It never ends.
You collect a thing, grow bored of it, sell it off, buy it again, retire it, recycle it, repeat it.
Buy it sell it move it break it junk it eat it. Collect-ology.
CYCLES AND FLOW
The perfect collection eludes us. While some folks will complete a particular line, a particular year of toys – for most of us it never ends.
Something is always in storage. Something is always about to be sold or traded. Or given to the op-shop.
Something else we are just about… thinking about… *MAYBE* selling…. because it means we can get something new shiny and different in its place.
Something is always on display, until it gets crowded and gets downsized or upsized, or sold, or put in storage. Or we move house, start or end a relationship, whatever.
The perfect collection eludes all but the most rich and spacious among us, or those of us with more modest choices and restraint in what we collect and how we display it.
My own style is more Gonzo than anything. I have little if any restraint, if I want something I buy it even when I have no damn space for it. I’ve never been a completist. I buy whatever interests me, and if I lose interest in something I move on to something else.
The best I can do sometimes is “Desire Substitution” = I can pass over some collectible in favor of something I really want, switching in something I want EVEN MORE, thus using the money that would have gone on one thing, for another.
I could have bought more third party pricey Transformers recently – but instead I went with NECA 1990 Movie Mikey and have no regrets there. I enjoyed that super-duper-bodacious-impressive figure so much that I even sold off some old N64 video games to assist in buying the other figures – as I simply could not afford to buy them outright – at least not before all the old stock goes worldwide from this limited run of amazing figures that trump just about anything else I’ve seen in the last decade of toys.
Some items I can pass over purely on price, while others like the large scale TMNT 1990 Movie Turtles are so amazing that the large price tag feels justified, the quality is high and I can gladly sacrifice some smaller purchases in favor of a few bigger purchases.
That the big NECA Movie Turtles replicate the most realistic looking live action turtles from the 1990 movie gives it that added emotional connection for me, elevating it from simply being an amazing sculpt and details, to really looking like the character walked right off the screen and into my home.
KEEPING THE 1980’S ALIVE – ONE TOY AT A TIME
My biggest purchase of the year (in size and dollars) was Fan Toys Omega Supreme. Omega is in my all time personal TOP 5 Transformers characters that Rock to Infinity and Beyond. If you disagree he will laser pistol-whip you into next week faster than you can say SARCASM: UNAPPRECIATED.
Sacrificing other smaller purchases to bring home this big bad BOSS BOT was absolutely worth it. I planned to put him on a shelf of his own but didn’t get around to buying that shelf before Omega arrived. *Whoops*
So I re-arranged this mad lot and stuffed him next to Fort Max and Metroplex, and it’s pretty amazing to see these three iconic toys/ characters together. Only took me an hour. And YES his wings are wedged slightly against the roof. Which works in his favor as like his giant robo-brethren he is topple-worthy. and yes this is the top of a closet and I climbed up down on a rickety chair about 30 times, and also while holding one of the heaviest transformers of all time with extended arms. I live to live dangerously?
Lately I’ve been wanting to set up more active interesting displays, rather than random groupings of unrelated toys – with a particular theme or scene and Mega Bloks / Mega Construx has been a boon in that regards.
Except for the random shelf…
I can set up a microcosmic little scene of tiny figures and have all kinds of cool fun stuff going on, and it’s really easy to re-arrange them into a different configuration without too much fuss. Just don’t drop them or their weapons – they are so tiny they bounce away and are hard to find on the floor.
Another fun thing about the Mega Bloks figures is their size means you can use them with various small scale playsets – like the Micro Mutants Garage sets I picked up on clearance on a whim. Turns out the scale works quite well with the Mega Bloks figures.
The sets are simple and cheap plastic that clip together, but they do have some nice details, the wall below for example will look even better with a lick of paint to highlight the pipes and ducting (when I get around to it).
Likewise another of my favourite repurposed toys I got in 2017 (from my Dad while on holiday in NZ) is the Batman ’66 Diecast Batcycle. It’s not made for any type of figures, but Mega Bloks Mutants don’t care about rules, they steal whatever pleases them.
It’s one way to travel in style to their side gig as bouncers at the KTV Bar. Another toy thing I repurposed was this knock-off brand of Lego…thing. It looks good and it was cheap (and the pizza themed one is still yet to arrive).
So the Mega Bloks figures are great fun, and I really dig them. The Small scale means you can mix and match a few different things with ease. Until I buy too damn many and my shelf runs out of space.
Well I still have one designated spot to fill with an entire new shelf partly reserved for more Mega Construx and other TMNT stuff. And what a delightful headache it is – the toys that argue for dominance and pole position on that theoretical shelf that currently exists only in my mind.
Many times I have laid awake at night choosing what will go on each level. The bottom levels are reserved for book and comics, while all upper levels are game for collectibles, with the very top reserved for anything truly titan sized that won’t fit in other places, and might look damn imposing towering over you as you walk into the room. It’s a good kind of problem, a fun problem to have – unlike real world everyday problems.
