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ReCollect! Part I: Re-Mastering
the Universe (MOTU Classics)

When I moved into my new house at the beginning of this year, I had the seemingly great idea to chronicle moving my collection. I got one article up, about the move itself, and then my life got flipped turned upside down. I didn’t get out to Bel-Air, but my Recollect blog fell completley off my radar.

Well, to be fair, it wasn’t that my Recollect! Blog never got started, it was that moving my collection never really got finished. It still isn’t as I write this, but I made a big (albeit temporary) leap forward this weekend. It was the first time I’d had consecutive days off since Valentine’s Day (yet I somehow managed to go into work both days) and I wanted to get a big chunk of the toys out of boxes, off the floor, and up on the shelves. Easy enough, I thought, if I start with MOTU Classics.

Since this is the first ReCollect! entry, I need to cover one thing before we get started. When we moved, I decided I needed a new shelf. While my toy cellar (now my toy garage even though I keep calling it a cellar to my wife’s bemusement) was always embarrassingly too full of toys, I usually only a kept a modest shelf on display. I’ve had the shelf for years; my Dad & I found it when I was in my teens. I originally used it for its true purpose: an entertainment center. It held my TV/VCR combo, my Gamecube (!!), and a bunch of DVDs. If you look close you can see some toys on it: a bunch of Stikfas claiming the top of the TV as their own. Over time, the toys would end up covering the whole unit. Below is an older pic from 2009. If you look past the shameful amount of dust, you can spot the most recent additions at the time like MOTU Classics Faker & Mer-Man. You might also spot that custom DCUC Mr. Freeze that ended up being the template for Mattel’s later version. That Mr. Freeze is also a big reason why IAT exists, by the way, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, the old shelf was great, but it was more for a collector who wanted to display a few choice items from multiple lines, not someone that had started amassing giant collections like MOTU & DC Classics. It was time for a change. It took weeks, but I finally found this 12-Cube beauty at Office Max and I got it for a steal. It was finally time to replace my old shelf, setup my toys, and get the ReCollect! Blog started. But, yeah, that was kinda like February and it turns out that, June started the other day? Oops?

When I decided to setup my MOTU Classics this weekend, I knew it was somewhat futile. Mostly because Castle Grayskull simply isn’t going to fit on it and that’s kinda sorta supposed to be the centerpiece of the line. I decided to not worry about it and go ahead, but, as any collector knows, my space on this new shelf started filling up way too quickly.

I ended up giving MOTUC a 4 shelf limit. The first thing that meant was some larger items had to be managed. The Giants. The Beasts. That gorgeous Wind Raider. I couldn’t bring myself to not display the Raider – heck I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the box. For now, I plunked my TRU 2pk He-Man in the pilot’s seat (my 2nd favorite He-Man) and placed him in the corner of the room until I figure out what to do with it. The Beasts though, some hard decisions had to be made.

The Cats had to stay of course. Swift Wind got a similar pass, but I’m not as sold on him down the road. I left the giants because the shelves have 14” clearance and I figured they would help with the height until I get some tiered stands to raise up the figures that are towards the back. I can already tell you though that Procrustus will outlast the other two should I need to cut down on the giants (& he also got a coveted spot with the Heroes on the top shelf).

Granamyr had to stay too, of course, but I didn’t want to split him off like the Wind Raider. He needs to be with the figures – even though he did get stuck in the bottom shelf with the Horde & Miscellaneous Villains (At least until the Castle implodes this incarnation of the display). Finally, Gygor made the last cut due to his adding height and his lemon & limey color scheme. Sadly though, the Shadow Beast & the Griffin were the first casualties of limited space. The Griffin just takes up too much space and the Shadow Beast is just too generic – both are oversized army builders really and this isn’t an armybuilder friendly display. Hopefully, I can figure out a bigger solution to get back to those guys in the future. Maybe a shelf will free up after I figure out what I need in the other 2/3rds of the shelf? Continue to Page 2…

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35 comments to ReCollect! Part I: Re-Mastering
the Universe (MOTU Classics)

  • dayraven

    too bad proscrustus isn’t tall enough to get his hands up to the bottom of the “ceiling” so it could look like he’s holding that shelf up.

    i love that the 2009 shelf had the mynotheceans on display, and a ramathorr… wonder if they make the 2013 cut?

    • I tried to do something like that with Procrustus, but no luck.

      Ramathorr and the Royal Guardsmen are still here, but I had to part with the Mynos back when I lost my job. They went to a good home – Dorkey has them in Japan!

      • dayraven

        true that, couldn’t ask for a better home. it’s a shame though i understand why you did it… man, i love those figs.

        but let me see if i follow this, you kept the guardsman and unloaded xetheus? that’s rough man.

  • Shadow_Contact

    The Shop Girl has to make it to display Noisy, and where the heck is Dark Roboto?

