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When Collecting Clashes with Adulthood


Whitewolf
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Well folks, it finally happened...

 

My lovely, sexy, drop-dead gorgeous wife and mother of our three sons finally spoke those words that so many of us adult collectors dread to hear: "You really need to grow up." It came up in a conversation we were having about the fact that Hasbro is in talks with Sideshow Collectibles to produce high-end (read: insanely expensive teeny-tiny) playsets for the 3.75" figures. She said it with a smile on her lips and though she sounded like she was saying it in a joking manner, the look playing across her eyes betrayed all of that. I knew that she was officially drawing a line in the sand on my collecting. In that moment, I froze...simply staring at her with what amounted to a catatonic expression on my face, as if she had just told me I had a brain tumor or something.

 

She went on to explain to me that she has no problem with my hobby, per se. Its the fact that we have transformed an entire room of our house into a shrine honoring George Lucas's savvy for marketing. Buying $7 Star Wars figures to do my reviews never bothered her, nor does me buying the occasional vehicle. But she has begun to see a pattern forming...

 

The more that Hasbro, Master Replicas, Sideshow, Gentle Giant and a host of other Star Wars licensees crank out their wares, the higher the price tag on said merchandise keeps steadily creeping upward. She explained that $7 figures are one thing...but Master Replicas FX Lightsabers are quite another (I own 2). She mockingly said that I only collect some of these things for bragging rights. "Hey everyone! Look at my $120 lightsaber," she mocked. Only to have someone look at me and ask "Why the hell would you pay $120 for a lightsaber?!"

 

Her comments struck a chord with me, to be perfectly honest. I flashed back to being at work on any given day when an adult collector would come into the Star Wars aisle and suddenly transform into a 6-year-old when he'd see the newest wave of action figures on the pegs. And standing behind him would be his wife/girlfriend/life partner with that same look of indignant resignation on her face, which is sometimes followed by either exaggerated eye-rolling or heavy sigh. The same look that my once-tolerant wife now had on her's.

 

Her point was not that I'm blowing money on my collection that should otherwise be allocated to bills or our childrens' well-being. On the contrary...all of that is more than taken care of each month. What she was driving home is the fact that my taste in collectibles is beginning to get more and more expensive. One of her favorite expressions is that companies like MR, Sideshow and Gentle Giant are geared to those "35-year-old guys who still live at home in their parents' basement; have a good-paying job and no other bills except maybe a car payment, rent and food." She speaks of them like they are some mythical creature like a Hobbit...because I personally have never seen one of them. And they ALWAYS live in the basement, denoting their subterranean nature. Unless these are what eBay sellers are... @smilepunch@

 

The day I got my MR Luke Skywalker FX lightsaber, she chuckled and then asked if I wanted her to get me a set of Jedi robes in adult size to go with it. Her little way of being passively-agressive about it after she got over the sticker shock of how much I paid for it...including shipping.

 

Those of us who are married or at least in a committed relationship have experienced similar static to one degree or another. Fortunately, I was promised that I will never get the "it's either me or Star Wars" ultimatum. Looking around our home---as our family Interactive R2-D2 chases our 2-year-old twins around the living room (that droid's due for a memory wipe!)---I have to admit that she does make sense. I have to reel in my penchant for giving in to the lure of all these high-end collectibles. Because, as my wife said...if she outlives me, this huge collection of mine will not be bequeathed to our children as some sort of Lucasian family heirlooms. It will become the largest Star Wars-themed yard sale our neighborhood has ever seen! I at least convinced her to keep ol' R2 though. That put a LOT of things into perspective for me. In 100 years, no one will care whether we kept these figures MOC or whether we got the "gold coin" chase variant.

 

Though I'll keep collecting the figures, I think I'm going to put my lightsaber away out of my wife's sight until one of my sons feels the need to follow his old man on "some damned-fool idealistic crusade."

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Interesting Wolf. I haven't been on these boards for an incredibly long time like some here, but I have always enjoyed your reviews. That "100 years" line is something that I live by. In 100 years everybody on this board will be forgotten, with the exception of some great great grandchild performing a Genealogy search for their History class. I just want them to find a picture of me with smiling family and a little R2 in the background. :) I have found myself straying more and more into the realm of the higher end items myself, but that was by choice and not chance.

