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August 21, 2003

Life of the Married Collector

Filed under: Toy News — Rumble Crew @ 3:39 pm

Hello. My name is Myles and I am a collectorholic. I have a constant burning desire to purchase Japanese toy robots. I spend endless hours perusing the online photographs of other people’s expansive and colorful collections with envy. Damn you all!

However, as with many collectors, I also have a wife who not only acts as a roadblock to my carefree purchasing, but also deflates my tires and hides the keys. And I have a three year old son who likes to “just look” at my collection with his hands.

I am relatively new to the robot collecting madness, but I am not new to Japanese robots or collecting in general. When I was much younger (I am a young-at-heart thirty-five year-old), I remember playing with Micronauts. I loved these toys, but then I remember going to Toys-R-Us and discovering the Shogun Warriors. In particular, I discovered the Gaiking two-in-one. That skull! And the diecast content! I was instantly sold.

In my youth, I only owned Gaiking, the Raideen two-in-one, the Daitetsujin Shigcon jet, and the Daimos tranzer, all of which I still have today (although only Raideen is complete). But I remember coveting my friend’s Varidorin and Daitetsujin Shigcon tank.

However, I was an avid collector since before that time. I started off with postcards, baseball cards, and stamps (used of course, but that didn’t matter to me – I was a kid). I moved on to coins, and eventually to comic books. I now have a closet full of comics that I thought I would have been able to retire on. However, it seems that every other kid in America had the same notion, and my collection cannot be liquidated for the millions I had envisioned as a child.

It seems that collecting also ran in my family. Growing up, my father had over three thousand videotapes, each with three movies. All of these were categorized, of course. But videotaping came after he stopped collecting LPs (I would have to guess he had at least 10,000 albums, mostly Jazz) and books (an entire room full – floor to ceiling, mostly historical). It turns out that my grandfather was also a collector. Only his collections were worth even less than mine!! He had passed away several years ago, and only recently, when my grandmother moved into a nursing home, I was bequeathed his collection of stamps and coins. It seems his stamp collection, which I always thought to be priceless, had a definitive price based on the poor condition of the stamps. And his coin collection wasn’t really a coin collection at all – it contained predominantly medallions generated from a particular private mint. Boxes and boxes full of crap. Oh well. Anyway, the point is that my collecting bug must be genetic.

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to reclaim some of my former items from my parents’ basement. I rediscovered my Shogun Warriors toys. And in the process, I rediscovered my youth. Shortly after, my wife foolishly introduced me to Ebay. It was then that other products in this toy line came flashing back to my memory, and I learned that there were hundreds of other amazing toys that I had never known about, but immediately had to have.

Since I could not justify (at least to my wife) spending significant funds on “toys,” I started to purchase inexpensive, beat-up items. I finally won my first Jumbo Machinders, a group of three Great Mazingers that were in poor condition, poorer condition, and worst condition. But at least I had them! And I was amazed at the size of these items! I just had to have more.

Over the past year, I spent hours upon hours searching Ebay for damaged or mislisted items, all the while assuring my wife that THIS was finally the item that I would give to my son to play with or I would resell for a whopping profit. Of course, once I had the items in my hands, I just couldn’t do it. I refused to resell them (especially if I didn’t already have similar items in my collection), and there was no way in hell I was going to let my three year old bash a prized item repeatedly on the floor, destroying a relic of my youth or a marvel of toy technology. Eventually, I acquired items that were repeats of ones I already owned or that were in very poor condition (as opposed to the items in my collection, that were just in poor condition) that I would relinquish to my son to do with as he pleased. As much as I love my son, I just can’t watch him destroy a collector’s piece.

I now have a small army, but my collection looks like an army that has been through war. Almost every item is missing something. But at least I can now say I own a Zargon (minus several parts) or a Dangard Ace two-in-one (missing the fists and wings, of course; and the head won’t lock in). That’s why I keep purchasing these damaged or incomplete items – so my collection will be thorough. That’s what collectors do. They buy until they have everything imaginable. That’s why I still have a Milli Vanilli CD in my music collection (yes – I admit it). Because I have to have everything!!!!

Of course my wife doesn’t understand. Because she is not a collector. Its just not in her blood. She yells at me every time I spend money we can’t afford to “waste” on these “toys that I don’t even play with!” Can you imagine?!?! That’s like expecting me to open and read a comic book that was issued in a sealed bag. Its just not done!

Over the past year, I have become very familiar with the Popy line of items, and I am slowly becoming familiar with the other manufacturers. I understand that the giant Tetsujin-28 and the Gaiking / Daiku Maryu combo set (GA-50) are the Holy Grails of toydom (with the exception of Jumbo Machinders, which I have not yet really delved into). But I have also come to realize that I will never own these items. To be a Holy Grail, you have to believe that this is something that one day you can acquire if you just try hard enough and are persistent enough (and shell out enough bucks). With that in mind, I have established my own Holy Grails – the Soul of Chogokin Daiku Maryu (GX-05), the Daimos DX (GA-85), and the Grendizer and Spacer DX set (GA-37). So until I win the lottery or one of the many individuals who post their collections on the web (just to keep reminding me how pathetic mine is) wills me their amassed rows and rows of diecast and plastic, it looks like even the combining Voltes V or Combattler sets are out of reach.

But my quest for a Holy Grail is a long and hard one, much like the Knights of the Round Table. I must first get past Morgana, a.k.a. my wife. She is furious that I still purchase robots that “just sit in the closet.” Keep in mind that these items are not in a closet (well, except for my Machinders), but in a rarely used and heavily cluttered office cramped onto just two shelves surrounded by her crap. I would love to display them prominently in my living room or at least in my bedroom, but there is no way she will allow that.

She claims I don’t do anything with them. But I do – I go in almost every day to sneak a peak at my collection, like a little boy slipping away to quickly flip through a few pages of his father’s Playboy magazine. Just those few seconds are enough to raise my spirits for the day.

I suppose I should be grateful to her. Without my wife, I would have one hell of a robot collection, but I would probably have to resort to consuming the shipping boxes for meals. Self-control is not my strong suit when it comes to these things.

When I am walking down the street with my wife, she occasionally points to a sleek, expensive sports car and says jokingly that if I were still single, I would be driving that. Little does she know that if I were single, I would much rather have a Daimos DX sitting on my shelf. But I will never tell her that – she thinks I’m crazy enough as is.

Kingboy D
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