I always dig the answers to this question because the rationales used can be so different, and so similar at the same time. I’m a obviously a toy / photo nerd, and I need rules to keep me in check. And the reason I need rules: cash. The moneez. The benjamins. The greenbacks. The bread. Pretty sure you get the idea.

So, without further ado and in no real order, here are my rules for collecting these articulated pieces of plastic crack.

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1. I Collect 1/12 Scale

Sticking to one scale can be a huge pain, especially when companies like McFarlane Toys and NECA are making such incredible-looking figures for their DC Multiverse and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lines! But alas, with a wallet on life support and a place that’s not made to be a toy museum, it’s a necessary evil.

That doesn’t mean I won’t fudge in a figure to fit in with my other lines here and there. That’s right, I’m looking at you, Hellbat!

2. I Collect Figures from the Type of Media They First Appeared In

GI Joe Classified Snake Eyes 00, Marvel Legends Captain America - 80th Anniversary, and Star Wars: The Black Series Darth Vader - 40th Anniversary A New Hope
GI Joe Snake Eyes-Toy, Marvel Legends Captain America-Comic Book, Star Wars: The Black Series Darth Vader-Movie

This means that, if it’s a character that first appeared in comic books, I only get comic book versions of that character. So as nice as the new Hugh Jackman Marvel Legends Wolverine figures are, I’m only going to get Wolvies based on his looks from Marvel Comics. Now, there are exceptions to the rule, specifically with Star Wars: The Black Series, but I’ll talk about that in a bit.

This one’s more a space-saving rule than a money one. I mean, I dig a Christian Bale Batman, a Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man, and a Scarlett Johansson Black Widow as much as the next guy, but egad man! There’s only so much space! And I need to fill that space with other things. Like places to keep food. What are those places called again? Oh, that’s right: kitchens.

They’re called kitchens.

3. I Sell Figures I Don’t Want

We’ve all been there: a few years ago, we bought a killer version of our favorite character, and thought to ourselves, “There’s no way a better version than this will ever get made! Now, where did I put that donut? This year, it’s happening to a lot of us with the Marvel Legends Retro Spider-Man. Not the donut part.

That doesn’t mean my old Spideys are bad figures. They’re actually pretty great. To me, they’re just not as great as the latest one. So, I might put it on eBay with a bunch of other figures I don’t want and sell them as a lot. I could try selling it on its own, but we collectors are a savvy lot and know what’s coming up, so the amount I’d make wouldn’t be worth the time it would take to list him.

Then there’s the occasional double (that aren’t army builders) and the needing to make more space.

Again, kitchen. Because food.

4. I Only Get Imports if There’s Not a Decent Domestic Alternative

Mafex Hush Batman and Mafex Hust Superman. They will be mine!
Mafex Hush Batman and Mafex Hush Superman. Oh yes. They will be mine.

I have a Mafex Hush Batman on the way. And the reason’s simple: I’ve never been happy with the 1/12 scale options from U.S. companies. It’s gonna cost me a pretty penny to import, of course, but it’s Batman! What self-respecting toy collector / old-school comic book fan doesn’t have a Batman in his collection!?!

#ahem* Thus far, this guy.

When it comes to Marvel figures, Marvel Legends crushes it. Some of the imports may be objectively better, but Legends satisfies me just fine when it comes to my nerdy toy photography needs. Star Wars: The Black Series does for the most part, as well.

So really, I’m just getting the imports for my DC fix. And yeah, Superman’s up next! *insert Travolta emoji here*

5. Somtimes I “Need” to Make an Exception

Star Wars: The Black Series The Mandalorian and Star Wars: The Black Series The Child. Yay Adorable
Mando and Some Little Adorable Dude Who’s Name We Don’t Know Just Yet

In my second collecting rule, I brought up how I need to make an exception from time to time, specifically for Star Wars figures. Well, here’s why.

You see kids, waaayy back in the last century, the first Star Wars move (A New Hope) came out. It was a live-action flick, with characters you began to care about and videography tricks that, up until that time, had never been used. But I digress.

The point is it was a live-action movie, so according to my second rule, I should only collect figures from live-action movies. But Clone Wars is a thing, with some of the most well-developed characters in franchise history. Rebels is a thing, and a decent continuation of Clone Wars. And The Mandalorian’s a thing, with a certain Child whom everyone seems to dig. Myself included. Clone Wars and Rebels are animated and The Mandalorian can be found streaming on Disney+. In theory, my rules should make it so I “can’t” get any of these figures. But man, the animated figures look as life-like as the real-life ones, and The Mandalorian’s The Mandalorian. They must be mine.

Also, I needed Worthy Cap.

All that to say, yeah, there are some exceptions to the rule. And now I need to ice my fingers.

In Conclusion

You know you’re a bit messed up when you need rules for something that’s a lotta fun! It’s kinda like exercise. I actually dig exercise, but too much, and my body’ll break down until I can’t click “Place Order.” But the rules exist to keep the kitchen from being overrun and the wallet from welcoming a slow, painful death from me clicking “Place Order” too much.

How about you? What are your collecting rules? Let the internet know by leaving a comment.

And until next time, have fun, and happy snapping!

-Photo Dave