Action Figures Are One of The Most Collected Toys

GI Joe 1964
GI Joe 1964

Hasbro’s introduction of G.I. Joe in 1964 started an action figure craze that’s never relented to this day! Since the 70’s, action figures have became one of the most sought after collectable toys world wide. And, while G.I. Joe was the first action figure, many other companies have produced figures that are just as popular.

In 1966, Ideal company followed suit and even changed the direction of action figures with it’s release of Captain Action. Captain Action had accessory packs that allowed him to change into many of the popular comic and television characters of the time. With a quick costume change he could become Superman, Spiderman and Batman as well as other super heroes.


While Hasbro might have been responsible for the very first action figure, Ideal can be credited with action figures be directly associated with super heroes. And, other companies followed Ideal’s lead by producing super hero figures that are still popular today.

The trend of 8″ figures started in 1972 when Mego started producing their World’s Greatest Super Hero’s series. Over a ten year period, the line ended up with a total of 34 figures that included both heroes and villains. Mego also manufactured a few 12″ figures, but the company mainly concentrated on the smaller versions.

Following the release of many movies there also came a new line of action figures. When Star Wars hit movie screens in 1977, it didn’t take long for Kenner to secure exclusive rights to market figures for each of the movie’s characters!

The Star Wars figures have became one of the most popular collectable action figure line of all time. They were also the first figures that were modeled in the smaller 3 3/4″ size. And, this began the trend of other companies producing smaller action figures.

The FCC regulations restricting television shows that were based on toys was lifted in the 80’s and opened up a whole new venue to toy manufacturers. Companies began to produce entertainment to further market their products and switched to the standard 6″ action figures.

With this freedom action figures like He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Thundercats, Transformers and even the Ninja Turtles ended up with their own television shows. At the same time more innovative and interactive capabilities began appearing on each new line of action figures.

Although, Star Wars quickly became on of the most highly collectable action figures, Spiderman was marketed directly towards collectors. Marvel recognized the high demand of collectable figures and geared their selling strategies to capture the desire of collectors.

Marvel was highly dissatisfied with the original body sculpting and the continual shipping delays of Toy Biz Inc.s first Spiderman releases. They quickly attained 46% of the company and control, so that they could have some input into the design and look of their product.

Action figures have certainly came a long way since the introduction of the first G.I. Joe figure. With the advancement in technology, action figures, their action weapons and vehicles have advanced as well and are capable of doing some amazing things!

The hobby of collecting action figures is here to stay. With the release of new video games and action packed movies, you’re sure to see a line of action figures quickly follow. this is made quite apparent with the release of one of latest additions to the action figure family, the Hell Boy line.

While many people collect items that bring back the days of their childhood, many collections are purely an investment. Some action figures can sell for hundreds of dollars and collections are sometimes worth thousands! But, for many the monetary value of their collections can’t be measured by money, it’s just the sheer passion and love for the item!

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2008

G.I. Joe: The Original Action Figure

GI Joe Action Figure
GI Joe Action Figure

Through the years Barbie has been the inspiration for a lot of young girls. But, believe it or not she was also the inspiration for G.I. Joe! Toy creator Stan Weston saw the big success that Barbie was enjoying and decided that a similar toy for young boys might have just as much success.

Hasbro agreed and the first prototypes were made in 1963. They were named Ace, a pilot, Rocky, a marine and Skip the sailor. The now famous name, G.I. Joe came when Hasbro director, Don Levine got the idea for the name from the 1945 movie, The Story of G.I. Joe.


The first G.I. Joe’s hit store shelves in February of 1964 and were designed with a World War II theme. There were only four figures in the initial production, one for each branch of the military. The figures  were 12″ tall and there were several accessory packs to go along with them.

In 1966, Hasbro released soldiers from various countries including Germany and France and by 1967, some of the figures were even talking! The Action Nurse came out in 1967 and was such a huge failure that Hasbro wouldn’t release another female G.I. Joe for 30 years.

As the Vietnam War broke out, Hasbro steered away from the theme of war and introduced the first G.I. Joe’s that were civilians! The 1969 line was known as The Adventures of G.I. Joe and soon just became the Adventure Team. Around this same time, the figure also began appearing with life like hair and a beard that was flocked instead of molded.

By 1974, Kung-Fu-Grip was introduced to the line as martial arts became more popular. This was the first figure that had softer hands that could actually hold objects, giving the figure more life like capabilities.

The last major feature added to the original figures was eagle eye vision, incorporated into the line in 1976. A small lever at the back of the figures head allowed the eyes to move as if looking around.

G.I. Joe received super hero status in 1976 when Atomic Man was added to the line up. Later, Bulletman joined him and they worked together as a team even having their own comic included with each figure. Later that same year, the Adventure Team took on enemies from outer space when The Intruders: Strong Men from Another World hit store shelves.

In 1976, the original 12″ line also met it’s retirement in America and was replaced with The Defenders. The following year, Hasbro started manufacturing the popular 8 1/2″ size known as the Super Joe Adventure Team.

They came with newer accessories such as battery operated back packs with lights and other accessories that were motorized and even the 1-2 punch. But, as 1978 came to an end, so did the Super Joe line. Most of the line had the soft plastic hands that enabled them to grip objects, but the plastic degraded over time and left many figures without limbs.

While various figures were still produced in other countries, it wasn’t until 1982 that G.I. Joe re-entered the American market as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero. The small 3 3/4″ size opened the way for Hasbro to also introduce matching play sets and numerous vehicles to the line.

In 1985, G.I. Joe won the honor of being proclaimed as the best selling American toy in several magazines. The 3 3/4″ American Hero figures were canceled late in 1994 and replaced with both 12″ and 3 3/4″ figures based on the original Joe’s for their 30th Anniversary.

Over the years G.I. Joe has appeared on television, comic books, video games and promotional items as well. The company has released several collections and even reproduction figures geared towards collectors. Joe has had numerous vehicles and other accessories.

Joe has also been many famous people such as George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt and even Audie Murphy and Bob Hope! No matter what Joe has been he was, is and always will remain one of the most popular action figures ever made!

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2008

Collecting Action Figures

GI Joe
GI Joe Vintage Action Figure

Collecting action figures has been around ever since action figures became really popular in the early 1970’s.These days, online action figure stores and auction sites make collecting action figures much easier and collectors can often find cheap action figures that can be worth far more than what they are sold for.

The cost of action figures depends a lot on the age of the action figure, as well as the condition of it. Figures are more valuable if in mint condition, without dents, scratches or any blemishes. Action figures are also worth much more if you have all the accessories such as clothing, hats, shoes/boots, weapons, etc.


A lot of people don’t understand why adults collect action figures. The fact is many find it enjoyable to search out original figurines of their favorite characters.

Collectors usually purchase action figures and leave them in the box, in order to preserve its original condition, thus increasing its value. For this reason, most collectors are usually adults as children more often than not feel the need to open and play with the action figures.

In order to determine the value of an action figure, many aspects are considered. These include the size, original popularity and condition of the figure. The condition of the figures is based on a rating system running from C-1 through to C-10. Due to the many aspects, prices can vary greatly; some have been known to sell for thousands, while most will be in the range of $10-$100.