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View Full Version : If Star Wars figures were ALL 12"



stillakid
08-13-2007, 10:02 PM
Some of us remember way back when the only action figures were the size of your forearm. GI Joe, Batman, Bullet Man, Spiderman, the Six-Million Dollar Man... all and more were what many of us had to play with in the large 12" size before Star Wars and the now standard 3 3/4" size came into existence.

The new smaller size has certainly made playing physically easier to do not to mention collecting. Which leads to the question: Many of us now have hundreds, if not thousands, of Star Wars action figures as well as the accessory toys and playsets. But had Kenner not reinvented the standard size and kept action figures ALL at the 12" scale, how many of us would have continued collecting with the fervor and commitment we have for all these years?

For me, I know that I found it difficult to play with my large scale Batman figures when I was just a kid. The smaller size of the toys was a welcome change. It also allowed me to collect a virtual toystore full of plastic over the past 25 years. But there is no way that I would have accumulated so much if the scale had been kept at the large end of things.

What about you?

darko666
08-13-2007, 10:29 PM
not at all. i would buy certain figures, but never collect them all like i do with the 3 3/4"figures.

Old Fossil
08-13-2007, 10:49 PM
Agreed... even the Mego scale was probably too big, although they were more manageable for me at 6-7 years old.

Then there is the "doll" aspect of it. I know we're really talking about our adult collections here, but I think on some level I was relieved when the Kenner SW line came out, and I could abandon the larger figures which some meaner kids could call dolls, followed by other names for whoever happened to have said "dolls." Any fool knew that they weren't really dolls -- they were truly action figures. I never played "dress up" with my Six Million Dollar Man, Evel Kenievel, Kirk, Cornelius, or Mego Batman.

The Kenner line of 3 3/4" figures could in no real sense be called dolls. They were more like super cool "army men" or space "cowboys and Indians," which were all right with everybody, even those (usually dull) kids who only played with Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars.

Kidhuman
08-13-2007, 11:10 PM
I dont think I would be collecting now if they were all 12" figures. I didnt care much for them as a kid, but some do make nice display pieces. I still have a few vinatge ones and some modern ones.

figrin bran
08-13-2007, 11:44 PM
I'd probably buy only around 5 per year max and I'd keep them MIB.

bigbarada
08-14-2007, 12:04 AM
I don't think the line would have lasted that long if every figure was 12". Kenner definitely would never have made 96 12" action figures. They would have made Luke, Leia, Han, Vader, etc. because those are the primary characters; but there would have been no 12" Hammerhead or 4-LOM or Klaatu or Amanaman. The line would have had less variety and ultimately would have been less interesting.

Kenner recognized early on that in order for the Star Wars toy line to be successful, it needed to be "accessory driven." In other words, the vehicles and playsets would be the primary draw of the line and the action figure were no more than vehicle accessories.

The outer space dogfights were what really set Star Wars apart back in the early days and I believe vehicle toys like the X-Wing, TIE Fighter and Millenium Falcon are what made Star Wars into the success it is today (regardless of how flawed those toys make appear to us now, they were state of the art back in 1978).

Of course, Kenner could have made a 12" scale X-Wing, but nobody would have bought it because of the cost. So having cheap vehicles with even cheaper (under $2 in 1978) plastic figures to go with them really made the line go over well with parents. Plus the inexpensive, pocket-sized figures made it easy for kids to amass large collections, which also led to that feeling of accomplishment when they "collected them all."

I don't think Kenner really anticipated that the action figures themselves would eventually become the main draw. But you could definitely see a shift in their focus by the time ROTJ was released as the figures became more detailed and accurate and compatibility with vehicles became secondary (as evidenced by the larger figures like the Gamorrean Guard).

Tycho
08-14-2007, 08:57 AM
I buy a lot of the 12" still today (Hasbro and now SideShow). I also assemble dioramas with the 12" - sort of. But I don't think I'd seriously army build 12" Clones and Stormtroopers in the 12" scale as I do the 3 3/4" due to lack of space. The same could be said about the vehicles (for 12"). A lack of space is the biggest consideration.

So overall, I'd say that having the 3 3/4" line as it interests me is much better for Hasbro's profit margin.

And I agree with the above assessment that back in the Kenner days, the vehicles for "articulated army men" was the huge selling factor.

Bel-Cam Jos
08-14-2007, 03:19 PM
I wonder if the quality/quantity aspect of the line would have been improved by having them be larger and more detailed. Clothing for the figures might've been better, but due to size, I figure (pun always intended) there'd be less total figures produced. Take your time getting it right, rather than spitting out many lesser-quality figs to flood the shelves. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have collected the line due to higher costs: $1.99 each was easier than $10.99 (or whatever the 12" line was priced then) for my family and I. :(

Don't forget Sucker Man, Stretch Armstrong, Superman, Battlestar Galactica, and Evel Kenevil [sp?] as other 12" lines.

Blue2th
08-14-2007, 03:42 PM
When I was a kid, we had 12" GI Joes. Though not very many of them, but rather one or two, then we would get the accessories for them.
My first action figure though was a the bendable Matt Mason spaceman with spacecrawler. He was Mego sized I do believe.
I think it was smart that Kenner and Hasbro started making the 3 3/4 sized figures, because people could afford alot more of them. More vehicles could be made for them.
There is still a place in my heart for 12" figures though. I still have alot of G.I. Joes and recently alot of Sideshow Star Wars figures. I love my dolls...er action figures.

