How To Start an Action Figure Collection

Once you start reading comics, you will eventually fall in love with the comics’ characters action figures. It’s a rare case that you wouldn’t. Collecting action figure is a great way to reconnect with your once lively imaginative side, regardless whether you are 25, 35 or even 45.

Don’t be embarrassed to play with your action figures 🙂

So, you want to start a collection. How should you start and action figure collection?

Here are some tips that you could use if you are just starting out.

1. Where to start?

If you are new, your first question would probably be “where do I start?” and my answer to that question would be “what do you like?”. I would suggest starting off with your favorite character. It is easier that way.

If you like Star Wars, there’s even a guide book on Star Wars: The Ultimate Action Figure Collection.

2. Find a niche

You may like Star Wars and also Star Trek and at the same time you also like to read comics especially the new DC 52, but I would like to advise to limit your collection rather than start buying all the action figures of all the characters you like. It’s impossible, so it helps to know as soon as possible what you want to focus on.

Limiting your collection to just one or two themes will keep more money in your wallet for other important stuff. This will stop you from spending on any action figure that catches your eye.

If you are a particular fan of a particular movie, then just limit your collection based on it. If you liked Star Wars, then stick with Star Wars. If you are into mecha Anime such as Macross, then you may want to start your collection based on that theme. And, if you are a comic fan, then you may want to focus your collection on only Batman, Superman or Spider-Man figures. Even if you only like one character i.e. Iron Man from the Avengers team, you will have a lot in your hand i.e. Iron Man Mark VII and Iron Man Mark IV.

Some can be purchased in a set, see some sample below, which will make starting a collection easier.

DC Collectibles The New 52: Super Heroes vs. Super Villains Action Figure, 7-Pack. Includes Aquaman, The Flash, Batman, Catwoman, The Joker, Captain Cold and Black Manta.

Details here.
DC Comics New 52 Justice League 7-Pack Action Figure Box Set. Contains Justice League icons Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg.

Details here.

DC Collectibles DC Comics The New 52 Trinity War Action Figure Playset which contains Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Details here.

Not having a focus can lead to a bad collection that just doesn’t mix. Have a clear idea on which niche and stick to it.

In another article, Action Figure: Starting With A Niche, I have some examples of how it look like if you mix Superman, Bumble Bee and Star Wars. It certainly looks weird, but mixing a 5-inch stormtrooper with a few Star Wars Minifigures looks okay though. Check that out for more action figure collecting tips.

3. Get Connected

Knowledge is power. The internet has many blogs, newsgroups, and forums that you can join and just interact to find other people that have the same liking to the same theme. A Google search will often turn up great results. Visit the nearest specialty shop and meet other collectors. Use as many sources of information you can find.

Sometimes figures will be simple “repacks” – where the company takes a previous version of a character and puts it in new packaging. If you are not informed, you may end up with buying two of the same thing.

These sites will also help you to identify the difference between a collectible action figure that’s meant for collectors to display and toys that have been made for children to play. It’s not uncommon for a collector to buy an action figure online thinking it is a collector’s piece, only to end up with a toy that he could have picked up on any toy store which has little to no collecting value!

4. Loose or Mint?

“Loose” refers to action figures that have been taken out of their packages while “Mint” refers to action figures that are in their original packages, in brand new condition.

This is a major debate among action figure collectors, but if you ask me I prefer “loose” although some collectors feel that this lowers the value.

What’s the point of having an action figure, but you can’t display them in action?

5. Catalog and Manage Your Collection

You should do this from the start so that you don’t get lost. Don’t wait until you have hundreds or so action figures before you decided to catalog them. Cataloging helps to keep track of the action figures in your collection and also see how much your collection is worth. Just use Microsoft Excel as a start.

And don’t forget to clean them. Regular care will always keep them in their prime state. I have that covered in another article – Tips on maintaining your action figure collection.

I hope that this post on how to start ant action figure collection will get the most fun possible out your new collection 🙂

Check out the Iron Man action figures collection below.

Kotobukiya Iron Man Mark IV ArtFX Statue

Kotobukiya Iron Man 2: Mark IV ArtFX StatueSleeker and more powerful than the previous versions, the Mark IV is visually impressive and will look great in your collection. Sculpted by Ryoichi Ito, Iron Man stands approximately 13 inches tall (1/6th scale) atop an exclusive cylindrical Repulsor Transmitter base. To show off the Iron Avenger’s mighty power, the Mark IV includes LED lights in the eyes, chest, fists, and base. In addition, the switch to activate the lights is located on the top of the base for easy activation. This pre-painted, snap-fit ArtFX Statue is easy to assemble so you can have your Iron Man Mark IV on display in no time.

Hot Toys Iron Man Mark VI

Hot Toys Iron Man Mark VI - Marvel 12 Inch Action Figure Iron Man 2

  • The movie-accurate Mark VI collectible is highly detailed.
  • Fully deployed, specially crafted with likenesss of Robert Downey Jr.
  • 1/6th scale Mark VI Limited Edition Collectible Figure from the Iron Man 2 movie.
  • Newly sculpted head, light-up functions.
  • Made by Hot Toys

However, if you still have doubts and not sure where and how to start, then visit an Action Figure Convention, or to make it simpler for you, visit the San Diego Comic-Con. The convention is the largest convention of its kind in the world which include everything … comics, action figures, video games, anime, manga, collectible card games … everything. In 2016 it was held on Wednesday, July 20 through Sunday, July 24. Visit the site and start planning for the next one.


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