View Full Version : "Played With" vs. "C-9.8+"...my changing view

Old Fossil
01-10-2007, 08:35 PM
Let me say first that I've collected many things over the years... stamps, coins, old books, and of course Star Wars figures. Recently I've been focusing my SW collecting habits on the Vintage line, especially figures from ANH and ESB.

As I began to bid on and acquire loose figures, I aimed for the most pristine figures possible. This was in line with my Modern SW collecting habits, where it is of course quite easy to get mint figures. Also I did so out of habits picked up from coin and stamp collecting, where the most desirable pieces are traditionally unused ones.

Then there are books. I really don't know much about book collecting. All I know is that I actually prefer volumes that have owner's marks on the inside cover. Not ones where the cover is literally falling off, mind you, or are missing pages, or with heavy stains. For example, I have an old Latin-German, German-Latin dictionary that was apparently in a convent's library for much of its life. It has some inked names and dates, and the convent's stamp, on the inside cover and on and around the title page. This lends tremendous personality to an otherwise dull tome, I think. Other books I have may have some highlighting or underlining, or dog-eared pages, which shows that others have come before me, and I am but the latest caretaker. That's a nice feeling.

I am beginning to come to the same sort of view regarding Vintage SW figures. Take, for example, R5-D4. Finding one in so-called C-9.8 condition or better is not easy. Most examples seem to have some defect, either in the paint apps on the eyes, or discoloration of the sticker, or tears to or wear on the sticker. Sometimes the legs are a slightly different shade of white than the torso. Now, while I would probably never buy one missing the sticker, or with other serious trauma, I am come to the realization that slight defects only add to the figure's personality. Slight wear to R5's sticker means that he was played with, but treated with some care over his long lifespan.

Some of these figures are going on 30 years old. Should they look shiny and new on the shelf above my Ep.3 Clone squads? I don't think so. Somehow that makes them seem inferior, which of course they are not. I am less impressed with a gleaming, perfect Obi-Wan than with one who's missing a little paint on one hand and the tip of his blue saber. The latter shows his age as a played-with toy, not one that was never played with and kept in a dark closet since it came out of the plastic bubble, forgotten for a quarter century.

I don't know why I felt the need to post this, really. Not looking for any validation. Guess I just needed to get it off my chest.

01-10-2007, 09:44 PM
No, they shouldnt look shiny and new, the word VINTAGE says it all.

01-11-2007, 01:01 PM
It all comes down to personal choice. If you prefer a slightly used figure to a pristine "mint" figure then that's your choice and is to be respected.

I myself look for the best possible condition figures as possible but have some vintage figures in my collection with flaws. Such as some weathering to figures (fading) or slight yellowing to Stormtroopers & Snowtroopers. With the Stormtroopers the slight yellowing makes for great Sandtroopers.

The other issue too is factory defects that did occur and seem to be more prevalent with the vintage figures. I have a Stormtrooper where the black in the eye sockets is just below the actual sockets. Makes the figure look odd but the rest of the figure is in good condition so I keep it. Also, figures like R5D4 and R2D2 run the risk of the sticker not ever being set right on the torso. Sometimes they are crooked or the sticker flaps don't meet up. But hey that's par for the course.

01-11-2007, 02:17 PM
I started my Vintage Collection by getting all of the accessories for my childhood figures. They vary in condition, a few still look NM, but a lot of them are in pretty lousy condition. I only really care about the history that is my own. There are some defects that I really cannot stand in figures I am adding, however:

"Touched-up" figures- I really hate this

Yellowed white parts. I don't want my figures to look as though they wet themselves. I don't even mind sanding them down slightly, if need be.

There are also a couple of particular figures that have extremely common defects unique to them that I hate:

Death Squad Commander- I hate the helmet and boots when they lose their paint

Blue Snags- Boots paint loss.

R5-D4- lousy sticker

All caped figures need to have capes without tears.

I guess what I am getting at is that I have a level of acceptibility for each figure. What I can live with in one may not be acceptable in another!

