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Why Should Expensive Macross Toys Be Transformable At All?


Cyclone Trooper
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Working for Toys R Us all these years, I've indulged in my fair share of collecting everything from Gundam to Star Wars to Macross; as well as observed the shopping habits of local collectors. And I've found it to be fun to treat it almost like a psychological experiment. Now, in my experience, I've found that there are three distinct groups of collectors...

The first group is the one that I can say that I belong to: The "Open-and-Play" group. These are collectors who will actually open something like that hard-to-find Star Wars figure or that ridiculously expensive 1/48 weathered-special Yamato Valkyrie. We apply decals with wild abandon, have no qualms about customizing a $100 SHGM-PRO Gundam figure with our own paint schemes, and generally don't keep the packages of anything we purchase.

The second group is the much more anally-retentive one: The "Mint-In-Package" group. These are the Star Wars collectors who search through a store's entire stock, checking figure cardbacks for the smallest creases and imperfections with the same meticulousness as a master jeweler examining a diamond for flaws. These are the collectors who will spend tens of thousands of dollars in their lifetime amassing a large collection of merchandise, but will absolutely refuse to remove any of it from its original packaging for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER! Their "collection rooms" generally look more like an aisle in a TRU stockroom than a collection. Boxes stacked perfectly from floor to ceiling, catagorized by item, character, theme, etc. Some of them could nearly be considered monuments to OCD behavior.

And lastly, there is the third group who is an eclectic mix of the first two groups: The "Buy-One-Get-One" group. These are the collectors who will invariably purchase two of everything, no matter what it is. One to open and play with...one to keep in mint condition. This is the more problematic group because they tend to clutter their homes up not just with the "MIP" stuff, but all the opened toys as well. This group also tends to keep all the empty boxes from the toys and collectibles that they've opened. Not all of them do, but a good majority that I've encountered definitely do. This is also the group that tends to flood eBay with items marked up 300% too... ^_^

Now, decide which group you would say you belong to, and we'll continue...

I've read a few people here on MW make clear-cut statements that SOME Macross items are "toy" toys and others are toys for "adult collectors." I think its safe to assume that we all know the difference between them (i.e.: Bandai 1/55 VF-1: toy; Yamato 1/60 VF-1: adult collectible). I've also heard comments made to the effect of "I'll buy a Yamato Valkyrie...but it'll stay in the box, never to see the light of day." I'm going to play devil's advocate here and pose a question based on comments like this. If this is the general thought process behind collecting higher-end Macross items, then why should companies like Bandai or Yamato even bother with making them transformable at all, if most collectors feel that they are to be treated like VERY expensive preassembled model kits? Just release each Valkyrie in all three modes, pick the mode you like best...and just purchase that one. If its basically going to stay hermetically sealed in a climate-controlled room, never to be removed from its packaging...are some collectors, in essence, just spending hundreds of dollars for nifty box art?

I've always been of the opinion that you should enjoy these things to their fullest, so I've never really understood the whole "keep it pristine and unopened" mentality. I'd love to have some insight into the minds of other collectors on this... :lol:

Edited by Cyclone Trooper
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Excellent questions. I posted a question in regards to models or toys that was locked for some reason. My answer to the question kind of revolves around that subject. I consider myself an adult collector. I never "play" with these toys and really consider them models or collector grade toys. I got in the game too late to purchase two of everything, but had I started collecting long ago that is what I would have done. One to display and one to keep minty fresh in a box.

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And that's why the non transforming high end models are for. I like transforming toys no matter how high end. I don't play with them (much) but being able to change them whenever I choose or whenever I am bored is the best relaxing technique for me.

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And that's why the non transforming high end models are for. I like transforming toys no matter how high end. I don't play with them (much) but being able to change them whenever I choose or whenever I am bored is the best relaxing technique for me.

