Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Four Observations About My Action Figure Collection

D7ana: Let's talk action figures!

Reader: You mean dolls?

D7ana: No, I mean action figures.

Reader: (Sighs) Same thing.

D7ana: Not really ... I can tell you four areas where my action figure collection differs from my doll collection.

Reader: (Shrugs)

1. Quantity
I have over 480 fashion dolls. That's a rough count because I have many "hybrid" dolls: Mattel heads on Spin Master Liv bodies, Mattel-Mattel swaps, Integrity playline heads on Integrity collector doll bodies, so on. I now have a count for my action figures: 95 intact. By "intact," I mean original heads with original bodies. That's a big difference. I have fewer action figures than I thought. And I call myself a collector of dolls AND action figures. Ha!

I have dolls from at least 50 different companies; I only have 17 companies represented for my action figures. I will list them here:

21st Century
BBi (Blue Box Toys)
Character Options Ltd.
Dragon AND Dragon in Dream Corporation
Formative International Co., Ltd.
Hot Toys Limited
Jakks Pacific
M & C Toy Centre
Majestic Studios
Playmates Toys Inc.
Revell GmbH& Co. KG
Sideshow Collectibles

2. Gender [Im]balance
Want to guess how many of those 95 action figures are female? A whopping 18. Here's a screen shot of my Excel spreadsheet showing those 18 figures:

You've probably seen all of them. My female action figures. Well maybe not Princess Leia and the Bbi Perfect Body Hispanic. I don't think that they've made many online appearances. Here's a group photo showing some of them:

Dragon Linh, Bbi Perfect Body, Hasbro Leia, Character Options Martha, Aoshima/Skynet Girl's/Lady's Mission
From left to right: Dragon Linh, Bbi Perfect Body African American, Hasbro Princess Leia, Character Options Martha Jones, Aoshima/Skynet Lady's Mission Kelly Jackson, Aoshima/Skynet Girl's Mission Mai, and Bbi Perfect Body Hispanic

Before you shake your head in dismay, hear this: while I have not yet taken count of my dolls by gender, I can tell you I have way more female dolls than I do male dolls. Doll companies create far more female dolls than male dolls. My action figure buying began with "Old Joe" as a way to increase male figures in my Doll World. So the gender imbalance does not disturb me.

3. Race Breakdown

Curious about the race breakdown for my action figures? I was so I created a spreadsheet to see what I have. That the majority of my male action figures are White does not surprise me. I do not have statistics to support this claim, but I suspect that the majority of playscale action figures are White males. Raise my hands. I'm not fighting or arguing; just commenting. Finding ethnic figures is more fun because they are a little harder to find.

I was surprised to find that I had more Asian female action figures than White or Black. Hmmm ....

Race Male Female Both
Asian 15 8 23
Black 19 3 22
Hispanic 3 1 4
Native American 1 0 1
Unspecified 0 1 1
White 39 5 44
77 18 95

4. Articulation

Usually, action figures have better articulation or pose-ability than fashion dolls. Action figures have more joints. From that list of 18 female action figures, only three have limited articulation: Hasbro's Princess Leia and Toy Biz's Storm and Xena. Those three figures could almost be considered NO-action figures. What about my male action figures? Are any of them limited posing-wise? Yes. Four: Hasbro's Basic Training Lamont A. Morris and The Defender; Jakks Pacific's Van Helsing and Chris Jericho. Usually, though, articulation puts the action in action figures.

In the photo below, I have a Mattel Harley Davidson Ken followed by a Dragon Ben Yahzee. The HD Ken is on a male poser body. The contrast is almost painful to view.

Reader: So you're telling me dolls and action figures are not the same?

D7ana: I suppose I am. Yes. They are not.

Reader: Well, I still think they're the same.

D7ana: (Sighs) Last I checked, we live in a free country. Think as you will.


Georgia Girl said...

That is great that you catalog your dolls and action figures. I need to do the same.

How is your organizing coming? You gave me inspiration. My room is closer to being organized than it has "ever" been. Thanks to you. I still have a ways to go, but I have started and made noticeable progress.

Muff said...

A very interesting post! I especially liked seeing your demographics.

Manly dudes collect ACTION FIGURES, not dolls - at least that's what they tell themselves. I do have my action figures segregated from my fashion dolls. They are just a different breed of animal to me. If someone commented on them and called them dolls I would probably correct them.

Phyllis said...

I agree - Action Figures are not dolls, however, I do have doll heads that I have put on Action Figure bodies. I guess I would classify them as Action Figures or maybe hybrid Action Figures. I loved your spreadsheet and that is something I do to. I have my music and movies on spreadsheets, so why not my dolls and action figures?

Male Doll World said...

Your catalog is a good idea to show the breakdown of the figures. I agreee that action figures and dolls are different. Action figures have many more points of articulation and come with cooler accessories.

D7ana said...

Hi Georgia Girl, Muff, Phyllis, and Male Doll World! Thanks for your comments!

@Georgia Girl - cataloging my dolls and action figures has helped when I need to know if I still have something and what I want to sell. Sometimes I get blog post ideas by looking at my lists ;-)

I'm glad to have inspired your organizing. I fell into inactivity for a while, but I've since restarted. Female clothes have a new home now.

@Muff - I love collection demographics, ha ha. Neat to see how much I have from an "objective" source.

