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Custom action figure collecting

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Custom action figure collecting is a fun hobby for all ages

Custom action figure collecting is a fun hobby for all ages

From Barbie and G.I. Joe to the X-Men and Han Solo, it feels like kids and many adults have always collected action figures. A trip through a toy store or action figure web site would lead you to believe that every character, celebrity and public figure has an action figure, yet there’s a growing interest in custom action figure collecting, which involves modifying, painting and reconfiguring figures to give them new customized identities.

Generally speaking, action figures are plastic toy figures that can be posed using moving parts. These moving parts should include but not be limited to heads, arms and legs. Action figures can have removable accessories like weapons or clothing and measure from 3 to 11 inches tall. Smaller figures that don’t move, like the classic green plastic army men, are called figurines. Larger figures are called dolls. All are collectible and all can be customized in some manner.

A number of figure suppliers offer customizing for their products. Customized figures make great personal gifts and businesses often use them as promotional items. The popularity of bobblehead figures of professional sports players has made customized bobbleheads fun to create and collect. It’s easy to swap the heads and figures are fun to repaint. If you order them customized, everything from head to toe can be modified, including clothing, hair color, skin tone and even the expression.

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Most people customize action figures because the figure for the character or famous person they have in mind doesn’t exist. It’s always fun and impressive to be the first in your group with a new action figure and it’s even more impressive when the major toy companies haven’t made their own yet. All it takes to get started is some old action figures that you don’t mind taking apart. While body parts are available, the best way to learn customization is by taking figures apart yourself to see how the appendages move. Once you understand this, you can see what figures need to be disassembled to provide the right shaped pieces for your new figure.

The tools needed for customization can be found at a good hobby store and include sharp knives, sandpaper, glue, tweezers, paint, brushes and cleaners. A good way to start is simply to repaint faces or clothing colors on figures. Once you become more experienced at customizing, you may want to experiment with molding clay or even molding plastics in order to create completely new body parts and accessories.

Once you’re created a customized action figure, there are Internet sites and action figure magazines that will publish pictures and often host competitions. Local action figure collectors clubs and shows are also good places to display your unique collectibles. These are great venues for meeting other customizers and determining the value of your creations. They’re also the place to pick up old figures to use for future figures and get ideas for your next projects.

Whether you create your own or enjoy those made by others, collecting customized action figures is a unique and fun hobby for kids of all ages.


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