Collector's Corner #13

on Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

Spotlight On... Qball99 (Quang Ha)

 

Where do you live (general location only)?

Ohio, USA

 

How long have you been collecting?

11 years

 

What got you started on collecting these toys?

My cousin made a trip to Japan in 2000 and brought back a 1/144 scale RX-178 MKII model kit. She knew I was a big fan of anime, especially robots. I was in the process of watching the Gundam Wing Series for the first time during this period as well. Needless to say, after putting my first model together, I was hooked! It was great timing because Toys R Us had just started carrying Gundam Wing model kits. After pretty much wrapping up the domestic models, I figured that my hobby was coming to an end. Little did I know, I had only tapped a very small part of the ever growing Bandai model kit offering. I thought I was keeping pace, when in actuality I was already 5 years behind.

 

What do you collect?

I started out collecting only Gundam model kits. Back then I still had plenty of time to build them. I just couldn’t believe that I didn’t have to use glue! I don’t think I would have continued the hobby if the models were not snap together. As time passed and my free time dwindled, I begin purchasing preassembled model kits, hoping that I would be able to keep up with all of the releases. But for anyone who is familiar with how fast and often Gundam models release, you’d have to pretty wealthy to keep up with all of the scales, versions and different series.

I finally came to the conclusion that it is impossible to collect every single model kit released, so the last few years have been spent tracking down rare and limited edition model kits and out of production action figures. I don’t collect much outside of Gundam but do have a few Voltron figures. I would eventually like to collect the Masterpiece Transformers line, but still have quite a bit of catch up to do on Gundam. You can call me an obsessed completist(my term for people who want everything), because that’s exactly what I am.

 

What is your collecting philosophy (only purchase MIB, save and seek out specific items, etc.)?

My philosophy is simple. Purchase items I plan to display used but in mint and complete condition. If you’re going to take it out of the box anyway, why pay the full retail price? Be patient for great deals! For figures I plan to display in their packaging however, I will settle for nothing less than manufacture sealed.

As I stated before, I refer to myself as the “obsessed completist” so I eventually want every Gundam model kit or action figure ever made. (Yes, I know I will never achieve this, but hey, I have to have a goal) However, if funds are available, limited edition model kits and action figures come first.

Buy in bulk! There are three advantages to this. 1. Buying in lots generally reduces the average price of each figure. 2. Save on shipping. 3. Sell off the figures you already have or don’t want to recover some of the expense.

 

Approximately how many items do you own (if you are comfortable answering)?

I currently have approximately 700-750 items. This can vary almost daily however, since I often times sell off common items to fund limited edition purchases.

Action Figure Case #1:

 ActionFigureCase1 s 

Action Figure Case #2:

ActionFigureCase2 s ActionFigureCase2-2 s ActionFigureCase2-3 s

ActionFigureCase2-4 s ActionFigureCase2-5 s ActionFigureCase2-6 s

ActionFigureCase2-7 s ActionFigureCase2-8 s ActionFigureCase2-9 s

ActionFigureCase2-10 s ActionFigureCase2-11 s ActionFigureCase2-12 s

Action Figure Case #3:

ActionFigureCase3 s ActionFigureCase3-2 s ActionFigureCase3-3 s

ActionFigureCase3-4 s ActionFigureCase3-5 s ActionFigureCase3-6 s

ActionFigureCase3-7 s ActionFigureCase3-8 s

Model Case #1:

ModelCase1 s ModelCase1-2 s ModelCase1-3 s

ModelCase1-4 s ModelCase1-5 s

Model Case #2:

ModelCase2 s ModelCase2-1 s ModelCase2-2 s

ModelCase2-3 s ModelCase2-4 s

Perfect/Glorious Grade Models Case:

ModelCase3 s ModelCase3-1 s ModelCase3-3 s ModelCase-3-4 s

 

How do you display them (i.e., in or out of boxes, grouping, etc.)?

With regard to model kits, I have two philosophies. For standard releases, I prefer to have just one version built and displayed. When it comes to limited edition figures however, I would eventually like to have 2 of each, one built and displayed and one new in box.

When it comes to action figures I will display the figures in box if they are 100% viewable from the package. Most of the Gundam action figures have clear packaging which is a big plus! I can enjoy looking at the figures without worrying about damaging them. Not to mention, it helps the item hold value.

