I’ve been in the sixth scale hobby for over 8 years. One consistent observation I made over the years is that the hobby is predominately male orientated; however, there are women who collect one sixth scale action figures as well. Interesting isn’t it? The majority of the genres/themes represented by sixth scale brands/manufacturers within the hobby are geared towards men. In recent years, the genres/trends evolved where women are joining the hobby.
How and why is that so? Generally speaking, there are a variety of hobbies where the hobbyists are predominantly and primary female centric and male centric in. There are some hobbies where the participation female and male collectors are normal and routine. For example, let’s look at the hobby of collecting comic books. The comic book collecting hobby steadily evolved over the years where it is now actively enjoyed by female collectors because comic book publishers addressed a variety of titles aimed to attract and bring in more female readers as well as from a business and creative standpoint.
What Draws Females To Collect Action Figures?
With regards to women who collect sixth scale action figures, who are they? What about the sixth scale hobby drew them? What do they enjoy about the hobby? These are just some of the questions raised. I belong to and participate in a few online sixth scale discussion groups and seen female members participate as well. The One Sixth Society is no exception. Depending on a particular subject discussion, female members participate from time to time ranging from lurkers to active participants that are no different from male members.
To obtain insight from women who collect one sixth scale action figures within the One Sixth Society discussion group, I posted a series of questions in an open discussion thread. The questions are based on general observations made over the years within the sixth scale hobby from a variety of discussion groups. A number of female members within One Sixth Society responded to the questions posted. In order to accurately and properly their responses, I’ll post the questions with each individual’s response.
PLEASE NOTE: The responses from the participants have been edited for clarity, grammar, prose, and spelling.
Now Lets Get into the Minds of Female One Sixth Scale Collectors
What inspired/motivated you to collect sixth scale figures?
I’ve collected Barbie dolls and STAR WARS dolls since I was a little girl. What really got me interested in the official 1:6 figures was the AVENGERS line of figures by HOT TOYS. The Black Widow figure in particular as she was one of the first female figures I had seen that really nailed likeness and also was a believable sized body.Karen
Since the age of 14 I’ve always collected toys and figures from different toy companies. It wasn’t till 2009 that I discovered the world of 1:6. My husband and I were at a collectible warehouse called Frank & Sons. While browsing around I came across a Hot Toys figure and immediately stopped. I couldn’t believe how life like the figure looked, I was instantly hooked. We now own nearly 200 1:6 figures.Kristine
I’m inspired and motivated by arts and movies.Myla
I’ve been a doll collector for a long time. I sew doll clothes and paint Asian ball jointed doll (BJD) heads as a second job. I recreate movie and TV costumes in one third (1:3) scale. I’m obsessed with getting as realistic a pose and costume as possible. I was highly impressed with the amount of detail in the 1:6 scale figures. It’s probably the posing that draws me to the 1:6 scale and I do like that I can have three times as many figures in the same space (compared to a 1:3 scale BJD)! There are a lot of props available as well and I am all about the accessories.Pam
What do you specifically enjoy/like about the sixth scale hobby?
I’ve always been fascinated with figures that capture a particular person’s likeness. So I love to be able to collect 1:6 representations of my favorite movie characters. I love that you can either buy a really well made figure or play Dr. Frankenstein and assemble your own from quality parts. I also love how helpful the community is and how you can meet people that like the same characters and give great advice!Karen
The main and most important thing I enjoy about the sixth scale hobby is all the amazing people I’ve gotten to know. Meeting collectors from all over the world too right down the next city. Being able to share and exchange photos, ideas, and projects with everyone is truly amazing.Kristine
I enjoy the creativity.Myla
I like the diversity of figures. It’s not just movie stars and super heroes. The multitude of military and historical figures is numerous. There seems to be something for everyone.Pam
What don’t you like about the sixth scale hobby?
The expense of the figures is increasing at a rather steady rate. I also worry about how long pieces in my collection will stay in good shape. I have 35 year old Barbie dolls that are in excellent condition, so it puzzles me that I hear reports of Hot Toys figures deteriorating in just a few years. That hasn’t happened to me yet and I hope it doesn’t any time soon. I also don’t like how some members of the community can be so negative and express really unpleasant opinions on posts where people are just trying to share something they’re proud of.Karen
I dislike how competitive this hobby can be. Whether you have 500 figures or just five, we should all be treated equally. I also dislike the collectors who feels it’s okay to steal another artist work by recasting their art and selling it at a lower cost. These figures are not cheap and we should appreciate and respect the art.Kristine
I like 1/6 hobby because it’s just fun for me.Myla
I understand the difficulty in keeping female characters from looking clunky and hiding the joints. I’d love to see a WWII and a 70’s version Diana Prince and more Amazons, Queen Cleopatra, more female Xmen, and a realistic line of Geisha. Omg those would be insanely fun to pose, wig and dress.Pam
Do you find it awkward when discussing/engaged in the sixth scale hobby that is predominantly male orientated?
No, it doesn’t bother me at all.Karen
It definitely can be awkward at times because as women we are underestimated in this male dominated hobby. Being treated like well, “A girl who doesn’t know anything.” There’s a very small group of us females who collect and I feel sometime we are judged more on our looks rather than having a discussion about the hobby.Kristine
No, I don’t feel awkward that it’s predominantly men.Myla
No. I treat all collectors the same. I have a pretty wicked sense of humor and having worked in fandom for a while. I engage with male collectors in lots of different areas. Every obsession is personal. Every collection is driven by personal likes and personality. I actually love to hear men talk about dolls. Call them action figures if you like, but it’s all clothing, shoes and accessory talk. Like telling your best friend where you got that awesome purse!Pam
What are your general overall thoughts on sixth scale female figures?
