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Thread: General Vent and Rant about Action Figure Collecting Today

  1. #1
    Master of Physics VZX's Avatar
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    General Vent and Rant about Action Figure Collecting Today

    I love collecting action figures. While I am limited by my finances and display space, it is my favorite hobby and will never stop. I do pick up the occasional vintage figure, but I usually find those to be too much money or too damaged. So I enjoy buying current figures. I try to keep to just a few lines at a time. So now, my main two lines are G.I. Joe Classified and Transformers War for Cybertron. I am cherry-picking the MotU Origins line and Star Wars Black Series. So you can guess where this is headed.

    G.I. Joe Classified debuted in June of last year: seven months ago. And in all that time I have seen a total of just SIX figures in the stores. SIX! And five of those were in the summer. I saw a lone Gung Ho yesterday in a Target. I mean, the pegs labeled for this line have been empty for months! I don't get why Hasbro is holding off so much of releasing their stock. I guess they did not produce that much? I had to order all the figures I had or had friends help find them.

    The Transformers line is a little bit better to find, but not much. I had to be just plain lucky to buy the Netflix Soundwave three-pack as I saw an open case on a pallet. I have yet to see the Netflix Bumblebee. Another silly exclusive.

    Origins is another story. Talk about Killin teh lien! A ridiculous over-stock of standard He-Mans and Skeletors. I did not pre-order Scare Glow, so I think I might be out of luck.

    So, between store exclusives, over-kill of two characters, and simple lack of faith in your line it drives collectors nuts! Here's what I don't understand: they have a product I want. I will give them my money for that product. But why do they make it so hard to find these products that I want to give them money for? What kind of business sense is that? Wouldn't they make more money by having these products more readily available?

    Ok, rant over. Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.
    "Everything comes to he who waits."

  2. #2
    In Stereo Where Available Dynamo of Eternia's Avatar
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    Regarding Origins Scareglow, he is currently available for preorder on Big Bad Toy Store and Entertainment Earth.

    But that aside, yes, I very much agree. I've never been a "thrill of the hunt" guy to begin with, and things seem to be getting worse rather than better in many regards. I'm not a GI Joe collector, but I've heard the horror stories about collecting the current 6" line.

    I still hate the fact that so much of the cartoon and movie based NECA TMNT items are exclusive to stores like Target and Walmart, making obtaining them significantly more difficult. And to be honest the response from NECA regarding these criticisms has been rather flippant. While I haven't had to resort to ebay, I have actually imported some of these same figures from the UK at a comparatively higher price point (though generally not as bad as 'scalper' prices) since they are actually available through online stores there. Even then, I've still had issues with a couple items getting canceled due to lack of supply.

    The video game based figures, which are available through many different retailers, including the two I mentioned above for ordering Scareglow, have been rather easy to obtain as I can easily preorder them from websites that actually know how to handle collectibles. I wish all of NECA's offerings were that easy to buy.
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    Heroic Warrior
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    The problem is the Collector's themselves. Whether they are scalpers or just collector's... I've been hearing the rumors of them acting like Jackals hovering around the door before the stores open and rushing in and buying the whole blasted line. They'll buy at least two of every figure and wipe out an entire case before anyone else gets a shot at them. They treat every day like it's Black Friday and it's killing the hobby.

    Add in that anything that is on the shelves for more than a week gets labeled a 'peg warmer', and there's no wonder the companies aren't shipping more. Once the mad rush is over, there's no point in stocking things... It's really just frustrating, but as long as people are willing to pay big money for something that's new on shelves it won't change. It's all the talk on the Star Wars black series forums right now. Same with the Transformers.

    In fact Toyguru has had some pretty interesting videos the last couple months dealing with just this issue and how the stores and companies view this.

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    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Distribution and scalpers have really taken the fun out of collecting.

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    Heroic Warrior DadStrong's Avatar
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    General Vent and Rant about Action Figure Collecting Today

    Quote Originally Posted by VZX View Post

    G.I. Joe Classified debuted in June of last year: seven months ago. And in all that time I have seen a total of just SIX figures in the stores. SIX! And five of those were in the summer. I saw a lone Gung Ho yesterday in a Target. I mean, the pegs labeled for this line have been empty for months! I don't get why Hasbro is holding off so much of releasing their stock. I guess they did not produce that much? I had to order all the figures I had or had friends help find them.

