I am both grateful and honored to be featured in a magazine along with other collectors :) In the latest issue of "Little", a quarterly family lifestyle magazine dedicated for parents with children age 3 to 12 years old, the publisher has chosen to feature collectors of all kinds: six personas and their prized collections. It's especially nice since this magazine feature will show my new home and the updated toy / action figure collection since the last feature a while back - check out the earlier coverage HERE and HERE.
I was approached some time back and the shoot was actually done in March but the magazine is only out now. We all understand schedules and how the whole publishing process works but I was quite eager to see how the picture turned out. Unfortunately, they couldn't cover the entire collection in one picture as I have a customised 98.5" L x 84" H x 19.25" D (2500mm L x 2134mm H x 495mm D) full glass display shelf which is not shown. The customised full glass display contains most of my Hot Toys Movie Masterpiece Series 1/6th scale figures plus other miscellaneous action figures (you can see the pictures posted HERE). For more details of the interview and other collectors showcased, read on or scroll down to see them :)
Scroll down to see all the pictures.
Click on them for bigger and better views.
The write-up: ALEX TEO – years of collection: 23; collection: action figures
"I enjoy what I collect and I don’t live life with regrets."
To collect movie action figures is to revisit a film each time you see the figure. With more than 15 display cabinets full of rigorously categorised action figures – well, one could have a ball re-enacting favourite fight scenes with them.
Alex, who is a graphic designer, is passionate about his ever-growing collection. "I think George Lucas (creator of the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises) has something to do with that. The success of Star Wars in 1977 led to the sudden demand for movie-related merchandise. You can have your own little Hollywood right in your home."
FROM ZERO TO HERO
Before Alex started collecting action figures, he collected stamps, model kits and then comic books. Asked if he were to do it all over again, he grins, "I’ll probably do the same thing." Action Figures have become so much a part of him that he cannot imagine starting to collect anything else. "Just enjoy what you collect. Start small so that if you loose interest, it’s easier to stop and move on to something else." That is surely astute advice for rookie collectors.
"I remember playing with a Six Million Dollar Man figure when I was a kid - it was a gift from my parents." It was 1994 when Alex started collecting in ernest, and that figure was one of the first he actively searched for because it reminded him of his childhood. Growing up, he remembers being surrounded by comic books. When the comic book heroes took on a three-dimensional form, he just had to get his hands on them. Waxing lyrical about a Superman figure in the hyper realistic likeness of Christopher Reeve, Alex reflects thoughtfully, "I don’t have a favourite figure because they are all part of the whole. If I could just pick one, then I wouldn’t be collecting so many different figures as I would be satisfied with just the one."
FIGURING IT OUT
He has a new favourite every time a new movie is released: current must-haves include the Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange figure, and Donnie Yen Chirrut Îmwe figure from Rogue One. "I always try to correct anyone who says I collect toys because what I collect are actually collectibles," Alex is quick to point out, "The figures I collect cannot be found in departmental stores; they are only available at specialty toy shops, and are sold to serious collectors." He gets his figures mostly from The Falcon’s Hangar located at Blk 261 Waterloo Street, #01-27 Waterloo Centre, Singapore 180261. (I usually pre-order the figures via their website - www.tfh.com.sg)
It must be a challenge to keep track of so many action figures. Alex smiles, "Yes, there’s a method to the madness. I organise the figures by genre: action, sci-fi, military, etc., and sometimes even by actor." It helps that they are displayed inside glass cabinets to keep out dust.
Alex's blog about action figure collecting (www.toyhaven.blogspot.com) has made him many friends over the years - both locally and abroad. It's also an avenue that gets him invited to media previews and product launches such as the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention (STGCC), and also a chance to get to see Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana up close.
ON PASSING THE LEGACY
With 2 grown sons at 23 and 19, has Alex given any thought to whom he might bequeath his collection? "Only if they want them," Alex is nonchalant but he smiles, "At this point in time, they have no interest but you never know. I didn’t start collecting toys as a hobby until I was 29 years old."
Surely after all these years, the thrill of unboxing yet another new action figure has become slightly muted? Alex demurs, "I appreciate the art that went into producing the figure, the attention to details and the realistic sculpting and painting of the heads to resemble an actual person." Clearly, the amount of effort put in by movie designers and producers is not lost on Alex, "some of the details are not noticeable when you watch the movie until you have the figure in hand."
Alex is indeed a testament to the importance of living in the present - he is happy with his collection, has no regrets as to figures he does not have, and looks forward to adding new favourites to his growing stash.
This is a photo from another angle showing both displays :)
The other collectors featured include: Elliot Danker, TV host and Sports Presenter for One FM 91.3's #1 Breakfast Show (see pic below and write-up after).
Also featured: Jian Yang, doll collector for 33 years (pic below, write-up after)
The other three not featured here do not collect action figures or dolls but sneakers, shoes and playing cards. If you want to read about them, you'll have to go buy the magazine ;p
Quote from Kenneth Tan, publisher and creative director of "little":
Everyone collects something in their lifetime. It could be stamps, the usual hobby of people of an earlier generation; currency from different countries for the more invested people; cute stickers for young children; celebrity paraphernalia for fans; specialty items that a discerning few relate to; or some specific item that only the individual sees value in. Others might call that a fetish, but it holds an intrinsic meaning for that person.
People collect to preserve memories or to leave behind as a legacy for loved ones. When we lose that sense of self, that is when the collection becomes a monster and reflects the real emptiness within.
In this Collector's Edition, we share with you some of the well-meaning kind of collections - the ones that allow a person to be who they are without over-indulging or over-compensating: the ones that share with other people around them the meaning of the dreams these items hold for them.