First I'd like to focus on the people who aren't getting out entirely, but scaling back their collections. I could list over twenty of my fellow collectors just off the top of my head who have started, or completed this process. I count myself among them, so I'll offer my reasoning first.
The primary reason I began to scale everything back was a combination of a "clutter factor", in which I had so much stuff displayed it was difficult to see each individual item, much less appreciate them; and the revamp of the Masterpiece figures beginning with MP-10. Prior to that figure, MP's were more of a novelty than an actual series and I treated them as such, but once it became clear that TakaraTomy and Hasbro were attempting to finally create the original Transformers in cartoon accurate form, it made so much of my collection superfluous.
|When it was full....|
Ever since Generation One I have been chasing the dream of vehicle and robot accurate G1 characters in toy form. As far back as Beast Wars even, when I bought Transmetal Waspinator because he turned into "a jet kinda like Starscream". Or RID where we got real-world vehicle modes with poseable robot modes. "Hey, RID Prowl kinda looks like G1 prowl in car mode, not really in robot mode but hey, that's the best we have." Even in Armada and Energon: "Wow, look at Energon Downshift, he looks almost like Wheeljack in both robot and vehicle! I'm definitely getting him!" Perhaps the best example is Alternators/Binaltech. Real world accurate vehicles, scaled together that transformed into our favorite characters. Although it still wasn't quite right.
But then the new MP line came along. And all of a sudden I realized I didn't need a Sideswipe that turned into a Dodge Viper if I had one that could turn into a Lamborghini. Or a Prowl that could turn into a Acura when I had one that turned into a Datsun. I had been chasing that dream ever since 1990 and now that it was finally in my grasp, everything else seemed unnecessary. I no longer needed the entire series of Alternators, or RID, or Armada, or anything else because I had what I had really wanted all along, those other figures were all just placeholders.
|All gone, and not a one missed.|
The second part of that reasoning, the "clutter factor" I think just comes from me getting older. As I age and accumulate more and more I find that I only want less and less, as things themselves aren't as important to me anymore as my relationships with people, the memories I make or when I am doing something fulfilling. All that clutter is nothing more than a distraction and a stressor in my case. I hate things that aren't clean and orderly, so a lot needed to go. I used to want to have all the Transformers and up until 2000 this was probably an obtainable goal. But now there is so much (in my opinion sub-par) product out there, I am really happy I'm not trying to buy all of it. It feels good not to waste money on something I know I'm probably not going to enjoy *coughmovietoyscough* and I don't regret any of it. In fact, I couldn't even name half of the items I have rid myself of, and that is confirmation to me that I did the right thing because obviously they didn't really mean that much in the first place.
So now, with a much more streamlined collection I am able to appreciate each piece a lot more and if I find myself glossing over something then it will immediately go. I would rather someone who would really appreciate it have it rather than just trying to accumulate more and more.
|Something I definitely appreciate more than Armada, Energon or Cybertron|
So these are my reasons for scaling back, but what about everyone else? Why have I seen so many collectors of late doing the exact same thing? First of all I believe a big part of it are finances. I truly think that many of them around my age are experiencing a revolution with these MP figures as I have. They are the new "hot thing" and perhaps because they are costly, other items must go to make room financially. I also believe third party companies are contributing to this issue. With so many different choices out there I think everyone has to be a lot more selective these days on what they buy, and when they look back at their collections they just can't measure up to the quality or should I say awesomeness of today's figures (Feral Rex I'm looking at you). I mean honestly, who wants a bunch of Armada toys sitting around when there are so many great figures out there, both official and not.
|Not even the Japanese G1 figures were safe from the purge.|
Secondly, there may be a type of entropy going on here in the sense that many of my peers may have collected everything they have planned to collect and find that there isn't anything left out there that interests them. And with the "hunt" over and done with they might find they don't necessarily need to keep all these items around them all the time. I believe this also applies to the people getting out altogether. I feel most of the fun of collecting comes from the chase and with that element removed, it may lose its appeal.
Thirdly, and I believe this applies to both groups as well, people just grow out of things. I myself am 33 years old and have found sometimes things just become stale over time. There is only so much nostalgia can do for you. It may be the case that many collectors are looking to move on to that next phase in their life and that may not include collecting or displaying toys from their childhoods.
|Not nostalgic enough to keep.|
Now let me conclude this by saying most of the people I see scaling back or leaving are people close to my own age; collectors who grew up in the 1980's, with the original show and who have been fans ever since or who came back sometime before the 2007 movie ushered in a whole new set of fans. We tend to be the forerunners, the early adopters of trends in the community so I wouldn't be surprised to see this same type of exodus occur in a few more years with RID and Armada fans who grew up with those shows and toys.
I would certainly like to get more opinions on this matter, is anyone else seeing this trend or am I just drawing conclusions from coincidences? And if you're one of the people who find yourself in this position I would love to hear about why and how you think it will be affecting you going forward. I know personally I am much more selective about anything I buy nowadays.
I know this is long, thanks for taking the time to read.
Giving Up TFSource Article by Maz