I’ve started to notice that I’ve amassed a fair number of BIG toys recently.
I say ‘started to’, like I somehow haven’t been aware of this growing trend over the last however-long. That said, the sheer volume of ever-more-gargantuan releases available on the market has definitely stepped up a notch in more recent times, and it’s meaning that things at Casa de Sixo are becoming a bit strained at the seams.
— Sixo (@SixoTF) September 19, 2020
The main culprit, of course, is combiners. Oh sure, it starts out innocently enough, as the first couple of limbs slot in nicely to an existing display without too much concern. Thing is, once you complete a full set then suddenly you have a bigger proposition on your hands, and considerations like where to put the full Big Man start creeping up on you. Then, before you know it, you have a couple of the sizeable lads on the go and the sheer impracticality of it all becomes far too evident.
Not that it’s just combiners. Titan class Transformers are becoming more and more prolific too, and with these kind of “event” releases often being just too-damn-exciting to miss out on (budget-allowing), concerns about where to put them once they make it home can often rank a little lower down the list at pre-order time. Even just fitting in one Titan can be a major effort – once you have even just a couple of them then it quickly becomes an order of magnitude.
This is to say nothing of some of the rather redonkulous stuff on the horizon. Hasbro Pulse Unicron threatens to dominate many a collection when it’s released soon, with a common point of conversation surrounding the chaos bringer’s impending arrival being the all-too-real chaos he’s going to bring in collectors’ households everywhere once he actually arrives. If you haven’t seen some of the recent videos surrounding the project, then we received a glimpse of how big the box for it is going to be and, well, it’s kinda going to look like someone is delivering you a new washing machine when it arrives.
Then of course there’s the really extreme – yes, even more so than Unicron! I thought that FansToys had gone a bit nuts when they first mooted the idea of tackling a scaled Omega Supreme as a project, but here we are having already been treated to renders of their plans for a Fortress Maximus that, let’s be fair, is larger than a human child. I know firsthand the amount of space kids can take up in your home with their toys, but the idea of having a toy that’s bigger than your actual offspring are had not even occurred to me.
I remember thinking FansToys Omega Supreme was big. Ah, how naive I was. pic.twitter.com/k330uv81Ww
— Sixo (@SixoTF) October 27, 2019
Some of these larger releases are easier to slot in than others, mind. After all, a Titan Class Devastator or Predaking rocks in at about 18 inches or so in height, and won’t necessarily create too much disarray whilst trying to find them a meaningful home. However, when you’re potentially looking at 20 inches plus (and in some cases a lot more!) for some of these things, it’s perhaps no surprise that they’re going to start becoming a logistical challenge to tuck away neatly.
Then there are the robots that are more prolific in terms of their, ahem, girth, than anything else. Oh sure, they may not be the tallest of things, but the amount of real estate they can consume on a shelf is still somewhat legendary. You know the ones – the lads with prodigious wings, the ‘bots with monumental backpacks or weapons platforms, anything vaguely resembling a dinosaur for some reason, and that’s to say nothing of the worst offenders or all – the base modes.
In theory there’s a delightful set-up to be had with a battlefield display of your favourite robots flanked by appropriately-scaled and hulking gestalts all making for something you could have only dreamt of as a child. In actuality there’s a home that you’re trying to make liveable and there are only so many massive robots you can cram in before it’s an organisational armageddon more than anything.
I should stress before we continue that I say all of this with at least a passing nod to the financial implications of these kinds of space-eaters too. However, despite it being without-a-doubt the most prevalent concern of all, it’s not really the point I was looking to languish on today beyond what happens practically once such an outlay has already been committed to. We all have our respective budgets to uphold, just as we all have the headache of where to put the stuff once it arrives!
The intent here is also not to grumble, you understand – quite the opposite! I love big toys and the thrill of seeing something like a Zeta Bruticus or Earthrise Scorponok firsthand is a joy that makes this hobby so wonderfully bonkers. However it is a very potent part of collecting that regardless of your resources (and indeed the size of your collection), you have to assemble your hoard in a way that works for the space you have. As much as we’d all like, practicality can never outweigh jollity.