There aren’t enough of them. I’d love to see more versions of popular female characters. If they can make 20 different versions of a Stormtrooper, they surely can make a few more versions of Princess Leia or even Padme.Karen
I feel female figures are improving slowly. I’ve noticed the different throughout the years on the facial details. The paint application as well as the rooted hair is much improved.Kristine
I think 1:6 female figures are just as good as male 1:6 figures.Myla
I like the smooth one piece bodies as long as they are realistic, but having collected Asian ball jointed dolls for so long I am not offended by a visible joint. If possible, I truly wish the makers would use real rooted hair please! I really dislike plastic rooted hair even on the male figures. I have dozens of wigs for my ball jointed dolls and change them often. It keeps the hobby fresh. I prefer a realistic body so Barbie never appealed to me. I don’t have a problem with a sexy figure but vulgarity is not attractive to me. I get that women come in many shapes and sizes. Being busty and curvy myself, I don’t have a problem with large bust lines on figures IF that is how the figure has been depicted in its media. I like a curvy figure because I have one. It’s just a piece of plastic after all.Pam
What do you not like about sixth scale female figures?
Some of the photos I’ve seen of the Phicen figures are kind of creepy. I prefer a realistically proportioned female figure and not Jessica Rabbit, but then I am a girl. Also, throughout the years many companies give the female characters much less thought than their male counterparts. I remember purchasing a Sideshow Princess Leia a few years ago and she had this large pumpkin head. Is it really that hard to scale a female character correctly?Karen
The facial expression on the female figures is something I highly dislike. Y ou can notice a pattern with them all. They tend to have the “DUH” look on them. I feel as have they been giving slight different facial expressions, they would look better. A nother is th repetitive female characters being mass produced. Give us more female characters and not just the same ones over and over.Kristine
It doesn’t really matter if it’s male or female as long as I like it.Myla
I don’t like visible joints, but I can deal with them though. It’s about camera angles and clothing placement to hide them. I’ve been doing it for years with ball jointed dolls. In my experience, feminine hands are not the norm in 1:6 though there has been progress there. I’d love some more casual/relaxed hand poses and something other than holding a gun or hanging limp. I think many female figures need better articulation in the wrists for more feminine posing. I do wish manufacturers would include bare high heeled feet and bare flat feet with female figures. I like to redress my figures and would like to put heels on them sometimes. Matching vinyl feet from the same casting would be awesome.Pam
What do you believe will encourage more engagement/participation by female sixth scale collectors into the hobby?
I think creating more figures that women can relate to would help. It would be nice if the clothing for figures and even the hair could be stepped up a notch. I always look at the hair when collecting a figure. Let’s face it. HOT TOYS has big hair issues. I’ve never understood how a $35.00 Barbie doll can have better hair than a $225.00 Black Widow figure.Karen
I feel as if more female collectors spoke out and showed their collections, that it may encourage others to get involved. Maybe introducing ourselves on a thread and getting more involved in discussions, may work? If men didn’t pose their dolls naked and in weird sexual positions, I believe it wouldn’t scare off a lot of female collectors. That is extremely creepy and may cause women to think twice about getting involved in this community. I’d love to see more women voice their opinions on topics regarding interesting threads and manufactured defects.Kristine
I don’t really know. Perhaps, different strokes for different folk?Myla
Seriously, I believe more marketing to young girls is needed because they have been bombarded for years with fashion dolls and cartoon figures. DC Super Hero Girls is a good start and might be something that could be built upon to move them from play dolls to figure collector. There is a point as a girl where we move from leaving dolls laying around half dressed to getting them perfect and setting them on a shelf. Identifying that moment and marketing to it would be worth exploring. Price point is important because ‘tween girls don’t have their own income and the parents are in charge of purchases. Some sort of family collector dynamic might work.Pam
Do you believe that some offerings from sixth scale brands/manufacturers need to be catered for female collectors? If yes, then why and if no, then why?
Yes, I think it would be nice to make characters that appeal more to females. I love my Captain America collection but would like to see a brand like Hot Toys learn how to create quality clothing and more becoming female bodies so they could do something like a Queen Amidala or even Marilyn Monroe.Karen
I don’t believe any brands need to cater to female collectors. Companies like Cotswold Collectibles (Elite Brigade) have plenty of merchandise that caters to female figures. You can find plenty of 1:6 accessories to fit your need regardless of gender.Kristine
No, I don’t believe so.Myla
No, not really. Make good products and we will buy them. I’m attracted to 1:6 figures for all the same reasons men are attracted. I love Superman too! Though knowing what figures appeal to women is important. Who do they talk about? Who do they aspire to be? Who do they respect? Who did they want to be as little girls? Isn’t that what the markets use for the decisions they make? I personally don’t want to be treated differently than male collectors. I do think the places to market might do with some rethinking. We aren’t looking in the same places as men. There are some fine doll magazines online that would be a good start.Pam
Well, there you have it; a very enlightening collection of responses directly from women who collect sixth scale figures. It provides pause to contemplate the different and similar perspectives about the sixth scale hobby indeed.
I want to personally thank all the female participants who took the time to respond to the questions for this article.
Happy Collecting to all genders!