Anime Figures Jargon

The motivation for creating this page is the lack of information about the in’s and out’s of anime figure jargon out there. If you search “anime figures”, you’ll get a page full of online figure stores and a few collector’s sites, but to find an answer on some anime figure vocabulary, you’ll need to dig deeper and possibly not even find an answer. On this page you’ll find explanations and definitions on some of the more common anime figure jargon used, most of them will be familiar to model kit builders and collectors. I can’t guarantee that the answers will be 100% correct, so any suggestions would be welcome in the comment section.

Figma: Figma is a relatively new term in the anime figure world which is actually a trademarked Japanese figure manufacturing company under Good Smile (Figma.jp). The term is now commonly associated with anime figures with multiple articulated joints. Figma figure can be considered to be anime action figures that have various accessories and interchangeable parts.

PVC: PVC or polyvinyl chloride is a type of plastic widely used around the world in a wide range of industries. It is inexpensive, durable and can be made softer and more flexible by adding plasticizers, making it an ideal material for making anime figures and other toy models.

ABS: ABS or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is another commonly used plastic. It is stronger than PVC, but still can be molded. Although I’m not certain, I believe ABS is used for extended or potentially fragile anime figure parts such as long hair and certain weapon molds.

Cold Cast: this most likely refers to cold cast resin (see Resin below), a common plastic that is used to make molds. The term “cold cast” means that no heat was used in the curing of the mold, but usually an accelerator is added while the resin is liquid.

Scale: the ratio of the figure relative to the original character or object. For example, a 1:6 scale figure of a 6′ person would be 12″ tall. The most common figure scales are 1/6 and 1/8; most figure creators base their designs on a 6-feet model, so a 1/6 figure would be 12″ (30cm), and 1/8 figure would be 9″ (23cm) tall. Since smaller scales usually equal larger figures, they tend to have more details incorporated into them by the sculptor – but also tend to be more expensive.

Resin: synthetic resin is a type of plastic that is a viscous liquid that can be hardened to produce molds. Resin anime figures tend to have a somewhat “rougher” or “organic” look to them than ones made from PVC and ABS, however they are much stronger and can accommodate more demanding figure designs (example).  The term ’statue’ or ‘bust’ is more commonly associated with figures made from resin.  If you ever held a resin statue, you’ll also recognize it is much heavier than a similarly sized PVC figure.  Resin statues and busts cost more to manufacture and tend to be more expensive and made in much more limited numbers than PVC figures.

Polystone: Polystone is a mixture of plastic resin and stone powder to give a stone-like finish to a sculpture, but is easier to carve, cheaper and less heavy than traditional stone media. Polystone is a manufacturing medium used for cast sculptures, it is hard to find one that delivers a cleaner, more substantial representation of an original sculpture than a product manufactured in Polystone. Polystone has a significant weight, a porcelain like feel to the touch, and an incredible ability to capture the most minute detail, making it unsurpassed in collectible manufacturing materials.

Garage Kit: Wikipedia can explain this much better than I can ;p Just a word of caution, garage kit figures need to be assembled, glued together and painted. It’s for die hard figure hobbyists only, so think twice about purchasing a kit if you don’t have the time or supplies to put one together.

Nendoroid: A new type of mini anime figures from Good Smile Company, Nendroids are typically cute and super-deformed  (chibi) versions of the original anime characters.  Nendorids are normally not very tall at about 4 inches, making them ideal for displaying on a small counter, window sill or desktop.  Like figma figures, Nendoroids also can have interchangeable body parts and faces.

Revoltech: Similar to figma figures, Revoltech is a line of smaller poesable anime figures from Kaiyodo, although not all of them have interchangeable parts or articulated joints. Revoltech does not have as strong a selection of female anime character figures as Figma but does sport a strong line of mecha figures from series like Big-O and Evangelion, as well as both male and female characters from fighting series like Street Fighter and Fist of the North Star. (Revoltech Japanese homepage)

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