    Origins is another story. Talk about Killin teh lien! A ridiculous over-stock of standard He-Mans and Skeletors. I did not pre-order Scare Glow, so I think I might be out of luck.
    I have seen a total of 2 Classified figures over the last few months, never intended to collect the line but had friends looking, so I always looked when I was out. Like you said plenty of empty space, usually filled up with Ghostbusters figs.

    Origins are starting to trickle out, Iím a thrill of the hunt guy now and I just wish theyíd roll these out already. My wife is getting very tired of going to Target every other day lol
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    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    Something a lot don't realize because they companies aren't wanting to say it because of all confusion and misunderstanding of many things.

    Covid has been a problem in a lot of packing, manufacturing and shipping. Companies don't want to say 'oh we had to shut down are manufacturing/packing/shipping/something else for 2-4 weeks.' Because they are afraid of the response of consumers.

    A post office that just got shut down, parcels are sitting there till they can reopen. And it has to be sanitized.

    A distribution center gets shut down, items are sitting there till they can reman the operation. And the place has to be sanitized.

    Add that in with the things like currently things have gotten a bit worse about pegwarming etc because of the perception that 90% of people are sitting at home not doing anything except going to walmart or target to buy stuff.
    One Gum Drop to rule them all, One Gum Drop to find them,
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    My experience is the same as all of your's. This year I tried to collect Transformers Earthrise but the Distribution at my Walmart has been awful I never even seen any other leader class figures aside from astrotrain. Motu has been a lot better seeing as I can find those figures the only problem has been I can't buy those due to a dry money spell happening to me currently. And I haven't seen any of the Target Exclusives in may Target.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by VZX View Post

    Origins is another story. Talk about Killin teh lien! A ridiculous over-stock of standard He-Mans and Skeletors. I did not pre-order Scare Glow, so I think I might be out of luck.
    I would also point out that they really AREN'T 'overstocking' He-man and Skeletor... they're making them Evergreen. It's what they NEED to do and really what helped kill the original line in the 80's. Nobody wants to jump into a line if hte main two characters are gone.

    If you look at the peg labels... they have a peg for He-man and a peg for Skeletor and then a couple of pegs marked MOTU ASST for everyone else. They're different SKU's, so He-man and Skeletor being available after the first month of the line isn't actually effecting the 'motu asst' sku. It's really something that I'm glad to see for a change.

  9. #9
    Life is good Dice's Avatar
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    I am able to just barely get by with my collecting. Because I'm both a cherry picker, and someone that will just accept that I'm not going to get a figure once it's being scalped.

    I don't mind paying a little extra to someone who bought an extra. I refuse though to pay prices where someone bought a product off the shelf with no other intent than to resell at a profit. I would just rather not have the item.


    But I feel for collectors who like to complete collections and for people that are more passionate about certain lines than I am.

    I'm on many different Facebook collector pages. There are a LOT of scumbags in those groups. IMO they're the biggest pain in collecting today.
    "To a great mind, nothing is little."

  10. #10
    Master of Physics VZX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantom1592 View Post
    I would also point out that they really AREN'T 'overstocking' He-man and Skeletor... they're making them Evergreen. It's what they NEED to do and really what helped kill the original line in the 80's. Nobody wants to jump into a line if hte main two characters are gone.

    If you look at the peg labels... they have a peg for He-man and a peg for Skeletor and then a couple of pegs marked MOTU ASST for everyone else. They're different SKU's, so He-man and Skeletor being available after the first month of the line isn't actually effecting the 'motu asst' sku. It's really something that I'm glad to see for a change.
    Yeah I think you are right. I guess I'm just frustrated over all. So I did what I don't normally do and ordered several items off Entertainment Earth this morning. I do enjoy the thrill of the hunt, though.

    I don't understand scalpers. There are easier ways to make money, why do they have to burn collectors? Do they get some kind of perverse joy by making collectors pay these large prices? It reminds me of that episode of The Office when Dwight bought all the "Princess Unicorn" dolls before Christmas so the dads had to pay him $400 each.

    I like Toy Galaxy's slogan "Leave One for the Next Collector." I wish more of us would do that.
    "Everything comes to he who waits."

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    Heroic Warrior DadStrong's Avatar
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    My other hobby is sneaker collecting. You want to talk about scalping. But I will say this, overall the toy community is way more helpful to its members than sneaker heads are.
    Instagram: dadhausen

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    Heroic Warrior PwrdOff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VZX View Post
    Yeah I think you are right. I guess I'm just frustrated over all. So I did what I don't normally do and ordered several items off Entertainment Earth this morning. I do enjoy the thrill of the hunt, though.

