So, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these geek culture/figure reviews… a really long while. I may be a little rusty, but let’s dive in. I wanted to TRY to tackle the age-old ambiguity; what is a doll and what is an action figure? As anyone who’s been told to stop playing with their dolls by their mother, sister, gm, Carlton, or… Colonel Sanders… There’s a fine line between what is a doll and what is an action figure, or is there?

The dictionary defines a doll as…

  1. a small model of a human figure, typically one of a baby or girl, used as a child’s toy.

Whereas an action figure is defined as:

ac·tion fig·ure
  1. a doll representing a person or fictional character known for vigorous action, such as a soldier or superhero. The figure typically is posable, with jointed limbs.

… okay, well that’s no help. Come to think of it, that just adds even more confusion. It just makes doll and action figure interchangeable, at least one way. Few people would consider a Barbie an action figure. Yet I know too many toy dealers and childhood friends who would take personal offense to referring to an action figure as a doll.

In the modern sense, I think doll is typically referred to as a model representing a person, typically between six and eighteen inches with brushable hair, fully dressable with limited poseability. That seems to be the general consensus I get when I ask collectors about the difference.

That satisfied everyone for a long time and honestly, I was even satisfied with that as a collector, for a while, anyway.

Then TBLeague had to go and literally mess the whole thing up!

For those who don’t know, I am a huge fan of Red Sonja. I have the complete first run of her comic series, a graded Conan 23… however there wasn’t exactly a good Red Sonja that I really liked. Either the faces were wonky, the poses were insane, or they were way to suggestive for a guy with kids in the house.

Much to my excitement, TBLeague put out one hell of a figure of her. What’s better, it’s from the Steampunk series that she and many other well known heroes participated in:


I was thrilled and immediately ordered one. Then I waited… and waited… and waited… as action figure collectors have done for a long time, and then she finally arrived:


I pulled her out of the box and… oh boy…

My wife still rags on me for it.


She is completely poseable in every way shape and form, she is an action-based character, but she is also fully dressable. What’s more, she’s completely anatomically correct and I mean completely… something I discovered when removing the sticky plastic that was wrapped around every part of her.

Her skin is a smooth vinyl encasing a metal skeleton. She comes with a highly detailed sword, axe, revolver, shield, an assortment of hands, and goggles.


So what does this one fall under? Action figure? Doll? Some hybrid?

On a quick side note, I do love this figure. (Note: The company that manufactures them, refers to them as figures, so that’s why I am as well.) There are several ways to pose her, several options for display, and the facial sculpt is insanely good, especially around the eyes. They’re not cheap, though. One typically went from $170 new, and now they’re likely closer to $300-400. I do highly recommend picking her up if you’re a fan of the Conan universe or just Red Sonja herself.


So with all that out of the way, I’m curious as to what everyone thinks. What’s your definition of a doll vs. an action figure? What qualifies as which in your minds, and finally… where the heck do these TBLeague figures fall??? Let me know in the comments.


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I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

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Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!


2 Comments on “The Thin Line Between Figure and Doll #ActionFigue #Doll #Opinion

  1. I’m still getting over why she was made anatomically correct, since you seem to suggest they included the privates. I just use doll for girls, action figure for boys, and that usually keeps me from getting yelled at. I’m at the age where I no longer care. I collect Transformers (or did when I was employed and now I’m trying to get a few out because I have too many to enjoy) so it’s a non-issue for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your assumption is correct, they did; nipples and genitals. It was something I discovered because they wrap the entire freaken body in plastic even under the outfit. As a result, it makes weird noises and doesn’t bend correctly, so you need to remove it.
      I typically collect Star Wars/Marvel Legends/MOTU figures, but if a movie, TV show, or Comic I like comes out, I check to see if figures were made for it.


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