The Caffeinated Collector – Episode 2 – I Can Quit Anytime I Want…

The Caffeinated Collector – Episode 2 – I Can Quit Anytime I Want…

MarvinDog Media Star Wars logo(plain)

In true Lucasian fashion, I am telling the first part of my story second. Which is fitting, since I saw Empire before I saw Star Wars. I also saw American Ninja 2 before American Ninja, so clearly this “Part Two first” thing is a running theme of sorts in my life. Anywho, a bit about me, other than what you can read on my bio.

My brother took me to see The Empire Strikes Back, and it changed my life. I started laughing at “Laugh It Up, Fuzzball” and laughed for so long that my brother eventually told me to knock it off, it wasn’t THAT funny. But I knew better. After seeing the movie, I got my first action figure: C3PO on an Empire card. I have one on the card that I bought a few years ago as a reminder of where it all began. As a result of seeing Empire first, it is my favorite of the Star Wars films, as is the case with many people. I love all the action on Hoth, and I love Bespin as a location. I also love Han Solo’s jacket that he wears after they leave Hoth. I can’t explain it, I just think it’s awesome, and I want one of my own. My favorite toy of all time is the Bespin Han Solo action figure. I have one on-card, unpunched, in terrific shape. It’s the only Star Wars figure I was ever allowed to buy twice, after I broke the arm off of my first one. My brother glued it back on for me, but having it always stuck out (so he could fly the Falcon, of course) became a problem, since I was the weird kid who liked playing with my toys by having them do the mundane tasks we never saw them do in the movies, like buying groceries. Yeah. Weird kid. Told you.

My mother was an enabler. In the best possible way. When I realized I was 4 figures shy of having the entire collection in 1986, she took it upon herself to call Kenner and see if we could purchase them directly. The lady on the other end of the line lied about Yak Face, saying he was never produced (I suppose it was true, from a certain point of view, since he was never released in the U.S.), but we were able to get the other 3: Death Star Droid, Snaggletooth (the short, red one), and Walrus Man. She helped me complete my set. To this day, I carry a Walrus Man figure around with me at all times to remind me of her. Ever notice that the figure looks like Sugar Bear from the Super Golden Crisps cereal box? He totally does.

Being the completist that I was as a child has proved to be a problem as an adult. See, it wasn’t a big deal as a kid, because my dad got toys at cost through his employer at Christmas. I don’t have such a hookup, so a large portion of my disposable income goes to plastic recreations of things from the Star Wars movies. And M.A.S.K toys. And occasionally G.I. Joe toys that I have misplaced as an adult. When I see a toy that I “need” (meaning “really really REALLY want”), I have a hard time passing it up. And when I go for too long without acquiring anything, I get antsy. It’s not entirely unlike a junkie looking for his/her next hit. The mind of a collector is VERY much like the mind of an addict, albeit on a much smaller scale, and typically with less dramatic conclusions. The recent death of Philip Seymour Hoffman brought this into stark relief in my mind. As a serious collector, I’m basically an addict with no vices, at least no illicit vices. I get the same momentary high when I find and acquire a new item that someone might get from huffing an aerosol can or snorting a line, it’s the same chemical reaction, and the law of diminishing returns sometimes DOES come into effect. I’ve even been guilty of buying things I didn’t really WANT simply because I “needed” them to complete a run.

I bring all of this to mind because there are many people in my life who are NOT collectors, and who do not understand the mindset of collectors like me. It’s my hope that by explaining it in this way, those on the outside looking in might have a better idea of what it is that drives us. It is ALSO my hope that we, as collectors, can start to look at the way we operate and notice the way it affects those around us. Do we REALLY need 2 of everything, one to open and one to keep? Do we REALLY need EVERY single figure in a wave, even though we already have 12 of that very same Battle Droid on a different card? Do we actually HAVE a place to display (or even store) that Republic Gunship that was on sale? These are the battles I fight daily within myself, and I know that more than a few of you can relate.

Next month’s blog will be more involved with the Galaxy Far, Far Away that we all know and love, so I appreciate you allowing me to deviate a bit this month. I just wanted to give you all an idea of who I am, and where I’m coming from.