 

I came to the conclusion that I would rather have fewer, high quality items on a few shelves, than 100s of cheap figures that NEVER look as good as the prototype picture, scattered all over. I sold a ton of stuff and I am currently up to date on my Sideshow 12 inch line. I just came to the decision that there was a time to not necessarily grow up, but pull the reins in a little bit. The main reason is that there is always something else to buy, and after over a decade of collecting, I tire of the chase. My wife and I have a one year old son named after a super hero and a Skywalker, so he will know his roots. :) There will still be a few shelves of figures around here, but it will be much more reserved.

 

We moved to the city of Chicago not too long ago and we have a reverse family dynamic. She brings home the bacon, and I raise the child. I would take him shopping originally to get my Star Wars stuff, but now we spend more time in the stuffed animals, and I don't feel as guilty, lol. I think that for me, the way she has been very accommodating and supportive of my collecting, has made sacrifice a little for her as well. Anyway, I think that this post has devolved into rambling, but I just wanted to say don't feel alone friend! There are lots of us in the same place, with similar circumstances. :)

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My current girlfriend is surprisingly understanding of my collecting. I already tol dher if / when we were to get a house that i would need a room just for my collection. She doesnt seem to have a problem with it as long as she gets a walk in closet or 2 for all her clothes, bags, and shoes. I guess it all works out.

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my wife understands my collecting but when we were first married see did not know i collected and played with my action figs that was a problem for about two seconds she had a little problem with her adult husband laying in the floor with tons of figs pulled out making noises and mumbling to myself but now after talking about it she thinks its funny and cute sometimes when im off in my own world i look back at her on the couch smiling at me so i say what and she replies you are so funny or sometimes she says weird. but over all shes real cool with it she will even look for certain figures for me. but i dont buy the really high end stuff excpt for the occasional 20 $ exclusive fig or some of the sets

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you should have her with you on the floor playing with you :P that is a cute story though :) I Must admit I don't actually play with my toys :S if I even open them I play with em a bit but thats more me checking them out and putting them in different poses and such :D

 

& whitewolf don't worry about it like WJ says maybe just don't talk to her about the more high end up stuff as much, & if there is one of those items you just "have" to have see if you can't get it stuck away for a birthday or xmas/some kind of gift that would make it ok with her if its just a "once in a while" type thing ;)

 

I think that reaction is normal for anyone who does not collect and buy toys or other items on a regular basis you must admit that the prices of some of these things are just out right shocking for what they are! I find my self I am always torn by what type of collector I want to & what type of items and collection I want to wind up having on display & what stuff to cut back on ect its not easy to decide some times I tell ya! :D

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Whitewolf, that is hands-down one of the best posts I've ever read concerning the married-collector's plight. (lol) Classic man...

 

Back in the fall of 1995, my wife (then girlfriend) called every retail store within a hundred-mile radius to ensure she found me the POTF2 Leia and C-3PO to complete my new collection for Christmas. On our wedding day, when we exchanged wedding gifts with each other (second-hand of course; can't see the bride before the wedding y'know), she sent me the green-carded R5-D4 I didn't have. So yeah, she doesn't always get it, but she definitely supports it. Now my collecting has strayed to Gentle Giant mini-busts and statues, Code 3 ships, and Sideshow 12-inch figures, but it's still a ton of fun to hunt down the latest wave of figures. It's an enjoyable hobby, and I feel like it keeps me young at heart. It's fun, and it's harmless as long as it doesn't interfere with adult responsibilities and priorities.

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That put a LOT of things into perspective for me. In 100 years, no one will care whether we kept these figures MOC or whether we got the "gold coin" chase variant.

 

I have come to this realization as well. I need to limit myself to one line and not the next big thing. This is why I have only bought my favorite characters from certain lines and not tried collecting the whole shebang. I only bought SE and SS of Sigma Six. Only bought Spidey from Icons. This sort of thing is helping me out. My wife is grateful for keeping my collection to one room and some of the basement, and not collecting every toy out there.

