The Enduring Popularity of 12" Action Figures
We've come a long way since the first 1/6th scale G.I. Joe figures hit store shelves in the United States in 1964. Thankfully, G.I. Joe was a huge success back
then. He and a wonderful little plastic gal, beloved the world over, named Barbie (who is surprisingly five years older than Joe, having been born in 1959) have definitely both evolved
as the years have gone by.
Nowadays, 1/6th scale is the ultimate size for many collectors who love action
figures for a number of very good reasons. I personally prefer 1/6th figures because there is literally so much you
can do artistically at this size. Smaller sized figures are definitely customizable though, as many talented collectors
have shown with their creativity, diligence and skill.
Clothing Your 1/6 Scale Figures
the increase in the availability of highly articulated and well crafted 1:6 bodies with interchangeable heads, has naturally
come the need for a larger and larger array of clothing to fit various figure types.
Do exercise caution however,
when buying clothes for your figures. Quite a number of companies have produced 11 to 12" scale figures
and accessories over the years and not all of them, despite being in the same category, are truly interchangeable.
There are a growing number of small companies that produce costumes and accessories for 1:6 scale figures. One I highly
recommend is Dollsfigure. Their prices are better than most and the variety of both male and female figure styles
is increasingly impressive.
Time Silhouette Roman Imperial Legionary
I think this Time Silhouette Roman
Imperial Legionary figure below, by Ignite is probably one of the coolest 1/6 scale figures I have ever owned! The body is highly articulated, the accessories
are awesome and the head sculpt is fantastic.
I have yet to take him out of the box, because this dude is EX-PEN-SIVE! I guess the die-cast metal accessories
have something to do with the final sale price, but I tend to think it also has something to do with the fact that this figure
is probably produced in limited quantites and unless you're an action figure fanatic, you probably don't even know
that Ignite exists.
I got this one on on eBay and though I saved a bit on the final price, it was still much more
expensive than I usually spend on a single figure. This is only one of an increasing number of Ancient Roman
soldier figures that Ignite has produced.
head sculpt is pretty generic, but other Roman figures made by Ignite feature likenesses of Russell Crowe and Al Pacino. Crowe and Pacino-like sculpts are used on Roman
Centurian figures that date
from an earlier period than the one pictured here.
In fact, this figure is impressive in terms of historical accuracy
because this soldier is bearded. In the early Roman Empire (and particularly
during the early Roman Republic) beards were
frowned upon (because the "barbarian" peoples beyond the Roman Frontier generally wore them) and did not become popular
until around the time of Emperor
Hadrian, who incidently, did
wear a beard.
This shield is a thing of beauty! You almost have to see it in person to get the full
effect. And look at the sandals on this dude! They're plastic, but are nicely detailed and laced up just like
the real thing. You'd be amazed by what you can learn about history just from well made action figures like
this. Without even seeing the actual items, you can personally inspect very, very detailed and highly authentic
reproductions of clothing and equipment that soldiers have worn and used throughout the ages.
Speaking of history,
the back of the box lists the two main "myths" of the founding of Rome in April 21, 753 B.C. The first and
most common is the story of the bothers Romulus and Remus who, orphaned as babies, were suckled by a she-wolf...
or... a shepard's wife who was a former prostitute. No one is really all that certain it seems, because in
Latin, "lupa" means both "she-wolf" and "prostitute." Man, a guy can even
learn Latin from collecting action figures!
Ignite is famous for using metal and/or real wood for many of their accessories, but I personally think
it's just as effective to use plastic. Realism is great, but action figures need to be affordable too, and companies
that habitually use exotic materials to maintain a competitive edge just end up overdoing a good thing.
In my humble opinion, most 1/6th scale accessories can be made to look much better and more detailed in plastic than with
so-called "real" materials anyway. What's next, real skin on the figure's body?!?! Overall however, this figure is absolutely wonderful and very, very well done and Ignite is definitely offering a
line of products that most other companies can't even begin to compare with.
Drastic Plastic's American Body 1
a great 1/6th scale figure that was put out by Drastic Plastic in 2001. The design of this super-articulated
1/6th scale body is really exceptional and definitely one of the best I've personally ever seen. Boy,
does the excellent head sculpt on this "American Body 1" figure look like Tom Hanks, making the possibilities for a kitbash quite numerous.
You could dress this figure
as the characters Hanks played in Saving Private Ryan, Apollo 13 or even Forrest Gump. For my money though, I think this sculpt looks the most like Hanks did in Road to Perdition. The closeup in the middle picture below looks suspiciously like a young Lyndon B. Johnson. Now there's a great role for Tom Hanks!
chest of this figure is definitely WAY too chiseled to look real, the shoulder joints are very effective in terms of
design and aesthetic. The waist really turns like a real person's does, meaning that the joint break above his abdomen
will only rotate from side to side and at an angle, but his waist will hardly turn at all. When I first examined the
figure I was disappointed until I realized that my own waist, above the hips will not turn from side to side without the movement
of my upper chest. Very nice touch for this figure. I am definitely impressed!
Easily, my absolute
favorite feature about this figure is his feet because they're so realistic. Most 1/6th scale feet are pretty
lame since most companies probably assume that they're just going to be covered by footwear anyway, but this
Drastic Plastic offering's feet actually look real AND function well, allowing the figure to stand independently
without hand support. Some figures, like 21st Century Toys infamous Super Soldier body will not stand on their own for more than a few seconds, a design
flaw that is really disappointing since the Super Soldier is so great in so many other ways.
This figure features bendy type hands (with wire inside so that each finger can bend independently),
which I'm personally not fond of, because they are seldom as good as more traditional type action figure hands.
I've definitely seen a lot of poorly executed bendy hands, but to be fair, Drastic Plastic bendy hands are better
than most. Dragon Models has the best looking bendy hands, but no matter how good an idea this is and no matter how well it's executed,
I personally think that bendy hands are a poor choice for most 1/6th scale action figures.
For example, the
first figure I ever owned with bendy hands was Volker, from Dragon Model's ever-growing line
of WWII era German military figures. I made the BIG MISTAKE
of posing Volker in a display case with his 1/6th scale rifle clasped in his bendy hands. Sure enough, within just a
few short weeks, the two different types of plastic that the hands and the weapon were cast in reacted chemically and a collector's
nightmare, melt marks were left on the weapon and the hands were marred up too! Boy, was I pee-oed!
Volker was NOT CHEAP and despite the figure's apparent "quality," I was shocked that such
a incredibly detailed and expensive action figure could have been manufactured with such an obvious design flaw!
Silly me! I ended up buying various Dragon sets to get replacement parts for my Volker, so I was eventually
able to replace the hands with nice new ones and I even got a brand new rifle from one of Dragon's German
rifle sets, but as you might imagine, I ended up feeling rather ripped off by the time I was finished restoring the
figure. Hopefully, Dragon Models has now taken steps to improve this obvious design flaw.
any case, I'm pretty sure bendy hands won't hold up with age, since they will most likely dry and yellow
in storage over time. So how does that make them collectible? The final point is: If
you can't use the soft plastic hands of high-end action figures to hold the harder plastic weapons they
were DESIGNED to be displayed with, then what the HECK good are they? Nice idea though....