Observations about scale 🧐

Sgt301

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I have two grandsons, one is 4 1/2 and his older brother is almost 6. For Christmas I got them both 4 inch GI Joes from the retro collection and also one each of the 6 inch Joes (Duke & Flint) They already had some 1/18 scale and GI Joe vehicles like the awe striker and other brands that fit 4 inch or 1/18 figures. What I have noticed is that other than the initial opening of the larger figures on Christmas morning the smaller figures are getting more play. I think the vehicles make a big difference and give their imaginations the little boost to put 1/18 over the top. Any of you guys with kids or grandkids have a similar story?
 
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ThunderDan19

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I think your observation on the impact of having vehicles to use with the figures making a big difference in playability is spot on. The 6” figs display better, but there’s a reason the 3-4” figures have been the standard since SW set the bar back in the late 70’s and GI Joe raised it in the 80’s. That scale is practical for allowing toy companies to produce affordable, close to scale vehicles for use with the figures. The 6” scale displays better, but will never allow for the variety of vehicles that the “just right” 4” scale does.
 
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nacho

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My kids were not "action figure" kids like we were growing up, despite all my subtle efforts, but they did play with them some. Our house has a plethora of 4" and 6" figures, and the times they did play with them, the 4" definitely got more attention. I think the reasons are varied though.

1) I had more 4" stuff I was willing to let them play with
2) they got mostly 4" stuff when I gave them figures as presents
3) the things they were interested in (Iron Man, Indiana Jones, Justice League Unlimited) were mostly only available in 4" scale at the time
4) the vehicles and playsets certainly helped, and even adding extraneous stuff like Schleich, Playmobile, and dollhouses likely made 4" scale more attractive than 6".

But to take your point to another level, lego got infinitely more play than all the action figures put together. Both kids preferred that even-smaller scale to anything 4" or 6" when it came to playtime. When the X-Men Sentinels are using Castle Grayskull as a prison to hold the angry birds and ninjago ninjas hostage and have to get rescued by the guardians of the galaxy... and it's all in-scale more or less, that's when you've reached toy nirvana as a kid.

And even for me, messing with Mega figures and making Joe stuff out of them has probably brought me more toy-joy in the last few years than anything in the larger scales.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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NSA

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Where my 1/32 boys at???

But yes, 4" definitely lends itself better than 6" or 12" things.. though girls don't seem to have a problem with their Barbies and doing tea parties etc. I guess maybe boys have an deep need to make big battlefields'?

And true about Legos, legos get a lot of play.. for most of the same reasons. My sons also liked the little green army men, where you could setup full battles and setups.

Wonder if it has to do with little hands/etc? Need small scale over large scale?
 
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nacho

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SW destroyed 8" & 12" stuff because it added the possibility of reasonably sized vehicles and playsets, which were as iconic as the figures themselves in some cases. Then Joe added all the articulation anyone could possibly ask for at any scale in 1982 and made SW look like trash.

Had we gotten 1/32 figures like Mega from our favorite franchises back in the day with that level of articulation (as opposed to static green army men), I suspect it would be the dominant scale. The possibilities for larger vehicles, playsets, battlescapes, etc would have shamed the "big" 3-3/4 Joes. Add in the durability and ease of customization for the little guys, and you end up with a play-value that smokes everything else.

The problem I have with 4" these days is that it's the jack of all trades, master of none. If I could only have one scale of figures for my entire lifetime, 4" is what I'd pick. But these days, I can get similar small-scale goodness in an even smaller, more fun scale, and I can get hyper-detail and realism in larger scale(s), thus leaving 4" in the odd position of being a great compromise yet the best at... absolutely nothing.
 
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NSA

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Yeah I can see that.

The detail on the POC Joes and beyond plus the Joytoy and other specialty figures really made me reconsider what CAN be done at the 4" scale. Even some of the customs people were doing in 2009-2010 had some great detail.

The Megablocks guys are certainly miles ahead of Lego, but still leaves some things to be desired. Realistically it's got about as much detail as you'd need in that size though.

I think some cool detailed 12" Hot toys or whatever would be neat, if I had a big display case of nerd stuff.. but in my real life I have no use for anything bigger than 4" (giggity).
 
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nacho

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That's how I feel about 12"+ stuff. Too much size and cost, and it doesn't increase my enjoyment of said character or property. I'm sure Sideshow / Hot Toys figures are unmatched in detail and realism... I just don't care.

I like 6" stuff to display simply because I have a ton of bookshelves, and I can use the space in front of the books to display figures, and they show up great across the room. 4" figures just disappear and look like clutter. 6" figures look like they're there with purpose.

