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2012 PAPAs: Plastic Toy Of The Year

PAPAs Plastic Toy of the Year

Our final category for the 2012 Plastic and Plush Awards is the Plastic Toy Of The Year. Since resin has become just as popular as rotocast vinyl, they're all included in here (ABS, PVC, and any other kind of plastic as well). Whittling down to five pieces here was the most difficult of any category...

PAPAs Crazy Label 1000 Teddies

5. 1000 Teddies (Crazy Label - Philipp Jordan)
Sculpted to almost feel like a fabric teddy bear (maybe burlap over the sculpt?), Crazy Label converted Philipp's 1000 Teddies artwork into a single vinyl teddy sculpt. It's a great representation of Mr. Jordan's art show (all 1000 teddies) in vinyl form.

PAPAs Tomenosuke Calliope Jackalope

4. Calliope Jackalope (Tomenosuke+Circus Posterus - Kathie Olivas)
The T+CP label was introduced in 2012 and really picked up a head of steam throughout the year. With the quality of Japan-made vinyl and amazing paint-work, the release of the Calliope Jackalope helped to bring Kathie Olivas' artwork to life like we've never seen it before.

PAPAs Onell Armorvor

3. Armorvor (Onell Design)
There were actually a number of artists involved in bringing the Armorvor to production: Matt Doughty, Marty "Godbeast"Hansen, and Jason Frailey. The trio wanted to pay homage to the 1980's Battle Beasts line, while keeping everything Glyos Compatible. What they ended up with was quite possibly the be(a)st Glyos figure to date.

PAPAs ESC Turtum Micci

2. Turtum Micci (ESC-Toy - Erick Scarecrow)
The Turtum Micci is the lone resin representative on this list. An intricate sculpt combined with clear gradient resin make these a personal favorite. The character fits in with some of Erick's other 80's video game inspired art, but it's really about pushing resin somewhere new (and being affordable always helps).

PAPAs Tomenosuke Toxic Marshmallow Stingy Jack

1. Toxic Marshmallow Stingy Jack (T+CP - Brandt Peters)

While it's really a toss-up whether you prefer the Stingy Jack or Calliope Jackalope character, both are produced with the utmost attention to detail (especially paint and sculpting). So why did I choose Stingy Jack? I sort of have a Halloween/Jack-O-Lantern obsession, so he got a few bonus points.

2012 PAPAs: Plush Toy Of The Year


We resume our 2013 Plastic and Plush Awards with the last two categories. The Plush Toy of the Year category has been pared down to the top 5 releases of 2012. So here you have them...

PAPAs Gravescabs

5. Skell and Covers (Gravescabs - Sharkchild)
The Gravescabs feature a "base" Skell plush, which you can then customize by adding one of the several available (reversible) covers. It gives you a number of options, although I sort of prefer the regular old Skell.

PAPAs Goofy Grin Monsters

4. Candy (Goofy Grin Monsters)
The Goofy Grin Monsters are pretty much everything that their name mentions. The Candy character is the stand-out plush is this series. Why? Candy Corn, Licorice Ropes, Jelly Beans, Cupcakes...

PAPAs Worry Woos Twitch

3. Twitch (WorryWoos - Andi Green)
Andi's WorryWoos had a big year in 2012. She released several new books and a pair of new plush characters. The Twitch book might be my favorite in the series, and the plush character ranks right up there.

PAPAs Uglydolls Softy

2. Softy (Uglydolls - David+Sun-Min)
It wouldn't be a Plush Toy of the Year category if we didn't see an Uglydoll. While the brand has been gearing up for a jump to the big screen, we did see several new plush characters launch in 2012. Our favorite...the aptly named Softy.

PAPAs Worry Woos WorryBug

1. The WorryBug (WorryWoos - Andi Green)

The little WorryBug, from Andi Green's storybook - Don't Feed the Worrybug, sort of played second fiddle to Wince. It wasn't on the book cover and was the second plush from the story to be released. But while this plush is smaller than the other WorryWoos, it's my favorite of the bunch.

2012 PAPAs: Best Functional Toy

PAPAs Functional

This is a new category for us. What's a functional toy? Well, pretty much everything that doesn't fit in the other categories. It's a toy that can often be passed off for something else, whether it's a puzzle, USBflash memory, or one of these...

Chuppi TADO

5. Chuppi (Mathmos)
Part nightlight, part designer toy. This light up vinyl, designed by TADO, includes two sheets of interchangeable stickers to create 18 different characters.


