Action figure

Action figure

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Action figure'
Start a new discussion about 'Action figure'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
An action figure is a posable character figurine
Figurine
A figurine is a statuette that represents a human, deity or animal. Figurines may be realistic or iconic, depending on the skill and intention of the creator. The earliest were made of stone or clay...

, made of plastic
Plastic
A plastic material is any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic solids used in the manufacture of industrial products. Plastics are typically polymers of high molecular mass, and may contain other substances to improve performance and/or reduce production costs...

 or other materials, and often based upon characters from a film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

, comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

, video game, or television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

. These action figures are usually marketed towards boys and male collectors. Redressable action figures are sometimes called action doll
Doll
A doll is a model of a human being, often used as a toy for children. Dolls have traditionally been used in magic and religious rituals throughout the world, and traditional dolls made of materials like clay and wood are found in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe. The earliest documented dolls...

s
to distinguish them from those with all or most of the clothes molded on.

It is argued that action figures are particularly popular with boys because they represent traditional masculine traits and are closely associated with the public sphere. While most commonly marketed as a children's toy
Toy
A toy is any object that can be used for play. Toys are associated commonly with children and pets. Playing with toys is often thought to be an enjoyable means of training the young for life in human society. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable and cuddly to both young and old...

, the action figure has gained wide acceptance as an adult collector item
Collecting
The hobby of collecting includes seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector. Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world...

. In such a case, the item may be produced and designed on the assumption it will be bought solely for display.

1960s-1970s


The term "action figure" was first coined by Hasbro
Hasbro
Hasbro is a multinational toy and boardgame company from the United States of America. It is one of the largest toy makers in the world. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States...

 in 1964, to market their G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe is a line of action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro. The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action Soldier , Action Sailor , Action Pilot , Action Marine and later on, the Action Nurse...

 figure to boys who wouldn't play with dolls. G.I. Joe was initially a military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

-themed 11.5-inch figure proposed by marketing and toy idea-man Stan Weston. 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.

These different licensees had a combination of uniforms and accessories that were usually identical to the ones manufactured for the US market by Hasbro, along with some sets that were unique to the local market.

The Japanese had at least two examples where a Hasbro licensee also issued sublicenses for related products. For example, Palitoy
Palitoy
Palitoy was the name of a British toy company.It manufactured some of the most popular toys in Britain, some original items and others under licence...

 (in the UK) issued a sublicense to Tsukuda, a company in Japan, to manufacture and sell Palitoy's Action Man
Action Man
Action Man is an action figure boys' toy launched in Britain in 1966 by Palitoy as a licensed copy of Hasbro's American "moveable fighting man": G.I...

 accessories in the Japanese market. Takara
Takara
Takara Co., Ltd. was a Japanese toy company founded in 1955, that merged with another prominent Japanese toy company, Tomy Co., Ltd., on March 1, 2006 to form Takara Tomy, also known in English as TOMY Company Ltd....

 also issued a sublicense to Medicom for the manufacture of action figures.

Takara, still under license by Hasbro to make and sell G.I. Joe toys in Japan, also manufactured an action figure incorporating the licensed GI Joe torso for Henshin Cyborg-1, using transparent plastic revealing cyborg innards, and a chrome head and cyborg feet. During the oil supply crisis of the 1970s, like many other manufacturers of action figures, Takara was struggling with the costs associated with making the large 11 ½ inch figures, So, a smaller version of the cyborg toy was developed, standing at 3-3/4 inches high, and was first sold in 1974 as Microman
Microman
is a line of toys manufactured by Takara from 1974 to the present. Microman toys were originally imported to the United States by Mego Corporation as Micronauts until the company went bankrupt in 1982...

. The Microman line was also novel in its use of interchangeable parts. This laid the foundation for both the smaller action figure size and the transforming robot toy. Takara began producing characters in the Microman line with increasingly robotic features, including Robotman, a 12" robot with room for a Microman pilot, and Mini-Robotman, a 3-3/4" version of Robotman. These toys also featured interchangeable parts, with emphasis placed on the transformation and combination of the characters.

