1/6 Scale Action Figures, Introduction

Here are some great excuses for starting a collection of pretty girls (well, it worked for me anyway :) ).

What do action figures have to do with making scale models ?

That depends: if you buy a complete and dressed figure, take it out of the box and put it straight into a display cabinet, then it is just another hobby of collecting and displaying objects.
However, I bought only a few of my action figures complete in box, the rest of them I bought as parts.
Before I assemble a figure I do repairs as necessary, clean up molding seams, make minor or sometimes even major improvements to the joints to improve articulation, make or modify parts to substitute missing parts, do some painting or even insert new hair into a head, so to me it looks quite a bit like making scale models (i.e. creating my own unique version of a model).

Are those dolls really 'Action figures' ?

Cy Girls may look like dolls but they are fully articulated female action figures and they're also the most beautiful 1/6th scale female figures I have ever seen.
Actually, not all of my figures are Cy Girls, but most of them are.
I refer to them as 'action figures' because they are not like 'fashion dolls' (Barbie dolls and the likes) that are usually made to be played with.
Even though most of my Girls are standing in relaxed straight-up poses, the action figure joints allow for subtle poses that most 'fashion dolls' can not achieve. All of my Girls are standing balanced on their own two feet, without stands.
All (but one) of my 'action figures' are Girls because I much rather look at a shelf full of beautiful girls than at a bunch of male movie heroes or military guys :) .

What is a Cy Girl anyway ?

A Cy Girl (or Cool Girl) is a 1/6th scale (29cm or 11.4in tall) fully articulated female figure with lifelike proportions, a lifelike head and face and 'real' hair (i.e. rooted strands).
Cool Girls were designed in Japan by Takara.
Cy Girl is the trade name used by US-based Blue Box International (BBI), who used to manufacture the Girls for Takara and sell them in the US.
Apart from reselling the Takara Cool Girls, BBI also created their own Cy Girl version, Called 'Perfect Body' (PB).
The PB figures are based a CG v1 body with different, somewhat simplified, joints (but with a greater range of motion). PB figures were sold at much lower prices than CG figures.
More details on the various types of bodies can be found on the CG Bodies page.

How and why I started collecting Cy Girls

Cool Girl Flame in box The reason I bought my first action figure was directly related to model making:
After seeing some Japanese modeling magazines and figure websites like HobbyFan.com I decided to try making a resin figure, only to find that making resin figures look lifelike is an art in itself and one I had yet to master.
There are basically two new skills I needed to learn, painting faces (and in particular eyes) and posing the figure in a lifelike pose. Painting faces just takes a lot of practice, I've drawn lifelike pencil portraits before, but I needed to learn how to paint on a small irregular shaped surface and how to work with tiny amounts of artists oil paints.
With most resin figure kits, especially with recasts, there is some room for error (or for changing the pose) when attaching the limbs to the body. Usually there is only one anatomically correct way. Having a reference for the exact pose saves a lot of trial and error.

I could have bought a posable wooden painters dummy, but instead I noticed Hobby Link Japan sold Cool Girl Flame at a discount, a 1/6 scale female 'action figure'. An action figure is fully posable and made to stand unsupported, so ideal for checking the balance of a pose (even better than with a painters dummy).
Like all Cool Girl figures have, Flame has real rooted hair ('red' hair in fact and isn't 'redhead' usually preceded by 'gorgeous' ? Well, it is in my book :)).
This sounded much more interesting than a wooden dummy so I ordered one Cool Girl Flame.
When Flame arrived she turned out to be not as posable as I expected: having a CG v1.5 body her elbows and knees only bend through 90 degrees and her lower body from the torso down is a single piece, so she can't really bend her back. In all Flame is a beautiful figure (yup, she is gorgeous) but did not suit my plans.

By that time I had found the Jimbob Wan website with a large list of reviews of all kinds of 1/6 scale action figures.
Reading the reviews I noticed that

  1. I should have bought a Cool Girl v2.0 bodied figure which has much better articulation and
  2. that Cool Girls (or Cy Girls as they are called in the US) were quite a bit cheaper to buy from the USA than from Japan.

