures with waist spinning action. Each character was made available in a pair of colorways - their normal and Little Ugly variant.

mini bic

#2 - BIC Buddy Artist Series #1 by BIC Plastics
BIC Plastics' foray into the blind box realm yielded the BIC Buddy line. This series featured quite possibly the best lineup of artists ever - Andrew Bell, Brandt Peters, Sket, MAD, Angry Woebots, David Flores, etc. Plus, there were a few secret variants randomly packaged.

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2009 Plastic and Plushies: Best Sculpting

Sculpting work (like paint application) can either make or break a toy. And while you need both to perfect a figure, it starts with the sculpt. If you're sculpting a likeness of Harrison Ford, and it looks more like Bea Arthur...that's not going to cut it. So we're looking at the top 5 sculpts that have done the best job recreating their source artwork/likeness.

sculpt gandalf

#5 - Gandalf the Grey by Sideshow Collectibles
Yes, we are a little over six years past the last of The Lord of the Rings films. And it appears that Sideshow is finished producing 1/6 scale figures based on the license for the time being. But their sculpt of Ian McKellen as Gandalf is clearly the best of the line.

sculpt rascal

#4 - Big Rollin' Rascal by Scott Tolleson
In 2008, we saw the Tricycle 2009, we were given the Big Rollin' Rascal. The resin figure was sculpted based on a fairly complex illustration (at least by toy standards). But they pulled off one of the best resin pieces of the year.

sculpt boris

#3 - Boris - U1 Toy Arts
Nathan Hamill's first toy release was the purple and black raccoon named Boris. The sculptor kept that same boxy look that the original artwork had. And there are great little tooling marks that you don't often see in vinyl.

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