Do You Know
What A Variant Or Chase Figure Is?
Do you know what a variant
A chase figure?
What’s the difference
between a Super Chase figure and an Exclusive figure?
Whether your new to
collecting or been collecting for a while it’s important to know the
These days there are more
and more names being given to the different levels of rarity when
talking about figures as well as the grading of figures (I cover grading
in another article).
As a resulting it is
becoming increasing difficult to know what is available, not only that,
but to make matters more difficult some companies are very secretive
about exactly what is available.
So let me try and explain
for you what the most common terms used mean, but it can get a little
complicated at times. J
Why do you need to know?
Even if you’re a casual
collector it’s important you know the difference so that you recognize
an important or valuable figure when you see it.
After all, would you want
to swap out that $100 James LeBron Variant figure? or that $80Dan
Mariano series 19 Chase figure?
Or maybe you’ll miss an
exclusive figure up on eBay or some other auction site for only few
First we have the basic
A Regular Figure
A regular figure is just
that. It is the most common figure in a set or series. It is your bog
basic standard figure.
This will be the same as
the figure pictured on the box, shown in magazines or seen on the TV
They are the mass produced
figures and end up in the local Wal-mart store. Generally the quantities
made are unknown and often new “runs” will be produced if they sell out
and demand is sufficient.
A Limited Figure or
A limited figure or Series
is one that has been produced to a limited quantity or production run. A
limited release series of figures may have both regular and chase
figures available within the production run but the availability and
quantities is generally known.
Often the manufacturer
will number the individual figures on the base, e.g. 233/10,000 (number
233 of 10,000 produced), or issue a certificate of authenticity.
A Chase Figure
A Chase figure is a
different version of one or more of the regular figures within a series
This variation maybe
something as small as the color of the eyes, as in Tiffany from the
Spawn Series 30 releas, or Sarah O'Connor from T3: Rise of the Machines
where the chase figure had no cap and windswept hair, or a different
color uniform, shirt etc.
A chase figure is usually
an intentional and planned figure that is usually publicised before its
The availability, or
rarity of these figures is also generally known with a quoted ratio of
its availability compared to a regular figure given.
For example a case of
figures will normally contain 12 or 24 figures with maybe one chase
figure in each case (a ratio of 1:24).Therefore the greater the ratio
the higher the rarity and therefore its value. A figure with a 1:48
ratio is therefore rarer than one with a 2:24 ratio.
The term "chase" comes
from the fact that diehard collectors will often search out these
figures to add to their collections, therefore literally "chasing" them
A Variant Figure
A variant figure is very
similar to a chase figure but a variant figure is usually an unexpected
variation on the figure or in the set.
Generally variant figures
aren’t publicized before their “discovery”. A variant figure is usually
considered rare than a chase figure as the variation is often due to an
unplanned change during production.
A variation often occurs
during the production of a licensed line when the licensee decides they
don’t like something on a figure and production has to be stopped to
make the change.
A recent example of this
is the Baseball Series 18 set that has two version of Mariano Rivera.
The first figure, produced in very small quantities, has the full
version of the glass players entrance door but because this was found to
be to big and bulky for the packaging the regular figure only has the
The main difference
between a chase figure and a variant figure is that a chase figure is
planned and intentional whereas a variant figure isn’t.
Ok, with me so far?
This is were it begins to
A Chase Variant Figure
A chase variant figure is
It is a chase figure that
also has an unintentional variation.
A good example of this the
McFarlane's NFL Series 6 Emmitt Smith figure.
The regular figure came
with a white jersey but the chase figure a red jersey.
However the chase figure
was intended to have white gloves but there was a variant that had red
gloves, so the figure with a red jersey and red gloves was the chase
OK, got that?
Because it gets worse...
There were also variants
of the regular figure with red gloves instead of white AND there was
also a SECOND chase figure available!!
So recapping this series
A regular Emmitt Smith
figure (with white jersey), a variant regular figure *with a white
jersey and red gloves), a chase figure (red jersey, white gloves), and a
variant chase figure (red jersey and red gloves)!
This example is a very
unusual case and it is very rare to have this number of variation of the
same figure in one series, but...
A Super Chase figure is an
intentional variation, like a chase figure, but produced in very small
quantities therefore making it both a lot more difficult to find and
Instead of one figure per
case it maybe one per container.
A surprise chase figure is
an unplanned addition to a series that usually hasn't been publicised
and isn't included on the official checklists.
But there is a certain
amount of debate however as to whether these truly are chase figures as
often they have the same production run as a regular figure but are just
last minute addition to the series.
A prime example is the
Trevor Hoffman figure in McFarlanes MLB Series 18 Baseball figures. The
problem with these figures again is because there generally isn't any
further information on their production run nobody really knows which
are a chase figures or regular figures.
My best suggestion here is
to keep an eye on the auction sites, online stores and forums. By
listening to what others are saying and gauging the quantities and
prices available you should get a reasonable idea whether the figure is
a true “chase” figure or just a late addition to the set as a regular
An Error Figure
An error figure is
completely unintentional and often passes through the normal quality
control checks unnoticed, for whatever reason.
As a result these are not
publicised in anyway until "found". Often even the manufacturer will not
be aware of their existence until the error comes to light. The error
could be missing paint, or the wrong colour used somewhere on the
figure. It maybe something missing accessory or …
An error figure is just
that, an error, a mistake, unintentional and unknown until found.
This makes them extremely
rare and often very valuable. An error figure is often a “one off” or in
very low numbers and are therefore probably the rarest and most sought
Very rarely the error is
intentional and "planted" by a member of the production team. A famous
incident where this happened is the infamous "C3 P0" trading card from
the original 1977 series of Star Wars bubble gum cards where, on some,
C3P0 was given a bit of male anatonomy. This card now error card can now
exchanges hands for $1000's.
An Exclusive Figure
An exclusive figure,
unlike all the others mentioned, is not part of a regular series or
release and is NOT distributed through the normal channels, distributors
An exclusive figure is one
that has been especially commissioned by a company, business, or team
for their own promotional uses.
There are generally four
different types of exclusive figures:
Exclusive-Toys R Us have commissioned many exclusive McFarlane releases
including the NFL 3 packs and usually the first series of baseball
figures at the start of each new season. Diamond Comic distributors also
often carry exclusive figures that are only available to retailers
through their distribution network.
Many NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB
teams have commissioned special event exclusives or stadium giveaways
over the years as well.
An Event Exclusive- This
type of figure is usually unplanned and released outside of the normal
release schedule usually to "celebrate" an important event, a good
example of this is the Bond 756 figure, the annual Fanfest exclusives
or a Hall of Fame exclusive.
Giveaway/Promotion- This is a figure usually commissioned by a team or
organisation to giveaway at one of their games or for a special event.
This type of figure is generally not available anywhere else and has
different packaging, often dated when and where it was given away, and
has a seperate checklist.
Collectors Club figure- These figures
are only available through McFarlanes online Collectors Club, which is
free to join.
And that’s it.
I hope you found this
short guide helpful and I look forward to hearing from you.