Couldn't have said it better! There's no way I would pay for a static figure. I like to display my stuff and change the configuration from time to time. My wife thinks I'm crazy how I can sit in my office and just gawk my Valks. I'm still as amazed today by them as I was when I was first introduced them in January 2008!

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I consider any toy I have bought a sunk cost. It's not really collecting. So I open the package and transform the models reguarly. I fold out the boxes and store them in the attic.

Not that my toys suffer much. While typing this I look at the G1 Dinobots across the room which I got for my 6th and 7th birthday, heh. Still fully intact altough the decals are slightly worn. So I'm sure my valks will last a while longer.

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Really excellent post there Cyclone Trooper -very thoughtful.

I'm in the Buy-One-Get-One group in general, so for me it is necessary that the valkyrie be variable. I generally do NOT like to have my stuff MISB - actually...I don't own anything MISB. I'm in the Buy-One-Get-One category with Macross because I like the stuff so much that I really do want two or three of each valkyrie if possible. But not to keep some of them MISB, but to have a "fleet"

But ultimately - why NOT make them variable?

I mean - it doesn't hurt people who want to keep it MISB to make it variable, but it does raise the general quality and desirability of the thing to make it variable.

It also helps that it is made (by Yamato) with such great care and detail because people like me who are not modelers and have never painted a model would have trouble amassing a collection of beloved Valkyries were they ALL model kits (variable or not).

I have to admit however... I have never really encountered any MISB collectors. Not exclussively at least. I seem to recall seeing some folks who had MISBs - but not necessarily ONLY MISBs...

Also - maybe it's because I hang out in the strike a pose thread and stuff - but most of the toy threads here have people discusisng the toy - not...you know...the MISB...thing...

I mean - have you ever seen an MISB collector's thread?

"How's your box man?"

"It's fine. It's fine."

"I looked into my box at a 30 degrees angle man. Dude - I can almost see the fins on my valkyrie."

"Cool - just don't open that flap regularly - it could crease."

"Oh my God! Guys! My 1/60 v.2 box flap is CREASED! I only opened it to look at the valkyrie like ONCE and the next day it's CREASED! Can overdrive iron it for me?"

Pete

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And sadly, VFTF1...there ARE people who are that obsessive about the packaging, for whatever reason. Now to a point, I can understand this sort of "gotta make sure the packaging is perfect" behavior if you are purchasing an item only to turn around and resell it yourself. Customers don't want to buy beat-up merchandise, whether it be from a store or from an individual. But in most of the cases I'm citing, these are their private collections, so I don't know where the need for perfect packaging comes from.

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I think the point of the MIB collector is to get the item, but save it in order to maintain it's full value and perhaps even apprecaite in value over time. Sort of like a work of art I suppose. So, the fact that it transforms is still important even if that person never opens it to try it out. The value is in the transformable design and not simply in the aesthetic of the toy in whichever mode the manufacture boxes it in.

Personally, I am mainly the type that opens everything. My biggest problem is time. I will often buy stuff, and put it away in a closet simply because I don't really have the time to sit down and open stuff and fool around with it. I will get to a point where stuff is cluttering my closet, so I open up things(action figures mostly) to get rid of the packaging only to store them in a container of some sort. There are only a few action figures that I plan to keep MOC.

I tend to categorize my toys by packaging type. For example, most action figures come on packaging that basically gets damaged in the process of opening them. I don't save packaging for action figures, and I store my opened figures in tackle boxes. Vehicles come in two different types of packaging, IMO. The type that can be used as a storage box which I save (such as Yamato), or the type that basically gets damaged and hard to put back once the toy is out of the box. What I am referring to is the type of packaging like a nice window box with a diorama type scene such as with some Star Wars and GI-Joe toys. Basically, once you get these toys out of the packaging you have torn so much tape, ripped so much cardboard, and untied so much banding and twist-ties, that it is not worth putting back in the box. So, for these I open and throw away the packaging. Even then, I may not open some of these nice window/diorama scene boxes simply because I know I am not going to display it anytime soon, and besides, the item looks cool in the nice scene the box is portraying anyway.

