For collectors who open their action figures, setting up a great display to showcase them is a lot of the fun. Getting action figures into arrangements and poses that suit you can be a tiresome and difficult process if you aren't accustomed to doing it. The following tips will help. You'll be posing your action figures like a professional in no time.
Choose the location. The first step in posing an action figure is figuring out where it's going to be displayed. The texture of the surface can have a big impact on whether or not the figure will stand. The space available may limit certain stances or dynamic poses as well. Traits to look for in a display space are flat, non-slick surfaces with plenty of horizontal and vertical space.
Determine if it's safe. Sometimes even the best action figure poses can result in a figure falling over or tumbling. Figures placed up high may fall and get broken. They may also plummet into other dangerous situations. Places to avoid are above TVs or computers, and away from toilets or stoves. Keep them away from difficult to reach areas so that small accessories aren't lost. It also helps to keep them out of the reach of children.
Check the joints. Action figures can't be posed without articulation. And unfortunately, sometimes the very joints that make them poseable also limit their posing options. Loose ankles or shoulders can severely limit your choices, so static poses are more suitable in those cases. Stuck joints are just as problematic, so be considerate of fused wrist or hip joints and plan your poses accordingly.
The Posing Process
Consider balance. The biggest enemy of any good action figure pose is balance. Without achieving the right balance, your figure will always end up on its side. Things like widely set legs or wild extended accessories will make your figures tumble. Using tricks like having a weapon touching the ground or leaning a figure against another figure can really open up the posing options by giving your figure an extra leg to stand on.
It also helps to think of your figure like a seesaw. If one arm is extended out to the side, extend the other arm to give it a better center of gravity. And if all else fails, there are some great poses to consider with figures sitting or kneeling on the ground. These further lower the figure's center of gravity and give it more balance.
Make use of accessories. Figures that just stand around without any action or accessories may be appropriate for huge group displays. But if a figure is being posed on its own, be sure to give it more life by using accessories. Think about how the character would use the accessories and incorporate that into the pose. If it wields a sword, consider having the figure pulling the sword from its holster or lofting the weapon above its head. Be creative with how your figure uses accessories and the pose will be dynamic and catch the eye.
Have figures interact. One way to spice up a display is by having characters with interacting poses. If your figure has an arch-nemesis, create a pose in which they are locked in battle. You can use the other figure to open up the posing options, as there is often more balance in the display and more accessories to include. Don't just have them staring each other down, but actually physically touching in realistic ways.
Perfecting a Pose
Give figures a personality. The primary issue with a lot of displays is that the figures lack any sense of personality. Even with a dynamic pose, sometimes figures don't seem to come to life. Make sure that the pose your figure takes matches the character behind it. Don't have small nimble characters posed like body builders. Instead make their poses look agile and creative. Large muscled characters might look more appropriate with fewer joints being used, looming over other characters.
Notice the details. The most important tip of all is paying attention to the details. One small change can completely change a figure's pose. Try turning a figure's head just a little to the side and suddenly it may have an extra gleam in its eye. Consider twisting a wrist to make a sword approach an enemy at exactly the right angle. Bend a figure's knees slightly to make it look like it's ready to attack. These are all specific examples, but the important thing is looking at your display and seeing what small changes you can make to perfect it.