I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for a while now. My own apartment is inundated with nerdy collectibles and action figures, and my collection just keeps growing. I hadn’t really decided, though, on the best way to put this information out there.
I also wasn’t that secure in my ability to really act as an expert on maintaining and displaying a geeky collection (though my bank account will tell you I’m an expert in accumulating things). Luckily, though, I knew of someone who is. Raychul Moore is a gamer, cosplayer, Dizgeek, and YouTuber who also has the largest collection of nerdy goodies that I have seen in my entire life. Go to her channel right now and watch these two videos, where she leads you through her collection. I’m serious. I’ll wait.
Now that you’re back from watching those videos (and, most likely, trying to buy something that stole your heart for sale on the internet), we can get down to business! I’ve learned a lot from Raychul about displaying my own pieces–whether it’s from watching her videos or tweeting questions to her. Here are her answers to a few of my questions about her collection, as well as her approach to maintaining and displaying her collection.
1. When did you first get into collecting toys/figures/etc.? Was it a sudden choice, or was it gradual?
My dad got me into collecting when I was very young. He was into collecting original and classic Star Wars items like movie posters, towels, action figures, glasses, mugs, a remote controlled R2 and etc. He was also the reason I got into gaming at such a young age; so when I got older and he gave me a few of the items he had collected, I was hooked!
Amanda: My dad wasn’t a big collector, but he had some Star Trek mugs and a bunch of the little action figures. I learned from him that part of being a geek is buying things that show off your love of something–whether you collect nerdy t-shirts or dresses, or buy prop replicas. I think the desire to have something in our hands that is part of the thing we love is a basic geek instinct.
2. How did you display your pieces when you first began collecting?
At the beginning, I just placed them around like my TV and around my computer desk, but once that got too crowded, I had to start getting shelves and display cases specifically for my collection.
Amanda: I’m still at the level of displaying my pieces on bookshelves and other things, but I feel like I’m at the point where I need to start focusing more on the way my collection looks. I have a few shelves on my walls, but I really need to look into display cases–especially since I have a naughty cat who likes to knock things off shelves.
3. How did your displays change over time?
I’d say it went from simple to a complex organized layout. Now, everything has a place and each item is grouped together with other figures from that game/movie/comic or at least grouped with figures from similar genres.
When looking for a new apartment or house, I look for a place that I can set up my collections and display the best way possible. I don’t care how many bathrooms it has or how big the kitchen is, I go in looking at the place as “How will I set up my collection here?”
4. In your opinion, what are the trickiest things to display? How have you solved these problems? Are there any collectibles displayed in a way that you’re still not happy with?
Sometimes you never know. I hate taking my figures out of the box. But boxes aren’t always the prettiest thing to display and they take up a lot of room. So figuring out what to open and what to keep boxed is a hard decision. But on top of that, some figures might look way cooler out of the box, but once you open them you realize that they aren’t as well made as you hoped. My Mass Effect figures are the perfect example. It wasn’t until I took them out of their boxes that I realized how cheaply they were made, I mean, the guns they come with don’t even fit properly in their hands! GAH!
Amanda: My biggest problem was keeping my action figures from falling over. After the fiftieth time Arkham City!Ra’s al Ghul took out everyone around him, I tweeted Raychul to ask how she managed it. She responded with a brilliantly simple solution: cut Command Strips into small pieces, and stick them to the bottom of the figure’s feet. Now Arkham!Ra’s can’t kill anyone. Which probably makes him sad.
5. Any advice for keeping collectibles out of the hands of kids or animals, especially beyond using enclosed cases (which can be expensive)?
Well, first, the enclosed glass cases I use are awesome and aren’t too pricey. They are about $60 at IKEA and come with lights that light up from the top. I love them! But as far as curious little hands or mouths that like to chew. Best thing to do is keep all your collectibles outta reach. Or just beat them. Just kidding! Don’t beat your pets…just your kids. Ok, just kidding again! Yeah, keep them out of reach.
Amanda: Make sure you have an IKEA near you, though! The display cases were all out of stock at my local IKEA, and they wanted around $300 to ship it to me! So now I’m caseless.
6. How do you decide which pieces to keep in box and which pieces to take out of the box?
I always struggle with this. I just have to weight out the goods and bads. Some boxes look waaay cool, but even cool looking boxes tend to be big and take up a lot of room. I try to keep my figures that come in clear boxes, in their box. Unless it’s something that needs to be assembled, then I’ll take it out and assemble it.
Amanda: My big thing about boxes is visibility. Can you see the figure (or whatever) well in the box? If so, it can stay there. If you can’t, or if some of it’s covered up, it will likely come out of the box. This policy get a little trickier the rarer or more expensive the item gets, though.
7. Do you have a secret weapon when it comes to either collecting, displaying, or maintaining your collection? If so, what is it? My secret weapon is my obsession with checking Sideshow Collectibles, Gentle Giant and Entertainment Earth, several times a week for new announcements. Also, local comic shops and even antique stores tend to carry a lot of cool stuff that is cheaper than online because they don’t know how badass that item is.
As far as maintaining, to dust I use compressed air. I keep everything away from windows too so there won’t be any UV bleaching or damage.
Amanda: I love Entertainment Earth because you can get updates whenever they get something new or back in stock–and you can customize it to those titles you’re most interested in!
8. What are your favorite type of pieces to collect? I love action figures, those are my main happiness. But I do collect statues, busts, video games (both new and retro) and even other strange odds and ends. Mainly, I collect things from games/movies/comics that I am passionate about. My biggest collections are Star Wars, Borderlands, Uncharted and Bioshock. I also have a pretty large horror collection as well.
9. What would you say is your favorite thing in your collection?
My favorite thing in my collection is my Uncharted 2 Fortune Hunter Edition Phurba Dagger. Not only is Uncharted 2 one of my all time favorite games and one of my all time favorite game series, but also, the Fortune Hunter Edition came in an extremely limited quantity of only 200 worldwide…and, it was never available for purchase in store. The only way you got one was through Naughty Dog themselves. I was part of an Uncharted 2 multiplayer tournament and won mine through that.
10. What is the most obscure piece you have in your collection? Man, I don’t know what some would find obscure but others might not. I have the vials from Resident Evil that light up, only 750 of those were made. I also have two Predator and Leatherface dolls that were handmade and brought back from Peru from a friend of mine. And then I have a signed Bioshock 2 art print by Jhonen Vasquez that is one of only 500. Those are a few of my favorite ones.
As far as my game collection goes, two of my favorite rare games are The Guy Game and the original Conker’s Bad Fur Day on N64, both of those games were pulled off shelves and banned.
11. Is there anything else important to maintaining a geeky collection that you think I’ve missed?
Love. HA! That sounds ridiculous, but no, really. You gotta love what your collecting and love collecting…or it just won’t be any fun!
There you have it, guys! Hopefully these tips from Raychul and myself will help you learn to love and nurture your geeky collection. As usual, leave any tips you want to share in the comments!
Do you have a question you want to ask Raychul? Here’s her contact card!