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Figure Newcomer Guide #3: Posable Figure Lines; Their Pros and Cons

Figure Newcomer Guide #3: Posable Figure Lines; Their Pros and Cons
06 Aug 2010 07:15:05

Sorry about the delay, folks! Here's number three in the Figure Newcomer Guides. This guide is for the folks who have decided that posable figures are the kind for them, and don't know where to begin. Well, fear no more! I have some tips from my experience collecting!

Beginning a Posable-Figure Collection

While there's nothing stopping you from buying any figures you please (your money, your choices), you may want to know a thing or two about scales. Most figures have a scale, which is basically a size classification to give you an idea of how big various figures will be compared to each other. However, whereas scale figures are marked with scales like 1/6, 1/8, 1/10 and so on, posables are not usually marked clearly by scale. Here's a comparison image showing various figure lines:



And a list of figure series that can usually be grouped together with minor size differences:

6" scale: Figma, Yamaguchi Revoltech (Sengoku Basara, Professor Layton, etc.), S.H. Figuarts, FMA Play Arts, Marvel Legends, Souchaku Henshin, Sci-Fi/Queen's Blade/Hokuto no Ken Revoltech, Busou Shinki

7" scale: Fraulein Revoltech, DC Universe Classics, Figutto

3.75" scale: S.I.C. Kiwami Tamashii, Marvel Universe, Street Fighter Revoltech, Star Wars

Anyway, onto the lines themselves!

Figma

Max Factory's Figma line is by far one of the most popular lines. Figmas are great-quality, affordable, and well-articulated, but are a bit fragile. A few have notable defects, like Rider's hair and the shoulders of Drossel and Saber Alter. Due to the line's popularity, there are a lot of bootleg Figmas out there, so do your research before buying! The line has a large assortment of characters from currently-popular anime, such as K-On, Fate/Stay night, Haruhi, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, as well as a few classics such as Urusei Yatsura's Lum and the girls of Evangelion. However, if you're a fan of non-moe characters, your choices are pretty much limited to baseball mascots and gay porn stars. Overall, though, Figmas are a very solid choice.

Revoltech

Kaiyodo's Revoltech line is one of the oldest of the major Japanese posable lines, having started in 2006. The main gimmick of the line is the Revolver Joint, which allows for near-infinite posing possibilities. As a side effect of the modular nature of the figures, you can mix-and-match parts to create abominations such as this.



The figures are extremely durable - not only are the joints hard to break, they also sell joint packs in the unlikely event that you do break one. The Revoltech brand is broken up into several sub-lines:

Yamaguchi - The largest line, features everything from mecha to warriors. Contains mecha from series like Evangelion, Gurren-Lagann, Getter Robo, and Macross; as well as human characters from franchises like Sengoku Basara, Trigun, and Professor Layton. Had some spotty QC early on, but that's been improved as of 2009.
Sci-Fi - Despite the name, this is more of a "movie classics" line. Features a lot of kaiju, as well as characters like Jack Skellington, Jason Voorhees, the Alien, and Buzz Lightyear.
Queens Blade - Features characters from the popular ecchi-combat franchise. Most of the figures include torn clothes and/or are fully strippable.
Hokuto no Ken - A show so manly, it needed its own Revoltech line. You're already dead.
Fraulein - Kaiyodo's attempt to compete with Figma. Honestly not that great - fragile and derpy-looking. Just get the Figmas when possible.
Street Fighter Online - A series of tiny Street Fighter figures. Smaller and worse-looking than the SOTA or NECA figures, IMO.

Overall, the Yamaguchi, Sci-Fi, Queens Blade, and Hokuto no Ken lines are all great figures.

S.H. Figuarts

Bandai's foray into the posable-market started as a spinoff of another line, actually. Souchaku Henshin was a line of Kamen Rider toys that allowed you to remove the armor of various Riders. In 2008, they launched a new line, S.H. Figuarts, that abandoned the cast-off gimmick in favor of incredible articulation. And boy, they weren't kidding - these guys are posable as hell! They even have die-cast feet, so they can balance in insane poses (I've got Kamen Rider Drake doing a kung-fu-master-style one-legged stance on his toes right now). The paint apps are all spot-on, too, and they're no more expensive than your average Figma. The only flaw of the line lies within its choice of licenses - if you don't like Kamen Rider, Dragonball Z, or PreCure, you're out of luck. However, I honestly feel that Figuarts is the best figure line out there - I really recommend that you go to HLJ or Amiami or wherever, see which Figuarts Rider you think looks coolest, and pick it up - even if you don't know the character, you're getting a really impressive figure!

Busou Shinki

Busou Shinki is Konami's main posable line. Unlike the others, it features very few licensed characters (some Sky Girls characters and TTGL's Yoko) - instead, it focuses entirely on original characters. These original characters are all lolis in mecha-armor, each with a different theme (stag-beetle-armor, devil-armor, etc.). But don't let that disappoint you - the designs are actually pretty cool, and the armor is made of lots of little pieces so you can build your own suits. However, the line is very expensive, and most of the older ones have sold out long ago, so it's not a very newbie-friendly line as far as wallets go.

Figutto

Figutto is the newest brand on the block - Griffon Enterprises planned to launch the line in December of 2009, but delayed it monthly until it was just released last month. Figuttos are bigger than any of the other major lines, making it look rather awkward. The paint is impressive, but the stands are very floppy. However, it's got a solid assortment of licenses (Touhou Project and King of Fighters, anyone?), so it's worth watching to see how it unfolds.

Medicos Super Action Statue (S.A.S.)

