Figure Collecting 101 – What Do You Actually Do With Figures?

In my last Figure Collecting 101 article, I focused on why figure collecting is a great hobby and for the next article, I want to focus on one of the strengths of the hobby which is how many different things you can do with figures and how many different ways there are to enjoy them.  There are three different types of figures I will refer to in the article.  Action figures which let you pose them (usually in a variety of ways), statues which do not move but are hard not to admire, and of course, Amiibo, which are small statues that unlock things in Nintendo games.  With that out of the way, let’s jump right in and talk about some of the reasons why figures are fun to own.


To Admire – Any time you see a figure and you stop and think about it, you’re admiring it.  This may seem obvious, but this is a simplified form of what figure collectors do.  The more immersed you become in the hobby, the more you understand terms like articulation, paint applications, etc., but essentially what collectors are doing is talking about how well or poorly a figure is made.  The more figures you see and mess around with, the easier this is to judge.  But getting back to the main idea, every figure can be appreciated in some way.  It might be because you love Mario or Zelda, it could be that the figure has an incredible pose, or that the paint is especially well done.  Statues are often really appealing because their larger size and they have incredible detail and craftsmanship.  Whatever it is, admiring the figure, whether it is just looking at it or doing what I write about next is one way that everyone can enjoy this hobby.

World of Nintendo Cat Luigi with Bell 1

To Play Around With – Of course, not all figures can be played with, statues being the prime example of this, but many figures are articulated in some way.  With how many adult collectors there are, it is easy to forget that action figures are designed to be played with as much as they are for display.  The more articulated a figure is, the more it can be played around with and the more poses it has as well.  One of the most common misconceptions people who do not collect figures might have is that figure collectors play with their figures like children do.  While this is totally valid if you want to do it, I think many figure collectors do not play with figures in that sense at all.  Instead, they like to try and pose the figure in different ways and try to create displays with the figures as well.  In many ways, this is perhaps a more adult form of playing with the figure, but I think this is one of the biggest appeals of figures as a whole.  Every review I write, I enjoy messing around with the figure to see what it can do and share that information with you the reader.  While this appeal is limited to action figures, it is still something that is really fun and one of the best parts of collecting figures.


To Use Your Amiibo in Games – While I could go in great depth here about what Amiibo can and cannot do, if you decide to collect Amiibo, one fun aspect of them is that you can scan them and use them in games.  Some have more usefulness than others (check out some of the Amiibo reviews on the site to see more details on this), but it is definitely fun to scan your Amiibos and unlock things even if it is just a skin like in Super Mario Maker or Yoshi’s Woolly World.  Perhaps my favorite Amiibo usage so far is the Pixel Toad mode in Captain Toad Treasure Tracker.  I love that game as it is, but scanning the Toad Amiibo (and having Toad yell at me in his high pitched voice!) to unlock an extra mode and way of playing the game was so much fun that I used it on every level I could.  If you buy Amiibo and with how common many Amiibo have become, this is a great way to enjoy the figures and it makes having a large collection rewarding too.

Mario and Luigi Nendoroid Height Comparison

To Display – If you ever search figure collection on Youtube, you will find thousands of videos of collectors showing off their collections to the world.  Having a nice display is something that gives you a lot of satisfaction and is one of the primary draws of figure collecting.  Yes, they take up a lot of space, but when you see all of those Mario characters together or create a beautiful scene with your Nendoroids, it makes all of your money that you spent and effort putting the display together seem completely worth it.  Displays are something I don’t get to write about as much on the site as I like, but whenever possible, I try to put them together and bring these types of articles to you, because they are really fun to make and one of the most rewarding aspects of the hobby.

World of Nintendo Cat Luigi and Toad Amiibo
Toad is about to learn his first lesson about cats: never touch their tail!

To Photograph – This builds off of the display idea, but if you like taking pictures at all, figures are a great way to scratch that itch or to develop your skills.  I have become better at taking pictures thanks to working on this site and I am always looking for ways to improve my skills more and to bring you as cool of pictures as possible.  Setting up figures and coming up with new ideas to pose and display figures comes along with this too.  There is some incredible work done with figure photography as well.  I have included a sample picture that I’ve done, but there are people with way more talent in this area than me.  This is another aspect of the hobby that I love and it keeps me coming back to figure collecting day after day.

Evilos Custom Amiibo
Image courtesy of:

To Customize – The final way that I think many people enjoy figures is by customizing them.  I do not do this because I don’t have the time or the wherewithal to do so, but I know people have been customizing Amiibo ever since they started and the results are impressive.  If you have experience with miniatures or models, this is a side of the hobby that could be really fun for you.  It is time consuming I imagine but the results speak for themselves.  Even if you can never customize a figure yourself, you can always buy them from places like Ebay and it gives you a chance to admire these specially made and unique figures too.  That brings us full circle to the beginning of this article and shows you just how varied and enjoyable owning figures can be.

I hope this article helps shed some light on why figures are a lot of fun to buy and own.  If you ever see a figure that catches your eye and you can afford it, buy it and see what you end up doing with it.  Maybe posing it is what you enjoy or maybe taking it out and creating a scene from a Nintendo game, movie, or TV show is what you enjoy.  There are tons of ways participate in figure collecting and all it takes is owning a figure or two and you’re well on your way.  Have questions about figure collecting?  Are there other things that you enjoy about owning figures?  Be sure to let us know in the comments below!



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