Hit or Miss: Why do people collect figures and toys?

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collectibles

I’m a self-proclaimed geek, with eclectic tastes that tap in to many facets of geekdom. As such, many of my friends are also geeks. Many of them have a habit of buying collectibles. They’ll spend hundreds and thousands of Rands to buy merchandise and memorabilia of things they love. And it baffles the hell out of me.

I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why people spend fortunes on things that sit there, looking nice and doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging. I think people should be free to spend their money on whatever they want without having to feel guilty about their hobbies and passions. I also understand that many of these things are collectible for a reason – that in the future, because of their rarity, they may actually be worth something. Mostly though? They sit in display cases and look pretty.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand it – so I asked two of our own collectors why they collect these things.

Here’s what Darryn had to say:

“There’s a certain joy to collecting anything, but I think toys just manage to scratch an itch that I could never fulfil as a kid. For me, it’s not just about being able to own something that I could only dream of having when I was a child, but also the fact that I’m in a position to get my hands on something that is even better than what was available then. A good action figure gives you that wonderfully warm feeling of nostalgia.

But a great action figure? It’s more than that, it is actual art that you can adjust and display. I could wax lyrical about how I also feel that collectible toys are a solid investment or how I could get high for days after huffing the smell of freshly opened plastic, but that’s not why I grab them whenever I have the chance. I just love toys, and always will. And nothing beats the fact that just staring at a beautifully detailed sixth-scale figure, results in a visual form of catharsis for me personally.”

Alessandro’s also an avid collector.

“For me, collectibles are less about completing a set and more about showing admiration and love for a particular franchise or brand. I own many, many Star Wars figurines, all of which are just used as display pieces to make it perfectly clear to anyone that there’s a lot of love for the series in my immediate vicinity. It’s a rewarding way to outwardly show my love for something, and I equally appreciate a lot of the craftsmanship that goes into figure creation too.”

I can respect that. I may never understand that, but I can respect that. What about you? Do you go cuckoo for collectibles, or do you also struggle to comprehend the fascination with figurines?

Last Updated: February 10, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Umar

    Because they smell really, really good. It’s intoxicating.

    • PurplePariah

      So do new magazines and books. And I hardly even collect the latter, despite enjoying them far more than any toy or figurine.

      • Original Heretic

        I’m a total book collector. I currently need new bookshelves.

        • Ir0nseraph

          I enjoy reading but I have gone the E-book route, the storage just got too much and since the young one’s arrival in our house, storage is very important.

          • Original Heretic

            I’m at the stage where I need to watch my lad if he gets anywhere CLOSE to the study. He likes invading the bookshelves, intent to rip up another book.

          • Ir0nseraph

            XD
            Mine is still crawling so safe for now 🙂

  • I would have hundreds of figures if they were affordable.

    • PurplePariah

      I have one figure. It’s round.

  • Neji

    Does Lego count?

    • Fire Marshall Bill says yes.

      • Neji

        aaaawwww yesssssssssssssssss!
        Lego Technic FTW

    • miaau

      Um, if it does, then scratch what I just wrote….

    • MonsterCheddar

      If I had to collect something it would be Lego.

    • Captain JJ

      I have a bunch of Star Wars Lego sets, so I would think maybe so. It may not be a “figure” like the article suggests, but it’s a collectible for sure.

  • miaau

    I like to look at them, to hold them and see them. But to buy?

    No, I will not buy them. Clutter, clutter and more clutter.

    • Yeah, I amlike this too. I can appreciate that they look nice. I don;t need to own the stuff.

    • PurplePariah

      Yup, I’m exactly the same. I appreciate the level of detail in particularly good pieces, but I once got 2 Warcraft figures in some box edition of Warcraft 3. They’re sitting at the bottom of a box somewhere in my garage.

      • Captain JJ

        Yea. I just have the Witcher and Skyrim medallions.

  • Ir0nseraph

    I bought a bobble head and 2 Guardians of the Galaxy Plushies, but just because they were cheap and I hate walking out of Rage empty handed, and now they are buried somewhere in my house.
    The collectibles is cool but i don’t need to own them.