Medicos launched the S.A.S. line in 2008. However, they don't try to compete with the big lines - rather, they make their profits by focusing on quirkier series that are ignored by other manufacturers. The line was built for the unique, slightly homoerotic designs of franchises like Kinnikuman and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, and manages to provide great articulation (about Marvel Legends-level) as a result. However, the joints are rather conspicuous on some figures. In the end, though, the major weakness of S.A.S. is its limited selection - JoJo, Kinnikuman, Yakuza 3. That's literally it. However, their incredible (statue-level) paintjobs combined with their impressive articulation make them perfect figures for fans of those franchises. Note: Despite the name, S.A.S. figures are not actually action statues (more on those below).

Play Arts

Square-Enix's Play Arts line is one of the easiest to obtain internationally, due to SE being aggressive as hell when it comes to marketing. Their original Play Arts figures were decent - the articulation was solid and the paintjobs were good, but they had minimal accessories, flat, lifeless faces, and were of a size that looked awkward with any other figures. Despite those flaws, though, they were solid for $25 a pop. Then came the Play Arts Kai brand in 2009. This label basically meant that SE added horrible-looking joints, lower QC, an even more awkward scale, and nearly doubled the price. And people are wondering why the FFXIII line is shelfwarming. Overall, normal Play Arts are great for retail price, but avoid the Kais.

Action statues

"Action statues" is a term for larger posable figures with nicer paintjobs. The three biggest lines are ActSta (which are basically giant Figmas), Gotto-Kuru (the biggest of the three), and VMF (probably the worst of the three, with poor QC). They have a rather limited selection - if you're not into Nanoha, Ikkitousen, or Queen's Blade, you're screwed. Overall, action statues have failed to really take off - their huge price tags and odd scales make them unappealing for posable collectors, and their conspicuous joints make them unappealing for statue collectors.

A Summary

So what lines are worth collecting and which ones are worth avoiding, you ask? Figma, Revoltech, S.A.S. and S.H. Figuarts are all great. Figutto and regular Play Arts are good if scale doesn't bother you. However, Play Arts Kai and Fraulein Revoltech aren't worth your time. Figma definitely is the king of female figures, Figuarts has males in the bag, and nonhumans are Revoltech's forte. However, don't let this guide sway you too much - these are all mere suggestions, after all. See you around!

NOTE: The images appearing in this article came courtesy of Anonymous of 2ch and 4chan. I'm not claiming credit for them, and am merely using them for educational purposes. However, if you're the original taker of the pictures and want them taken down, I'll be happy to do so. By the way, watch out for Woody.
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mu597
mu597 (USA)
06 Aug 2010, 10:04:57
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Once again nice article! But you might want to mention Super Action Statues (by Medicos) and Variable Motion Figures (by Yamato)

Super Action Statues have nice sculpt and paint work while having almost figuarts level articulation.

Variable Motion Figures have a similar weird scale like Play Arts Kai and have similar word joints and poor quality control. (I have the Ryomou Shimei it's horrible)
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
06 Aug 2010, 13:58:06
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Good call. To the Editinator 2000!
HONK HONK~
ToonAddict
ToonAddict (USA)
06 Aug 2010, 19:34:26
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I'm sure those shots of Woody from Toy Story will be in many kids' nightmares if they ever see them :D
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
06 Aug 2010, 19:37:01
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And these are just the SFW ones... >:3
HONK HONK~
Glory
Glory (Russia)
06 Aug 2010, 20:27:43
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Awww, this is a nice one. Good job!
What I was thinking about is that to polish it we probably need more pics. Like a pic of a figure of every line. We can take the official shots or ask our own users who own good cams to take the decent ones. For example, mu597 seems to have quite a number of action figures, he probably can help with some comparison images.
The rain beats hard at my window
While you so softly do sleep...
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
07 Aug 2010, 08:20:23
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That does sound like a pretty good idea. I can provide a size-comparison with Figma, Revoltech, Figuarts, Marvel Legends, and Play Arts if need be. But I think contacting mu about some shots would be a good call - he has a lot of S.A.S.es and some Shinkis in addition to the aforementioned lines, IIRC.
HONK HONK~
Glory
Glory (Russia)
07 Aug 2010, 12:58:53
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Nice! Myself, I have nothing but 2 figmas, which actually belong to Vallefor, so I can't help much. But it's not necessary to start searching for pics right now, we can leave it until the compilation part... well, up to you :)
The rain beats hard at my window
While you so softly do sleep...
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
07 Aug 2010, 13:11:31
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I think we may as well wait until the compilation portion - these are merely drafts, after all, and there may be more images that need gathering for other articles.
HONK HONK~
mu597
mu597 (USA)
07 Aug 2010, 15:35:05
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I'd be happy to help, just tell me what you want pictures of!
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
07 Aug 2010, 16:59:41
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Ah, thanks a ton! We'll let you know what pictures we need when the time comes. :3
HONK HONK~
Ahegyao
Ahegyao (USA)
14 Aug 2010, 17:40:20
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Hey, I've seen you around on /toy/. Nice job working on the guide. I definitely need to link this to a friend who's just starting on figure collecting. I convinced him to get an Ikkitousen figma and he's been in love with it since.
I love plastic crack
KururuSouchou
KururuSouchou (USA)
14 Aug 2010, 18:06:05
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Ah, really? Do you post as anon, or with a trip?

Also, there are more guides underway, for things like repairs/maintenance and where-to-buy.
HONK HONK~
Ahegyao
Ahegyao (USA)
14 Aug 2010, 18:33:45
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Anon. Can't really bother putting up a tripcode.

Looking forward to upcoming guides.
I love plastic crack

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