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I've read a few people here on MW make clear-cut statements that SOME Macross items are "toy" toys and others are toys for "adult collectors." I think its safe to assume that we all know the difference between them (i.e.: Bandai 1/55 VF-1: toy; Yamato 1/60 VF-1: adult collectible). I've also heard comments made to the effect of "I'll buy a Yamato Valkyrie...but it'll stay in the box, never to see the light of day." I'm going to play devil's advocate here and pose a question based on comments like this. If this is the general thought process behind collecting higher-end Macross items, then why should companies like Bandai or Yamato even bother with making them transformable at all, if most collectors feel that they are to be treated like VERY expensive preassembled model kits? Just release each Valkyrie in all three modes, pick the mode you like best...and just purchase that one. If its basically going to stay hermetically sealed in a climate-controlled room, never to be removed from its packaging...are some collectors, in essence, just spending hundreds of dollars for nifty box art?

Here's where it becomes a little tricky. While I always take my Valk toys out of the packaging, I don't always transform them. Sure I'll put them on display and swoosh it around the room. But transforming them is something of a case-by-case thing. I'll play with and transform my Takatoku/Bandai 1/55s but not my Yamatos. The cost of the Yamato toy, the complexity of the transformation, and the QC issues just doesn't work with me as a "playable toy". A fine display piece though. I suppose it's the reasons why I don't have that many Yammies. So yes, I'm one of those who treat a Yamato more as a static one-mode pre-built model kit. However, I suspect I'll treat my DX VF-25s more like my 1/55s when I get them.

Yes, I would buy a fighter-mode only model (just to note, my other passion is diecast fighter models). But I am not one of those guys who keeps their toys or models MISB as some kind of investment. Toy or display model, they should always be taken out of the box (IMO).

Edited by Vifam7
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well im one of the group that open and play their toys.... but having so many of them i dont play all of them, there are some that i open just to display and some i just photograph them. they all transform the same way right? so why bother transforming each and one of them?

i respect people who wants their stuff MISB....they must have some discipline and the urge not to open them....BUT to each his own....

Edited by Vegas
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I buy a rare/expensive/rare AND expensive model or toy, it comes out of the box, I build/play/build-and-play-with it.

A good example is my Zoids Dino Expo Raynos, a special colorscheme of a Raynos model which was only officially distributed for a day or two, at a dinosaur convention. Only a few thousand exist. I bought this MISB and proceeded to build it, add all of the stuff I could to it (Zoid Weapons and such) and it sits on display on my shelf.

That said, I do tend to keep my boxes. Why? Probably for the case in a few years that I'll have to move. I'll pack them all up and do that.

Last summer, I bought:

Dino Expo Raynos, MISB

Blade Liger Black Impact, MISB

Transformers Armada Red Alert, Ver.1, MISB

Transformers Energon Hotshot, MISB

And I built and played with them all. Now, I got more Zoids and Transformers last summer, but they weren't MISB and the ones I listed were the super-rare ones. The limited runs or the few-for-sales.

I agree with Cyclone on this one: Why buy it if you never use it?

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This is a great topic, I for one open everything unless I know something is in high demand (Marvel Legends). I also was forced to move due to my job and had to literally give away and sell over 4000 toys. This made me put a lot into perspective, first of all I realized paying for a storage unit to house toys I will never play with or display again was obviously just insanity. Second I still love this hobby and will always collect these items but I have decided to limit my collection to just Macross 1/60s, modern aircraft models in 1/72 and the occasional Star Wars vehicle. I believe it would not be a bad idea to only produce fighter/battroid/gerwalk mode valks because I only display my valks in fighter mode, heck I have never transformed any of them except my Ozma and 1 v.1 Yammy to fit the GPB armor on. I also think that this will also decrease the price on them which would put them into higher demand B))

