You may never have heard of JDP Designs before, but they’ve heard of you–the action figure collector who wishes they had a better way to show off their figures than just placing them against the same old $20 IKEA shelving or off-white apartment walls. I stumbled upon an article about their Action Figure Displays last week, and I knew I had to investigate.
There have been a few attempts at producing action figure displays, most notably Ultarama. While Ultarama displays are great for figures in the 3″-5″ range, the effect isn’t quite as good with larger figures. Enter JDP Design.
Here’s how JDP, based right here in my home commonwealth of Massachusetts, describe how their idea came about:
In the past we found that toys in advertisements were brought to life through detailed backgrounds, 3-dimensional sets, and dramatic lighting. Without these things, the toys you brought home never had the same impact or presentation. What our toys needed was some sort of themed environment. We searched in stores, online, and in catalogs and found that no one was offering themed displays that would accommodate many different types of toys.
So we took matters into our own hands and decided to create our own action figure display. The display we built dramatically enhanced the action figure and helped create a world for that figure to live in. Because our display worked so well, we started to think about other versions we could make for the rest of our toys. That’s when we started thinking…if we wanted themed displays for our toys, then so would other toy collectors. And the idea for Action Figure Displays was born.
The folks at JDP were kind enough to send along a sample display for review.
They already have a nice variety of backgrounds to choose from, from city alleys and rooftops, to castles, to jungles, to space stations, and to most any professional sports setting you can think of. (In fact, I would think these are a dream come true for McFarlane Sports collectors; I may pick up a baseball one for my dad.)
My review sample was the alley set, which works perfectly with figures such as Batman or the Ninja Turtles. The set comes in pieces but is extremely easy to assemble: you just have to remove the adhesive stickers and push the background board onto them. Flip the set over and you’ve got your action figure display.
Design: Each set is 13½” wide, 7¾” tall and 7¾” deep, so it’s perfect for most 6″-7″ figures (though your BAFs might be a little tall).
There are rubber feet on the bottom of the display for balance, and to keep it from sliding around. The displays themselves are made from foamcore and are very light–you’re not going to have any trouble with weight on your shelves due to these.
One minor drawback is storage; once you’ve put the display together, it’s not going to come apart without some ripping. You can’t just fold it in half and put it away. However, the ripping would be on the back, so it wouldn’t harm the image, and you could easily re-glue the set together later.
Art: The folks at JDP have done a great job creating a backdrop that offers a sense a depth and dimension. I’m not even sure whether this is a photo of an alley or a photorealistic painting (though I suspect it’s the former), but with a figure in front of it, it looks great.
One thing I appreciated is that the printed image isn’t too glossy, so they don’t reflect too much light. That helps both when on display and when you’re taking photos.
Value: You could look at the construction of these and think you could make one yourself with some foamcore, a photo printer, and some rubber feet. But chances are you’ll spend some money doing so, not to mention the time and work put into it–I suspect finding the right high-resolution photo is a lot harder than it looks.
At $20 apiece, these are a pretty good value for those of us without the skill, time, or resources to make our own displays.
Overall: Many of today’s collectors mourn the death of the large-scale playset. Gone are the days of Castle Grayskull, the U.S.S. Flagg and the Technodrome. With these displays, JDP has tapped into collectors’ need for something better to show off today’s modern figures than plain shelving.
Where to Buy: You can order these right off the Action Figure Displays website.
Scroll down for more photos!