Is Star Wars toy collecting really in trouble?

The other day I was watching a YouTube video depicting the scarcity of Star Wars action figures. But the video didn’t focus on how hard items are to find, but how many where sitting in clearance bins. I was at a loss for words at first thinking this must be wrong. Then I decided to check out a few of my local toy shops. needless to say I didn’t find much at all in the way of Star Wars product on shelves, clearance or otherwise.

I have always attributed Star Wars action figure scarcity to the massive number of collectors in the world seeking a limited supply of product. At first, my explanation was simple, most other people are like me not interested in the spin off or animated stuff so naturally those toys aren’t selling. But then it occurred to me, when I was shopping for Phantom Menace stuff it was everywhere and retro stuff was hard to find. The collectors were very vocal about how they just wanted OT toys nothing from the new movie. I have felt this way myself about the Clone Wars, Rebels and other animated programs. Frankly I refuse to buy any product branded with the name Star Wars that features those designs and characters. For me, it’s obvious that is not my Star Wars.

But the animated shows remained popular as do the new Disney movies. Since the individual making the toy video I saw made really negative comments about the Disney Star Wars as a whole, indicating to me there was some bias, I decided to dismiss it as such and move on. My instinct was kids today will see this as their Star Wars and buy the toys accordingly. But I did notice something unusual. If the trend is for collectors to snatch up retro stuff and young kids to snatch up the new stuff, it would stand to reason the retro stuff would also be scarce. If, on the other hand, nobody was buying Star Wars stuff, or if the retro collectors were as they say burned out, then it would stand to reason the new stuff would be hard to get and the retro stuff would be in the clearance bins.

That was it. I decided to investigate. I didn’t come to the same conclusion as the person making the obviously biased, entirely negative video, but I did notice a trend. The stores I went to had an equal number of PT, OT, and Disney Trilogy toys for sale. The characters from the animated shows were nowhere to be found with only a few side characters from the new films available. My initial conclusion, based on this being the first day the toyline was refreshed and there was new stock in store made me question a few things.

I was shopping early in the morning. I headed to Walmart around 7:30 a.m. If the new toys were put out around say Midnight then the collectors must have camped out and picked them bone dry. All that was left were a few of the side characters I am sure nobody cared about. The one thing that stood out was the Return of the Jedi Skiff vehicle retailing for just under $40. That seemed excessive for me considering what it was. Especially since I recently picked up a decked out Rise of the TMNT Turtle Tank for about that and even a Scooby Doo 50th Birthday Mystery Van with Fred for half that price. This told me that the OT stuff still fetches a premium price tag and that the collectors were on the ball.

If there was a shortage of toys the first day it came out that doesn’t indicate to me a lack of interest, on the contrary it tells me the collectors, or at the very least scalpers, are out in full force. I will be keeping an eye on this trend now that it’s been brought to my attention. Of course, keep in mind I am only now getting back into toy collecting so my knowledge of the current landscape is fairly limited. Stay Cool.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers 1993 Mega Zord Dino Zord Deluxe Set, IN BOX!

Okay so I suppose it would be fair to say I splurged. It would be more accurate to say I mortgaged my future for a toy. Either way you look at it I bought the single most expensive toy or collectible I have ever purchased recently, a complete, in BOX, Deluxe Mega Zord set from 1993. That’s right the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Dinozords are now safely sitting in my collection protecting my other toys from the forces of evil.

I’ve owned combiner sets before. Namely Devestator and most of the original G1 Scramble City combiners, or gestalts as they are known in the Transformers community. The largest single figure I have ever owned previously was Unicron from Transformers Armada. Behind him was Trypicon and Metroplex from Generation One.

This toy though, is massive. A lot more massive than I pictured. I haven’t yet stood it up next to a Unicron to compare size but I imagine the Mega Zord could give that toy a run for his money. Toy mind you, I’m not sure if the Dino Zords could defeat the chaos bringer on their own, at least not without the help of Ultrazord. Even then I’m not sure.

In 1993 I instantly fell in love with MMPR. I love the toys, the TV series, video games and yes, even the live action movie from 1995. It sure gets hated on my modern audiences but it was actually a ton of fun for me back then.

Over the years I have gone through cycle where I would pick up items that meant a lot to me because I had them as a kid and wanted to connect with my childhood. Then there have been pieces I picked up because they were just cool looking. My favorite pieces are the ones I obtain as a n adult that I never had as a kid, but always really wanted.

I had never even seen a Mega Zord in the wild back in the 90s. I had a friend who had the Thunder Mega Zord which I still thought was pretty cool itself. But even he didn’t have the original five dinozords. This was a terrific purchase for me because it gave me a rush of emotions ranging from the memories of desperately wanting one all this time to getting to explore a toy I never had as a kid but was familiar enough with due to its depiction in the TV series.