    • Dark Roboto exploded! You can maybe see his parts in the bag on the right side of the tub picture.

      I want to keep my customs out (& make more), but I’m not sure where to put ’em.

  • Whooo boy! Am I in trouble. I’ll be dealing the problems about moving your toy collections this month. Hope I’ll survive this

  • “That’s the problem with setting up your toys – there’s always more to come.”

    Amen to that last sentence, Noisy! Collecting toys while opening up space is not unlike mixing oil and vinegar.

    I’ve been anticipating a move for some time now and have been doing the opposite: Reshuffling my packed stuff out of dusty old boxes into plastic Rubbermaid totes and newly acquired comic or magazine boxes with lids in order to save space and free up my storage room. I can’t move anything into the garage because the heat there is unbearable.

    It’s fun to briefly see all the awesome items that could be on my display curios and acrylic shelves, but also very bittersweet because it’s going back into the darkness for another few years.

    Truly, a double-edged sword for the ages.

    • This will be my first year with garage storage and I have concerns.

      I kinda feel like I should sell or give away most everything that doesn’t make it into the room…

      Hopefully you can get a place where you can setup your collection soon. I’ve only had this for a few months and it’s not fun.

  • J. Lee

    Know this feeling but I took the last resort “Not out, not into, sell it” My old stuff is on the sellers block. Well yard salers block. Wish could have a display like this though. My MOTUCs collection is tiny and looks more like a PoP collection on my computer desk. Using the white mailers for boosts on my dc displays one shelf heroes the other villians and the Villian shelf looks weak. The Lanterns have one all there own and my MLs are around my Ultimate books. So its a scattered display.

    If something happens and go to a new place that is when I worry.

    • I need to be more pro-active with the selling. That’s part of the reason I need to do this ReCollect! Feature and go through everything.

      I may have more space, but the feeling of never enough room is still constant. I envy your smaller displays though. You can probably do more fun things ’em!

      • LV

        That’s always where I find myself torn. I want everything out, so nothing is wasting away in storage and so you can see what a lush world of (mostly Transformers) toys I have, but…a bunch of toys always really just looks like a chaos of guys crammed together like they’re in a mosh pit or on the subway. There’s almost no room for personality, or interaction, or little micro-stories.

        Instead of the effect being “hey, those are some cool toys”, it’s more “man, you sure have a lot of…stuff”. I have yet to pin down the happy medium.

        • I moved last year, and was not able to take most of my figure collection with me. And I hate it. Most of my stuff is boxed up and in my parents’ basement (they’re saints for putting up with it. I have way too much stuff there, boxes upon boxes upon boxes). I managed to bring along my Figuarts, my MonsterArts Godzilla, a Gundam Unicorn (which I still intend to get some chain bases for), my Dark Knight trilogy Movie Masters series (that Batsignal makes too good of a display piece not to have out), a MMPR Ninjor, and a couple of random figures that have sentimental value, like a TMNT classics Leonardo, a Mayor West from Family Guy (both gifts), and a Wall-E. I’ve bought a few figures since then, but not many. More Figuarts, mostly, a couple of Iron Man 3 figures (too bad my IM1+2 figures are back at the parents house, or I could set up a neat Hall of Armors), a couple DCD figures. That’s about it. I also have a few statues (Sorceress from MOTU 2002, River Tam from Serenity, Atomic Robo and Dr. Dinosaur), and some Ranger Keys and other various PR “props” (mostly Morphers/henshin devices. No way was I missing out on the 20th Anniversary Power Morpher).

          Limited space plus limited finances really sucks. Some day I’d like to have a house with a room dedicated to my toys, but even if such a thing were possible, it would probably take me weeks to unbox and sort through everything I’ve got. And when I say it would take “weeks,” I mean it would take weeks if that were all I had to do. If I had other stuff going on, like a job, it would be more like months or years.

  • It pains me to have to say this, but you got that shelf at Office Depot, not Office Max. Because, sadly, I’ve worked at an Office Depot for longer than I care to admit, and even if I didn’t recognize the Depot signage in that picture, and the way the bookself wall is set up (though that store is not merchandised very well. Those shelves are not set to plan-o-gram), I recognize the 12 cube Magellan bookcase in honey maple.

    • Brainlock

      I like the entertainment center shelves better.
      that almost looks like a custom built? usually there was a shelf running all the way across the top of most entertainment centers. I’m not a woodworker, but it seems simple to take a “stacked” cubby shelf, put two on either end of a base, and add some (reinforced?) shelves in middle. I have one set of cubby shelves, which I got at Target a while back, actually made of two stackable cubbys. A similar stackable pair I got from a friend who moved has doors on the middle shelf = looks weird = great for dvds! LOL

  • All or nothing! ALL or nothing! You have failed and dishonored collecting! Bow your head in shame! 🙂

    Seriously, I feel the pain. I need more shelves for my books, I really would like a place to display the Imaginext stuff (I got the Robot Police station for only $25! I thought I’d never find it!) and on and on.