CaptainSolo1138
08-14-2007, 04:46 PM
Barbie would be walking funny.

Giggity giggity gigg-i-ty!

bigbarada
08-14-2007, 04:54 PM
I was five when the Star Wars figures first started arriving in stores back in 1978. In fact, the very first toy I was allowed to pick out for myself as a kid ended up being an Artoo figure. So, I never had a chance to really get into the 12" non-SW figures that came before that; but "action figure" and the 3 3/4" Star Wars line were permanently linked in my mind.

I do remember having a Mego Superman which I thought was cool, but the cloth was so cheaply made that his cape started to shred after just a few days. My parents were both pretty annoyed with that, so we never got another Mego figure.

jjreason
08-14-2007, 05:01 PM
I wouldn't have bothered. I never liked the 12" figures when I was younger - GI Joe or Star Wars.

Blue2th
08-14-2007, 05:26 PM
Barbie would be walking funny.

Giggity giggity gigg-i-ty!

Har har, I stepped in that one.

My G.I. Joes from that era all ended up in a box together naked with my sisters Barbies. All destined for the garage sale. Along with my Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and Matt Mason.

One of them now is probably worth more than all my re-issues put together.

pbarnard
08-14-2007, 05:47 PM
Kenner recognized early on that in order for the Star Wars toy line to be successful, it needed to be "accessory driven." In other words, the vehicles and playsets would be the primary draw of the line and the action figure were no more than vehicle accessories.


Bingo!!! I agree with this point. 12" format could probably give more immaculate detail sooner given technology limitations, but would've been very boring not having a Falcon or X-Wing to hop into. The vehicles drove the 2-3 times a year gift buying (Christmas, birthday and some other occasion that is significant to each family), but figures could be brought once a month with allowance money or as some reward. This model allowed GI Joe to thrive in the 80s. The 12" format couldn't be bought as often due to size being proportional to costs.

And as Barbie knows, once you go 12" Wookie....

mabudonicus
08-14-2007, 08:09 PM
I got that 10 (or so) inch Man-Thing fig from marvel legends just so I could say I had one without being viewed as a pervert or somethin :D

It's too bad MEGO didn't take the SW license- their Black Hole figs were LEAGUES better than Kenners original offerings- even the Buck Rogers ones were better

Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I'm totally in agreement with JJ, I had 12" Luke, 2 "Indians" from Best of the West (still got them, they're CARPY but kinda funny- the all brown rubber accessories were kinda cool too) and Pulsar- needless to say, there was not much of a "play pattern" with that group- my fave memory of the 12" Luke was selling him for 150 bones at a toy show, and second fave feature would have been the grappling hook, which instantly got incorporated into my SW/adventure-people collection.

The other feature that really made the 3 3/4 figs atractive was how easy it was to make a setup for them- the styrofoam "forms" that came with EVERYTHING back then made wicked Hoth playsets, you could build "huts" just by stickin a ton of little sticks in the ground and putting a piece of bark on top, and again, coupled with Fisher Price "adventure people" you could go almost ANYWHERES- the accessories for those things were pretty wild, scuba gear, a real working cloth parachute, swamp buggies, all sorts of stuff

And something that is in my head wanting to come out- wasn't the main reason behind the scale switch the "oil shortage/energy crisis" which basically demanded that toys in general be made smaller?? I know casting soft, rubbery plastic such as was used in SW figures is WAY cheaper and easier than true hard-styrene injection molding, and I'd imagine the lower-grade material would be a lot cheaper too

Odd idea for a thread, but interesting nontheless!
:beard: Iso & Baws

No mention of a 12" Punisher yet- maybe RB will hit that reference

bigbarada
08-14-2007, 08:39 PM
And something that is in my head wanting to come out- wasn't the main reason behind the scale switch the "oil shortage/energy crisis" which basically demanded that toys in general be made smaller?? I know casting soft, rubbery plastic such as was used in SW figures is WAY cheaper and easier than true hard-styrene injection molding, and I'd imagine the lower-grade material would be a lot cheaper too


If that was the case, then why did Kenner still try to produce a 12" line concurrently with the 3.75" line?

Not counting IG-88 and the cancelled ESB prototypes, Kenner made 11 12" figures compared to 21 3.75" figures by the end of 1979. So it seemed that Kenner was definitely interested in repeating their success in the 12" line (since they were making an average of one 12" figure for every two 3.75" figures), but I think the consumers preference for the 3.75" line with all of it's accessories determined the future of Star Wars collecting.

It's the same reason the Micro Collection didn't make it past the ESB sets, people only seemed to be interested in the standard action figure line.

However, I agree with you that being able to make a "playset" out of the box and packing materials that your dad's desklamp came in was a huge bonus to collecting the smaller plastic figures.

JediTricks
08-15-2007, 06:01 AM
As a kid I would have had the main guys, probably Luke Bespin and Jedi and X-wing, Leia ANH, Han, Chewie, R2, Vader, Ben, and maybe but not entirely sure, a pair of Stormtroopers (if there had been Luke & Han troopers, definitely because they're each 2 characters in 1). But no Lando, no 3PO, probably not even Fett. No Yoda for sure, no Luke Tatooine, no Ewoks, no Leia Hoth, no Leia General, no Han Bespin, no Han Endor, no Emperor, nothing like that.

And had the prequels come out when I was a kid, maybe Ep 1 Obi-Wan, Maul, and Grievous.

