Five Inches Of Plastic

12 Blogs of Christmas: #10

Toys – are they for kids or for grown-ups or for both? In recent years I have been collecting the Doctor Who action figure range that has been released by Character Options. I don’t collect any other toys. I never collected any action figures when I was a boy with the possible exception of an Action Man or two and I don’t recall that ever turning to obsession. In the latest DWM there was a review of some of the latest batch of figures that were released during 2010, and that set me thinking about that question that I opened with (not for the first time, I should point out). But are these things aimed at people like me?

First up, I should say that I don’t open these toys and play with them, but instead I keep them as pristine as I can in their plastic packaging. I can hear gasps of shock in my mind as I type those words. It like heresy. It reminds me of Stinky Pete, the prospecter in Toy Story 2: not playing with the toys that I buy, I think, makes me a bad person. I do not collect these things because I want them as toys, but I seem to collect because of some inner compulsion that makes me feel… well, I’m just not sure how it makes me feel. Poor but content is not a bad description I suppose.

I am quite happy with my collection and display many of them along with all my other merchandise but I cannot fathom out what the appeal is. What is this obsession that drives me to continually fork out my hard-earned cash on five inches of plastic? And I know that I am not alone in doing this because there are many other collectors who will raid the shelves of their local stockists as soon as new variants are released. If I tried to collect every model and every variant I would be very poor indeed, so I try to limit myself to a certain style (single carded figures as opposed to box sets, in case you were wondering) and I don’t worry if the Weeping Angel from Series Five is released with a slightly different coloured paint job. However, “one of each” is a must.

I will confess that they are, in the main, quite cool. The new design Daleks, for instance, when they appeared on the telly met with a mixed reception, but in their plastic form they look like something designed by Apple. There is a whole sub-culture that exists around these figures too, complete with its own lexicon and sub-groups and fraudsters and customisers and insider moles. For the large part I don’t get involved in most of that side but it continues to try to lure me in. I own about 250 figures now. The “Time Crash UK100” set featuring David Tennant and Peter Davison being the prize of my collection.

So, tell me… how far do you go in your passion for all things Doctor Who\?

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