View Full Version : High end collectibles...

04-27-2005, 01:36 PM
Well, I have been wanting to do a thread like this for a while now, ever since I got back from Japan with my Kotobukiyas.

There has been a trend over the last couple of years towards higher end collectibles. Years ago this would have seemed impossible, with companies like Icons losing their shirts on this risky endeavor. However recently that has change significantly. I am sure there are several reasons for this. For one thing many collectors have found their niche and have found most of what they want for their collection. Sure there are still a lot of newbies coming into the hobby, but for most of us we only need to keep up with new product, which really dosen't cost much, except for movie years when there is about 5 times as much new product coming out of Hasbro. Another factor is that the "high end" collectibles are really more like low-high end collectibles. We can find some awesome product in the $40-$100 price range. There is also the fact that many of these companies diversify their product which allows them to bring in money from different lines. The limited edition production numbers make them popular among collectors as well.

So let's take a look at the modern high end (or low-high end) collectibles market. Starting with the HIGH end stuff and working our way down.

Life size statues: I really don't know a lot about these, but there have been several done over the years to include Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Yoda, Anakin EP1 Pilot and so on. These really are large and are, as far as I know the most expensive high end collectibles. Very few collectors have the kind of scratch to buy even one of these.

Attakus: The Attackus statues go for big bucks. These are limited edition pieces and are very well done. I personally do not collect these for several reasons. First they are cost prohibitive usually going for $300.00+. Second I really don't like most statues, especially the human sculpts which usually come off looking way too fake. The nice thing about Star Wars is that there are a lot of non-human characters, so the fake human look is not as intrusive.

Code 3: These are, for the most part, highly detailed scaled replicas of the ships from Star Wars. Again these go for hundreds of dollars which is why I have never gotten into them. Plus, for some reason the scaled ships never really interested me all that much. I had the opportunity to see the amazing work that Code 3 does at CIII first hand and I must say that they truely are incredible pieces! Recently Code 3 has branched off, like many higher end mfgs. I also had the opportunity to see the new movie poster sculptures at CIII and they are indeed very nice, but again, I will be skipping these, mostly because of the other lines I am already commited to.

Icons: We all know about this company, in some circles they are infamous for leaving collectors holding the bag on their Han Solo blaster. Icons produced a few lightsabers for LFL several years back and started production on the Han Solo blaster everyone wanted so bad. Unfortunatly they went bankrupt and from what I understand only a few collectors actually got their blasters.

Master Replicas: This is the company that has essentially taken up where Icons left off. However, unlike Icons MR has found some innovative and diverse ways to bring in more money. Whereas Icons stuck mostly with full size high end prop replicas Master Replicas has a .45 scaled line as well as Force F/X, Blueprints and recently Movie Vehicles, sort of placing them in a head to head competition with Code 3. They have manged to keep their product fresh by recycling the mini sabers in various incarnations i.e. Obi-Wan weathered, Obi-Wan as first built, Obi-Wan chrome, etc. They offer these to fans as limited edition exclusives (via conventions and various dealers such as Best Buy) and even have the forsight to produce 5% in a gold chase variant. It is clear to me that MR has done a wonderful job of marketing and will continue to grow as a company. They are also very friendly to collectors and make a real effort to reach out to the SW community. I must admit that the price of their LE sabers really put me off to them at first. However after seeing their stuff up close at CIII I would say that for a prop replica collector MR is the way to go. I have decided to stick with the basic .45 scaled sabers and possibly a Vader F/X. Down the line I will probably get the full size LE Maul, Sidious and Vader sabers. MR puts out a quality product and anyone interested in getting into their stuff will be very pleased with their purchases.

Kotobukiya: These are marketed as "vinyl model kits" but in reality they are soo much more. These are really 12 inch scale statues with incredible detail and paint applications. They are esentially Japanese exclusives, though Dark Horse has recently begun importing these to the U.S. and ShopStarWars.com has had a few exclusives. These are perhaps my favorite higher end Star Wars collectible. Retailing for around $100.00 in the U.S. and about $65-$70 in Japan. I first discovered these a few years ago when the Stormtrooper (Luke Trooper) first showed up on the internet. I was lucky enough to go to Japan for a few months and bought 4 of them while I was there (Vader, Maul, Stormtrooper/Luke Trooper and Boba Fett). I have since bought the Black Pauldron (Corporal) and the White Pauldron (Sergeant) Sandtroopers. I also have the Orange Pauldron Sandtrooper, Scout Trooper and ESB Yoda on pre-order with SSW.com. As with most "statues" I don't really care for the human characters all that much, so I don't collect them. Also, with the price being what it is on these I have decided to stick to mostly OT characters, except for Darth Maul. ;) Bottom line Koto puts out a wonderful product and everyone I have spoken to falls in love with 'em after they buy their first one. If you consider getting in to these be warned, it is easy to become addicted!