  • MonsterCheddar

    I would, if they were cheap (which is never the case) and my wife wouldn’t get rid of them while I wasn’t looking.

  • Original Heretic

    The only time I would ever get a figurine is if it came with a special deluxe edition of a game.

    But since I don’t bother paying an extra R500 – R1 000 for a deluxe edition, I never get them.

    They are awesome though. My Assassin’s Creed obsessed buddy has gotten every deluxe edition of the AC games, so he’s got ALL those kickass figurines. They look brilliant.

  • People collect Art. This is a type of Art. My desk is littered with Art.

    My desk is cluttered as well. 😛

  • VampyreSquirrel

    I have a few figurines, and I love having them. I’m surprisingly proud of them xD

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I think collectibles are cool – some of them are amazing pieces of art. I’ve got a few of my own but I definitely wouldn’t call myself a collector. The character really has to mean something to me in order for me to open the old wallet and spend the money – like the three I have of a certain Star Wars character.

    • MonsterCheddar

      Did they have collectibles back in the 40’s?

    • Umar

      Yeah. Trev’s figurines are actually really cool. I remember how impressed I was when I saw his 3 Jar Jar figurines.

  • I do actually collect empty beer bottles… looks pretty cool in my lapa

    • Ir0nseraph

      At least it’s empty, it has served it’s primary purpose with pride 🙂

  • MonsterCheddar

    Closest I have is my Batman mug, which is like the Holy Chalice and only I am allowed to drink out of it.

  • DragonSpirit009

    I like to collect dragon figurines but not so much gaming or movie/anime or whatever ones. For me collecting the dragon statues/figurines is to show my love for the mythical creature but I’m also dumb stuck in awe on how many different shapes and detail there are on these figures. Even the smallest scale is something wonderful.
    Sadly I haven’t collected any in awhile due to money matters but I hold my head up high with the ones I already own.

    • Lu

      I only own a little plastic dragon I got for my birthday, which sits on my LOTR box 🙂

      • DragonSpirit009

        I have there little guys at my desk here at work… Got them as a gift one year from a friend hear at work. She knows me to well. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8abf7b954c290c55d23ee086f4005555efe62a5367407efb83ef89442e29caa1.jpg

        • Those are nice.

        • MonsterCheddar

          Nice

        • Lu

          awesome

        • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

          Those are amazing! Marry that girl! MARRY HER!

          • Hey Jim… hover over Dragon’s profile and check the bio 😛

          • Admiral Chief

            Its like he has no idea how to speak to a lady

          • Typical AI

          • Captain JJ

            Wait. Maybe this will help him, seeing as how he’s AI.
            01101100 01100001 01100100 01111001

          • Admiral Chief

            Kekekeke

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

            Now that’s just rude…. I would never do that!

          • Captain JJ

            Haha.

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!
          • Admiral Chief

            …by playing with a doucheflute aka vapestick thing?

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

            Uhm… yes?

          • Captain JJ

            By shooting your load as quickly as possible?

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!
          • Captain JJ

            Haha. Whaat. Never seen this before XD

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

            That shouldn’t stop her! This is the 2017s, man! 😀

          • xD

          • VampyreSquirrel

            I’m pretty sure she doesn’t swing that way.

          • Captain JJ

            But swings go back and forth. In two directions. That’s kind of what they’re all about 😛

          • DragonSpirit009

            Not this SWING!!

          • Captain JJ

            Haha. The intention was to mess with Banana, but things just got out of hand 😀
            Okay, wait…I see how open for trolling that sentence is.

          • PurplePariah

            Yeah that’s a slippery topic 🙂

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

            One does not simply mess with the nana…. without running the risk of brain damage….

            https://imgflip.com/s/meme/One-Does-Not-Simply.jpg

          • PurplePariah

            Oh no. Is that an… Is that an AVO shape?

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

            An Avo shape? The nerve…. GET OUT OF HERE!!!