My favorite thing about it so far is how big and detailed it is. The individual zords aren’t that spectacular on their own that much is clear. Even so the combined form is so awesome it more than makes up for it. The toy looks amazing at a team of five robots as well as tank mode, too. I love this action figure set quite a bit. I do wish I could have owned one as a kid. But, knowing how my toys from them didn’t survive into adulthood maybe it’s better this way.

I didn’t commit the unforgiveable sin toy collectors fear of buying an unopened box and then opening it up. Not that I wouldn’t consider doing just that, it’s just this was already priced well above what I should have paid for any individual toy anyways. I did end up getting a complete in box set even if the box had already been previously opened and the stickers applied. It didn’t come with any instructions but the weapons were all intact, including all the parts people claim to be missing in so many other sets. If I can make one toy collector out there jealous I will consider that a bonus. Even if that isn’t the case I can finally sleep easy at night knowing the Mighty Megazord is keeping the forces of evil away from my ever growing toy collection.

A case for Go-Bots collecting

When I was a kid my dad went to California to a funeral. It was my grandpa, whom I had no memories of. When he returned he brought me a gift, since he had been gone for a while. It was a shiny new transforming robot toy. No, it wasn’t a Transformer, it was one of those pesky Gobots, you remember them right? Well even if you don’t I do, vaguely so I had a few growing up.

Here is the thing. Due to some corporate fighting I don’t have any desire to get into, the toy company that made the vastly more popular Transformers toyline, Hasbro, ended up buying out the company that made the Gobots line. Oh I am not going to dig into the semantics of both companies importing Japanese toys, that story is old and well documented. The fact remains, Hasbro took over the name and, well, killed the line off decisively once and for all, more or less.

When I was a teenager I lost interest in toys and shifted my focus to videogames. For brevity sake I will skip a few details and say beginning in 2001 I got back into toy collecting, hard. Specifically Transformers collecting. In fact to this day I still use an email account with thetransformerscollector in the name. A few years later I had been collecting Transformers and amassed quite a collection. During that time I decided to expand into Gobots, the Transformers cousins. After buying a few I realized they were much better quality than I had remembered them being.

Now I am older. I have either sold off all my toys or given them to nieces and nephews over the years as birthday presents. Recently I started getting the overwhelming desire to start up collecting again. At first I was inclined to wade back into Transformers collecting. It was simple really. I grew up with the toys, enjoy the cartoon and have fond memories spanning decades of buying toys. The thing is even if you stick to just one toyline, say G1 or the original 80s line, you could be spending thousands of dollars chasing down hundreds of figures. If you expand into modern stuff and, well let me put it this way they have been putting new Transformers figures on toy shelves every single year since 1984. That means there are now thousands of figures to choose from, several dozen varieties of the same figure in many cases. This makes a persons head spin when trying to decide where to start.

Then I came to a conclusion, no a revelation. There are 85 total toys in the Gobots toyline. Specifically transforming toys sold by Tonka in that packaging, not counting a handful of variants and recolors. What this means is, since the line was killed in 1987 or so, there is a distinct, narrow set of figures making up the collection. And because the vast majority of the public prefers Transformers, or the rest see Gobots as inferior knockoffs, it means the toys never accumulated the massive value their Marvel/Hasbro counterparts did. This means you can pick up a Leader-1, the Gobot equivalent of Optimus Prime, for under $30. Good luck finding a halfway decent figure only no stickers no parts of an original G1 Prime for that cheap. In fact sealed, carded complete in box Gobots often go for less money than G1 toys do loose, incomplete in many cases.

For someone who has a deep admiration for metal transforming robot toys with a limited budget, it appears as thought Gobot collecting is the way to go. At least for now.

I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I have done some online browsing but to be fair, I still have my complete Puzzler Gobot set of six combiner toys. I only have one single G1 Transformer left, an original Bumblebee. This means for all intents and purposes, I already have more of a Gobot collection than I do Transformers anyways.

I don’t necessarily need to pursue a complete set. Going after a complete set of any Transformers line would drive a person completely insane. The good news is, if I decided I somehow did want to go that route with Gobots, at least it wouldn’t break the bank. The trick is finding sellers. Unfortunately the toys are cheap due to low demand, that doesn’t mean they are in great supply. Oh well, I haven’t decided if I will begin a Gobots collection or not but I am starting to see a case for it more so than Transformers at this point. Maybe I stop living in the past and sell all my toys and collectibles and focus my attention on something more productive like my house or yard? We’ll see. In the mean time all I can say is from my observations the Gobots toys are a lot better than people remember them.