    I don't understand scalpers. There are easier ways to make money, why do they have to burn collectors? Do they get some kind of perverse joy by making collectors pay these large prices? It reminds me of that episode of The Office when Dwight bought all the "Princess Unicorn" dolls before Christmas so the dads had to pay him $400 each.

    I like Toy Galaxy's slogan "Leave One for the Next Collector." I wish more of us would do that.
    I wouldn't blame scalpers for the supply issues, that's more just the nature of collecting in general. The toy companies could easily just produce more to fill the shortage, but they obviously won't because they know that the only reason most people want to collect this stuff in the first place is because it's perceived as being limited or exclusive, and if they made it too widely available not enough people would want to buy it and it probably wouldn't be worth making it at all.

  13. #13
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    If you think this is bad then dont start collecting autographs , so much fraud

    A guy lost 10k , the seller never had the Lincoln autograph the buyer paid for on fb , he also stole autographs from BN book stores and forged Portmans and Obamas in the books after he clipped the real ones out then returned to BN in FL
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    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    I don't consider myself a completist of any toyline, but can certainly understand the frustrations and the need to vent / rant.

    Sometime last year I discovered G. I. Joe Classified, and while I never collected any G.I.Joe lines before, just the sculpts and accessories of this line looked like so much fun.

    But now I realise some of the figures, because they are so hard to get a hold of, are going for crazy prices online. It's almost like trying to collect some of the rarer MOTU Classics figures!

    From all of the toys I've collected so far, the only one that I've found to be readily available at decent prices (i.e. not having to pay scalper's fees) is LEGO.

    At the end of the day it's just a hobby for me, but I'm thinking about giving up on collecting the Classified series now.

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    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iluvart View Post
    I don't consider myself a completist of any toyline, but can certainly understand the frustrations and the need to vent / rant.

    Sometime last year I discovered G. I. Joe Classified, and while I never collected any G.I.Joe lines before, just the sculpts and accessories of this line looked like so much fun.

    But now I realise some of the figures, because they are so hard to get a hold of, are going for crazy prices online. It's almost like trying to collect some of the rarer MOTU Classics figures!

    From all of the toys I've collected so far, the only one that I've found to be readily available at decent prices (i.e. not having to pay scalper's fees) is LEGO.

    At the end of the day it's just a hobby for me, but I'm thinking about giving up on collecting the Classified series now.
    As much as I really liked the Classified series, due to the distribution and awkwardness gettign the figures I stopped collecting the line and sold all of the Wave 1 figures.
    Maybe if the distribution improves and they become more easily available I will start collecting the line again.

  16. #16
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    As far as the last 2 posts, couldn't you guys just wait it out a little until the demand dies down a little for certain figures? I managed to pay regular retail prices for Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander and Destro (separate transactions) on eBay no less, months after they were released.

  17. #17
    Heroic Warrior Night Stalker's Avatar
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    I'm just sick of "exclusives," whether it's a convention, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Walgreens or Target. Just call them what they are: eBay exclusives. That's where they all end up,.scalped by scumbags and bought by desperate people.

    In the 80s and 90s, we were warned through D.A.R.E. that the dope dealers would give you free drugs at first until you were hooked, and then you were the dealer's slave for life. Replace the shady trenchcoat guy in the park with a fat guy living in his mom's basement, and that's the modern drug dealer. The guy in an alley pleading for another fix, only to be told the fifteen dollar 'hit' he bought yesterday was now thirty bucks? That's the toy collector running to eBay to buy from the scalper.

    I only half jokingly suggest we start a new school program so kids can avoid this life of addiction and disappointment. Call it T.A.R.E.- Toy Abuse Resistance Education. The mascot can be Lester the Lion, who pops up to give sage advice to kids who are in danger of being "pushed on" by the cartels at Hasbro and Mattel. "Watch out Johnny! That GI Joe might look cool, but once you start collecting the line, they're going to release a bunch of store exclusives that you'll have to steal and rob in order to get enough money to purchase! It's a habit that will break you before you break it! Just say NO."

    With the utter failure of Wal-Mart's distribution scheme, it makes me scratch my head that toy manufacturers think an exclusive line through the largest store chain in North America means people will be able to reasonably find and purchase their figures. The CEOs that sign off on these backroom deals are so far removed from the buying public that they still think this is a valid method of doing business.

    Look, it's a very simple formula. You make something I want, I give you money for it, and we're both happy. Why complicate that any more than it needs to be complicated? If Wal-Mart refuses to sell the figures you supply them with, then sell them on your own website. I didn't even bother trying to buy any of the Origins figures at Wal-Mart because they're completely inept.

