Action Figure & Collectibles Scale: 1:6 Scale, 1:12 Scale: What Does It All Really Mean?

As the action figure and toy collecting community continues to grow and expand, so does the number of different scales in which action figures and collectibles are available. But as a new toy collector you might be asking yourself: what is scale as it pertains to the world of toys? Why do companies produce figures in any given scale? And what’s the best scale for you?

Scale is traditionally written or shown as a ratio, in areas from model cars, to architectural drawings. In the world of action figures and collectibles, scale can be a very important factor to consider for collectors. One of the most popular scales in the higher-end market is the venerable 1:6 scale (or one sixth scale, as it is commonly known). One sixth scale figures date back to the 1960’s with the launch of the original G.I. Joe action figure and since then it has blossomed into a scale with innumerable fans and collectors.

Other higher-end collectibles can be found in scales such as 1:4 scale (see: Sideshow Collectibles Premium Format figures) and even 1:2 scale for those with space to spare. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the collectible or action figure is the higher the level of detail that can be applied. But make no mistake, an enormous level of polish can still be packed into figures of smaller scales. Mezco Toyz line of 6-inch action figures dubbed the One:12 Collective is a product line that has demonstrated this to an impressive extent.

To break it down even further, let’s compare an average one sixth scale figure from Hot Toys, a Sideshow Collectibles Premium Format, and a figure in Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective line.

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For starters, the Mezco Toyz action figure is 1:12 scale which puts most figures at roughly 6 inches tall. These 1:12 scale figures are highly articulated and able to capture a very wide array of poses and stances. As a bonus, most ship with a large amount of character-specific accessories, and often times a large attachment or interchangeable head. (For example, their Spider-Man figure comes with two heads with different eye expressions, and a variety of clip-on web-lines.) The figure is also covered in a tailored, fabric outfit. The average One:12 Collective figure retails for $70-80.

An average one sixth scale (1:6 scale) Hot Toys figure is around 12 inches tall depending on the character or hero, and features an astonishingly high level of detail. These 1:6 scale figures are built on a standardized base body crafted by Hot Toys that are fully articulated. but in most cases, the figure’s overall articulation may in some cases be hampered by the finely tailored cloth outfit or in rarer cases, seamless, rubber-coated limbs. Hot Toys sixth scale figures are also known to include in-scale weapons, many alternate hands, and sometimes even light-up features. Hot Toys figures can vary wildly in price, but a more basic offering is usually around $220. Some ‘Diecast’ sixth scale figure options can be up to $400 in some cases.

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Moving on, the Sideshow Premium Format is actually more like a statue than action figure They are produced in 1:4 scale typically, which means the average character, standing upright will come out to around 18 inches tall not including the base or stand. The figure or Statue is made of polystone and features no articulation. However, interchangeable heads and arms are often packed in to achieve different poses, even if limited to a degree. A Premium Format figure (or PF, as most collectors refer to them) might also include some tailored clothing, but most of the time, Sideshow Collectibles designers elect to forgo fabric in favor of sculpted detail. Sideshow Premium Format Figures typically set the buyer back $300-400 and up depending on the intricacy of the base or pose.

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Choosing a scale for your collection can largely depend on factors like budget, available character selection, space and most importantly personal preference. If you only have a small amount of room for your collection and want a good amount of bang for your buck then a Mezco Toyz One:12 Collective figure or a Marvel Legends figure from Hasbro, which are also in 1:12 scale, might be the way to go. But if you want a more museum-esque feel to your action figures or collectibles display and are willing to spend a bit more, 1:6 scale figures or 1:4 scale (or larger!) might just be the format for you.

Many collectors even opt to have collections of multiple scales where they choose to mix and match different sizes and different product lines in the same setup or collectible display. The most important thing is always to have fun and buy what you truly enjoy, because if you’re not having any fun, then what’s the point?

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