No doubt, the mega scale stuff isn't nearly as detailed as modern 4" or 6", but they have as much (or more) detail than ARAH Joes, and that's good enough for me, especially at that diminutive size. Hasbro has proven it doesn't know jack about making bricks, but I would jump all over a non-brick-based 1/32-ish Joe line.... IF it had mega level articulation. 5-PoA little Sigma 6 guys or those weird diecast game-piece figures need not apply.
 
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There are some GI Joe brick scale stuff at 5 Below.

Years ago when I opened the toy rabbit hole… I decided to stick to a scale so I would not accumulate random lines that needed their own display area.

when 6” came along I had no faith that they would complete teams, as they weren’t doing that for the 4” stuff in any line. They got better over time but actually building dioramas was the breaking point.

6” or larger get a wall background, while there is more fexablity for smaller scales.

Even Hasbro is learning that vehicles or creatures at the larger scale may be price prohibited.
 
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Sgt301

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All of my 1/32 is packed up in the shed. A lot of it is from the 60’s to 70’s stuff, Airfix, Marx, Werner, Timmee, etc… I scarfed up some 21st century armor and a few other pieces but all these will have to wait for the boys to get older. I think 7 to 10 years old is the best age range for toy soldiers. I plan on introducing them to a form of war gaming at the same time, based on the classic war game for miniatures by H.G.Wells “Little Wars” 🇬🇧
 
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nacho

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Agreed. I was seven in '82 when Joe debuted and it hit me like a lightning bolt.

TL;DR
Our tiny town (or entire county) didn't have any toy stores, but the local grocery store expanded in late '81/early '82 to include housewares and had 2-3 isles of toys, pretty novel back then. Being a small town and having no fear of weirdos, my mom would turn me loose, and I'd just stand in the "boy" isle for 45 minutes while she did the weekly grocery shopping. When Joe came out, right next to the MOTU stuff, I looked at those boxes and thought to myself, "Well, I am seven now, not a little kid anymore. It's about time I started learning army stuff." In my little head, it wasn't remotely sci-fi, just toys of war, things I NEEDED to be familiar with if I was going to grow into a man.

Trippy, looking back.
 

Sgt301

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Agreed. I was seven in '82 when Joe debuted and it hit me like a lightning bolt.

TL;DR
Our tiny town (or entire county) didn't have any toy stores, but the local grocery store expanded in late '81/early '82 to include housewares and had 2-3 isles of toys, pretty novel back then. Being a small town and having no fear of weirdos, my mom would turn me loose, and I'd just stand in the "boy" isle for 45 minutes while she did the weekly grocery shopping. When Joe came out, right next to the MOTU stuff, I looked at those boxes and thought to myself, "Well, I am seven now, not a little kid anymore. It's about time I started learning army stuff." In my little head, it wasn't remotely sci-fi, just toys of war, things I NEEDED to be familiar with if I was going to grow into a man.

Trippy, looking back.
Man, you make me feel old, I got married in 1982 😬
 

nacho

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Damn, being born in late '74, I thought I was about the oldest one around here! (aside from K-T, who I always assumed was older). So when did you get into the adult collecting game?

I naturally assume most of us here have a similar story, growing up in the 80's and enjoying the fruits of Reagan's deregulation of the FCC, reveling in the massive toy-boom that followed, getting out of toys in the late 80's when discovering cars and girls, only to come back to it when hitting mid-20's in 200x and having time and disposable income. Your path must be completely different.
 
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ThunderDan19

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Wow, you are just a few weeks(?) ahead of me! I was born 12/74 and have a very similar story, also growing up in the glorious 80's and revisiting collecting in my late 20's. I'm probably more of a pure Joe/military toy fan as I only ever had a few Transformers and zero MOTU toys, and never took to either of those or any of the other major toy franchises to any significant degree. I think I can safely say you have me beat with your collections, particularly since I sold off or gave my kids all my 25th Joe stuff and have started selling off my attic dwelling 1:6 figures.

I have a pretty nice little collection of 1:18 modern military vehicles and aircraft, some 1:24(?) diecast vehicles, some McFarlane Military figs and some 1:48 and 1:72 plastic model kits in my home office. I have my Joe Classified, a couple Marvel Legends (leftovers from a larger collection that I gave to my youngest daughter), a few Joe Pop characters and various smaller scales of diecast planes, tanks and such displayed in my work office cube.

At this point, the only thing I am actively collecting is Joe Classified, but am always a sucker for any realistic, scaled military plastic or diecast vehicles or figures I run across.
 