Also at the smaller scale end of things are Transformers from various lines, united in their Mischief Making abilities. Mucking about with Sharkticons and their *unofficial* new tiny leader was tremendous fun, I spent a couple weeks tinkering with display options until I settled on having the loose theme of claws, jaws and mischief makers together, the smallest scale and the largest in one fun display.
Once I had the idea of what I wanted, I moved this unruly lot to the shelf. Then I added in a decepticon faction logo above the Energon Cube Throne. Chucked in some TR and RID mini-figues, some bootleg Kremzeek toys, light sabre and axe for the bigger Sharkie guards.
And the mighty Trypticon towers over them all, with various small scale toys on his back and underneath him. Despite the silly Q.C issues, Trypticon was one of my fav toys of 2017, just for his dino-display potential.
With his mouth stuffed with Energon Cubes, he’s all set to gorge himself.
Other small scale toys I really enjoyed were the Penny Racer (aka Choro-Q) style Rescue Bots toys, a nice little nod to the old Takara-TOMY style mini-vehicles. If you have 1 and 3 step transformers, then these are ZERO step Transformers. Just tilt them up and they go into bot mode, tilt them down and they transform themselves back to vehicle mode. It’s a neat simple gimmick that I really like, and I plan to get a few more of them yet.
If there is one thing I’ve enjoyed more than anything else lately, it’s mixing up different toys and putting them together. It’s that kind of simple play most of us enjoyed as kids. Toys were not segregated like in Toy Story 3, they played together joyfully like in Toy Story#1.
Of all the toy photos I’ve taken over the last couple years, the one that always brings a smile to my face is that small movie Spider-Man and G1 Beachcomber riding a KO Alternator Hound getting irate at the inconvenience of an animal crossing.
On the dining room table. No fancy background, no tricky lighting – just a quick snap with a camera. It always makes me laugh. For anyone paying attention, there’s a tiny Soundwave driving.
ANOTHER SUBTITLE HERE, OR IMAGINE YOUR OWN WITH SHOTGUNS FOR LEGS AND MACARONI FOR BRAINS
While partly I’ve been aiming to have a more cohesive collection in terms of things that go together – some things do not go together, and that’s where you’ve got to make your own fun. I love Dinosaurs and TMNT since forever.
Back in the late 90s there some ridiculous toys released called “Cave Turtles” that rode on big Dinosaurs. When I found these cheap Toy Story small scale dino toys below, well one thing lead to another…
Mixing things together is its own kind of fun. If there is one thing that is really driving my collecting habits more this year – it’s toys themed around 1980s and early 90’s cartoons and media.
I’m keen to pick up some Thundercats Classics figures (a modern toy line) and a few modern He-Man toys – mainly the villains – if I can find them for reasonable prices that is. Plenty of other collectors want the same toys, which drives the prices up.
With my focus shifted from purely Transformers to 80’s toys, there is a danger I may just bull all sorts of stuff I end up selling. But I feel confident that I can focus on having just the main characters of say He-Man and Thundercats sharing display space with Ninja Turtles and a select few Transformers- keeping the 1980’s alive one toy at a time. I care about the CHARACTERS and their stories and personalities, more than any specific toy.
MIXING MISMATCHING MESMERIZING
I don’t care to keep everything in its own little section, so my mega bloks mix it up with Lego. Mega Bloks movie Leo is in a Lego van slicing up pizza, Mike’s enjoying a nice slice with a Minion, the Punisher is about to shoot shredder from the top of the turtle van.
…and rock star Lego Batman is hiding stealthily in the corner rocking out, with Raph doing a one armed pizza gymnast routine.
…and Gladiator bootleg Lego Hulk is on a rampage
…and I don’t really know what’s going on here, but that dog looks suspicious. Not a fairy Batman meth lab for sure.
I’m not done with Transformers yet, but I get the impression a year from now I will be. Power of the Primes is coming up in 2018 in Australia. For sure I’ll get the Dinobots and Terrorcons and Predacons, the various femme-bot and Leader Optimus Prime / Orion Pax, and no doubt a couple of others. But apart from them and G1 Overlord, there is bugger all else I really want in my TF collection. The odd amazing third party… thing perhaps. But fewer of them, and less often thanks. I’m keen to some toy repaints, but I need to find a dedicated space in this Dust Palace where I can not get paint on everything.
ALL IN DISORDER
In 2018 I’m done with having more than say 3-5 pre-orders for things that take 6-12 months to arrive, or NEVER arrive at all – thank you third party, and thank you dodgy Australian online businesses that take money but #NEVERDELIVERS and won’t refund #ILLEGAL #WHOOPS #FUCKOURCUSTOMERS. No, I’m not mentioning the details here – but many Australian collectors will know exactly what I am talking about and the less said, the better.
In 2018 I’ll be focusing even more on TMNT, both modern and vintage lines of Playmates toys. The few I have picked up in recent months have brought me so much joy, in a way the never ending parade of Genericon Transformers toys just hasn’t.
