Friday, March 21, 2008

High Risk, High Reward

Basic economics says that to make a lot of money you have to risk a lot of money. There is no such thing as a low risk, high reward situation; there is always a chance of it blowing up in your face. Or, you could come out on top and look like a genius. While this isn't quite the same thing it is similar. Overall, I have spent a lot of money over the years on Star Wars items. From 1995-2008 I'd say the average price of a standard Kenner/Hasbro Star Wars figure at retail would be ~$5.99. To make things simple, let's say the average between 1995-200 after tax is $6.25. I more than likely have over 100 figures purchased in the last decade (plus a few years). That's AT LEAST $625 on basic figures alone. Then there are the variants, deluxe, exclusives, multipacks, battle packs, vehicles, etc. all for a plastic man/woman/creature/alien. I'm definitely willing to estimate I've spent well over $1,500 (in ~13 years) on Star Wars "toys". And in reality, that number has really been spent over the course of five years AT MOST, since I really only have been collecting from about October 1996 through August 1999 and now August 2007 to present. I never strayed from the "toy" collectible items. After all my first dive into the world of Star Wars was around the age of 8 and I was 13 when the Special Editions were released. Toys (and video games) were all I knew and could (barely) afford. Things are different now.

I have a job for one. I don't get a lot but I get enough to live. And occasionally buy a few figures. OK, buy figures every week (a lot of times though I am buying them for someone who hasn't seen a certain item yet...that someone being Brent Behrenshausen...and I get my money back anyway so I didn't technically buy it per se). But now that the easy to find figures are mine and I have most of the recent stuff, things are getting more expensive. There are some hard to find items that have escalated in price and I just can't justify spending that kind of money at the moment. That is, for a battle pack or vehicle. However, since January I have been scouring the internet for a few items that, once I knew they existed, knew had to be a part of my collection. The things I speak of are Master Replicas Star Wars Trooper helmets.

I knew the 1:1 prop replicas existed. It's hard not to. They are beautifully designed, created, and articulated. I have seen pictures of the full scale standard Clone Trooper (ROTS), 501st Trooper, Shock Trooper, Stormtrooper, and Shadow Stormtrooper. These helmets retail for $399-$499 and were very limited. As you probably know, I'm a member of the PSWCS and receive email updates of posts by other members. A gracious member yesterday (Bradley Portnoy) posted about a sale going on through FAO Schwarz. He isted a few of the for sale items with their original and sale prices. One of the items was a Master Replicas helmet. The helmet of the 212th Attack Battalion that fought on Utapau under the guidance of Jed General Obi-Wan Kenobi and Clone Commander Cody! And it was on sale at 62.5% off their original asking price!!! I contemplated for a few minutes but had to get one. When else would I get an opportunity to buy an item that looks so good AND is of my favorite character in the movies (and the helmet makes the clones)? So I purchased one. And I am so excited to see it in April. April 25th to be exact. That's when I return to Sinking Spring, PA for a weekend visit. I have all of my Star Wars items sent there because there is very little room for my collection in the apartment. Hopefully over the coming years I will be able to purchase all of the Master Replica full scale Trooper Helmets (I think there are six or seven total). It will be pricey but now that I don't have to restock waves of figures I missed, I should be able to save enough to buy one/year. Note: Master Replicas no longer has the Star Wars license so no more helmets will be produced by them.

Master Replicas 1:1 scaled replica 212th Attack Battalion (Utapau) helmet

Besides the full scale helmets, Master Replicas also produced .45 scaled helmets. This line included the standard Clone Trooper (ROTS), 501st Legion, Shock Trooper (exclusive), Commander Gree, Utapau Shadow Trooper (exclusive), Stormtrooper, and Shadow Stormtrooper (exclusive). I am proud to report that, over the last few months, I have been able to secure six of these scaled helmets, with possibly the seventh in my hands by Monday (well actually not in my hands since they are going to Sinking Spring, but you understand). I have purchased/acquired all but the Utapau Shadow Trooper scaled helmet and currently am bidding on one through eBay (crosses fingers). This is a really amazing collection and I am going to be thrilled to display these eight helmets (seven .45 scaled, one full scale). I can't wait to see them!

All seven of the Master Replicas .45 scaled replica Trooper helmets.

A related story: to get a hold of the scaled Shock Trooper Helmet I had to buy it from Germany. Yeah, the country. And the store, Toy Palace Germany, required that any customer wanting an exclusive (an by exclusive they mean 500 WORLDWIDE!!!) Shock Trooper helmet must buy two other scaled helmets. D'oh! Well of course the Shock Trooper one was the last one I needed. So I had to bite the bullet and purchase two other helmets to get that glorious Shock Trooper helmet. I didn't want to duplicates of any of the trooper helmets I already had (I could have gotten a second ROTS Clone or Stormtrooper helmet). Instead, I decided to get a Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker's X-Wing helmet. Not in my "character focus" but still cool items. I'm not necessarily going to keep them (hint to Brent) but they were necessary to get the uberexclusive scaled Shock Trooper helmet.

Master Replicas .45 scaled replica Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot helmet

Master Replicas .45 scaled replica Boba Fett helmet

Spending a little more cash on less items feels good for now. These helmets look amazing.

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