Games

Action Figure Customization: Why Collectors Pay A Lot Of Money For Customized Toys

Toy customization has been around for decades. With the sudden resurgence of action figures on the market, toy customization is becoming more and more popular thanks to comic book movies and video games.

For instance, when Hasbro took over Marvel Legends in 2007, things didn’t go too well for them until it got to the point that rumors spread about the line being canceled. However, in 2010’s San Diego Comic-Con, Hasbro revealed that the line would be making a comeback in 2012 due to numerous fan requests and the Marvel Cinematic Universe getting pretty good traction with its audiences worldwide. Presently, the line has had several spinoffs and keeps dishing out new waves of action figures based on comic books, movies, and TV shows.

The popularity of action figures today has caused many toy collectors, both noobs and veterans, into an entirely different but not-so-new realm of collecting: customized action figures.

These collectors have been paying really good money for customized toys to make their collection unique. From kitbashes to scratch-built toys, toy customizers have been very busy meeting the new market’s demands. Toy collecting is already an expensive hobby, with a typical figure having a retail price of $20. Having custom figures made can easily go well above $100 per piece.

Why Customized Toys Are More Expensive Compared to Regular Editions

Time

What you think you’re paying for:

People think that when they commission artists — yes, toy customizers are artists, too — to work on a project, they’re paying merely for the amount of time it took the customizer to finish the said project.

What you’re actually paying for:

You’re actually paying for all the time the artist spent to develop and master his craft. Contrary to what most folks think, toy customization is just like any profession; it takes years to become good at it. Many of these artists spend money, sleepless nights, and thousands of hours to get to where they’re at in their craft.

In an editorial-type cartoon, a designer and a client were talking about the artist’s rate. The client claims not to understand why he needs to pay $200 for a logo done in 10 minutes. The artist replied, “Because I spent 10 years studying to learn how to do it in 10 minutes.”

Creativity

What you think you’re paying for:

People believe that customizing is easy. All you need is to kitbash some figures and slap some paint on it and you\re done.

What you’re actually paying for:

While it is correct that you are paying for the artist’s output, you need to understand that it takes a lot of creativity and inspiration to think of a concept and execute it well. You’re not just paying for the works of their hands, you’re paying for what’s inside their brains as well.

Knowhow

What you think you’re paying for:

Most folks think that toy customizing is similar to personalized items where you only need an engraving machine to etch someone’s name on a leather mousepad or drinking mug.

What you’re actually paying for:

You’re paying for the expertise and experience of the customizer. Toy customizing requires a high level of concentration, attention to detail, and craftsmanship. The price you pay will depend on the type of work needed to accomplish the commissioned project.

Is it just a simple kitbash and paint job? Will it require sculpting? How big is the item? Is it a rush project? Will it be built from scratch? All of these things and more factor into how much a customized toy costs.

Exclusivity

What you think you’re paying for:

You think you’re paying for a project that will set you apart from the other collectors with a piece that’s unique and entirely exclusive to you. No replication. No reproduction. You’re the only one in the world to own that particular piece.

What you’re actually paying for:

What you believe you’re paying for. The exclusivity and rarity of the item make your collection stand out. The more custom pieces you have, the more different your collection will look from those who get the regular editions or even exclusives.

While toys in mint condition seem more valuable in the long run, customized toys are valuable to their owners. It doesn’t matter to them if the commissioned pieces increase in market value as time goes by. What’s important is that they have something other collectors don’t have. It is what makes their collection different and exciting. More than just bragging rights, collectors are willing to pay a handsome price for customized toys not because of the potential market value, but because of the warm glow (the sentimental value) it brings to them.

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