Author Topic: Action Figure Lines - Which Do You Consider "for Collectors" or "For Kids"?  (Read 549 times)

Offline Brian

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I was curious to hear some of your thoughts on this subject.  My wife and I were discussing this at one time, and I was explaining how there is a fair amount of stuff at retail that is truly made for collectors (sighting obscure Star Wars characters as reference for ones kids wouldn't care about).  Of the lines out there now, at least that you pay attention to, which do you consider being "for kids", "for collectors", or maybe a little bit of both?  Obviously, non-retail lines like DC Direct, NECA, and other online lines are for the collectors, but what about the retail stuff?  For many of us who grew up in the 70s/80s, all of those lines were made for us kiddos - and later became a collector's market.  Things have obviously changed these days, with a big "flavor of the month" type of attitude with retail and a lot more lines competing for the bucks.  How do you view what is out there now?

Do you consider part of the Star Wars line (say, the VOTC figures) for collectors, and the rest for kids?  The action-feature figures for kids, and the rest for collectors for the most part?  What about Marvel Legends, DC Superheroes, GI Joe, POTC, Transformers, etc.?  I think a line like Star Wars is obviously trying to appeal to both markets, with specialized lines like the VOTC likely aimed squarely at collectors (although I would have loved to have figures like that if I was a kid).  The same can probably be said for other lines, with a mix of both the likely goal.  I get the feeling anymore that Marvel Legends is more squarely aimed at collectors at this point, and if they get kids, that's just gravy.  The latest lineup should reflect that, since I doubt kids know too many of the characters involved at this point.  "Classics" figures with action features are a mix of both most likely, and the same can be said with DC Superheroes and their Superman/Batman heavy assortments.  Other lines, like TMNT, Power Rangers, The Batman, etc. are likely aimed squarely at the kiddos - although I think almost every line in the aisle probably has their collector base to some extent.

Anyways, I guess a lot of them try to appeal to both markets, but I was just curious which you would consider more of a collector line over a kids line, or vice versa?

Offline knashdx

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I consider the standard Star Wars stuff that can be purchased anywhere for both Collectors and Kids. My feeling on the situation is that all toys available to general public at Target/Wal-Mart/Pamida/Shop-Ko/TRU/KB/etc... are for all. The Galactic Hero's/Marvel Hero SquadI consider to be more for kids, and stuff that is "EXCLUSIVES" from Preview/EE/what ever are Collectors. Most of the stuff carried at Suncoast Motion Picture store I would consider Collectors based.

McFarlane Sports Picks - Collectors
McFarlane (everything else) - Depends on the line of toys
Marvel Legends - Both
Marvel Legends Variants - Collectors

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Offline efranks

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Just looking down the toy aisles during the recent store resets I think there are a couple lines that could actually be both for kids and for collectors.  But I also think there's a good number of lines out there that are really geared for kids only

Geared towards the kids, IMO, are lines like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ben 10, Attacktix (SW, Marvel and Transformers), Sigma 6, Superman, The Batman, Power Rangers and TMNT.  There are a couple other lines out that I can't recall names for right now that I also think are for kids rather than collectors, especially anything tied into a Saturday morning cartoon.

Collector oriented lines; Marvel Legends, Icons, Signature Series, and 3.75" Titanium figures.  The DC line of 7-8" figures which I can't recall the name of falls into a collector line as well.  The military vehicles from 21st in 1:18 scale are intended mainly for collectors.

Lines that have crossover appeal include Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Justice League, Spider-man, Transformers, Hot Wheels and Lego.

Within the SW line the basic figures and vehicles are crossover items as are the Titanium vehicles.  The VOTC/VTSC and 3.75" Titanium figures are collector targeted items while Unleashed Battle Packs, Transformers, Galactic Heroes and role play items are aimed more at kids.  Star Wars, though, is one of the few properties where collectors will buy it all, even stuff not aimed at them like Galactic Heroes.

The Spider-man line is a mixed bag with most of the SM figures aimed at kids while some of the villains are Marvel Legends quality and have crossover appeal.  Justice League is the same way, you have Batman and Superman which the kids love but then you have some of the 3-packs with odd characters that collectors love to buy.

POTC, I would have thought, was a kids line but people on this board have proven that it has collector appeal.  And I can understand that because while I listed Ben 10 as a kids line I was very tempted to collect the 4" line of figures and accessories in that scale.  Both Ben 10 and POTC have the potential for wider appeal.  I wonder if anyone collects Ben 10 though?

Transformers have both kid and collector oriented offerings but just like Star Wars, collectors buy it all, they don't stick to just what's put out with them in mind.

I'm not sure where McFarlane falls anymore but I'd say their main target is collectors.  Hot Wheels and the like are intended for both but Hot Wheels, at least, caters to collectors with their Treasure Hunt vehicles. 

While I think Lego was originally intended for kids, and still is, it's a very collectible product.  I think Lego recognizes that with their Ultimate Collector Series items but while their prices get kind of high some times, they are a kid-friendly company.

I guess, ultimately, anything could be collectible these days.  As I said earlier, I was really temped to buy the Ben 10 line just because I loved the look and style of the figures and the quality.  The line has very colorful and attractive packaging and I just think it looks cool. 

   E...
"Microsoft and Sony are acting like divorced parents fighting over kids.  MS tries to lay down the law, Sony buys them beer and pot." - @DanStapleton

Offline JohnH

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Well said.  Most lines that are out to support a cartoon/TV show, etc are generally geared towards kids, but I'd bet that the majority of action figures out there are intended for adults/collectors.  Anything that is going through a second (or more) phase such as Star Wars, Transformers, GI Joe, etc, is going to have a mixed target audience but also released with some sort of collector mentality.  Personally I think if toy collecting hadn't become such a big thing in recent years we'd have never seen the resurrection of lines like He-Man, Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

John

Offline Brian

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I got to thinking about this topic again recently, while shopping for our nephews' birthdays (two this month).  We got them Star Wars stuff for Christmas: a POTF2 Falcon (thanks Mikey) that we filled with loose action figures, and a Jedi Starfighter each (along with a TAC Jedi Luke, since they both wanted that figure).  They were a big hit, and from what we've been told, some of their favorite gifts (they ended up getting a PS2 as well, so I'm sure that trumped it).  They ended up getting more Star Wars vehicles from the grandparents for their birthday, due to them being so excited over what we gave them at Christmas (they received the AT-RT battle pack, and the Target ARC 170).  Although they did enjoy this stuff a lot, like I said, they also got a PS2 (after getting Gameboys last Christmas).  They are ages 6 and 8 now, which leads to my question:  How long do you think kids stay interested in action figures these days?

I might have been different (and/or sheltered), but aside from an Intellivision system (anyone know what those are?) that was my Dad's, we didn't have a new video game system (the NES) in our house until I was in 7th grade I believe (maybe 6th).  I think I was interested in action figure well through elementary school (not counting "collecting" that we do now), at least to some extent.  Now, using my nephews as an example, we (as a family) are already buying them video games (we got them LEGO Star Wars).  My wife and I didn't really want to, thinking that they only have so many "toy years" left (we did get them each a Star Wars figure (and t-shirt) as well.  Long story short, how long do you think kids stay interested in "playing" with action figures these days?  When do video games (or other electronics/etc.) completely take over?  Its kind of sad to me sometimes how many of the simpler things that we enjoyed as kids go by the wayside so quickly with the new generation(s).