The 10 Coolest Action Figures of All Time

<<<see #100 – 11

10. Storm Shadow

(1984 Hasbro G.I. Joe ARAH)

A classic.  His backpack with removable swords and a bow and arrow set the tone for great accessories at such a small scale.  The minute this figure was released in 1984 it became an icon, and it remains an icon with a reputation it certainly deserves.

Why are there so many 3 3/4″ G.I. Joe figures on this list (and in the Top 10 for that matter)? Because they deserve to be. In a time when 5 points of articulation was standard for almost all toy lines, Hasbro shattered the status quo with G.I. Joe. They had the most innovative and intriguing character designs and origins that still hold up to this day.


9. Spider-Man

(1974 Mego The World’s Greatest Super Heros)

The 8″ Mego Spider-Man figure featured Mego’s typical articulation and their signature cloth costume. Of the 70s Mego figures, this particular one stood out as the iconic symbol of the line and of the era.


8. Batman (Hush)

(2004 DC Direct Hush Series 1)

The title character in a line of action figures based on the best-selling Batman story arc “Hush”. Designed by artist Jim Lee and sculpted by Tim Bruckner, this figure captures the gritty essence of Gotham’s hero and came with an interchangeable hand and grappling hook. I’ve always had a soft spot for any Batman figure featuring the classic blue and gray color scheme, and this is arguably the best one ever.

Many fans and collectors regard this figure as the best Batman rendering of all time.


7. Deadpool

(2004 Toy Biz Marvel Legends)

The Marvel Legends line is highly regarded as one of the best of all time by collectors and fans. Classified as “Ultra Poseable” with over 30 points of articulation, this particular offering came with a veritable arsenal of weapons and accessories including sidekick Doop, changeable heads (masked and unmasked Wade Wilson), and a bonus Deadpool #4 comic book.

From the rare Series 6 (along with Juggernaut), this Deadpool may be one of the most sought after and expensive Marvel Legends figures, but he’s absolutely worth it.


6. Zartan

(1984 Hasbro G.I. Joe ARAH)

Speaking of icons… does it get any better than this? He was packaged with his awesome Chameleon swamp skier and an iconic character design, plus his skin turns blue! Removable masks and a backpack to hold them. How can you go wrong? A ground-breaking Joe figure in many ways. Don’t forget about his box of junk!


5. Removable Helmet Darth Vader

(1997 Kenner Star Wars POTF)

This figure was a highlight of the line in the later stages of Power of the Force 2 figures. It was the Vader every fanboy had always wanted to see, the unmasked reveal from Return of the Jedi. For his time he was one of the best Vader figures we’d ever seen.




4. Optimus Prime

(1984 Hasbro Transformers G1)

According to the Transformers Wiki page: Since 1984 Generation 1 Optimus Prime has received the largest number of toys for any single Transformers character, a testament to the character’s enduring popularity and status as a hero to many fans.

TimDogg from The Cold Slither Podcast cited this as his favorite childhood toy on EP13 of their show, and we agree with his enthusiasm. This toy could be considered more of a playset than an action figure, but since other G1 Transformers made this list we felt obligated to include Optimus – and feel he deserves a spot in the top 10.


3. Skeletor

(1982 Mattel Masters of the Universe)

  • What the contributors say about Skeletor:
  • One of the most iconic villains of the 80s.
  • He’s MOTU and it’s a bad guy w/ a skull for a head. Can’t top that icon.
  • Only MOTU figure I had as a kid.
  • MOTU wasn’t necessarily my favorite, but it was absolutely iconic with many, many fans out there.  He’s gotta be high on this list.


2. Boba Fett

(1979 Kenner Star Wars)

He debuted in the much maligned Star Wars Christmas Special, two years before Empire Strikes Back hit theaters. He captured Han Solo. He talked back to Darth Vader and lived to tell about it. He was not available in stores.

The exclusive mail-in figure. What an idea. At last – a way for collectors to redeem those proofs of purchase they have been dutifully saving from the back of their action figure cards. A handful of proofs and enough scratch to cover shipping & handling would get you a toy that could not be found in stores or catalogs. The catch: it was advertised that Boba’s spring-loaded rocket fired, but no such figure ever shipped to the public.

In many collector circles, the 1979 J-slot Rocket Firing Boba Fett is the most sought-after action figure of all time. It is said that only 14 such figures exist (J- slot, painted prototype).

1. Snake Eyes v.2

(1985 Hasbro G.I. Joe ARAH)

A sample of what the contributors had to say about this figure:

  • Ninja + Commando + Sword + Wolf = toy nirvana for eight year-olds
  • The version of Snake Eyes that identified the character for history. His visor, his simple single-strap bandolier, backpack with removable sword, and Timber. Excellent.
  • If I were to close my eyes and picture Snake Eyes, this is the Snake Eyes I picture. The addition of gray accents set against the all-black was a subtle yet powerful change. Timber was the coolest figure companion when I was 9 years old, and I still love him to this day. My favorite Joe figure of all time.

Who did we miss? What figure is ranked too high or too low? Surely there is room for debate! Don’t be shy- hit the comments and share your thoughts!

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