Marmit: Though they are no longer producing the wonderful 12 inch line of Star Wars figures these guys deserve serious props for creating the best 12 inch figure line in Star Wars history! Marmit is another one of the Japanese exclusives. The figures are marketed as model kits and perhaps more closely resemble "models" than the kotobukiyas. What they are is a highly detailed seriouly articulated 12 inch figure that blows away anything Hasbro has ever attempted! There were only a few figures produced by Marmit, but what they did became an instant successes! To date they have produced Stormtroopers, Sandtroopers (Orange and White Pauldrons), AT-AT Driver, TIE Pilot and Boba Fett (2 slight paint variants). That's 6 total, rumor was that they were going to produce a Vader, but it never materialized. These things were a serious embarassment to the Hasbro line and I believe they were instrumental in getting rid of the Marmit Star Wars line. A few years ago these could be had for around $100.00 each, but demand has driven the cost up on the secondary market to almost $200.00 each (AT-AT and TIE can still be had for less than $100.00 in many cases). Bottom line, I have heard nothing but praise for this line, so if you want an articulated 12 inch figure with exceptional detail, and you have the money for them, Marmit is the way to go.

Gentle Giants: My next favorite higher end collectible is from Gentle Giants. A few years ago GG started producing a line of mini bust (retailing at aroud $45) and I was less than impressed. The first busts had no arms and quite frankly they freaked me out a little. They soon added the arms and WOW what a difference. My fist mini bust was the deluxe Stormtrooper, which comes with different arms and allows for multiple poses, this was a brilliant marketing strategy by GG, who first used the technique on their popular Clone Trooper mini busts. Each bust is produced in a limited number from about 2,500 to 10,000. Like the Koto's these things become an addiction, in just 7 months I have bought 13 of their busts and plan on buying several more as they are released. But GG didn't stop there, they also decided to go with exclusive chrome plated busts. Like Master Replicas they have also branched out, but with Statues, placing them is a sort of head to head competition with Attakus and to a lesser extent Kotobukiya. They currently have Darth Vader, C-3PO and Chewbacca with an upcoming Scout Trooper with Speeder Bike. Much like Master Replicas they also decided to think smaller and have produced a line of "Bust-Ups" which are a 3.75 inch scale line of busts. Again they have done chase bust-ups and other types of exclusives. Luckily most of them are fairly easy to come by. However, the biggest news in their upcoming product line is the "armory" collection. These are 12 inch scaled helmets from the Star Wars films and are incredibly detailed. I was fortunate enough to get a good look at these during CIII and I was beyond impressed. These are slated for release this year, exact date is unknown, retail price is also unknown, however the rep at CIII did say that GG is considering selling these in 2 packs, which would be cool IMO.

If I have left anything out please feel free to add to the list.

So where does your passion lay? Are you an Gentle Giants collector? Kotobukiya? Both? Is anyone here rich enough to collect everything? :crazed:

04-27-2005, 04:50 PM
Just give me the good old sw action figures...

04-28-2005, 09:22 AM
A few years ago, I moved from collecting action figures (all of them!) to High-End Collectibles. The reason why I switched is because figures wern't doing it for me anymore as a collector. I'd buy a new figure, be happy for 5 minuets and move on. So on day Master Replicas opened orders for their NEW Prop Replicas and I thought, WOW! I preordered the Darth Vader ANH Limited Edition. Some months later it came. That was it!

Cost too much? Not really. If you add up the cost of ALL the action figures you buy to say $5-6 dollars a piece then STOP collecting them, that adds up to quite a lot of money! Say about the price of a licenced replica! There you have it.

Now, I still collect action figures here and there. If Hasbro does an outstanding job on a figure I'll probably get it. But I find prop/replica colecting much more rewarding and fulfilling. I can look at anything I've purchased and still be amazed and satisfied.

04-28-2005, 10:24 AM
To justify my action figure collecting, I look at it more like I'm assembling "the collection" as a whole, so while some figures aren't as great as others, the point is to have a complete collection.

