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The storage and display of vintage action figures

Updated on September 8, 2014

How to keep your action figures dust free and archive safe!

I love to collect things! Whilst my postage stamps and postcards can be easily stored away in archive-safe albums, away from daylight, my vintage action figure collection poses more of a problem as regards storage and display!

Collectors go to a lot of time and trouble to track down hard to find and rare items in as good a condition as possible. If a collectible toy has withstood the ravages of time and attacks by children over the years, it might not appear that it needs too much extra protection at first, but if we are to continue to keep our collectibles in pristine condition in the future, some kind of organised display and storage system is needed.

Dust, sunlight, fluctuating temperatures and humidity are all potential dangers for your collection. Think about the efforts that a modern museum takes to maintain a constantly controlled environment for artifacts and you get an idea of what you're up against! As a general rule, therefore, it's better to avoid the two places that most readily spring to mind when one thinks about storage - the attic or the basement, as these are the areas in the home that suffer most from extremes of temperature and damp. Cupboard or wardrobe space within the house is a far safer bet.

I usually keep a dozen or so figures safely on display in Protech cases and will rotate them for a change from time to time, but the bulk of my collection is carefully stored away in Ziploc bags within PP storage boxes. This lens takes a closer look at these methods and the other, surprisingly affordable vintage action figure storage and display solutions available.

Display Tips

How to display your vintage action figure collection!

An action figure display diorama is a fun way to display your collectibles!

An action figure display diorama is a fun way to display your collectibles!
An action figure display diorama is a fun way to display your collectibles!

Order your Star Wars action figure display diorama here! - Perfect for vintage or new Star Wars action figures

Star Wars 'A New Hope' Action Figure Display Diorama
Star Wars 'A New Hope' Action Figure Display Diorama

The ultimate for Star Wars collectors!

This diorama acts as a dual-purpose action figure stand and displays Star Wars figures in classic stylings that harken back to key scenes from George Lucas' groundbreaking sci-fi films! Includes Tatooine Desert and Mos Eisley Cantina Bar sections.

The diorama has a reversible backdrop that features a classic space duel over the Death Star or a Tatooine desertscape.

Includes 50 individual figure stands (small discs, separate from the display stage), which can accomodate both classic and modern Star Wars action figures. Ships in vintage packaging, patterned after the classic Kenner '70s package design.

This unique display measures 24" x 10" x 14".

 

Protech stands for loose vintage action figures

Acid free and archive safe!

These action figure stands are designed for use with all vintage Star Wars figures (1977 to 1994). They work by placing the vintage figures on the peg of the stand.

They also work with many other vintage action figures, so check the feet of your figure and see if there is a peg hole. I can personally confirm that these stands fit GI Joe 3 3/4" figures, and Kenner 5" Beetlejuice, and The Real Ghostbusters figures.

Dimensions: 2" diameter, the peg on these stands is 1/8th of an inch in diameter.

Peg holes in feet for display stand

Buy Protech clear vintage action figure stands here!

Protech Clear Action Figure Stands fit Vintage Star Wars Figures & More
Protech Clear Action Figure Stands fit Vintage Star Wars Figures & More

These clear action figure display stands are 2" in diameter with a 1/8" peg. Use these stands to display vintage Kenner Star Wars figures from 1977-1985, Playmates Star Trek figures, GI Joe (A Real American Hero) figures, Kenner Batman, Aliens, Real Ghostbusters and Predator figures, and more.

 

Protech display stands are also perfect to help balance larger scale action figures

Protech display stands are also perfect to help balance larger scale action figures
Protech display stands are also perfect to help balance larger scale action figures

Action figure stands for modern figures - Pack of 25 stands for your 3 3/4 inch action figures!

Action Figure Stand Pack of 25 Clear Stands by Entertainment Earth
Action Figure Stand Pack of 25 Clear Stands by Entertainment Earth

Give your figures the support they deserve. You're gonna love these action figure stands! Extremely durable and scratch resistant, these round platforms look great and are clear. Each measures 2 1/8-inches in diameter and features a peg that fits snugly into your figure's foot. Give your characters all the support they need and merit! Action figures sold separately. Stands fit most 3 3/4-inch Hasbro Star Wars (1995-present), Hasbro Indiana Jones (2008), Hasbro G.I. Joe (2007-present), (2009-present), and (2009-present) action figures.

 

Displayed Star Wars figures in Protech cylinders and cases - An impressive display of newer figures

Acrylic display cases and stands

Look for acid free, archive safe and scratch proof acrylic

Always look for high-grade acrylic cases, where it is specified that the plastics used are acid free and archive safe. The best display cases should be crystal clear and never yellow over time!

Protech display case for vintage Star Wars figures

Protech display case for vintage Star Wars figures
Protech display case for vintage Star Wars figures

Protech display cases for Disney Vinylmation 3" figures - NB - These WILL NOT fit Star Wars figures

IKEA's Detolf display cabinets with acrylic risers really show off your action figure collection

IKEA's Detolf display cabinets with acrylic risers really show off your action figure collection
IKEA's Detolf display cabinets with acrylic risers really show off your action figure collection

Detolf Cabinet Photo © bluedino

The IKEA Detolf glass cabinet - Smaller figures can be set on acrylic risers, with taller figures standing behind.

One of the most popular and affordable large display cases used by action figure collectors today is the IKEA Detolf cabinet.

The shelves and the door are made of glass so your figures will look extremely stylish! The doors do not seal hermetically, however, so this is not a 100% dust free environment for figures, but it certainly affords a great deal more protection than if a figure were displayed on an open shelf. A strip of foam weather insulation will solve this problem very easily!