However, with the POTF2-era 12", I did buy a lot, I was selective by not buying the ones I absolutely didn't like, but there was a lot I bought even when I wasn't in love with them. Still, we're talking like 50 of the 12"ers versus 600 of the 3.75"ers.


So honestly, I think if 12" Star Wars had been the only thing back in the day, we'd have seen it take off pretty well, not hold quite as long, come back, and fade quicker each time. There wouldn't have been 96 vintage figures though, no question. More like 30 or 40. (All that is based on the idea that Kenner would have marketed the line like an action figure line instead of trying to co-market it as an action-dolly line the way they did with Luke & Leia 12" back in the day. I mean, they still would have had cloth costumes, but they'd be treated like GI Joe instead of Barbie.)



And something that is in my head wanting to come out- wasn't the main reason behind the scale switch the "oil shortage/energy crisis" which basically demanded that toys in general be made smaller?? I know casting soft, rubbery plastic such as was used in SW figures is WAY cheaper and easier than true hard-styrene injection molding, and I'd imagine the lower-grade material would be a lot cheaper tooNot really, the Japanese had already been shifting to 3.75" scale because of Microman in '74, they had run out of space with Henshin Cyborg (an offshoot of their GI Joe 12" line) and were scaling it down to do more figures, and eventually vehicles and playsets, I gather. The US toy industry had shifted to 8" with the Mego line and was likely destined for 3.75" even without Star Wars because that 1:18 scale body could sell more vehicles and accessory packs than the 12" lines which had already stalled out in the early '70s once everybody had a GI Joe and a dozen outfits and accessory packs. Plus, space was just becoming a premium in the US as well, with more and more kids growing up in apartments.

BTW, the vinyl heads of the 12" figures are not as heavily petroleum-based so the oil crisis wouldn't have affected that as much, and those vinyl heads are rotocast, aka spun-cast, not traditionally-molded. Lower-grade material would probably break down too quickly under those stresses and temperatures though.



If that was the case, then why did Kenner still try to produce a 12" line concurrently with the 3.75" line?

Not counting IG-88 and the cancelled ESB prototypes, Kenner made 11 12" figures compared to 21 3.75" figures by the end of 1979. So it seemed that Kenner was definitely interested in repeating their success in the 12" line (since they were making an average of one 12" figure for every two 3.75" figures), but I think the consumers preference for the 3.75" line with all of it's accessories determined the future of Star Wars collecting.The idea was to capture the relative successes of other 12" lines at the time, as well as pander to a market that might repeat the successes of Hasbro's GI Joe - nothing like making the same exact body over and over and over with just a different head to worry about, even the cut-n-sew for the costumes could be done cheaper and easier since they'd have to worry only about the 1 body type (2 if you count girls). Also, there's a perception of "value" in a larger toy, even though it doesn't exactly work well within the Star Wars brand of aliens and robots and vehicles.


It's the same reason the Micro Collection didn't make it past the ESB sets, people only seemed to be interested in the standard action figure line.Ah, but therein lies the rub of this thread, if there hadn't been a 3.75" figure line to be seen as "better than" to 12-inch or micro-collection, would they have tanked? I don't think so. Heck, pick up an issue of the SW Fan Club magazine from '94 and you'll see them GUSHING over Galoob's SW Micro Machines toy line that was doing so well as the ONLY toy line for the brand until mid-'95, if Hasbro (who at that point owned Kenner) hadn't come along and rebooted the 3.75" line, Micro Machines and Action Fleet would have been an even bigger juggernaut than it was (by toy industry standards it did pretty well, lasting 8 years).

Tycho
08-15-2007, 07:08 AM
I have nothing to add except my compliments. That was an interesting analysis, JT. :thumbsup:

bigbarada
08-15-2007, 12:37 PM
Ah, but therein lies the rub of this thread, if there hadn't been a 3.75" figure line to be seen as "better than" to 12-inch or micro-collection, would they have tanked? I don't think so. Heck, pick up an issue of the SW Fan Club magazine from '94 and you'll see them GUSHING over Galoob's SW Micro Machines toy line that was doing so well as the ONLY toy line for the brand until mid-'95, if Hasbro (who at that point owned Kenner) hadn't come along and rebooted the 3.75" line, Micro Machines and Action Fleet would have been an even bigger juggernaut than it was (by toy industry standards it did pretty well, lasting 8 years).

This is true, I was heavily into collecting the Micro Machines line in 1994 and didn't lose interest until the 3.75" line was rereleased. I don't remember buying a single MM set once the action started hitting the shelves. In fact, even now I look back and have to remind myself that the MM line wasn't cancelled in 1995, because it sure seemed to vanish from existence for me. It's the same with the LEGO SW sets. The only time I ever even look at them is when I haven't seen a new action figure in a while.

And I agree, if Kenner had poured all of their time and money into a 12" line, then we would have seen it more of a success than it was (though still nowhere near the 3.75" line). With perhaps, like you mentioned, interest fading faster and faster with each film's release. I guess I got caught up in what did happen rather than what might have happened.

I can guarantee one thing, if Star Wars had only been a 12" line, then I never would have owned a single Star Wars figure throughout my childhood. My dad would not have allowed us to own or play with "dolls" as kids (he was conflicted enough with the Superman and Batman Megos, but they were a gift from a neighbor, so there wasn't much he could say; but the very first opportunity he had to throw them out, they were gone).

