Skip to main content

Collecting Action Figures

Collecting toy figures has been a popular hobby for many people, both young and old. The toys that are collected can range from those of the past, such as vintage Barbie dolls or G.I Joe action figures, to more contemporary ones like Pokemon cards or Funko Pops! The key is to find what interests you most and then start collecting accordingly. With these easy steps and helpful hints, this article will show how anyone can start an exciting new collection of their own!

Why Do You Want to Collect Action Figures?

There are lots of reasons why one would want to start a collection of action figures. Maybe you’re looking for something new and interesting to fill your spare time with, or maybe it’s an extension of another hobby that you have such as reading comic books or playing video games. Whatever the reason may be, collecting toys is a great way to have fun and show off your personal interests.

One may want to start collecting action figures because they like the idea of having their own toy shelves that are full of surprises, which can be displayed in a study or living room in whichever way they would like

Another reason may be because it’s an extension of another hobby one has such as reading comic books or playing video games. Whatever the reason may be, collecting toys is a great way to have fun and show off your personal interests.

Another reason to collect action figures is because they could be viewed as a type of investment for people who collect them with the intention of reselling them later for more money.

How to Start an Action Figure Collection

Start with What You Know

When you are starting to collect action figures, deciding which ones you want can seem like quite a daunting task! With so many different manufacturers out there vying for your attention in toy stores, comic book shops, and other places that carry them, how can one decide what they’re going to invest their time into? Here are some tips:

  • Find brands where you recognize all of the characters.
  • Look at past collections by those companies (such as McFarlane or NECA) and see what they have done in the past.
  • Look at how you’ve reacted to certain toy lines as a child.

Do Your Research

Once you know what kind of figures you want, it’s time to research them! This is important because sometimes collectors may feel like there is too much information out there for them to handle when starting this hobby. The internet can be an invaluable resource with some key websites that should not be skipped:

  • Toy Collector Magazine (TCM): A monthly subscription service that sends subscribers hot toys reviews, customizations tips, and more direct from insider sources around the world.
  • Toys R Us website: Has listings of all their merchandise available so customers can see what is new and available for purchase.
  • eBay: Buy, sell or trade with collectors from all over the world.

When it comes to research, make sure you’re being thorough by asking questions about how large a figure should be in scale (for example comparing Star Wars figures), identifying whether releases are of “limited” editions such as collectible statues or if they have been mass produced like Funko Pops!, researching which company may release a certain type of toy line that matches your interests, etc. The more information you can gather when starting out on this hobby the better!

Where Do You Start?

Once you know why want to start collecting action figure, researched what you want to collect and where to find them, the next step is starting! Collecting can be a very rewarding hobby but can also become expensive. Here are some tips about budget management when collecting:

  • Start with one character at first.
  • Figure out if it’s worth buying the original toy or an action figure that has been modified by someone else (such as customizers).
  • Keep track of your spending online so you know how much money needs to go towards each collection type.
  • Decide whether there are companies that always release products in limited editions which will increase their value over time, like Funko Pops!.

A Few More Tips for Getting Started on Your Collection

If this all sounds a bit too complicated, don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to start your collection without breaking the bank. Collecting a complete set of action figures is not always necessary and there are other things you can collect instead that will still allow you to enjoy this hobby.

  • Look for series with limited releases such as statues or models.
  • Buy items individually from stores (such as comic book shops) rather than buying them in bulk online where prices may be cheaper depending on how much you’re spending per figure.
  • Consider starting small by collecting just one type of toy line at first so it’s easier to make decisions about what direction your collection needs to go in next.

Buying Options

If you’re not sure where to buy action figures, some options are:

  • Comic book shops: These stores carry a wide range of action figures and may even have limited edition releases.
  • Local toy shops: These stores carry a variety of products such as action figures, board games and more.
  • Convention booths: These are usually available at comic book conventions
  • Toys R Us website: Action figures can be found here either individually or in bundles, depending on what you want to collect.
  • Amazon: Great deals for some collectors who are looking at collecting items that are more popular with the average person such as My Little Pony or Disney.
  • eBay: A great resource for collectors who want to buy and sell their items with other toy enthusiasts from all over the world.
  • Craigslist: This is a good place if you are looking for old toys that may be in excellent condition but make sure to meet in a public place!

Top 5 Factors Affecting the Value of an Action Figure

The value of an action figure is determined by a number of different factors. Some people consider the popularity and rarity of the figure, while others focus on how old it is or whether there are any accessories that come with it. In this blog post, we will explore five factors in detail and give you some tips to help when buying or selling action figures online.

