Your Future Collection
With the stellar release of the ROTJ wave (Gams, Acks, Lukes, Ewoks) closing out 2010, I've been thinking of two questions, when will I stop collecting and what am I going to do with my collection if I ever lose interest in it?
I'd like to hear other members thoughts also, but if you'll indulge me, here are mine....
Whenever the better releases of figures come out, I typically give my kids the older versions of the former figures (sort of selfish I guess, but they don't care...we still buy them new figures too, so it's all good). My 4 year old is very much SW crazy right now and his 9 year old sister still likes them too, but that won't last long for her. I see them still wanting figures for at least another 3-5 years.
I keep a few of my favorites in my office under 2 protective display cases (the rest in storage). I teach theatre design at a small university, so my peers and students think my extensive toy collection makes sense. I get alot of inspiration from the SW universe (and most anything 80s). With my job, any source helps!
One case is exclusively ROTJ, centered around the new Jabba/throne (add the old tongue from the last Jabba for extra awesomeness, it fits in the far left corner of his mouth nicely). I need a bigger case now as more skiff thugs get released and I'd like to see this new Luke done again with vest, cloak, and ungloved right hand. (I need to get the newer version of skiff Lando too, the POTF one looks antiquated now)
The other case is a series of what I call "showdowns," Bespin Luke vs removable helmet Vader, Jango vs Obi Wan, QGJ vs Tattoine Maul, Biker Scout vs Wicket, Storm Solo vs Storm, etc.... I'd like to get a few more figures for this collection along with a larger case too. Some of my figures in storage could go in the bigger case for this theme.
I will never stop collecting OT figures as long as the quality remains high, but don't have much more interest in the PT figures beyond the major characters (pretty much all done in their definitive versions: QGJ, Obi, Anakin, etc.). I may be done with the PT once (if ever) they release the solo version of evolutions Maul. I missed collecting the ANH Solo (my favorite character) and once I get a super great Solo I'll consider myself happy. My hopes are high for the pending Bespin Solo.
If my kids want them, I guess I leave the collection to them. Or, most likely I can see grandkids wanting to have my stuff. I imagine SW will live on with future generations assuming society still values imagination in 20 - 30 years.... Eventually, my collection will probably only be special to me, but no matter, escapism, fantasy, and childhood dreams are important ingredients to keeping other human virtues tasty, namely imagination, creativity, and storytelling. The power of myth and metaphor are, fundamentally, what makes our species superior to all others. We can do more than survive and exist, we can make survival and existance better.
I don't know that I'll ever stop collecting completely, unless I take a real hit financially. As the hobby gets more expensive and as my space dwindles, it will cause me to cut back, though. I'll probably move towards making dioramas and displays more when that happens, so I'll still be in the hobby in some way.
If I would ever completely lose interest, which is hard to imagine at this point, I'm not 100% sure what I would do. At this point, I have daughters and I'm not sure when they grow up they would be terribly interested in it. Perhaps if the grandkids would be interested I'd just give it to them. If not, then I'd probably try to sell it and see what I could get for it.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have always collected just for me, as an escape and just as enjoyment. This collection has always been an important little piece in my life and I have done it for a long time.
I also give old or outdated stuf to my kids. Both of them scored the POTF2 and Endor AT-AT's recently and they freaked out! I keep one of each loose figure in my collection since the Vintage line and I am very picky about vehicles trying to avoid repaints if I can and update to the bigger better ones if I need to. I collect from all six movies.
All that said I am getting older and space is getting tighter and I am looking for ways to shrink down years of collecting. I am a collector that loves what I am doing and gets a lot of pleasure out of it. But I could see being very happy hanging it up. Over the years it has been a wild ride and a constant source of happy. Artistically, for me, it has been a source of inspiration. Starting in 2011 I think I will try just to collect the main line movie figures and avoid everything else in the line unless it is so amazing I can't resist.
**I'm looking at you vehicles**.
Honestly, when all is said and done, I hope my kids won't ever have to deal with all of that stuff unless they really want to. What a nightmare to have to go through!!
I have no intentions to stop collecting. Unlike a lot of fans here, I love and collect from all six films and the Clone Wars (I also collect EU, even if I don't love every story from it). So my enthusiasm for the source material is as high as ever, and the figures keep improving, so I certainly don't want to stop.
As has been said, space is indeed an issue. I have an entire room devoted to nothing but Hasbro SW stuff, and already it's quite full. I'm just going to have to keep rearranging or adding shelves or something, but I won't stop until it's done (well, then I'll go back and get things I missed or army builders on the secondary market). I don't plan on having kids for quite a while so I don't know how they'll factor into anything.
My future collection had better include a Kneesa figure. That's all I'm saying.
