How To Display Action Figures and Collectibles
So you have a great action figure collection but you wonder how should you display it? Well there are a few things to consider. The first will be the space you have and the amount you have to display. You may have too many to display all at once and you may need to rotate your display the way museums rotate their exhibits. This is after all Your Action Figure Museum and you should treat it that way.
Another factor to include is will the action figures be out loose or Mint On Card (MOC) or Mint In Box (MIB). Packaged action figures will take up more room and may require a different approach to how you display them.
Take a good look at what the others here have done with their collections. There are some great ideas here on this board and others like it on the Internet. Most collectors like us have tried one thing or another so you can learn from our experience.
Here is what my room evolved into over the first 10 years of my collection.
It was basic open bookcases, I then added wood shelving and then glass shelving. It was basically putting up whatever I could afford as I needed to put it up. It served me well for many years but there was no common design flow and everything was everywhere. It ended up looking too cluttered. Since collections start small and tend to grow over time I think many others have had similar experiences. Measure Twice, Cut Once:
So my collection got taken down and put in storage for a few years and I started looking for a new way to display the collection. I looked at other people’s collections. I looked at home improvement stores and custom display systems designed for action figures and collectibles. I read reviews of different systems and when I decided what I wanted to use I bought one to try out.
I drew up a scale floor plan to make sure everything fit where I wanted it to fit. It is easier to move things around on paper than to do it for real. Take pictures of your space and the things you want to use. The human eye looks at real life one way and still life (pictures) another. I took thousands of digital pictures as I worked on my room. It not only documented the progress but also allowed me to see it differently and put things in perspective. Bookcases:
I like wood, so I had custom bookcases made. While I got them from a small local store they were actually made in another State and shipped to me. I like ones with glass doors on the front and think they look the best. They will also help protect you collection from dust. An open loose collection on an open shelf will collect dust
Another consideration was Hurricanes. I had real wood bookcases made. Yes, they are more expensive but they are also a lot stronger than any particleboard laminated bookcase you get in most stores.
Having had to take down the collection (when it was much smaller) twice I wanted something that would protect the collection and not need to be taken down. If you live in an area that gets hit but severe storms you may want to take this into consideration.
Bookcases do not need to be big and deep to be effective. Here Andy
has great simple clean design that does not take up too much depth.
Bookcases don’t have to be all wood either. Here Westy
has a great example of all glass cases. Perfect for lighting and not creating too much shadow.
My Avengers Shelf
My X-Men Shelf
My Spider-Man Shelf as it currently stands.
How The Spider-Man Shelf used to be
Statue Size Things Shelf.
Marvel U Shelf
DBZ Shelf (It's mainly Vegeta)Tiered Stands:
A tiered display is nothing more than putting your display on a set of steps. This is perfect of putting many more figures on a shelf and still be able to see them all. You will need to take into consideration if you will use figure stands or not. Some figures like DC Direct and series JLA and others have stands that come with the figures. The stands look great but will take up more space.
I used a Display System I
from Mini Mag Stands
(I did a review on this board) These are made of metal and powder coated. The ones I used were made in a custom width for my bookcases. There are many other tiered systems out there in solid plastic and clear acrylic and other material that will work well too.
Originally I had expandable plastic tiered trays that are for use in a pantry. They were my first attempt at “stadium seating” for my display. I got them at a kitchen tool store but you can find other places I would guess too.
They are white and fit in well and could be painted any color. I use them in my new room too. Only I glued a few of them together and cut two of the into a corner section and put JLU on them.
These plastic stands come in different sizes and the ones the JLU now stand on are larger ones that G.I. Joe used to stand on.
This shows how shallow a normal book case is compared to the custom bookcases and how the Mini Mag Stands Display System I hangs out over the shelf.Figure Stands:
To use stands or not depends upon your preference and you shelf space. The system I use is metal so I can use small magnet stands from Mini Mag Stands to hold them firmly in place. I also glued some of my JLU directly to the plastic display they stand on. I did not want a domino effect massive fall so I compromised. I don’t suggest you glue your figures down, but it works for me. Shelving:
If you are going to use shelving I recommend glass over wood or solid shelving.
Glass shelves will let the light filter down and look to take up less space than solid ones do. They also just look better.
The same is true for glass shelving in bookcases. Also glass shelves low to the ground will not block out what is below them like a solid shelf will.
Here is a great example of a simple shelf set up from NiteOwl
It’s simple to put up and I like the figures like Spider-man hanging upside down and others flying along the edge.Large Items:
If you have a huge playset you can use a Sofa Table. These tables usually go behind a sofa but I used one for the huge Batman Forever BatcaveHanging Displays:
Hanging things takes up a new thought process too.
I hung Star Trek Starships and Batwings and such from the ceiling. I hung them above 6 foot 2 or 3 inches so most people will walk under them (I'm six feet tall) or I hung them close to a bookcase so nobody would walk under it. The last thing you want is somebody to lean over to look at something on a low shelf and then stand up and knock out something hanging. Sorting Things Out:
So how do you sort out your action figures? That is up to your preferences. You can sort them by series like all JLA or Legends Of Batman or whatever.
You could sort them in order. I sorted my Star Trek figures in chronological order based on the different TV series. The original series followed by Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and then Voyager.
Maybe sort them by teams like Justice League or Teen Titans, Avengers, X-Men, Green Lantern Corps. Like what Jackknight
Or like what supermarvel1
did with these.Summary:
The best advice is to take your time and look at every option you can. Plan it all out before you start work and everything should be fine. In my case I ordered too many of the Mini Mag Stand displays as I did not take into consideration height issues in the bookcases. They also built some of the bookcases a ˝” less deep than others and the Mini Mag Stand displays would not fit and I had to trim some of them to fit. I also decided that glass shelving would look better for my Batmobiles so I will change out the Mini Mag Stand displays currently holding them one day.
So be flexible with your plans as they may change once you start working on it.
Good LuckMore Resources: http://www.ehow.com/how_2283183_display-action-figure-collection.htmlhttp://www.helium.com/items/677760-action-figure-collecting-action-figure-display-ideashttp://actionfigures.about.com/od/displayingyourcollection/Displaying_Your_Collection.htmhttp://www.poeghostal.com/2009/01/review-action-figure-displays.htmlhttp://www.minimagstands.com/shop/http://www.collectingwarehouse.com/Product-Home-Page/Action-Figure-Stands?gclid=CJ2w2JyBhJ4CFdpb2godMxAgowhttp://www.theearthtoymall.com/decl3toyacfi.htmlhttp://www.smalljoes.com/apex-action-figure-collectibles-display-case.shtml