In 1971, Mego
Mego Corporation
The Mego Corporation was a toy company that dominated the action figure toy market during most of the 1970s. The Mego Corporation was founded in the early 1950s by David Abrams and was mostly known prior to 1971 as a producer of dime store toys.-Golden age:...

 began licensing and making American Marvel
Marvel Comics
Marvel Worldwide, Inc., commonly referred to as Marvel Comics and formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, is an American company that publishes comic books and related media...

 and DC
DC Comics
DC Comics, Inc. is one of the largest and most successful companies operating in the market for American comic books and related media. It is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment a company of Warner Bros. Entertainment, which itself is owned by Time Warner...

 comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 superhero figures, which had highly successful sales and are considered highly collectible by many adults today. They eventually brought the Microman toy line to the United States as the Micronauts
Micronauts
The Micronauts comic books feature a group of characters based on the Micronauts toyline. The title was published by Marvel Comics, Image Comics, and Devil's Due Publishing. Their first comic appearance was in Micronauts #1 with characterizations created by Bill Mantlo and Michael Golden...

, but Mego eventually lost control of the market after losing the license to produce Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

 toys in 1976. The license was lost, not because Mego didn't realize the franchise potential, but because the people who could sign the license were out of town. The Star Wars people then visited another company located in the same building (200 5th Ave. NY, NY). The company was Kenner. The widespread success of Kenner
Kenner
Kenner Products was a toy company founded in 1947 by three brothers, Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, and was named after the street where the original corporate offices were located, which is just north of Cincinnati's Union Terminal.Kenner introduced its...

's Star Wars 3-3/4" toy line 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.

1980s-1990s


The 1980s spawned all sorts of popular action figure lines, many based on cartoon series', which were one of the largest marketing tools for toy companies. Some of the most successful to come about were Masters of the Universe
Masters of the Universe
Masters of the Universe is a media franchise created by Mattel....

, G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe is a line of action figures produced by the toy company Hasbro. The initial product offering represented four of the branches of the U.S. armed forces with the Action Soldier , Action Sailor , Action Pilot , Action Marine and later on, the Action Nurse...

, Thundercats
ThunderCats
ThunderCats is an American animated television series that was produced by Rankin/Bass Productions debuting in 1984, based on the characters created by Tobin "Ted" Wolf. The series follows the adventures of a group of cat-like humanoid aliens...

, and Super Powers Collection
Super Powers Collection
The Super Powers Collection was a line of action figures based on DC Comics superheroes and supervillains that was created by Kenner Products in the 1980s.-History of the Line:...

, to name just a few. Early in the decade, the burgeoning popularity of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese robot anime
Anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 such as Gundam
Gundam
The is a metaseries of anime created by Sunrise studios that features giant robots called "Mobile Suits" ; usually the protagonist's MS will carry the name Gundam....

also encouraged Takara
Takara
Takara Co., Ltd. was a Japanese toy company founded in 1955, that merged with another prominent Japanese toy company, Tomy Co., Ltd., on March 1, 2006 to form Takara Tomy, also known in English as TOMY Company Ltd....

 to reinvent the Microman
Microman
is a line of toys manufactured by Takara from 1974 to the present. Microman toys were originally imported to the United States by Mego Corporation as Micronauts until the company went bankrupt in 1982...

 line as the Micro Robots, moving from the cyborg
Cyborg
A cyborg is a being with both biological and artificial parts. The term was coined in 1960 when Manfred Clynes and Nathan S. Kline used it in an article about the advantages of self-regulating human-machine systems in outer space. D. S...

 action figure concept to the concept of the living robot. This led to the Micro Change
Micro Change
Takara Toys' 1982 Micro Change series of toys were part of the 1980 New Microman toy line and were small household objects that could transform into vehicles or artificially intelligent robot characters that fought alongside their 10-centimeter tall alien cyborg Microman creators against the evil...

 line of toys: objects that could "transform" into robots. In 1984, Hasbro
Hasbro
Hasbro is a multinational toy and boardgame company from the United States of America. It is one of the largest toy makers in the world. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States...

 licensed Micro Change and another Takara
Takara
Takara Co., Ltd. was a Japanese toy company founded in 1955, that merged with another prominent Japanese toy company, Tomy Co., Ltd., on March 1, 2006 to form Takara Tomy, also known in English as TOMY Company Ltd....

 line, the Diaclone
Diaclone
Diaclone was a toyline by Takara Toys launched in 1980. It consisted of transforming vehicles and robots piloted by miniature, magnet-shoed figures spun off from the prior Microman toy line that were in turn called an Inch-Man....

 transforming cars, and combined them in the US as the Transformers
Transformers (toy line)
The is a line of toys produced by the American toy company Hasbro. The Transformers toyline was created from toy molds mostly produced by Japanese company Takara in the toylines Diaclone and Microman. Other toy molds from other companies such as Bandai were used as well...