As an adult, I could possibly see myself owning 1 or 2 12" figures, maybe as many as 5 or 6; but nothing more than that.

Cost really isn't much of an issue for me. I prefer a line of $50-$60 high-quality 12" figures like what we're getting from Sideshow (even though the only Sideshow set I have so far is the Salacious Crumb pack), rather than the $20 pieces of garbage that Hasbro was churning out.

So I would likely treat the line like I am doing with Sideshow right now: I recognize that the figures are great and think almost all of them are really cool; but I just haven't been able to bring myself to spend the money on them in large numbers. Nothing has 'wow'ed me to the point where I say "I must own that." Although that 12" Darth Maul is looking cooler and cooler the more I look at him.:yes:

stillakid
08-15-2007, 03:02 PM
My big thing at the time was Micronauts. For whatever reason that I can't remember, I had more interest in Micronauts than Star Wars for quite some time. Maybe it was the more interesting ships, like the Battlecruiser which could become several toys in one. I don't know. I do distinctly recall entering a contest to win a Toys R Us shopping spree. The winner would get like five minutes or something to run up and down the aisles to load up as much as possible. I remember planning it all out in my head that I'd first wipe out the Micronauts section and then move to the Star Wars toys.

Over time, my interest in Star Wars stuff overtook Micronauts, although I never did lose complete interest in Micronauts. One thing I never ever had an interest in was the 12" line. I did have Mego Batman, Spiderman, Bionic Man, Bullet Man from before Star Wars. Those were cool because I had the Batcave, the Spidercar, and this BIG JIM camper thing (with BIG JIM), but I remember that they were a pain to play with because of the size. That might be why I never gravitated toward the 12" Star Wars stuff, even to this day. The big things seem so much more like static display pieces, and not very well detailed at that, that it seemed silly to get any of them. The one 12" that I do have now is the Speeder Bike with Scout Trooper, only because they did do a fantastic job on it. But it sits on a shelf more as a display piece than a toy. For that "activity" I'd rather buy something designed as a very detailed dust collector instead of getting a bunch of half-arsed 12" toys.

Bel-Cam Jos
08-15-2007, 08:14 PM
My big thing at the time was Micronauts. For whatever reason that I can't remember, I had more interest in Micronauts than Star Wars for quite some time.

Over time, my interest in Star Wars stuff overtook Micronauts, although I never did lose complete interest in Micronauts.I just integrated the SW stuff with Micronauts. There's a photo somewhre of me at Christmas playing with both MN and SW figures.

I later did that with SW and GIJ, as well as Transformers. Now I do it with 401(k) and mutual funds. :rolleyes:

JediTricks
08-16-2007, 02:04 AM
I have nothing to add except my compliments. That was an interesting analysis, JT. :thumbsup:Thanks T.


I can guarantee one thing, if Star Wars had only been a 12" line, then I never would have owned a single Star Wars figure throughout my childhood. My dad would not have allowed us to own or play with "dolls" as kids (he was conflicted enough with the Superman and Batman Megos, but they were a gift from a neighbor, so there wasn't much he could say; but the very first opportunity he had to throw them out, they were gone).That was a very popular complaint from dads in the '70s, I've heard it said about all action figures, not just 12" wearing clothes, though those did catch the brunt of it. You make an interesting point, there was some influence there. Parents in general weren't into buying kids toys back then anywhere near as much as today though too, so it does kinda mitigate the "dad don't want no sissies!" effect. ;) ("But dad, I was about to cut off Walrusman's arm." "Yeah right, so you could bake it into a casserole for your Barbie dolls, I'll bet!")


As an adult, I could possibly see myself owning 1 or 2 12" figures, maybe as many as 5 or 6; but nothing more than that.

Cost really isn't much of an issue for me. I prefer a line of $50-$60 high-quality 12" figures like what we're getting from Sideshow (even though the only Sideshow set I have so far is the Salacious Crumb pack), rather than the $20 pieces of garbage that Hasbro was churning out.

So I would likely treat the line like I am doing with Sideshow right now: I recognize that the figures are great and think almost all of them are really cool; but I just haven't been able to bring myself to spend the money on them in large numbers. Nothing has 'wow'ed me to the point where I say "I must own that." Although that 12" Darth Maul is looking cooler and cooler the more I look at him.:yes:(Sideshow's Maul is really good.) Here's my question to you then, you're speaking from "now" right? What about if there had been something about half as good as the Sideshow line in '95 for, let's say, $25 or $30 a pop. Would you have gone for that at all?



My big thing at the time was Micronauts. For whatever reason that I can't remember, I had more interest in Micronauts than Star Wars for quite some time. Maybe it was the more interesting ships, like the Battlecruiser which could become several toys in one. I don't know. I do distinctly recall entering a contest to win a Toys R Us shopping spree. The winner would get like five minutes or something to run up and down the aisles to load up as much as possible. I remember planning it all out in my head that I'd first wipe out the Micronauts section and then move to the Star Wars toys.I totally remember that TRU contest! I never thought I'd win, but I often strategized anyway. :p


I remember that they were a pain to play with because of the size. That might be why I never gravitated toward the 12" Star Wars stuff, even to this day. The big things seem so much more like static display pieces, and not very well detailed at that, that it seemed silly to get any of them. The one 12" that I do have now is the Speeder Bike with Scout Trooper, only because they did do a fantastic job on it. But it sits on a shelf more as a display piece than a toy. For that "activity" I'd rather buy something designed as a very detailed dust collector instead of getting a bunch of half-arsed 12" toys.I actually found play patterns for 12" figures later, when I was in my early teens, they were more "pose, imagine how cool it would be in that position, find another pose" thing than my younger days running GI Joe vehicles into the bushes and crashing X-wings into the turtle tank.

bigbarada
08-16-2007, 02:28 AM
(Sideshow's Maul is really good.) Here's my question to you then, you're speaking from "now" right? What about if there had been something about half as good as the Sideshow line in '95 for, let's say, $25 or $30 a pop. Would you have gone for that at all?


