In the field of collectible toys, the first type of toy made of pvc is Action Figure. An action figure is a poseable character model figure made most commonly of plastic, and often based upon characters from a film, comic book, military, video game or television program; fictional or historical. These figures are usually marketed toward boys and adult collectors. The term was coined by Hasbro in 1964 to market G.I. Joe to boys (while competitors called similar offerings boy's dolls).
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According to a 2005 study in Sweden, action figures which display traditional masculine traits primarily target boys. While most commonly marketed as a child's toy, the action figure has gained widespread acceptance as collector item for adults. In such a case, the item may be produced and designed on the assumption it will be bought solely for display as a collectible and not played with like a child's toy.

In 1971, Mego began licensing and making American Marvel and DC comic book superhero figures, which had highly successful sales and are considered highly collectible by many adults today.

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From 1972 to 1986 there was a famous line of Big Jim action figures produced by Mattel.

Since 1979 in Japan, Model figures based on icons like Gundam, Hello Kitty, as well as characters appearing in anime, manga, kaiju (monster) series, science fiction/fantasy films and video games, is a major part of otaku fandom. Some hobbyists concentrate specifically on a certain type of figure, such as garage kits, gashapon (capsule toys), or PVC bishōjo (pretty girl) statues. Such figures prominently featured in work of modern artist Takashi Murakami. Through his company Kaikai Kiki, he has produced a number of limited designer toys to be sold in otaku oriented stores. 

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Since then, pvc figure has become one of the mainstream toy collectibles.