Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Purge of the Day: Action Figure Bases

And now, a special report from me, Jonathan, on the minutiae of action figure collecting and action figure collecting-related purging (WARNING: there be heavy nerdery this way):

For a long time, Toy Biz packaged their various Marvel Comics figures with large bases.  It didn't matter if it was a Marvel Legends figure, or a Spider-Man Classics, or even the short-lived but much-loved X-Men Classics--if you were buying a high-quality, excellently-articulated Marvel figure from Toy Biz, you were getting an unruly, oft-ugly, heavy base on which to display your figure that you would never use to display your figure.  Granted, they weren't always some random blue plastic x with a crummy spring-loaded missile launcher attached.  Occasionally, you'd get a detached Sentinel hand covered in snow and think, "If I spread this out with the other detached Sentinel pieces, it'd probably look like the X-Men had taken out a Sentinel."  

And maybe it would have, but like all of the other even less-promising bases, the Sentinel pieces went right into one large plastic bin or another and never served any purpose but an extra trip up and down the steps during three moves.  And the collection grew between each move.

Find out my perfectly logical reason for buying three Bishop figures from the same series after the jump.

By the time we reached our current home, the bases had been--cleverly, I thought--relegated to the garage, where they weren't an eyesore, and, more importantly, I could continue living in the delusion that I needed them.  I am a hardcore collector (this likely goes without saying by now).  That's why you see a detached Build-a-Figure Apocalypse leg amidst the wreckage in this photo--you had to buy 6 figures that each came with a piece of Apocalypse to build an 18-inch Apocalypse figure.  Obviously this sounds amazing and everyone would buy the six figures and build an 18-inch Apocalypse figure.  But why an extra left leg?  I ended up with two left legs because the left leg came with Wolverine, and there was a variant unmasked Wolverine that just had to join my collection, and with him, another left Apocalypse leg. 

I also ended up with three Bishops from the set: one because I wanted another variant, and another because the Apocalypse torso he came with broke twice during construction.  It becomes obvious pretty quickly, I think, just how uncontrolled my collecting was.  

Now, it's been a while since I've really taken any of these figures out of their large (but orderly and well-organized) plastic bins.  But the bases?  The bases were always garbage.  I don't know if they were meant to fill up the packaging with their girth or trick you into thinking you'd purchased something more substantive with their heft, but if they were truly meant to display your figures, I never got that.  And so they were garbage.  And some 9 years after the first one of these entered my possession, the few that were very cool and might be enjoyed by someone else have been donated to a younger person's collection, and the rest go back into the fiery pits of hell from which they (probably) came.  

I think at this point, seeing how much I've educated you all on action figure collecting, Molly is questioning the decision to turn over the blog, so I will thank you all for reading and step aside.  Until my specific expertise is needed again...  


Cameron said...

This is too funny because for the EXACT same reason, I have been forbidden by my girlfriend from purchasing any Marvel Legends or Marvel Select figures for the last few years, due to the cluttered mass of bases and accessories.

There are so many build-a-figure pieces as well that will never be completed....and ones that I didn't care enough about to complete, like the Brood Queen series.

Whitney and I have both come to an agreement though on the 3 3/4 Marvel Universe figures, even though they seem ridiculously overpriced

JR said...

THAT is too funny. Missed in the purge were a few Brood Queen pieces, plus Monkeyman's torso and Pitt's arm from the Legendary Comic Book Heroes series that Toy Biz made after losing the Marvel license. I also came across about half of Red Hulk, which I am now weirdly regretting I didn't complete.

I have also switched to Marvel Universe, cringing at the prices as I go, but glad to see how little space they take up. The real problem will begin in a couple of months when Marvel Legends and Marvel Universe are both releasing new toys.