How I Began Collecting Toys
A Testimonial by Erin Snyder
I was in high school - tenth grade, I believe - visiting a friend. I didn't own a single action figure at the time (I had a few water guns, but that's the closest thing I had to a "toy"). I'd sold off my beloved Transformers years before, considering them "kid's stuff."
I went into my friend's room and looked around.
It was covered - COVERED - in toys. New toys that had just been released, old toys from his childhood, Star Wars action figures, toy space ships, Nerf guns, He-Man play sets... the list goes on and on.
And I stood there staring in disbelief. Not only had this person - a peer - kept the toys he had when he was young, he'd kept collecting them.
Then, without shame or embarrassment, he began showing me his favorites. I looked over them and at once understood my friend's excitement. In that moment I realized something: I realized that toys are wasted on the young. Oh, kids should still be introduced to toys, given them to play with, and all that: but when I was young, I never really appreciated toys. I enjoyed them, had fun with them, and all that, but I never realized the skill required to craft those figures. I never realized that toys could be art. Mass produced and corporate licenced, but art nonetheless.
I didn't start collecting right away. I actually did pick up a few toys soon afterward, but these were more exceptions than rules. As time went on, though, I started building. I never meant to become a collector; never intended to amass anything that could be called a collection.
Then, one day about six years later I was walking through a Toys R Us with an arm full of discounted Lord of the Rings figures, when I was approached out of the blue by a kid. He couldn't have been older than eight, and he asked, "Hey mister. Are you a collector?"
I don't remember what I said. Before then, the thought had never crossed my mind. I was just a geek with a few toys. But after that day, I was a collector. And I've been one ever since.
My wife is also somewhat to blame. She still has boxes and closets full of toys she had as a child - My Little Ponies, Care Bears, Smurfs, and a hundred other things. What's more, she's become involved in toy customizing.
What is toy customizing? At the most basic levels, it's as simple as repairing damaged figures and adding detail to bland ones. But from there, it can snowball until the customizer is transforming figures into new creations, crafting new characters, or altering the fundamental structure of a toy.
You can take a look at some of her work if you like. Here are a couple of my favorites: there's this, this, and dear god, let's not forget this.
That's my history with toys. Other than that, I'm an aspiring writer who's finished two novels and is trying to get at least one of them published. If you're interested in finding out about my fiction, I have a site here. I also have a blog focusing on all things geek - you can check that out here if interested.