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2011 PAPAs: Vinyl Toy of the Year

Our final category for the 2011 PAPAs is the Vinyl Toy of the Year. With so many deserving toys, how were we able to whittle it down to only five? Try locking yourself in a room with a bunch of toys and a six-pack.

5. Bellicose Bunny (Nathan Hamill - 3DRetro)

Vinyl TOTY 3DRetro Bellicose Bunny

Nathan Hamill's second vinyl toy release teamed them up with veteran online toy shop (turned toy producer) 3DRetro. An oversize astronaut rabbit riding a carrot-esqe rocketship? I'm pretty sure that was a part of a recurring nightmare I had when I was six.

4. Seahorse and Rider (Amanda Visell - Tomenosuke Exclusive)

Vinyl TOTY tomenosuke seahorse

We saw several different versions of Amanda Visell's Seahorse and Rider, but the white and gold Tomenosuke Exclusive was our favorite. The weathered paintwork is excellent. And there's a little girl with a trumpet who's dressed like Colonel Sanders.

3. Inspector Cumulus (Jonathan Edwards - Crazy Label)

Vinyl TOTY inspector cumulus

I had been looking forward to Crazy Label releasing Edwards' Inspector Cumulus vinyl figure for a while. And they didn't disappoint. As far as originality...I'm going to doubt you'll see many other trench coat wearing cloud detectives who smoke pipes.

2. Hermees (Gary Ham)

Vinyl TOTY gary ham hermees

Gary Ham's took his handmade wooden Hermees and turned it into a self produced vinyl toy. This bat features a 12" wingspan. Yep...it's enormous. And who thought that having a sculpt that looks like wood - with all of its imperfections - would be a good thing?

**WINNER**

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2011 PAPAs: Plush Toy of the Year

We're finishing off our 2011 Plastic And Plush Awards with one of the big categories - Plush Toy of the Year. Last year was a pretty big year for plush toys. It seems like more plush toys were reviewed than any other category...making it one of the most competitive.

5. Wince (Andi Green - Worry Woo Monsters)

Plush TOTY worry woos wince

The newest Worry Woo Monster - Wince - is the Monster of Worry. So he's pretty much the namesake of the Worry Woos. No? And Andi Green's illustrated book is the perfect complement to the cuddly plush.

4. Easter Cavey (A Little Stranger)

Plush TOTY cavey easter

The special edition Easter Cavey, designed and produced by Holly from A Little Stranger, looks a little different from your usual Cavey. (It has those long bunny ears)

3. FluffyBooBoo (Jordan Owen - OhNo!Doom)

Plush TOTY ond fluffy boo

You probably remember FluffyBadBad from OhNo!Doom. That plush won this award back in 2005. FluffyBooBoo is the ghostly glow-in-the-dark plush that has a chompin' mouth. Just watch your fingers.

2. Plunk Lion (Anna Chambers - Burgerlog)

Plush TOTY plunk lion

Anna Chambers' Plunk Lion took a simple black plush design and used it as a background. The pink, blue and yellow stitching on that background is what really makes the plush pop.

**WINNER**
1. BAM - Bully Alpha Male (Elina Vartiainen - Pretty Disturbed)

Plush TOTY Pretty Disturbed Bully

One of the smaller-run plush toys that we reviewed was the Bully Alpha Male from Elina Vartiainen. This entirely handmade piece features some great artwork from the artist based out of Finland. I'd love seeing more designs in this style...or maybe a few production toys from Pretty Disturbed.

2011 PAPAs: Sixth Scale/Articulated Toy of the Year

It seems like we reviewed more Sixth-Scale/highly articulated figures over the past year. Companies have definitely stepped up their games producing better sculpted, more accessorized, and higher quality pieces. So here are our top five picks of 2011:

5. Jayne Cobb TCF (Tonner Doll Company)

6th Scale firefly jayne

One of Tonner's better male facial sculpts, this version of Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb from the cult show Firefly. Including that hat gets this piece into our top five favorites of 2011. (Really...it wouldn't have been the same without it)

4. G.I. Joe - Stalker (Sideshow Collectibles)

6th Scale sideshow stalker

Sideshow's G.I. Joe line is one of the best accessorized series of figures out there. It brings a retro feel, from Hasbro's 1980's action figure line, to sixth-scale. And Stalker was one the better sculpted, accessorized and dressed figures from the series.

3. Tarrant - The Mad Hatter (Tonner Doll Company)

6th Scale tonner tarrant

Tonner's second figure to make it into our top five is their version of Johnny Depp playing Tarrant (The Mad Hatter) from Tim Burton's version of Alice in Wonderland. This is quite possibly the best figure that Tonner has produced, combining spectacular clothing with a solid face sculpt.

2. Slaughterhouse Dropcloth (Ashley Wood - 3A Toys)

6th Scale 3A dropcloth

If you're a fan of robots and a collector of toys...there should be no reason for you not to own several Ashley Wood/3A Toys figures. We reviewed the Slaughterhouse Dropcloth in 2011, and it was the first time I had viewed one of their figures. Now I know what the buzz is about. Very few companies put the attention to detail (amazing weathering effects) into their products.

