Friday, April 15, 2016

On Old Essay On Action Figures From 2013

I love action figures. I collect action figures. I can't think of a day when I don't come across some post that someone has done about these special kind of toys. I enjoy the variety of design styles a collector can come across and nothing smells better to me than a figure fresh out of the package.

We live in a golden age of action figures. Never have so many comic book, television, movie and literary figures found their way into plastic form - and never have the characters looks so much like the actors who played them. There are dozens of characters that come out monthly and while most can be found in the large stores like Target, Walmart or Toys R Us. That leaves room for some companies to produce high quality products just for the adult collector market.
The standard size for the ones I buy of Marvel and DC Superheroes used to only come in 6 inch sizes but recently, due to improvement in articulation and paint jobs, the 3 3/4 inch characters are more popular than ever, maybe almost as popular as the Star Wars and G.I Joe lines who have thrived for years at that smaller size.

Marvel's Secret Wars and DC's Super Powers lines were also part of the action figure boom of the 80s where many cartoons were produced for the express purpose of selling toy products at the toy stores (Transformers, Masters of the Universe)

I actually avoided buying any of the individual original Star Wars figures (despite what I know today about how valuable they can be) because the weren't large enough to interest me They came with a few accessories and their clothing was painted on. It's only been possible to created gorgeous paint jobs on these smaller figures for only a few years now.

I was raised on action dolls that you could dress up in various costumes and use realistic accessories to enhance the already high play value of these toys. The classic GI JOE dolls thus remain my all time favorite line.
Following closely are the Johnny West figures from MARX. They were 12 inches in height and built sturdy enough for a kid. They also came with over a dozen character specific accessories. I enjoyed the feel and smell of the PVC plastic that MARX used. Even their reproduction figures are beautiful and worth the investment.

Marx Toys made fantastic knight figures with accurate armor, choice of helmet and multiple weapons. An armoured Horse and Viking wear also available.
Like most toy lines from the 70s, the vehicles and accessories are fantastic and you would be surprised how costly it can be to find a figure mint in box from that time period. Slowly, I am trying to rebuild all the stuff that I lost when we moved back from Europe so I treasure those times when a favored old piece comes into my possession. Anyone who has read my blog knows that I have a deep love for this Oscar Goldman character from the Six Million Dollar Man line that was popular during the 1970s.
You can search PLAID STALLIONS for great pictures of all the toys lines that were available back when I was a kid. The Lone Ranger Rides Again line from Gabriel was especially well made.
In fact any of these figures from the 70s are high on my search list.

Adult Collectibles
I recently example of a set I wanted but was stopped from getting are these eight-inch Mego style dolls from the movie Django Unchained. Right before their released, they were pulled from shelves because many felt that dolls depicting slaves and slave owners was not something children should be exposed too. I hated that decision because the figures were created and priced in a way to satisfy adult collectors who were the true target for this product. Now the ones that did get out have become priced out of my league because of their scarcity. I hate when political correctness keeps me from enjoying my hobby to the fullest. I know I wasn't after these for the slaves. I just wanted a cool cowboy figure that actually looked like Jaime Fox did in the movie. I also knew the future value of such a set.
Many companies have reached into the past to created beautifully designed figures from popular TV shows and movies. I particularly love these from the Munsters. Iconic characters done right in plastic.
Mego made some of the greatest figures of all time. Mostly known for their superhero figures, I was always most impressed with their Star Trek line which in recently years has been re-issued for sale. This was a great way to allow collectors to replace the characters they may have lost since childhood.
Captain Action was an action figure created in 1966, equipped with a wardrobe of costumes allowing him to become Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America, Aquaman, the Phantom, The Lone Ranger (and Tonto), Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Sgt. Fury, Steve Canyon, and the Green Hornet. Captain Action was the Ideal Toy Company's answer to Hasbro's G.I. Joe — although the protagonist dolls of both toy lines were created and designed by the same toy-and-idea man, Stan Weston.
Season 1 By Ideal

Series 2 By Playing Mantis

Series 3

Captain Action has continued in variation incarnations since the 1960s. 

As much as I like the male superheroes, I LOVE the superhero girls. Wonder Woman, Batgirl and Supergirl are the characters that I collect multiple versions of. Plus any Barbie doll that is wearing a costume automatically becomes an action figures.

It also doesn't help my collecting budget that these fantastic Monster High figures have become available. I love the back story of each of these children of famous monsters and how that identity dictate how they dress. These are beautiful collectibles that display so well so I have no shame about having these beauties in my collection.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Speaking of those Django action figures, did they create any for Tarantino's latest movie The Hateful Eight? I just saw that last night. Still wiping the blood spatter off me.

j-swin said...

What's that second WW figure down with the DC universe base? I don't have her...and I want it!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

I am not sure which one she is. I have lots of WW figures but not that one either.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

No more figures for Tarantino films Debra. What did you think. I loved it. Walton Goggins is so good in it.