I the 12" line were the only Star Wars figures being made in 1995, then I probably would have bought several of them.

By the time the figures started showing up in 1996, I felt that I was already commited to the 3.75" line, so I only planned to get a Darth Vader and that was it. Plus, by late 1996, I was already getting tired of spending so much money on Star Wars toys and was planning on scaling back. So, the 12" line showed up at almost exactly the wrong time for me and I never really thought they looked that great to begin with (remember Luke's pink hair?).

Also, to add another variable, I reenlisted in the Army in 1995 and lived in barracks for the next 7 years. It was one thing to collect little plastic figures that could be stowed away out of site in a shoebox somewhere; but it would have been a completely different thing to collect 12" dolls. And I just wasn't that willing to endure the harrassment that I would have undoubtedly received from my superiors for collecting "Star Wars Barbie dolls." So that was always a major strike against the 12" figures in my mind.

Which is why I never bought more than 1 or 2 a year, and even then they were primarily armored Imperials.

JediTricks
08-16-2007, 03:08 AM
Ah, yeah, that wouldn't have worked out so well.

Jargo
08-25-2007, 09:59 AM
i like star wars figures but i find them a tad small. i wouldn't buy them at all if they wre all 12 inch though. they remind me too much of Ken dolls.
I'm tending to buy 6 inch scale figures more than anything smaller these days. the smaller the figures and the more you have of them the scruffier they look on display. larger figures look better, i'm less likely to army build, thy pass more as ornamentation than toys and visitors don't have to squint to see any detail.

as it is I've downscaled my star wars collection again. i'm down to only jabba's palace and cantina figures now. for me they're the two most iconic settings from the entire saga and also the most visually interesting.

2-1B
08-25-2007, 03:41 PM
Jargo have you given up on collecting droids as well ?

Jargo
08-25-2007, 06:08 PM
I wrote a big answer but it was boring so here's the short one - yes.

stillakid
08-25-2007, 06:23 PM
I wrote a big answer but it was boring so here's the short one - yes.

Like that answer is more interesting?

;)

Jargo
08-25-2007, 06:42 PM
no but i saved you from having to wade through the essay.

2-1B
08-25-2007, 08:07 PM
I would have read the essay. :)

Desfiy
08-26-2007, 02:53 PM
Hi I'm new here, but to be honest I have always collected the 3 3/4 inch star wars figures off and on, I am now married and just starting to get back into collecting the figures again, I have enough trouble with the wife and the star wars figures, if I brought star wars dolls back, she would think I had completely gone round the twist, lol.

JediTricks
08-27-2007, 12:18 AM
i like star wars figures but i find them a tad small. i wouldn't buy them at all if they wre all 12 inch though. they remind me too much of Ken dolls. Ken dolls are A) a slightly smaller scale at about 11", and B) no longer made because Barbie buyers thought he sucked. Man do I hate having this much toy knowledge in my head. :p



I would have read the essay. :)And "yes" still would have been the upshot. ;)

Blue2th
08-27-2007, 01:11 AM
When I think back on it. If I knew the quality of the Sideshow 12" figures was going to be available. I probably wouldn't have bought all those 12" SW figures as most of them were crappy.
Maybe it's odd on my part that I have no problem collecting the 3 3/4 and the 12" Star Wars, but if they ever made the figures larger like the Art Asylum Star Trek figs I would not buy them. Simply because something that big needs soft goods or clothes in my opinion.

I had no problem buying many of the Mattel "Ken" type dolls. Every one though being the same size as Ken but were not. But rather the complete Elvis collection, with his head not Ken's. And a few others like James Dean and Frank Sinatra. The clothes or "soft goods" as we action figure guys say are outstandingly done. But yeah no "Ken" dolls. Not even the recent Ken as Legolas so on and so forth.

So the question could be asked. What is the difference between an action figure and a doll? Is it size? (size matters not to me) Is it soft goods or clothes that is the difference? Other criteria?

So if all that was made for Star Wars were 12" figures, I would still collect them. Call me a "Doll" collector I don't care. So be it.

JediTricks
08-27-2007, 01:23 AM
The technical difference between "doll" and "action figure" is zero, none, they are the same exact concept for a toy. The only difference is that "doll" is a feminine descriptor so dolls are created and marketed specifically to girls with their play patterns in mind.

Blue2th
08-27-2007, 01:52 AM
Aha, that's what I thought! All these guys saying they didn't buy them so and so, such and such and so forth in this forum. They don't want to be seen as "doll" collectors. Well they all are! Can they handle the truth?

JediTricks
08-27-2007, 05:27 PM
All action figures are dolls, not just 12-inch figures. But it's the application of the toy that matters. Granted, most doll collectors put their precious toys on shelves... uh... but they don't have cool action poses and lightsabers!

