Figured I take the time and show some of the figures I use for reference. There is always the constant search for the perfect one but nothing is perfect or has everything that will help you when it comes to posing, lighting and anatomy. But maybe some of these will help you find what will work best for you.
1/12, 6 inch Marvel Legends
If you are on a budget, Hasbro Marvel Legends figures end up being great references because of poseability and price. There are at least 4 body types they use for figures that are perfect for posing. The Bullseye body, the pizza Spiderman body, wolverine body ( though he might be a bit short) and the Retro Spiderman body.
Unfortunately Hasbro Marvel Legends don't have female figures that pose as well as the male ones. Female figures all use the same body so if you find a female figure that has a uniform color on the whole body you are good. I wish they would update or make a new buck female body.
From left to right.
The Obsidian Silver Surfer
This figure is great for posing and uses the Bullseye body and doesn't have any stray details and is a nice uniform color. Pretty much a naked male figure body and the gun metal color shows the muscle definition well. The only drawback is he only comes with two extra hands. Another drawback is that he is a bit hard to find because he is a Walgreens exclusive.
Another figure that uses the Bullseye body but he has larger shoulders, bare feet and pants sculpting. What's great about this figure is the amount of hand accessories it comes with and the bare feet sculpt is very naturalistic and not flat at the bottom like most action figures. You can use the hands on other Marvel Legends figs but the skin color may not match. Shang is kind of difficult to find now cause it is an older figure.
X-Men Charles Xavier
This figure uses the pizza Spiderman body. While a great body for a Hasbro Marvel Legends figure he is not as poseable as figures that use the Bullseye body. What's great about this one is he is super easy to find, has a nice uniform colored body and If you are not happy with the head you can stick on most any other male Hasbro Marvel Legends head. The only drawback is not a lot of hand accessories.
Classic Namor The Sub-Mariner (fig mod)
While this figure does not use the Bullseye body or is as poseable it is easy to find on amazon for a very low price. It has great muscle definition and bare feet for ref. The Drawback is that it has sculpted in wrist bands, winged ankles, sculpted scaled underpants and the bottoms of the bare feet are flat.
While I don't suggest this I modded mine. I used one figure’s bare arms and another figure’s shins so the body is a uniform colored figure. There is only a slight color difference between the parts. I also got a pair of 1/12 clothing to cover up Namor's scaled under pants and used an extra belt I had from another figure.
Classic Kraven (fig mod)
This figure is built from the leftovers of parts I used to make the Namor figure mod but for the most part is Kraven from the symbiote Spiderman Kraven two pack with some soft goods clothing overlays. The Kraven figure has the same articulation as the Namor figure so the parts are interchangeable.
Kraven usually has a "psycho screaming" head but I swapped it out for an additional Peter Parker head that came with a cosmic Spiderman figure. You can't see it but he has the winged ankles from the Namor figure.
I mostly use this fig for the clothing ref and wrinkles. You can buy all kinds of soft goods for 6 inch figures on Etsy, eBay and from creators on Instagram, But your options can be limited. Un like 12 inch figs there are not a lot of clothing for six inch figs. Though that is slowly changing as more companies make fully clothed 6 inch action figures and soft good figure mods are a lot easier to do than full on painting an sculpting figures.
1/12, 6 inch Figures
From left to right.
S.H.Figuarts- Body Cun DX
A great male figure for reference and posing, nice uniform color and if you get the DX version you get a plethora of hand accessories, weapons and props. You can also get it in different colors. It even comes with a perspective grid for hard angles. This fig was made for artists. The only drawback is that it can be a little expensive and the body may not match certain builds. perhaps a bit thin and teen like?
1000toys 1/12 Synthetic Human male
The best poseable male figure you can buy. It can do anything you can imagine and hold any pose, even one legged standing poses. I wish they took this body joint system and made it into a proper artist ref figure. I am looking forward to the female version. Good female posing ref figures can be hard to find. The only drawback is not enough hand options, robotic detailing and the price. It can be very expensive.
