Most of us study human anatomy in high school or college. We learn about bones, muscles and tendons, which are the three building blocks of most joints.

Well, a good action figure has plenty of joints as well, and they’re worth knowing if you’re a collector. Fortunately, unlike human joints, which have names like acromioclavicular and carpometacarpal, our joints don’t sound like the sort of words Harry Potter and Voldemort might shout out while shooting their wands at each other. They have much simpler names, but they can do almost as much.

We’re visual learners here at DC Collectibles, so rather than a lecture on Action Figure Anatomy, how about a chart? Here’s a look at the four types of joints you’ll find on a typical action figure, and where you might find them.

The figure in the chart above is Batman by Greg Capullo from our DC Comics Designer series of action figures. Obviously, not all of our figures are articulated in the same way, but we always try to bestow our action figures with as much articulation as we can without compromising the aesthetics of the figure.

As for those joints, here are a few points worth knowing…

  • It's hard to make a Superman figure look like it's flying when you can't tilt its foot all the way back. The ball joint / pivot joint combination solves that problem and allows a collector to pose the foot in any position. Up, up and away!
  • The ball joint / pivot joint combination in the shoulders makes it much easier for Green Arrow to grab an arrow out of his quiver.
  • The double jointed hinge in the knee and a hinge joint in the abs allows Batman to crouch down on even the most unstable perch. (Gargoyle, anyone?)
  • You can throw a mighty punch when using the hinge/pivot joint combination in the wrist and hand.
  • The first step in fighting an incoming threat is to see and identify it. Fortunately, a super hero like the Flash or Wonder Woman can always turn their head when a ball joint is used to connect it to the neck.

You can click on the chart to get a really good look at it. Study up! We won’t be quizzing you, but you never know when your fellow collectors may. See you next week!