          • PurplePariah

            But I’m not scared of long fruit people. Only round ones. YOU’RE NOT ROUND!

          • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

            I’m probably on a NPA/CIA/FBI/MOSSAD watchlist now for googling “tiny round bananas”

            https://i.ytimg.com/vi/y_eE83HmRb0/maxresdefault.jpg

          • xD

          • PurplePariah

            LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • DragonSpirit009

            You should be lucky that you at least found round banana’s and not something else XD

          • DragonSpirit009

            Good thing I don’t take you guys serious XD

          • VampyreSquirrel

            You’d know all about that, right JJ?

          • PurplePariah

            Oh right, because people use his eyebrows as swings! I get it!

          • Captain JJ

            uhmmm

        • MonsterCheddar

          YESSSSS, MARRY HER, Drakie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • Yondaime

          Have you married her? if not, WTF ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?!

          • DragonSpirit009

            Firstly… I don’t swing that way XD
            Secondly I don’t break up marriages XD

          • Yondaime

            Oh well, we tried.

  • PurplePariah

    I don’t even buy collector’s editions. The post cards and other shit just sits in a box, unused and unloved. Like Trevor on a warm summer’s day. Or any other day.

    I mean, what?

  • MonsterCheddar

    Face it. Its flippen awesome when you walk into a room and its full of figurines and collectibles neatly packed out, each with his own spot.

  • Daniel Hallinan

    I think it’s a mix of things, it’s a different flavour of urge for every person. For me, I don’t really have any collection itch, but I do like having things I like looking at around.

    I am VERY picky when it comes to figurines / statuettes / models (whichever term one prefers). It may be because I put a lot of effort when painting miniatures and love detail on them so I appreciate it when I see it (and notice it when it’s poor), or because my mother is graphic design lecturer and I grew up knowing to look at stuff critically.

    I’ve yet to find ANY collector’s edition figure that’s good enough to interest me, for example, which is a large part of why I feel no urge to get any of them. I grabbed the Homeworld Remastered one and… yeah, I do actually regret it. It’s neat, but it’s not “look at it every day” neat. At least I’m honest 😛

    This does mean I tend to focus more on figures based either on animated or illustrated sources, as the more detailing something has the easier it is for me to find fault in how that detailing is painted (as an example). It’s a bit tough to like detailing when more often than not I put more effort into detailing when painting myself (not a criticism – I’m fully aware that if you’re making hundreds of something you can’t exactly afford to put that much effort into it).

    To give an idea of how picky I am, even though I keep my eye on new stuff coming out of Japan (since that’s where the vast majority are made), I still only have four figurines that I enjoy keeping out. This isn’t due to lack of finances, just a lack of stuff that “meets my standards”. (I grossed myself out by saying that…). Every now and then there’s a mini that REALLY tempts me – it’s a great facial expression that gets me most of the time, but I often warn myself off it by debating if it’s worth the price.

    …you also do just have people who have poor impulse control. The value in held in the initial discovery and/or the acquisition, rather than it’s presence as it stands there. This being what I work to avoid.

    • Daniel Hallinan

      Rereading this, I feel like I was sitting in an armchair, sipping tea, and puffing a pipe as I wrote it xD

      • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

        It was beautiful; It moved me. 😀

    • Was wondering when we’d have another Dan essay comment. <3

      • Daniel Hallinan

        Turns out I like talking about things that I can contribute to.

        Who knew? 😛

  • For those of you wondering, I have way too much plastic sitting above my head while I type out nonsense: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f04af8051c072e93523e9070b05dc948dd86b9050ad40d1e77ef4e5252a79654.jpg

    • MonsterCheddar

      AWWWWW nice

    • Only 2 Batmans (Batmen? There can only ever be 1 Batman). Disappointing. 😛

      • More are on the way 😀

        • Did you type that in a Batman voice? 😛

          • maaaaaaaarthaaaaaaaaaa

      • VampyreSquirrel

        You should see Garth’s (Valshen) collection… it’s seriously impressive.

