COLLECTOR INTERVIEW: Debaditya Haldar
What do you collect? How long have you been collecting? How did you get into it?
Everyone’s a collector at some level. At the moment, I’m mainly into action figures of the 6.75 and 6-inch scale. Also just recently I’ve started collecting Funko pops as well.
The collector in me had its roots from a long time back when I was a kid. Probably started around 1996, and I used to collect those single issue comics, cricket, football and wrestling cards from the “sticker wallah” outside the school gate, some diecast vehicles, Joes, tazos and Jenga cards that we would get inside a packet of chips. Then the hobby went through a hiatus as I had grown “old enough” to be buying Joes with my parents’ money but young enough to be having any money of my own.
My hobby of collecting revived in the year 2013 when my cousin, Sayantan, gifted me the Mattel 3.75 inch Man of Steel Split cycle figure on my 23rd birthday. Once I started earning in 2014, I bought the Marvel Select Magneto for myself and DCC Two-Face for my cousin with my first month’s salary. And from then on, there has been no looking back.
What is the holy grail of your collection? Or if you still looking for it then what it is?
The holy grail in my collection, as of now, is the 1:43 scale Dark Knight Returns Bat Tank by Eaglemoss. Among figures, my favorite in my collection so far is the DC Direct Secret Files Black Mask.
But overall, there are two items at the top of my dream collection list (if money isn’t an issue), one being the Serenity Cutaway Replica by Quantum Mechanix from the TV show Firefly, and the other is the Mcfarlane Jimi Hendrix box set based on the iconic performance at Woodstock.
What is the most surprising or outrageous collecting story you have heard?
There are many such stories, some that have gone into the record books. I personally know of this guy who’s an artist and collects broken pencil leads. Fact is, what’s surprising or outrageous to one is normal to the other. I’ve also heard of people who collect a particular line of action figures, and once they have completed that line, they would sell off all the figures to start another line, complete that, sell them off, and continue the cycle. That, for me, is insane.
If you could pick one item from your collection to keep, what would it be? And why?
Marvel Select Magneto, since it’s my first 6.75-inch figure. And that’s where my collection started.
If you could have one item out of someone else’s collection, what would that be?
Hard to pick one really. I would probably go for the Eaglemoss Batman chess set from Arup Biswas’ store, Curious Collectibles. It isn’t a part of Arup Da’s personal collection, but still, it’s the first thing that comes to my mind.
How has the collecting scene changed in the last 5 years? Do you like that or not?
The collecting scene has changed for the better. You have new collectors emerging every day. The hobby has really caught up in India over the last 5 years or so, and figures are much easier to get these days with so many online sites and sellers. Also, online groups and forums have helped collectors connect with one another, discuss toys, comics, and all geeky things, share ideas and show their acquisitions.
How do you see, or hope to see the scene changing in 5 years’ time?
The collector community is growing day by day. You can call it a big family that’s only going to get bigger, with everyone well connected irrespective of the distance. You need some information on something or thinking of a figure customized to your needs, all you need to do is ask. In 5 years’ time, the number of customizers would also increase. In addition to new figures, I hope we’d be getting some diorama sets, accessory packs (DCC has already started working on this with their Icons line), and miniature props. Also over the years, I’m hoping there would be an improvement in the quality of plastic for some brands so that the joints are sturdier and don’t break or become loose too easily.
What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
At the end of the day, collecting involves expenditure. So be clear about your budget first. Have a fixed monthly price limit and stick to it. Space out your buys, since collecting is an addictive hobby, and you’d feel the need for a new collectible every now and then. Also before buying, check the review videos on youtube to have complete knowledge of what you’re planning to buy. Steer clear of bootlegs, as they aren’t worth even the heavily discounted price ( Don’t hesitate to ask a seller if the figure they’re selling is genuine, and avoid sellers from China and Hong Kong on eBay). Display, is a must. So decide on where and how you are going to display the figures. Personally, I feel a customized shelf with a glass door in front (not sliding) and as air-tight as possible, is best. Plan out your buys. After a point of time, you’d realize that the collection looks better if there’s some cohesiveness. It doesn’t necessarily have to be complete, but definitely looks better than just individual figures from scattered lines. Don’t buy something with the intention of selling it off later, coz that would make you more of a hoarder than a collector; and don’t buy something just because someone else has bought it and it looks good. Try to resist the urge of making impulsive buys as much as possible. All said and done, buy whatever brings you joy, ‘cause the ultimate point of the hobby, or any hobby thereof, is to feel happy. Just as Doofus Rick said in Rick and Morty, “The truth is, you bought them because you like them. They have value to you. That’s what matters.”
“Pain is the beginning of perfection. Pyg will make you perfect.”
Disclaimer: All Images showcased here belongs solely to the individual mentioned above. It has been put up their permission and Men Of Comics holds no rights over it.