McFarlane Toys (formerly Todd Toys) changed the action figure game in the mid-’90s by introducing larger articulated sculpts of human characters in the 6-7″ range starting with Todd McFarlane’s own property of Spawn. I count this scale as differing from Mego’s clothed 8″ figures which are cousins to 12″ G.I.Joes and Barbies. While the new figures didn’t feature more articulation than their smaller brethren, there was no denying the larger size allowed for greater detail and paint applications that brought the characters to life. Product complexity has since grown, as well as competition from newer companies, to the appreciation of the consuming public.

My grievance about this scale (across all companies) is their construction using seemingly softer plastics. Often when trying to turn a pin & socket joint like a wrist or bicep, I’m fighting against pieces that have expanded together in warmer weather; or layers of acrylic paint that decrease the already-tight space between the pieces. Worst-case scenario is paint having melted together between the joint pieces. Sometimes even the ‘freezer trick’ (putting a figure in the freezer for twenty minutes to stiffen the plastic to better resist torque) is of no help. So I end up with money out the window and the grief of broken limbs from twisting a joint beyond its tolerance.


Broken limbs, broken hearts

I rarely encounter this annoyance with the hand-sized Star Wars and Joe figures, if ever. It may just be the physics of applied force being distributed more evenly through less material (does that sound right?). I just wish toy companies could invest in a design that utilizes two types of plastics: rigid for the pins and elastic for the sockets; it sounds dirty but it should work. Such a design would certainly raise prices for the consumer, but the design may earn a good rep and decrease a company’s customer service expenses of replacing problematic product.


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