        • PurplePariah

          Does he keep them in his beard? 😛

          • VampyreSquirrel

            A few of them probably… though I can’t guarantee that his beard is strong enough to hold some of that awesomeness.

    • So much stuff above your head, and nothing in it. *shrug*

      • MonsterCheddar

        XD

      • OH YOU

      • Admiral Chief

        It is filled with weird, weird things

    • MonsterCheddar

      Its a wonder there was any space left after you put the Xbone there.

      • PurplePariah

        I’m more wondering how the shelf is still on the wall with an Xbone there.

        • MonsterCheddar

          Oi. They are not THAT heavy. Me and my wife picked mine up yesterday.

          • PurplePariah

            Your wife must be quite strong. Russian?

          • MonsterCheddar

            Nyet.

          • Our construction company often rent out our trucks for Xbone moves.

        • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

          Those things are massive… you could kill a man with it!

    • Mistake Not…

      I’d be happy to take some off your hands. Especially armoured Batman. That takes up waaay too much space. Messes up your Feng shui.

      • As my father so often likes to tell me:
        Do you want to die young?

        • Mistake Not…

          Yes, if it means I get to be buried with that beautiful figure.

    • Magoo

      Trandformers! Robots, in, Darryn’s shelf.

  • Captain JJ

    Why not? There’s nothing quite like a physical version of something you’ve seen on tv or in a game.

  • Mistake Not…

    For me, the long and short of it is: It makes me happy. There’s no better reason, I feel, to do things than if it makes you happy, unless it’s, like, serial killing or something.

  • And the corporates coming up with new IPs for you to waste money on LOVE you as much as you love your toys… http://static.comicvine.com/uploads/original/11115/111151641/4836953-agent-smith-evil-laugh.gif

    • Captain JJ

      Yea, in some cases the focus on toy sales mess with movies. Like SW ep VII for example.

      • Don’t bring logic to this! The kids will cry!

        • Captain JJ

          “Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end of it.” – Spock.
          I believe he also said something like “May the force be with you.” XD

    • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

      You shut your mouth – I have a box filled with Disney Infinity figures!!!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Anything beyond that? 😀

        • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

          I have an ovg action figure…

  • Magoo

    I really dislike it when people make a yes/no poll and then add an opinion to the end. No I don’t collect figurines but if you do, that’s okay, I feel you man. I would too if I had more money.

    • Captain JJ

      Might look funny if the entire comments section was just people going “yes” or “no” 😛

      • Magoo

        I’m talking about the poll above. 😛

        • Captain JJ

          Yea. I do agree with that actually. My reason for saying yes, or no, isn’t the same as everyone elses. Kind of stops me from voting at all sometimes.

          • Magoo

            At least you can still vote for beer.

            That should be an option of every poll/election ever.

  • GooseZA

    I think they’re awesome but I never buy because:

    a) They’re damn expensive.
    b) I haaaaaaate clutter. I need my surfaces to be clear and empty. Clutter stresses me out.

    Happy to frame prints of stuff I like and hang it on walls though as it looks neater.

  • Banana Jim’s Final Form!

    The only problem with collecting figurines (if you’re a single male) is that you’re basically like that poor diseased featherless peacock strutting his stuff, you’re not going to get a mate. It’s like being a brony while a few years away from 40. Keep that level of crazy till after you’ve secured a mate, gotten married and made sure she or he can’t leave you …. EVER (like hiding her/his Slovenian passport – and keeping her/him tied up in the basement)

    Heh heh heh heh!

    Nah! I’m joking guys, collecting figurines is an awesome hobby, and there’s nothing like displaying your proud collection on a shelf.

  • Sageville

    I guess the exact same questions can be asked of those who have “art” on their walls, or ornaments on their shelves or more than 3 pairs of shoes in their closet…

    Those are considered “Norms” and are acceptable – whereas there is a stigma attached to geek related hobbies…. fek, we all know this otherwise we wouldn’t even be on this site, Geoff is just a troll!

  • Avithar

    i have a ton of Batman stuff… even ran out of space but i am still adding more to my collection.

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