Kool Kollectibles content

22 Feb 2020

Hot Toys MMS511 R2-D2 Deluxe

I have the previous Sideshow Collectibles R2-D2 Deluxe figure set, which is still a pretty decent set with some great accessories. The first couple of Hot Toys releases for R2-D2 didn't really interest me too much, but their announcement of their own Deluxe version finally sold me with the Leia hologram accessories.

Check out the link below for my video review over on the Kool Kollectibles YouTube channel. It's a great set that has definite improvements over the Sideshow version.

The set comes with a decent array of accessories. Many of the attachments are magnetic, which makes them very easy to attach to Artoo when you open up the panels. The detail and paint application on the attachments are much better than the Sideshow version. The only accessory I think the Sideshow version has that is worth using now is the drinks tray.

The little lamp is similar to the one that came with the Yoda set, but this time has an chord that also attaches to Artoo. The light is not too bright, but is good enough for what it is. The Star Wars logo remote control is nice, similar to the one that came with their first Darth Vader figure. It controls the lights and sound effects on the figure, which I surprisingly liked a lot more than I thought I would! I usually hate electronic features, but the iconic sounds from Artoo really did put a smile on my face.

The Leia holograms were the accessory that finally sold me on this set. The Sideshow Deluxe set had one too, but it was just transluscent blue plastic with not too many facial features. This upgrade from Hot Toys gives it a much better sculpt, and looks far more accurate to the scene on Tatooine.

The little base that provides the light is decent, and is quite bright. Unfortunately the light piping in the holograms really only allows the light into the lower half of the body. But the overall effect is decent.

The Sideshow version came with a more movie accurate table from that scene in Obi-wan's hut. I think using the new Hot Toys hologram on the old Sideshow table is the perfect combination! I haven't tried the light up effect of the Sideshow table to see how it looks with the new hologram, but I'm sure it'll be a decent enough effect.

The biggest improvement on the figure itself is the use of the diecast medal dome. The brushed finish is much nicer, and there is no longer an ugly plastic seam like the Sideshow had. The difference in the domes side by side is quite striking.

The body itself is pretty similar, but the internal detailings within the panels and the way the accessories attach is quite different. The Hot Toys version has much more subtle weathering, which I think is fine. The deeper blue also seems more accurate, and certainly looks better on display.

For now, I'll be keeping both versions, with the Sideshow Artoo and Threepio figures being my Return of the Jedi versions with Hot Toys Jedi Luke. The new Hot Toys version will go with my other Hot Toys figures from A New Hope.

If you're on the fence about getting this new Hot Toys, I think it's worth getting as an improvement over the Sideshow version. Side by side, there's no doubt it's a better looking figure on display. Whether it's better than the Tamashii Nations Artoo is debatable. I prefer the Hot Toys version since the Tamashii is far too clean, and I don't really like the rivets in the sculpt of the body.

Together with the rest of the core hero cast from A New Hope, I think this R2-D2 looks fantastic. Now I just hope Hot Toys gets off their arse and announce a decent version of C-3PO to complete the photo below!

17 Feb 2020

Toy Collecting and Affordability

An interesting discussion on a Facebook toy group recently made me think about one aspect of toy collecting that is always a bit controversial - affordability. To set the scene, the original poster stated that they had chosen to buy one item because they thought a different version "was too expensive". There were many comments from collectors affirming that they believed the poster made the right choice. Some other collectors commented that the poster should have considered another option altogether from the two that were compared. And I chimed in with my reasons as to why I thought the better option was actually the item they chose not to buy.

A response to my thoughts essentially chastised me, where they indicated that the original poster "clearly said he didn’t have the money for it" and that "some people don’t have $350-$400 to pony up for one figure". That got me thinking about affordability for us collectors, and whether that's even a valid argument in this particular debate. For context, it should be noted that the item the poster decided to buy is roughly about $250 brand new going by ebay sold listings, so is not cheap in itself, which added to my thoughts.

We collectors are a fickle bunch, making snap decisions and changing our stance on things all the time. Affordability, pricing of figures, and whether some thing is "worth it" always generates some times heated discussion. In this instance, the original poster did NOT say that he couldn't afford the item, but simply said that they thought it "was too expensive" and so decided to buy another version. That to me is not an affordability issue, but a conscious collecting decision to buy something else that is "more value for money" in their eyes.

Collectors need to remember that we're just spending disposable income here (assuming we have our priorities straight in life!). The fact the poster spent $250 on an item instead of $350 is NOT an affordability issue. If they truly could not afford the more expensive item, then I'd be questioning why they're spending $250 on a toy at all! If you have $250 in disposable income, one could assume that you'd have more disposable income next week, or next pay day. So they could have simply saved that $250, waited to the next time they have more disposable income, and buy the better, but more expensive item!

Affordability to me is when your income is NOT enough to cover life's essentials! If you reach pay day, but you can't cover your mortgage/rent, put food on the table, and pay your bills, then you have an affordability issue! But after all of those essentials, if you have disposable income, then it is no longer an affordability issue, but one about the collecting choices you make and how you spend that money. Saving up for a more expensive figure above is just one example - I'll give some other examples below.

I have spoken to many collectors who say that they cannot afford 1/6th scale Hot Toys figures, that generally range in price from $220 to $300. They say that in the same breath as saying that they just received their haul of five smaller 1/12th scale figures that range in price from about $50 to $80 each! In reality, they have spent pretty much the same amount of money, just on different items. It simply cannot be an affordability issue! It is purely a collecting decision they made that they would rather have five smaller figures than one larger figure.

It comes down to what is "more value for money" in their eyes. Just use the Luke Skywalker picture above as an example. In almost all discussions, I would recommend to collectors that spending $300 on the larger figure, rather than buying 5-10 of the smaller figures would be the better option. Many collectors still choose to buy the smaller figures, and that's perfectly OK. They get more enjoyment buying more figures for their collection. But they shouldn't then come out and say that they can't afford the larger figures, because they certainly can!

The same analogy applies to Lego collectors. I've had collectors say that they cannot afford to buy the $1000 UCS sets, but then I see them posting photos of the many $100 sets that they got in a recent haul. Again, they have essentially spent the same amount of money, but they view more smaller sets as better value for money than just one large set. That again, is not an affordability issue, but a collecting decision they made, just as I made the equally valid reverse decision to buy one large set instead of many smaller sets.

In the end, we collectors make decisions on what we buy, and whether the things we buy are "worth it". It's all subjective, and what is value for money for one person may not be for another. But that does NOT mean one person can afford it, and the other cannot. I've made the mistake myself by saying that I can't afford a particular item, but what I really should have said is that it's not worth it to me.

That is, there are many things that I simply cannot justify the price to buy, but then there are some things that are more expensive that I strangely can justify! The large and expensive Ryu statue above is a case in point, where I could justify that price in my head, but cannot justify spending $50 on a new shirt! It's not about affordability!

I think many collectors, myself included, need to think about what they realistically can and can't afford, as opposed to what they can and can't justify collecting. I mean, it's just toys we're talking about here, with disposable income that we have to throw at them! A first world problem if there ever was one! 😂