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Action Figure Scales – All You Need to Know

Action figures can come in many different sizes. The sizes are commonly referred to as action figure scales. When you are buying toys from other collectors you will notice that they use the action figure scales to describe the figure. It is all part of the action figure language.

If you were to look up scale in the dictionary you would see that it says it is a proportion used in determining the dimensional relationship of a representation to that which it represents. In other words, scale refers to the relation to a normal sized object.

Action figure companies use the standard size of an ideal human being as 6 feet tall. So for example if an action figure was in 1:1 scale it would be 6 feet tall.

1:4 Scale (18″)

1:4 scale is a popular larger scale action figure. They are usually articulated and have hair and removable clothing. Some people will refer to figures this size as dolls.action figure scales

1:6 Scale (12″)

This scale was the scale that the very first action figure (G.I. Joe) was. One of the more popular companies today that make 1:6 scale action figures is Hot Toys. They usually have unreal articulation and look like real people. They are very expensive but you probably won’t be disappointed.

1:9 Scale (8″)

This scale was first created by the Mego toy company. One popular line was the World’s Greatest Heroes line of 8″ action figures in the 70s and 80s. Other action figure lines followed using this size and quickly became popular. G.I. Joe actually shrunk down to this size.

1:10 Scale (7″)

This scale was seen by action figure lines like Marvel Legends and DC Universe.This size along with 1:12 is more popular with adult collectors instead of kids.

1:12 Scale (5″-6″)

This scale was very popular in the 90 with lines like Last Action Hero, Congo, and Jurassic Park. This scale almost killed the 3.75″ line in the 90s and will not be forgotten.

1:18 Scale (3.75″-4″)

1:18 scale is by far the most popular action figure scale. I have taken a poll in the ToyArk forums and 70%+ of the collectors there prefer 3.75″ figures than any other. You can get figures in this size with lines like G.I. Joe, Marvel Universe, Star Wars, etc.

action figure scales

What is your favorite of the action figure scales? Why?

4 Comments on Action Figure Scales – All You Need to Know

  1. Great article. I'm sure collectors would appreciate what you're doing, laying down basic, fundamental info like this to open up the hobby to newcomers. A few things to mention:

    1:10 (7") – A scale quickly growing in popularity thanks to major improvements in sculpt and articulation by manufacturers NECA, Marvel Select and DC Collectibles (formerly DC Direct). WWE Elite (by Mattel) is also here. Marvel Legends and DCUC were never made in this scale.

    1:12 (5-6")- Marvel Legends (originally produced by the legendary Toybiz and now Hasbro) and DC Universe Classics aka DCUC (by Mattel) are in the 6 inch scale. If 3.75" is the first most popular scale, than this is definitely the second. Most Japanese figures are produced in the 5" scale which can often fit in with the 6" (but not always). D Arts and Figma are among popular import brands.

    As a kid I collected 6" (Marvel Legends) then abandoned the hobby for years. Came back as a young adult and I find that my scale of preference is the 7". I feel you get the best value (sculpt, size, articulation) for your money. And seeing the way that Marvel Select, NECA, and DC Collectibles are only improving in quality keeps my choices simple.

  2. personally, my universe (collection) is primarily 1:12 (6" scale.) followed by the smaller SW and bigger WWR scales. its not my choice, but its what avaliable. 3A does a fair job of offering their items in a 1:12 scale- which is a plus. yet, im trying hard to stay faithful to one scale. im glad toys are still somewhat consistent. im happy for that! nice article!

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