Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hot Toy Collecting Tip #1: Remove ALL Batteries!

The ongoing debate continues: To open or NOT to open! To open what? To open the toy: that is to remove the figure from its packaging, to take it out and play, pose or simply admire the figure for what it is, a 3-D (three dimensional) art form. To keep it in its packaging would mean that one cannot truly appreciate the art that went into making the toy (figure, vehicle, playset - whatever it's supposed to be). Nor will you ever know how the back of the figure looks like (since you never get to see it if it remains in the box / packaging) or realize the full potential of the figure with the full accessories and its play value.

You can only truly enjoy the figure when you open it, as Kane found out :)

The term "Mint in sealed box" (commonly abbreviated as "MISB"; variations include "MOSC", or "mint on sealed card") refers to the practice of keeping toys in their original packaging, even after purchasing them. Such specimens are supposedly valued more than "loose" toys i.e. toys that have been removed from the packaging. In addition to the perceived "germ free" nature of such a toy, the owner can be assured that the item is almost certainly complete and intact. The chances of a still-sealed action figure being broken or missing accessories is extremely unlikely; such cases are almost always due to either accidents at the factory (toys being packaged with wrong / no accessories), or the toys being made of materials that decompose relatively quickly regardless of how they are or aren't packaged (such as yellowing – toys discoloring over time, Gold Plastic Syndrome – a toy's plastic decomposing and becoming brittle to the point of shattering or crumbling under minimal-stress conditions, rubber rot – rubber parts drying up, cracking, rotting AND also melting / disintegrating parts – rubber and some leather / pleather materials have been known to disintegrate over time). [source: MISB]

In this case, the clear plastic is meant to melt, courtesy of the alien's ooze

Some fans take offense with the practice of collecting sealed toys, arguing that the entire point of collecting action figures is to free them from their cardboard and plastic prisons and play with them, while fans of sealed figures might compare the process to collecting fine art or artifacts - they enjoy the total aesthetic of toy and package, looking much as it did the day it was placed on store shelves long ago. I say, if you can afford it, buy two of each, one to open and one to keep :)

Remove the batteries located in the helmet and oxygen backpack

Whatever the case, if you have bought an electronic toy figure that has batteries included, you should forget about MISB because the batteries will leak (It's not a case of "if" but "when") and the leaking batteries will damage the electronic components of the toy which will mean that the toy will no longer be in the condition it was supposed to be in, since it will no longer have its electronic functions, having been damaged by the leaking batteries. So if I were you, I wouldn't want to buy any MISB / MOSC electronic toy with batteries included since the batteries will have leaked over time and that MISB / MOSC electronic toy will no longer be in working condition. Better to buy one from a collector who has remembered to remove the batteries so as to ensure that the electronic parts will still work when batteries are re-inserted.

Likewise, for all Hot Toys movie masterpiece series 1/6 scale figures, remember to REMOVE all batteries if they have electronic features / functions because while it's all nice and cool ("oohhs" and "ahhs"), the batteries should be removed once you have checked that they work on the figure because after taking out the toy / collectible and playing with it, it's either you display the figure like I do OR you put the figure back into the box due to space constraints or simply because some of you prefer to display the box with the figure inside instead of the figure itself. Either way, you don't know when you'll be playing with the electronic components again and so, it's best to REMOVE the batteries or they WILL LEAK and DAMAGE the toy / figure / collectible (then it'll be "AARGHHH!")

So as you can see, the Hot Toys movie masterpiece figures in this line-up / blog entry all come with electronic features so please remember to REMOVE all batteries. You may think that because there's a plastic tab that separates the cell batteries inside from connecting and unless you pull out the tab, the switch won't work hence it's quite safe to keep the batteries inside as long as the tab is in place, you are so wrong. That is a bad assumption! The batteries will still leak and I've seen them myself and read of collectors' horror stories as well about rotting batteries left in the battery compartment of these very same figures you see in this post.