Old Fossil
08-27-2007, 05:45 PM
All action figures are dolls, not just 12-inch figures.

What about "army men" and "cowboys and Indians," that you could buy by the bag? Are they dolls, too, or action figures? Obviously they're not dolls, and given their similar size and type of play to 3 3/4" Star Wars figures, I don't see how SW figures are dolls, either.

Blue2th
08-28-2007, 12:23 PM
What about "army men" and "cowboys and Indians," that you could buy by the bag? Are they dolls, too, or action figures? Obviously they're not dolls, and given their similar size and type of play to 3 3/4" Star Wars figures, I don't see how SW figures are dolls, either.
Ok man, I think we can let you off the hook. Maybe we can call them mini-maquettes?
I too like the term Action Figure myself, because last time I checked I was of the male gender.
It's hard enough having people find out you collect action figures let alone dolls. :ninja:
As JT said it's the application of the toy that matters.
Though I do know people who put their precious action figures on shelves, and some of them are in boring poses without lightsabers. :lipsrsealed:

bigbarada
08-29-2007, 01:33 AM
What about "army men" and "cowboys and Indians," that you could buy by the bag? Are they dolls, too, or action figures? Obviously they're not dolls, and given their similar size and type of play to 3 3/4" Star Wars figures, I don't see how SW figures are dolls, either.

I think those will be forever termed "army men." Technically they don't fit into the doll category, because of their size and the fact that they are permanently attached to their bases.

I've never perceived the 3.75" figures to be dolls, they've just always been action figures to me. I think the fact that their clothing and accessories are scultped on makes all the difference. In my mind, dolls usually refer to figures that can be dressed and undressed.

stillakid
08-29-2007, 01:48 AM
In my mind, dolls usually refer to figures that can be dressed and undressed.

That's what I thought too...then she slapped me. :squareeye

bigbarada
08-29-2007, 02:11 AM
That's what I thought too...then she slapped me. :squareeye

Okay, let me clarify, dolls refer to PLASTIC figures that can be dressed and undressed..... oh wait, does that still include Pamela Anderson?:confused:

JediTricks
08-30-2007, 03:03 AM
What about "army men" and "cowboys and Indians," that you could buy by the bag? Are they dolls, too, or action figures?
Technically they're dolls, but "figurines" fits better because they've got no articulation and are very small.


Obviously they're not dolls, and given their similar size and type of play to 3 3/4" Star Wars figures, I don't see how SW figures are dolls, either. Size has nothing to do with it, it's the format - a toy that's a small figure representing a human being. It's just language and the origins of the word, the term "doll" came well before "action figure". Websters actually defines "action figure" as "a toy doll representing a person or fictional character known for heroic or superheroic feats".

Dolls don't need to be plastic, they can be made of almost anything - plastic, wood, metal, ceramic, even straw.

Blue2th
08-30-2007, 12:28 PM
So who coined the word Action-figure?
Was it Hasbro? When they came out with GI Joe in the 60's?
Not wanting to call them dolls for boys?
Something to do with all the poses you could make with him, not to mention the kung-fu grip perhaps?

mtriv73
08-30-2007, 03:52 PM
Size has nothing to do with it, it's the format -


Just keep telling yourself that JT. :laugh:

stillakid
08-30-2007, 07:59 PM
The technical difference between "doll" and "action figure" is zero, none, they are the same exact concept for a toy. The only difference is that "doll" is a feminine descriptor so dolls are created and marketed specifically to girls with their play patterns in mind.

I wouldn't agree with that at all. Perhaps there is an "official" definition backing you up somewhere, but I'd take issue with it and the guy who wrote it all the same.

An action figure is something like a Star Wars guy...small, somewhat posable, something like a larger, posable Army Man, with limited accessories like a gun or a cape.

A DOLL is specifically designed for display, changing clothes and/or accessories, or playing house or "mommy."

I don't have any pseudo-masculine reasons for seeing a difference at all in case anyone wants to argue that point. The difference just seems very obvious. Both are toys, but they are designed for very different purposes and with polar opposite consumers.

2-1B
08-30-2007, 09:14 PM
I like to play mommy with my Jar Jar and Ewok dolls.

JediTricks
08-31-2007, 03:04 AM
So who coined the word Action-figure?
Was it Hasbro? When they came out with GI Joe in the 60's?
Not wanting to call them dolls for boys?
Something to do with all the poses you could make with him, not to mention the kung-fu grip perhaps?If you hadn't used question marks? That would have been your answer as well? :D

Yeah, you got it, that's exactly what it was - except kung fu grip, the original Joe didn't have that, they didn't add that one until a decade afterwards.



Just keep telling yourself that JT. :laugh:Oi vey. :p



I wouldn't agree with that at all. Perhaps there is an "official" definition backing you up somewhere, but I'd take issue with it and the guy who wrote it all the same.Whether or not you agree with it, the "guy who wrote it" is society, they're defined words because that's how society as a whole uses them.


