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Many people around the world find enjoyment in collectible items as a way to relive their childhood, a personal hobby, and to build value over time. Some of the rarest action figures are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and are purchased from around the world.

Why do we collect memorabilia though? I have written an article exploring this worldwide phenomenon.

To this day, action figures and statues are common collectibles that are admired by many adults, but did you know they are slightly different from each other? Although they are somewhat similar in appearance, they have minor differences that make them stand out.

Action Figures

Action figures are a type of figurine toy that represents characters from movies, comic books, video games, and television shows. They are unique because of their human-like appearance and are seen as an admiration to fans of any age and gender.

The first action figure was brought to life in the early 1960s. The Vice President of Hasbro, Don Levine, seized his inspiration from a wooden mannequin in an arts and crafts store. During the Vietnam War in 1964, the iconic G.I. Joe was shipped and sold across the country.

The desire for action figures became popular by the 1980s and 90s and are inspired by our favorite cartoon shows, wrestlers, and superheroes.

Manufacturing Action Figures

How are action figures manufactured? The process begins by sketching. Manufacturers use 3D materials to show a representation of what the action figure will look like. Next, aluminum is used with special wiring tools to shape the figure and create a stance.

Clay is then added to the wiring, molded into the desired shape, and baked to harden. Sculpting tools are used to shape the body, paying close attention to the facial features, hands, and feet. A plastic resin is used to form the exterior and fused to create the finished product. Finally, the action figures are painted, inspected, and shipped.

Action figures are made with clay to shape their interior, but the exterior is molded with a plastic resin known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS). ABS is a hard plastic that is shaped over the clay to form the body.

Ash Premium Articulated Figure by PureArts

Softer plastics like polypropylene or polyethylene are used to create smaller, detailed pieces. Acrylic paint is used with a paintbrush or by airbrushing. It is highly recommended because it is water-based and becomes waterproof once dry. The final step is to add a protective coat for a glossy appearance and to minimize fading.

Resin figurines are made using three common synthetic resins: epoxy, polystyrene, and polyurethane. Polystone statues contain resin and are mixed with rocks or stones. Acrylic paints are highly recommended for both resin and poly stone statues but should be painted with a brush. The statues are primed, painted, and sealed with a protective coat.


Statues (or statuettes) are carved or molded sculptures that represent characters, humans, or animals. Unlike action figures, statues are placed on pedestals making them slightly heavier. They are rarer, have higher quality material, and become more valuable as they age.

Statues take on several approaches in the manufacturing process. The two common procedures are resin casting and poly stone. The manufacturer creates a mold for the model and uses resin casting to shape it.

The creator pours a synthetic resin into the desired mold and begins to dry at room temperature during the curing process. With poly stone, the materials are mixed with stone and resin and are sculpted with clay or waxing tools.

Sizes and scales

Statues and action figures vary in shape and size. They are measured by a scale, which compares a size ratio to a regular-sized object.

  • The 1:4 scale (18”) is for larger-looking figures that have high detailing in their clothing and hair.
  • The 1:6 scale (12”) is the default size for figures after G.I. Joe’s debut within the 1960s.
  • The 1:9 scale (8”) is not commonly used but became popular around the 70s and 80s.
  • The 1:10 scale (7”) is most common for grown-ups who collect to invest.
  • The 1:12 scale (about 5-6”) was popular during the 90s era, but they are not as common today.
  • The 1:18 scale (about 3.75-4”) action figures were not as expensive and made it easy to fit in tight places.
  • Lastly, the 1:48 scale (2”) is more common with the Lego Brand.

Statues are bigger and are typically scaled at 1:2 (half-scale) and 1:4 (18”). The Sideshow Collectibles, a famous manufacturer of collectibles and figures, are known for advertising statues on this scale, and because of their size, they’re displayed in spacious areas.

That being said, some statues do come in 1:12 and 1:18 scale but that’s because the original is 16ft tall. Like this Yhorm 1:12 scale statue from Dark Souls 3 by PureArts.

How Much Do Statues and Action Figures Cost?

Action figures are a lot cheaper than statues and are usually purchased online or in-store. Today, action figures range from about $10 and are valued up to $100 depending on the size, brand, and material.

If you are an adult collector and are searching for high-end action figures, the prices range from hundreds to almost thousands of dollars. It is stated that action figures can increase in value over twenty years depending on rarity and the year it was manufactured.

Statues are priced in higher quantities and are worth more as they age. The difference is manufacturing companies don’t produce as many, and some are limited-edition. Statues can range anywhere from $200 to approximately $1,000 but the rarest, high-end statues are $10,000.

Yhorm 1:12 Statue by PureArts

Where Can I Buy Statues and Action Figures?

Whether you are shopping online or at a collectibles store, there are plenty of stores to choose from. Here are some well-known brands that sell video-game action figures/statues:

  • Sideshow Collectibles was established in 1993. They are well-known for manufacturing premium and limited-edition statues. Their prices range from approximately $200 and can go as high as $7,000. They are well known for their Marvel and DC collections, but they sell video-game characters such as WWE wrestlers, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and more.
  • PureArts was established in 2008 and since then has become one of the leading manufacturers of premium figures and statues from movies and video games. I’ve reviewed their Assassin’s Creed Animus statues here.
  • McFarlane Toys was created in 1994 by Todd McFarlane. They advertise various gaming action figures such as the Fortnite franchise, Mortal Kombat, DC, Assassin’s Creed, and more. This company is highly recommended if you are looking for something affordable, yet realistic.
  • Hasbro was established in 1923 by three brothers from a small city in Rhode Island. As previously mentioned, in the 1960s, Don Levine introduced G.I. Joe as the first-ever action figure. Moreover, their most popular collectibles are the Star Wars Saga, Transformers, and Marvel Comics.
  • Mattel was founded in 1945 and is most popular for its Barbie collections. They don’t have a wide selection, but they do advertise the WWE franchise.
  • Lastly, the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA) journey began in 1996. They offer collectibles for video games, sports, television shows, and music. They advertise various gaming characters like the iconic Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. They also sell mystery packs from God of War and Assassin’s Creed.


Action figures and statues are a way to relive our childhood adventures. Some may enjoy it for artsy purposes and enjoy the thrill of the work put into them. Others collect them for investment purposes.

Most collectors keep the figure in its original packaging and stash them in the hopes it will increase in value over time. I wrote an article about unboxing collectibles in the past, so you can head over there to read it!

PS: Psst, do you know how to take care of your action figures and statues? I wrote a handy post with tips and tricks how to keep your collectibles clean and safe!

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