The collecting balloon and resulting changes in habits

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by supervir2, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. supervir2

    supervir2 Feels like the kid in Big everyday.

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    So, the title is a bit stuffy, but it captures the topic I was thinking about this evening. Also, I totally understand if you "TL;DR" me.

    My collecting/collection has once again reached a point of bloat that I'm compelled to be more critical of my purchases for various reasons and it struck me this is at least the 3rd or 4th time I've been at a similar point.

    I began collecting in mid-90's as a teen without a specific goal. I bought what my funds allowed, and as there were relatively few new releases per year, I was able and willing to get most/all of the current figs through the end of BW. Funds became an issue as lines expanded and I had to be choosier for the first time. As I began to get a little more disposable income (tutoring through HS and college) I was more liberal with my purchases through CR/A/E/C, even going back and picking up older (more expensive items). Knowing I could save up enough to buy some of these relatively higher end items changed my collecting as I started adding rarer/more choice items rather than volume. At some point, I realized a lot of what I had didn't really have meaning to me - I may like it, but it isn't something I had to have, so I started culling the collection of things that were less important or redundant. At about this time, classics came into being and I had a direction - get all of them. 3rd parties began to ramp up and rapidly began to take a financial toll. Fortunately (or not!) I began making a modest income and ultimately a respectable one such that funds haven't been particularly limiting. That said, w/ classics, I found myself going and going and going - building junkion armies, getting figures just to "fill in the gaps" rather than because I really liked them, getting customs of figures that didn't exist yet. It became expensive, cumbersome, and was to a point where I had a lot in storage because I didn't have a place to display them. The first truly big scaling back happened at that point - I sold off 90% of my classics, realizing 1) I was nostalgia driven and wanted definitive updates 2) if was in storage and I didn't care, then it can't be that important to me. I focused on show accurate BW, MP of characters I have nostalgia for, and Optimus Prime versions I like, and then the occasional random awesome figure. Well, this has worked well overall, but even that has become more than I reckoned at the time. Further, I've gotten into Lego, HT, and (marginally) some 6" figures. I have neither the space nor funds at this point to support all of those and am faced with the oh so "tough" first world problem of where to go from here w/ my collecting - the spark that made me muse on the lot we have as collectors.

    At any rate, without strict limits, it seems there is an inevitable collecting endpoint (that will vary by individual based on space and means). New toys come out every year and unless you are simply replacing, rather than adding, at some point you'll reach a "max capacity". Some, I suppose, will just continue to buy and store items. Ultimately, I envision it like a pile of sand...you keep adding to it and eventually, portions will slide off as it gets too big and the size will never really grow beyond a certain point.

    Anyway, I'm curious if other people have run up against this barrier and how your collecting habits have changed as a result. Is it as common as I imagine to accrue and accrue, followed by a period of scaling back and refocusing, then starting the cycle anew?
     
  2. archieboy

    archieboy Well-Known Member

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    I'm at this point now, where space has become a bigger restricting factor than money. To cope, I'm in the constant process of selling, giving away/donating, and limiting purchases.
     
  3. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong.

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    I am reaching max capacity, I started collecting as an adult in 2000. As a result my purchases have slowed right down for Transformers and practically stopped for everything else.

    The fact this 'filling up my house' coincides with the birth of my 2 children doesn't help either, but this slow down of purchases means I can still keep collecting TF's rather than just jacking it all in which others have done.
     
  4. Dean ML

    Dean ML Well-Known Member

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    My parameters for collecting are official G1 MPs of cartoon characters, TT where possible. Keeps my collection manageable in terms of money and space. Sooo many cool figures out there, but these are the only ones I care about. I sold all my other TFs in the summer of '13 to fund this line and it was the best hobby related decision I ever made. They're a childhood dream come true.
     
  5. BidoofdudeofOz

    BidoofdudeofOz The Stench of Discovery

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    I've been a collector for nearly 3 years and I haven't got access to too much money, being a teenager. Right now, my focus is on completing my Classics collection, start to get more of the MPs in the future and ones that I've missed, G1 reissues and Some of the mainline stuff. I have a smallish Prime cast (Ratchet, Arcee, BB, OP, Magnus, Shockwave and Wheeljack), but nearly all of them were on clearance. I also have me and my little brother's childhood Cybertron and Animated collection.

    I only have stuff in my bedroom and I'd say space is the biggest issue. I can usually move most of my stuff over and fit everything I have, but I need to get some more efficient shelving (which is difficult to do in my position).

    I've tried thinking about what I could thin down in my collecting, but I have a desire to get everything I want, at least in Classics. MP is more of an aspiration at this point, but I want to eventually complete it. I'd say I feel a bit rushed too, because there so much I've missed from Classics, Universe, Generations and even Reveal the Shield. At least the Generations 3 packs are getting rid of some of that pressure. I wouldn't say it's making me not enjoy collecting, but it makes things a bit hectic in my head sometimes.