Please be reminded that Hot Toys use cheap China-made batteries and it's very very unstable. It can leak anytime! You wouldn't want to have your awesome collection ruined by cheapo batteries left inside the toy / collectible figure. It is really not worth it! So even if you are one of those who like to leave the figure in the box, you should at least remove the batteries. Hot Toys designed the figures such that they can be taken out of the box and be put back in again without any fuss because there are no twisty ties nor sealed parts where you have to break the seal to reach the figure, unlike carded figures. So go ahead, save the toy! Because if you don't, it's gonna look good on the outside while it's rotting inside!

I recently came across a particular collector on facebook who orders the Hot Toys 12-inch limited edition collectible figures, picks them up from the shop in its sealed condition, then proceeds to wrap the boxes up (with the figures inside) to keep out the dust and promptly keeps the boxes in the cupboard, away from sunlight. Never takes out the figures! My question to him was: "How can we really appreciate the figure if we keep it in the box, without ever checking out the articulation, the awesome features including light-up functions etc? Most of the time, we don't even know how the back of the figure looks like if we don't take the figure out. Even if you choose to keep the figure in the box, the batteries will still leak inside and damage the electronic features if we don't remove them first before sealing up the box!"

His answer: "I don't need to check it! I know it's there! Anyway, without exposure to the sun and dust, the figure will be in pristine condition." He doesn't realize that keeping it away from the sun is only to protect the paint and prevent the colors from fading, it doesn't stop batteries from leaking! That's part of the natural process of things in this world! We (a bunch of us concerned collectors) tried telling him so but it just seemed to fall on deaf ears. He was as stubborn as a mule and really believed that the made-in-China piss-poor quality batteries will not leak since he has managed to seal everything in.

I know some of us have space constraints and have no place to display all the figures. Hence some of us choose to keep the figure in the box to protect it from the sun and hopefully, the figure will still look as good as new in a few years. Furthermore, Hot Toys box packaging are like art pieces and deserve pride of place too. I'm okay with that but I would like to think that at least you still open the box occasionally to look at and admire the figure that you paid so much good money for, maybe even taking it out for a while before putting it back into the box again. So I take this opportunity once again to tell you to REMOVE all batteries ;p

I cannot understand the logic of a collector who buys the figure and then seals the figure inside the box and puts it out of sight, hidden away of the sun for fear of the precious toy losing its value, not realizing that the figure is already rotting inside the sealed box because he doesn't want to REMOVE the batteries! Everyone has the boxes, especially the shops that sell these figures. They display the boxes, not the figures. As collectors and not TOY hoarders or investors, let us see the figures. They are action figures after all, NOT rectangular boxes. Displaying the figures also enhances the beauty and demonstrates the art that went into making them. Most importantly, they look way more AWESOME when they are displayed. It's still all a personal preference, of course :) but I've had many bad experiences with figures having melted outfits (leather or pleather) because they were kept inside the box for too long and not allowed to "breathe". The same figure that was opened up and displayed did not suffer from the melting costume syndrome. And if figures are not meant to last forever, isn't it nice to be able to see them displayed everyday rather than opening the box one day after many years and see that the figure is already ruined while it was sealed inside the box. Where's the joy in that? It will be a great pity for you and the toy.

You know, if you like the box art so much, why not just buy the box and display them. They do sell the empty boxes on e-bay and they are much cheaper. If you are NOT EVER going to take the figure out of the box and play with it or even to look at it, then why pay good money for the figure but only choose to display the box?! Scalper scum buy the figures in the box and then resell them to make profits, purely for monetary gains. Some people buy the toys and HOARD them, hoping to resell them at a higher price when demand picks up! They never look at the figure and they don't care for the figure, only for the money that it brings them. We collectors are not like them. We are way better than scum! We ENJOY the figure. We APPRECIATE the figure. The figure is MORE THAN just the box! Open the TOY.

Remember, MISB doesn't mean that your stuff is SEALED and SAFE, especially if it has batteries!