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2011 PAPAs: Resin Toy of the Year

Over the past several years, resin has been the medium for many artists to produce their limited run art pieces. It's cheaper than vinyl production. The artist can monitor every aspect of the creation...even producing them in a garage. And it's much easier to meet that supply/demand equilibrium. So...here's a look at five of our favorite resin pieces from 2011.

5. Pharoah Hound (Argonaut Resins)

Resin Argonaut

The Tuttz's long-lost canine brother was released in several small quantity runs by END and Argonaut Resins. And while I don't believe we've seen everything the Pharoah Hound has to offer, just seeing a glimpse of him made me add him to this list.

4. Zombie Chuck (Brian Fyffe)

Resin zombie chuck

Zombies were fairly popular over the past year. Even the designer toy world got involved. Artist Brian Fyffe brought his Zombie Chuck character from the pages of his comic book to resin form. And it's the spitting image of the illustrated undead Chuck.

3. Turret - WWXXVII Collection (The Krillman)

Resin krillman

The Krillman's figures are actually produced in polymer clay, but since it doesn't fit in any of the other categories...I thought...it almost looks like resin. This insanely detailed figure is a goo dexample of what a well-skilled artist can do with polymer clay.

2. Beastman Ick Monster (Mad Joe Customizer - Overkill Resins)

Resin overkill ick monster

This special edition Ick Monster was customized to resemble the popular Master of the Universe character - Beastman. Mad Joe added an interesting outfit to go along with the unique paint job. Oh...and this resin is articulated at the shoulders.

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2011 PAPAs: Best Toy Line

While we already recognized some of our favorite new toy lines of 2011, there's still our overall toy lines to go over. So here are five toy lines that 

5. Uglydolls (Pretty Ugly)

Toy Line uglydoll vinyl

In addition to the popular Uglydoll plushies, Pretty Ugly released Series 3 of their Uglydoll Action Figure vinyls. Plus, there were the Lucky Uckys and a vinyl collaboration with Funko. And 2011 was one of Pretty Ugly's biggest in terms of apparel.

4. Glyos System Series (Onell Design)

Toy Line onell glyan

The introduction of the Glyan character highlighted Onell's Glyos line in 2011. There were customizers and artists who added their own spin on the Glyos System...plus various collaborations with companies like Real x Head.

3. Iron Man (Hot Toys)

Toy Line ht iron man bust

One of Hot Toys' most popular lines of 2011 was their Iron Man license. Makes sense with the release of Iron Man 2 was released the year before. In addition to the bust shown above, there were a number of new sixth-scale figures released from the film (Whiplash, War Machine, Iron Man, Black Widow).

2. WWRp (3A Toys)

Toy Line 3A large martins

Ashley Wood's World War Robot Portable line is a little smaller than the non-portable version. That means it's a little smaller hit to the wallet when purchasing one of them. Nonetheless, 3A Toys puts the same quality and care into these smaller pieces.

**WINNER**
1. Sixth-Scale Star Wars (Sideshow Collectibles)

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2011 PAPAs: Biggest Disappointment

Even though we saw a number of toy releases in 2011 that we loved...there were a few disappointments. Here are five of those that disappointed us...for various reason:

5. MINDstyle's NBA Vinyl Line (MINDstyle)

Dis mindstyle kobe

The rise and fall of MINDstyle in the designer toy scene was quick. But the NBA line designed by CoolRain looks an awful lot like a Michael Lau or Eric So figure.

4. Smell Me Marshalls (64 Colors - Rotofugi)

Dis Smell Me Marshall

The lone disappointment with the Smell Me Marshall scented vinyls is that they lose their smell within a few days of being opened. Since that's the main attraction of the line, it's a little disappointing.

3. 4-LOM (Medicom)

Dis medicom 4 lom

The colors on Medicom's 4-LOM figure just seem a little off. But it might not be that bad if this figure didn't run just under $250.00.

2. Yankee Pig Dog Labbit (Kidrobot)

Dis kidrobot kronk labbit

Apparently, Kidrobot received a number of poorly produced Yankee Pig Dog Labbits...so instead of getting them reproduced to the company's standards, they lowered the price by 31%.

**WINNER**
1. The Walking Dead (McFarlane Toys)

Dis mcfarlane daryl dixon

One of my most anticipated lines of the year was McFarlane's The Walking Dead (both the television and comic book series). Unfortunately, it looks like these were sculpted as traditional McFarlane statues...and the articulation was added later (just look at the legs above).

2011 PAPAs: Best New Line

Every year, we see a number of new companies and lines released...and we also see a number of them drop off the map. Here's a look at five of those new lines:

5. Bling Squared

New Line bling squared

Bling Squared makes handmade glass sculptures that you can collect, wear as jewelry, or hang off of your cell phone. And while the final product is cool...watching the artists make these is what's really entertaining.

4. AJ's Toy Boarders

New Line Toy Boarders

What would happen if those little green Army men decided to go skateboarding? That's the question AJ's Toy Boarders tries to answer. One of the most affordable series we reviewed this year, they're a must-have for mini figure collectors.