S.H.Figuarts- Body Chan DX
Like I said, good female posing figures can be hard to find. But Body Chan DX is the best I have found so far for reference and posing, Like Body Cun it has a nice uniform color and if you get the DX version you get a plethora of hand accessories, weapons and props. You can also get it in different colors. It even comes with a perspective grid. This fig was made for artists. Like the male the only drawback is that it can be a little expensive and the body may not match certain builds. Maybe a bit too thin or teen like?
1/6th , 12inch Figures
Larger and more expensive than 1/12, 6 inch figures. The positive side in 1/6th is you can find more options and the other is you can easily find clothing to fit the figure bodies you buy unlike 6 inch where it can be a little hard to find clothing. Since these bodies are meant to be modular you can easily find additional hands, feet, heads and other weapons and accessories. They are also highly poseable.
From left to right.
1/6th Scale TB League seamless Figure body “Mister big”
A great anatomy and lighting ref. This figure is highly poseable and features a silicone seamless skin on metal endoskeleton " (like a Terminator lol ) funny that I say Terminator because this body is based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's when he was a bodybuilder. The TB League male figure body comes in a lot of different body types from thin, Bruce Lee body, medium build, muscular to body builder. It also comes in different skin tones. There is also a 6 inch version.
One thing to be aware of is this figure comes with um….. how should I say this? …. anatomical male parts lol if you want your figure to be that way lol
One drawback is the 1/6 version does not come with a head sculpt so you will have to buy that separately.
Also There is a limit to posing. While being able to take almost any pose the skin also limits it and can rip if pushed to its limits. also you have to be wary of where the skeleton is in the skin so as to not stress the joints.
This figure as far as 1/6th scale bodies go is not crazy expensive, comes with additional hands but it can get expensive trying to find clothing and accessories. Also the “Mr Big '' figure is larger than common male 1/6th bodies so it won't fit most clothing meant for more common male 1/6th figures. I use mine for anatomy and lighting ref. I slapped on a Henry Cavill head sculpt I had so it is not just a headless figure.
1000toys 1/6th Synthetic Human male
The 1/12 Synthetic Human’s older brother. Features all the same articulation and the best poseable male figure you can buy. It can do anything you can imagine and hold any pose, even one legged standing poses. The drawbacks are the figure is not compatible with common 1/6th scale accessories so you can’t buy new hands or a head sculpt. Also being a thin skeleton like body it doesn't wear clothing well. And the same draw backed as the little brother robotic detailing and the price. It can be very expensive.
1/6th Scale TB League plus size Female Figure body
A great anatomy and lighting ref. This figure is highly poseable and features a silicone seamless skin on metal endoskeleton " The TBLeague female figure body comes in a lot of different body types though they don’t have a muscular body. It also comes in different skin tones. There is also a 6 inch version.
Be aware that this figure is anatomically correct so if you don’t want a naked lady hanging in all her glory on your art desk they do provide a bikini bathing suit. I forgot the male one comes with one as well.
The female figure body’s Deluxe version comes with a head sculpt though they can look a bit creepy doll-ish but you can buy a new head for the body if you are not happy with it. While rooted hair is Interesting on a figure it can be easy to give your figure a bad hair day lol again you can replace the head.
Like the male figure There is a limit to posing. While being able to take almost any pose the skin also limits it and can rip if pushed to its limits. also you have to be wary of where the skeleton is in the skin so as to not stress the joints.
This figure as far as 1/6th scale bodies go is not crazy expensive and it is a nice added bonus the figure comes with additional hands, feet, a head sculpt and stand. Like the male figure it can get expensive trying to find clothing and accessories. Also being my figure is plus size larger than most female figures, clothing meant for more common female figure bodies will not fit. I use mine for posing and lighting but I didn’t want a naked figure hanging out on my art desk and I didn’t want to fuss with taking off her bathing suit if I needed female body ref so I got her some overalls easy peasy.
So yeah a bit long winded but I hope this all helps you if you are looking for posing figures for art ref.