, spawning a still-continuing family of animated cartoons.

As the '80s were ending, more and more collectors started to surface, buying up the toys to keep in their original packaging for display purposes and for future collectability. This led to flooding of the action figure toy market. One of the most popular action figure lines of the late '80s and early '90s
1990s
File:1990s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: The Hubble Space Telescope floats in space after it was taken up in 1990; American F-16s and F-15s fly over burning oil fields and the USA Lexie in Operation Desert Storm, also known as the 1991 Gulf War; The signing of the Oslo Accords on...

, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures were produced in such high quantities that the value for most figures would never be higher than a few dollars. In the mid 1990s, a new Star Wars figure line had surfaced and Spawn
Spawn (comics)
Spawn is a fictional comic book superhero who appears in a monthly comic book of the same name published by Image Comics. Created by writer/artist Todd McFarlane, Spawn first appeared in Spawn #1...

 figures flooded the toy store shelves, proving action figures were not just for kids anymore. Beginning in 1997, ToyFare
ToyFare
ToyFare was a monthly comedy and collecting magazine published by Wizard Entertainment that focused on collectible action figures, busts, statues, and maquettes. It previewed new and upcoming lines and figures each month, as well as providing a price guide for toy lines, new and old...

magazine would become a popular read for mature collectors in providing news and embracing nostalgia
Nostalgia
The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form.The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of , meaning "returning home", a Homeric word, and , meaning "pain, ache"...

 with a comedic twist. And with the gaining popularity of the Internet, websites such as Toy News International would soon offer information on upcoming collectible figures and merchandise.

It was during this time that popular characters were increasingly getting specialized costume and variant figures. Batman
Batman
Batman is a fictional character created by the artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. A comic book superhero, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 , and since then has appeared primarily in publications by DC Comics...

 quickly became most notorious for this (i.e. Arctic Batman, Piranha Blade Batman, Neon Armor Batman). Rather than individual characters, these variants would make up the bulk of many action figure lines and often make use of the old figure and accessory molds. Glow-in-the-dark figures and accessories also became popular in the early '90s with lines like Toxic Crusaders
Toxic Crusaders
Toxic Crusaders is an animated series based on The Toxic Avenger films. It features Toxie, the lead character of the films leading a trio of misfit superheroes who combat pollution. This followed a trend of environmentally considerate cartoons of the time, including Captain Planet and the...

 and Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing, a fictional character, is a plant elemental in the created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson. He first appeared in House of Secrets #92 in a stand-alone horror story set in the early 20th century . The Swamp Thing then returned in his own series, set in the contemporary world and in...

.

A 1999 study found that "the figures have grown much more muscular over time, with many contemporary figures far exceeding the muscularity of even the largest human bodybuilders" and that the changing cultural expectations reflected by those changes may contribute to body image disorders in both sexes.

2000s



Today, the adult collector market for action figures is expanding with companies like McFarlane Toys
McFarlane Toys
McFarlane Toys, a subsidiary of Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc., is a company started by Todd McFarlane that makes highly detailed models of characters from movies, comics, musicians, video games, and sport figures...

, Palisades
Palisades Toys
Palisades Entertainment, LLC, better known as Palisades Toys, was a manufacturing and distributing toy & collectibles company geared toward the adult collector market...

, and NECA
National Entertainment Collectibles Association
The National Entertainment Collectibles Association or NECA is an American manufacturer of collectibles typically licensed from films, video-games, sports, music, and television based in New Jersey...

. Said companies have given numerous movie characters, musicians, and athletes their very first highly detailed figures. These are commonly intended as statuesque display pieces rather than toys; however, child-oriented lines such as the Masters of the Universe revival
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002)
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an American animated television series. Developed for television by Michael Halperin, who created the original series, it was animated by Mike Young Productions...

 and Justice League Unlimited
Justice League Unlimited
Justice League Unlimited is an American animated television series that was produced by Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Cartoon Network. Featuring a wide array of superheroes from the DC Comics universe, and specifically based on the Justice League superhero team, it is a direct sequel to the...

 still evoke adult collector followings as well. Comic book firms are also able to get figures of their characters produced, regardless of whether or not they appeared in movies or animated cartoons. Examples of companies that produce comic figures and merchandise almost exclusively include Toy Biz and DC Direct
DC Direct
DC Direct is the collectibles division of DC Comics, the Time Warner subsidiary that publishes comic books and licenses characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Batman, Batgirl and Hawkgirl. DC Direct produces statues, props, replicas and prints for the direct market, a...

