Collector's Corner #6

on Tuesday, June 21, 2011.

Spotlight On... Ben-Ohki (Benson Yee)


Name / screen name

Benson Yee / Ben-Ohki

(and no, I am NOT Hasbro's Transformers consultant, but it's pretty cool that he has my name!)


Where do you live (general location only)?

Ottawa Ontario Canada


How long have you been collecting?

I've been actively collecting for about 12 years (ever since I found myself financially self-sufficient, but I've loved robots toys ever since I was little.


What got you started on collecting these toys?

If I go WAY back, it really started when I was 3 years old during a family trip to Hong Kong. The extended family there spoiled me rotten with exotic toys. Ever since I have been fascinated by mecha and sci-fi.

But it was in college when friends introduced me to anime-proper from Japan and it was the dawn of the Internet at that time... around the same time I rediscovered Power Rangers reruns on cable television so with my spare pocket change I scored a beat-up liquidation-sale MegaVoyager. The rest, as they say, is history...


What do you collect?

I collect whatever catches my eye. From Star Wars to Macross and everything in between.



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

I tend to collect around a theme; usually something I have emotional ties to like specific characters but not the whole series (which I wouldn't have room for anyway). And I like to have things that at least look good together. Non-mecha figures for instance tend not to come out as “series” but if they are of the same scale and the sculpts are of similar styles, then I'll look for those that match ones I already own rather than buy a one-off product.


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

I wish I knew... too many, obviously! :)


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

Out of box for sure. Those I don't have room for, I rotate from time to time. I like to group items by theme if I can – all Gundams or all super-heroes, etc. If possible, then by scale as well.



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

Several vintage items live in my old bed-room back home including G1 Powerglide, a soft vinyl Yoda puppet, and a DX Battleshark. Unfortunately more most memorable childhood toys are now around for me to photograph: I had the big Millenium Falcon playset... I guess here I am 30 years removed from that time regretting not knowing where my old Star Wars toys could be is why I went a little overboard with my cubicle army of clones...



What is your favorite piece?

My absolute favourite piece is my Yamato 1/48 Low-Viz VF-1A. It was a gift from my aunt. It was one of my very first transforming Valkyries and I took the time to customize it with aftermarket decals. As a typical westerner, Valks to me were “Veritechs” or “Jetfire” or “those weird jet robots in Chinatown shops” until the last 15 years or so... When I got this from my aunt, the world suddenly changed, and I thank her for it.



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

I own a Macross “flight jacket.” They were announced around the time Yamato issued the 1/1 scale helmets but none of the usual circles seemed to carry them... I stumbled across one on eBay. And yes, I do wear it from time to time (but it's a tad smaller than I would like).



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

Right now I'm digging the 1:4 scale Premium Format by Sideshow Collectibles and looking forward to their Stormtrooper statue. I think it would look sweet in my living room!



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

I don't have one right now, but my previous ones were cool with it despite my friends' warnings that I should probably get rid of some of the sexy bishoujo figures.


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

I enjoy pulling up obscure toy trivia to impress friends when they reminisce about their youth... I love pointing out Grendizer figures to my French-speaking buddies. And even more when I make an effort to pull out an old Megazord from storage for them to check out.

7_s 8_s


Are there any toys you would like to see made?

I would go nuts for a 1/12 scale “Alphonse” Ingram similar to the 1/12 Scopedog. Patlabor was one of those anime that really spurred my imagination way back and it drives me bonkers that the only extensive toy-line we've seen so far is Revoltech.



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

I was a pretty humble child and never asked for much (but I never complained about my grandfather spoiling me). Now that I'm older and financially self-sufficient, I collect stuff I never would have the guts to ask anybody else to buy me.


Any final thoughts you wish to relate?

I'm consistently amused to learn no matter how obscure I think my interests may be, that there are whole communities of like-minded enthusiasts out there (like Robot-Japan!). And I'm thankful for that.


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