An action figure is something like a Star Wars guy...small, somewhat posable, something like a larger, posable Army Man, with limited accessories like a gun or a cape.That's ridiculous, the phrase was invented for the 12" GI Joe line. And it was invented specifically because parents didn't want to buy "dolls" for their little boys. It's a friggin' buzzword, "action figure" is something Hasbro came up with so little boys could do the Barbie play pattern thing with guns and military guys instead of fashion models. We've incorporated it into our language over the last 43 years, but it's still something that falls under the definition of "doll" because that word came first and is all-encompassing. The original GI Joe toy was literally a doll one bought and then a vast series of outfit and accessory packs - that's where Hasbro made their fortunes originally, kids would buy their military guy and then buy dozens of accessory packs to dress up their guy with. How exactly is that any different than Barbie? Oh, right: military - men - guns - phallic symbols. :rolleyes:


A DOLL is specifically designed for display, changing clothes and/or accessories, or playing house or "mommy."Yup, that's what voodoo dolls and matroyshka doll (russian nesting doll) and marionettes are. :p Look, just because that's how you want to think of it so you can separate your masculine play patterns from the girlie play patterns of the opposite sex, that doesn't change the facts.


I don't have any pseudo-masculine reasons for seeing a difference at all in case anyone wants to argue that point. The difference just seems very obvious. Both are toys, but they are designed for very different purposes and with polar opposite consumers.AHAHAHAHA! lol Yeah, no "pseudo-masculine" going on here boyo! Look at all the gut reactions from you guys, the truth of the matter is that there's no question whatsoever in the language, the words are clearly defined and their histories have never been in doubt, but your male egos won't let you accept that technically what we're playing with is the same thing as a doll, so you freak out about it.

The reality is that kids have been playing with "dolls" for the last 5000, the oldest known doll with movable limbs ever found is from somewhere around 3000 BC to 2000 BC, they're one of man's oldest playthings. The play pattern remains essentially the same, it's just that Hasbro found a way to make the battle of the sexes play better in their favor by coining a new phrase in the common language.

stillakid
08-31-2007, 10:50 AM
Whether or not you agree with it, the "guy who wrote it" is society, they're defined words because that's how society as a whole uses them.
Which society? I've never ever heard anyone refer to SMALL toy representations of humans (and aliens) as "dolls." That term is ONLY used to refer to LARGE toy representations of humans....except by you evidently.


That's ridiculous, the phrase was invented for the 12" GI Joe line. And it was invented specifically because parents didn't want to buy "dolls" for their little boys. It's a friggin' buzzword, "action figure" is something Hasbro came up with so little boys could do the Barbie play pattern thing with guns and military guys instead of fashion models. We've incorporated it into our language over the last 43 years, but it's still something that falls under the definition of "doll" because that word came first and is all-encompassing. The original GI Joe toy was literally a doll one bought and then a vast series of outfit and accessory packs - that's where Hasbro made their fortunes originally, kids would buy their military guy and then buy dozens of accessory packs to dress up their guy with. How exactly is that any different than Barbie? Oh, right: military - men - guns - phallic symbols. :rolleyes:

You should take Tony Snow's job. You conveniently skipped over the FIRST key word in my descriptor of "action figure": SMALL. Yes, LARGE toy representations of humans, such as GI JOE or the MEGO superheroes, I always did refer to as dolls, heard others refer to them as dolls, as still do refer to them as dolls. They were designed to have accessories to change their look in the same way that Barbie or a "Deadeye Wet Himself" doll would. By skipping that one word (SMALL), it rendered your entire argument moot.


Yup, that's what voodoo dolls and matroyshka doll (russian nesting doll) and marionettes are. :p Look, just because that's how you want to think of it so you can separate your masculine play patterns from the girlie play patterns of the opposite sex, that doesn't change the facts.

AHAHAHAHA! lol Yeah, no "pseudo-masculine" going on here boyo! Look at all the gut reactions from you guys, the truth of the matter is that there's no question whatsoever in the language, the words are clearly defined and their histories have never been in doubt, but your male egos won't let you accept that technically what we're playing with is the same thing as a doll, so you freak out about it.

Who is freaking out? Sounds like you are more than anyone else here. I found this thread intriguing from the start because I never realized that anyone ever would even consider calling small toy representations of humans "dolls." My daughter has a collection of Polly Pockets which are smaller than Star Wars figures and I, her, or anyone else I know ever refers to those as "dolls." Dolls are BIG. Action figures are SMALL. It has nothing to do with male vs female. Maybe it started that way in a boardroom years ago, but SOCIETY doesn't give a sh** anymore. That's what culture does to a language. Connotation has a way of upending the "official" intent.

This thread is merely a language usage question which I just answered. I think that the larger issue wonders what is appropriate for people to play with in general, both in terms of gender and in terms of age. Whatever YOU choose to call toys, both BIG and SMALL, society still places judgment upon those who carry on decidedly "childish" behavior into adulthood. You would choose to also inflict more guilt(?) upon adults who do this by also layering on a gender specific label which really doesn't exist in society today. I mean, if we are to demonize toys of any size for males of any age to play with, then why stop there? Can we not apply the same label of "doll" to something like chess pieces? Afterall, they too are representing (often) a human. In that case, the person playing has a specific goal and the toys have specific functions, but in the end, they are merely toys that are played with by people of all ages and genders. Would you make an attempt to embarrass them as well for no practical reason?

JediTricks
09-01-2007, 02:44 AM
Which society? I've never ever heard anyone refer to SMALL toy representations of humans (and aliens) as "dolls." That term is ONLY used to refer to LARGE toy representations of humans....except by you evidently.This society. Just because you haven't taken notice of its usage doesn't mean it's not there. And ask anybody over 45, small or large, they're dolls. What about Polly Pocket, what's that? Or Troll dolls? Kewpie dolls? They're small-scale dolls. Polly Pocket is super small and comes in versions that can be dressed and a smaller scale that can't.