.

Adult-oriented figure lines are often exclusive to specific chain stores rather than mass retail. Popular lines often have figures available exclusively through mail-in
Mail order
Mail order is a term which describes the buying of goods or services by mail delivery. The buyer places an order for the desired products with the merchant through some remote method such as through a telephone call or web site. Then, the products are delivered to the customer...

 offers and comic conventions
Fan convention
A fan convention, or con , is an event in which fans of a particular film, television series, comic book, actor, or an entire genre of entertainment such as science fiction or anime and manga, gather to participate and hold programs and other events, and to meet experts, famous personalities, and...

, which raises their value significantly. Ploys such as packaging "errors" and "short-packed" figures have also been used by toy companies to increase collector interest.

Raw materials


Modelling clay
Modelling clay
You can use modelling clay to create items with it. The material compositions and production processes vary considerably. -Ceramic clay:...

 and various sculpting tools are used to create the prototype. The actual figure is molded from a plastic resin, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a common thermoplastic. Its melting point is approximately 105 °C ....

 (ABS). This is a harder plastic used to form the main body. Softer plastics and nylon
Nylon
Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

, may be used for costume components including body suits, capes, and face masks. As a final decoration, acrylic paints of various colors may be used to decorate the figure. In addition, more elaborate toys may contain miniature electronic components that provide light and sound effects.

Design


Once the character has been selected, the actual design process begins with sketches of the proposed figure. The next step is the creation of a clay prototype. This model is made by bending aluminum wires to form the backbone of the figure, known as an armature. The wire form includes the outline of the arms and legs posed in the general stance that the figure will assume. The sculptor then adds clay to the armature to give the basic weight and shape that is desired. The clay may be baked slightly during the prototyping process to harden it. Then, the sculptor uses various tools, such as a wire loop, to carve the clay and shape details on the figure.

After creating the basic form, the sculptor may choose to remove the arms and work on them separately for later attachment. This gives the sculptor more control and allows him to produce finer details on the prototype. Working with blunt tools, the sculptor shapes the body with as much detail as is desired. During this process, photo and sketch references are used to ensure the figure is as realistic as possible. Some sculptors may even use human models to guide their design work.

After the general body shape is complete, the sculptor adds the finer details, paying close attention to the eyes, nose, and mouth that give the figure its life-like expression. The designer may attach a rough lump of clay on the main figure as a temporary head while the real head is sculpted on a separate armature. This allows the sculptor to finish the figure's facial expressions independently of the body. At this point, the finished head can be attached to the main armature and joined to the body with additional clay. Once the head is attached, the neck and hair are sculpted to properly fit to the figure. Then, depending on the design of the figure, the costume may be sculpted directly onto the body. However, if a cloth costume or uniform will be added later, the prototype is sculpted without any costume details. During this process, parts of the clay may be covered with aluminum foil to keep it from prematurely drying out. Once everything is completed, the entire figure is baked to harden the clay.

The sculpted prototype is then sent for approval to the manufacturer. Once all design details have been finalized, the prototype is used to make the molds that will form the plastic pieces for the mass-produced figure. The entire sculpting process may take about two weeks, depending on the skill and speed of the sculptor. This process may be repeated several times if revisions must be made to the figure. Several months are typically allowed for this design phase.

Articulation


A common feature among action figures is body articulation, often referred to as points of articulation (POA) or joints. The most basic forms of articulation include one neck joint, two shoulder joints, and two hip joints. Beyond these, rotating wrists, bending knees, and a swiveling waist are also common. Various terms have come into practice such as a "cut" joint, frequently used to allow a basic head rotation at the neck or arm rotation at the shoulder. The "T" joint at a figure's hips commonly allows up to 180° of front-to-back leg rotation; although, this may vary. Ball joints often allow more liberal movement than a cut, such as the figure's head being able to tilt in addition to a cut's strict vertical rotation. Basic knee articulation often relies on what is considered a pin joint.

The amount and style of figure articulation used by toy designers have varied over the years. Two of the most popular figure lines of the 1980s, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero is a military-themed line of action figures and toys in Hasbro's G.I. Joe franchise. The toyline lasted from 1982 to 1994, producing well over 500 figures and 250 vehicles and playsets. The line reappeared in 1997 and has continued in one form or another to the...

 and Masters of the Universe
Masters of the Universe
Masters of the Universe is a media franchise created by Mattel....

