Stand! (in the place where your figures are)

As action figures have become more poseable and dynamic, collectors have been looking for ways to pose their figures in more than just the typical “soldier in formation” look. Other figures simply tend to fall over a lot (looking at you, JLU). So it’s not surprising a number of action figure manufacturers and third-party companies now offer a range of ways to get your action figures looking their best.

This is just a quick overview of some of the better-known display stands available for 3 ¾” and 5″-7″ figures.

Marvel Legends “Doop” stands

3687_1So named because it was first included with Marvel Legends’s Deadpool as a way for the accompanying Doop figure to hover, the stand could also be plugged into Deadpool’s back, allowing him to be posed in a mid-air jump or some other attack position.

The stands were an immediate hit and were included with many future ML figures.

Pros

  • Multiple joints w/ tightening screws allows for very creative poses
  • Back plug helps hide the stand
  • Great for flying/jumping poses of all sorts

Cons

  • Only available with aftermarket Toy Biz Marvel Legends figs
  • Screws tend to loosen or break over time
  • Cannot be used on ML figures without plugs or non-ML figures
  • Not very useful for figures smaller than 6″-scale

Whippy Superpose stands

whippy1I’ve discussed these at length in a previous post. These are probably my favorite figure display stands. You can only buy them online, and as far as I know, only through a single eBay seller. But at $4 a pop with $5 for shipping, if you buy four or five of these they’re a great deal.

They’re ostensibly designed for 12″ figures, but they come with a smaller clip that works perfectly for 6″ figures, and thanks to their height, it allows you to pose almost any 6″ figure in a flying/hovering/jumping position.

I’ve also used them to stabilize figures that tend to fall over, such as the Toynami Futurama Robot Devil, or figures that are on my desk and tend to shake when I’m typing.

Even better, since the clips are removable and tightened via screw, you can use them on Doop stands to create the elusive “flying forward” pose.

Pros

  • Available online at decent prices
  • Can be used on almost any 6″ figure
  • Come with two sizes of clips, so can also be used with larger figures such as BAFs

Cons

  • No way to get these at U.S. stores
  • Clips somewhat fragile–don’t tighten them too tightly
  • Not very useful for figures smaller than 6″-scale

McFarlane stands

90259-1These were the first stands I ever bought for action figures, and I still use them to this day. While they don’t offer the sort of dynamic poseability of the Doop or Whippy Superpose stands, let’s face it–you’re probably not going to use those for every single figure in your collection. They’re too expensive and take up too much space.

So what you need for your 6″ figures–if you don’t trust them to stand on their own–is a basic display stand. And for all the qualms I may have had about McFarlane Toys over the years, I can’t deny their display stands are great.

They originally came in black, but now come in a kind of frosted clear. I’ve found the pegs to work with almost any 6″ and 7″ figure, though often the peg holes on some figures (particularly Marvel Legends or DCUC) might be a bit smaller than the McFarlane peg is designed for. However, they’ll almost always fit with just a little pressure, and they’ll be nice and snug. However–don’t try this with female DCUC figures. The feet are simply too small. If you try to put them in, the foot will warp around the peg. I recommend the official DCUC stands for female figures.

Also, the stands are quite flat, which means there’s no noticeable height difference if you’ve got one figure on a stand and a freestanding figure next to it.

The stands are wide and circular, and a figure has to be pretty damned big for the stand not to work (like Ramathorr, for instance). And at $5 for 15 stands on McFarlane’s online store, they’re a fantastic deal.

[One thing to note–the stands don’t work well with Masters of the Universe Classics, because those figures have particularly wide and shallow peg holes.]

Pros

  • Solid display stands that work with almost any 6″-7″ figure
  • Excellent value
  • Very flat

Cons

  • Minimal dynamic posing

Mattel DCUC stands

dscf0022Mattel has produced their own stands for their DCUC and JLU figures. I reviewed the DCUC stands a while back. I never got any of the JLU stands, but you can see some reader comments on them here.

The DCUC stands have many problems. First off, they’re about a quarter of an inch off the ground, which raises your figure unnecessarily high. Almost every stand I got was slightly warped, meaning they’re not flush to the shelf or desk, and therefore, they wobble with the slightest vibration!

They’re also blue rather than clear, which is unnecessarily distracting, and finally, the pegs don’t consistently fit all DCUC figures. While the McFarlane stand pegs are often too big, you only have to use a little force and they’ll fit snugly. The DCUC stand pegs are often too small, which renders them useless.

The only use I’ve found for the Mattel DCUC stands is for female figures–the smaller pegs work better than the large McFarlane ones. (Insert “peg” and “female” joke here.)

The final nail in the coffin is the price. I can get 15 McFarlane stands, all of which will work perfectly for most DCUC figures, for $5. The Mattycollector stands are $12 for 25, not counting shipping.

