Points of Articulation
Making a MOCery of Things
As in "...on Card" or "...in Box."
That one little word brings about more debates than almost any other in the realm of the toy collector.
Are you an opener or a MOCer? Display the figures or hang them on the wall? Play with toys or collect them? If this guy enjoys his collection differently than that guy, are they both valid toy fans?
As you may imagine, we here at OAFE are all firmly within the "open" crowd. You can't review a figure from inside its plastic tomb (well, you can somewhat, but then you get the type of low-rent reviews you find on less scrupulous sites). Just so you know where I'm coming from with this.
Real toy fans are openers. Toy fans get the same giddy thrill by ripping a blister off its backer card today that they did when they were eight. Toy fans deal with twistes and tape, plastic trays and rubber bands and any number of devices contrived to keep them from their toys. Only a real fan knows what New Toy Smell smells like. To be a fan you really have to enjoy toys. You have to like playing with them, posing them, setting up diaramas and incongruous battle scenes.
MOCers aren't fans. They're collectors. They accumulate the figures, sometimes by the case full, and then... nothing. The toys hang on a wall or lay in a stack on the floor or in a box. Collectors want to get the figues, want to have them, but their attachment ends there.
There have been many arguements both for and against both sides of this issue. I want to take a look at some of the big ones, and see whether or not the points are valid. We'll begin with openers:
- The figures can break.
- Of course they can. Figures can break in the package, too (yes, it's less likely, but still). And regluing a snapped joint may limit some mobility, but you've still got the same toy.
- Pieces can get lost.
- Yes they can. But if you take care of your figures and store them carefully when not on display, you'll be fine. Ziplock bags are your friends.
- They get dusty.
- No kidding. But taking a few minutes to dust your figure can remind you why you liked it so much in the first place. You can play with it, examine the tiny details, and take the opportunity to switch out accessories. Dusting may be tedious at times, but it allows some detail-oriented interaction.
- I don't play with toys.
- Toys are intended to be played with. If you don't want to play, buy a statue; the paint and sculpting are better. Alternately, if you're embarassed that your friends will find out that you still collect toys, then you either need new friends or a new hobby.
And now the MOC:
- I got the figure signed.
- Perfectly good reason. I've got signed figures, and I keep them mint. More power to you.
- I don't have the space to display them.
- Obviously, space is a concern for us all. No one has the type of uncluttered shelves that they'd like. However, storing giant packages takes even more room than open figures do.
- I like the design of the packaging.
- Entirely understandable. I like some designs, too. However, you can simply save the parts of the packaging that you like, and keeping a folder of backer cards is much easier than a box of MOC figures.
- I like how the figures look in the package.
- Then you don't need to buy the toys. You might as well download pictures of the figures and save those, because you'll get the same kind of enjoyment out of it. Miss the weight of the figure? Print the picture out and tape it to a brick. And what about the figures that look stupid in their packages?
- If I need to sell something later, people only want to buy mint.
- Why did MOC become so sought after? Because fans looking to reclaim the toys of their youth knew that the figures would be complete and in good condition, but also because it would afford them the chance to rip into the packaging once again. Mint packaging was rare. Today scalpers, horders, and speculators are all keeping everything they buy in tip-top pristine condition, so the demand no longer exists. A real fan will pay just as much for something loose and complete as MOC, because they realize that the card is just extraneous.
- They're more valuable mint.
- Monetarily, yes. But I bet you anything that an opener values their toys a ton more than you do your collection. If you're just looking to resell your collection later, you have no right to consider yourself a part of this hobby. You're a speculator, plain and simple. Go play the stock market or prospect for gold.
So as you may guess, I'm pretty staunchly in favor of opening your toys. While there are perfectly good reasons for keeping your figures mint, most of them don't hold up under any kind of scrutiny. The real fun of this hobby is found not only in the aisles or the auctions, but also in a thin tray between blister and backer card. The fun sits on your desk, or lurks on your shelves, or sits atop your computer. The real fun--for the real fans--is open.