I'll tell you what really annoys me most: the blasters that come with Endor Han Solo and Stormtrooper Luke. They are actually unique to the figures and are blacker than any other variety. So, if you want a loose Luke Stormie, you have to take into consideration that getting the correct weapon will be very difficult.

01-12-2007, 04:37 PM
I'm collecting a complete set of loose Vintage. I'm also collecting them in the very best possible shape but I dont rule out a figure if it has a very slight defect. Defects do add character to me and its very hard to find any loose figure in pristine condition.

Bel-Cam Jos
01-14-2007, 09:10 AM
Most of my figures are loose and have been bought over 25+ years, but I sure can tell which ones were mine when I was at the "playing with" stage. I know my own imperfections that I was aware of as a kid (scrapes, marks, loose limbs, missing fingers, marker "added" details, etc.). Since many of these are far from mint, it's doubtful that anyone would want them, so mine they'll stay.

But I was trying to get the best looking replacements when I finished my collection. Sure, maybe blasters were blue when they really should've been black, or perhaps the lightsaber tip was bent or slightly missing. I don't have many POTF coins, either, but I do have the figure. That was good enough for me. For those searching for every part, more power to you, because that's part of the fun and excitement of finding these gems. :thumbsup:

01-16-2007, 01:28 PM
I think that it's very much an issue of personal preference. Would I like to have all fresh off the card figures in my vintage collection? Sure, who wouldn't? But you have to be willing to make compromise and decide how good a figure you want vs the cost. Some figures I want the best example I can get. Other I like to have a bit played with. For example I think the bounty hunters, Boba Fett (http://photos.sirstevesguide.com/showphoto.php?photo=6644&cat=3322) inparticular, look better a little beat up. That played with look I think really helps add more character to the figure. But on the flip side there are I a lot of figures I want the best possible figure I can buy. All of the POTF figures are like that for me.

I want all of my figures to be complete (in body parts). Right now my Hoth Luke is missing his thumb and my Hoth Han has a major cut on his thumb. Both of them will be replaced at some point. Also I want my figures to have fairly tight joints. I'm ok missing lightsabers tips, but accessories should also be complete. Capes, coats, belts and other clothing should be free of rips and tears. I'm very will to make exceptions for my original figures, but any purchased after '95 should meet those criteria.

Bobby Fett
01-16-2007, 02:19 PM
I think most loose figures actually look better (more natural) when they're displayed without the weapons. There are exceptions of course, such as Darth Vader with his lightsaber, etc. I do want the capes and so on to be on the figure.

I like the figures to be relatively "new" looking, but agree that some, like Boba Fett, look good with a little wear and tear.

Loose joints aren't a problem for me - I super glue them. I pose my figures in neutral poses and never worry about reposing them.

I get the best figure I can, but I don't worry about small blemishes.

06-18-2007, 11:04 PM
For me, any defect in the face is an automatic "deal breaker." If the face paint is scratched (especially on the nose), then I don't want the figure at all.

In fact, I'll even reject a C10 figure that has a sloppy face-paint application, that's how important the face is to me.

However, this doesn't include the hair, that can have a few scratches and I'd still consider the figure acceptable.

Scratched hands and feet are no biggie, in fact, I almost expect it in most loose figures. Try finding a loose Biker Scout without some black paint missing, it's not easy at all.

Extreme yellowing or other discoloration is another deal breaker for me. Also, if the figure came with a cape, then the cape cannot be missing or torn or, even worse, stapled back together. Major body accessories can't be missing either (Ewok cowls and pouches, gun belts, removable helmets, etc.); but missing weapons aren't a big deal, unless it's something very difficult to track down like Amanaman's staff.

Missing or broken limbs are also unacceptable. With the only exception being EV-9D9, since that figure had a problem with the arm joints "eroding." So as long as that one can display nicely, then it is fine with me.

06-19-2007, 05:54 PM
Just buy carded vintage figures and open them.