4. Cubebot (Areaware)
The Cubebot is pretty much a puzzle + a Rubik's Cube + a wooden robot. So not only is it a fun character, but it's fun to play with.

Mimobot Adventure Time Finn

3. Adventure Time - Finn Mimobot (Mimoco)
We've been covering Mimobots for years now. I used to have a 256KB Mimobot hooked up to my Tandy 1000 EX in the 1980's. Well, maybe not that old. Being a fan of Adventure Time...this collaboration just seemed perfect.

Close Up Fingerboard

2. CloseUp Fingerboards
Straight from France, these mini finger skatedecks brought me back to my heyday...pitifully attempting tricks on my old plastic fingerboard. Except these are manufactured like the real thing.

Boombot2 Camo

1. Boombot2 (Boombotix)

The Boombot2, which actually uses the design of the old Mini Skully designer toy, added Bluetooth to the original Boombot designer speaker. And while the design is cool, and they teamed up with some artists from the scene, it's really the excellent sound quality that stands out. So much so, that I listen to it every day at work.

2012 PAPAs: Sixth Scale Toy of the Year

PAPAs Sixth Scale

We're back, taking a look at the final four categories in our 2012 Plastic and Plush Awards. Today, I'm taking a look at the best sixth scale (or highly articulated) figures from last year.

Go Hero The Shadow

5. The Shadow (Go Hero)

After being teased for a few years, we saw the pulp character, originally appearing in 1930's, released by Go Hero. They did a really good job transitioning the comic book mainstay into a sixth-scale piece.

Sideshow GIJoe Hawk

4. General Hawk - G.I. Joe (Sideshow Collectibles)

Sideshow's G.I. Joe line has been one of their standout licenses over the past several years. Their General Hawk figure is a good example of just how many accessories and extras they include with each figure.

Hot Toys Batman 1989

3. Batman - 1989 (Hot Toys)

A little over 22 years after the movie hit theaters, Hot Toys released both a Batman and Joker sixth-scale figures from the 1989 Batman film. Featuring three swap-out face pieces and a number of accessories, it's sure to please fans who preferred Tim Burton's take on the Batman story.

Hot Toys Captain America

2. Captain America - The First Avenger (Hot Toys)

The Number 2 figure might be my favorite on this list...mainly due to the retro look this Captain America figure. He didn't include the number of accessories some of the other figures on this list did, so ultimately, that might have pumped Steve Rogers to the #2 spot.

Hot Toys POTC Jack Sparrow

1. Captain Jack Sparrow DX (Hot Toys)

Hot Toys' produced a number of figures based on Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean film license. Their sculpting work of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow was amazing. The figure included a pair of interchangeable heads with their PERS moveable eyes system. And the accessories, including a sixth-scale weathered ship's wheel, were overwhelming.

2012 PAPAs: Best Toy Line

PAPAs Best Line

In what is probably the most competitive category of the PAPAs, we remember the year that was in toy lines. There were a number of deserving line, so whittling it down to only five was a little difficult. they are:

Onell Glyos

5. Glyos System Series (Onell Design)
Onell continued to expand the Glyos line with several new figure sculpts and lots of new color combinations. One of my favorite new figures, Armovor, capped off the year in Glyos toys.

Sideshow GI Joe

4. G.I. Joe (Sideshow Collectibles)
Sideshow took their sixth-scale G.I. Joe license from Hasbro and continued to churn out popular classic characters in 2012. Ireviewed General Hawk on the site, but the Zartan and Crimson Guard were this past year's standouts. (All I'm asking for is the metallic shield Cobra Commander)


3. Boombot2 (Boombotix)
The folks from Boombotix recently wrapped up their Kickstarter project to help produce the Boombot REX portable speaker. But the Boombot2, a wireless bluetooth speaker, combines amazing sound with a former designer toy design...and they even have an artist series.


2. T+CP (Tomenosuke and Circus Posterus)
The winner of our Best New Line Award, the Tomenosuke and Circus Posterus joint sofubi vinyl line is one that we have high hopes for in 2013 and beyond. In 2012, we saw them release figures by artists Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, and Chris Ryniak.

Hot Toys Avengers

1. The Avengers (Hot Toys)

It's hard to outdo sixth-scale figures from the top film of 2012 by one of the top toy companies out there. Hot Toys assembled The Avengers...with perfect head sculpts and amazing paint work. Not any easy mission, but my pick for the best of 2012.

2012 PAPAs: Best New Line

PAPAs New Line

With toy companies and toy lines constantly entering and exiting the marketplace, finding five new toy lines to feature is a fairly simple task. We saw new things from well-known companies and stuff from some artists we had not yet encountered, but here are my top 5...


