A Beginner’s Guide To Action Figure – 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. If you are new to it, don’t worry. This article will help you with How To Start An Action Figure Collection?
So, you want to start a collection. How to start an 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, then go out and buy a Star Wars action figure. You can start with Luke Skywalker or even Darth Vader.
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 you to limit your collection rather than start buying all the action figures of all the characters you like.
It’s impossible (unless you can afford it), 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 Gundam, 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.
Not having a focus can lead to a bad collection that just doesn’t mix. Have a clear idea of which niche and stick to it.
In another article, Action Figure: Starting With A Niche, I have some examples of how it looks 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.
Read The Ultimate Buying Guide for X-Men Collectibles if you are into X-Men action figures.
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 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 to get mine go “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?
When looking and buying action figures from other collectors, you will come across these terms eventually: MISB vs MIB vs BIB vs Loose?
These are how the collectors describe the condition of their particular collection. If you are buying directly from a specialty shop, most are MISB.
MISB means Mint In Sealed Box (condition). The item is still sealed with manufacturer tape and has never been opened. Some people may use MOSC which means Mint On Sealed Card. It means the same, it is just how the action figure is pack. Whether it is packed in a box or sealed on a card.
MISB is a guarantee of the contents, but the box condition may not be mint. If you are looking for both mint content and box, make sure you ask for the picture of the box in full from all angles when buying online or from FB groups.
Mint In Box. The collector has opened the box to check the content. You are just taking the sellers word for it that the item is in great condition. It doesn’t work for the MOSC type of action figure packaging. For MOSC, once it is open, it can’t be resealed.
Back In Box. BIB is used to describe that the action figure was used. Most probably for a photoshoot and then kept back into the box. Please check to make sure that all the accessories are available or if there are any defective parts before purchasing the item.
It simply means no box. Buy this only when you are completing your collection and you can’t find it anywhere else. Do your homework for that specific action figure and only buy from a reputable collector.
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 the post Tips on maintaining your action figure collection.
I hope that this post on how to start an action figure collection will get the most fun possible out your new collection 🙂
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 includes everything
- action figures
- video games
- collectible card games … everything.
There you go, 5 tips on how to start an action figure collection.
Check out the Kotobukiya Iron Man Mark VII ArtFX Statue below. I actually like this very much.
Oowh …. another thing. It is a statue and not an action figure, the pose is fixed.
Collecting action figures is a great way to reconnect with your once lively imaginative side, regardless of whether you are 25, 35, or even 45. Don’t be embarrassed to play with your action figures 🙂
It’s funny that you say start with Luke Skywalker because that’s how I started to collect Star Wars vintage items from my youth about 5 years ago. I have since expanded that original vintage collection (loose, because carded is so pricey!) to modern things like the Black Series which has gotten me down another road of helping collectors complete their collections.
Tips are very useful. Thankj you for having this guide.
Hey! thanks for the tips. I am a new. I have a lot of action figures displayed around my office and I am starting to focus on female characters which is much rarer 🙂
Good advice. I collect comics but same basic principles. Love what you collect and you can’t go wrong.