3. Xoddo

New Line xoddo plush

Xoddo is another one of those made to order plush sites. You design your buddy, using a ton of options, and they send you the plush version. The difference? Well...Xoddo's final product looks great!

2. Crappy Cat Mini Figure Series (VanBeater - UnaCat)

New Line crappy cat

Yep...TVM's Crappy Cat mini figures yielded our favorite blind box series. While we've already seen Crappy Cat in other formats (BUDs and larger vinyl figures), this is the first time he's been turned into a platform.

**WINNER**
1.
Bleacher Creatures

New Line bleacher creatures

The Bleacher Creatures filled that sports toy void that has been around since the demise of Rocket USA and their Lubies series. Available across all four major sports, and in plush dolls and puppets, these are a must-have for sports fans.

2011 PAPAs: Best Blind Box Series

Yes...those blind boxes. Love them or hate them, they're still a big part of the designer toy world. I had to whittle them down to our top five choices:

5. Hello Kitty Blotz (Sanrio - Mimoco)

Blind Box mimobot hk blotz

Mimoco released their own blind box line - the Blotz - of USB flash drive. The series featured Hello Kitty characters...although we would like to see a Star Wars Mimobot series.

4. House of Liu Contemporary Series (Veggiesomething - Crazy Label)

Blind Box house of liu

Crazy Label released a blind box series of miniaturized House of Liu figures. Veggiesomething's characters were done up in "Contemporary" attire in various colors.

3. Burglars Dunny (Saner - Kidrobot)

Blind Box burglars dunny

In what was our favorite 3" tall Dunny released this past year, the Burglars Dunny was also a blind box piece. There were only two designs, with one being the chase (not pictured above). Who couldn't love a creepy, undead Santa Clause.

2. Treeson and Other Stories Series 2 (Bubi Au Yeung - Crazy Label)

Blind Box treeson

The second series of Treeson and Other Stories mini figures built on the first. And with several new characters (and a few old ones), this series might be better than the first go-round.

**WINNER**
1. Crappy Cat Series 1 (VanBeater - Unacat)

Blind Box crappy cat

TVM released his first series of mini Crappy Cat figures...and they looked a lot like those old Jamungo BUDs (although I like the quality on these a little better). In addition to some great characters and pad printing, the assortment of accessories is top notch. It's difficult to find a blind box series where there isn't a subpar figure...this is one of those.

2011 PAPAs: Customizer of the Year

Customizers make the designer toy world go 'round. They put their own unique spin on platform toys or use bits and pieces of other toys in their maniacal creations. Here are our top 5 choices of 2011:

5. Dan Small (DMS-One)

Custom dms

In addition to creation his own resin figures, it seemed like DMS was busy throwing everything into carbonite.

4. Sam Millen (Tesselate)

Custom Tesselate

Tesselate is another artist who not only customizes toys but produces his own resin characters. above is one of our favorite Dunny customs from the artist.

3. Keith Poon (Keithing)

Custom keithing

Keithing, who releases a number of his custom pieces via Toy Qube, has customized some of our favorite 3A Toys...toys. For example, mashing C-3PO, R2-D2 and some Armstrongs.

2. Daniel Yu (Dory)

Custom daniel yu

Who else can take a simple Playmobil figure and create the above? Not many. Daniel adds a number of sculpted elements to his custom creations...making them truly one of a kind.

**WINNER**
1. Mikie Graham (Zombiemonkie)

Custom Mikie Graham

Mikie's ZAP (Zombie Art Project) was one of the largest custom series - from one artist - that I can recall seeing. Celebrating Halloween, this was only one of Mikie's full slate of custom pieces.

2011 PAPAs: Artist of the Year

So...how do I choose the Artist of the Year? I look at the entire art scene to see who had some of the most productive/influential years. The five chosen for 2011 are:

5. Holly Stanway (A Little Stranger)

Artist Holly Stanway

Holly, from A Little Stranger and Hey Cavey, was extremely busy during 2011. In addition to growing her Cavey plush line, she produced a number of customs and collaborated with the likes of The Tarantulas. Our favorite? The craziness that was Cavey's first birthday.

4. Marty Hansen (The GodBeast)

Artist Marty Hansen

Marty (aka The GodBeast) works with all sorts of artists producing and casting their art. If it wasn't for him, a number of other artists wouldn't see their pieces come to reality. Oh...and he also creates his own resin customs that are oftentimes compatible with the Glyos figures.

3. Shawn Smith (Shawnimals)

Artist Shawn Smith

The Ninja of the Month Club was an entertaining monthly release, showcasing a new character each month of 2011. Add in a pair of Shawnimals' apps for your iPhone, and you could take the land of Shawnimals on the go...and create your own characters.

2. Ashley Wood (3A Toys)

Artist Ashley Wood

Wood continued to release his amazing robotic (and human/zombie) creations via the 3A Toys label. He also announced some collaborations with Bandai and the folks behind Real Steel. And his spectacular paintings are awe-inspiring.

**WINNER**
1.
The Sucklord (Suckadelic)

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