Last Updated on May 30, 2022 by Dexter Roona
Action figures you should collect and some that you shouldn’t
I started collecting action figures as a result of watching Star Wars as a kid and became a Star Wars collector.
I remember when the first movie hit cinemas in 1977. The toys were already in stores and I remember I was 14 or so when I saw them and was in awe.
I wanted them but I was a teenager and it wasn’t really cool to have action figures let alone collect them. How I wish I had purchased them all, and some. But hindsight is a great thing and no one really expected the movies or the figures and vehicles to become the phenomenon they have.
One afternoon I went to a friend’s house. This was a little after The Empire Strikes Back had been released and his younger brother took immense pleasure showing me all the Star Wars figures and ships he had.
The one item he had that really stood out to me that I really wanted was the huge AT-AT that appeared on the ice planet Hoth scene in Empire, but I saw myself as just too old to have one. It was a toy and toys are for kids, right?
Moving forward 15 years or so I came to the conclusion that I should begin a Star Wars collection.
This was before all the new series were to come out. The only Star Wars figures that were in the shops at this time were Bend-Ems which were horrible. These are action figures that you should not collect, there is no real value in them.
You can see an example below.
I remember someone purchased a few of the Bend-Ems for me as a gift.
I got a Leia a Luke, Darth Vader, and the only figure that was any good from the series and that was R2-D2. But I just found that all the figures looked really weird whereas R2 was more of a solid lump of rubber and looked like R2-D2.
So with no real options in toy shops, I hit the collectors stores and collectors fairs to buy the original Vintage Star Wars figures. And now I pretty much have them all the originals. There is no great value in them as there are no rarities on Mint On Card figures in my vintage collection. But I was happy. Vintage Star Wars figures are definitely action figures you should collect, in my opinion.
Then the new waves started to come. Early sculpts were odd with Luke and Leia and the gang looking like bodybuilders on steroids. But I had disposable income at hand and purchased everything in sight.
The quality of the figures started to get better and better and suddenly I was also collecting Mint On Card Figures. With the Phantom Menace came a whole host of variant figures. Wave 1 had 5 versions of the Stap Battle Droid alone all depicted with various degrees of battle scarring. And that is before you took into account different card backs, USA, Tri-logo etc.
I purchased just about everything I could.
So are they now worth money?
Well, there are some that are worth good money but the majority of them are not really worth much. The value in Star Wars figures is found in the Vintage Figures.
Are the new Star Wars figures action figures you should collect?
I would say yes. Collectors collect things that they like. If it then becomes valuable then that is a bonus. It is very difficult to cherry-pick figures that will gain value.
It’s not always the coolest characters that become valuable. The original Star Wars Jawa with his Vinyl cape is very valuable today more so than many of the main characters.
No one wanted a Jawa they wanted Darth Vader or Luke or Han. A little under a year ago one of the original Kenner Jawas sold at auction for £21000 that’s around $30000.
There are only said to be 6 Mint On Card in existence.
So guessing what will rise in value is just about impossible, but there are a few things you can look out for.
Items purchased from conventions that are not widely available tend to rise in value very quickly. Comic-Con exclusives seem to do very well. I touched on how popular the Funko Pop Vinyls have become. They have only been around for a few years and already some of the most collectible ones are going for anything up to $2000. The Comic-Con Headless Ned Stark is an example.
Pop Vinyls are definitely action figures you should collect. They are cheap, look great and go across just about all movies and tv shows so have mass appeal.
Are Marvel Legends action figures you should collect?
For me they are. The early Toy Biz series are extremely collectible. Each series came with a few chase variants. There were 2 different Hulks in series one and two. You had the regular Green Hulk in series 1 but there is also a variant with his ripped shirt in series 2 that is basically the same figure5. Both highly collectible with the shirt variant being the most valuable
But the value is not only seen with the variants. There are lots of Toy Biz Marvel Legends that are carrying value. Particularly within the first 5 or 6 series.
Here are 3 of favourite Marvel Legends action figures to collect.
The Blue Stealth Armor Iron Man is now rarely seen. You can find him on eBay but expect to pay a premium for this cool figure.
HulkBuster Iron Man proves that it’s not just the early series that carry value. HulkBuster can be found in online stores and eBay
Juggernaut. Well, what can I say, you get value for money with this guy?
This is what makes the original series of Marvel Legends so collectable, real value for money, great sculpts, great articulation. Juggernaut has it all going on.
They were all manufactured by ToyBiz who I consider to be the best action figure brand. Sadly they are no more.
All of these guys are widely available on eBay with huge variations in price, but probably the best place to still find them in from a seller on Amazon
And here is one of my favorite figures from my action figure collection. Yes that really is my hand and my poor mobile photography skills;-)
My Marvel Legends collection is not as big as it should be. A lot of the figures I now want have all passed through my hands over the last 10 years because I used to buy and sell action figures for profit and I did very well and also now having a young family also adds to the purchasing pressure though it is cool that now when I go to ToysRUs with my boy he wants everything that I want.
Are Hasbro Marvel Legends action figures you should collect?
If you asked me this question when they first came out I would have said hell no. However, Hasbro seems to have got their act together and are creating some really good figures that are extremely popular with Marvel collectors. I do have an issue with the cost as they are really now geared to collectors, they are way out of the price range of kids with pocket money or high enough to think twice as a one-off treat. And I have come to realize this is fine providing the figures live up to the quality required.
Will these figures gain value?
Yes, I believe so. A high sales price depicts how many are made and how available they are to buyers. You can test this theory yourself. Check out this Hasbro Marvel Legends series on Amazon. Now try to find the whole series in Toy stores, try to find the whole series in web stores.
You will find them on sites like Forbidden Planet and other online stores but there is a problem with this. You will undoubtedly have to pay more of a premium price. There will probably be postage costs to pay. And then you have to consider the implications of import tax if buying online from overseas websites.
Then you are hit with a major action figure collector’s concern, “will these figures arrive in Mint Condition?”
All of the above helps to increase the price, especially after the series are discontinued.
Hasbro is also very clever with the figures they are producing. They are creating hotlines right as movies launch. They are continuing the BAF series (Build A Figure) where you get a section of a bigger figure with the action figure you buy. Collect the whole series and you can build the BAF figure. Of course, if you want a Mint Series you need to buy them twice to build the BAF.
BAF figures were started towards the end of Toy Biz’s reign over Marvel Legends.
Are Pop Vinyls Action figures you should collect?
I have started to collect Pop Vinyls so I think they are action figures you should collect.
They really tick all the boxes.
1/ Price – You can pick them up very cheaply, for less than $10.
2/ They are modern and look great.
4/ You can buy rareties and lock them away.
5/ Variants and Exclusives from toy fairs are often available.
These are action figures you should collect!
Which action figures you should collect? Takeaways
Collect what you like, what you get enjoyment from. Look for variants of figures. Look for exclusives or limited edition figures. You always find from time to time there are mail-away figures. Star Wars have done this in the past where you collect vouchers or spend x amount and receive a bonus figure.
Marvel Legends are great with their Build A Figure series where you not only get the action figures but then can also build a bonus 12″ figure. The dilemma you then have is, do you open them to build the BAF or do you buy the series twice. Or do you attempt to buy the BAF pieces from somewhere like eBay?
Now it’s over to you.
Which action figures do you collect?
Let me know what you think in the comments below