So make sure you REMOVE all batteries from all your Hot Toys Iron Man figures, from Mark I to Mark II, Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V etc. All toys / collectible figures with batteries in them are not safe from harm until they have been removed. Don't even think that the small plastic tab will prevent the batteries from leaking! A good toy / collectible figure is a working one and those with leaking batteries are no longer considered good, nor do they work :(

Most importantly, have FUN with your toy and remember why you bought it in the first place!

For full reviews of the figures you see in this post, you can click on the labels at the bottom and they'll bring you to the desired post you wish to see, be it Iron Man, Predators (under "Creatures") or Movie SciFi (Hot Toys Nostromo Executive Officer Kane). You can also click on the pictures on the left and right side bars to read the reviews I did on them.

Here's me, just toying around with some backgrounds ;p also to show the size comparison of the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark I and WAR Machine side-by-side.

Click on the picture for a bigger and better view :)

I also did a comparison between the Hot Toys Iron Man Mark III armor with the new and improved Mark IV armor HERE

Just toying with some backgrounds ;p


One Shot said...

love this topic. Most of the "action figure" collectors say they keep it in the box because "I like the way it looks" which of course is a super lame excuse for not saying "Dude! it will be worth more if you save it".
You have the Aliens astronaut shown, I have him out of the box as well and I find myself turning on that little LED light from time to time, just to keep the battery working. EVERYBODY and their mothers keep these "collectibles" in their will you ever enjoy the craftsmanship that went into building these toys? you won't and that sucks for you!

Jason from Cali said...

Thanks for that, I never knew or even thought of that! So did you say that those figures you showed leaked on you? I will start removing batteries this weekend! I need to hurry up and get my display cabinet so I can let my kids breathe a little. Thanks so much for all you do for the toy community! J

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Fully agree. Without open up the box you cant appreciate the toy.
I rather open up the box and customise a case for them.Feel bore we can change their pose:)

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Tang Eng Teng also commented on Toyhaven's link ("Guess there is gonna be lot of unpackaging to do in the weekend. Thanks for the reminder again Alex."

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Fang Xiang Charles Lim also commented on Toyhaven's link ("Good article! Nice one especially on those who 'keeps' MISB."

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Yk Chin on fb: "My Warmachine was in MISB. Never display, never open, never expose to sunlight. MISB & stored in the storage room with no window. Nevertheless, there are signs of rust already in some of the batteries. Now all removed. Left Tony Stark Mech Test & the two Predators to go! :)"

Anonymous said...

Allan Sia on fb "yea..for those MISB collectors should check it out..."

Anonymous said...

Ed Bautista on fb: "Agreed!!! Hope everyone read this article!!!"

Anonymous said...

Richard Chitotoy on fb: "Need to do this this weekend."

Anonymous said...

Ryan Fontanilla on fb: "never trusted the batteries so removed them from the time I got my figs from the store :D great article by the way bro Alex"

Anonymous said...

Duabelas Kitbasher: "My warmachine batteries has rusted when I got in hand."

Anonymous said...

Au Tai Ming: "oh gosh,I havent remove the battery for my Ironman yet..Hope nothing worse happen yet..pray hard"

WL a.k.a Wee Loong said...

Toy Businesses should only ideally be run by ppl who are true collectors.

I hate when scalper scum treat them like commodities..

WL a.k.a Wee Loong said...

Hi Alex,

thanks for sharing!

perhaps you can include a demo of how to remove the batteries (since some of the placement may be quite tricky - esp to newbies like us)?

Juz a suggestion.. =)



Anonymous said...

Wayne Kee Ping on fb: "read this blog.. this is the real 1/6 master grade.. ur shop cannot compare with this master.. hehe.. trust this master instead of ur reseller.. xD"

Anonymous said...

Yk Chin on fb: "Every collector shud read it, its better to be safe than sorry. Prevention is better than cure."

Anonymous said...

