Subdued Figures: The Problem With Leaning

Shugo Chara

With the holidays still in full swing and a lack of new figures arriving at my door, Subdued Figures is taking a slight break from its review schedule to talk a little bit about a problem that most figure collectors face at some point: leaning.

I’d heard of it before I saw it happening to pieces in my own collection; figures with bad stands, weird connecting peg angles, made of subpar plastic, or all of the above would eventually develop a lean in one direction. The figures pictured in this post are my collection of Shugo Chara trading figures which I got as Christmas gifts a few years back. They were purchased from a secondhand seller on Amazon, so I’ve always been a little concerned about their legitimacy (according to pictures online, one of my Amu figures has a head from one version and a body from another in the line she’s supposed to be from) and for some of them, the bases they came with don’t fit them correctly. I’ve tried trading the bases around, thinking that they might have just been paired incorrectly, but it didn’t change much. The figures still developed a lean.


The first figure to start drifting to the side was Nadeshiko, partially because of her bad base but also because of the pose that she was in. The original pose has one leg bent a little bit behind her, which looks nice but thanks to balance issues, one leg apparently can’t hold all of her upright and now she has a tilt. This is a general concern with figures that stand on one leg but aren’t properly balanced.

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The others just seem to have bad bases. Utau, who seemed balanced enough, is now leaning forward slightly; one of her transformations (in the top picture) is leaning way back. Alt. Sweater Amu is also starting to tip forward on her base despite literally being a leaning figure. She even gets in the way of the lights for her picture! Other figures in this set also fall down constantly because of crappy balance, but I haven’t included pictures of them since that seems to be their only problem.

Shugo Chara

However, two from the set are still unscathed, and that seems to be because they are well balanced despite being prize figures. Amu is literally leaning to the side with one foot up, but she is extremely stable on her base. Rima’s simple pose also seems to be working out well for her, since a more dynamic pose would probably make it to hard to balance her hair.

While the leaning figures in this set are certainly not the worst that I’ve seen, it still makes me sad to see them give in to gravity since I’m pretty attached to them, as they were some of the first figures in my collection. I’ve heard the hair dryer trick to get the plastic soft again to bend them back in place, but I’m paranoid about damaging them further or messing up the paint.

Does anyone out there have a better solution that you think I should try? Do you have some horror stories about your figures starting to lean? Share it in the comments below!

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Figure reviewer, anime and manga blogger, newbie cosplayer. Far too obsessed with Attack on Titan. Comes with free megane mode.

4 thoughts on “Subdued Figures: The Problem With Leaning

  1. The one figure I own, which I won in a cosplay contest at my university’s anime club, is still packed away. I’m so torn about opening it and exposing it to dust and the like. I’m not super big on figures but I think they are neat. I can’t really fit them into my hobby budget though since games and manga already take all the extra money I have. ^__^;;; I hope you find a good solution. Is it possible to unbalance them for long periods to make gravity re-position them? By unbalance I mean put something under the base to make the figure lean in the other direction? You would probably have to secure the base somehow like using duck tape to keep it in place.

  2. That’s not a bad idea! It certainly couldn’t hurt. I’ll have to try that.

    About the figure you’ve won though… It’s a good idea to open figures from their packaging at least once to expose the plastic to the air, otherwise they might start to develop a weird film on its surface. You don’t have to display it or anything (in fact, it can go right back in its box) but something about the plastic companies tend to use means it needs at least one exposure after being sealed in a box. It’s just something that I’ve heard frequently in the collecting part of the Internet, and I’d hate for it to happen to you!

  3. I guess I’m lucky to never had any of my figures start leaning on me. Even my Max Factory Mikuru figure still looks the same after sitting on my shelf for 4 years and it was a notorious leaner. I think that because I live in a cold climate, the plastic doesn’t get warm enough to soften and cause the figure to lean even if it’s unbalanced.

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