Kung-fu Battle Grip. That’s when it really started for me. I always loved action figures growing up, but when GI Joe’s were introduced with a new form of articulation my piggy bank was instantly drained as I rushed to the nearest retailer (within walking distance of the house) after spotting an end cap stocked full of the new series of 3.5” figures. Obviously, as most young boys still are, I was into collecting Star Wars toys too. GI Joe was always preferred due to their better articulation and accessories.
As a teen I’d browse the toy sections, but never purchased. Not until later in life did I find the nerve to admit my desires to collect action figures. A few years after college I was fortunate enough to have a comfortable corporate job allowing my bank account to accumulate extra funds. Not a lot but enough that I finally caved in buying a Spawn figure at the local Toys-R-Us that I’d been eyeballing for awhile. While the initial purchase took courage, the subsequent did not. I recall a few weeks later filling up a shopping cart with the entire current Spawn series plus a few strays from outside that particular line. I loved the details in McFarlane’s brand, as did the design and price point. $10 on average wasn’t bad at all. Once I had the toy stores cleaned out I went online. Here I started collecting affordable Spawn figures from older series that the brick-and-mortar retailers stopped carrying. I had large boxes full, some opened, some not, and a Cairo cabinet of figures on display.
My only issue at the time with McFarlane’s designs was the minimal articulation. This was something I missed in my current line of figures compared to the Kung-fu Battle Grip GI Joes. Then my friend, Chad (who my wife now hate ;-), introduced me to 1:6 scale Elite Force figures by Blue Box Toys (BBi). These larger scaled figures had the details of the Spawn series and the articulation and accessories of GI Joes, but at a price of $35 each. It took a short while to convince myself to take the leap from $10 figures to higher-end and more expensive collectibles. I got one, then two, then three and so on. Before long $35 each seemed very reasonable, even to my wife.
My collection of 1:6 scale action figures has been my focus for the past 7 or so years. I’ll still get a Spawn or smaller scale figure, but not very often. My interests in the last couple years have grown to high-end figures from Asian designers like Hot Toys and Medicom to domestic companies such as Sideshow Toys. Unlike in the early days of action figure collecting, my purchases are limited now by the price of these high-end toys. Most range in the $100-200 range. If I can get anything below that I feel it’s a steal. Besides the decision of what figures to acquire, my biggest challenge is whether I leave them in the box or open, assemble and pose for display.