, contrasted one another greatly in articulation; the former included several points in their small, 3¾" scale while the bulkier latter remained minimal. Both, however, used methods involving rubber cords at the hips that are little used today. In the 2000s, Toy Biz's popular Marvel Legends
Marvel Legends
Marvel Legends is an action figure line based on the characters of Marvel Comics, initially produced by Toy Biz, then by Hasbro. This line is in the scale, with spin-off lines in the , , and scale.-History:...

 line became known for its high rate of articulation, even boasting points at the abdomen, toes, and fingers.

Accessories


While not all action figures include accessories, the additional items often prove essential to characters and their effectiveness as interactive toys. Typical 3¾" scale G.I. Joe figures include several intricately sculpted guns or hand weapons that can be fastened inside the figures' hands. Missile launchers are also commonplace in military and comic book figure lines and usually involve a spring-loaded mechanism. However, possibly due to safety concerns, this method saw a decline in the mid 1990s. Some figures, particularly of The Joker
Joker (comics)
The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Batman, having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin...

, have incorporated water-squirting weapons.

More recently, Marvel Legends has popularized the "build-a-figure" concept. Each figure of a particular series includes a body part to a larger-scaled figure. This encourages the consumer to purchase every figure of the given series, in order to complete the larger figure. The concept has spread into Mattel's DC Universe Classics
DC Universe Classics
DC Universe Classics is an action figure toyline, a sub-line of the DC Universe toy brand manufactured by Mattel. These are 6-inch scale figures based on characters owned by DC Comics...

. Figures intended to appeal to the collector market commonly include a display base and/or pack-in comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

. In such cases accessories may be designed more for display than play.

Types of packaging


Manufacturers have packaged their action figures in different ways throughout
the years. Below is a list of different ways that action figures are packaged:

Window Box packaging Window box packages consist of a sturdy, but somewhat thin cardboard box that allows for easy stacking. The box has colorful artwork to draw one’s attention. The front of the box will have an area of the cardboard that is cut out and a thin piece of soft plastic then fills the cutout area. This ensures easy visibility of the action figure inside of the box. This type of packaging was used by companies such as Mego Corporation
Mego Corporation
The Mego Corporation was a toy company that dominated the action figure toy market during most of the 1970s. The Mego Corporation was founded in the early 1950s by David Abrams and was mostly known prior to 1971 as a producer of dime store toys.-Golden age:...

 in the early 1970s until they switched to the Carded Bubble style of packaging in the mid to late 1970s. Window Box packaging is still used today, often for figures that measure 10" or taller in height.

Carded Bubble packaging Action figures are commonly packaged in a Carded Bubble type of packaging. This type of packaging consists of a sturdy piece of thin cardboard backing known as a "Card." The card is decorated with colorful artwork to draw consumer attention. The action figure is then placed on the card and a bubble made of clear plastic is then laid over the top of the action figure and glued to the card or attached in some other fashion. The figure is then clearly visible to consumers. Often the bubble will have several small, fitted compartments
to hold the figure and its various accessories in place. The most famous example of this type of packaging is probably Kenner
Kenner
Kenner Products was a toy company founded in 1947 by three brothers, Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, and was named after the street where the original corporate offices were located, which is just north of Cincinnati's Union Terminal.Kenner introduced its...

 and Hasbro
Hasbro
Hasbro is a multinational toy and boardgame company from the United States of America. It is one of the largest toy makers in the world. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States...

's packaging of Star Wars action figures from 1977 to today.

PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 packaging
A more recent type of packaging that is common as of the 2000s decade is PVC packaging. With this type of packaging, the cardboard card is replaced by a clear PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 plastic backing. The front of the package is a different piece of PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 plastic that is molded to include a bubble that will house the action figure and all of its accessories. Any colorful artwork designed to help draw attention to the package will be printed on a thin piece of paper that is placed between these two pieces of PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

, or will be affixed in sticker form to the front piece of PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

. This type of packaging is popular today and can be seen being used by McFarlane Toys
McFarlane Toys
McFarlane Toys, a subsidiary of Todd McFarlane Productions, Inc., is a company started by Todd McFarlane that makes highly detailed models of characters from movies, comics, musicians, video games, and sport figures...

 for their Movie Maniacs
Movie Maniacs
Movie Maniacs is the thirteenth short subject film starring American slapstick comedy trio the Three Stooges. The trio made a total of 190 shorts for Columbia Pictures between 1934 and 1959.-Plot:...

 line of action figures beginning with Series V. Other companies that utilize this type of packaging are NECA/Reel Toys (National Entertainment Collectibles Association
National Entertainment Collectibles Association
The National Entertainment Collectibles Association or NECA is an American manufacturer of collectibles typically licensed from films, video-games, sports, music, and television based in New Jersey...