The five factors that most affect an action figure’s value are supply and demand, condition, age & rarity, scarcity/accessories and popularity. Let’s now look at each one in detail to determine how they affect an action figure’s value.

Supply and Demand

The first factor affecting price for collectible items like action figures is the supply and demand of a specific item. If an item has low availability, it will be in high demand by collectors and can increase its value.

However, if there are too many units of this product available or not enough people interested in buying them at that price point, then the price for each one can go down significantly because they’re no longer considered rare collectibles.


The second factor that affects value is condition, which refers to how well an item has been maintained over time and whether it still looks good as new or not. If you are selling your action figures online, there will be a significant amount of grading involved in order to determine their true conditions (i.e., mint vs excellent).

This process requires different tools like scale rulers and magnifying glasses so that every aspect of the figure can be thoroughly assessed before giving them any kind of rating.

The lower end would show signs of wear-and-tear from being handled by customers at retailers who display toys on store shelves; while higher grades would be those that have been primarily kept in the box and still look like new.

Age & Rarity

The third factor that affects value is the age and rarity of an item. Action figures are often made out of different materials like plastic or metal, which can affect their durability over time.

If an action figure is rarer than others from its same toy line (i.e., it was manufactured in limited quantities), then it will have a higher market price because collectors want to add these more difficult-to-find items into their collections.


The fourth factor affecting action figure values is scarcity and accessories associated with them. This includes anything that comes packaged along with the original product such as trading cards, posters, statues / figurines, etc…

Collectors may be very particular about what they expect to come with an item and be willing to pay more for specific items that they want.


The fifth factor affecting price is popularity, which refers to how well-known the character on the action figure is and how popular it was when first released into stores (i.e., comic books/TV shows).

If a certain product has been featured in movies or TV shows at some point, then this can increase its value since people will recognize characters based on these references too.

For example, figures from The Simpsons have gone up significantly over time because of their growing popularity as part of pop culture history .

Action Figure Terms

Action figures are fun and expansive. From Star Wars to Marvel, there’s a whole world of cool characters waiting for you to explore! But before you can get started, it’s important that you know about the key terms so that you don’t feel like an outsider in your own hobby. We’ll go over some essential action figure terminology so that if someone says “I’m going to form a team” or “This is my favorite fig,” then you will know what they’re talking about!

