So......why figures?

Help Support Collector Freaks:

Otomofan

Super Freak
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
3,509
Reaction score
705
Ever wonder why we like figures so much?

I can only assume it's cause I grew up in the early 80s and for me there was nothing more fun than having adventures with my Star Wars, He-Man, Transformers, Thundercats, etc. We had actual "role play" toys, as in kid-sized plastic lightsabers to whack each other with, but I definitely interacted more with the action figures. I'd sit for hours coming up with stories and scenarios and have them kill each other off one by one.

Decades after I grew out of the ability to "play" with figures in an actual role-play/fantasy situation, I find myself spending more money than ever on continuing to accumulate MORE.

Isn't it weird? As adult collectors, we generally gripe about better articulation, but why? I don't "play" with my toys. At the very most I'll spend a few minutes with a figure just putting him in different poses but that's it.

I definitely think the "action figure" is a product of its time. I haven't seen children actually playing with action figures in at least a decade. It seems like all kids like these days are Lego and video games. You let any five year choose between a Spider-Man figure and a iPad, I'd bet they go straight for the iPad. I guess that's just the way children "role play" now.

There must be some segment of the population that enjoys having replicas or miniatures of things. It's not just toys. I've seen some crazy stuff here in Japan. What I would once consider "doll house" type items are so commonplace here...little tiny replicas of payphones and traffic signals and sushi. Clearly there are people here that enjoy having little miniature replicas.

I just wonder if we're all just gonna die off, like train collectors, and in 50 years nobody will make toys and nobody will want all our old crap either. All of our precious treasures will eventually be floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

It's strange though; at a time when every other form of "entertainment" seems to be completely void of innovation and creativity (meaning television, movies, music, etc.) I think the action figure industry is absolutely entering a golden age. The figures just seem to get better and better, which is the opposite of just about everything else.

I'm totally rambling now...I don't know exactly what I'm trying to ask. Do you ever wonder about the nature of being attracted to figures, statues, replicas? Are we crazy?
 

a-dev

Super Freak
CF Supporter
Rating - 100%
70   0   0
Joined
May 9, 2008
Messages
51,164
Reaction score
1,264
Location
Ireland
I think I'm as incapable of understanding why kids today wouldn't be interested in action figures as many people are/would be baffled about a 40 year old man still buying them for himself.

For child me nothing beat walking down the action figure aisle. And it's not like we didn't have computer games back then. Atari ST, Megadrive, Super Nintendo, Gameboy, Gamegear, Playstation, N64 - those were all in my childhood/teens. I ''grew out'' of computer games and stuck with Action figures. My younger brother went the opposite way. Admittedly though he has ended up a more balanced individual than me :lol
 

Solidus

Super Freak
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Jul 19, 2008
Messages
18,837
Reaction score
218
Location
NY, NY
I think our interests as adults are carried over from our childhoods and the times that we grew up in. I was born in '86, and played with a lot of action figures. I had a lot of video games, too.

That said, it does seem like younger folks these days are more interested in their screen-devices and social media. But, I don't believe that physical collectibles - whether figures or statues will ever become obsolete, even decades down the line. Perhaps the hobby will become more niche. But, I think there will always be a market for these things, even if it's only just among adult collectors.
 

darthkostis

Super Freak
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Messages
6,872
Reaction score
651
For me it's because they're ultimate testament to these pop culture properties I grew up with. As a kid I couldn't find all those great action figures I'd see on the internet, so this is a way for me to fullfill that childhood dream of sorts and get a high end representation of my favourite characters, thereby closing the chapter on that part of my life. They're more lifelike than statues, and cheaper too, so while they have some dangers like the pleather, the more limited poses and whatnot, they seem like true collectibles to me. Statues... eh. I'd want a couple of my Top 10 characters, or a specific diorama if I had an entire mancave or something. But they don't scratch that itch. They're still overpriced plastic pieces. It feels wrong to me to waste that much money on a "statue" of a bloody cape and pretend it's "art" like a proper handcrafted, one of a kind statue. These high end figures walk the balance between toy and display piece, and that's how I like it.

I just wonder if we're all just gonna die off, like train collectors, and in 50 years nobody will make toys and nobody will want all our old crap either. All of our precious treasures will eventually be floating in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
I think about this pretty often. Any way you cut it, these are just plastic figures. Very good looking, and they make for great displays, but when you gather too many of them, the way they clutter together gets pretty depressing. So I try to reign myself in a little bit more every day, because I know that 10 years from now, if I look upon a pile of plastic and only 20% of that actually elicits a response from me, I'll regret it. I want this collection to mean something, both to me and hopefully my kids if I have any in the future. But if it's a massive accumilation of plastic, then what's the point? These things will always be made in some form of another. How many characters will I replace because Ver. 3.0 is soooo much better? How many things can be displayed before they lose their meaning?

So yeah, there has to be an ending to this. Otherwise they will most certainly end up in the garbage. That's a fact.
 

MGS_OldBoy57

Super Freak
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
1,033
Reaction score
169
I would say there is still a toy market for the young generation. I see it at Target and Walmart but the excitement for it is nothing like what we experienced as kids.

It’s definitely a generational thing. We all came from the action figure generation (toys r us kids). Some of us older collectors started with GI Joe, and Star Wars, then He-man and TNMT. Up to what we collect today. We all grew up with video games sure, but nothing like what’s out today. We all remember weekend movies, action figures, riding bikes, and most of the time using your own imagination.