) with their Cult Classics and Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean is a multi-billion dollar Walt Disney franchise encompassing a series of films, a theme park ride, and spinoff novels as well as numerous video games and other publications. The franchise originates with the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, which opened at Disneyland in...

 line of figures, and Toy Biz with its Marvel Legends
Marvel Legends
Marvel Legends is an action figure line based on the characters of Marvel Comics, initially produced by Toy Biz, then by Hasbro. This line is in the scale, with spin-off lines in the , , and scale.-History:...

 action figures, which included a comic book placed between the two PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 segments.

Tube packaging Another recent type of PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 packaging that is being used is a tube-
shaped piece of PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 plastic that will surround the action figure. The tube may be
cylindrical in shape, or more oval in shape. Artwork on the package are often in
sticker form that is affixed to the outside of the PVC
PVC
Polyvinyl chloride is a plastic.PVC may also refer to:*Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military honor*Peripheral venous catheter, a small, flexible tube placed into a peripheral vein in order to administer medication or fluids...

 tube. This type of packaging can be seen used by Hasbro
Hasbro
Hasbro is a multinational toy and boardgame company from the United States of America. It is one of the largest toy makers in the world. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, United States...

 for their Star Wars
Star Wars
Star Wars is an American epic space opera film series created by George Lucas. The first film in the series was originally released on May 25, 1977, under the title Star Wars, by 20th Century Fox, and became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, followed by two sequels, released at three-year...

 Galactic Heroes line of figures.

Action features


Figures of the original Masters of the Universe line included many unique "action features": Battle Armor He-Man and Skeletor
Skeletor
Skeletor is a featured villain in the Masters of the Universe franchise and the arch-enemy and main antagonist of He-Man. Depicted as a muscular blue humanoid with a purple hood over his yellowing bare-bone skull, Skeletor seeks to conquer Castle Grayskull so he can learn its ancient secrets,...

 had rotating chest plates to represent varying degrees of damage; Leech featured suction cup
Suction cup
A suction cup, also sometimes known as a sucker is an object that uses negative fluid pressure of air or water to adhere to nonporous surfaces. They exist both as artificially created devices, and as anatomical traits of some animals such as octopi and squid.The working face of the suction cup has...

 limbs; Mantenna's eyes would pop out using a lever on his back; and Thunder Punch He-Man
He-Man
He-Man is a fictional heroic character featured in the Masters of the Universe media franchise. In most variations, he is the alter ego of Prince Adam...

 would thrust a punch and emit a loud bang from the ring cap
Cap gun
A cap gun is a toy gun that creates a loud sound simulating a gunshot and a puff of smoke when the trigger is pulled. Cap guns were originally made of cast iron, but after World War II were made of zinc alloy, and most newer models are made of plastic....

 in his backpack. Other features emphasized aesthetic rather than action, such as the flocked
Flocking (texture)
Flocking is the process of depositing many small fiber particles onto a surface. It can also refer to the texture produced by the process, or to any material used primarily for its flocked surface. Flocking of an article can be performed for the purpose of increasing its value in terms of the...

 bodies of Grizzlor and Moss Man as well as the unique scents of the latter and Stinkor.

The success of the many Transformers
Transformers (toy line)
The is a line of toys produced by the American toy company Hasbro. The Transformers toyline was created from toy molds mostly produced by Japanese company Takara in the toylines Diaclone and Microman. Other toy molds from other companies such as Bandai were used as well...

 lines has relied heavily on their signature feature of shifting from vehicle to robot. The popularity of this carried into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (action figures)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures are toys based on the franchise of the same name and have been produced by the company Playmates Toys since 1988...

' Mutatin' series among others.

In 1987, Mattel
Mattel
Mattel, Inc. is the world's largest toy company based on revenue. The products it produces include Fisher Price, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe, American Girl dolls, board games, and, in the early 1980s, video game consoles. The company's name is derived from...

 introduced figures for the television series Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future is a 1987–88 science fiction/action television series, merging live action with animation based on computer-generated images, that ran for 22 episodes in Canadian/American syndication...