 

I enjoy my toys. I know some people keep MOC cause they will be worth a crap load of money some day, but I doubt it. The way the produce toys now; there is a plethora of stuff out. Not like in the 60s and 70s. That's the stuff that the 35-40 year old virgins are wanting. At that time in my life I hope that I'm enjoying life and not looking for the next big thing; but still enjoying my collection. :D

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"you should have her with you on the floor playing with you that is a cute story though I Must admit I don't actually play with my toys :S if I even open them I play with em a bit but thats more me checking them out and putting them in different poses and such"

 

 

 

 

i dont think that will happen im still tring to talk her into watching a gi joe marathon with me. i just got her to watch all the starwars and lord of the rings and guess what she liked them just like i told her she would

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yeah i think the high end stuff is the dealbreaker here. seriously do you need the realistic lightsabers that cost 130? or how about the at-at model for 1000? thank god i have zero interest in any of that stuff.

 

lucas knows people buy this crap so really there will no end to the marketing machine known as star wars.

 

i wouldn't mind the biker scout on the speeder but it costs 1500 dollars!

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Hi, long time lurker but I feel I had to comment...

 

I am not married or in a relationship, by my own choice. That said, I agree with your wife. There are limits to everything. Once a family comes along this stuff must take a backseat, if not before. Once it stop being fun, ya gotta pull back, and since you're getting an honest talk from your wife about it, the onus is now on you to accept the truth in what she says and do whats right.

 

I recommend just asking yourself what you really need to own to reflect your interest in the series. Certainly $1500 models and other high end, fragile, static displays aren't as much fun, and thus aren't necessary. High end things only impress other collectors, who will likely never see your stuff in person, so why bother spending all that? I personally stick to a handful of 3 3/4" figures and ships and thats it. A smaller collection is much more enjoyable then a sprawling ungodly mess IMO.

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I recommend just asking yourself what you really need to own to reflect your interest in the series. Certainly $1500 models and other high end, fragile, static displays aren't as much fun, and thus aren't necessary. High end things only impress other collectors, who will likely never see your stuff in person, so why bother spending all that? I personally stick to a handful of 3 3/4" figures and ships and thats it. A smaller collection is much more enjoyable then a sprawling ungodly mess IMO.

 

Hey thoughtcrime! I saw your screen-name and immediately thought "Queensryche", but that would be "Mindcrime", wouldn't it? (lol) Anyway, welcome!

 

Your words really resonate with me my friend. In the last year-and-a-half or so, I've been relentlessly hunting down Gentle Giant mini-busts, statues, and Code 3 ships. At times I've wondered what I've gotten myself into, and I have also wondered, like you imply, why I need all of these static statues and mini-busts that no one but me would know how rare and expensive they are. I really, REALLY enjoy them, and it's satisfying just for me to know I have them and can enjoy them. But I'll admit to wondering who I'm trying to impress with them, myself or other people. And I find myself missing the "fun" stuff, the toys that I can pose and appreciate, the stuff that reconnects me to my inner child that just wants to come home from school and shut the door to my room and get lost in my little world filled with G.I. Joes, Star Wars toys, and Transformers fighting Decepticons. Ah...I really do struggle with why I collect what I do sometimes and what I really want. I've sold and bought back then re-sold stuff so many times I'm almost embarrassed to say. *sigh*

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have you all seen last sundays comic with that guy telling jayc to just buy a sport car & be done with it :D Some of the stuff in here makes me think of that for some reason :):D

 

"insecure toy guys" LOL!

 

It is sort of a interesting question though, why do we want all this stuff at all & all this stuff dubed rarer or expensive ...

 

 

brain explodes :S

 

Pardon me I guess I thought too much... dies...

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Well, I think that one of my main problems in getting my wife to understand the whole collecting thing is the fact that she is european. She was born and raised in Munich, Germany until she was 19 years old. Her family then moved to the US and we ended up meeting...the rest is history. She often sounds like she's "making big trouble for moose und squirrel" when she speaks english (the older people on here will get a laugh off of that).

 

She grew up in a culture that has never really had the love affair with pop culture that Americans do. She had her dolls, LEGOs, Playmobil figures and playsets, etc., but when she became a teenager, her parents basically got rid of everything that she associated with childhood. That's it...your a teenager now. No more toys for you! End of discussion.