Mark Htc on fb: "Alex Teo, Thank you very much for sharing ;) All collectors should read!"

Armand said...

Thanks for the heads up Alex. Since I moved in to my new place I've kept them back in their respective boxes again because I don't have display shelves yet.

I'll definitely make time this weekend to remove all the batteries on my figures. I wouldn't want to find my figures ruined because I was careless.

Thanks again for the tip Alex!

Anonymous said...

Tjen Andy on fb: "Just opened mk iii, one piece chest piece batt leaked :(. Not serious damage but lesson learned. All my iron man got their batt removed"

Anonymous said...

Hi Alex,

Great to hear from you again! Just read your new article on your blog and wanted to congratulate you on a job well done, Great article!

I used to think that the little plastic tab would actually prevent the battery from leaking too, since there's no electrical contact. But one day, my "intuition" just hit me and I felt that I should just remove the battery all together just to be safe. Now you've just confirmed that I did the right thing, thank god!

Following your latest post on your blog, thought I'd share a little personal experience of mine. Other than toys, I was also a huge basketball fan. I used to play it at competition level and was a HUGE fan of Jordan. some of my most precious collection are his authentic replica jersey and the all famous Nike Air Jordans. The jersey, as it is my most "precious" collection, I've never wear it. As for the shoes, they usually comes with 2 colors and I would be buying both of them. I will then wear the color that I like LEAST, thinking that I'll save the one I like better for later. As time goes by, I've collected myself more than 10 pairs of Air Jordans in so called "mint" condition.

One day, when I thought that I should "show off" my collections and start wearing these "mint" shoes as they are no longer available in the market, I discovered to my greatest horror that, due to humidity, the sole of these shoes have begin to deteriorate and rot. I found myself with 10-20 pairs of rotten "new" shoes, unable to appreciate or rather use them to the fullest! The same fate has befallen the jersey as well, humidity has change the structure of the fabric and it has turned a little "brittle" rather than stretchable!

From then on I've learned my lesson to fully use and appreciate whatever that you love most while you still can, since nothing in this world last forever! You've paid a great deal of money for it after all. In the case of toys, play with them, enjoy them, look at them, before the plastic turns brittle, or the paint fades (by the way, I've hardly expose my Mark III BD to any sun but the paint still fades!) If it weren't for that incident, I might just be one of those that keeps my toys in MISB condition :). Actually, for those that like to keep their collection in mint condition and never take them out, they should try keeping the money instead! Stack of cash in your cabinet is always nicer than stack of boxes! Haha.

That's just my little "adventure" to share, hope to hear from you soon!


desmond said...

I am not able to remove the batteries from the neck of War Machine as the screw placed in the neck is very tight. Furthermore, I have damaged the surface of the screw and not able to rotate it anymore..Haiz!!

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

thanks to all for your wonderful support and comments :) good to know that I'm not alone in this great hobby!

hey "Jason from Cali", the figures I show in this post are just some of the Hot Toys figures I own that come with batteries. I make it a point to take them out once I've checked that the electronic features work. we all should do the same.

@WL, I didn't show a demo as all HT figures come with instructions. if you check out my individual post and review of each figure, I actually highlighted where the batteries and switches are located. hope that helps :) CHILL bro haha

keep the comments coming, guys ;p let's spread the good word to all our fellow collectors and warn them of the perils of leaking batteries.

Optimus20th said...

Hi Alex,
Nice to see that your Mark III and IV Iron Men are still in top notch shape! Mine have faded abs. What is your secret? Thanks for your blog, it has made collecting a lot more enjoyable and the information you post is very informative. Keep up the good work!

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Hi Optimus, I'm not sure why the abs haven't faded yet. I display my Iron Man figures away from the sun, like everyone else - see my recent post:

Thanks for the support CHEERS!

Anonymous said...

Richard Chitotoy on fb: "Just removed all bat from my Iron Man Toys and Alien Nostromo. Realized the Nostromo once leaked already. Like what Alex said, it's just a matter of time. Lesson learned. SOP to remove batteries from now on. I'll continue tom."

