Sunday, August 19, 2012

Local Toy Hunt Part 2

Inspiration is something that I've been lacking lately.  I still love Transformers, and I still want to get them all, but ever since the Hot House event, I've been lost, I guess you could say.  There was a real danger growing here.  Years ago, when Transformers consisted of Beast Wars figures and I hadn't heard of eBay, I got back into Star Wars.  I still had partsof my collection from my childhood, AT-ST, a couple of Ewok villages, Millennium Falcon, that kind of stuff.  It was also during this time that Hasbro/Kenner had started putting out Star Wars figures again.  They were great, by the standards of the time; they were better sculpted, if much more muscular, than the originals.  I had tons of them.  The troopers were naturally my favorites.  I had at least 15 each of the Stormtroopers, Sandtroopers, Biker Scouts with Speeders, Tie Fighter pilots, et al, with a goal of 50 of each Imperial soldier.

Then came the Phantom Menace.  I got a few of those figures saw the movie, and my passion went away.  I don't think it was the movie that did it, since I saw it two or three times in the theater.  It was more of a combination of factors.  My goal of 50 of each Imperial soldier was daunting and I had trouble finding them, which led to frustration.  I was running out of space and  I wasn't impressed with the Phantom Menace toys.  All of this just led me to call up my aunt to bring my cousins over to my house.  These particular cousins are something like 18 years younger than me and into Star Wars.  When they came over, I just handed them tote after tote of Star Wars toys.  I think 5 or 6 totes in all.  Naturally, they loved it.  After realizing that I had just given away a large chunk of money to a couple of kids who were 7 and 5 at the time, I freaked out a little, but at least someone was enjoying the toys, because I surely wasn't.

All of this has been floating through my head over the last few weeks.  Had my passion for Transformers left me so quickly?  I had only made the decision to greatly expand my collection earlier this year so I don't think so.  However, the evidence seemed to be there.  I hadn't even looked online for Transformers to buy in weeks.  Maybe it was because I had bitten off more than I could chew?  The last time I thought about buying a figure, I couldn't even get anywhere close to a decision.  Talk about frustrating.

Yesterday, two things occurred that sparked something in me.  The first was reading Heroic Decepticon's post about the awesome black Diaclone that he had purchased.  Reading about that just got me excited.  It's unbelievable that after all of these years, there are still things that can be unearthed that no one knew about.  I had goosebumps looking at the pictures, reading the words.  Man.

The second thing that got me off my duff was a little show on the Travel Channel called Toy Hunter.  I knew that this show was on, but I had never caught an episode until a couple of repeats aired yesterday.  I couldn't stop watching.  One thing about this show is for certain: it's a bad representation of toy collectors and toy collecting and it must be stopped.  I had nothing against the staged set ups or any of that.  My concern was the way the toy dealer acted when he found anything, but specifically when he found Bumper and started proclaiming that it was an unreleased prototype.  Jerk.  And I realize that not everyone, or at the very least every toy dealer, would know who Bumper is.  But to just start spouting off about it being a prototype just strikes me as irresponsible.  Thanks to this guy and his scalping ways, prices for any toy are going to skyrocket.  Awesome.

So after reading Heroic's blog, and seeing this abomination of a show, I decided to jump into the car and look for some toys in my own backyard.  I wanted to try some yard sales, but didn't find any, so I decided I try the Goodwill.  I'm not sure why I thought Goodwill would have anything interesting, but I figured it was worth a shot.  There are three within a 20 minute drive of my house, so I hit all three.  After hitting all three, I found an arm for an Optimus Prime figure from one of the movies.  So, no luck there.

Next, I decided to hit the flea market.  Yeah, the toy dealer/scalper resides there, but so does my comic book store.  Really, I was hoping that he'd have something awesome, or maybe a part I needed.  What he had was nothing.  It was difficult to really look at anything because the dealer's two kids were running around playing with all of the toys.  Seriously, I tried to look in the carts of G.I. Joes that he had, but the kids were pulling out figures and vehicles and playing with them.  I don't think anything of any kind of decent condition can be had or kept this way.  I did manage to snap a few pictures of his stall.

Try to find anything in this

Seriously, try to find something.

I think I've seen these figures in my nightmares.
I was bored, and I just had a hunch that I should keep looking around the flea market.  There just had to be more.  The flea market here consists of three aisles, each one with dozens of stalls or booths on each aisle.  And since I live on the Gulf Coast, it's an outdoor flea market, with essentially an awning covering a each aisle.  To combat the humidity, there are giant fans mounted to the ceiling that blow misted water down.  Sanitary.  It's crowded, mainly by people smoking as they look at knock off handbags, stolen merchandise from Wal-Mart, or tons of University of Alabama memorabilia.  There were a ton of stalls selling old video game hardware and software.  I stopped in one that had a bunch of toys sitting on one of his tables.  This guy had a lot of 90's Star Wars figures, most of them carded.

Finding nothing Transformer related, I continued on.  I walked up and down every aisle, looked at every booth and one thing became obvious to me.  Ever since shows like American Picker became popular, everyone thinks that everything they find on the side of the road can be sold.  Every stall had a bucket of toys.  It was as though everyone cleaned out their kids old toys and decided to see what they could get for them.  Someone had an armless, headless Battle Armor Skeletor for sale in a pile of other broken toys.  There was one stall that literally consisted of buckets sitting on the ground with prices on each bucket.  Inside each bucket was just an assortment of junk.  I couldn't even bring myself to dig inside any of them for fear of getting a disease. 

Needless to say, I didn't find anything yesterday.  However, after all was said and done, my spirits were rejuvenated.  I went home, and actually bought a figure off eBay.  I can't wait until it gets here.  Now if I could just get Toy Hunter off the air...

1 comment:

  1. It's funny you mention the Toy Hunters show b/c the cashier @ Walmart asked me about that show as she rang up my TMNT figure!

    I manage a self storage facility and ever since those auction shows have hit the air everyone asks me about the "treasures" inside. Sure, if you want to call a pee stained mattress treasure - you go right ahead!