The Toybox: Open Action Figure Collecting Discussion

I’m feeling pretty shitty about being a Star Wars fan right now, in light of the horseshit that Kelly Marie Tran has had to endure by anonymous fuckwits that think it’s totally cool to harass a young woman because she’s in a movie they don’t like. I am going to make this post about one of my favourite Star Wars collectibles, but I’m pretty bummed out that these arseholes are aligning casual cruelty to an altogether genial young woman who crafted a likable performance in a space fantasy movie with the general fandom of said space fantasy films.  Seriously guys (because you goddamn well KNOW it’s a bunch of guys), fuck right off.

ANYWAY, back in 2008, Hasbro was at some kind of zenith of their powers with the Star Wars license.  They began churning out some truly mind-blowing toys, that were perhaps not necessarily aimed at the kids, but rather the pathetic old men who are now possibly aiming to ruin peoples’ lives for reasons that only make sense to them.  One such toy that they made was the Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon, the vehicle/playset/small studio apartment that will be VERY hard to top.  To be clear, it IS a great toy, with lots of features, missiles, electronics, smuggling compartments, and a spacious interior.  But it lacks one significant feature: a kid can’t pick it up and fly it around.  The Legacy Falcon is like three feet long!  And it ways as much as an anvil.  It’s a stationary piece for the most part, and the landing gear fall off very easily.  The Falcon should be able to be lifted and flown around the room, dodging TIE Fighters and asteroids.  But this thing is basically meant to be played with as a playset, or look great on some sad sack of shit’s shelf, like this:

(pictured: glorbes’s Legacy Falcon, a proven sad sack of shit)

When my five year old plays with it, he removes the panels on the top, and basically has to enlist my help to fly it around the room.  It’s a marvel of awesome features, but an utter failure as a kids toy because it essentially ends up being a base unless some pathetic man-child is willing to lift it up and fly it for the kid that wants to play with it.

Anyway, if you’re a Star Wars collector like me, you will have been exposed to the toy collecting forums, all of which are crawling with a shocking number of idiots that decry the fall of Hasbro from these lofty days of collecting when things like the Legacy Millennium Falcon were being made.  The funny thing is, this toy didn’t sell.  I bought mine on clearance at a Winners store for $99 (marked down from about $160 full retail).  The same goes for the large scale AT-AT, which I ALSO bought on clearance in 2010.  Hasbro was spending a fortune on these massive, elaborate, feature-laden toys that would cost upwards of $150 bucks, and they NEVER sold at full price.

Nowadays, Star Wars vehicle toys are expensive, but smaller.  They almost always end up on clearance, and I assume the strategy is to charge a premium to net the collectors who will buy the toys for a substantial mark-up, and then get everyone else as the toy price begins to degrade as it warms the shelf.  But the fact is, they’re toys aimed at KIDS.

A toy collecting forum will be full of grown-ups complaining about the small Kessel Run Millennium Falcon toy from the new Solo movie.  But the fact is, a kid can play with it.  It’s small enough to dive around laser bolts and it makes all kinds of sounds.  It’s an expensive toy (about $30 more than I paid for the Legacy Falcon), but that’s the strategy at work.  But a kid can plug a Han Solo into the cockpit, and have at it.  A grown man collecting these toys doesn’t see that, I guess…and they will wax poetic about the vintage Falcon of their youth.  And I’d say “sure, that old toy was a good balance between the Legacy Falcon and the small Kessel Run Falcon”, but The Force Awakens had a similarly scaled ship that collectors whined about and it didn’t sell at full retail either.

The fact is…Star Wars are just movies.  Movies that are made to sell toys to children.  The new toys are still cool toys, but they reflect the role and purpose of the basic toy line.  If you’re an adult collector, there are several other toy lines for you to pick from.  Me?  I like the kids toy line because they’re for my kids primarily, and for me secondarily.  I made the choice, as a collector, to get the small figures because that’s the scale with the ships, and the largest selection of characters.  The basic lines have fewer articulation points to keep the cost down, and they’re better toys because they are less prone to breakage.  They’re still awesome figures.  It was a great feeling to be able to take both my sons to Toys R Us and pick out the heroes of the new movie:  Two women, and a man with brown skin.  The same goes for the Clone Wars: half the Jedi figures they play with are women.   This is a GOOD thing.  There’s already diversity in the characters they play with, and the interactions reflect the world we live so much better than before.

The anger and entitlement of adult collectors for something like Star Wars, especially when they have the Black Series, The Vintage Collection, Sideshow, and Hot Toys figures to choose from, is genuinely baffling to me.  If these toys don’t do it for you, don’t buy them!  Don’t pollute the collector community with entitled, angry bullshit!  And especially don’t transfer that same attitude towards real people who don’t deserve the abuse.

Fandom should be an inclusive and fun pastime, something to share with people.   These are fun, light adventures set in space, for chrissakees.  We should be approaching this kind of thing with that in mind.