The only action figure scale worth collecting is…
The 6 inch scale. C’mon. Like you didn’t know that?
I was working on this article, when fellow Action Figure Fury writer, Ryan Bradley, posted his article, “How do you figure?” After reading his article, I changed the tone of this one a bit. Originally, I was here to trash 3.75 inch figures. But, Ryan’s article convinced me otherwise about the best action figure scale. However, while I do completely appreciate Ryan’s points (especially when it comes to price) about 3.75 inch figures, I still have to respectfully disagree that it’s the best scale (for the money) around.
I say the 6 inch action figure scale is where it’s at.
Now, look. I grew up on 3.75 inch action figures. Kenner’s Star Wars line, Mego’s Pocket Superheroes’, Toy Biz Marvel Superheroes, Kenner’s Super Powers. You name it. If there was a superhero/scifi line out in the late 70’s/early 80s, I had it. And it was pretty awesome.
But, we’re talking that was 30 years ago (Man! I’m old). As a collector today, I’d much rather have a 6 inch figure over a 3.75 figure every day of the week. Including Arbor day. I’m not saying there isn’t a place for the 3.75 figure line. The cartoonless Batman line Mattel has been putting out the last couple years, is a prime example. It’s a good line. And it’s aimed at kids. I’m sure there are adult collectors picking up these figures, I myself went back and forth about picking up Azreal as Knightfall Batman (I didn’t).
However, I much rather see a line like Mattel’s Multiverse as a 6 inch collection, than in the four inch scale (iknowiknowiknow. But, at a quarter inch difference, a 3.75 inch figure and a 4 inch figure might as well be the same size). Now, I’m not privy to any insider deals that may or may not require Mattel’s Multiverse line to be made in the 4 inch scale. But, that unknown aside, who’s picking a 4 inch Christopher Reeve Superman over a 6 inch? Even if it is 10 more dollars? Especially if he came with a cool kryptonite necklace that, that bastard Lex draped over him in Superman: The Movie.
Ryan did bring up an excellent point about price. Price point is the big issue here, especially those of us collectors on a “budget”. The 3.75 figures tend to be in the $9.99 – $12.99 range (depending what store you frequent) and the 6 inch scale retails about $19.99 – $24.99. The 6 inch figures are clearly more money. Just about double, actually. And I often have a hard time plunking down 25 bucks for a figure, as you can see for yourself in my now infamous Toy Valuation Theorem.
For whatever reason, though, I have a harder time paying 10 bucks for a 3.75 figure, than 20 bucks for a 6 inch figure. It feels like there’s more value in the 6 inch line especially since most time, the 6 inch scale comes with additional accessories (weapons, hands, base, etc). Whereas the 3.75 figures typically don’t.
Granted, when I’m checking out at Target, and the 5 Guardians of the Galaxy figures I’ve got in my basket are costing me $120, that’s pretty much when I’m not really crazy about the 6 inch line. But, it’s also why I’m not a completist, it’s why I don’t like the whole “build a figure” phenomenon, and it’s also why I think lines should have less figures in them.
I’ve heard people point to the $19.99 price point being the death knell of the Mattel’s DC Classics line. I don’t believe that for a second. I circumstantially point to how well Marvel’s Legends line sells, and how well the Star Wars Black Series sold (until they made way too many Slave Leia and Greedos). Too many figures per line at too high a price point, are just two of the many reasons the Mattel line died a slow death.
That’s why your friendly neighborhood jman subscribes to the theory of smaller lines (4 figures per line. 5 figures max) with one additional wave per year (4 waves per year? Maybe 5). Switch out one or two of the figures to refresh the line, like Hasbro did with Spidey and Cap. Keep it interesting.
And this way? The lines will last longer. We’ll get the depth of figures and at the right scale. Yea…it’ll be at a higher price point and we’ll need a bit of patience getting all the characters we want, but at least we won’t be stuck buying those tiny 3.75 inch figures!
But…stay tuned for next week when I review that Multiverse Christopher Reeve as Superman 4 inch figure!