2-up: A figure that is two times the size of a single action figure.
Action Figures: Toys which represent characters from comics, movies, TV shows etc.
Accessories: Items which come with an action figure like weapons, clothes or vehicles. This might also refer to additional items designed for use with figures (e.g., weapons racks).
Army Builder: A term used when someone collects enough different characters from one faction so they can play with them as a team.
Articulation: The amount of movement that an action figure has in its joints, such as the ability to rotate at their hips and shoulders or move their elbows outwards.
Ball joint: A type of articulation where two balls are connected by a rod on both sides so they can freely rotate around each other.
Ball-and-socket joint: Similar to ball joints but instead allows for 360 degree rotation over numerous axes (e.g., swivel).
Bio: Short for “biography” which is usually written on cards accompanying figures inside packages. These provide information about the characters before you open up the package containing it’s toy representation! Often found next to proof-of-purchase stickers.
Blister: A plastic or cardboard container which holds a figure inside and is taped to the outside of it’s package for protection during shipping (e.g., when someone says “I got this blister”).
Buck: A base for many different characters.
Build-a-Figure (BAF): Figures sold in multiple parts so buyers have to assemble them themselves as well as purchase each individual part before they’re complete.
Card: A cardboard sheet with information about the character or figure that it accompanies (e.g., “The Amazing Spider-Man” card).
Casepack: Refers to an assortment of action figures from one particular faction all packaged together within a single case so they’re easier to buy as gifts or keep organized in your collection. Sometimes also called Case because this is what they look like when opened.
Case: A box that contains a set quantity of figures and/or accessories.
Collect & Connect: Figures sold in multiple parts so buyers have to assemble them themselves as well as purchase each individual part before they’re complete, also known by other names like Build-a-Figure (BAF).
Combiner: Any single action figure or accessory that fits with others to create a larger one. Optimus transforms into a robot character typically through the combination with five or six other Transformers.
Customizer: Someone who alters action figures by swapping out their parts, either using new pieces from other toys and models kits for this purpose or by cutting up existing ones in order to make something different than what they started with. Customizers can also add paint jobs on top of these figure mods as well! This is called customizing because you’re making them into your ultimate version of an action figure.
Cut Joint: The type of articulation where the arms or legs are attached to an action figure’s body by a hard plastic resin which can be cut with scissors or pliers.
Dry Brush: A technique used for painting figures that involves using very dry paint so it doesn’t drip and create large puddles on your model, usually seen when you want to do subtle weathering effects like dirt stains on clothes and skin areas.
Fiddler: A person who opens and plays with all his or her action figures. They don’t keep them in the package.
Flocking: A technique used primarily in toy manufacturing which involves covering surfaces with tiny pieces of plastic or paper so they resemble fur.
Hinged Joint: The type of articulation where the arms and legs are attached to an action figure’s body by a flexible wire which allows them to move in all directions.
Figures: An abbreviation for “Action Figures.” For example, you might say “I really like this figure” when referring to an action figure in general.
Kibble: Pieces that make up parts of Transformers toys, often referred to as “greeblies” because they’re made out of small pieces cut into geometric shapes like squares, triangles, rectangles etc. They’re very similar in nature to LEGO bricks and K’Nex pieces – these terms refer specifically to those brands rather than the generic term.
Mint-on-Card (MOC): An action figure that has never been removed from its original packaging and is in brand new condition; also known as Mint-in Package or MIP for short! It’s important to note that MOC doesn’t relate to whether an item is still sealed up tight with protective plastic wrap on it – this only means they’re unopened, so if you want a guarantee of quality then keep your fingers crossed when buying one because there are no guarantees once someone starts playing around with it.
Mint-In-Package (MIP): Exactly what it sounds like: Brand New Action Figures in their packaging which have not yet been opened by anyone else before them. These are also sometimes referred to as Mint-in Package or MOC for short!
Pegwarmer: A figure that was produced in higher quantities than the demand and is most often sold at a discounted price. This term typically applies to figures from toy lines like Masters of the Universe when they were still being made – these types of dolls are usually more expensive now because there’s not much chance you’ll be able to find them on store shelves anymore.
Prototype: Action Figures which have been created by testing out new products before mass production begins; this means their design may change, but it will never get any better since they’re never meant for public consumption. They can come with additional accessories such as weapons, clothing, hair pieces etc.
Repaint: An action figure which has had a new color or scheme applied to it that is different from the original one. For example, if you wanted your Iron Man toy to be white instead of red,.
Retool: The process where an old model is completely redesigned with new parts – this means they’ll have similar proportions and will maintain many features like articulation points but can also look quite different than their former selves! This term only applies when there are significant changes in design such as appearances. A repaint typically does not qualify for being called retooling; however, sometimes the words “repaint” and “retool” are used interchangeably by retailers because it’s easier just to say “it’s been repainted” rather than “it’s been retooled”.
Shortpacking: The process of creating a toy which features many accessories included, but in the interest of saving space and money only includes them with one out of every five or ten figures. This means that on average you’ll get this accessory about once for each set that is purchased unless they’re mixed up together at random!
Swivel Joint: A type of articulation where an action figure can move their joints backwards and forwards as well as side to side; also known as ball-and-socket joint. They’re not just restricted to making movements back and forth like elbow or knee joints – these types are used all over the body so think hips, shoulders etc. It’s often referred to as “swivel” rather than ball-and-socket because it’s difficult to say the full term when you’re out and about.
Mushroom Joint: A type of articulation that is restricted to just up/down movement, like a doll’s head – also known as pivot or swivel joint. This one differs from a normal elbow or knee in that it only rotates around on its axis, so they don’t have any ability to move backwards and forwards if there are no joints built into them!
Test Shot: Action Figures which were never meant for public consumption but instead made as test runs; these will be prototypes with some minor differences such as colors or paint designs etc. They might also come with additional accessories to make up for the lack of them in production.
Variant: A term you may see on a toy’s packaging that means it has different, more limited availability than its original release; this is why they’re often referred to as “variants” rather than repaints or retools where there are significant changes made. For example, if two figures only came out at one store instead of having several distribution sources like other stores and online retailers – these would be variants because their numbers were low from the outset.
Variation: It might sound similar but this type refers specifically to when an accessory comes in different colors/designs within the same line; for example, if a set of action figures had one figure with a red shield and one with a blue shield, these would be two variations of the same accessory.
Wash: A term used specifically in reference to when an action figure has been given some kind of paint application which creates a more weathered or aged appearance; this is often done on figures that are coming out for Halloween as it’s meant to make them look spooky!
Wave: In toy collecting terms, “wave” usually refers to all the products from one series within the company – so think about any time you see say Wolverine Toys in X-Men Toyline Packaging (Series); these will always come together as if they were waves crashing on shore! The other way people describe waves is by their release date, so a wave may be “wave one”, “wave two” or even something like “Halloween 2018 Wave”.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies.