HOT TOYS – Hot or Not? What’s So Good About Them?
Hot Toys. It’s not the best name for a company, as it often garners the occasional glare of uncertainty from those out of the loop, especially when you follow it up with “They make adult collectibles. Not like that! I mean, just, not for kids.”
My First Ever Hot Toys Figure
My first ever Hot Toys figure was back in, I want to say, 2011? It was Ezio from Assassin’s Creed II. I’d experienced some 1:6 scale figures before with Kamen Riders from Medicom (both the Project BM and RAH line). You’ll spot a few things from these in some pics below.
The level of intricacy in the outfitting for Ezio was astounding; the details, the accuracy with unrestricted articulation, unlike Kamen Riders, and a plethora of accessories. The face sculpt was decent. It was a tad awkward in its likeness as it wasn’t referencing a real person, but a 3D render from the game; I never minded as it’s from Assassin’s Creed, so it was always displayed with the hood up.
This was the start of something.
Since then, I’ve owned over 30 Hot Toys. I’ve sold many along the way, but I still own a moderate collection to this day. I try to keep it somewhat contained now to DC characters for the most part (and predominantly different adaptations of Batman at that).
Are They Worth It?
What makes these 12 inch figures worth their hefty price tag?
Well, for starters, I don’t think modern releases are. Back when I first started getting into 1:6 collecting, I paid £175 (about $280 USD per 2011 exchange rate) shipped from Hong Kong to the UK for the DX07 Jack Sparrow from Hot Toys. The DX line, as opposed to the regular MMS or VGS, come with a larger number of accessories, often a second outfit or diorama base, second head sculpt, sometimes, as well as giving the head sculpt the PERS system (which means rolling/posable eyes).
Nowadays, you’re looking at £200 minimum (currently about $250 USD) for a bare bones release. It comes with one outfit, only 5 hand options, and maybe 3 accessories. Any more than that, you’re creeping into £250-300 territory (currently about $313-376 USD), even for lesser popular characters. I don’t intend to generalise here, as I know some announcements/releases from the last few years clearly are worth their price, but there are a vast number that are simply too expensive.
Hot Toys Worth Having
Some of, what I define to be, the golden era of Hot Toys that released between 2010 and 2018 are 100% worth their original price tag, however. As the consumer, we were given not just Star Wars, Marvel and DC characters (like we are 9 times out of 10 now), but we were given a plethora of brands and franchises. Avatar, The Expendables, Platoon, GI Joe: Retaliation – these all saw fantastic figures released.
The variety, as a collector, was a dream – just not on the wallet. The shelf presence that comes with a 1:6 scale, material outfitted and lifelike sculpt of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 is insane, just as it is with Heath Ledger, Brandon Lee or any of their talented head sculpts. The photo opportunities, for a creative person like myself, are great as well. Both fun photos, and more serious ones – with little need to photoshop and remove “toy like” features. Here’s a mixture of mine from the past…
Downside of Hot Toys
Now there is a downside to getting into Hot Toys or any 1:6 scale figure line, be it Enterbay, ThreeZero, Medicom, etc. No other figure type is quite as impressive. Sure, the details on a Figuart are amazing, but “it’s small” or “you can see the joints”.
For the longest time, I found most other toy-lines as inadequate and not worthy of purchasing. Thankfully (though again, not for my wallet) this feeling has now subsided, and I enjoy figures of all ranges and scales, but it’s certainly always there in the back of my mind when making a choice on a character.
Decisions on Venturing into 1:6
Who should venture into the 1:6 or 1:4 (but that’s too big for me) world of Hot Toys?
Well, in my opinion, if you have a character or brand that means a lot to you, that you truly have a passion for, something that almost defines you – then absolutely, get a Hot Toys of that character, if there is one. Similarly, if you’re big into toy photography or stop motion, these are ideal for that.
While they are EFNcool to have in a collection, they take up space and are increasingly costly – so most definitely not for everyone. Personally, I’d avoid getting into this scale out of curiousity alone due to their prices, but also to avoid that mental game of illusions, when comparing a $200 release to a $20 or even $80 release throughout the rest of your collection.
But, if you’re going to take away anything from this article, heed this warning: There is never just one Hot Toys in a collection. One very quickly becomes two, you know, to balance the display. Two becomes three, to create a trio formation, then the fourth was a good deal, the fifth helps create a more grand visual on the shelf, etc.
I don’t know anyone who has stopped at one. It’s a spiral.
And they cost real money. A lot of it.