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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.

Winner: NTF's Camille Rose Garcia Girls
I think 3 out of the 4 figures are amazing designs.  Lula, Patch and Cherry Girl are my favorites.  i have had some balance problems with the Sadie and Katie figure...but she was my least favorite of the bunch anyway.  It's actually not tha uncommon for figures this size (and this complex) to have balancing issues.  This really is a great set of toys.  I love how NTF always puts out big toys for an affordable price and, from what I've seen, they always stand behind their products.

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.

A Forum and a Mailing List!!

The New Year has brought added new features to Plastic and Plush! 

We now have a mailing list.  You can subscribe by entering your email address into the field on the right hand side of our homepage.  You will then be kept up to date with all of our contests, reviews and interviews.

In bigger news...we also have a brand spankin' new Discussion Board.  I'm hoping to build it up as a place where we all can go to discuss what's hot and new in the world of vinyl toys.  We'll be adding more discussion areas throughout the next week or so.  Also, it is through EZBoard, so your old Kidrobot usernames and passwords should work.  See you on there!

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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Rocket World and STRANGEco's Insurgents Wilderness Gruppo mini line not only appeals to the vinyl toy collector...but to animal lovers as well.  I noticed a number of people who had no real interest in the "scene" just heaping praise on this line.

Winner: Blythe Dolls
CWC has done an amazing job bringing the Blythe dolls back from the toy vault.  There is now a traveling exhibition as well as books, dolls and doll clothes.

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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Frank Kozik has been doing his own thing for years now.  He is one of the kings of customs.  We saw Bone Bunnies, Smorkin' Labbits (big and small), and a number of Kozik Dunnys over the past year.  He's now working with Toy2R to release a line of Dr. Bomb figures...can't wait!

Winner: David Horvath
Boy...this was a tough category to choose a winner for.  There are so many deserving artists out there.  David has been working hard on plush designs as well as vinyl.  Plus, he had enough time in 2005 to go get married.

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.

INTERVIEW: J of Neth Creatures

We had a chance to chat with the man behind one of this year's new, hot designer toy lines - Neth Creatures.  It's a very unique collection and one that warrants a lot of attention.

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What was the inspiration for the Neth Creatures project?

Honestly, just about every experience of my life has inspired and influenced this project. I get a lot of design inspiration just from traveling around the country and the world, experiencing different designs and different design philosophies. It's also an inspiration to meet people who are out their doing their own thing and are passionate about it. I began working on the figures on the weekends as an escape from my corporate gig. Neth Creatures was my chance to develop something on my own and create something deeply personal. I wanted to do something that wasn't mass market, that wasn't concerned with mass appeal.

Please tell us more about J. ­ the artist.

I basically have used my work experience to refine my aesthetic eye. I think the figures have a good mix of my past experiences in toy, product, graphic and fashion design. I love that I'm continually growing as an artist and I want to continue to show my growth in my new work. I have always been drawing creatures, but they used to be very elaborate in illustration. Over the last few years, I've grown to appreciate design in a very raw, simple form. Lately I have been developing more print and canvas pieces exploring color, patterns and my love for nature and the beauty of simplicity.

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Did you do all of the design work and artwork for the 9 Neth Creatures?

Yes, I designed, redesigned, mocked up, changed, reworked and tweaked everything. I never really showed the designs and figures to anybody during the development except for my wife, who is also an artist. I wanted the figures to only be apart of us. I've always felt that too many people giving opinions waters things down.

Read more

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.

Winner: STRANGEco and Mars-1 Invisible Plan 
It's a very impressive line (probably why it sold out) for it's size.  The sculpting work on some of the UFO looking figures are amazing.

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Tis the Season…

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Since it's the time of year to send cards and let folks know that you are thinking of them and appreciate them...I though I would share some of the Holiday greetings I have received with you.

The first is a little animation from the folks at Red Magic...with their flying mini destroyer and CiBoy.  It takes a couple of seconds to load up, so be patient.

The 2nd animation is from a friend of mine and it tells a very special story of how he wanted a Huffy Vortex bike for one Christmas.  So check out Envisionboy's special holiday greeting for a good laugh.

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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.

Winner: Wheaty Wheat's Mr. Bunny
If you are looking for an amazing work of art that houses and even more amazing work of art...this is it.  If you like great, displayable packaging...the Booted Glamour Cat is the way to go.