Ikea Home Indoor Glass-door cabinet black-brown
Ikea Home Indoor Glass-door cabinet black-brown

* Width: 16 3/4 "

* Depth: 14 3/8 "

* Height: 64 1/8 "

* Max load/shelf: 13 lb

NB - As with most IKEA items this arrives in a flat pack and will require some piecing together! Top tip - READ the instructions first and ask a friend to help with this one - two pairs of hands work best!

 

Storage Tips

How to store your vintage action figure collection!

Ziploc plastic bags are perfect for storing action figures and accessories

Ziploc plastic bags are perfect for storing action figures and accessories
Ziploc plastic bags are perfect for storing action figures and accessories

Buy Zip Lock Bags here! - The perfect size for 5-inch vintage action figures

Amamax Clear Zip Lock Bags, 4 X 6", 500 Count
Amamax Clear Zip Lock Bags, 4 X 6", 500 Count

5 convenient packs of 100 bags - great deal!

4 inches x 6 inxhes in size

 

How to store a HUGE action figure collection! - This guy needs a bigger flat!

Polypropylene (PP) or PVC?

Polypropylene is the safest option for our archives

Polypropylene is an extremely stable plastic and 100% recyclable. It is the preferred product for archives as it does not use any dangerous chemicals in its production or release them when it deteriorates.

PVC can leach potentially damaging chemicals as it ages and ruin your action figure collection, so make sure your bags and storage boxes are made of PP.

Polypropylene storage boxes are ideal for stowing away your action figure collection

Polypropylene storage boxes are ideal for stowing away your action figure collection
Polypropylene storage boxes are ideal for stowing away your action figure collection

Buy clear polypropylene storage boxes for easy view of contents!

IRIS Clear Modular Shoe Box, 6QT
IRIS Clear Modular Shoe Box, 6QT

Stackable storage box is made of high-quality clear polypropylene for strength durability and easy viewing of contents.

Storage box features snap-down buckles for secure handling.

 

Fishing tackle boxes are perfect for small toys!

Keep those loose figures organised!

Fishing tackle boxes are a great way of organising action figures and keeping loose accessories safe - just make sure they have adjustable compartments!

Plano 3700 Prolatch tackle box - With adjustable dividers to help arrange your collection

Plano 23700-02 Stowaway with Adjustable Dividers
Plano 23700-02 Stowaway with Adjustable Dividers

They can be custom assembled to fit any need. This box has dividers to create 4-24 compartments

 

Did you find this Hub helpful? Please leave a comment before you go!

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    • aminebombom profile image

      Amine 3 years ago from Doha, Qatar

      never too old for anime, well done my friend

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      some pretty impressive storage ideas in a very informative lens. Thanks.

    • Cheryl57 LM profile image

      Cheryl57 LM 3 years ago

      Good stuff!! I always enjoy seeing how other collectors organize and store their treasures!

    • rking96 profile image

      Rick King 4 years ago from Charleston, SC

      This is good stuff. I will remember this lens the next time my wife bugs me about all the room that my old action figures are taking up! Or maybe I will be proactive if trying to get some brownie points...

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 4 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      I know my cousin still had his star wars figures we'd play with, not sure where though. If I had known as a kid (& I'm sur eif mom knew) we probably would have kept them & tried to sell them.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 4 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      I know my cousin still had his star wars figures we'd play with, not sure where though. If I had known as a kid (& I'm sur eif mom knew) we probably would have kept them & tried to sell them.

    • hntrssthmpsn profile image

      hntrssthmpsn 4 years ago

      One of my favorite hobbies is toy photography, and this peek at your vintage collection made me drool. I'm ashamed to say that my own action figures tend more toward quantity than quality, and are generally stored in bins. I have a good friend who collects nicer ones, though, mostly characters from horror movies, and should steer him this way. His expensive collectibles are kept unprotected and strewn about the house.

    • Meyani profile image

      Meyani 4 years ago

      Cool collection and good idea. thank

    • wulfguard profile image

      wulfguard 4 years ago

      That's a pretty good idea! I have a few in my own collection that became verily faded with too much exposure to sun light, great tips, great lens!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      I have a little acrylic globe to protect my talisman the Tarot "Fool" that is my personal symbol. That Star Wars diorama is awesome. Really nice lens, I need to organize my collections otherwise they are not fun.

    • profile image

      Joan4 4 years ago

      Indeed our collectibles will keep their value longer if stored properly for the next generations!

    • DaveP2307 profile image

      DaveP2307 4 years ago

      That's really helpful! Many items are collectible but they often don't make it into old age due to poor, or no, storage. Model cars are very collectible but lose a lot of their value if not kept in their original boxes. Proper storage as you've shown here would really help keep them safe and sound and gaining in value. Thanks for the great Lens!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 4 years ago from United States

      Wishing you a year of many new blessings starting with this one! Happy New Year!

    • choosehappy profile image

      Vikki 4 years ago from US

      Very helpful; great info on storing those vintage collectibles!

    • Sean1987 profile image

      Sean Gagne 4 years ago from Tampa Bay Area

      This is a great lens!

    • profile image

      sailor_man 4 years ago

      I am new to squidoo and I learn.

    • webrunner2023 profile image

      webrunner2023 4 years ago

      I didn't know about the pvc leaching into the toys. Does the original clear packaging harm them?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      As an interesting read.

    • TaraWojt profile image

      Tara Wojtaszek 5 years ago

      Excellent information for the storage of action figures. Thanks.

    • TTMall profile image

      TTMall 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these great resources.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Great tips for taking care of action figures.

    • hunksparrow profile image

      hunksparrow 6 years ago

      Cool lens and great tips for displaying. All of my old Star Wars action figures are crammed into an old shoe box.

    • profile image

      YourFreedom 6 years ago

      Nice llens. I love the action figures and the yellow sticky.