DCUC stands Pros

  • Branded with “DC Universe” logo
  • Good for the smaller feet of female DCUC figures
  • Can be stacked for easy storage

DCUC stands Cons

  • Are blue
  • Too high off the ground
  • Warped, tend to wobble
  • Pegs do not work with all DCUC figures
  • Overly expensive
  • Minimal dynamic posing

Entertainment Earth Action Figure Stands

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I don’t own any of these, so I can’t speak to their quality, but they appear to be pretty simple in design, and look like they could be the 3 ¾” equivalent of McFarlane stands and the heir to the now-defunct Realstands (see below). I may pick up a set just to see how well they work with female 6″ figures, because right now, I don’t have any smaller stands that are actually flat.

I suspect they’d also make a great option for DC Infinite Heroes and Marvel Universe figures. At $10 for 25 stands, they’re still a better value than Mattel’s JLU stands.

Pros

  • Basic display stand
  • Black goes with anything

Cons

  • Have Entertainment Earth logo on them
  • Minimal dynamic posing

Mini Mag Stands

Mini Mag stands

I hadn’t heard of Mini Mags until I did a search for action figure stands. The stands are magnetic and designed to be used with special metal display stands and risers.

The look particularly useful for 3 ¾” figures, but there are also Super Mini Mags for larger figures.

Pros

  • Small magnets allow for sturdy, close-quarters posing
  • Many different types of rises/display systems
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • Minimal dynamic posing
  • Stands may not be very useful without magnetic display system

Ultarama

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Ultaramas are as much diorama as they are stands. They’re ideal for collectors of Star Wars, JLU, or Marvel Universe figures. The dioramas have a science fiction look to them, and optional backgrounds include Death Star-like hallways and superhero cityscapes.

Pros

  • Are complete dioramas, not just stands
  • Can display multiple figures
  • Optional backgrounds allow for many display options

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Minimal dynamic posing
  • Designed for smaller figures

Realstands

_realstands_rs002lg

Sadly, Realstands recently went out of business when the molds for the stands wore out. But they were quite popular among Star Wars collectors and other fans of 3 ¾” lines, and I recently found they were very useful for Marvel Universe figures.

Realstands were basically the 3 ¾” equivalent of McFarlane stands. I bought a few of them for use with my female and teenage DCUC figures, for which they work pretty well. They also fit my old 1992 Kenner Batman Returns figure nicely, as well as DCIH and Marvel Universe figures.

While they’re no longer produced, you can still find some Realstands at online stores and on eBay.

Pros

  • Relatively cheap
  • Pegs work well on most 3 ¾” figures and female 6″ figures
  • Clear, solid construction

Cons

  • Minimal dynamic posing
  • No longer in production

AFD – Action Figure Displays

afd_6

I reviewed one of these a while back. Basically, these are foamcore display stands that allow you to place your figures in photo-realistic scenes.

They don’t include any pegs, so there’s no way to secure your figures unless you use another stand. However, these are a great way to display your larger figures in a more interesting way than just lining them up on shelves.

Pros

  • Photo-realistic background for your figures
  • Easy construction

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Foamcore not particularly durable
  • No pegs

Stairstep Shelf Organizer

reg-10148

This is one of my favorite display stands–and it’s not even made for action figures. It’s a simple plexiglas shelf organizer. However, it works perfectly as clear risers for action figures. I bought five of these a few months ago, and I plan to get at least five more.

Pros

  • Clear, durable plexiglas construction
  • 18″ width allows plenty of room for many 6″ figures

Cons

  • Somewhat pricey
  • No pegs

Comments now closed (12)

  • "Foamcore particularly durable"

    Is there a "not" missing here or should this be listed under the pros? 'Cause it sounds like a pro to me so far 😛

    The ebay stands sound interesting but a bit pricey. I actually like the uniform look of the DCU ones (and don't mind the blue) but you're right in that unfortunately they just don't FIT all the figures.

    The ones I've really been considering though, are the dioramas. I think they'd look pretty well w/ DCU figures and the only concern holding me back are how they'll look w/ some of the larger BAF figs.

    Think we could get a couple quick pics w/ Desparo or Grundy in front of the one they sent you, Poe?

  • You're right, AH–I added the "not."

    And I'll try to remember to take a photo of one of the BAFs in the AFD diorama, but you're right, they'll probably be too tall, except perhaps for Kalibak.

  • 10.99 isn't bad for those stair-step organizers…I think I'll have to pick up a couple of those!

  • The problem with JLU figures is that they don't have peg holes.

    Most of the female figures do, but not all.

    This is a double problem because JLU figures as a rule, can't stand. Many are actually made so that they can't stand. Why? No one knows.

  • I really like the whippy superpose stands, though I got mine from a different seller:

    http://stores.ebay.com/Kidult-Garden

    One of the stands he (she?) sent me at first was missing a rod, and when I contacted him about it he responded quickly and shipped another one over pronto. With great customer service like that, I've got no problem recommending him!

  • To be honest, I'm not sure–I don't think so. But I've only rarely had a problem where one peg didn't work for a particular figure.

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  • It's pretty obvious, so it's probably more the case you're the first person who felt the need to point it out.