 

She is a professional model (yes, really...before I get the jeers and "yeah, whatever" comments) and as such, tends to see the world quite a bit differently than I do. She loves flying to different location shoots and getting to spend a week in posh hotels 4 to 5 times a year...but at the same time, has a problem with a $120 lightsaber purchase on my part. Fuzzy logic, if I've ever heard it. I suppose its because a lightsaber prop isn't a "practical purchase" in her mind. It's not a major appliance or new furniture or other "adult" thing that serves a specific purpose that she can understand. She also views me working for Toys-R-Us as a job I go to only because I want to because I "don't really have to work." I'll concede that she makes more for one photo shoot than I make in 5 months at TRU...but I love my job. But that's another issue altogether, so I digress...

 

I have, however, scored a small victory for us married/involved collectors. And ironically, it DID involve the MR FX lightsabers. She wanted to see how the blade would look on camera, so she took some test shots, and I gotta tell you all that these damned things look like the real deal through the camera lens! For some odd reason, these LED-filled blades glow MUCH brighter in photos than they do to the naked eye. So she had me take some shots of her with the Ep. IV Luke lightsaber. The end result won her over on letting me keep them out while in her presence...

 

Here she is...doing her best Mara Jade:

Mara--JediKnight.jpg

 

And here are some samples of her modeling work and her at home...

 

CRW_0410MA13078350-0026.jpg

CRW_9256MA13174181-00442.jpg

Home20119MA14593205-0009-1.jpg

At20Home20036MA14593205-0004.jpg

 

So you can sort of see why she tells people that she has not 3 boys at home, but 4 of them. She considers herself "worldly" and "refined" in her modeling career...while I am perfectly content with my collecting and working for a toy store. Contrary to what I have probably led some of you to believe, she doesn't constantly mock me or nag me about collecting Star Wars (and Gundam to a lesser degree). She's just concerned that the action figures are acting in much the same way as a "gateway drug" does. They'll keep me hooked on the whole Star Wars experience...and then I'll abandon them for the ridiculously expensive stuff instead---because after seeing the hyper-realistic life-size Han Solo DL-44 Blaster Pistol replica with the $800 price tag, the Han Solo action figures suddenly pale in comparison, or after seeing the MR Studio Scale Millenium Falcon for $2,200, my Hasbro version suddenly "sucks" to me.

 

And the thing is...I see things from her point of view. It's not like she's being unfair or trying to do to me what her parents did to her by forcing me to give it all up. And for that, I love her even more. I think I'll take the advice of a few people on here and just stick to what I've been doing all along and just enjoy the figures and vehicles...and leave the high-end stuff to those who have nothing better to do with their money.

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Well, I think that one of my main problems in getting my wife to understand the whole collecting thing is the fact that she is european. She was born and raised in Munich, Germany until she was 19 years old. Her family then moved to the US and we ended up meeting...the rest is history. She often sounds like she's "making big trouble for moose und squirrel" when she speaks english (the older people on here will get a laugh off of that).

 

LOL ...LMAO

I sure as hell got that reference

 

So she calls you Darlink?

 

Whitewolf I may end up calling you Boris

 

 

I had a boss some years ago who I swear to god sounded like Bullwinkle

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Maybe you could make a list of those things

 

"better to spend you're $$$ on"

& start saving up you're $ to buy them :) that could also help with the wife as well I would think like if theres some new big screen tv or dishwasher or whatever on the list to help make life easier get one of them :) heck save up a few thousand and start up an invesment fund for you're kids too or some such junk like that :D woman love things like that plus it can't hurt in the future at all either much :P

 

Personally I see nothing wrong with buying a couple high end items now and then... if anything try and pull bday/xmas card like I suggested above for the stuff you "REALLY" want :)

 

Since you have or she has feelings about you're job perhaps it couldn't hurt to start finding out about moving up in the world at ?TRU? I think you said it was... you are just a stock guy?.. start seeing what what it would take to move up to be in charge of the stock guys or the TRU in general find out what classes & learning needs to be done for that & talk with the higher ups there let them know you want more :) then they keep an eye on you at least & it does not bug you doing what you are doing now so who cares if it takes you another 2-5 years whatever till someone quits or moves on giving you the chance to do there job

 

maybe you're wife would think it better if you were "higher" up at least there :) heck + the better paycheck I am sure couldn't hurt anything toywise & I'm sure you could still raid the toys to boot ;)

 

sorry if I sound like an ass above thats not my intent at all!