But aside from that, I've kinda been interested in high quality masks/helmets. It started with the Don Post Deluxe Biker Scout which I completely lucked into finding. Then I got ahold of a Don Post Deluxe Darth Vader. I also have a high quality fan-made Rocketeer helmet. I'm hoping to find a well-made Darth Vader Reveal helmet to round out what I currently have. Just those three helmets in my collection cost me over $2000.

I just ordered the Kotobukiya Vader and Biker Scout. Vader is sitting nearby and I'm waiting for the Scout to ship. While expensive, I have a hard time counting them as "high end" collectables relative to the masks I talked about above.

vinyl fan
04-29-2005, 06:16 PM
I also am addicted to the Kotos. I got the Chewbacca first to go with some 12" scale models I had done & haven't looked back. Followed him up with the orange Sandtrooper & Luke Stormtrooper from Hobby Link Japan. Got the Biker Scout coming from them as well. Got Han from old E-bay & Boba is coming soon from the same dealer. (cleaning out models for Paypal funds)

Looking forward to Yoda & the new Vader as well as Jedi Luke, Slave Leia, & R2 & 3PO. As you can tell, I'm an OT kinda guy. The pictures of Han & Chewie do not do them justice. Chewbacca looks like the original costume down to his eyes set far back into the fur (excellent sculpting job). Han Solo looks exactly like a young Harrison Ford & hopefully this better likeness on the human figures continues on. The earlier Anakin, Obi, Mace, & Luke have a little hint of Japanese to their features in my opinion.

04-29-2005, 09:33 PM
IM a new guy and im ready to buy a Koto, and im sure ill be buying a lot of them. Is there a site that has the upcoming figs from them? Im ready to buy the Dart Maul and Sandtrooper, as well as Vader 1 and for sure the newest one not out yet. What kind of info can you help me with as afr as Koto goes, Thanks a lot! DJ

AOL IM is maddevildog

04-29-2005, 10:16 PM
The only thing I'm really into collecting off this list of higher end collectibles are the Kotobukiya statues. I had entertained the idea of buying a few of these for years but could never justify spending upwards of $100 on a vinyl statue. Once I bought Vader though I was officially hooked and kind of went on a bender buying three more statues within the span of a couple weeks. As of right now I also have Darth Maul, Boba Fett and the Clone Trooper with the Sandtrooper (Squad Leader: Orange Pauldron) and the Biker Scout on pre-order and I'll probably end up getting the ESB Yoda as well. Unfortunately I missed out on the SWshop.com exclusive Sandtrooper Sergeant and Corporal statues by only a few weeks. :cry: Now these fetch around $200 each on ebay but hopefully I'll aquire them someday, at least the Corporal.

The only other thing I've bought are the Master Replicas FX sabers. I don't plan on collecting all of them but the few I have are fun and even non-collectors can appreciate these. I've never purchased anything from Gentle Giant but the Scout Trooper on Speeder Bike just might be my first purchase. Its a bit spendy at $200 but man does it look cool, I mean the bike actually looks like it's floating, how sweet is that?

As I get older I'm noticing my interest in high end collectibles is growing but the cost of much of these products is beyond my reach. I have cut back the amount of Hasbro toys I'm buying though. I'm no longer a completist and I've officially thrown in the towel with the 12" line. Now that I'm into the Koto statues I'm starting to appreciate my Unleashed statues a little less too. I've even entertained the idea of not collecting these anymore and selling off my existing collection so I can buy more Kotos but there are still a few I'd probably hang onto. From now on my Unleashed purchases will be limited to only the ones that really stand out. The last few waves have been pretty disappointing as far as I'm concerned and the new wave seems to be going in a direction I'm not interested in using more extreme poses bordering on sillyness so I'll probably pass on most of this line for the foreseeable future.

vinyl fan
04-30-2005, 01:33 AM
IM a new guy and im ready to buy a Koto, and im sure ill be buying a lot of them. Is there a site that has the upcoming figs from them? Im ready to buy the Dart Maul and Sandtrooper, as well as Vader 1 and for sure the newest one not out yet. What kind of info can you help me with as afr as Koto goes, Thanks a lot! DJ

AOL IM is maddevildog

Hey devildog,

The place I like to get new info & pictures at is Hobby Link Japan. www.hlj.com (http://www.hlj.com)

If you type in Star Wars in the search box, it will show you items currently available for sale or preorder. If you use the advanced search button, type in Star Wars & pull up Kotobukiya in the manufactures list. This will show you all items, even those no longer for sale (example: Mace & Yoda 2 pack)

While on the expensive side (the shipping is what kills you) if you want it first, I find its the place to go.

