Last year while going through the RebelScum.com forums I came across a couple threads about the fracturing of the vintage Star Wars collectors community. Specifically the 3.75 scale collectors of vintage.
The pair of threads below:
After reading them and going over some information I came to a sad conclusion. Well sad in my opinion, that the forums style of communication not only for collectors but for all avenues of sale in just about anything is going the way of the doh-doh.
Earlier this month a Historic Find Thread was created for the finding of Darrell’s J-type Rocket firing Boba-Fett prototype that had vast implications regarding the few other prototype Fetts known to exist.
However the thread wasn’t created to share the find… it was created to let the Rebelscum community know about it being announced… on Facebook. (I myself am no longer part of any Vintage collectors Facebook groups due to a difference of opinion. Since then I stick mostly with Rebelscum who thankfully didn’t fully embrace that opinion. As well as a few select other Star Wars sites that are more interested in the fun of the hobby rather then the monetary hit some take with foolish gambles on it. )
But back on topic when Ross Barr announced the historic find would be in the 12-back group on Facebook I took it as a real watershed moment. Maybe it should have hit me long before this but I was just resisting the urge to accept it.
Ron Salvatore was one of the more experienced collectors to come right out and say it. Most of us on the fence were hoping there would be encouraging words that our hope that the forum type of communication for the hobby with its threads and sections wouldn’t turn into the ghost towns that the old .rec arts boards became back in the mid-late 90’s. However it’s becoming clear that the once very vibrant and bustling Rebelscum.com is suffering from what effected lesser known StarWars fan and collecting sites for some years now the Facebook draw.
With hyper connectivity, the ease upon which even a novice Star Wars collector of vintage or modern item can obtain their wants has moved beyond the crafted skill of a collectors search for an item the rechecking of prices from other sources and then the eventual deal to be made. With Facebook the sheer volume of people are ready to throw money for sometimes two and three times the amount an item could normally go for just to have that instant gratification that so many have come to depend on… it’s like needing that dopamine release in their system right away just by knowing they are getting the item they want… akin to grocery market impulse buying for candy bars at the checkout.
As someone who’s had his own bouts with addiction I know an addict when I see one. Be it a drug or the feeling a drug could produce from an action or item that gives that same high. I shudder to think what the next 20 years of Star Wars collecting is going to turn in to. One thing that some have defended the message boards/site system for collecting is the wealth of information that can be gathered from them. To this I agree, when I started to get back in the collecting game a few years ago I happened across Rebelscum.com by happen chance and haven’t looked back. It’s been nearly overwhelming with the layers upon layers of valuable information given in regards to the vintage collecting hobby.
Had I only known about the site and its plethora of information in the early days of Ebay when it was the wild west on the internet in terms of buying and selling. It would have saved me a lot of trouble back in 2001 and probably would have prevented me from leaving the hobby all together later the next year. I highly suggest to any reading this that if you decide to camp Facebook for StarWars buys, know what you want prior and think first before you buy. Sometimes a quick check around other places can save you 20-30% from the asking price.
I know that Facebook won’t be going away and as I stated a moment ago I cringe to think about what the 3.75 hobby is going to look like in a few decades after ten more years of Star Wars merchandise has hit the shelves and the ever growing networks of social media continue to link everyone to everything so instant deals can become so commonplace it will be rude NOT to ship something priority. My only hope is that somewhere a happy medium can be achieved. The old 90’s forums and newsgroups went the way of the buffalo because they could not adapt to the every convenient and more attractive form of the then new “forums format” so many sites started to undertake. Blogs and forums now seem to be seen as more antiquated especially to the younger collector who scours the same program for his or her news feed as they do for their Star Wars wants. The millennials have the vintage collecting and for that matter modern collecting future by the orbs they just haven’t figured it out yet.
When and if they do my pity will go to the collectors that still use the toy-show format as the only way to make deals. Some may find it surprising that some of the older school collectors still only use the toy-show format to make future deals and send off things in the mail to people they meet at the shows and/or await things from deals made at the shows. This was my preferred method of transactions in the collecting hobby by the way, the Face-to-Face dealing. Getting to hear the voice and see the face of the person I’m making a deal with or agreeing for a price. Something old school about that seems more personal and also helps my own skill set in learning the traits that help me judge a persons character by their face-to-face mannerisms and routines rather then hoping the lines of text I read on a site or post aren’t lying to me.
Yes I know some of them can lie better then a snake in the grass even when face-to-face and to be honest I’ve been lucky to avoid those that can. Sometimes barely so, but when I did I was relieved and was happy on the self assurance that I was learning in the hobby.
I suppose that’s what it really comes down to when I think about it. What does the instant gratification of the Facebook buying an selling groups lack… the ability to learn. Sure, someone can “learn” after the fact that someone they trusted with sending $480 to for a vintage radio controlled Sand crawler was in fact a lying thief who blocks the buyer and deletes their Facebook account. But that’s reactive knowledge, not proactive. Which is something I stress heavily not just in collecting but really anything I try to learn and tell others about. To learn the way some are on Facebook from said scams is very demoralizing to the hobby. Especially to new blood entering the hobby that any vintage hobby from Star Wars toys to restoring vintage care needs.
I’ve stated all this fully aware that I am also part of the problem. I belong to over a half a dozen Star Wars groups on Facebook (none of the aforementioned ones I left of course). For buying, selling, trading, diorama making, or whatever niche of my wants in the Star Wars collecting universe command me to want… I’ve had to hold back a few times and dare I say not join a few groups just because I decided to not allow myself to get too far into the dark hole that is the Star Wars collecting nothingness… and remember its for fun. Hopefully that happy medium I spoke of earlier can be obtained somewhere between the instant wants of seeing things on social media and pouncing on it and the more measured approach of looking some thing up online in different venues and outlets to gauge something a buyer truly wants or just wants to learn about. Otherwise at the rate we’re going my own departure from the hobby won’t be in disgust from being ripped off from an online broker, no I’ll be far too gone by then for sound judgement it will come by the eviction notice on my front door because I used up the rent money on Facebook …. AGAIN.
Pay attention to the references part of articles in hobbies you’re interested in… such as the links and sites below… they are that plethora of help I talked about.
From 4-LOM to Zuckuss.com (http://4lomkuss.com/)
Variant Villain (http://swspaceclub.com/wbobafett/)
all the Facebook groups I belong to in the picture!