After all, no matter what space you have available, there is a limit on how many toys you can reasonably cram into it before they start to take over. I remember living in a studio flat and feeling that my small assembly of less than a half-dozen Binaltech figures was becoming “a bit much”; I have more toys now, but I also have other people to share the space with, and I don’t want my collection to become overbearing for any of us.
Maybe that hints to the self-imposed boundaries we have for our own collecting as well, then. Most of us will have some mental limits as to what we would consider “acceptable” within our own space, and some people’s tolerance for robots ruling the roost will be greater than others. In my case, I don’t want Transformers in the living room or our bedroom, for example – that’s just a personal preference and one I’m keen to stick to.
So, solutions then. Well, perhaps the most obvious first suggestion is to have concrete goals of what it is you’re looking to collect to begin with. Boundaries, and all that. Is it a cartoon line-up of some kind? Is it all-in on a particular toyline? Is it every version of a chosen character? Or is it simply willy-nilly on every available cool-looking robot that comes your way? It definitely helps to set at least some limits on what does and doesn’t fit your space, although I have to admit that such borderlines have been quite excessively blurred a little in my own experience of late! Such is the nature of doing toy reviews, I suppose.
You, a sensible collector: “Well, better get my old MP Starscream sold now to make way for MP-52”
Me, a lunatic: “I must hang onto all of these guys to do comparisons with the new one when he arrives!” https://t.co/m1zWEcJWhg
— Sixo (@SixoTF) October 8, 2020
Of course storage is a point worth contemplating. If you’re going to be amassing a chunk of plastic crack then you have to have somewhere to house it all, right? Shelves, cabinets, or maybe even just strewn haphazardly around your house – the choice is yours, but however you do it, it will very much decide how much your collection threatens to claim the space in your home (and how much the people sharing it with you will have to live with the consequences!). To that end, it’s perhaps also worth contemplating whereabouts in your residence it’s all going to live. In my case, I very much want my collection to fit within the one predetermined area so as not to have robots ruling the roost, although I’m sure that placing such a limit contributes to the feeling that things are getting a bit tight.
You may even consider putting one or two (or more!) away in storage of some kind for a time. I’ve spoken with numerous collectors that have endless stockpiles of stuff tucked away somewhere, sometimes not even within their house, ready for the day when they might be able to enjoy it out on display yet again. I have to say that this is not something I’ve ever felt would be acceptable for me, personally, so a big part of my current pondering on the matter is no doubt down to my own insistence at having everything stored on display in a space that may simply not allow for that!
Which I guess brings us to the fact that, sometimes, decisions must be made, and certain parts of our collections may need to be moved on. It can be a difficult choice, but the reasons for doing so are often justified and the results can actually be quite freeing! There’s something surprisingly intoxicating about seeing the space created by selling off even just a couple of robots here or there, although one does of course need to resist the temptation to fill it up again with the resulting newly-acquired funds!
In my own experience, I’ve sold on quite a lot of stuff over the years, and especially in the last few in an effort to keep things manageable. It’s meant that I’ve let go of a number of toys that I do still miss to this day (looking at you, MMC Feral Rex!). However, there are no doubt plenty that I can honestly say I was happy to own whilst I had them, but it was also time to move them on. Assembling a collection could almost be held akin to pruning a beautifully-sculpted garden, as opposed of letting a rampant forest run wild, after all.
Ultimately I think just writing this piece is proving cathartic enough in helping me come to the realisation that maybe it is time again for such decisions with my own collection. Is now a good opportunity to thin the herd a little? Does the estate just need a bit of a trim after all? It certainly would be good to reclaim a bit of order, so maybe it’s worth contemplating, especially knowing some of the exciting stuff that’s coming up on the horizon!
I need my space, after all.