Fizzgig said...

Removing batteries is on my list for a long time now, but i simply was too lazy - until now. Thanks for the reminder ;-) Great article btw.!

LEon said...

Good advice here Alex...but where are the batteries of these hottoys figure? I thought you would show us how you remove it.

Don't mind me since I never owned or played with a Hottoys figure with batteries.

Anonymous said...


@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

hi LEon, all Hot Toys figures come with instructions for the batteries so collectors of Hot Toys figures will know where the batteries are located :)

Also as I mentioned, if you go to my individual posts of each Hot Toys figure that I have reviewed, it's mentioned there where the batteries and switches are located. CHEERS

Anonymous said...

From danielpicard: "yeah, wow, thanks buddy! i don't have that many with lights and all the actual toys were fine, but my ironman mk6's extra bonus damaged arm had 1 of the 3 batteries starting to have white dust on it - so not really bad enough to damage it, but who knows how quickly it can cause damage - so yeah, way to save my 3rd arm!"

Leon said...

Just some thoughts after taking a NUS post-grad module on Corrosion: Corrosion can never be totally avoided, even storing the toy in a professional dry cabinet (low humidity). Since corrosion can be wet / dry. Meaning as long as oxygen is present, things will spoil, unless u take it to outer space where there's a vacuum. Even in low humidity & low oxygen, the contact between dissimilar materials used in the toy (eg diff grades/types of plastics/metals assembled together) will lead to corrosion. So, just enjoy it while it lasts :)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I need a little help here. After reading this post, I have decided to opened up all my MISB Hot Toys collections (with those piece that comes with batteries as my priority). I started off with one of my favorite piece, Iron Man Mark I. Everything was fine, manage to open up the batteries compartment to remove the little clear plastic sheet to allow the circuit to flow. BUT to mine horror & disappointment, only the little red light on the left arm manage to light up. The ARC Reactor DID NOT light up! *faint*. Is there anyone here know how to fix this problem? Appreciate someone can shed some light. Thanks!

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

remember to remove the batteries after checking that the circuit works. if the batteries don't show signs of leakage which is a good sign, maybe the batteries have run out of power since it's been that long. did you try inserting new batteries to check the circuit? if the batteries have leaked into the electronic circuit and corroded the parts, there's not much you can do, I'm afraid. that's what we are all afraid of and that's why there's a need to remove all batteries before it is too late :(

DarkSpirit said...

Unfortunately, I am the type of collector of figures of 12 " that for lacking place; a big part of my collection is in cupboards. Out of the sight. And, as well you say, it is a waste not to be able to enjoy of made well that are. Whenever I can, I try to throw them a glance. This is my only consolation.
I want to congratulate you on your big blog, which I read habitually, and on this article especially.
a greeting!.

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Hola Dark Spirirt from Madrid, Spain :) I understand that for some collectors, if given a chance, would LOVE to be able to display all their figures but due to space constraints, they cannot :( People like you are still true collectors to me, because you still take them out of the box once in a while and, admire and appreciate the figure. Thank you for your kind support and encouraging words.

Andy said...

Wow, great article, never even thought about the batteries. So for us collectors who enjoy turning on the lights every once in a while, how long do you think we can leave the batteries in before they start to leak? Because I like to to have my Iron Man figures lit up every now and then, but definitely don't want those batteries to start leaking.

@lex Gen X 1:6 Hardcore said...

Hi Andy, as long as you monitor the batteries and check regularly to take them out before they start to leak, it should be alright. Most importantly, remove the batteries immediately and put in reputable ones because the China-made batteries Hot Toys put in are just NOT reliable. CHEERS & enjoy your figures :)

Anonymous said...

thanx 4 the info man,now i just have to buy a small screw driver to take out the batteries and i'm gonna remove all hot toys iron man from mark 1 to mark 42 that come out next yr