    On the other hand, I have no choice but to buy my MOTWWE Universe figures from Wal-Mart because they're the only ones distributing them. Guess what? Not a single Wave 3 or Wave 4 ever popped up in my area, and I live in the 14th largest city in the US. The scalpers on eBay are selling them for double the MSRP. I ordered both waves on Wal-Mart's website, and both orders were cancelled! I'm sick of this. The toy industry is dying, and this is a big reason why.
    Most wanted Origins figures: Mighty Spector, Fisto's Cousin's Babysitter, and Mer-Man's Seventh Grade Crush.

  18. #18
    Heroic Warrior wyldman11's Avatar
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    The unfortunate aspects of modern collecting that has them not waiting it out is.

    Characters not getting a rerelease.
    The line being perceived to not be doing well and is cancelled.

    Or a kind of combination of those two where characters that 'everyone' would have bought are now clogging the shelves.

    Right now Mattel doesn't seem to have much of a distribution problem.

    Before the whole Corona thing hit Hasbro wasn't having much of a problem with Black Series, ML or Transformers. But as corona went on it has gotten worse. Hasbropulse is much better now but that's only good/great for individual releases.

    Scalpers exist, because of a few different reasons. But schemer types have been around for ages and they are a variation on that.
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    Heroic Warrior Brasco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DadStrong View Post
    My other hobby is sneaker collecting. You want to talk about scalping. But I will say this, overall the toy community is way more helpful to its members than sneaker heads are.
    Do you remember when the Knick colored Jordanís came out some years ago? They sold out almost instantly and I know someone that spent $800 on a pair
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    Heroic Warrior DadStrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brasco View Post
    Do you remember when the Knick colored Jordanís came out some years ago? They sold out almost instantly and I know someone that spent $800 on a pair
    Thereís always someone willing to pay what someoneís asking. Itís madness sometimes!
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    Heroic Warrior Mark M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcr4 View Post
    As far as the last 2 posts, couldn't you guys just wait it out a little until the demand dies down a little for certain figures? I managed to pay regular retail prices for Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander and Destro (separate transactions) on eBay no less, months after they were released.
    It's a lot more difficult getting them outside of the US. I paid regular prices £20 each for 4x of the wave one figures. Snake Eyes was a lot more difficult to find and cost £30+. As for the Target exclusives those were ridiculous prices. Scalpers got all pre-orders from various UK retailers.
    On eBay the scalpers are asking £75 for the Cobra Trooper and £120 for Baroness etc.

  22. #22
    Heroic Warrior Iluvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcr4 View Post
    As far as the last 2 posts, couldn't you guys just wait it out a little until the demand dies down a little for certain figures? I managed to pay regular retail prices for Snake Eyes, Cobra Commander and Destro (separate transactions) on eBay no less, months after they were released.
    I paid $45 AUD for each of those figures, which is fine by me. What I couldn't find for a reasonable price (i.e. under $70 AUD) was the Cobra Island figures - specifically Beach Head, the Cobra Trooper, and the Baroness. With the Baroness, as it comes with the COIL, I know it would cost more, but I could not find anything for less than $200 AUD. That in my opinion, is too much. And I have been searching online for quite some time now.

  23. #23
    Heroic Warrior PwrdOff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Night Stalker View Post
    I'm just sick of "exclusives," whether it's a convention, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Walgreens or Target. Just call them what they are: eBay exclusives. That's where they all end up,.scalped by scumbags and bought by desperate people.

    In the 80s and 90s, we were warned through D.A.R.E. that the dope dealers would give you free drugs at first until you were hooked, and then you were the dealer's slave for life. Replace the shady trenchcoat guy in the park with a fat guy living in his mom's basement, and that's the modern drug dealer. The guy in an alley pleading for another fix, only to be told the fifteen dollar 'hit' he bought yesterday was now thirty bucks? That's the toy collector running to eBay to buy from the scalper.

    I only half jokingly suggest we start a new school program so kids can avoid this life of addiction and disappointment. Call it T.A.R.E.- Toy Abuse Resistance Education. The mascot can be Lester the Lion, who pops up to give sage advice to kids who are in danger of being "pushed on" by the cartels at Hasbro and Mattel. "Watch out Johnny! That GI Joe might look cool, but once you start collecting the line, they're going to release a bunch of store exclusives that you'll have to steal and rob in order to get enough money to purchase! It's a habit that will break you before you break it! Just say NO."

