Action Figure Toy Collecting Glossary
Collecting new and vintage action figure toys
Learn how to find rare and scarce action figure toys at flea markets and auctions, or by visiting online forums and participating in comic book conventions where toy collectors meet and trade. Find out how to get collector's items in the best condition and at the lowest price from the right sources. It's important to know the definition of words like chase, exclusive, flocking or proto when looking for scarce action figures to complete the ultimate toy collection.
Every hobby and profession has a unique language, and toy collecting is no exception. The terms in this list apply to plastic action figure toys. There are plenty of resources online for a glossary of other specialized words used by people who collect dolls, metal banks, die-cast cars, and dozens of other toys. (photo: dotpattern)
Blind Box - Take a chance to find a rare toy
Puts the action in action figures
Points of connection or joints between the moving parts in poseable action figure anatomy. Lego minifigs (mini figures) and Kubricks have several points of articulation in the ankles, hips, wrists, shoulders and neck. The hands can be molded to clutch weapons and other accessories.
Toy figures are fixed, with no moving parts, though some toy figures have limited motion to swivel their head and neck, for example. Bobbleheads are another kind of "inarticulate" toy figure.
Batman Blind Box assortment - Funko 2013
"The chase is on" to find exclusive toys
Comic Book Conventions
- SDCC: Officially named Comic-Con International: San Diego, this is the largest comic book convention in the country. Held every year during a long weekend in July, the Comic-con is the place to introduce new toys and mingle with thousands of comic book and movie fans dressed in full costume. The International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF) is also held during the Con.
- Funko Fundays is a customer appreciation day that happens on the same weekend as Comic-Con. The event is presented by the owner of the company each year for members of the Funko Funklub [membership application] and fans who participate on the Funko Funatics message board online.
- NYCC: The New York Comic Con is the largest comic book and toy convention on the east coast, at the Javits Convention Center in October.
- New York Toy Fair is a trade show in February for the toy industry only, strictly for the business of toy sales and news announcements about the latest hot products for the new year.
- WonderCon is another toy convention hosted by Comic-Con International during March at the Anaheim Convention Center, with the hope of moving to San Francisco in the future.
- The D23 Expois the Official Disney Fan Club convention in Anaheim, California for a week in August each year.
Comic-con International: San Diego
Dozens of toy industry conventions are held in different parts of the country throughout the year to bring new toys to the market each year. This is where fans can connect directly with comic book artists and celebrities in attendance who sign autographs, and discuss their career in crowded panel discussions.
Exclusive or Limited-edition
Comic-Con exclusive toys
Each year, toy companies create exclusive collectors items for customers who attend the San Diego Comic-Con and other large comic book conventions.
Find the best toys from Funko, Lego, McFarlane Toys, KidRobot, and other top toy makers.
In the Wild
"In the wild": You can sometimes find limited-edition Chase figures just sitting on the shelf, by frequently hunting in small, neighborhood toy stores and novelty shops at the mall. Look for standard production and rare Funko Pop! figures at Target, Hot Topic, Barnes & Noble, Toys 'R' Us, Amazon, Urban Outfitters and Spencer's. Walmart recently announced a special collectibles department opening in over 3,500 stores featuring Funko, McFarlane Toys, CultureFly, and the Walmart Loot Crate.
Collecting action figures encyclopedia
Paul Budnitz started Kidrobot in 2002 to design limited edition art toys and apparel by merging urban street trends, fashion, and pop art. Artists from the world of graffiti, fine art, fashion, industrial design, graphic design, illustration, and music collaborate to create limited-edition "designer toys".
The KidRobot blog is the place to go for the latest news and information from devoted fans, and trade with other collectors.
Glow in the Dark
Holographic or "Holo": Type of plastic that creates a rainbow starburst effect in the light. Often used for trading card games and for labels to prove the authenticity of valuable collector's items.
Originally used to describe a process that's used to create fabric with a raised texture, flocked plastic has the same kind of peach-fuzzy carpet texture on the surface of the vinyl.
DC LEGO Batman Visual Dictionary
New and Mint Condition
Proto or Prototype
Toy prototypes are made in very limited numbers as a test before a large batch goes into production, usually no more than five units. Protos are usually unpainted figures in solid white or flesh colored vinyl, but rare prototypes painted by the artist are available occasionally. Colored vinyl prototypes are also created to experiment with different materials and color combinations.
The "Big-Head" Cruella De Ville prototype was originally rejected by Disney and re-sculpted different proportions. (Photo: dotpattern)
Riddler and Cruella prototypes
Diary of a Wimpy Kid toys and games
The 7th Diary of a Wimpy Kid book The Third Wheel, was issued with a new series of movie memorabilia, toys, games and apparel from the award-winning Wimpy Kid books and movies.
Retired: When production is completed on a batch of toys, the factory will "break the mold" so no more figures will be made in that edition (in theory). Once a figure is retired, the supply is limited and the value can go up. Refer to the List of 29 Retired Funko Pop! figures (new window).
Not actually made of metal, but a colored paint finish with a metallic look, similar to an automobile paint finish with small flecks of different colors mixed in. Often in silver or gold and other bright colors, and reserved for limited-edition production of chase figures and exclusive toys.