    I planned to get the main cast of AOE figures, but I never got around to getting any, besides Strafe, which I got as a birthday present. I don't really feel the need to anymore, since I think I've lost interest. I think Prime is a bit similar, but I still like them quite a lot. I'm probably going to skip RID, since it'll likely suffer the same as AOE did, unless it's REALLY good (so far I'm kind of meh on characters).
     
  6. atomD21

    atomD21 Not made of sterner stuff...

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    I don't have anywhere near a large collection, but I also have very little space for them, so I'm going to start the culling process and only hold on to the figures I would really miss if they were gone. I binged last year, buying most of the Generations deluxe figures I could find, Legends, Prime, and a few classics. I'm going to slow way down and I'll end up missing out on most of CW as a result, but I'd rather have a small collection of great figures in the end than having complete lines or hundreds of figures.
     
  7. alldarker

    alldarker M.A.S.K. Crusader

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    My collecting habbits have pretty much much evolved in the same way as the TS's post. Started of collecting Hasbro Beast Wars while I was at university, in the time before internet, just visiting shops around the country looking for figures I didn't own. Disposable income grew, and I amped up the buying, and at collectors events I found out more about Japanese exclusive BWNeo figures.

    As I graduated and got a real job, I actually stopped collecting anything TF related, and started collecting Lego Star Wars sets (which I still do to this day). A couple of years ago I started up collecting TF's again, first just figures that I thought looked cool due to the added articulation, but soon I was picking up TF's left and right, without any eye for goals or lines. I was buying movie figures, CHUG, Animated, Binaltech, G1's, Beast Wars and Third Party TF's, and they were just starting to stack up; especially with the internet making buying stuff so easy. I had packages come in several times a week, while my wife and I were still living in a tiny apartment. I had the income, but not the display space or even the storage space: I had to rent an external storage unit to put a lot of it away. Even that storage unit was too small, so I had to rent a bigger one.

    It was becoming a problem, so about two years ago I stopped buying anything other than G1 and Masterpieces altogether. Started to sell off what I didn't like or couldn't properly appreciate. I still have a full storage unit, but I'm slowly selling off stuff: not just TF's but also Lego sets. Fortunately, TF's and (especially) Lego sets have a tendency to become more valuable as time goes by, which makes hoarding less of a 'sin'. I recently found out a Lego set I bought on a whim for about $60 several years ago, and which I still had MISB was now worth $400. Sold it with three days of finding out! Likewise, the profit from selling my MISB UCS Millennium Falcon (Lego's version of Grand Maximus) went a good way to a down-payment on our new house.

    By becoming much more selective and more focussed on specific collecting goals, I feel I am a much happier collector, and it has become much easier to disregard any other lines.
     
  8. Cax6ton

    Cax6ton Insufferable Smartass

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    Absolutely. I've been through it twice, and I'll probably go through it again despite the fact that I'm more aware of it now and actively trying to avoid it.

    I've been through the "no rules, just buy whatever looks cool phase." After a while, everything starts to look cool at first, and then once you're under a mountain of toys, nothing looks cool anymore. I felt more like a consumer than a collector.

    I decided to focus on characters and not lines. After trying a few different directions I found that I always migrated back to Thundercracker and Skywarp, so that's what I focus on - not the seekers (too many), not the original trio (Starscream is kinda bland to me), just SW & TC. I've been doing that for almost 4 years now and it's been a lot of fun. It can be slow sometimes, it can be really expensive sometimes, it can be really frustrating sometimes, but it has always kept me involved. For anyone who thinks that being a character-only collector will mean running out of things to buy, think again. I'm not even completist on that front, there are still a few SW and/or TC toys that I won't get, and I'm certainly not going to get them just because they're TC&SW and thus should be part of that collection.

    Of course, that means that there's always going to be stuff in storage, but I'm ok with that. Museums don't display absolutely everything they have, but everything they own is bought for a reason and is still valued. They rotate their exhibits, and so do I. I'm not going to build a character shrine in my house, and I'm not going to have a room full of toys. I've come to enjoy the process of curating the collection as I track down my checklist and as I change up what I have displayed at home or in my office. I wish I had time to photograph and blog more about it.

    I've gone through the "I just collect the _____ line" phase too. That one is fun for self-delusion, because every line is a lot bigger than anyone thinks it is. People tend to think Alternators or MP are lines with fewer releases, but they're really not that small - count them up and you'll find that there are more than you think.

    I'm still under that delusion to some extent, I think I'm "just" a Masterpiece collector in my spare time when I'm not focusing on SW&TC, but even then it starts to pile up - there are a ton of 3rd party "MP-scale" releases competing for our attention, there are so many black, G2, or other special repaint releases that come along...it won't take long to get buried under the "small" MP line. Yeah, it's smaller than the regular retail lines, but it will still pile up.