From a display case standpoint, I have everything grouped based on series. For example, all of my Perfect Grade kits are in one case, all of my MG kits are in another, etc. My action figures are separate from my model kits.

 

  

Are any items in your collection from your childhood (i.e., specifically owned and played with as a child)?

I wish I could say yes…. My family immigrated to the US when I was just 6 months old. Everyone’s heard the story of families coming to America for a better life, and we were the perfect example. Money was always tight, so toys were nonexistent until my early teens. Let’s just say that I’m making up for lost time now as you can see. =D

 

What is your favorite piece?

That’s a tough one. I wouldn’t be able to pick a single one if you asked me, but can list a few that are at the top. They are all limited editions. Here’s the list:

1/100 Metal Grade RX-78

Clear Color Version Chogokin MMM Launcher & Sword Strike

Toynami Masterpiece Voltron

 

What is the most rare and/or unique piece in your collection?

The rarest piece would be my Metal Grade RX-78 action figure. Though it is not one of the oldest items released, it is highly limited and fairly expensive. I do have quite a few runner ups however including my Limited Edition Gold Plated DX Dragon Gundam and a few other very limited items.

 

What is at the top of your WANT list (if you are comfortable answering)?

At the top of my want list is the impossible to find Gold Plated Perfect Grade RX-78-2 model kit. It is the rarest Gundam model kit ever produced. It was given out as a prize and was not for sale. I saw one on Ebay one time, but I believe it was listed at $1,500.00 or $2,000.00…….

 

How does your significant other (if you have one) feel about your collection?

I couldn’t ask for a more understanding and wonderful wife. She’s allowed me to dedicate an entire room in the house for my collection and has put up with numerous display case adventures. She would never tell me no unless I’m doing something unreasonable, like forgoing a house payment or taking out a loan… LOL She has absolutely zero interest in my hobby but accepts it and is even supportive of it. Talk about the perfect woman?

 

Do you have any good collecting stories you wish to relate (i.e., an amazing find or haul, meeting fellow collectors, etc.)?

I can’t say I have any interesting let alone amazing collecting stories. But I do have some interesting stories about display cases…

Story #1 – This is quick in simple. I conned my brother and good friend into driving 11 hours to Staten Island to pick up three display cases. We only had a mini van and found out the cases could not be disassembled. To get them to fit, I was forced to sit on the floor of the van smashed between the cases and the door all the way home. Moral of the story?? Do your research before doing something as stupid as that!!!

Story #2 – So I learned from my first ordeal of driving 11 hours to pick up cases I didn’t plan for. I found some locally that were prefect! They are the ones I currently have displayed. So we go to pick them up, and again we can’t figure out how to disassemble them. The place was on a tight timeframe to get them out. So we end up carrying out these massive fully assembled cases, and throw them on the back of a flatbed uncovered trailer. All is good right? Not so much… So we load them and think that we’ve secured them pretty well. Remember, the trailer is uncovered…. So all is good, and then we get on the freeway. What happens you ask? Wind somehow gets into a couple of the cases and a couple of 30-35lb pieces of glass that cover the top of the cases go flying off on the freeway! One smashes to pieces on the trailer, while the other goes flying off the road. Luckily it landed off the road in the grass and didn’t even break! I’m just glad we didn’t cause an accident and no one got hurt… Moral of this story?? Either dissemble stuff for safe transportation or have it delivered!!!

 

Are there any toys you would like to see made?

My absolute favorite series is the Perfect Grade Gundam series. It’s just amazing when you think about how much design goes into these things. I would personally like to see all of the mechs from the Gundam Wing Series in this line.

 

What do you most get out of this hobby (friendship, joy, escape from everyday life, etc.)?

It’s really hard to say. In the beginning, it was about the feeling of accomplishment after spending hours assembling a model kit. It is definitely a nice escape from the stresses of everyday life, but I think my collection gives me a sense of fulfillment. It’s a reminder that I can have anything I want as long as I love it enough and work hard enough. Definitely a trait my parents have passed down to me.

 

Any final thoughts you wish to relate?

Work hard, play hard! I am a firm believer that nothing is unattainable if you’re willing to put your time and heart into it. There is nothing wrong with collecting at any age, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Collecting is meant to please no one but you.

But remember, toys are just material things that are always replaceable. Collecting should initiate feelings of excitement, happiness and fulfillment. If it leads to stress or anxiety in your life, you’re defeating the purpose of collecting toys in the first place.

Happy Hauling my Friends!

-Q

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