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sharky and Vifam7, you both bring up a point I only lightly touched on earlier...and I'm glad you did. Collecting as a form of investment. I'm 36 years old and, as a kid, had ALL of the original 12 Star Wars figures. I saw the value of a lot of original Kenner SW merchandise skyrocket to insane levels during the 80s...and some people became independently wealthy by selling off their collections for exhorbitant prices. But years later, when Hasbro began rereleasing items like the Millenium Falcon and the AT-AT with updated electronics, the value of the older stuff began leveling off and eventually depreciating altogether. Hell, back in 2004, I got an original Death Star playset complete with intact cardboard walls for $50 shipped off of eBay...while it went for nearly $1200 at one point.

Macross toys seem to follow these same trends. The Version 1 1/60 Valkyries are dropping in price as collectors move to the newer Version 2s; the original WAVE SDF-1 was abandoned by collectors in favor of the "movie paint scheme" version, leaving the original to drop in price; the newer VF-11 will undoubtedly cause the same to happen to the original. Collecting for the sake of getting filthy-stinking rich off of it at some point in the future is becoming more and more difficult to do, considering that we are now in the age of the "remake" or "reboot." When an "anniversary" of a given series or movie rolls around, the market is flooded yet again with tons of new merchandise, which is nearly always an improvement over the older versions of said merchandise. Honestly, I can't see selling off any of the current Macross stuff (be it Yamato, WAVE, Bandai or otherwise) and it allowing me to retire at 40, with a nice nest egg to boot.

Is this how some collectors are viewing their collections, as far as investing in them?

Edited by Cyclone Trooper
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allowing me to retire at 40, with a nice nest egg to boot.

Is this how some collectors are viewing their collections, as far as investing in them?

sometimes its not about reselling in the distant future but how cool you kept your stuff MISB for 20 years or so

Edited by Vegas
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And that's why the non transforming high end models are for. I like transforming toys no matter how high end. I don't play with them (much) but being able to change them whenever I choose or whenever I am bored is the best relaxing technique for me.

Couldn't have said it better! There's no way I would pay for a static figure. I like to display my stuff and change the configuration from time to time. My wife thinks I'm crazy how I can sit in my office and just gawk my Valks. I'm still as amazed today by them as I was when I was first introduced them in January 2008!

I buy toys for my enjoyment and that enjoyment comes from playing with them

well im one of the group that open and play their toys.... but having so many of them i dont play all of them, there are some that i open just to display and some i just photograph them. they all transform the same way right? so why bother transforming each and one of them?

i'm w/ these guys... what's the point if you won't have even a li'l bit of fun w/ them... that's pretty much the definition of "toy"... and most of the people who can appreciate your collection (at least for Macross stuff) are on these boards and they will never actually see your collection in person, only in the pics you'll post... and it's not really that fun to post pics of boxes... :p

i also find it more enjoyable if it's transformable... it's been a while since i've handled my revo or gnu valks coz i find it more enjoyable if it transforms aside from being posable...

i also have a couple that i "abuse" but most are in a glass display cab w/c i gawk at... but i do change their poses from time to time whenever i feel like it... ^_^

i say invest in a nice display cab or shelves... to help keep you sane! :p:)

Edited by m0n5t3r
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@ eugimon... LOL at the pic. Toys are out to play, but HP box in the background states printer MISB... jking.

I guess I'm mostly the first and third group. Not to buy two just to keep one and sell the other, but one to play with and when I get the space the other is going in my display case. I find it quite difficult to allocate the time to know exactly what products will actually appreciate over time and when to sell them off. If that were the case I would say that investing in the stock market would be the better choice.

For some reason the quote out of the movie the 40 Year Old Virgin came into mind: "is it true that if you don't use it, you lose it?" LOL.