. The line boasted an interactive game
Interactive television
Interactive television describes a number of techniques that allow viewers to interact with television content as they view it.- Definitions :...

 where children could shoot at the TV screen. However, while an ambitious concept, it was not a long term success.

Glow-in-the-dark paint
Phosphorescence
Phosphorescence is a specific type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs. The slower time scales of the re-emission are associated with "forbidden" energy state transitions in quantum...

 and plastic have been utilized in various figure collections, particularly those of the early '90s including Ninja Turtles, Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing
Swamp Thing, a fictional character, is a plant elemental in the created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson. He first appeared in House of Secrets #92 in a stand-alone horror story set in the early 20th century . The Swamp Thing then returned in his own series, set in the contemporary world and in...

, and Toxic Crusaders
Toxic Crusaders
Toxic Crusaders is an animated series based on The Toxic Avenger films. It features Toxie, the lead character of the films leading a trio of misfit superheroes who combat pollution. This followed a trend of environmentally considerate cartoons of the time, including Captain Planet and the...

. Similarly, a color-changing feature has been demonstrated on some figures throughout the years. This concept involves dipping the character's head into cold water and revealing a temperature-sensitive
Thermochromism
Thermochromism is the ability of substance to change color due to a change in temperature. A mood ring is an excellent example of this, but it has many other uses such as baby bottles and kettles. Thermochromism is one of several types of chromism.The two basic approaches are based on liquid...

 paint. Examples include Kenner's Sky Escape Joker
Joker (comics)
The Joker is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain published by DC Comics. He is the archenemy of Batman, having been directly responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life, including the paralysis of Barbara Gordon and the death of Jason Todd, the second Robin...

 and Camouflage Swamp Thing, as well as Hasbro's Desert-Camo Sgt. Savage.

The majority of figures in Kenner
Kenner
Kenner Products was a toy company founded in 1947 by three brothers, Albert, Phillip, and Joseph L. Steiner, in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, and was named after the street where the original corporate offices were located, which is just north of Cincinnati's Union Terminal.Kenner introduced its...

's Super Powers Collection
Super Powers Collection
The Super Powers Collection was a line of action figures based on DC Comics superheroes and supervillains that was created by Kenner Products in the 1980s.-History of the Line:...

 toted a punching action upon the squeezing together of their legs. In a more technically advanced method, the Ninja Turtles' Wacky Action series involved a wind-up gear that caused the motorized performance
Wind-up toy
A wind-up toy is a toy powered by a clockwork motor.-History:Wind-up toys date far back into history, into the 15th century. Karel Grod, a German inventor, created some of the first wind-up toys, including a metal fly and a mechanical eagle. Also, in 1509, Leonardo da Vinci created a wind-up lion...

 of certain actions like swimming legs or a rotating wrist. Two years prior also saw the release of Tyco
Tyco Toys
Tyco Toys is an American toy manufacturer. Since 1997 it has been a division of the Mattel toy company.-History:Mantua Metal Products was a Woodbury Heights, New Jersey, metalworks business founded in 1926 by John Tyler and family...

's Dino-Riders
Dino-Riders
Dino-Riders is a cartoon television series that first aired in 1988. Dino-Riders was primarily a promotion to launch a new Tyco toy line. Only fourteen episodes were produced, three of which were produced on VHS for the United States. It aired in the U.S...

, which featured battery powered, motorized dinosaurs.

See also

  • Toy Biz v. United States
    Toy Biz v. United States
    Toy Biz v. United States  was a 2003 decision in the Court of International Trade that determined that for purposes of tariffs, Toy Biz's action figures were toys, not dolls, because they represented "nonhuman creatures." This decision effectively reduced the tariff rate by a factor of...

    , which decided that action figures of certain superhero
    Superhero
    A superhero is a type of stock character, possessing "extraordinary or superhuman powers", dedicated to protecting the public. Since the debut of the prototypical superhero Superman in 1938, stories of superheroes — ranging from brief episodic adventures to continuing years-long sagas —...

    es are legally toy
    Toy
    A toy is any object that can be used for play. Toys are associated commonly with children and pets. Playing with toys is often thought to be an enjoyable means of training the young for life in human society. Different materials are used to make toys enjoyable and cuddly to both young and old...

    s, not dolls.