5. Gravescabs (Sharkchild)
The only plush line on this list, Gravescabs combined characters from a podcast with plush toys. The Skell plush can don several interchangeable covers to give it different looks. It was one of the most unique plush lines of 2012.

SLUG Zombies

4. S.L.U.G. Zombies (JAKKS Pacific)
JAKKS Pacific is the largest company on this list. The mass-produced S.L.U.G. Zombies line took the popularity (and resurgence) of M.U.S.C.L.E. inspired figures and combined that with the undead (also apparently popular over the last several years).

NTF Sundae Girls I Want Candy

3. Sundae Girls (Necessaries Toy Foundation)
After many years (around 6) in the works, NTF released the first figure from Fawn Gehweiler's Sundae Girls line - named I Want Candy. There are two more figures that were revealed back in 2006...but I don't know if I could handle waiting until 2024 to complete the set.

October Toys OMFG

2. OMFG! (October Toys)
Crowdsourcing became a hot topic in 2012. One of the more successful projects was OMFG! Series 1 by October Toys. They brought together a group of artists and sculptors from around the globe to fund a five figure M.U.S.C.L.E. inspired line. And it was so popular that they did a Series 2.


1. T+CP (Tomenosuke and Circus Posterus)

Japan-based shop Tomenosuke joined up with Circus Posterus to release the T+CP line. To date, the sofubi vinyl line features designs from artists Brandt Peters, Kathie Olivas, and Chris Ryniak. Just when you thought that vinyl was on its way out...a line like this gets you excited to collect again.

2012 PAPAs: Best Blind Box Series

PAPAs Blind Box

It seems like the blind box craze sort of slowed down in 2012. We didn't review nearly the amount as previous years. And some series that were previously released blind-boxed have recently gone to the open front model. Nonetheless, here are five of our favorite blind box series of 2012...

Dudebox The Big Bang

5. The Big Bang (Dudebox)
Dudebox released a trio of blind-box lines, with artists using Dudebox's three different mini figure platforms. The standout in this lineup is probably from Attaboy (since we don't see nearly enough of his work on toys).

Kidrobot Bots

4. 'Bots (Kidrobot)
Those Kidrobot figures the company released over the years were shrunken down (in some cases, changed up a little) and  repackaged as a blind-box series.

Dudebox Super Amazing

3. Super Amazing Spectacular Collection (Dudebox)
This series is very similar to The Big Bang. It uses the same platform figures, but changes up on a few of the artists.

apzombsingle 2

2. Action Portable Zomb (3A Toys)
This is one of those blind-box toys I splurged for. I mean...they're 1/12th scale zombies from Ashley Wood. While I pulled one of the regular Zombs, there were 10 different colors and designs in this "blind shipped" series.

Lunartik in a Cup

1. Lunartik in a Cup of Tea Mini Series 2 (Matt JOnes)

For a second time, the Lunartik in a Cup of Tea Mini Series wins the award for the Best Blind Box Series. Back in 2010, the original series pulled off the win. But Matt JOnes has actually improved on that series with great new designs and better packaging.

2012 PAPAs: Best Sculpting

PAPAs Sculpting

Covering so many different figure platforms and types, the sculpting work is likely to vary dramatically. For example, sixth-scale collectibles often have very important face sculpts when they are an authorized likeness of an actor. With vinyl, it's often how close the toy is to the (illustrated) basis...and, hopefully, it doesn't fall over. With resin and injection molded pieces, oftentimes, the sculpting work can be a little more detailed. So it's a tough process putting everything on the same playing field...

ESC Uncharted Drake

5. Uncharted Nathan Drake (ESC-Toy)

Erick Scarecrow's vinyl version of the classic video game character - Nathan Drake - put a stylized spin on every gamer's favorite adventurer/explorer. And while it's a very simple looking Drake in the face, you know at first glance who the character is. A plus...he's a vinyl sculpted in an awkward pose and doesn't have any balance issues.

Onell Armorvor

4. Armorvor (Onell Design and Jason Frailey)

Sculptor Jason Frailey was the man behind transforming Matt Doughty's vision into reality. Armorvor is very different (chunkier) from other Glyos figures. Each one also comes with various heads, with that wolf head shown above being the most complex. And, most importantly, they've kept that retro-feel of a Battle Beast figure.

Hot Toys POTC Angelica

3. Pirates of the Caribbean - Angelica (Hot Toys)

It's nearly impossible to have a "Best Sculpting" category without Hot Toys being represented. While the head sculpt of Penelope Cruz not being the best we saw from the company in 2012, it's probably the best female head sculpt we ran across this year.