You should take Tony Snow's job. You conveniently skipped over the FIRST key word in my descriptor of "action figure": SMALL. Yes, LARGE toy representations of humans, such as GI JOE or the MEGO superheroes, I always did refer to as dolls, heard others refer to them as dolls, as still do refer to them as dolls. They were designed to have accessories to change their look in the same way that Barbie or a "Deadeye Wet Himself" doll would. By skipping that one word (SMALL), it rendered your entire argument moot. I didn't skip over it, I directly countered it by pointing out that the phrase "action figure" was invented SPECIFICALLY for a large-scale doll, Hasbro's 12-inch GI Joe, therefore your argument is totally off-base.


Who is freaking out? Sounds like you are more than anyone else here. I found this thread intriguing from the start because I never realized that anyone ever would even consider calling small toy representations of humans "dolls." My daughter has a collection of Polly Pockets which are smaller than Star Wars figures and I, her, or anyone else I know ever refers to those as "dolls." Dolls are BIG. Action figures are SMALL. It has nothing to do with male vs female. Maybe it started that way in a boardroom years ago, but SOCIETY doesn't give a sh** anymore. That's what culture does to a language. Connotation has a way of upending the "official" intent. The Federal Trade Commission refers to Polly Pocket as "dolls" in this official announcement: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml07/07273.html
as does Mattel on their website:
http://www.shareholder.com/mattel/news/20070618-249283.cfm
http://www.shareholder.com/mattel/news/20061113-217924.cfm
Including this statement that Polly Pocket is the #1 selling line in the "small doll category": http://www.shareholder.com/mattel/news/20050217-155687.cfm
Amazon.com also refers to them as dolls: http://www.amazon.com/Polly-Pocket-Groovy-Glam-Pony-Doll/dp/B000EQIE7Q/ref=pd_bbs_10/103-0749165-7859862?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1188626803&sr=8-10
ToysRus.com as well, and they should know best: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2265735&cp=&sr=1&f=Taxonomy%2FTRUS%2F2254197&origkw=polly+pocket&kw=polly+pocket&parentPage=search
and if society didn't consider them dolls, then why has this Wikipedia entry for "Dolls" listed multiple sizes of dolls (including action figures)? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doll
Here's Dictionary.com defining the word "doll" as "a small figure representing a baby or other human being, esp. for use as a child's toy": http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/doll
and Webster's New Millennium Dictionary defining action figure as a doll: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/action%20figure

Hasbro and Mattel toys are split into groups, specifically "boys" and "girls", not "dolls" and "action figures" even though both companies make plenty of both. And if you don't think it's about gender roles in play separating the terms now, check out Sideshow's site which is dedicated to selling these very products, they have 491 12-inch "figures" and a whole separate section called "dolls".


This thread is merely a language usage question which I just answered. I think that the larger issue wonders what is appropriate for people to play with in general, both in terms of gender and in terms of age. Whatever YOU choose to call toys, both BIG and SMALL, society still places judgment upon those who carry on decidedly "childish" behavior into adulthood. You would choose to also inflict more guilt(?) upon adults who do this by also layering on a gender specific label which really doesn't exist in society today. I mean, if we are to demonize toys of any size for males of any age to play with, then why stop there? Can we not apply the same label of "doll" to something like chess pieces? Afterall, they too are representing (often) a human. In that case, the person playing has a specific goal and the toys have specific functions, but in the end, they are merely toys that are played with by people of all ages and genders. Would you make an attempt to embarrass them as well for no practical reason?Nope, no freaking out there Stilla. :p Demonizing? Inflicting guilt? Ridiculous! The language is quite clear about this, you put up this wall around the term to buffer yourself from being seen as something held up to ridicule, then astonishingly you further separate the concept from the very genesis of the term "action figure" - the 12-inch GI Joe and similar boys doll toys - because they hit too close to home with the whole gender-roles issue. The word "action figure" has a recent, clear history and definition which has it a masculine-themed doll of any size, it's not a nebulous concept or word lost to the ages, it's right there in black & white. You're the one attaching negative stigma to issue.

stillakid
09-01-2007, 12:53 PM
This society. Just because you haven't taken notice of its usage doesn't mean it's not there. And ask anybody over 45, small or large, they're dolls.

Ok, maybe that's your problem.

Since you're not really listening, I'll try it a different way. You have some kind of agenda to want to first reclassify "action figures" (boy toys) in the more feminine vernacular as "dolls." That's your own hang up or something. To each his own.

But, using your own train of thought, "society" :rolleyes: has decided that boy "dolls" are no longer "dolls" but are "action figures." My only suggestion to you is to join us here in the 2000s and refer to these toys as "society" (and corporate America does). Girl toys are "dolls" because girls, by nature, have different play patterns than boys. Boys aren't into accessorizing or playing house or caring for baby dolls the way girls are. That's just inbred.

Had it ever occurred to you that maybe the decidedly feminine term "doll" just was never an appropriate descriptor for a boy toy? So it was used, but so are so many other descriptors for things and people that get changed over time. Boys are different than girls, at least the boys I know. I can't really speak for anyone else.

Girl toys are dolls. Boy toys are action figures. This is the year 2007, not pre 1960 whatever. Society calls them action figures in 2007 and so should you. :)

2-1B
09-02-2007, 04:12 AM
come on guys, you are arguing over dolls. :D