I said my favorite toy was my Bespin Han Solo, so it may surprise you to know that my favorite vehicle is NOT the Millenium Falcon, although I DO think it’s the coolest ship in the galaxy. No, my favorite vehicle is actually the Twin Pod Cloud Car. I know, I know, most people think it’s lame and has a silly design and an even sillier color scheme, but those are the reasons I like it. Even among Star Wars ships, it’s unique, and I have 5 versions of it. The one I’m missing is the die-cast version from 1980-81. I would love to have one loose AND one on the card.

And yes, I NEED both.

Marvin says hi,


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  1. Rob Wainfur
    March 25, 2014 at 14:38 Reply

    Great memories. Your first figure is always a special one. Although saying that, for some reason one of my favourite figures was Han in Hoth gear. Loved that figure but I think I may have used him as Luke at some points until I had a Luke figure to accompany him. Han in hoth gear was also a rare occurrence where I bought him twice after his legs went “floppy” – Rob

  2. Jeff McGee
    March 25, 2014 at 15:30 Reply

    I never had the floppy leg problem, but I have heard about it being an issue before. Hoth Han is probably my 2nd favorite figure, and it seemed like forever before we got Hoth Luke, didn’t it?

  3. Becca Benjamin
    March 25, 2014 at 18:25 Reply

    So, what you’re trying to say is, “you’re a shop-a-holic” in Geekology? lol

    Funtastic stuff! Loved the little trip down memory lane too. My brother had had all the figs and the Vader Mask case, I use to sneak his Bespin Leia for myself lol! Yeah, he didn’t find it funny either

  4. Becca Benjamin
    March 25, 2014 at 18:28 Reply

    BTW: I loved the Twin Pod Cloud Car too! Well, I was 6 at the time and it was the only girly looking, flying thingy out at the time.

  5. Jeff McGee
    March 25, 2014 at 18:39 Reply

    That’s EXACTLY what every guy wants to hear, his favorite ship is girly-looking….although now that you mention it….it DOES have very “feminine” curves…..maybe that was my developing male brain responding ….. Hmm.

    Glad you enjoyed it Becca 🙂

  6. Troy Metzler
    March 25, 2014 at 22:01 Reply

    My name is Darth T-Bone and I an an addict. I can more than relate with your description. I did some serious damage during EP1. I had found my calling. When the Power of the Jedi line came out I told Brandy that I wasn’t even interested. Then I saw the Darth Maul in the trench coat. Dammit. So I got everything POTJ. The rest is a blur after that. If it had a Star Wars logo, I had to have it. I had to stop due to space constraints. I quit buying every figure and just picked one up here or there if there was one I really wanted. One of the most liberating things I ever did was go through every figure, put repacks in a box to sell, then opened my ”one of each”. Of course, there are some that didn’t get opened like First Animated Clone Wars, the Silver Anniversary, and Exclusives to name a few. Consider me a friend that understands.

    1. Jeff McGee
      March 25, 2014 at 22:20 Reply

      Welcome to the circle, Darth T 🙂 I like that you mentioned it being “liberating” to let go of extras and open the rest. I feel, like sooner or later, most collectors have to either perform an order 66-like purge on their collection or cut back significantly. It’s always helpful to try to strip your pursuit down to what REALLY appeals to you, it makes the chase more challenging, the success sweeter, and the storing/displaying MUCH easier, doesn’t it?

      1. Troy Metzler
        March 26, 2014 at 14:41 Reply

        To bad my display has ben an ongoing project since 1999. I’m hoping to have it nailed by Celebration 2015.

  7. Lisa
    March 26, 2014 at 00:38 Reply

    Yep – I’m a collector, too. I’ve got way more things than I actually have space for, but I like to think that’s a good problem to have. 😉

    I don’t recall my first action figure – I think it might have been Threepio. Some of my childhood memories are sketchy. I do recall that, by the time 1978 rolled around, I had tons. My family went on one of those car rides across the country one summer, and I had all my figures lined up on the backseat – and everyone knows how big cars were in the 70’s! I grew up as an only child, and I might have been what *some* people would call “spoiled.” hmmpf! Sadly, most of my vintage toys are long gone. My Mom wasn’t big on keeping things around as I got older. At some point, circa 1982, we moved – I was starting high school, and toys disappeared……. My Dad managed to find a small box of toys in our attic a few years ago. Ha! Mom missed some!

    The collecting bug didn’t bite till the Special Editions, though. When they came out, all bets were off. Now, my home is filled to the brim. My poor Dad….. He’s surrounded. (Yes, I live with my Dad – No, not in the basement.) In all fairness, he took me to see Star Wars in 1977 – so it’s his fault, really.

