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Do You Know What A Variant or Chase Figure Is?

What is a variant?

Whether your new to collecting or been you been collecting for some time you need to know which figures are the Chase figures, Variants or Exclusives in any series because these are generally rarer and more valuable.

So if you don't know what you are looking for you may miss out on a special rare figure at the local market or even worse you may "swap" one without realising it..

Most seasoned collectors will probably known what these terms mean but just in case..

But if you're new to the hobby let me explain what it all means for you:


A Regular Figure

A regular figure 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 ads. These figures are generally mass produced and usually there is no way of knowing how many have been produced.

A Limited Figure or Series

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.

A Chase Figure

A Chase figure is a different version of one or more of the regular figures. This variation maybe something as small as the color of the eyes, as in Tiffany from Spawn Series 30, 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.

With a chase figure this difference is usually intentional and publicised before it's release.

Usually there will be a set ratio to it's rarity, eg a case of figures will normally contain 12 or 24 figures with maybe one chase figure in each case ( a ratio of 1:24).

The greater the ratio the higher the rarity and therefore it's value will usually vary accordingly.

The term "chase" comes from the fact that diehard collectors will search out these figures to add to their collections, therefore literally "chasing" them out.

A Variant Figure

A variant figure is similar to a chase figure but hasn't been publicised previous to it's release.

A variant figure is generally a lot rarer due to the fact that the variation is generally due to an unplanned change during production.

This maybe caused by a decision to change the look or colour of part of the figure by the production team or because of licensing issues.

The big difference between a chase figure and a variant figure is that a chase figure is a planned and intentional variation whereas on a variant figure it is unintentional and unplanned.

Another 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 door section included.

A Chase Variant Figure

Ok, this is were it begins to get complicated, ready?

A chase variant is a chase figure that also has an unintentional variation.

A good example of this would be the McFarlane's NFL Series 6 Emmitt Smith figure. The regular figure came with him wearing a white jersey and 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 variant figure.

OK, got that? Sure? 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 to recap this series had:

A regular Emmitt Smith figure, a variant regular figure, two different chase figures, and a variant chase figure!

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...

Super Chase

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 more valuable.

Surprise Chase A surprise chase figure a unplanned addition to a series that hasn't been publicised and isn't included in the official checklists.

There is a certain amount of debate however as to whether these a truly chase figures or just regular figure intentional added as a last minute decision.

A prime example again of this is the surprise Trevor Hoffman figure in Series 18 Baseball figures.

The problem with these figures again is because there generally isn't any further information on their production run so nobody really knows how scarce they are.

But if you keep an eye on the forums and auction sites you are likely to get a good idea by gauging the quantity available compared to the others in the series.

An Error Figure

An error figure is usually completely unintentional and often passes through the normal quality control checks unnoticed.

As a result these are not publicised in anyway until "found". The error maybe missing paint, or the wrong colour used somewhere on the figure. It maybe something missing or...

An error figure is just that, an error, a mistake, unintentional and unknown until found. This also makes them extremely rare and valueable.

Sometimes the error maybe intentional and "planted" by a member of the production team. A famous trading card example of this is the "C3 P0" original series bubble gum card where on some C3P0 was given a bit of male anatonomy, this card 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 normally distributed through other channels than the normal distributors or retailers.

An example of an exclusive series of figures are the NFL 3 Figure Packs that are only sold through Toys R Us Stores.

Diamond Comic distributors also often carry exclusive figures that are only available to retailers through them.

There are generally four different type of exclusive figures, the one mentioned above which is a retailers or distributors

Exclusive-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.

A Stadium 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. Generally a McFarlanes giveaways are three inch figures.

Then there are the Collectors Club figures. These are variations of figures only available online through the McFarlane's Collectors Club. Other figures are only available through the Collectors club, eg the Lord Mammon figure figure for McFarlane's Spawn Series 30.

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