S: How and when did you start collecting?
RvW: I started collecting at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009. I bought a few small figures from my cousin which he wanted to get rid of. I ordered the Neca 18” “The Crow” figure from Smallville Comics by the third quarter of 2008 and received it shortly thereafter. This was my first official purchase and I was very impressed with that figure. I have always had an interest in the action figures and statues. Whenever I walked past a comic book store, I always had to pop in to see what they have, even before I started collecting myself. I must add that I have been collecting more seriously during the last 5 years or so.
S: What do you collect? Does your collection have a theme, such as Star Wars, Batman, superheroes, etc.?
RvW: When I started collecting, I focussed more on horror themes but not only that. Like most of us, I started off by collecting action figures. I mainly bought 6”, 12” and 18” figures back in the day. I have around 35 Neca 18” figures and a variety of smaller action figures, many on display and the rest still boxed or in their blister packs. I have a huge variety in my collection. I never focussed on one theme as I prefer having a variety. It all depends on display space. If you have limited space and you know it will remain that way for a long time, I would definitely recommend sticking to one or two lines. I made use of a granny flat in my garden as my first man cave but it became too small. By October 2018, I started the construction of a log cabin which is now my new man cave. The cabin is a decent size and is approximately 12m long. I am afraid that I might be running out of space there as well in the near future.
A few years ago, our local comic book store, Smallville Comics, had a sale (Buy one, get one free) I bought a certain statue and then received the DC Bombshells Lois Lane statue for free. This opened up another line for me. Up to date, I have all the DC Bombshell statues which have been released. They all look great displayed together.
As with many things in life and the way one can work your way up with certain things, my collection progressed from action figures to smaller 1/6 scale statues and now the larger ¼ scale pieces. I am still not sure if I will be collecting 1/3 scale pieces as the cost of import and taxes is extremely high on them.
My first premium format statue which I ever bought was the Sideshow Hulk vs Wolverine and up to today, it is still one of my favourite statues in my collection. I also have quite a few Kotobukiya Fine Arts and Bishoujo pieces, many pieces from Bowen Designs, Sideshow, Marvel Gallery and XM Studios. I only started collecting statues from XM Studios this year and up to date I have 5 pieces from XM Studios which include Spiderman and Mary Jane, Mysterio, Red Skull, Daredevil and Weapon X. This is all thanks to Symbiote Premium Collectibles. I look forward to adding many more XM statues to my collection.
Lately, my main focus is the X-Men and Spiderman lines. I don’t collect any comics at all. I do have a few which I have received free with some purchases from certain stores and other collectors. I also don’t have any Star Wars, Manga and Dragon Ball Z items in my collection but that is mainly due to personal preference.
S: What are your favourite or the most prized pieces in your collection? And why?
RvW: I honestly prefer my XM, Sideshow and Bowen statues. The larger-scale pieces are best to look at, admire and to appreciate the work that goes into creating, sculpting and painting these pieces. I admire some of the sculptors for what they are able to create. Bowen Designs statues set the benchmark for the larger pieces in my opinion. I enjoy the thrill each time I receive a Bowen statue as they have become hard to come by especially here in South Africa. I also like the smaller He-man and Thundercats action figures from our childhood days in the 80’s and 90’s and I have quite a few of them in my collection too. My interests have definitely changed from having a large quantity rather to focussing on quality pieces.
S: What do you love about XM?
RvW: XM Studios statues are definitely the best when looking at quality and value for money. When unboxing and assembling a statue, I have never had any issues with any pegs not fitting properly or any issues with paintwork on them. The quality is always top-notch. The detail on these pieces is insane and extremely accurate. The local prices offered on these pieces definitely makes it so much easier in buying and affording these treasured and sought after statues. Every time I visit my man cave, I must say that I always pay more attention to my larger scale statues as well as the Bowen pieces.
S: What items are on your wishlist?
RvW: When I see something I like and I can afford it, I will buy it. On my wish list is definitely many more of the large high gloss white display shelves which I already have a few of. When considering statues, I would love to have one amazing centrepiece for the man cave. It is hard to decide which will be the most suitable but I am leaning towards the XM Ghostrider, Prime 1 Doomsday or definitely something similar which will catch one’s eye when entering the man cave.
S: What do you think of the collecting community in SA?
RvW: The collectors’ community in SA have grown considerably over the last few years. I myself have made many great new friends through this awesome hobby. We also have chat groups where we share ideas and ask questions for the input and opinions of others. There is definitely a lot more space for growth but it is happening. The economy does have an impact on the affordability of certain items in this hobby but if you set your mind to a certain goal and work towards it, the chances of achieving it are very good and a lot easier.
Events such as Comic-Con is also definitely having a very positive impact on this market and industry. There are many suppliers to choose from and I have a select few with who I have very good relationships and I have supported them well over the years. If I may add, many collectors ask how we afford these pieces. Obviously, hard work goes into it, but try to pre-order and pay the item/s off with smaller amounts on a monthly basis. This will make it much easier and when the item/s arrive, they will be paid for or the outstanding amount will be considerably lower.