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Sgt301

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I was born in the early 60’s and grew up with the original GI Joe and army men. My dad was in the army and I loved anything military. I got too big for toys about 12-13 when my dad introduced me to hunting and my brother inherited my toys. I got married and joined the army at the age of 18 and ended up at Fort Polk Loosiana 😉 One day my wife and I are walking through the Walmart in Leesville and I see Airfix Toy soldiers in 1/72 scale?!?! These were the same figures I used to buy in Germany at a little toy store just off the base when my dad was stationed there. I held the 82 Joes in contempt because of their departure from reality with leotard wearing chicks shooting laser guns 😑 I did buy them for my nephew who wanted them for Christmas, but I pitied the kid for not having “real” Joes to play with 🙂 When 21st century came along I was more established in my LEO career and with careful “financial” planning I collected a little bit of everything. My wife always told me “I wish you’d pick one thing and collect that!” I have dabbled in guns, gear, toys etc… I have bought bulk toy soldiers on clearance and sold the extras to support my habit. After going whole hog after 1/6 scale I soon learned that it was just too big and took up too much room. I started going after the realistic looking Joes to beef up my 1/18 army and the smaller vehicles meant I could have tanks and APC’s on my book shelf. I have quite a bit of stuff boxed up in my shed and with two grandsons 4 and 5, plan on releasing these toys to them over time as they can appreciate them. I have some items they’ll have to wait for a while to get (my death ☠️) 😉 The thing that I remember most about 21st Century was the extreme range of topics and scales they covered, I wanted them all 😬
 

nacho

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Yep Dan, I'm a 12/74 also...

Sgt, we definitely didn't feel gypped by having 4" joes. We scoffed at the barbie-sized stuff that looked big and old. Star Wars really conditioned our generation to love the smaller scale. And while 80's Joe wasn't actually realistic, to a little kid, it had just enough realism yet felt "cutting-edge". We didn't know better, and it was hella-fun.

While my kids totally did not give two shakes about Joe, I tried hard to give them that same thrilling action-figure childhood that we had in the 80's. It was a glorious time to be a kid, and I don't think Dan and I could have timed it better than being 7 when ARAH came on the scene.
 

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My cousin had the AT stuff, & I inherited the base & 6 wheeled jeep although any actual 12" figures stayed with my other cousin because of Barbie.

That's why I have a love of the Aventure Team stuff, sold off the club official stuff at the right time, but kept my custom stuff.
 
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ThunderDan19

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Sgt, It's funny that you mentioned 21st Century as their 1:6 scale offerings were some of the first collecting I did as an adult, the first time I ever collected 12" action figures. It was them, a few of the early 2000's GI Joe 12" figs, some World Peacekeepers and even a couple of the pricier BBi 12" figs, if I could find a "deal" on them. I even had (have) the Bradley, a couple AH-6s, and a few other vehicles that 21st and GI Joe offered back then. I really liked the authentic look most of those companies were going for with many of the figures/vehicles and pretty much avoided the more cartoony offerings.

But, like you mentioned, they were too big and took up an entire (small) bedroom office. And, when our firstborn came along and that became a nursery, they went into storage, never to be revisited until I finally let my kids get them out, recently, now that they won't destroy them entirely. It's amazing they held up as well as they have being stored in minimally conditioned attic storage all these years!

It does say something that I held onto them, never selling any until recently and never disposing of them. I appreciate them for there attention to detail (most of them at least) and their attempts at replicating the real deal, but I definitely see the limitations of the real cloth uniforms and the hard to scale kits and such. Plus, they are all pretty dated now, as camo patterns, gear and even some of the weapons have moved on.

When we moved to central VA and a larger house, and I got a home office again, it was right around that glorious time when BBi was putting out some pretty excellent 1:18 scale vehicles and aircraft. So I got all the ones I liked from those collections (quite a few on clearance at Tarjay!). Along with the 21st Super Cobra and the Spotcat I won (major award!) on here, they are my hanging collection in my (permanent, for now at least :LOL:) office in our current house. They really are the right scale for decent detail, without making a room completely unusable for anything else, and typically get some wows when people see them.
 
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Sgt301

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At one time or another I tried to display a 1/6 Stuart tank, the 1/6 M3 White scout car and a couple Hasbro jeeps. My wife didn’t think that was a good idea. I still have a RC Stuart tank that needs repair and the jeeps as well out in the shed. Unfortunately I sold the white scout car because frankly someone offered me over $400 for it. I still had the box and all the accessories in great condition. I almost picked up a 21st century toys prototype 1/18 white scout car on evilbay but the bidding went to a crazy place. Man, if they had only lasted a few more years 🥲