Eric Stettmeier aka Bubba Shelby of Toyriffic recently posted an entry "Action Figure or Doll?" on his blog :) It made for some interesting reading and generated quite a response. I thought I'll jump in with my two cents worth.
Definition of Action Figure from Wikipedia - Ac•tion Fig•ure: An action figure is a pose-able character figurine, made of plastic or other materials, and often based upon characters from a movie, comic book, video game, or television program. These action figures are usually marketed towards boys and male collectors. [source: wiki]
The term "action figure" was first coined by Hasbro in 1964, to market their G.I. Joe figure to boys who wouldn't play with dolls. It featured changeable clothes with various uniforms to suit different purposes. In a move that would create global popularity for this type of toy, Hasbro also licensed the product to companies in other markets.
So let me state here that I collect Action Figures (NOT dolls) and am darn proud of it :) So proud in fact that I've posted 24 pictures of action figure group shots in this post alone to show how much I enjoy collecting Action Figures! Scroll down to see all ENJOY ;p
These are some of the Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series (MMS) 12-inch action figures from movies like "Pirates of the Caribbean", "Edward Scissorhands", "Blade", "Wolverine" and "300", all very well crafted and highly detailed.
In 1971, Mego began licensing and making Marvel and DC comic book superhero action figures which had highly successful sales and are considered highly collectible by many adults today. And in 2009, Mattel launched the '70s Mego style 8-inch cloth-type "Retro-Action: DC Super Heroes" line with Green Arrow on December 15 (see my REVIEW here) followed by subsequent waves of four figure per wave. Up till now, Wave 4 has been released.
In the picture below are more Hot Toys MMS 1:6 scale action figures from "The Terminator" movie franchise - T-800s and T-1000s, and John Connor from "Terminator: Salvation". Frank Castle with Ray Stevenson's likeness as seen in "Punisher: War Zone" stands among them.
More Hot Toys MMS 1:6 scale action figures including Sarah Connor (she's a female figure but she ain't no doll!) and Kyle Reese (Michael Beihn) plus Medicom Toys Rocketeer version 2.0
And here are Hot Toys MMS Iron Man 1:6 scale 12-inch action figures from the "Iron Man"films including a very sizzling HOT Scarlett Johansson Black Widow female figure!
Hot Toys also released the MMS Iron Man Mark I armor, Mark II (which I didn't pick up), Mark III, Mark IV and War Machine, not forgetting 1:6 scale Robert Downey Jr Tony Stark headsculpt.
Besides movie-related action figures by Hot Toys, Japanese company Medicom Toy released quite a lot of anime / manga-related action figures as well. In the picture below, there's Raiden from the Metal Gear series, and Major Motoko Kusanagi from the Ghost in the Shell anime series.
Not to be outdone, Hot Toys released the 1:6 scale versions of Deunan Knute and Briareos from "Appleseed", based on the Appleseed manga created by Masamune Shirow.
Hot Toys also released 1:6 action figures from the "Resident Evil 4" video game (aka "Biohazard 4"). Among them were a 12-inch R.P.D. version Leon S. Kennedy action figure as well as a Regular version Jack Krauser action figure.
Besides Japanese anime and manga action figures, Medicom Toy also released tokusatsu (live action films with special effects) action figures such as the Kamen Riders (Masked Riders) and Ultraman.
Besides 12-inch tall action figures, smaller action figures also gained popularity. The widespread success of Kenner's Star Wars 3-3/4" toy line in 1978 made the newer, smaller size the industry standard. Instead of a single character with outfits that changed for different applications, toy lines included teams of characters with special functions. Led by Star Wars-themed sales, collectible action figures quickly became a multi-million dollar secondary business for movie studios.
Other manga inspired characters that were made into action figures include G-Force figures from Battle of the Planets (known as Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman in Japan), Seven Star Fighting God Guyferd and his brother Deathferd.
There's even Kyoka Gai Kokaku Zero from Apocalypse Zero by Medicom as well as a Bathing Ape Agent Nigo action figure. Let's not forget Astro Boy with light-up eyes, chest and boots by Hot Toys.
Medicom Toy also released the Real Action Heroes (RAH) Metal Gear Solid 3 Naked Snake (Cold War version) action figure and Captain Harlock (version 2.0) from Galaxy Express 999
There's also the Medicom "Mad Capsule Markets" Black Cybone and White Crusher 12-inch action figures, plus Marvel comic's Wolverine and Hugh Jackman Wolverine from the X-Men films.
"Avengers Assemble!" The famous battle cry of the Avengers, Marvel Comics' premiere team of superheroes, much like DC's Justice League. Most of these 9-inch action figures are from the Toy Biz "Famous Cover" series which took the vintage Mego style design to a new age (pre-millennium).
There were quite a number of the Marvel super heroes released and they make quite the team and quite a display. This display shelf with all the "Famous Cover" action figures plus a few others is one of my favorites. All these figures were done with quite nice detailing and they only cost about the same price as a Star Wars 3-3/4" figure which was quite good. And even better when they were on sale.
Some new additions include Captain America by Hasbro which I really like. I cannot wait for the Hot Toys Captain America figure to come out when the movie is released!
Here you can see the Hasbro "Spider-Man Origins Signature Series" Wolverine standing next to the ToyBiz Wolverine with removable mask, among all the X-Men figures
What about dolls? Dolls are for traditionally seen as a girl's toy, although they are also collected by adults (usually of the fairer sex and then some). Dolls have been around since the dawn of human civilization, and have been fashioned from a vast array of materials, ranging from stone, clay, wood, bone, cloth and paper, to porcelain, china, rubber and plastic.
Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy-company Mattel, Inc. and launched in March 1959. I broke my own code when I bought the Barbie Wonder Woman 1999 Collector's Edition figure. I told myself I wouldn't buy any Barbie dolls but Wonder Woman can be classified as a female ACTION figure since she is (1) a super hero character and (2) she's Wonder Woman! That's more action than fashion which is what dolls are about. Click HERE to see pictures.
Two more Barbie figures added were Batgirl and Catwoman. All three fall under the Superhero category and IMO are FEMALE Action Figures and NOT dolls since they are wearing costumes and not fashion haha
Some of the other female action figures I've collected other than the Hot Toys female figures can be seen in the picture below
When it comes to Star Wars 12-inch action figures, one cannot neglect Princess Leia. This is the Sideshow Collectibles 1:6 scale Princess Leia female action figure.
And there is also the Kenner 1999 Portrait Edition Princess Leia in Ceremonial Gown female action figure as seen at the end of the first Star Wars film ever released (later retitled as "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope")
As Woody puts it to Buzz,"YOU! ARE! A! TOYYYYY! You're an action figure!" and I collect Action Figures :) So the question is: Is there a Buzz Lightyear somewhere? You betcha ;p