About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 51-year-old Aspergic CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

W is for World of Warcraft

One of the more recent trends in toy collecting has been the emergence of the 'Art' or 'Designer' toys, which were born in the 1990's; Wikipedia.

Of all the branches of our hobby, this is the one I have the most trouble getting my head round, they are produced in the same factories, from the same materials as figures similar to the ones in this post, given the same finishes and yet start at £20/30+ per small figure and can retail for thousands. They are also often quite grotesque with lots of blood, guts, dripping flesh, genitals, empty eye sockets etc, etc...

How can a 10-inch bunny-robot with an open belly full of bloody skulls or fetuses be worth ten times the retail price of a Wizards of the Coast 16-inch At-At Walker? So with the latest version/edition of WoW (as they are known) reaching the clearance wholesalers at £1.99 from their original retail price of £9:99, I though it would be an idea to look at them while musing on their over-hyped bigger brothers.

Two of the techniques common to Art Toys are metallic decoration and the use of transparent vinyls. The Elfin figure top left had a two-tone sword in metallic maroon and lilac, would you pay $300 dollars for a zombie bear in the same colours when this chap is currently around 75p?

Below him is a winged daemon of some kind, he has clear yellow vinyl wings with an over-paint of graduated red-orange, so what's so special about a similar half-dead corrupted duck-skeleton that it could be 'worth' a hundred time as much or more? Also of note, the Wikipedia article states that the production of designer toys is moving to Japan - in part - because they use transparent vinyls, yet these are made in China, I would suggest the move toward producing in Japan has more to do with Japanese proclivities toward torture, tentacle-porn, machine-porn and schoolgirl sex!

The Mage in the group of elves - bottom right - has many of the elements of a 'limited edition' designer toy, spikes, skulls, frown!...yet is pocket-money, not annual bonus money!

In the large picture a figure has been produced totally in clear vinyl, then painted until only the Jewell in the end of the staff is showing transparent (I can't tell whether the whole figure is yellow, or the Jewell is over-tinted), while the little pink-haired dwarf girl-warrior is exactly the sort of thing the designer toy people will sell you, in a larger size, for half a weeks wages!

As someone said the other day re. the current price of gold vis-a-vis historical gold trends, and bearing in mind the Tulip craze of the C17th, if something looks like a bubble, and feels like a bubble it probably is a Bubble...how long before the buyers of Designer Art Toys realize they have filled their lovely, sleek, black-framed, illuminated, glass cabinets with modern, industrial-processed, culturally meaningless, deformed, soul-destroying crud?

The above figures are from the latest incarnation of WoW, being the 'Miniatures game', there's also the 'Collectable card game' the 'Board game' (with smaller unpainted figures) and other branches of the franchise, nothing like squeezing the maximum out of your fans, but at least this is the affordable way of shifting a ton of vinyl to those with disposable wealth!

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