Monday, June 10, 2024

Inside the Mind of a Toy Addict Part 4- Price Hikes and Hunting

Toy Biz finished their license with two final build a figure waves featuring MODOK and Mojo. (2006) The era of “hard to find” figures was kicking off. However, the prices were still low, and MODOK is incredibly goofy and ridiculous thus rendering him awesome. Therefore, when the love of my life, and my enabler, came back from shopping one night and told me she saw boxes of them being unloaded in an aisle at Toys R Us, I jumped in my car and drove to the mall. The excitement of finding the whole MODOK wave still in shipping cartons led to the purchase of the Mojo wave as well.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

 Aside- I DESPARATELY did not want to have to take a solo photo of MODOK. He is a large figure in the rear of the group on the far right of the villain shelf, and many characters use him for support. I was quite happy leaving him in a later "group on the shelf shot," like Mojo was in the Archangel picture in the previous section. However, once this was divided up into chapters, it was clear I needed that image. Arcade, who lives in the center of that shelf, was included: 
(1) As a normal sized figure for a size comparison.
(2) Because he's fun, and it is a good likeness.
(3) As an illustration that half the $&%*#! shelf fell down, in spite of how carefully I tried to extricate MODOK.

Hasbro took up the license, (2007) made some changes and the price hikes began in earnest.
The end of the Toy Biz days also marked the initial “expansion by sale” of the collection. While already cheap, especially compared to current prices, around this time Kay Bee Toys went out of business in phases. This meant there were several instances as stores closed to grab box sets and two packs, items whose sudden sales have continued to expand my collection to the present day. This is why I have two Daredevil figures. The second came in a two pack with Kingpin for only five bucks! (2006) Neither is perfect meaning I haven’t been able to convince myself to get rid of one of the Men Without Fear.
Hasbro figures have much less articulation, replacing movable jaws and fingers with replaceable heads and hands. This means I have an ever growing pile of small ziplock bags filled with tiny body parts... which is not creepy at all.
Hasbro figures also have much stiffer joints, making posing a figure in a position it will balance and freely stand in nearly impossible. On the other hand, Toy Biz figures had an overwhelming amount of articulation, featuring multiple bend points at every joint. These weaken over time, causing the figures to slump and crumple, making posing a figure in a position it will balance and freely stand in nearly impossible. The result is, whenever I need to add a new figure, reposition, clean, or swap out selections for the upstairs shelf, there is a huge amount of swearing involved as they tumble in groups. This is also why more and more characters have taken up kneeling poses.
It is this problem with both manufacturers that meant an attempt to free Daredevil number two would create yet another domino like cascade of figures and force me to weave yet another profanity tapestry, easily surpassing the MODOK one. Therefore, he has no posed individual photo, other characters shown the same way (looking at you again Archangel) had the same issue.

This swath of early addiction sales also led to my most embarrassing build a figure. There was an all villain wave near the end of the Toy Biz era, (2006) which I had most of- because they were cool bad guys and I had mysteriously developed a shelf for bad guys to live on. I did not get the Lady Deathstrike figure because the one area Hasbro has been light years ahead of Toy Biz in is not making horrendous looking female figures. She was the height of their horrendousness, and the build a figure was a weird looking thing called Onslaught, connected to a comic book story I’d never read. 

Then the “going out of business” sale hit, the Deathstrike figure was available for a few singles…
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
The Hasbro waves began, and I was only selecting a couple of individual figures, not reaching any full sets to build the bonus figures. This was a mix of desire and the ever-increasing difficulty of finding entire waves. There were still awesome surprise find moments during this period. A random sale of a store exclusive, foot tall Goliath repaint version of a convention exclusive Giant Man (Everyone got that? There will be a test next period.) finally yielded me all of the founding Avengers. (2009) This also cemented the Ant Man I had as the Scott Lang version. (Date? I have no idea, he looks like Toy Biz, but he might be the 2015 Hasbro one. Hey, there’s a lot of figures, it’s hard to keep track.) That choice fits in with the time period my long ago abandoned original target was, and I've been a fan of Scott since he guest starred in my early Iron Man comics.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
The Hasbro prices creeped up, but it wasn’t horrible. Then suddenly, the entire six-inch Marvel Legends line vanished! (after 2008) Hasbro rebranded it to G I Joe sized Marvel figures, but at the same price as the six-inch ones were.
But at least I was saving money, since we already had a mass of the small figures.
A few years later, (2012) Hasbro’s insidious plan was revealed!
They brought back the six-inch line at Fifteen dollars apiece. I was enraged and vowed not to pay full price.
I mean, I still hunted for sales, but I was enraged!
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
Yet again, I had no idea how good I had it. Over a fairly short period of time prices continued to climb, holding briefly at an already insulting twenty dollars, before leaping again above twenty-five.
Do I still hunt for sales?
I have Spaces… and Locations figures fit it.
I feel like an explanation is needed.
A “Space” is a specific missing character that is usually key to my original “vision” for this collection. When Mockingbird was FINALLY released, (2016) I watched that character for a price drop nearly continuously, finally allowing the assembly of the original West Coast Avengers! (Note the Hawkeye Toy Biz knees, ready to buckle at any moment.)

“Locations” are places in the collection where a figure will fit because, whether intentionally or accidentally, a theme has developed. Location definitions can be incredibly broad.
As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.
Hunting for sales comes in various forms. Some like Mockingbird were very deliberate. Due to the release of the Marvels movie, (2023) Monica Rambeau moved toward prominence again. The movie version was part of a wave that went very quickly to Anabelle’s collection.
(My threshold for price reductions is significantly lower when buying gifts for my child.) Yes, its blurry. My Old Man Knees do not balance standing on a bed like they used to... much like Toy Biz Hawkeye's

Aside- Anabelle's enjoyment of Super Hero figures has never waned. Her focus has always been unusual. She would frequently create her own characters by giving her Fisher Price or Barbie people super powers... but then play normal "house and family time" with the DC and Marvel figures. Her crowning achievement in these cross overs may have been repurposing a group of Monster High and Barbie dolls, along with a spare Flynn Rider, into the Endless of the Sandman Comics.

Back to Monica Rambeau-
Excitingly, a classic version came packaged with a Secret Wars Doctor Doom. Sometimes, sales of the packaged product allowing pursuit of the build a figure are the goal, but other times, eBay is a frequent source for loose figures. An unpacked version of her alone was found and grabbed because she is a key to multiple Spaces.
Back in the West Coast Avengers days, Monica took on the Captain Marvel moniker and was a huge presence. She was leader of the main East Coast, branch of Avengers for quite a while and in some acclaimed storylines. Her role was great enough at the time she was one of four featured characters on the cover of the TSR Marvel Super Heroes Role Playing Game, and in the initial adventure packaged in the box set.

Her figure was also the final one I needed to get all of the heroes, not only on the first issue cover, but in the original Secret Wars story itself. 

I feel I will never get the full group of villains from that story, or even from the cover of issue six, due to the anomalies of figures who NEVER go on sale. 
Oh, Wrecking Crew, where art thou?

As should be crystal clear by now, I do have a problem.

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