October Toys OMFG

2. OMFG Series 1 (October Toys - Multiple Sculptors)

Sculptors Charles Marsh, Daniel Yu, Ralph Niese, Dominic Campisi, and George Gaspar each deserve credit for putting together an excellent M.U.S.C.L.E. inspired mini figure series. For 2-inch tall figures, they have a whole bunch of intricate sculpting work - especially the King Castor and Multiskull.

Hot Toys POTC Jack Sparrow

1. Pirates of the Caribbean - Captain Jack Sparrow DX (Hot Toys)

Not only did Hot Toys produce the best Jack Sparrow sculpt that passed our eyes (and let me tell you...there are lots of POTC toys), but this might be the best sculpted likeness of Johnny Depp to date. The DX figure features a pair of interchangeable face sculpts, with both of them being excellent, and the hair is perfect as well.

2012 PAPAs: Best Packaging

PAPAs Packaging

What might be only a barrier to some folks might be a work of art to others. I'm talking about toy packaging. Some people keep their collectibles mint in box...others tear that stuff up and toss it to the garbage man. But sometimes the packaging, or the art on the packaging, is just as impressive as the toy inside...

Sideshow GIJoe Hawk

5. G.I. Joe - General Hawk (Sideshow Collectibles)
Sideshow's G.I. Joe and Star Wars lines have really been two of the most consistent high quality packaging over the past four or five years. Their design has really become the new norm for sixth scale figures. Why choose Joe over Vader? The G.I. Joe packaging harkens back to that 1980's look.

NTF Sundae Girls I Want Candy

4. Sundae Girls - I Want Candy (Necessaries Toy Foundation)
NTF never takes packaging design lightly. And while the I Want Candy box is very simple - just an illustration of Fawn Gehweiler's character - it gives you a great reference point of what the toy should look like...and it's just well-done art.

Go Hero The Shadow

3. The Shadow (Go Hero)
If you're going to create a sixth-scale figure based on a character originated in the 1930's, you might as well go retro. And Go Hero gives you a box that might pass for something from the 1950's. Just put it in some moth balls, and you'd think you were getting a classic toy.

Hot Toys Batman 1989

2. Batman - 1989 Version (Hot Toys)
Hot Toys is known for their sculpting and painting of sixth-scale figures. But they're also right up there with their packaging design...specifically, the interior. Everything is so securely packaged in foam and plastic (no twist ties!) that you know you'll never get a damaged piece. Oh...and the Michael Keaton Batman included a removable Bat Signal as part of its packaging.

Lunartik in a Cup of Tea Series 2

1. Lunartik in a Cup of Tea Mini Series 2 (Matt JOnes)

Matt JOnes has had a good run in our Best Packaging category over the years. Mini Series 1 won the award for 2010. And, in 2011, the regular version placed in 3rd place. Well, the game has been upped by packaging the little cup of tea in a blind-box take away cup. Ingenious!

2012 PAPAs: Artist of the Year

PAPAs 2012 Artists

Like Customizer of the Year, choosing a quintet of artists that excelled over the past year is a difficult task. (Finding photos of them on Facebook pages and their personal blogs is even more difficult) So here are my choices for the top 5 artists of 2012...

Bryan Green

5. Bryan Green (Paper Foldables)
I think it's about time that some paper toy artists got some love. With Paper Foldables producing characters from some of my favorite shows and games...this one is a no-brainer (and has nothing to do with the fact that we were left and right guides on the same line in middle school marching band).

Nathan Hamill

4. Nathan Hamill
Nathan teamed up with 3DRetro to release his Strife and Sire figure...did some print runs...and had an entire custom gallery show revolve around his Bellicose Bunny vinyl.

Matt Doughty

3. Matt Doughty (Onell Design)
One of the creative minds behind Onell Design, Matt was responsible (with Marty Hansen and Jason Frailey) for producing one of my favorite toys of 2012 - the Armorvor. Plus, I've never seen a 75 year old mountain man with so much energy...

Olivas Peters

2. Kathie Olivas/Brandt Peters
The husband and wife duo have been a part of the lowbrow art/designer toy scene for what feels like decades (at least to me). But I think some of their best work took place in 2012, highlighted by the Tomenosuke and Circus Posterus collaborations.

Ashley Wood

Ashley Wood
The A in 3A Toys, Ashley Wood has had yet another stellar year. While his comics, art books, and prints are always's really those crazy toys (robots, zombies, pretty ladies) that he continues releasing that's clinched this spot.