    Then there’s the entire storage unit filled with stuff that I would love to display…

    • dayraven

      see, that’s the trick right there, rent a storage shed in a climate controlled facility, and use that AS the display space! put nothing but shelf space in it, fill those shelves with toys, and then go visit them when you need to write a review or just want to play or whatnot. the wife forgives the expense of the storage space because the toys aren’t in her house anymore, the toys are well cared for and can be painstakingly arranged and photod or whatnot, and best of all, if you ever decide it’s become the kryptonite abround your neck, you can always just stop paying for the shed, then wait for the storage shed to go up for auction (but not before you call TLC or one spike and get on one of those storage auction shows) the amount you get paid to have this perfectly staged storage facility on the show will easily exceed your back bill on the shed MO’ MONEY, MO’ MONEY, MO MONEY! then use it to buy back your own shed, get your collection on TV, and write a book about the experience! MO’ MONEY, MO’ MONEY, MO’ MONEY!! then, take that money… rent another shed and start buying more toys!

      • Brainlock

        A- or you can set off an extra room in the house for a “toy den”/”toy cellar”, esp if the extra room was just going to be the “junk catcher room”, anyway.

        B- ugh. don’t remind me! that’s how I “lost” most of my stuff! I was forced to move, place I had lined up fell apart at last minute, so I stayed with dad, and storage was on way to work, but once I got my own place again right by work, storage was out of sight = out of mind and I stopped paying before I cleared it out!

        of course, it didn’t help that the three people who helped me move in, mom died, her bf was toxic and already stole a ton of her stuff (including my rifle she was holding!), and friend moved fully onto base, 90 miles away! then dad would find every excuse for me NOT to borrow his truck, plus heavier furniture was way too much for one person, anyway!

      • Dude, they’ll take my Major Matt Mason and GI Joe toys from my cold, dead hands.

        REAL GI Joe. Not those little imposters from the ’80s. Adventure Team 4Life, yo!

        🙂

  • Lay Ze-Man

    Cool update and fun ready, Noisy!

    Will be great to see the display with some tiered stand action for sure!

    But I gotta say, you could’ve saved yourself some “elimination grief” by immediately disqualifying Spector, Cy-Chop and Laser-Lot. 😛

  • That was a fun article to read. I look forward to the next installment.

    One thing I did notice though, you might want to think about putting something in between your stored figures. The soft rubbery parts can start to stick together when left for a long time. I ran into that problem with some Marvel Legends figures that I had stored. Now I use acid-free newsprint paper to separate the figures and make sure they don’t stick together. It’s really cheap, and works great in my experience.

    • Actually, this is a serious concern. There’s just no way of knowing what materials won’t play nice with each other, because ALL plastics are going to outgas some. Softer vinyls can react with hard plastic.

      I would suggest a trip to a Dollar Tree or other ‘everything a Dollar’ store and buy several boxes of zipper sandwich bags. One bag for the figure, one for hard plastic accessories, one bag for the softer plastic.

      Yeah, OK, sounds like major OCD at work but when I found a couple of GI Joe items melting together (scuba mask melting scuba tanks) and the sad remains of all my Scuba Diving Suits, I got right on it.

      The garage is not a temp. controlled environment. Sealed plastic tubs won’t protect from temp. swings. If you want it to survive, bag it!

      • Brainlock

        they’re getting harder to find, but I use folded sandwich bags, esp for loose accessories!
        not only are they cheaper, but you also get like 300 for the same price as 30-40 “zip” bags. MASSIVE savings!

        plus, for smaller boxes, you can lay a couple out between layers, as JayT suggested with newspaper. for packing statues (all of mine “lost in storage”!) when you don’t have the original box to pack them back in, try using old clothes. I’ve seen it suggested to pack dishes in clean clothes, so you get two birds with one packing box, but for something you’re not going to need/want to open right away, use older clothing.

      • I’m always hesitant to use Ziploc bags because you just don’t know how the plastic of the toy will react to the plastic of the baggy. That’s why I’ve moved to using nothing but paper to hold my figures. Obviously, you want blank paper so the print doesn’t rub off.

        • Valid concern, and always on my mind. However, I make the leap that since the plastic is rated safe for contact with food it seems that means it should be non-reactive to chemical exposure.

          Tissue paper or butcher’s paper seems perfectly valid to me as well. Dollar Tree has ‘gift paper’ as well. 🙂

  • Brainlock

    ah yes, the ever present problem of a collector moving and re-assembling shelves! LOL

    I’m having to box stuff up this month for storage, myself. I need to start planning on what to do with them once i get resettled (after accident settlement/Disability approval come in).

    the last time i moved, DCUC was just getting off the ground, so it was more of having two shelves of Marvel Legends, one DC (mix), and a fourth of TF/Joe/animated/etc. It turned out to be 1.5 ML, basically 2 units of DCU across three sets of shelves, and TF piled onto two levels with random figures (The Batman, overflow) thrown on the lower levels of the fourth. a fifth cubby shelf was Heroes, JJ Trek, misc.

