Modern collectors are living in a Golden Age of high-end collectibles, whether they be action figures, statues, designer toys, or pretty much anything else the heart desires. As a result, choosing what route to take when starting a collection can be an intimidating proposition. In this article, we’ll specifically be taking a look at just a few of the differences between two popular types of high-end collectibles: statues and figures. While we’ll touch upon some different scales, we’ll mainly discuss 1/3 scale statues and 1/6 scale figures, since those tend to be the most popular sizes for each. Furthermore, although we are technically speaking of any company that produces these items, we are going to concentrate on Hot Toys for the figures and Prime 1 Studio for the statues. These two are some of the heaviest hitters in their respective markets, making them solid representatives in a general sense.
Let’s start with a major category where these two types face off heavily in the minds of many collectors: Cost.
The bottom line is, whether it be a 1:6 scale or 1:4 scale figure, you’re probably going to pay less for it than you would most statues. While even the average Hot Toys Quarter-Scale figure will run you about $600-700, an equally-sized statue by Prime 1 Studio will cost you a bit more, at an average price of $700-900. Not a massive difference, but it can add up over time. That said, a statue will more often than not include several elements that aren’t included with the average figure, such as a highly-detailed environment base that adds weight and presence to the overall product.
The price difference gets more pronounced the bigger, or smaller, you get. An average Sixth Scale figure will cost you between $200-$300, but when we get into 1:3 scale or larger statues, we can very rapidly begin approaching the $1500-3000 price point. Are these highly expensive pieces worth the price? I would argue that they are, but it really comes down to a few things. One of those factors is, well, what type of collector you are. The others we’ll be discussing next on the list.
Sculpt & Paint
This is a tough one for the two mediums to face off on. While both high-end statues and high-end figures have some of the most expertly-done crafting to be found anywhere, it’s somewhat difficult to compare them due to varying factors. Figures like Hot Toys are nearly always sculpted by hand, especially the portraits. Statues, on the other hand, are often digital sculpts. This gives the figures the edge in a subtle way that can be hard to pin down, but not difficult to observe in person. There is something that feels more organic when holding a Hot Toy of, say actor Henry Cavill as Superman, that is imply not present when face to “face” with a Prime 1 statue of the same actor. I’d argue the same can be said about the paint jobs, which tend to look better on figures than statues. Perhaps it’s that the figures are plastic while the statues are often made of polystone, but I definitely favor the final products on the Sixth-Scale figure side of the equation.
This is a big one when it comes to deciding between statues and figures. Collectors can pose and repose a figure as often as they would like, utilizing the articulation to bring as much or as little variety to their display as they desire. Now, that’s not always as much of an option as you would think due to the type of fabric the figure’s outfit is made of, so there is that caveat. Statues, on the other hand, give you one static pose and you’re pretty much stuck with it. There are several companies, Prime 1 being one of them, that will include swap-out pieces for their statues, offering the option to interchange arms, portraits or weapons in a way that does give the piece a different look, sometimes drastically so. Which one is better? This is probably more down to taste than any other category on this list, but I’ll go with statues. Few collectors are as good coming up with a dynamic pose for their figures as the designers of statues are.
This is a brief one, but it should be mentioned. Many collectors are heavily influenced by what comes with the piece they’re buying as much as the piece itself. A barebones release of a figure or a statue can sometimes be perceived as lacking, while a deluxe release with plenty of extras and swap-outs is somehow more “bang for your buck”. With statues, those extras are usually in the form of the aforementioned swap-outs, but 1/6 scale figures include a variety of accessories. These can range from fun items like weapons and additional portraits to a complete second outfit. Sure, changing an arm on a Prime 1 Studio Batman statue is cool, but I’m going to award Sixth Scale figures the win here.
Finally, when the money has been paid and the decisions have been made, there is one final question to ask: “Where is it going to go?” Storage and space is a definite concern for those with collections, whether large or small. Often, this can be the deciding factor when choosing between a 1:6 figure or a 1:3 scale statue. Most statues, especially those in the larger scales, take up quite a lot of room. The same elements that make a Prime 1 Studio piece such a eye-catching display choice can make it difficult to fit on a shelf or even into your room. Alternately, two to three Hot Toys figures will generally fit onto a reasonably small shelf, especially if you pose them in a “museum pose”. So, while figures definitely get the “space” win, it really comes down to “quality versus quantity” and which of the two you prefer.
In the end, and the for the purposes of our arbitrary list, Sixth Scale figures beat out statues. That said, it doesn’t matter what we think! Whether a collector prefers Hot Toys or Prime 1 Studio or any of the other collectible companies out there, there is no wrong choice. There is, however, a right choice, and that is to just buy both!
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