Monday, February 21, 2011

Why I collect toys

"Why I collect toys" - This short write-up on the reasons why I collect toys used to be on the side bar of my toy blog but I decided to include it as a post so that fellow bloggers and collectors can share their views and inputs :)

What is a toy? A toy is any object that can be used for play. Some toys which attract large numbers of enthusiasts eventually become collectibles. Other toys are marketed to adults as collectibles. A collectable or collectible is typically a manufactured item designed for people to collect. [source: wiki]

Here are some snap shots of the toys I've collected and blogged about (a total of 1,523 posts up till now). These images appeared when I googled "toyhaven". It was easier to screen grab these than to go through my albums to choose which picture to post.

Every collector probably has his or her own reasons for collecting toys and I realized that mine is simply because toys are 3-D forms of art to me. I always enjoyed the visual arts and grew up reading comics rather than books or novels because comics were visually appealing to me and I was drawn to them. Heck, I'm still drawn to them and now my 17-year-old son has joined me on this journey of discovery :) That makes me a Happy Happy Dad!

So when your comic book hero becomes a 3-D rendition that you can hold and scrutinize from every angle, it's a must-have. What is even better is when the same comic book heroes get made into television series, movies and movie merchandise. Now you can have miniature versions of your favorite characters dressed in their costumes and carrying their accessories - one MUST appreciate the art that goes into making them.

I started with the carded figures i.e. 3 to 5-inch figures but was one day exposed to the world of 1:6 scale figures (at that time, they were vintage Action Man 12-inch figures) and that changed everything for me because at 1:6 scale, manufacturers could replicate almost every detail of the outfits / costumes / uniforms including accessories / gear / weapons. At 1:6 scale, they are big enough to be appreciated and examined up close yet small enough to be displayed en masse.

At the time when I got hooked on 1:6 figures, they were mostly military themed figures (Action Man and G.I. Joe) and that's how I got into collecting them. The other reason for collecting military-themed figures is because of their history, uniforms, weapons and paraphernalia that goes with them. Almost every boy growing up would have played cops and robbers (OR "police and thief" as we say it over here), soldiers and the like because it's just so cool to play with guns, throw grenades and take cover!!

Collecting soldiers from different eras and different countries make you appreciate the discipline these soldiers have, the training they have undergone and the sacrifices they made to be able to put on the uniform. We also get to see the advancements made in weaponry and technology over time from when the first warriors carried but a spear and a shield into battle to the laser guided warriors of today.

Another reason for collecting toys besides them being 3-D works of art to be appreciated and marveled at is because they are FUN! FUN! FUN! Why do anything at all if they are not fun and enjoyable? A lot of us have to do things because we just have to (they are called jobs and we get paid for doing them); while some of us are blessed with doing things we enjoy and getting paid to do them, most of us have not much of a choice - mouths to feed, bills to pay etc. So let's have FUN and enjoy LIFE!

Blogging about toys has opened a whole new world to me and connected me to a LOT of like-minded collectors around the globe and I've made many GREAT friends through my blog. I've always enjoyed taking pictures of my toys. It's a way of cataloging my collection. Back then, I'd to use a camera loaded with a roll of photographic film which you had to send for processing before you could view the pictures you'd taken. That's how ancient I am haha. With the advent of the internet and digital cameras, everything is now so quick and easy, and my toy blog has become a new passion as I share my interests with the worldwide web and visitors to my blog.

Related posts: An ode to collectors posted on November 26, 2010.

My interview with MS magazine - A sight to behold posted on October 9, 2009.

My interview with Wicket Toy & Collectible Photography posted on July 19, 2010 (thanks again, Jon).

Collecting on a BIG scale posted by Ian O'Neill from "Toy Collector", March 5, 2011.

I was also approached by G.I. Joe Collections and they did a coverage on me, which was NICE of them.


Super-Duper ToyBox said...

god bless you, Alex- you make my world a happier place

Wee Seng said...

Hope my son will be able to share this hobby with me too when he gets bigger.

LEon said...

It's really great that your son join you in this collection now.

Toys fascinate me and allow me to create stories and casting for my playtime stories.

Your blog and collection show how serious you are as a collector. Like you toy blogging open me up to more fun stuff and friends.

Anonymous said...

Entirely share your "why" in collecting 1/6 toys. For me, collecting figures renders me 5 layers of satisfaction: (1) decision to buy out of limited budget; (2) studying related facts / hisotry about the figure; (3) assembling; (4) taking photos and (5) writing synopsis of the figures on facebook / flickr for posting photos. Hope we all continue to enjoy these funs !

laME boy said...

Great post.

I always get extremely annoyed when people label my figures as toys. Look who's the one who hasn't grown up :p

Little Plastic Man said...

Great great post!
You are someone most toy collectors (me!) will look up to...

Let’s continue to collect these pieces of art!

Unknown said...

Another great use of action figures that needed to be shared ^^

Kal said...

Your love for these figures is obvious and you do us all a great service by posting such great pictures for us to enjoy. I have a huge collection too but few of the 1:6 figures. I love the detail and sculpt. They are not just toys. They are works of art.

Unknown said...

Master Alex,
Thanks for sharing your wonderful collection! And continue this journey with a lot of fun!

alex teo said...

Hey guys, THANKS for all the support and encouraging words. I know I can count on all of you to stand with me and I really appreciate it, my band of TOY brothers (and a few sisters too) haha

@Colin, keep on doing what you're doing, my friend - loads of support going your way too :)

@Wee Seng, we all want that with our family ;p

@LEon, toy blogging is more FUN with fellow toy bloggers united together and spreading the passion!

@anon, how about showing us some photos :> we all would love to see them

@Zi Yi, pardon their ignorance becoz we know better

@adrian, let the collection GROW indeed :)

@MrHankey, thanks for the link LURVE Scarlett Johansson

@Kal, thank you, the feeling's mutual. Your blog and tumbler are sites I visit at least once every day

@Marcelo, let's continue this journey together, just like the Fellowship except this one is all about TOYs!

ethan said...

Well said Alex :) Seeing a new posting on toyhaven on my reader everytime...brings a streak of smile across my face :)

Stanley Poh said...

Having a Blog like yours prevents me from feeling alone in this collection...

It also allows me to hear sound advice from ya before I purchase on impulse. :)

Jonloh said...

I couldn't agree more with the reasons for collecting. The materialization of a 2D object and being able to immortalized it with the snap of the shutter.
The shear pleasure of simply knowing that 'it' belongs to you.
Starting on 1:6 military figures and am finally realizing why you guys are so crazy over them.

E&G said...

Congratulations for your blog it is amazing! We´re from Brazil and we were thrilled when we saw (through your blog) Cat Woman´s action figure

alex teo said...

You can view more Catwoman pictures at the link: Check it out if you like :)

Jo Marsh said...

I have come rather late to collecting toys, but I see them as art. High art when you look at, say the Hugh Jackman Wolverine Hot Toy.

I started with Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, as we never had such toys in my day (heheh, I am a 1957 baby)moved on to Buffy 7 and 12" sculpts.

I just came across your Blog.. well several hours ago in fact, it has been entertaining me! Thank you so much: it is witty, fun, and a fabulous encapsulation of why we all (I suspect) collect. Jo

alex teo said...

thank you Jo for the kind words of encouragement :) glad that we see eye to eye on the subject of toys as ART ;p CHEERS

Wordview Cafe said...

I agree, action figures are a form of art. I live in a town where there are a lot of gallerias and art museums and it would be cool if there was one that had just action figures!!!! Have you thought about starting one? PS: do you have any Gundam models?

alex teo said...

I have some :) check out the link -