    Doctor Who (and Primeval) unfortunately, didn’t get a chance, but the 11 TARDIS interior is presently sitting on top the cubby shelf, with Cyber-throne and junk Tardis replacing the boxed Heroes. most of the animated DCU didn’t make it, so the subsequent JLU, The Batman, B&B were relegated to another corner shelf with the Watchtower presiding over all.

    of course, NOW I have to box them all up. :/

    As for sorting them out, I tried to do Major Groups. JLA, Titans, JSA, LoDoom, X-Teams, Avengers, and “Exiles”/Movie = anything I considered “alternate universe” figures (variants/customs). there was a point I just stopped picking the MLs all up after cat races and just made piles on shelves.

    When there were multiples, I set up “Metropolis” and “Gotham” groupings for the big two (including “Reign” sub-subset), Kirby-verse and the Rainbow Lantern Corps, but otherwise, extra versions got boxed.

    of course, a metric tonnage or two of fodder was barely kept controlled. selling some off on ebay at moment. (id: brainlock72)

    the MOTU collection was similar to the DW collection, with a few pieces out, the rest boxed in “teams” for later display…which will be Feb 31, apparently? I tried to keep the more tech-y characters out, aside from TJ, so it’s more barbarian feel, and I passed on Castle due to cost. I have put the Star Sisters and spare Griffin up on ebay several times, but no one wants them. 🙁 I’m hoping to still custom Spirit(s) into Black/Shining Knight’s steed, but it’s not a priority.

    and yeah, Matt/Iron Cow and I were commiserating about having to sell our own stuff and how much we want the other’s stuff, but can’t afford it right now! also, I got scammed out of a JLU SuperFriends set recently, and paid extra postage to RE-send it, then Paypal gives him his money back, not me! FML

    All I want right now is my legal cases to clear and get me some money! ugh.
    (open/shut accident should NOT take over three and a half years and counting!!!)

    • Brainlock

      oh yeah, Playmates NG Transporter!!! I hope I still have mine!
      I know I have the Bridge and most of figures, but not sure about ships/Transporter. :/

  • Tom

    Do you have room for both units? I kind of like the entertainment unit for just your MOTU figures. You can put the upcoming castle on the top middle, ships and animals on the shelves below with several characters. Then other characters on the sides in certain groups if you wish. The 12 compartment unit can be used for other figure collections.

    Not a big fan of off site storage. I hear too many stories of them getting broken into.

  • I too keep an large 8 x 8 entertainment center for my toy collection, which is currently occupied by MOTUC. I share two shelves with my wife’s MLP collection and customs, and four lower shelves with my kids books, dolls, and TMNT. I placed the thing in their play area in our living room. It all kind of meshes and looks like an epic child toy dream. We all love it; I imagine one day MOTUC will move off into boxes. Before MOTUC occupied the space GI JOE 25th – 30th held held the real estate, and before that old ARAH figures and vehicles. I also have a nice glass and wood cabinet with which I keep some of my prized G I Joe figures & recent Joecon(s) offerings along with things like college diploma, awards, childhood keep sakes etc.

  • I feel your pain, Noisy. It was bad enough when we moved from Ohio back to England. In the intervening 13 years, my collection has grown out of control. I do take advantage of garage storage, because the weather ain’t so extreme on the English Riviera.

    I need to look into a storage unit somewhere, before the house collapses. For some perverse reason, English houses generally aren’t built with basements.

  • ero

    Quit dickin’ around, Noisy. If you’re lucky enough to have a toy room, then you have an obligation to those of us who don’t to order up a round of these and get that full collection out on display:

    http://www.storesupply.com/pc-12892-751-black-6-metal-framed-upright-display-case-65560.aspx

    😛

  • kloklo

    Classic Castle Grayskull is not so big,,,

  • Great article! I am looking forward to future installments! These days I find this sort of post more interesting of a read than traditional reviews going over the same points of articulation or paint apps, etc. There are so many aspects of collecting to discuss and many sites only focus on the toys themselves, yet caring for and displaying collections is usually neglected.

    Personally, I prefer a well planned display — shelves lined with too many toys/figures just looks like a bunch of junk. I think having a nice rotation is good since it keeps things fresh and is a nice way for you to appreciate what you’ve got in your collection. How many times do you open something up, fiddle with it for a few days and then put it up on the shelf, only for it to gather a layer of dust (this is of course after having complained about the paint apps or the reverse shoulder which was the end of the world, ya know?).