Over the last year, we’ve seen some fantastic new releases and enough surprises to give collectors a heart attack. As with every year, major surprises hit us at both San Diego Comic-Con and New York Toy Fair (which is just over a month away now). I wanted to take the time to reflect on a few of my favorite toys and collectibles for 2015. With such a wide spectrum of products released, that run the price gamut, I’ll break some of these down to the best high priced release and best standard retail release where applicable. Our own Destro and Tony Bacala also list off their favorites in many of these categories. I’ve taken a few of the top level licenses, such as Star Wars, Marvel and DC Comics and given them their own talking points and then moved onto more general areas and formats
So read on to see the thoughts from Toyark Admins Joe Moore, Tony Bacala and Destro as we go over our favorite toys released in 2015. At the end, we also list our Top 15 Pick Up’s and/or Photo Shoots of 2015. We also want to hear from you. Join in on the discussion to weigh in on your favorite items from the year. Use our breakdown, or feel free to create your own list however you like.
Also, thank you to all our followers, readers, and commenters. You all help to keep what we do fun and engaging. We wouldn’t be here without you. So thanks for a fantastic 2015! Here’s to an even better 2016!
There’s no denying that Star Wars dominated the news for much of the second half of 2015. From Hot Toys, Hasbro, Tamashii Nations, Sideshow, Bandai, Funko, LEGO and many more, fans had plenty to collect in 2015. Here’s what we thought were the best releases for the Star Wars Brand.
Best Expensive Star Wars Release
Joe Moore: Had a tough time really narrowing this one down. We had so many killer 1/6 scale figure, statues and more. But, for me, I’d have to say the best high priced Star Wars item was the Hot Toys 1/4 Scale Boba Fett. The figure is massive and the design is gorgeous from top to bottom. It included a ton of accessories, hands, a stand, and a stunning barge styled base. Really wasn’t much missing from the figure to be the ultimate Boba Fett display piece.
Destro: Hot Toys 1/4 Scale Boba Fett
Best Retail Star Wars Release
Joe Moore: This was a rather easy one to pick. Hasbro really stepped up their game with the Star Wars Black Series 6″ Scale TIE Fighter. I’m not sure where collectors are putting this thing, but it makes an excellent centerpiece for the 6″ scale collection. It was excellently sculpted and, for the most part, fairly affordable for the sheer size.
Tony Balaca: Vehicle – Black Series Tie Fighter, Figure – Black Series Captain Phasma
Destro:Star Wars Black Series 6″ Scale TIE Fighter
As with any year, 2015 brought us a few thousand new Marvel Comics and Marvel Cinematic Universe figures and collectibles. 2015 saw new movies such as Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man get full treatments, while the comic friendly lines got a huge boots from Hasbro. Marvel fans had a lot to love this year.
Best Expensive Marvel Release
Joe Moore: Another tough call here. There was some really great stuff shown off this year. But, as I was looking back, much of it wasn’t actually coming out until 2016. But, there was one item that definitely stood out to me. That was Sideshow’s 1/6 Scale Deadpool Figure. It’s an extremely well made version of the comic character, and one of Sideshow’s best (if not their best) Marvel 1/6 Scale figures yet. It includes a ton of accessories, swappable heads and hands. Fans unanimously loved the figure as well.
Destro: Hot Toys Hulkbuster (Too hotly anticipated not to pick this)
Best Retail Marvel Release
Joe Moore: One of the best Marvel releases to retail was something that, unfortunately, never made its way to the U.S. European Disney Stores received an absolutely fantastic Avengers Comic-Themed Marvel Legends 5-Pack. It features comic versions of the Age of Ultron cast. While it consisted of repacked figures, some of them had not been available for a while and having them all together made a stellar box set.
Tony Balaca: Marvel Legends Spider-Man (Hobgoblin Wave)
Destro: Marvel Legends Hulkbuster
The DC Comics license really exploded this year. With Batman v Superman on the horizon, and a massively successful game in Batman: Arkham Knight, companies were lining up to bring fans some hot new items. 2015 also saw an influx of classic DC Movie and TV licensed items hit shelves from a wide variety of companies. Many of the hottest reveals, though, won’t be available until 2016.
Best Expensive DC Comics Release
Joe Moore: There was, surprisingly, not a lot in the way of super expensive DC items that hit this year. All of the best items we saw, from the likes of Prime 1 Studio, Triforce, Sideshow, and Hot Toys, are all coming in 2016. There was one really fantastic item that did get released in 2015 that still sticks in my mind. That was Sideshow’s epic Modern Age Batman Statue. The statue is a wonderful work of art. It’s a perfect centerpiece to any Batman collection, and one of the few truly great portraysl of the classic comic Batman in statue form.