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Well in my case, I pick up the box at customs, go where my car is parked and there, I free the valk :lol:

Few things can compare to the fragrance/scent of a newly openned valkyrie!!!

ooh, i've done that before too... couldn't wait to get home... even had the valk on my lap ( :blink: not the first thing i've had on my lap... :lol: ) while driving... ^_^

Edited by m0n5t3r
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I take my Yamatos out of the box and swoosh them around a bit, but I rarely transform them and instead tend to display them for lengthy periods of time in fighter mode. While I certainly wouldn't mind having the option to buy high quality fighter-only toys, I think that the ability to perfectly and sensibly transform gives my collectibles a charm and uniqueness that isn't matched by other toys or series. Macross just isnt macross without its style of transformations, and the same goes for the toy. Even if I'll never transform them, the idea that my toy CAN transform is a huge plus worth paying for.

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I keep my boxes for moving purposes really. I tend to move around every couple of years or so and just makes things very easy. I would like to play with my stuff more but with the girlfriend moving in I don't need to freak her out more than my office already does.

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Keeping the boxes for moving purposes is understandable...and completely utilitarian. That's something I can relate to.

Kanedaestes, you bring up another thing collectors of all stripes contend with: the wife/girlfriend. This creature is usually the ultimate nemesis or ultimate ally to a collector. All in all, I've been lucky to have a wife who has been (for the most part) completely supportive of my collecting. I've strictly limited myself to Macross, UC-era Gundam, and a few items from Original Trilogy Star Wars as far as collecting goes...so the wife doesn't get too concerned about what I bring into the house, as long as her, the kids, and bills come before the latest Valkyrie toy. But I've known of hardcore collectors who have been stopped dead in their tracks once a girlfriend becomes part of the equation. These women will usually view collecting (and by extension, the collector himself) as childish and financially wasteful. These are the poor souls who you sometimes see on forums like this that are suddenly selling $1000s worth of their collections "*because they're moving" or "to free up room in their house" or some other excuse. But whatever the excuse may be, a significant other is usually at the heart of the decision. :D Not ALL wives/girlfriends are like that...but...lol

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No matter what type of collector you are, its not like you can take them with you when you die anyways. That is why I buy two of each. One to play and the other to the grave with me. Which I think is a bigger challenge than finding a AFA 100 quality.

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Oh my girl doesn't mind that I buy stuff, she completely supports me having hobbies in all, just a room full of transforming toys from all walks belonging to a 28 year old man kind of freaks her out a bit. Interestingly enough she help me reorganize my room so that I can properly show off my stuff. She told me I wasn't really showcasing my stuff and draw up designs show how to do just that for when I have people over to show off too. She's a Disney girl too, I am trying to convince her to show her stuff as well so I don't feel so weird. Now her stuff is the type of stuff you keep in boxes and never take out. Disney stuff is worth a lot.

As far as the collecting aspect goes for toys, right now most toys we buy are not rare or in low production so their prices aren't going anywhere, except for the version 1 1/48 Low Viz. Also I feel that collecting has changed a lot in more recent years so now we have more people collecting and buying toys, which in the long run won't actually increase the value of these toys because everyone has them. We need more rare stuff. My Marvel Legends figures are one of the very few things still in packages. Not for any collecting value, but just the fact they are action figures and I don't find as much joy in opening those as I do transforming toys.

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another thing about keeping something MISB... i'm guessing it comes from people wanting to have something they feel is "perfect"/untouched, but with all the defective stuff (from diff toy makers) we keep hearing about, how can one be sure that their's is not defective, esp. if it comes in a box w/o a window display???