I'm within 100 of having 1138 total SW figures, so the inside joke compels me to reach that plateau and then stop.
Where will these collectibles go? To the museum that all of us considered opening some time in the past (where people will pay actual money to look at toys behind glass).
There will be an app to download figures directly to your phone in the future, where you play with them as holograms instead of petroleum-based physical toys after the world's oil runs out.
Once I reach the point where I'm only buying one or two figures a year, I plan to start working on diorama building as a hobby along with my traditional art that I work on now.
As for when I finaly decide to get rid of it, I'll either die and leave it to my kid to sell, keep, or give away as she sees fit, or if I tire of it before I die, I'll just sell it for what I can get.
I really only see me actively collecting a few more years. I only want a few more difinitive versions of some of the main characters from episodes 4-6 and after that it'll be very rare that I buy anything I think.
I have been "watering down" my collection. My wife and I have a baby on the way so some of my star wars toys have to go. I still buy modern vintage figures. They are too cool to pass up. But that means older figures have to go.
I simply do not have the room in my little 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house. :(
Its okay though...I keep the figures I really really love. ;)
I'm going to keep doing what I've done for the past few years. Since I only collect OT figures, there isn't much new for me to buy. The number gets narrowed down even further because I don't buy all the figures from each wave.
I've been collecting Star Wars toys since 1978, so I doubt there will ever come a time that I won't be buying Star Wars figures any more. Even if the line is completely cancelled, there are still mountains of secondary-market product out there to collect.
Plus, I will most likely never completely lose interest in my collection, but I do lose interest in parts of it as time goes on. So, once a year I go through and start downsizing everything. If I don't display it anymore and can bear to part with it, then I get rid of it. This helps keep my collection small and ensures that I only hold onto the stuff that I really, really want.
For most of my childhood my "collection" was really small. More often that not I owned only 1 or 2 figures, if any at all. I graduated high school in 1991 and when I got word that Star Wars toys were returning in 1994, I thought that it was finally my chance to fulfill all of those childhood dreams of owning every figure and amassing a huge collection of toys. However, what I began to discover was that I enjoyed Star Wars more when the toys were few and far between. As the toys started to pile up, the collection started to become stressful and burdensome. The irony being that collecting was how I expressed my interest in Star Wars, but the size of my collection was inversely proportional to that interest. In other words, the more Star Wars stuff I buy, the more my interest in Star Wars diminishes. So keeping my collection small and under control is a good way to keep from getting burned out completely.
Another thing that helps keep my interest high is focusing only on the characters that interest me. Unlike many old-school fans, I didn't watch Star Wars in theaters and then immediately run out to buy the action figures. My interest in the toys came first and I wouldn't see any of the films until years and years later. I first watched ANH in 1983 and I didn't see ESB or ROTJ until 1986. So I chose the cool looking characters first and their role in the films was nearly irrelevant. This is why I've always gravitated towards the background aliens and droids. The human characters were always too boring for me (with the exception of Han Solo). It's also why I've never been too interested in recreating scenes from the films by building dioramas, because the stories that I could make up in my head were always better.
Now I'm not saying that...
buying only the best versions of every main character
grail searching (focusing on only the super-rare or one-of-a-kind items)
...aren't great reasons to collect Star Wars figures; they're just not my reasons for collecting Star Wars figures.
A mistake that I've made a lot in the past and one that has led to burnout on more than one occasion, was trying to live up to other people's collecting goals. I have to collect for my own reasons, regardless of whether those reasons make sense to anyone else.
I'm more of a character focus and alien-species focus collector; but I try not to get too obsessive-compulsive about it. In other words I never want to feel like I have to buy something in order to complete a set. If I'm not feeling it at that moment, then I don't make the purchase. I'd rather have a hole in my collection than buy a toy out of a sense of obligation.
Anyways, my primary character focuses are:
2. Gamorrean Guards
5. Skiff Guards/Jabba's Henchmen
7. Ep3 Wookiees (I wish, I don't own any because all the current figures suck)
Anything within those categories would be almost a guaranteed purchase from me. But the rules aren't set in stone, because I reserve the right to buy any figure that might strike my fancy at the moment. The occasional impulse purchase helps to keep things unpredictable and interesting.
I guess eventually I could foresee a time where I don't buy anything new at all; but I would continue to downsize my collection. Which would ultimately leave me with just a tiny handful of my most beloved toys. Conceivably, I could even downsize the collection so far that I would be left with only one action figure, just like it was for a majority of my childhood. The question is, which figure would that be? Is it a figure that I own now or a figure that I haven't bought yet?
Well, looking at all the Star Wars toys I own right at this moment, if it's not the TVC Gamorrean Guard, then it's nobody. Of course that decision might get clouded a bit once Kithaba is released next year. :)