    One thing I've done is I've started to be realistic about what the goals are: Masterpiece will never have a cohesive theme like The Original Ark Crew, or a complete Season 1 or 2 or 3 cast. It just won't, even if you give it 10 years. It may not happen even with 3rd party releases added in. Even if it did - is that what I really want? If I had an MP release for every season 3 character and a shelf just for that, I probably wouldn't care much. People thought Classics would be comprehensive, and the line certainly became vast, but if we're really honest with ourselves, did it get people what they really wanted? In some ways yes, in many ways no. SO I have to ask, for each release: What will this do for me?

    Star Saber? Well, I'm a huge Victory fan, the piece looks like Yuki poured more of his heart and soul into it than Sauron did with the One Ring, and it is going to be one of those landmark pieces in TF history. Sure, I'm getting one, and wondering if I should have at least two. G2 Bumblebee? Well, I'm not a G2 collector, I'm not obsessed with the cartoon and thus the jetpack doesn't appeal to me, I already have the regular Bee, I don't even care about character completion enough to grab it in the hopes of making a Goldbug out of it, so it's one of those pieces that would languish in storage. With 3rd party, I get even more critical and judge them more harshly. Brawn? Nice, but it still looks a little off. Need him for the Ark crew? That's not going to happen, even if it did, would I cherish having an MP Season 1 collection? Not as much as I cherish finding another hard-to-find Thundercracker piece. Mirage? Same deal - it looks nice, and it looks very close to accurate, but not close enough.

    The details of the specific character and toy aren't as important as the process - not every announcement is an automatic preorder, I don't follow every single piece of news and updates with regard to each of these things. I just make a list of upcoming stuff in Evernote, same place i keep track of preorders, and I ask myself those tough questions over and over again. I basically try everything I can to talk myself out of buying something, and if the toy is strong enough to make me fail that, then I'll buy one.

    But there are still no guarantees - as much as I might love it this year, I might have no regrets about selling it next year because I want something more. I have passed on at least one MP release that I'm planning to go back and buy this year. It isn't a perfect system and opinions change, and I think the main thing I've learned over the last 10 years of collecting is to be more flexible, I've learned to think more about why I want something in the first place, and I've learned not to be too attached to things just because they're part of a line or part of a theme. They have to be attached to me, not to an arbitrary rule or theme.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015
  9. Shin Densetsu

    Shin Densetsu I WILL DESTROY YOU Content Contributor Veteran

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    I'm in the beginning of that and working on the latter
     
  10. odeean

    odeean Infiltrator

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    Collecting Transformers is a way of life for me. It has never really been restricted by money but space became a problem. After some events last year I took a look at myself and decided to cut away everything that was not the best at what it was.

    I have collected most figures from the west since 84 so it has been a big task but through friends, ebay etc I have gotten rid of a lot of stuff. For example, I like G1 but to be honest the toys are only good for nostalgia. Most characters from G1 exist in better forms these days so I purged it all. I never cared much for Movie, RID, PRID or Beast Wars so I dumped them entirely as well.

    The thing that concerns me the most is that what I see happening to my collection is that it is becoming a non-transformers - transformers collection. 3rd party has replace so many characters that it is a bit sad. Still even 3rd party is not immune, some 3rd party stuff is on its way out too as new better versions come out.

    It is my goal to have a perfect lineup of TV characters at a good size like MP. Also maybe some other memorable characters cherry picked from here and there. I will still buy interesting things like some CW but will almost certainly dump them once I have had my fun.

    As for collecting whole lines - never again. The last time I REALLY collected a whole line was Energon. I bought at least 2 of every figure from start to finish. It felt awesome at the time but almost 10 years on it seems like it was totally unnecessary.

    To anyone thinking of pruning like this, here's a tip. You will love having piles of extra cash that your seldom looked at old toys will pull in.
     
  11. Foster

    Foster Haslab Victory Saber Backer #3 Veteran

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    Yes! I feel as though my collection is going through puberty as I sell off toys I haven't touched in over five years and plowing the proceeds into nostalgia lines like Generations and Masterpiece.

    My vintage G1 collection takes up enough space as it is, so the majority of the rest has to go. Botcon, TFcon, third party, Unicron trilogy, Movie, I'm even eyeing my Beast Wars stuff. I just need a dedicated weekend to get a few hundred photos taken, because you can't sell online without images.
     
  12. G1Prowl

    G1Prowl Prick, apparently

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    The only things I have gotten rid of are the redundancies. RID? Classics scratches that itch, as well as half the itch from Alternators. Also, MP kills the other half of that Alternators itch. Robot Masters stuff is either repaints of molds I don't collect or molds that are inferior versions of Classics toys. I've never been one to snag stuff just because, so I haven't had to do a mass purge like some on here.
     