Destro: Black Mask Arsenal Full Scale Replica
Best Retail DC Comics Release
Joe Moore: This one was another tough pick for me. We saw a few truly epic retail releases for the DC Comics. This included a spate of excellent 1/4 scale figure from NECA, a near perfect line of Batman the Animated Series figures and the highly anticipated DC Icons series from DC Collectibles. But it came down to a great version of one of my favorite movie figures. NECA surprised everyone with a release of three 7″ scale DC Movie figures. These were part of a special promotion from WB. Among the releases is a simply fantastic version of the Christopher Reeve Superman. It’s easily the best version of the Reeve Superman below the 12″ scale.
Tony Balaca: Vehicle – Batman Animated Batmobile, Figure – DC Icons Batman
Destro: DC Collectibles Arkham Knight Batman
Best Overall 1/6 Scale Figure Release
Joe Moore: For me, one of the best releases in 1/6 scale was the Hot Toys Battle Damaged Robocop. The big reason, for me, is that it gives us a true, unmasked Alex Murphy head sculpt based on Peter Weller’s likeness. This seemed, for a long time, like an impossibility. Other companies have had no luck with getting the likeness rights to do this, and I can’t imagine the truckload of cash Hot Toys dropped to make it happen. The head sculpt itself has been going for upwards of $125 recently. But it’s not all about that as the battle damaged body is pulled off with great care. It matches up quite well to the horrid state Robocop is in by the end of the film.
Destro: Sideshow Collectibles Deadpool
Best Overall 1/4 Scale Figure Release
Joe Moore: 1/4 Scale Figures are a rare breed these days. You get a few from NECA, a few from Hot Toys and not much else. But this year did see the release of some excellent figures in the massive scale. And while Hot Toys’ Boba Fett is a stunning piece, Boba Fett collectibles have never been in short supply. I personally have to go with NECA’s Batman Returns 1/4 Scale Penguin. The figure is the absolute best version of the character so far. The likeness is spot on, it scales fantastically with their Michael Keaton Batman, and it includes some very nice features.
Destro: NECA Arkham Knight Batman
Best Overall Figure Release – 3.75″ to 4″ Scale
Joe Moore: I’m not much into this scale personally. But a very impressive release, to me, was the Marvel Universe Ant Man with Ant 7.75″ Figure Set. It featured a very good 3.75″ Ant Man, and the inclusion of an “Antony” was very welcome. It showed that Hasbro was embracing the Ant Man concept and striving to put out something fun and different
Tony Balaca: Marauder Task Force (line)
Destro: G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Storm Shadow
Best Overall Figure Release – 6″ to 7″ Scale
Joe Moore: This turned out to be a banner year for the roughly 1/10 scale line up. DC Collectibles, NECA and DST all stepped up their game, giving us some fantastic releases. There’s one figure, however, that I keep going back to. It’s the NECA Terminator 2 Ultimate 7″ T-800. Everything about this figure worked really well. From three very different interchangeable heads, a plethora of weapons and newly defined articulation. It is an absolutely stunning figure that could be found for as little as $19.
Tony Balaca: VERY hard choice here. Super Saiyan Warrior Awakening Goku if you consider him 6 inch. If not, DC Icons Batman.
Destro: Mezco One:12 Collective Judge Dredd
Best Overall Statue Release
Joe Moore: I usually leave Transformers stuff to the TFW2005 guys, but the Prime 1 Studio Optimus Prime riding Grimlock statue was a stellar release. Way out of most people’s price range for sure. But the craftsmanship and attention to detail were absolutely top notch on that. While I personally don’t care for the movie or the actual design myself, I can’t deny that this was an impressive effort on the part of Prime 1, who will likely make a run at this title again next year.
Destro: Sideshow The Temptation of Lady Death
Best Overall Horror or Sci-Fi Release
Joe Moore: This year, we were treated to some great new horror and science fiction releases in nearly every scale and format. Tops for me was NECA’s Ultimate 7″ Scale Texas Chainsaw Massacre Leatherface. The newly sculpted figure captured the look of the Leatherface perfectly and included over 25 points of articulation. It included interchangeable heads, great accessories and tied it all together with stellar packaging and a diorama backdrop.
Tony Balaca: NECA Alien Queen
Destro: NECA Retro 8-Bit Nightmare On Elm Street Freddy Krueger
Best Overall Non-Transformers Robot or Mecha Release
Joe Moore: Armarauders Bellerophon is the hands down winner here. This long gestating mecha created by Mecha Workshop, which included popular Transformers artist Dan Figueroa, sent mecha fans over the edge. The beautifully crafted release features a design inspired by classic 70’s and 80’s robots, while updating it with modern sleekness, articulation and sculpting. The final release included diorama pieces, a mini figure, a comic, a backdrop and a DVD packed with production goodies.