There are key characters I want to own in Transformers, and I’d rather step back now and focus on those MICRO displays of key characters (such as the 1986 movie main Autobots) rather than just buying anything and everything that takes my fancy.
In 2018 I’ll be steering away from dodgy collectible retailers who run their businesses mainly on pre-orders and focusing on those ones that ACTUALLY DO DELIVER the product you pay for. Chasing refunds for missing items for six months or so is not fun, and by the time you get the refund, the toy you ordered a year ago has sold out everywhere, so you miss out. Those fuckers.
I don’t regret buying any of the Transformers I have bought but I have no more space for them, so they all go into storage tubs. And I’m out of space even for storage tubs – which means I have to be more selective in what I get next year, and also let go of some under-appreciated toys due to space constraints. Refine and simplify. Find new ways to enjoy toys like taking photos and writing more blogs, and buying less total toys obviously.
If there’s something I’m steering toward in 2018, it’s away from mindless acquisition of the new and the shiny, the mundane and ordinary and I’m heading towards more selective choice cuts of the meaningful and amusing, the whimsical and satisfying toys like Funko’s Disney Afternoon series, more vintage Playmates 1990 era TMNT toys.
My most favourite recent toy that I just adore is the Disney Afternoon’s McDuck. It’s a simple toy but it’s the bright cartoon colors that really bring it to life. It has a nice non-glossy finish that makes it a joy to look at every time, and brings out the animated Duck Tales style it emulates.
I don’t care so much about Baloo, Chip and Dale – mostly just McDuck and Darkwing Duck are my thing. But these figures are so impressive I may end up collecting the full line. With their small size and cheap price, there is no good reason not to.
A good toy or memorabilia collection need not be varied or monotone in the
collection itself or how its displayed. What matters most to me in any type of collection is the personal meaning attached to the items in the collection.
Take these toys below for example that all turned up on the same day. There is a vintage Playmates Tokka from a dude in a Facebook TMNT OZ group, an old Cookie Monster toy from ebay and a Powerpuff Girl from TOYS R US that I found today at retail after many months of searching with no luck.
I’m an unashamed fan of Sesame St. While I have not watched it for many
years, if I watch a clip of any episode now – I enjoy it. Old or new episodes, Sesame St does some of best the writing and comedy in television. PERIOD.
People assume I’m joking when I say that, but I’m not. I love the Muppets and Fraggle Rock and anything Jim Henson or Henson workshop related (hello live action 1990 TMNT Movie Magic). The characters are as timeless and iconic and memorable as any other fiction or childrens entertainment. The Henson stuff to me is a cut above, it’s more intelligent, it works on multiple levels and its engaging. It’s just plain better than a lot of other mindless soul-less entertainment made for kids.
Recently I found a mixed lot of Sesame St toys going on ebay quite cheap. I bought them as there were no other bidders, but I mainly wanted the lot for a couple of the old BP Sesame St toys that I used to have the full set of as a kid, and would very much like to collect and enjoy again.
The other Sesame St toys I don’t want from that lot I will most likely pass on to my partners younger nieces, after I check that they are safe and clean etc. Can’t be giving no crack addicted Bert and Ernie to kids ya know. They gotta be clean.
While I enjoy the odd upmarket fancy pants bullshit collectible, I PREFER TOYS TO BE TOYS, so my aim is always to have fun with collecting toys – be it Transformers, Ninja Turtles or whatever. The RID line has been great fun with some wicked transformations and I’m sad to see it die along with the RID show in 2017.
While I missed out on the Masterpiece Soundwave I ordered about six months ago that never turned up due to a dodgy Australian retailer who had ripped off many a collector – (and all my Alf Stewart fist waving and shouting of FLAMING MONGRELS both on and offline accomplished little) – I did *finally* get to enjoy Titans Return Leader Class Soundwave – and I picked up the Repro sticker set for him which looks great, but mainly I got it for the Dancitron Base Mode stickers which emulate the nightclub Starscream and Soundwave took over in an old cartoon episode called Auto-Bop.
Here’s to the end of 2017, and a bright and shiny and New and Old and Dusty and Vintage 2018 to enjoy and look forward to. Eight days into this new year and I’m already swamped with new and old Turtle toys, TAK MALL Ginrai and some other junk that do doubt I will ramble on about soon enough. Still waiting on my giant non-Transforming Megaton, Fans Hobby Scourge / Black Convoy and some other dirty bastards.
Oh and here’s my favourite toy of 2017. It’s an Australian Koala and her baby in a tree.
Koala’s are amazing, I’ve seen a fair few in the wild and they are incredible animals, and yes super-cute. I’m not fucking about, I think it’s brilliant and if you don’t agree then you Sir are cold and dead inside, and quite possibly a monster or a hideous disgusting mutant robot. If you ARE a voo-doo robot monster… I’ll find out.