Kids today have high definition video games, cellphones, Tik Tok. There’s no time for imagination or toys in my opinion but I don’t think it’ll be a dying market.
 

Zethrofax

Just a little freaky
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Feb 1, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
5
It's figures for me because I just never "grew out of" toys. I was still taking GI joes to school in middle school until I was made fun of for it. But that just made me more private about it. I kept perusing toy aisles as I got older and would buy cool looking figures from time to time. Most often I would give them to my son after I had displayed them for a bit. I am 43 and it wasn't until 2014 that I noticed the high end toy market in the form of Masterpiece Transformers. I'm digressing. Why figures? probably because they are the ultimate representation of these characters I enjoy. I like their physical presence which is why posters never worked. and while statues also have the presence, I realized I want the option to interact and re-pose them. Scale wise 1/12 is too small and don't display as well because a lot of detail is lost at that size. and anything over 1/6 simply takes up too much space.
 

ZE_501

Super Freak
CF Supporter
Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Messages
8,772
Reaction score
984
For me it's the following:

Artifacts not just of my childhood, but of a world gone by. I don't want to live in the past but I like to give a nod to it.

I love stories and myths -- whether they're written or cinematic or as comics. Many of them I've outgrown completely, some I retain fond memories of, a few remain resonant to my present day.

Wish fullfillment -- as a child I would sometimes dream of more accurate, more articulated, more realistic action figures, to the point where I actually designed some and thought I might grow up to be a toy designer at one point. Now they exist.

My favourite art form is sculpture, both to view it and to create it. Action figures are articulated sculptures.

On that note, articulation imparts an expressive quality to these figures, however subtle (I tend not to use big action poses) as well as a tactile dimension to them. While I don't 'play' with action figures it can be relaxing to turn off my brain and spend a little time reposing this or that character.

Regarding children, I'm not so sure. I can think of a couple of friends with young kids whom I've seen take their superhero (usually Batman or Spider-Man) figures with them everywhere, and I've seen young kids in restaurants playing with Star Wars themed Lego figures as well.
 

Otomofan

Super Freak
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
3,509
Reaction score
705
Yeah, that is a great point about how the toys we're getting today are essentially what we were imagining or even seeing in our head when we played with the toys of the 70s and 80s.

It's crazy to compare old Star Wars and Transformers and GI Joes to their current incarnations. I'll always be fond of the old stuff, but the new stuff is just amazing.

I'm also really big on the tactile sensation of having the figure in my hands and moving the joints around. If I didn't want to "touch" and interact with figures, I'd just collect jpgs on my computer.

(I know there's MIB collectors, but that's a whole different story.)

I personally can never leave a cool figure in the box. Also why I have so few statues...they're nice to admire but it's just not the same as picking them up and moving them around.

All my ex-girlfriends would attest that I definitely have some weird hang up about "touching" stuff.
 

DeltaForceChung

Super Freak
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
2,722
Reaction score
201
Location
NE Florida
Just to have it. Not really with any intention of selling, just to know i have it bought.
--

tenor.gif
 

Mike86

Super Freak
CF Supporter
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Sep 20, 2012
Messages
8,401
Reaction score
311
I’ve just always enjoyed toys/action figures. Probably I grew up in the right era where they were still pretty prominent too versus now days where a lot of kids are more into video games/smart phones/tablets. I mean I was into video games too, but not quite to the same level.

I also find collecting satisfying and harmless fun (well other than to my wallet :lol). I don’t think a lot of people necessarily “get” it, but my girlfriend doesn’t have a problem with it so that’s basically all that matters since we share an apartment.
 

Gipetto0812

Super Freak
Rating - 100%
43   0   0
Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
17,237
Reaction score
346
Location
TX
My brother and I collect figures b/c we want the stuff we couldn’t afford when we were younger. My brother takes that literally and buys vintage toys and that’s his thing. I’ve been enamored with prop replicas and the like and even studied to be a Production designer (however now I’m an architect), but from that desire to have prop replicas came my love for the higher end of 1/6 (Hot Toys Sideshow etc) since they marry figures of characters I love with basically having a miniaturized version of that character on my shelf with real scaled down fabric clothing, etc. i think that’s why even though I do have some statue, I still prefer figures.
 

Otomofan

Super Freak
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
3,509
Reaction score
705
Just to have it. Not really with any intention of selling, just to know i have it bought.

That sounds strange to people who collect these things in order to interact with them, and probably sounds downright bizarre to people that don't collect anything.

But I get it. There are some things I collect just to "have"...like posters I keep rolled up and never displayed, or t-shirts I buy to HAVE but never wear.

And records, too. I have a ton of records that I'm very happy about owning, but I'll never put them on a turntable.
 
Rating - 100%
3   0   0
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
15,904
Reaction score
937
Location
Ireland
Yeah I have none on display. They get preordered and arrive and don't get opened. The only HT I ever displayed were MMS117 T-800 and DX11 Joker.

Sounds mad but for me, the most fun of collecting is when something gets announced, getting excited waiting for it, looking at updates and pictures afterwards, but when it arrives it's on to the next thing.

With Hot Toys I rarely keep preprders unless it's a character that was important and nostalgic to me growing up. Right now I only have the Batman Forever pair, the DX19 Batman and Classic Spidey on PO.
 
Top