    It’s been some time since I’ve been able to buy anything new, though. I totally get what you mean about feeling antsy! Then I’ve got the whole Doctor Who thing….

    You should post pictures of some of your collection at some point. I’m sure we’d a love to have a peek!

    (Hello to Marvin from Joxer!)

  8. Jeff McGee
    March 26, 2014 at 07:43 Reply

    Poor Lisa, her mom was a sensible person who got rid of the things that her daughter had outgrown. I’m glad it didn’t impede your fandom 🙂

    I’d be willing to bet your dad thinks your collecting bent is adorable 🙂

    I will be posting pics in future blogs, the problem is right now I don’t have a great deal on display due to space limitations, but I will definitely be putting up some “brag pics” soon 🙂

    One question: when you played with your toys in the back seat, did you crawl up in the back dashboard like I did?

    1. Lisa
      March 26, 2014 at 10:48 Reply

      I ran your ‘adorable’ theory past my Dad…… He rolled his eyes. 😉 Although, he is usually the first to let me know when there’s something Star Wars related in the news or on television….. Hmmmmm.

      I tried to crawl up in the back dash, but my Dad used to be a cop. Killjoy!

      1. Jeff McGee
        March 26, 2014 at 12:18 Reply

        I think the eye-roll is DadSpeak for “of COURSE!”

        So since he was a cop I assume he didn’t cut the back seatbelts out of the car like all my friends’ dads did?

        1. Lisa
          March 26, 2014 at 15:44 Reply

          Nope – but I don’t recall wearing one in the backseat. I believe it was in the days before it was The Law. I’m OLD. 😉

  9. Jay Krebs
    March 26, 2014 at 11:53 Reply

    Yep. I can totally relate.

    I’ve been a collector since I can remember. My first “action figure” was actually a lucky stroke – my brother-in-law (who is 18 years my senior), knew how much I adored Star Wars, so he gave me ALL of his original figures! I scored enough figs that we were able to play chess with them – seriously! It’s also how I learned to play chess. We assigned chess-piece-isms to the group. I even had the original Jabba to sit and watch over the proceedings! I need to try and find that pic somewhere!

    I grew up going to an auction/flea market every Sunday with my parents – it was just what we did. I scanned the tables to try and find something Star Wars to purchase with my meager allowance changepurse, and my dad would teach me the ins-and-outs of haggling with the salespeople! To this day, I absolutely loves me a good garage sale, flea market or vintage toy store – the smell of vintage toys is like a drug to me!

    I would not say that my collection is huge, by any means, but what I CAN say is that there’s a story behind each and every piece. THAT’S what I love about my collection!

    Love…LOVE this entry…and I look forward to the prequel 😉

  10. Jeff McGee
    March 26, 2014 at 12:16 Reply

    Action figure chess!?!?!? I might actually learn how to play in that scenario!

    We had a flea market in my hometown, and I found a die-cast landspeeder minus windshield for 50 cents! I still have it to this day, one of my many memories of my mom enabling me 🙂

    The stories behind the items are the real gem for a collector, and I think I have a future blog topic now, thanks Jay!

    Speaking of vintage toy stores, we have TWO in the Dallas area. Jealous? 🙂

    1. Jay Krebs
      March 26, 2014 at 18:25 Reply

      Ok – I went home and became obsessed with finding that picture of Star Wars chess…

  11. Tommy Mac
    March 26, 2014 at 18:05 Reply

    Hi I’m Tom and I’m a Star Wars collector.

    I know all about the “addiction” of collecting, and I myself have had to scale WAY back on how I collect and what I buy over the years. I have plenty of thoughts on double buying and “mint in Box,” perhaps if I ever get to finally writing a blog I can cover that LOL

    1. Jeff McGee
      March 26, 2014 at 18:11 Reply

      You can do it! After all, your ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is 🙂

      I look forward to your thoughts

  12. Melinda
    April 16, 2014 at 21:25 Reply

    Really really really want? No, the answer is simple, Jeff. Need is the correct explanation. 😉
    Not having the room to display everything helped keep me in check…although my two girls made it easy to expand our “family” collection. Now, I just concentrate on Luke figures because he is my favorite. 🙂
    I have only this to add: Happy Collecting!
    Please say hello to Marvin.
    p.s. The Cloud City car is awesome! What’s not to like?

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