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No synch, I'm a department manager at TRU. Its a good-paying position, but she still makes a lot more than I do. But her father worked for Northrop-Grumman for years in weapon systems R&D in Germany, and transferred to the plant in Maryland when she was 19. He made a ridiculous salary. Needless to say, her parents were L-O-A-D-E-D...

 

So anything less than what "papa" did for a living is considered trivial...lol

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No synch, I'm a department manager at TRU. Its a good-paying position, but she still makes a lot more than I do. But her father worked for Northrop-Grumman for years in weapon systems R&D in Germany, and transferred to the plant in Maryland when she was 19. He made a ridiculous salary. Needless to say, her parents were L-O-A-D-E-D...

 

So anything less than what "papa" did for a living is considered trivial...lol

 

 

 

Does her parents house smell like Weinershitzel?

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No synch, I'm a department manager at TRU. Its a good-paying position, but she still makes a lot more than I do. But her father worked for Northrop-Grumman for years in weapon systems R&D in Germany, and transferred to the plant in Maryland when she was 19. He made a ridiculous salary. Needless to say, her parents were L-O-A-D-E-D...

 

So anything less than what "papa" did for a living is considered trivial...lol

 

oooooooo ok I gotcha @loll@ & pardon me but yes you're wife is hot :D Its cool she wound up doing some light saber poses with you, you said you have 2 light sabers you should set up the camcorder or digicam and see if she won't have some fun with you playing fake sword fights and such :D

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I think I'm going to put my lightsaber away out of my wife's sight

 

Just outta curiosity how much does your wife like to see your lightsaber? And where does she like to see it? Like for example in your bedroom? In the kitchen?

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I recommend just asking yourself what you really need to own to reflect your interest in the series. Certainly $1500 models and other high end, fragile, static displays aren't as much fun, and thus aren't necessary. High end things only impress other collectors, who will likely never see your stuff in person, so why bother spending all that? I personally stick to a handful of 3 3/4" figures and ships and thats it. A smaller collection is much more enjoyable then a sprawling ungodly mess IMO.

 

Hey thoughtcrime! I saw your screen-name and immediately thought "Queensryche", but that would be "Mindcrime", wouldn't it? (lol) Anyway, welcome!

 

Your words really resonate with me my friend. In the last year-and-a-half or so, I've been relentlessly hunting down Gentle Giant mini-busts, statues, and Code 3 ships. At times I've wondered what I've gotten myself into, and I have also wondered, like you imply, why I need all of these static statues and mini-busts that no one but me would know how rare and expensive they are. I really, REALLY enjoy them, and it's satisfying just for me to know I have them and can enjoy them. But I'll admit to wondering who I'm trying to impress with them, myself or other people. And I find myself missing the "fun" stuff, the toys that I can pose and appreciate, the stuff that reconnects me to my inner child that just wants to come home from school and shut the door to my room and get lost in my little world filled with G.I. Joes, Star Wars toys, and Transformers fighting Decepticons. Ah...I really do struggle with why I collect what I do sometimes and what I really want. I've sold and bought back then re-sold stuff so many times I'm almost embarrassed to say. *sigh*

 

Heh, my knowledge of Queenryche is limited to Silent Lucidity, so you got me there lol.

 

You and I are in the exact same boat my friend. I am glad my words ring true with you. I too collect the big three: SW, TF and Joe. I might as well mail Hasbro a check every month. I am far from completist, and still feel I have too much. I dont want to end up like that fat guy on Youtube who owns every Transformer ever made, and tells people that he is the biggest fan and that this is why he is better then them. EPIC FAIL.

 

Toy collecting can be an addiction the same as drugs, booze, food, gambling or women. Collecting responsibly takes true discipline but has its rewards, as I feel it is more challenging. Anyone can just buy up everything. Building a truly nice collection free of crap and clutter...thats something else. And something I admit I am still working toward.

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