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Action Figures buying guide

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If you have a little boy in your life, chances are you’ll be buying action figures at some point. Designed for all ages and interests, action figures range from a Cars movie toy to a Gormiti toy. Star Wars Clone Wars toy figures are popular, as are wrestling figure toys and Ben 10 Alien toy figures. For younger children, there are numerous Playmobil toys, while older children might enjoy a Halo 3 action figure or a Dragon ball Z action figure.

For years, Spider Man and Pokemon toy figures have been loved by children, and in recent years, an Iron Man figure or Transformers Megatron Toy have been good choices. Other popular characters aren’t limited to a particular brand, but offer more generic options like an army toy, Robin Hood figure, or spaceship toy. Whatever your child’s interest or your budget, there is an action figure sure to satisfy.

The first official “action figure” was G.I. Joe in the 1960s. After seeing the success of Barbie dolls, Hasbro created G.I. Joe toys, fully articulated figures as opposed to the small, stiff toy soldiers that had been popular to that point. Hasbro coined the term “action figure” to differentiate G.I. Joe toys from dolls intended for girls. From those early beginnings, the term has come to identify any doll-like toy marketed to boys, and the personalities and characters have certainly expanded over the years.

Price Inspector can help you find the right action figures at the right price. We shop the UK stores so you can buy with confidence, knowing we’ve done the research for you.

Popular Characters and Themes

  • Gormiti: Gormiti are collectible action-hero figures. Each belongs to a different tribe, and each has its own story, personality, magical powers, and size. They come with collectible trading cards that can be used for competition or trading.
  • Ben 10: In the popular children’s TV show, Ben finds an alien pod while camping, which gives him the ability to transform into different alien forms, each with different powers. Ben uses the powers mainly to help others, fighting evil both on earth and in space. The toys feature Ben, his sister Gwen, grandfather Max, and the many aliens they encounter in their galactic adventures.
  • Pokemon: Originally created by Nintendo in 1996 as role-playing video games, Pokemon has become the second-most successful video game franchise in the word. The products include trading cards, toys, books, and anime. There are 493 fictional creatures in the Pokemon world, making it challenging for children wanting to collect all the figures or cards. Players are known as Trainers, with the goal to collect all the species from one region to train a powerful team. The teams battle against other Trainers’ teams.
  • Star Wars Clone Wars: Following the successful release of the second Star Wars trilogy, the franchise has expanded to include the Clone Wars, a series of battles involving clones. Featuring new characters with some old favourites, Star Wars Clone Wars will seem fairly familiar to anyone who enjoyed the original movies.
  • Sonic, properly known as Sonic the Hedgehog, is a popular video game character created by Sega, who also stars in spin-offs like cartoons, books, and action figures. He runs faster than the speed of sound, and he rolls into a ball to attack his enemies. With his friend Knuckles, Sonic fights against evil and oppression, often freeing other woodland creatures.
  • Dragon ball Z: Dragonball is a popular Japanese anime show based on the philosophies of "friendship, struggle, and victory." In recent years the themes have shifted to more action, with never-ending cycles of fighting, winning or losing, learning lessons, and then fighting again. Heroes are able to achieve life after death to continue these battles, with a common theme that if you’re striving to be the best, you can reach your goals by continually challenging yourself.

Tips to consider before buying

  • The first step is to know what the person you're buying for likes. Even if they fit the demographic in the advertisements for a particular toy, that doesn't mean that it's what the recipient wnats. Ask, pay attention, and keep track of those names.
  • Once you know what they want, make sure you know which specific version. Today’s action figure toys come in many different varieties, and you have to know exactly which series they collect.
  • Become familiar with the characters. Many of these toys use a central theme of fighting, so you want to make sure you know the core values the toys are trying to teach. Some are fighting for the sake of fighting, while others may use fighting as a last resort or be promoting healthy competition instead of all-out battles.
  • Know the recommended age of the underlying television show or video game, not just the age for the action figure itself. The action figure might be ages 3+ because there aren’t any small choking hazards, but the theme might not be appropriate for younger children.
  •  Also consider the difference between figures meant for play and those meant for collecting. Collectible figures are more fragile and are not designed to be played with. Understand whether your child wants a toy to play with or a collectible figure to sit on a shelf.
  • Before buying, look at the base and the pose of the action figure to see if it will easily stand up. Some figures are very frustrating, especially for younger children, because they have small bases and are posed at such an angle that they are very difficult to stand up.
  •  Look the action figure over for blood, guts, and violent accessories. Is the toy age appropriate? If you are giving it to someone other than your own child, check with the parents as well.
  •  Extra features such as lights, moving parts, and sounds will make the action figure more exciting to a child.

Accessories and Tie-Ins

Practically any action figure has a load of optional features you can buy. Although this obviously will make the toy more expensive, it usually translates to additional play time for your child as well. Look for friends or enemies that will expand your child’s imaginative play. Whether a super hero or cartoon character, manufacturers are smart enough to have made other characters in the line, and your child will likely want more than one of the characters.

While clothing is not as important to action figures as they are for dolls, there are occasionally changes available. The trick with action figures, however, is that often they are sold as entirely different toys, rather than just buying new accessories. You may end up with several of the same character, just because he comes with a different theme.

Another key area to expand the play is through vehicles. Not all toys have vehicles, such as Pokemon, but many others do. Think of all the battle ships available for Star Wars, or the cars and bikes for Batman. While of course you do not have to buy all the available vehicles, it’s usually fun for children to have at least one. Even if the super hero can fly, he sometimes likes to drive to the scene of the crime. Other play sets may have tie-ins like the Bat Cave or other type of hangout for the action figures.

Finally, weapons are a key consideration. Many action figures have optional add-on weapons, and whether you feel comfortable buying these is a personal decision. When making that choice, consider whether it is a violent weapon like a gun or something more harmless like throwing a net over the bad guy. Whatever you choose, your child can have countless hours of fun whether or not you buy a weapon.

Buying Guide to Action Figures
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