  13. Wolfdawg

    Wolfdawg Well-Known Member

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    My story is similar to OP's. I had a small collection during high school, but nothing outrageous. Then in 2005, I lost it all to Hurricane Katrina and stopped collecting completely. Got bit by the collection bug again when my brother bought me Voyager movie Starscream, and after watching the first movie. Around that time I was making decent money, so I decided to ONLY get Starscream figures. That didn't really last long because when I got Beast Wars 2 Starscream and BB, I figured since I had BB, I may as well dabble in other bots.

    Long story short, I ended up having a collection of almost 2000 figures by the time 2012 rolled around. Most of my stuff was in storage, and my 4 bookshelves were overflowing with figures that, in the end, I had no sentimental value towards. It was around this time I started questioning my collection, and decided to scale back for several reasons:
    1. I had no connection to most of the characters in my collection
    2. Having so many figures crammed on a shelf started to make me feel claustrophobic in my own room
    3. Most of my stuff was in storage, which made me realize that owning them was pointless
    4. Hasbro jacked up the prices
    5. Figures started getting smaller, hollower, and more simplified
    6. 3rd party figures appealed more to me than retail figures, but 3rd party prices are ridiculous.
    7. My wife found out she was pregnant (we were trying, so it's not like it was an accident), so my priorities shifted from buying tons of pointless toys, to spending money on my child

    So, basically, I rarely buy figures these days. In 2014, I literally only bought 5 figures. This year, so far I've only gotten Microblaze Creation's Onslaught, and am only really interested in getting MP Starsaber, MP Exhaust, and Leader Class Megatron. I have a tidy collection space, and I try as hard as I can to keep it from becoming a massive clusterf%ck. Because of that, when I think about buying something, the first thing that pops into my head is "Okay, now where will I put it so it won't looked cluttered?". If I can't come up with an answer, I don't buy it. That's a big reason why I haven't bought Superion even though I have interest in the figure.
     
  14. smkspy

    smkspy Remember true fans

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    We all reach that point, I think. For me, it just suddenly dawned on me that I have so much and a large majority of it is either stored away or pushed off in some corner that I don't even appreciate it. I have over 400 Optimus Prime figures, and I think to myself, "Why do I need so many of him. Why do I have so many MISB versions that I do nothing but look at?" Needless to say, I'm also trying to burn off a large majority of my collection. Not really to buy anything else, but just to have some space. Some times it just feels like my collection owns me, instead of me owning my collection.
     
  15. ssjkazer

    ssjkazer mr dyslexia

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    Well the only place I have to cut from is my rotf line but thats never happening so.

    I made a list of characters who dont have classics toys and after cw finished from rumors ill have less then 20 to go then ill be a pure mp collector no 3rd party items.

    As I need space for mps ill nox my non cast rotf in hopes I get a bigger toy room one day
     
  16. The Swordsman

    The Swordsman The REAL hero of Hyrule

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    I'm starting to feel like this as well. I started collecting as a hobby in 2007, for about five years I focused almost exclusively on Movie stuff (the only rule I had back then was "Only buy toys of characters who are actually in the movies") with the occasional Classics/Universe 2.0 purchase now and again, and once Transformers: Prime began I shifted my focus to that. I decided to have a proper go at a CHUG collection when Generations Waspinator and Rhinox were announced, focusing only on characters I like and/or give a damn about, which isn't very many when G1 is concerned.

    Today, most of my Movie and Prime figures are in storage under my bed, and I've almost completely lost interest in the ones that still are on my display shelves. While I don't think I have any more than 200 figures, I do believe I now have too many and am planning to sell at least half of my Movie collection to streamline it a bit. The main problems are A) Many of the Movie figures I don't want to keep are in poor quality; scratched paint, broken joints etc., and B) From what I've heard, Movie figures have no resale value whatsoever because they're extremely common on the secondary market and most collectors hate the movies and/or the design aesthetic, so I probably wouldn't get much for them.

    For the future, I've decided that unless Hasbro make more Beast Wars updates for CHUG in 2016 I'm going to take a break from collecting once Combiner Wars is over.
     
  17. kiwisoccer

    kiwisoccer Well-Known Member

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    After being out of the collecting game for so many years (ie trying to chase the ladies) I started collecting TF's but it was more to do with buying them loose to kitbash them since money was tight

    Keep in mind this was before classic/MP's were around
    As I got to my 4th 60L storage bin I realised some things I wasn't interested in anymore, or some figure came out that was a better updated figure then what I could ever do, so starting to sell a lot of them off

    Now days I am more selctive and buy the odd MP and deluxe figure that I have a strong feeling for rather then something that looks nice for a few hours
     
  18. Autovolt 127

    Autovolt 127 Get In The Titan, Prime!

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    space is becoming an issue that and the fact he haven't been able to be up to date in all of my figures.