So I did some searching for US-based action figure shops that stocked BBI Cy Girls and were willing to ship overseas and found the Old Joe Infirmary, a great little online shop that stocked a lot of Cy Girls, both boxed and as loose items (spare parts, if you like) and charges modest shipping fees.
I also found quite a lot of parts, clothing and accessories on eBay. Nowadays prices of popular items can be quite steep, but back in 2004 when I started it was a bit easier to find good deals.


CY Girl Ice in box I bought my second Cy Girl at the Old Joe Infirmary, a v2 bodied Agent Ice and so my Cy Girl collection started.

At first I only bought some clothing and some spare hands, then Takara began releasing a series of limited edition Cool Girls and some of those where just too beautiful to resist.
With the release of the limited editions some CG v2 bodies, heads, hands and clothes ended up on eBay so I bought some of those too.

The only parts that proved hard to get are bare hands with the right skin tone. I managed to find quite a few but most of the loose bodies I bought came without bare hands so I've ran out of bare hands again and again.

I also noticed that Skynet/Aoshima did some limited releases in their Ladies Mission series. The Ladies Mission figures have a slightly more basic type of body compared to the CG v2 body, but the sculpting and painting of the heads is beautiful and the figures come dressed in high quality clothes.
Angelina Smith and Kelly Jackson both are Ladies Mission figures, straight from the box.
The LM bodies were also available separately on eBay, that's how Angela, Nathalie and Vera got theirs.


Affordable Copycats

In 2009 the first copied ('cloned') Cy Girl bodies showed up on eBay, initially only orangy tanned v2 type B bodies (similar to the Doronjo body, these bodies might have been rejects from the original CG production, either that or the factory just did another run), a few months later some cloned enhanced v2 type A bodies showed up on eBay, these bodies offer even slightly better articulation than the original v2 Cy Girl bodies do.
Apart from that a number of CG head sculpts are also available as loose items. Some appear to be original (Cutey Honey v2, Ash v2), some clearly have been cloned (Ice, Elektra, Midori, Eris). One thing I did notice with most cloned CG heads is that the hair is more stiff, causing it to 'fluff up' a bit over time (compare the pictures at the top and bottom of the pages of Margiana and Miyako to see what I mean).
As production of the original figures was halted long ago, I see no problems with buying these cloned items: it is a nice way to add some more pretty Girls to your collection without having to pay collectors prices and you can also customize items without running the risk of ruining rare originals.


5 years on

Here's my CG gang occupying the top shelf of my display cabinet, this picture was taken in November 2009.
the girls in my display cabinet 61.8kB
Point and click on a Girl in the picture to open a page with pictures and a description.
Nicky is not on the picture as she is standing on my desk and some more girls are hidden behind the girls in the front row.


A second display cabinet

The shelf in my large display cabinet is getting a bit too crowded, I was already keeping some Girls in their boxes because a cramped spot in the second or third row just would not do them justice, so I decided to turn a shelf in my book cabinet into a small display.
I fitted all of the CG boots with strong magnets and put the Girls on a sheet of metal so I won't have to worry about them toppling over whenever I fetch a book from one of the other shelves.
In this display I decided to put all of my Girls who star in either a manga, anime, movie or game. Here's an overview of my small collection of Stars (May 2011).
the girls in my stars display cabinet 69.5kB
Point and click on a Girl in the picture to open a page with pictures and a description.


10 years on

There have been no Cy Girl releases for several years and I doubt there ever will be (Takara was taken over by Tomy and Tomy has a strict 'no weapons, toys should be peaceful' policy).
Other brands released new figures (even soft-skinned ones) but sofar none of those managed to lure me into buying them.
Fortunately I have some spare nude CG bodies and parts so I can create some more new Girls.

B-Girls in my display cabinet 59.5kB
Point and click on a Girl in the picture to open a page with pictures and a description.

So did Barbies take over the shelf in the meantime ? Not really: there's only one Barbie in this picture, the others are Cy Girls that I fitted with Barbie heads, what I call my B-Girls.
One day I ran into this lovely Barbie and put her head on a CG 'v3' body and named her Sylvia.
Since I had a couple more spare CG 'v3' bodies and had found out that Mattel did make other lovely head sculpts, I figured I'd turn some more spare bodies into B-Girls.
Apart from the ones on the picture I have three more B-Girls: Andrea, Nina and Dinah Lance and one more Barbie: Danielle.



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