Dug up some old photographs I took of my collection back in 1996 when I just started collecting toys ;p It was a bit of this and a bit of that and a mix of everything without much of a focus on what I really wanted. That has changed since I decided to focus on 1/6 scale figures. Back then, 12-inch figures were almost non-existent and the only ones available were the vintage G.I. Joe and Action Man figures from the 1960s to 1970s and early 1980s so there really wasn't much in terms of choices or genres. Most were military based and that's how I got started. Obviously a lot of things have changed since then and now there's a specific collectibles market targeting only adult collectors with the purchasing power to buy all the high-end stuff. I'm glad to have witnessed and seen how the 1/6 scale 12-inch figure market has grown from a almost non-existent point to where it is today, an art form much appreciated by a ever growing, ever expanding pool of collectors :)
Batman has always been my first love and it was "Batman, The Animated Series" that got me hooked to toys. I loved the series with its "Dark Deco" visual style based on the artwork of producer and artist Bruce Timm. The funny thing is, I only noticed all these after my first son was born and I became a father. We watched cartoons together and "Batman: The Animated Series" caught my eye. So when I brought him to Toys R Us and saw the animated Batman toys on the racks, it was love at first sight haha. I liked how the toys stayed very true to the visual style seen in the animated series. So began the journey of discovering new things and the passion for toys was sparked. Check out my very first toy blog post HERE about Batman :)
As I began to discover more about toys and how vintage toys were still available out there in the world (internet wasn't really happening yet!), I came across the 1/6 scale world of Action Man 12-inch figures. So began the love for military figures. These figures and uniform sets were designed for boys to play with, mind you, and they were rather detailed and accurate even then. With the improvements in technology, some of the 1/6 scale figures and accessories are now of museum standard and can pass off as highly accurate historical pieces in terms of the quality and accuracy.
Movie-related merchandise were extremely scarce and the bigger players were companies like Medicom Toys and Takara from Japan but they offered mostly Japanese heroes although some American film icons did get their attention as well. I guess that's where Hot Toys saw the need in the market for highly accurate and ultra detailed movie based collectible figures. They haven't looked back since and now the market has exploded beyond their wildest dreams.
Most collectors I know would have collected Star Wars merchandise in one way or another. After all, Star Wars played a huge part in revolutionizing the toys market with their 3-3/4" action figure line in 1976. The widespread success of Kenner's Star Wars 3-3/4" toy line made the newer, smaller size the industry standard. Instead of a single 12-inch tall character with 1/6 scale outfits that changed for different applications, toy lines included teams of characters with special functions. Led by Star Wars-themed sales, collectible action figures quickly became a multi-million dollar secondary business for movie studios.
I think Star Wars has the largest and most varied range of toys than any other line. So many companies have produced and released so many different versions and types of Star Wars vehicles, Star Wars characters (villains and heroes alike) that it boggles the mind. Some have come and gone (Applause, Galoob etc) while others have withstood the text of time. Kenner had the initial license but was bought over by Hasbro and the company has been constantly churning out a never ending line of Star Wars stuff.
This was my first Star Wars Millennium Falcon from back then (1996). How could I not own a piece of Star Wars history that is the Millennium Falcon, the ship that belonged to Captain Han Solo and which brought him and his crew all over the Star Wars universe. Check out my coverage of all the other Star Wars ships / vehicles which I would later buy including the ultimate Hasbro's Star Wars Legacy Collection Millennium Falcon HERE :)
Check this out - the Millennium Falcon chasing after Buzz Lightyear
Toy Story the 1995 American computer-animated family buddy comedy film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter came out at the same time as I got into toy collecting so no surprise for guessing that I would collect Toy Story action figures and toys. Electronic Buzz Lightyear was all the rage back then and every kid wanted one for Christmas!
Those were the days of no internet and no digital cameras. So you took pictures of what you want and couldn't see the results until after the film had been developed. The internet has certainly changed the world we live in and made it even smaller with its connectivity.