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Action Figures Vs. Model Kits: What's The Difference?

It's no secret that many people in the Middle East are deeply invested into Pop/Geek culture who love collectibles whether it’s action figures or plastic model kits. The common debate has always been which one is better?

Of course, it will still depend on the individual’s own taste and preferences, but we’re here to break down the differences and give you a clearer view to help you decide.

Let’s get to the nitty-gritty details. What are action figures and model kits?

Action Figures:

An action figure is an articulate character doll (usually with moving limbs and joints and are easily poseable) commonly made out of stiff durable plastic they are often based on characters from films, video games, comic books, and tv series.

One of the most obvious selling points of an action figure is the fact that you are buying a finished product, (without any assembly and usually pre-painted) along with all the expected details.


The most prominent aspects of an action figure are its completeness, the sense of getting something ready and done is what draws collectors to them. Action figures are also made to be played with, having tough and durable whole pieces and rigid joints that sure that figure won't easily fall apart.

Fun Fact: The term ‘’action figure’’ was first used by Hasbro in 1964, to market their G.I. Joe line of toys. The term was coined in order to capture the interest of young boys who opposed playing with dolls, which are more associated with girls’ toys.

Model Kits:

A plastic scale model kit could be a figure, scale model vehicle, scale model aircraft, or anything at all that can be replicated on a smaller scale.

In contrast to an action figure, a model kit comes in several parts that require assembly and are mostly intended for static display or scaled Dioramas. Due to this building process, model kits tend to have levels of difficulty ranging from “snap-on’’ kits which can be assembled straight out of the box-


to a kit that requires specific tools, paints, and cement.


Fun Fact: The first official plastic models were manufactured by Frog in the UK in 1936. However, the utilization of scale models goes back millennia. Ancient tacticians crafted scale models of siege engines, military outposts, and other factors on the battlefield in need of scaled representation.

A plastic model kit gives the buyer sort of a blank canvass where they can express their creativity and imagination to work freely and a sense of control over its building process.


A finished model kit in itself is already very detailed and articulate. How good the modeler is and the amount of time and effort spent on building will also affect the final outcome. People are more likely to add their personal touch or detail to a kit they built themselves rather than an already finished one.

Customized Gold Inner Frame painted via spray cans:


You might say, why buy a model kit when you still have to spend time and effort before you get the finished product? Well, that is actually where the beauty of model kits lies. People usually appreciate something more when they have spent time and effort in the process of its growth with the reward of personal achievement.


Imagine opening your model kit for the first time. Seeing all the tiny parts, the lengthy manual, the many decals might discourage someone from even starting.


However, when you eventually take that first step, cut that first part out of the runner, sand that nub, sticks that decal in and after several hours see their figure come to life in front of them is one of the most amazing feelings in the world.


Knowing that you built it yourself makes you care and appreciate it more.


What can we say?

With an action figure and a model kit with largely the same quality, the action figure would usually cost more. Mainly since the buyer is getting a completed product. Convenience is a luxury these days and that is also true within the hobby and collecting world.

On the other hand, It's easy to get inexpensive, yet amazing plastic model kits as a good introduction to a new hobby, although building certain model kits requires the modeler to invest in some tools, paints and other various supplies. These may be additional costs but they are worthwhile investments which should last a long time.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter if it’s an action model or a plastic model kit. As lovers of pop and geek culture, we all appreciate the craftsmanship dedicated to the characters we love and what matters most is holding something so incredible in our hands that brings us such joy. There is no real division between the love for action figures and model kits as we are all Otakus at heart.

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