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Statue vs. Figure: What are the Differences?

Statue vs. Figure: What are the Differences?

There is nothing quite like seeing your favorite character up close in 3 dimensions!

Whether we're lucky enough to share our store with you in person, or through our website, one of the most common questions we hear is "What is the difference between a statue and an action figure?" 

You step into one of our brick and mortar fandom stores for the first time. You pause for a few seconds with an awed smile when you see hundreds of familiar characters lined up and waiting for you on our shelves, in our display windows, and in our cases.

For the four years since we opened our first store, watching you enjoy those first few seconds everyday has been our favorite part of working in our stores!  We call it the Wow Effect. Whether they're large or just a few inches tall, made from plastics, resin, or even hand-painted polystone, there is nothing quite like seeing your favorite character up close in 3 dimensions!

Whether we're lucky enough to share our store with you in person, or through our website, one of the most common questions we hear is "What is the difference between a statue and an action figure?" 

The industry answers often change depending on category or where in the world you are—for example, many anime statues are more often called figures by their manufacturers!  But knowing some simple definitions will help you know what you're looking at. We promise to keep ourselves as consistent as possible with our terms in the stores or throughout our website. 

Statues, sometimes called statuettes or figurines, are fixed-pose, and non-jointed sculptures of the character they represent. 

Statue are sculpted in many ways, and then cast into a mould to be recreated and produced. Once upon a time, character statues were almost exclusively made from stone resin or similar materials, such as polystone.  Now, modern manufacturing processes also allow for beautifully rendered statues in PVC and ABS plastics, sometimes including translucent materials or other effects to create artistic or hyper-realistic touches.   Fandom character statues are art pieces primarily crafted to be admired out of the box in your favorite space.   Statue may include changeable head or arm options, or other removable display accessories such as a cape, but statues are art pieces designed to display your favorite characters in a single pose. Statues are not created with jointed or moveable limbs. 

Statues come across all quality levels, materials, and price points, making them accessible for almost any room style or budget.  While some are produced in resin, many anime statues are released in high grade plastics to make use of  accessible materials and coloring techniques. There are many Marvel, DC Comics, or other releases of Gallery Statues, which are often designed to be displayed in a group of your favorite characters. 

The most key factor when we consider the category of an item is: Can you pose this character?  If the character is designed to be admired out of the box, perhaps with a changeable head, but with their position fixed in a single pose — we would call it a statue.  

Action Figures and Collectible Figures: 
"Action figures" as we know them now have been around since the 1960's  when Hasbro first wanted to create a term to distinguish their posable plastic hero toys from dolls.  By the late 1970's, Kenner released their first Star Wars action figures alongside Hasbro and Mattel's DC and Marvel Comics superhero figures like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Spider-Man — and the term became part of the official collector's lexicon! 

For new and old fans alike, there's nothing like the childlike nostalgia of an action figure, which you can still celebrate today through modern figure lines like Marvel Legends, or the Star Wars Black Series or Vintage Collection

Here's where things get exciting! We've had a lot of adventures in the half century since then, and the global fandom community has grown into a phenomenon celebrating shared passion for the characters and stories we love. As creators and artists have spent years pushing past the limits of the traditional, countless new lines of incredibly detailed or hyperrealistic collectible characters have arrived to elevate the action figure industry 

Everything from the ultra-detailed large sixth-scale collectible figure lines like the ones from Sideshow or Hot Toys, to creative versions of pose-able plastic characters like the incredible 6" releases from S.H.Figuarts or Nendoroid, "figures" are created with movable joints that allow your favorite characters to be posed and displayed.

For collectors who prefer to enjoy their figures in mint condition inside their packaging, many lines of figures and action figures are designed with colorful window-box packaging to allow you to enjoy the character without ever needing to open the box. 

Packing: If you do prefer to keep your packaging beautiful, it's best to find a fan-friendly vendor who understands the art of protective packing and shipping.  (We've got your back on this; we promise!)  

So: Can you pose this character?  If yes, we would call it a figure! 


Bonus Question:  What About Funko Pop! Characters? 

We've wondered this too! Ever since the first wonderful releases of Funko Pop! Vinyl characters in 2010, they've called their characters vinyl figures, while pushing the envelope between plastic statues accessible enough for anyone to enjoy, and collectible action figures. Because Funko history is rooted in bobblehead nostalgia, and Pops! arrive packaged in an iconic window display box, we agree with Funko Pop! on this one — they're figures.