What do you look for in an action figure?

What do you look for in an action figure?

Action figure. Brings to mind the image of a stiff plastic figurine, doesn’t it? Asking what you look for in an action figure isn’t always an easy question to answer. I know what I look for: articulation – movement of the joints. True, I’m a girl and played with Barbie, but I was always frustrated by how little the dolls moved. Then along came Hot Skatin’ Barbie and Ken! Ahhh, they moved nicely, but were still… stiff.

I’ve seen more modern action figures – usually 20+ inches tall – that could move wrists, fingers, ankles and other more sophisticated areas, but in the end, they’re always… stiff. Plastic is fine, but it has a nasty habit of breaking, too. So, what I look for is durability alongside the movement.

I bet you’re thinking, “Well, what do you expect for something made of plastic?” Don’t get me wrong: I’m not dissing Barbie or the plastic action figure, just pointing out that they lack flexibility without being oversized and overpriced. This is where my action figures can step up to the plate.

This might sound like a cheap sales ploy, but hear me out anyway.

My action figures are soft and far more articulate than Barbie or any plastic action figure could hope to be. Why, you ask? They have a wire armature inside their soft bodies.

I’ll confess I’m like most kids – I enjoyed taking favorite toys to bed, but the plastic ones never made it – I was always afraid those stiff hands with the thumb sticking out would poke an eye out – even Bedtime Barbie had this problem! So, you tell me: would you prefer the plastic that the kid could choke on or lose an eye to in their sleep, or a soft but still articulate action figure they can take to bed and cuddle with?

Let me share a story with you.

When I first started making the Dream Angel series, I did the art by hand, but was constantly annoyed by not being able to keep characters’ color schemes straight. The first plush action figures I made were to be visual reference to alleviate that problem. They were 5″ tall and made of felt. They looked quite good, too. The funny part was when I posted pictures of them on Facebook and got a cry of “I want this one! Where can I buy it?” I probably should’ve expected the reaction, but in truth, I didn’t.

Well, long story short, I wound up making a store for these early action figures. Eventually, I realized kids would want to play with these and felt is certainly not durable enough for play. The new set I made is 10″ tall (they’re in the shop as options for some characters, by the way!) and these did better than the felt ones. Along the way, someone suggested I make them look more realistic instead of cartoony cute.

This led me to etsy and a seller listed as Prairie Crocus Studios for the 11″ and 12″ pattern after the somewhat disaster of trying to design an 18″ pattern and the good-but-complicated 16″ pattern (which is in the shop as an option for some characters, as well.) As it turns out, the 11″ and 12″ figures are just right and look very good with the soft sculpture faces and wire armatures. The result has been awe-inspiring, impressive and worth every penny:


aroku plush action figureThis 12″ fellow  (who is Aroku Sazaisaki) is certainly a fine delight and looks amazing (trust me, the picture hardly does him justice!) He’s soft, articulate, cuddly and an awesome superhero created by my very good friend Winston Jordan for his series Dragon Trio. Matter of fact, this guy’s the middle brother of the Trio.

Now here is a cute plush that can hold a pose and still cuddle up in bed.

Everything I always wanted as a kid from action figures. Yep, you caught me: I’m a Bat-fan. Of course my favorite growing up was the 60’s Batman movie made from the TV series with Adam West and Burt Ward. Yes, I would’ve loved cuddling up with a cute but still articulate stuffed Batman (and still would, of course!).

To my delight, fans have had this sort of reaction:

“Jennifer this doll is just incredible. You really did your best work yet. I can’t stop staring at this. A true work of art…” – Jerrie Lee.

That was said of the Aroku’s counterpart, midora plush action figureMidora, whom as you can see, is holding a nice kicking pose thanks to the wire armature in her body. She’s excellent at charming her way into the hearts of many and a favorite for fan art in the Facebook group Independent Creators’ Connection.

Certainly sounds like those patterns have paid for themselves, wouldn’t you agree?

Granted, I still look at regular plastic action figures in stores and to date, haven’t seen any like mine. These are entirely unique and despite using the same patterns, no two are ever exactly the same. Pretty good to get a one-of-a-kind action figure that’s washable, huggable and posable at the same time.

Okay my little sales ploy is over, but you have to admit, there’s benefits to be considered with what I’ve pointed out in that little sales ploy. I’ll be plainly honest here: They’re exactly what I would’ve wanted as a kid: the ability to hug and cuddle with my favorite characters, plus they can be posed? You bet I’d have wanted them!

So, what do you look for in an action figure? Keep it polite and constructive, please!

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