05-09-2005, 10:04 PM
I just started in the higher end collectibles. Well actually I did before but stopped. I bought the MR Medal of Yavin when it first came out. Liked it but I really didn't have anywhere to display it so I sold it.

Fast forward to now and all of the new stuff that came out. I decided that I was not going to buy any of the new figures. I picked up the new 12" and a Grevious Unleashed. I had about a month ago picked up the Tusken Raider and Bossk Unleashed. Decided I was going to collect a few of them. Tried desperately to find the IG-88 and Stormtrooper with no luck. Then I ran across these mini bust. Hmmmm. An IG-88 and Stormtrooper. Hehe. So I go looking on the GG site and I likes whats I see. Let the collection begin.

With the MR line I have always wanted to get a Vader, Obi-Wan and Luke saber from ANH. Money just didn't allow. I still want to get them eventually but for now I am picking up a few of the .45 scale sabers thanks to getting hooked by picking up the Best Buy exclusive. I also am considering pre-ordering the ESB Han Blaster and will eventually pick up the three sabers that I have been longing for.

Code 3 I have also considered but have decided to pass. Even though I can get really good prices on their stuff.

All in all I think I am done with the toys after 10 years of collecting. I might stay with the 12" line. I do have quite alot invested in that collection so it would be a shame to give up now. But ships, figures, beasts, etc I am done with. And I have actually considered selling off most of what I have so I can dump more $$$ into the higher end stuff which I can appreciate more.

05-09-2005, 10:18 PM
I hear where you are coming from!

I really like my GG Busts and I have been hooked on the Kotobukiya's for a while now. All of them display wonderfully!

I have given up on collecting any non-OT ships and seldom buy the 12 inch line. I have also slowed down on buying extras to open. I could never give up the 3.75 inch figure though, they are the core of my collection.

I am glad to see the GG mini busts are picking up in popularity! There are quite a few of us that have started collecting these in the last several months. I am up to 13 with more on per-order!

BTW, if you need ant help with the Unleashed line LMK, I can still get Mace, Dooku, Luke X-Wing and any of the new EPIII figures. My local Suncoast had 3 Unleashed Luke Jedi figures, but someone bought them all a couple of weeks ago. They must have seen what they were going for on Ebay. :rolleyes:

05-09-2005, 10:35 PM
Actually I don't even know if I want to persue the Unleashed line any further. I really like the Tusken Raider I bought and would really like to get my hands on the Slave Leia, Vader and Boba Fett, but it is getting frustrating looking at the prices they are going for. I'm still po'ed not being able to ever find the IG-88 and Stormtrooper at retail.

As far as the small figures I had bought two of each all the way up to the Episode 1 line. I was hoping to one day have a wall of carded figures but realistically it will probably never happen. The figures don't really bring me as much joy as they used to anyway. Especially with unpteen versions of Luke Jedi and Vader. I'll probably keep the ones I originally meant to open and get rid of the carded collection as well as most of my beasts and ships. I might keep all of my Commtech Stormtroopers. I think I have 100. My Action Fleet collection and Micro Machine ships are staying too. The 12" line I will stick with, but be alot more selective on what I buy. No more rehashes unless it is a totally mind-blowing resculpt.

05-09-2005, 11:07 PM
I hear you on the IG-88/Stormtrooper wave! They have been a nightmare to track down. Most stores seemed to jump from the Tusken/Bossk wave to the ROTS wave without getting in any of the Stormtroopers. But I have a theory on that.

I believe we will see the IG-88 wave hit retailers soon. I think Hasbro over did it on the Tusken wave and stores still had a bunch sitting around when ROTS hit on April 2nd. The stores HAD to put out the EPIII Unleashed on April 2nd. I am willing to bet that there are a lot more out there waiting to hit stores, but the stores are too back logged with Unleashed Bossk and Grevious waves that they can't get them to the shelves.

I saw the same thing happen with many of the FF figs that hit after EP1 died down. I also saw the same thing happen with the Ephant Mon at KB Toys several months back. For the longest time I only ever saw one Ephant Mon in stores. Then all of the sudden I walk into KB and they had 'em on clearance for $2.99! :eek:

Anyway, ggod luck with the GG Busts, they really are fantastic! :D