Tony Balaca: Armarauders Bellerophon
Destro: Armarauders Bellerophon
Best 2015 Convention Exclusive
Joe Moore: Hasbro took Marvel Legends fans for a great ride in 2015. They put out some classic characters as well as more obscure fair. They tested the waters of the more obscure with a fantastic Dr. Strange San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive set. The Marvel Legends Dr. Strange Book Of Vishanti Box Set packed in a ton of great figures, a beautiful package design, and great character selection.
Tony Balaca: SDCC 2015 SH Figuarts DBZ Frieza Saga Goku (and the Mexican Variant)
Destro: SDCC 2015 Marvel Legends Book of Vishanti Box Set
Favorite Surprise Announcement of 2015
Joe Moore: I think the announcement that most stuck with me this year was from Mondo. They dropped an absolute bomb when they announced 1/6 Scale Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Figures based on the classic comics. When we finally saw the figures themselves, they turned out amazing.
Tony Balaca: Star Wars Black Series Tie Fighter at SDCC
Destro: Return of Micronauts, M.A.S.K. and Visionaries
Favorite Company of 2015
Joe Moore: I hesitated to use “Best” here as we weren’t going to come to a unified conclusion on best company. With so many fantastic releases over numerous licenses and lines, I easily have to go with NECA. In 2015, they gave fans of franchises like Aliens, Predator, Planet of the Apes, Terminator, and more plenty to be happy about. Top that off with their excellent Video Game Appearance line, retro Mego style figures, 1/4 scale figures and more and you have a company hitting a ton of different markets, and doing it well.
Tony Balaca: DC Collectibles
Most Anticipated Release of 2016
Joe Moore: There are so many amazing items announced for this year that it took me a while to really narrow it down. However, thinking back to the various announcements and how excited I was for them. I’d have to say I’m most looking forward to NECA’s classic NES style Contra 7″ Scale 2-Pack. It’s one of the most iconic games of the NES era, and a game series which has never had figures. It’s a 2-pack that many fans asked for and a few even customized to make their own out of existing NECA figures.
Tony Balaca: DC Icons overall, Joker specifically
Destro: Transformers: Titans Return Fortress Maximus
Best Import Figure
Tony Balaca: S.H. Figuarts Super Saiyan Warrior Awakening Goku
Top 15 Pick Up’s and/or Photo Shoots of 2015
Tony Bacala’s Top 15 of 2015
15 – Marvel Legends Spider-Man (Hobgoblin Wave)
14 – Masterpiece Tracks
13 – Play Arts Kai Darth Vader
12 – DC Collectibles Arkham Knight Red Hood
11 – Hasbro Masterpiece Starscream
10 – Black Series Kylo Ren
09 – 3A Bumblebee
08 – Play Arts Kai FFVIIAC Cloud Strife
07 – Black Series Captain Phasma
06 – SDCC Jim Lee Blueline Batman
05 – S.H. Figuarts SDCC Frieza Saga Goku
04 – DC Icons Batman
03 – Black Series Tie Fighter
02 – Batman Animated Batmobile
01 – S.H. Figuarts Super Saiyan Warrior Awakening Goku
Destro’s Top 15 of 2015
15 – Marvel Legends Spider-Man (Hobgoblin Wave)
14 – Snake Eyes Gentle Giant Jumbo
13 – G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Storm Shadow
12 – SDCC G.I. Joe Kre-O Box Set
11 – Marvel Legends Spider-Man 2099
10 – SDCC Storm Trooper
09 – SDCC Devastator
08 – Marvel Legends Odin BAF Allfather
07 – Marvel Legends Vision
06 – SDCC Dr. Strange Book of Vishanti Box Set
05 – Marvel Legends Hulk Buster BAF
04 – Mezco One:12 Collective Judge Dredd
03 – The CURE OF BLOOD Big Mordle
02 – G.I. Joe 50th Anniversary Chuckles
01 – Black Series Tie Fighter
Joe Moore’s Top 15 of 2015
15 – Mezco – Mortal Kombat X 6″ Scale Bloody Scorpion
14 – NECA – Video Game Appearance Predator 2 City Hunter Predator
13 – Toyfinity – Robo Force Ultimate Maxx Zero
12 – NECA – 1/4 Scale Arkham Knight Batman
11 – NECA – Dark Horse 25th Anniversary Predator
10 – NECA – Aliens Power Loader
09 – NECA – Mego Style 8″ Friday the 13th Part 6 Jason Voorhees
08 – Gecco – SDCC 2015 Metal Gear Solid Raiden Statue
07 – NECA – Video Game Appearance Dog Alien
06 – NECA – Ultimate 7″ Scale Texas Chainsaw Massacre Leatherface
05 – NECA – Alien Queen
04 – NECA – Batman Returns – 1/4 Scale Penguin
03 – NECA – Ultimate 7″ Scale Terminator 2 T-800
02 – Hot Toys – 1/6 Scale Robocop
01 – NECA – 7″ Scale Christopher Reeve Superman