My dolls and action figures are grouped by storyline so AFs Vinnie and Taboo are in a box with fashion dolls Kana and Kat. The guys adopted the girls when they came here. Otherwise, dolls would be in one heap and action figures in another.

Clothes though are sorted by gender for now. When I have more time, I will break them down to types: formal, party, functional, etc.

@Phyllis - oh, wow, yes, our hybrids. I'm not sure how to track them - by head or by body? Or maybe I can merge a spreadsheet for them with the head having one manufacturer and the body another? I am thinking along those lines.

Sure, if you have your music and movies on spreadsheets, you can do your dolls. It's kinda fun ;-)

@Male Doll World - I like seeing what I have by race and gender, etc. so that I know where I could use more of any type. And I agree with you that action figures usually have cooler accessories ;-)

Allenoel said...

Wow! I am so impressed with your spreadsheet. I wish I had started recording my acquisitions when I began collecting. It's been such a chore and I can't catch up yet! You are truly organised.

D7ana said...

Hi Allenoel and thanks for your kind comments! I'll try to fit in a post on creating and maintaining a spreadsheet. Mine isn't as current as I'd like, but I'm aiming for accuracy ;-)

Jewell said...

I, too, am surprised that your Asian action figures outnumber your other minority groups. It's good to know that Asian figures are more readily available than I thought. And yes, I agree that action figures are NOT dolls.

Vanessa said...

I'm impressed that your dolls are so well cataloged! I totally agree that action figures are not dolls, which is why they weren't included in my doll count for the year. People thought I was making that up. Glad to see I'm not the only one separating the two.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

I agree that action figures and dolls are two separate entities as well. Although G.I. Joe has been known to make the moves on Barbie over the decades.

I'd never heard of most of those female action figures, but then, I don't collection action figures at all.

That.Is.A.Lot of fashion dolls. No wonder you want to thin the herd.

Cindi Mortensen said...

You are so organized D7ana! No, dolls and action figures are two different things. I don't have any action figures, but I have enough dolls to sink a battleship! LOL I need to get motivated and reorganize Moreville. Sigh. :-)

billa's dolls and fashions said...

Action figures are impressive, I love their articulation and face sculpts, I have resisted starting collecting them as I would have to start a whole new section of accessories....but now that I discovered the new tall body I don't know how long I shall resist.
And yes, they are a whole diffrent thing from fashion dolls, even though the mix well with the crowd!

Chasing Joy said...

This is really interesting. I did not know the difference. I thought action figure was just what boys called their dolls. Consider me educated and enlightened.

Smaller Places said...

I like your lists.

I'd assumed action figures would be male-dominant since they tend to sneak in the door as a way to provide male companionship for fashion dolls, where articulated men are rare. (Fashion-doll men being the strong, stiff-elbowed types..)

That Asian women outnumber B/W women in the action figures initially surprised me, then I thought about the difficulty of finding Asian fashion dolls. They exist, spottily, but they're not the easiest to find.

D7ana said...

Hi Jewell, Vanessa, Barb the Evil Genius, Cindi Mortensen, Billa's dolls and fashions, Chasing Joy, and Smaller Places!

@Jewell - I have more female Asian figures, but among my male figures, Black is the largest minority. I did not plan for any ethnicity to dominate. Shrug. This is just how things turned out ;-)

If you shop online, there are MANY Asian figures available.

@Vanessa - LOL - I totally agree with your count system - action figures are NOT dolls ;-)

@Barb the Evil Genius - oh yes, Joe likes a challenge. Barbie and Joe - the Alpha Romance, lol.

Psst ... OMG, yes! Sometimes I almost want to run away from them. Kidding ;-)

@Cindi Mortensen - oh, I wish ;-) I'm working on updating my oh so fun to review spreadsheets ha ha.

Your doll collection is awesome. BTW, I really LOVED your recent Arty story. He's so cute in that pink suit that was so unsuitable, lol.

Good luck with the organizing of Moreville. That would be fun to see ;-)

@Billa's dolls and fashions - resist action figures as long as you can - once you yield to them, they will take over ;-)

That's a good point; the more cartoony fashion dolls look odd with action figures. Sometimes the styles can be "off," like anime Takara Jennys next to Takara CY Girls.

@Chasing Joy - that's still true, that action figure is what boys call their dolls. But in their evolution, action figures have developed different demographics and qualities that justify the different terms ;-)

@Smaller Places - glad you like my lists ;-)

I do get action figures to expand my male population. Articulation aside, there aren't many male dolls. Proportionate to female dolls.

Also, including action figures in my collection allows me to have more ethnic figures as well as more males ;-D

RoxanneRoxanne said...

Thanks for giving us a view into your action figures' world. It's great that you are so organized as to have spreadsheets cataloging your collection. My document is painfully out of date (painful when I think about how much work it would take to bring it up to date). One of the things that strikes me when looking at your photographs is that your Martha Jones' jacket is in pretty good shape. My Martha's jacket has sadly begun to deteriorate. Also, I thought that you had more Lady's Mission figures than just Kelly.

D7ana said...

Sorry I missed this comment, Roxanne! Thanks for leaving it. My spreadsheet is outdated; ugh. Have to redo it because I lost the one I had on file on my last computer.

I did have 3 other Ladies Mission dolls - the nun, the gynecologist, and the street princess. I sold the street princess, but I think the other two are in storage. I miss them and Girls' Mission Mai. (Also in storage.)

Pity about Martha's jacket. Not sure how mine is doing now because Martha is another doll Lost in Storage."