...my wife doesn't really mind me buying these toys as long as i don't go "shopaholic crazy" or impulsive and pay the bills first... ^_^

EDIT - the 3rd group should be renamed - "Collectors who want their toys and eat it too..." :p

Edited by m0n5t3r
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I take my Yamatos out of the box and swoosh them around a bit, but I rarely transform them and instead tend to display them for lengthy periods of time in fighter mode. While I certainly wouldn't mind having the option to buy high quality fighter-only toys, I think that the ability to perfectly and sensibly transform gives my collectibles a charm and uniqueness that isn't matched by other toys or series. Macross just isnt macross without its style of transformations, and the same goes for the toy. Even if I'll never transform them, the idea that my toy CAN transform is a huge plus worth paying for.

I totally agree. It's just not the same when a VF can't transform. I also don't transform my valks very often, but it just feels complete with it having the ability to do so. I find it far more impressive and marvel at the engineering that has gone into a valk that can go from a fighter mode, that has nary a hint of robot parts and truly looks like a modern fighter, to a pretty awesome looking robot. All the neat things like the hidden heatshields, cockpit seats that turn for the different modes, and other twists and gimmicks that are used in getting it to go from one mode to the next are amazing. I mean, how many people have thought the heatshield for the coming VF-11B was a really awesome implementation and thought the toy was all the more cooler for it? To me, stuff like that adds a lot to the toy that things like the hasegawa models just don't compare to.

Sure, those models look great, but if you look at them, they take liberties with the design to try to make the fighter or battroid look better because it doesn't have to transform and to me, it's not as impressive because they don't have to worry about the transformation process and having to have all the parts compatible between modes.

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Interesting topic.

I mostly fall into the third category, the 'buy-one-get-one' group, minus the flooding ebay, as I seldom sell anything on ebay.

Although due to lack of storage and display space and also heavy commitments on my finances, such as paying off my mortgage and sending my kid to an expensive private school, I'm trying to force myself to join the first group and only buy one of each item to save money.

So far this is meeting with mixed results. For some items like the Yamato 1/60 V2 VF-1, I've been pretty good and only bought one of each. But for must-have items like the Yamato 1/60 VF-11B, I'll still definitely buy 2.

My reason for buying a second, is not for investment. I have no plan to ever sell them. Instead, it's more of an OCD thing as I'm paranoid/anal about my play/display toys breaking, so the reason I buy a second is so I have a spare, if the first one ever breaks beyond repair. A secondary reason is to possibly also pass them onto my son at some date in the far future.

Graham

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I don't fall into those 3 cathegories any more, i used to be a buy oen-get one collector when i still collected transformers RID toys, but i now am almost TF free (sold most).

Now i tend to buy what i like and sometimes buy 2 if i really like the figure in it's packaging, i usually trow out the packaging of what i open if it's not durably reusable or cool looking. Japanse packaging is most of the time reussable(macross yamato's, or saint seiya myth cloths for example), so i keep those, but american toys are usually packed in what i call "throw away" packaging, so they are opened and the packaging directly dumped (for example gijoe 25th anni vehicules).

Edited by dreadnought
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I'm an odd variant of the third group. I only buy one of what I want. I open it and play with it. I definitely do not treat my toys as if they were museum pieces, though I do treat them well enough that I have not a single broken Yamato.

On the other hand, I'm a bit OCD about keeping all the boxes. When it comes time to move, out comes the boxes and everything goes back in like some crazy all-Macross reverse-Christmas.

Like I said, I don't buy doubles. Also, I've no intent ever to sell a single piece of my collection. Except maybe my old 1/55 Bandai reissues to make room for Yamato toys, and more of Bandai's Frontier toys. And my old Yamato 1/60 Elintseeker and Super-O to make room for the new ones. I'm sure those will go at a loss despite their condition, but...well...the new ones look so much nicer.

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Great topic. I'm a buy one of each for sure because they seem just too darn expensive to get more than that.

I do remove them from the packaging but the packing gets saved and the decals are not applied.

Not applying the decals serves two purposes; the future sell-ability, but also I think decals on these high end toys look too shiny and sloppy and detract from the clean anime look.

I'm particular and if one corner of one sticker was coming up it would bug me every time I looked at it.

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