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March 8, 2010

The power of the Schwartz II

Filed under: Declarations,Josh Fraser,Regan Miller,Toy Love,Warren Schwartz — Josh Fraser @ 12:01 am

Impressions of the master caretaker via the heated brains of Josh and Regan:

Josh: It has become a pilgrimage. A place you think about when you leave, and A place you look forward to visiting again, because you NEVER get to see all that it has to offer.

Warren Schwartz is the personification of the Karmic toy boomerang. The robot toy original who with a genuine smile, finds himself to be the caretaker of one of the most comprehensive collections in North America. It has been so since 1986, where Warren went on his first trip to the motherland and began what would become a collection only the most obsessed of us could fathom, let alone attempt.

Eight years ago Alen Yen and Matt Alt took the trip and expressed their views on the power of the Schwartz. They had to create a viewer advisory label for their Rumble due to the player hating of those early days. Luckily as time progressed, so hopefully did the level of courtesy among the community, and so this sequel is uncut and uncensored for your pleasure. Hell the coverage is even coed this time around.

Regan (pronounced like the former president or the space gun) and I drive over to Warren’s to meet for lunch. Although she has met him at Dim sum, It is her first time seeing his collection. She seems excited, and I can tell, not just because she is doing her Tyrannosaurus imitation ( a bottle of wine later and you will witness it too) … I also remember the first time I went up those stairs to the attic filled with the familiar smell of old cardboard and styrofoam awaiting.

Regan: I don’t have a Tyrannosaurus impression. I just have very short arms…jerk. I was, however, very excited to get to know Warren and see the infamous collection. It’s immediately obvious that the adoration and reverence paid to both is well fitting.

Josh: We are greeted with the tell tale boxes and bags filled to the brim with diecast tin and vinyl. The sun is out, and the room is filled with an almost cliche like movie light . The dust in the room is dancing on the rays and I get one of those fuzzy feelings you get when your a kid on the first day of summer vacation.

Regan: At this point I believe Josh was getting a little misty-eyed and I began to feel the sanctity of the place myself. Boxes line both sides of the room, the contents of each meticulously cataloged and labeled. Kaiju and robots are peeking out from every shelf. There’s a jumbo Bandai Godzilla and Bullmark Battenger next to a vase with a hand-painted pastoral scene. It’s organized chaos and it’s beautiful. Even the enthusiastic poodle waits respectfully for us in the hallway

Josh: “Uncle”, with a playful smirk, starts taking out missile firing things and talker things and combining things and walking things. The aging paper fills our waiting noses, and like anyone who has opened a jumbo machinder after years in storage… it is the smell of memories and fall leaves. Warren’s attic is the real life representation of the wardrobe out of C.S Lewis’s own crazed imagination. Except in this story, there is a robot instead of a faun to greet us.
Like a surreal toy alchemist, he graciously takes out an array of rarities including some major vinyl grails of various sorts. Not least of which was the his complete boxed Astro Mu collection, a remarkable Groizer X talker, a wonderful Rockbat sofubi boxset ( although the box was a c-1 and looked as if it would infect the handler with anthrax ), as well as a complete mint in box “BIG” Zaboga Missile firing vinyl, ( which by looking at the box we realized there may in fact be a Mach Baron version as well ) a lust inducing 18 to 20 inch Red baron vinyl ( of which there are only two recorded) and the very coveted Red baron Missile firing vinyl, with a never before seen box. The last item we both held with great care, as the box by itself was worth more than a mimb GA50.

Regan: In one of the more surreal moments of my life, which seem to have come in greater frequency since spending time with Mr. Fraser, I am tasked with outfitting an Astro Mu 5 figure . In my entire fashion career, he was the most difficult creature I have ever had to dress, second only to an angry Siamese I stuffed into a Frankenstein costume.

Oh god, the Missile Firing Red Baron…I don’t think I breathed while we had it out of the box. I had flashbacks to being an altar girl in a Catholic church when I was a kid – just a blur of ‘don’tdropitdon’tdropitdon’tdropit.’

Josh: A sobering thought for sure. But regardless or rarity, cost or any other factor that would make the average collector hesitate to let a friend, let alone a relative stranger handle and play with these gems. Uncle has his priorities straight, and the friendship outweighs the funk any day of the week.

Regan is grinning, as she and a Diapolon store display make friends, while Warren like a good-natured curator looks for another grail to offer.

Regan: It’s true. If I were 12, I would give Diapolon half of a necklace that said ‘Friends 4-ever’.

Josh: Today has been one to remember, and neither one of us will forget. Thanks, as always Sifu.

Regan: Though I am slightly less schmoopy than my associate, I must agree completely. It is an honor to know Warren and witness the labor of love that is his collection. It was a good day.

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