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″)
1:6 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.