Some of you may know that I do love collecting stuff, Action Figures mostly, but also Plushies, Card, Comics, Artwork, Statues, Toys, Games... you name it! I've probably collected something of it over my years collecting things. Star Wars, Trek, Pokemon, My Little Pony, Sonic, Transformers, Anime, Video Games, all sorts.
Lately I've found myself especially disappointed with how things seem to be as a collector of toys and figures, I find myself longing after collectable items I find online that I have no hope of ever finding. The figures are no longer in shops, ebay, amazon or anywhere, and can only be found by scalpers asking for usually 50 times the starting retail price.
I really don't know why this is, a figure or toy will be released in Japan or America and will be available for around 6 months or so, at the end of the figures run it will be discounted or long gone. Living in the UK I often see figures that are for sale for around $15 on sale for £30! Thats about 6 times the price for a store bought american one. I understand there are imports and such, but it seems very unfair to collectors who don't live in the country it is for sale in. Eventually a company in the UK may import them for like, a couple of weeks, usually you only ever see one figure imported and its generally got an insane markup. Forbidden Planet in the UK are insane for this kind of thing, I saw Portal figures for sale in america for $19, and forbidden planet marked them up to £40.
So generally imports of things suffer very badly, and I often wonder why companies don't want to import more to the UK. There are quite a few people who live in this country and would like to own merchandise. I often find it infuriating with companies like Nintendo who keep the majority of their things Japanese only for some bizarre reason. Getting Pokemon centre plushies is nigh impossible in the UK (without being scalped on EBay) or depressingly having to rely on fake items from hong kong importers (been stung by a few of these myself)
I was trying to find some of the D-Arts pokemon figures that were released very quietly last year in 2013 in Japan. They retailed for about $40-$50 on the japanese market when I first saw them but the import charges were a joke. I hoped that eventually somebody like Tomy would release them in the UK for a cheaper price point... how very wrong I was! A quick search in 2014 less than a year later and most of the figures have reached a stupidly high price of over £200+! For what is essentially a few quid's worth of plastic molded into a characters form, it seems downright dumb when you see sellers making it sound like they're offering you a good deal.
Maybe its because they don't make enough to begin with, they're not released for long enough, it isn't profitable enough, or some buyers buy ALL the figures on release in the hope that they can shaft unlucky buyers in the future. I don't really know. It would be interesting to hear somebody elses opinion on this topic, and whether you think it is unfair that the availability of things is so slight that often you're never going to get something that was released.
Collecting at the moment is still seen as something children do. All the Pokemon/Star Wars/Transformers figures are always stocked in awful kiddy-toy stores, with garish coloured isles filled with lame advertising. Even when the items themselves are released by companies as collectors items, they still wind up in the toyshop to be 'played with', despite many (I'm thinking of the Fall of Cybertron line of Transformers figures) are from games that children are never going to have played, aren't old enough to remember, and are basically not designed as toys and have very little playability in them (most of these 'toys' aren't even poseable, why would a kid even want them?)
I love collecting things, real tangible items from games, TV and movies that I enjoy. It gives me something to look at and admire long after the film has ended and provides an extra novelty of seeing an item in greater detail. Something like a model ship from Star Wars is awesome as you can see it from all angles, when you were only given one in the movie. Or a model of a character from a game gives you the joy of knowing you own something that maybe other people haven't played or don't know exists. The feeling is always cool when people see my Crash Bandicoot collection, they always get nostalgic!
I own lots of stuff you'd consider 'rare', but the very idea of looking at my items and thinking 'I wonder how much I could sell that on ebay for' really kills the enjoyment factor for me. Its a very real issue I have with collecting and makes me despair sometimes. I've got several mint-in-box Star Wars Comic Packs from only about 4 years ago that are selling for £100 each on ebay (Especially Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Krayt's packs) A huge Pokemon Centre Charizard worth quite a lot, and a big collection of mint Playstation 1 era video game figures that are worth quite a bit too... I hate thinking about them in a monetary factor and wish that, had these been more available, more people would have bought them and they would be more well known.
It Just sucks that all the best collectables are expensive and rare, when cheap tat is readily available from toy shops like Toys R Us all the frigging time. There are plenty of horrible fashion-style my little pony items to buy, but the show accurate great quality discord and rarity figures are nowhere to be seen. Well except on ebay where it'll cost you about £70 to import $5 worth of plastic.
Screw scalpers and companies that just want to sell lame stuff, Please give me a reason to throw my money at you and I will do so!