    With the utter failure of Wal-Mart's distribution scheme, it makes me scratch my head that toy manufacturers think an exclusive line through the largest store chain in North America means people will be able to reasonably find and purchase their figures. The CEOs that sign off on these backroom deals are so far removed from the buying public that they still think this is a valid method of doing business.

    Look, it's a very simple formula. You make something I want, I give you money for it, and we're both happy. Why complicate that any more than it needs to be complicated? If Wal-Mart refuses to sell the figures you supply them with, then sell them on your own website. I didn't even bother trying to buy any of the Origins figures at Wal-Mart because they're completely inept.

    On the other hand, I have no choice but to buy my MOTWWE Universe figures from Wal-Mart because they're the only ones distributing them. Guess what? Not a single Wave 3 or Wave 4 ever popped up in my area, and I live in the 14th largest city in the US. The scalpers on eBay are selling them for double the MSRP. I ordered both waves on Wal-Mart's website, and both orders were cancelled! I'm sick of this. The toy industry is dying, and this is a big reason why.
    Well the toy industry is dying because not enough kids are playing with action figures anymore, and there simply aren't enough adult collectors out there to pick up the slack. If they were to produce these figures in high enough quantities for anyone to just be able to waltz into their local Target and pick up everything they wanted, then in the places that didn't happen to have a bunch of rabid fanboys they'd just sit on the pegs forever, and it's not really possible to micromanage supply chains to make sure the items are available exactly where the demand is. It might be possible to do with direct online sales, but then you're basically giving up on selling to kids completely, and we all remember how much trouble MOTUC had surviving with such a model even with a very devoted fanbase.

  24. #24
    Heroic Warrior Night Stalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PwrdOff View Post
    Well the toy industry is dying because not enough kids are playing with action figures anymore, and there simply aren't enough adult collectors out there to pick up the slack. If they were to produce these figures in high enough quantities for anyone to just be able to waltz into their local Target and pick up everything they wanted, then in the places that didn't happen to have a bunch of rabid fanboys they'd just sit on the pegs forever, and it's not really possible to micromanage supply chains to make sure the items are available exactly where the demand is. It might be possible to do with direct online sales, but then you're basically giving up on selling to kids completely, and we all remember how much trouble MOTUC had surviving with such a model even with a very devoted fanbase.
    I agree, and that's one point I was driving at. When you have store exclusives, it limits your buying audience. Ok, now add spotty distribution and scalpers to the mix. Now nobody can buy the toys; not your casual mom/dad buyer or your older collector.

    Stop store exclusives. You want to do a limited run? Fine, but make them available to all vendors in limited quantities. If Mattel or Hasbro wants to make a store exclusive, then at least as a failsafe have them available on the Mattel or Hasbro website. And make sure your security software can block bots from buying up the entire run.

    Mattel and the other toy cartels look at this from the point of view of "we don't care who buys them, as long as they're bought." In other words, a scalper buying 100 figures is just as good as 100 different customers. They don't realize that when people get frustrated, they just stop buying altogether. MOTUC was white hot for four years, then the subs and individual sales began dropping dramatically around 2012. There were a lot of reasons, not least of which the pure frustration that came from trying to collect the line.

    The general rule of thumb is that anyone making over $200,000 a year at Mattel has no idea what the average consumer is buying (or not buying) their products for. Yet these are the people in charge of producing and distributing the figures, which is why there's such a divide between consumer and producer.
    Most wanted Origins figures: Mighty Spector, Fisto's Cousin's Babysitter, and Mer-Man's Seventh Grade Crush.

  25. #25
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    Personally, I fully expect the action figure collectors market to move to an online-only model very shortly. For most collectors that is already the reality, I think (I know it is for me). There simply aren't enough buyers and too many lines out there for any store to reserve shelf space for them, it's just not economical.

    In addition, I also guess that more and more lines will move to a pre-order model or a combined model made up of guarnteed pre-orders and a limited quantity of units made for the "open market".

    Do I hate this? Well, yes and no - it's nice to know that you are guaranteed to get an item you really really want. But it sucks not to just randomly stumble across a figure you like and buy it. It takes more and more planning, and the time between the excitement of learning about an upcoming release and getting the figure in hand kills a lot of that joy for me. I mean, Super7 Thundercats...that's easily 12 months between pre-order and delivery, no suspense lasts that long

    So eventually, I think the community will shrink as we all grow even older and the actual activity of collecting becomes more and more like a chore with vastly delayed pay-offs...

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