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Hey my fellow Plastic Addicts.  Here are some guides in how to begin your collection. While these will be focusing on Marvel Legends, these can be used for most action figure line, like DC, Transformers and even GI Joes.

To begin we will answer a question that is asked in almost every forum, on Reddit and on social media. “Hi, I have started collecting. I need help getting starting out.” Well, I have a method that will help you out. Now there are plenty of other methods but I have advised a good number of people and they have always come back and thank me as they found it easy for them to use. It’s not a fool proof method but it works.

Before we get onto the method, a few things that every newcomers should know.

  • Get only what you can afford. Starting out you may feel like you may have an unlimited budget and can get everything. You can’t. This hobby can be very expensive. Older figure have gone up in price and some can goes for hundreds. So when you are starting out, just pick stuff you can afford.
  • Do not worry about completing waves or BAF. Many people will tell you to get the full latest wave, especially a vintage wave. While that is a nice idea, what if there is a figure your didn’t want. That is money wasted. So starting out just cherry pick the figure you want. As for BAF, there is no need to rush with them.

With that out of the way, let’s get onto the method.

1. Pick a character
Simplest way to start out collecting is to just pick your favourite character. Let me say that again. Your. Favourite. Character. Some will say “You need to start with Spider-man, Wolverine, Punisher, X-men….” No. It doesn’t matter who you pick. It could be Gambit. It could be Scarlet Spider. Beast, Scarlet Witch, Wonder Man, Cyclops, Professor X. It does not matter who you pick as long as it’s some one you love. It’s your collection. Your Choice.

Now before we get onto the next part there are 2 other parts after you pick your favourite character you can go for. If you are an one and done collector (you get the figure you want for him/her, and move on), then you can skip these extra parts.

1.A. Try and fill his wardrobe
If you pick a character, you may want to filled out his costume wardrobe. While I would recommend getting ones you want or that are essential to that character., there are some collectors who have to a figure for every costume that that character wore. Using my favourite character as a example, I want every costume that Spider-man wore. Yes I was event excited for the Negative Zone costume coming out, though it was fairly cheap looking.

If you are wondering where to find out what has been made, just click on any of the characters pages.

1.B. Look for alternate universe characters
If you do or do not complete the wardrobe, then you may want to gather some alternate universe of the character of your choice. If I was to use Spider-man again, you may want to build the Spider-verse, so you will need to gather characters that have been made like Spider-UK, Spider-Punk, All the Spider-woman and yes even the pig. But don’t go too have if you can as some characters like Spider-man, Wolverine or Iron Man have too many alternates to afford.

2. Collect that characters’ allies or enemies.
Once you are done with that single character, then the next step you need to do is start gathering his allies or enemies. Allies are a bit harder to do as they could involve character from other teams, (IE getting a Cap for an Iron Man collection is not recommend yet) I recommend getting the enemies more. Now starting off you should only get the main allies and enemies. Starting off don’t go over board. Just get the characters you think of when you think of that character.

If you are satisfied that you have gotten the main bulk of this, only then should you start gathering lesser know characters connected to that character. You could even begin expanding it to other franchises that have fought against or with the hero/villain. For example, Dr. Doom is considered a F4 villain but he can also be considered a Iron Man, Dr. Strange and yes even the Webhead.

3. Go back to step 1
Once you are satisfied that you have gotten the wardrobe, allies and villains you want for that character, then the best thing to do is to go back to step one and pick out your next favourite character and go through the steps again. Once you are done with that, do it again. And again and again. Eventually not only will you expand your collection, but you choices will begin to shrink. You will find that figure you got for one character will have already being acquired for the next, making you lists of allies and villains much smaller. Not only that you’ll find that you are starting to build and complete teams, like the Avengers or X-men. This includes smaller teams like the New Warriors.

However, once you got enough in your collection, then:

4. Decide what type of collector you want to be.
This is the last thing cause you never know what type of collector you want to be. While it may be easy to say you will collect everything, life and money gets in the way. You may also decide “I’m not going to get all of these. Go only going to get these.” Eventually you are going to have to decide where your focus should be. Are you going to be a nit-picker or a completist? Are going to focus on one character/team or are you just going to get any character you want? Are you going strictly comics or want to focus on the MCU? Classics characters or Modern character? There are various types of collectors and I will go through them in a later post but for the time being, if you are starting out you will need to decide at some point.

Well that is the method I recommend doing when starting out collecting and works for most collections, not just Marvel Legends. Like I said, there are dozen of methods out there. the “Get the latest wave and work your way back” (or Visa versa) is one but I don’t recommend for most new collectors. If you know of a different method, please post it below.  Let me know what you think of it and what else would you say for this method.

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This is all really sound advice. I learned a lot of this the hard way. I started with Captain America and a lot of his looks which was a good beginning but then I started buying a little of everything Legends, even characters I wasn't into. I finally wised up and started buying only Avengers from the years and story archs I loved. Saved me a ton of space and money. Excellent advice in this write up. Nice work!

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I set a monetary limit that I follow. Over the years of collecting I've rarely had to adjust it. Also, I know when to walk away. That Kingpin BAF is a good example- BAFs are not the thing that gets me to buy a wave, but I really wanted that one. However I just could not find any joy in most of the figures (except Puma) needed to collect all the Kingpin's parts. So I said, that's just gonna be one I don't have. It just isn't worth the price.

Fortunately in this case, Hasbro wound up re-releasing Kingpin as a single figure, and this time in his comic accurate look, so my obstinance paid off.

As far as completionism goes...particularly for certain groups, like the Avengers or the X-Men, you're never gonna be "complete" as they keep adding members. What I do is concentrate on certain periods that really appeal to me (I'm loving the 70s Avengers line up for example- and until I get Mantis, Moondragon, Yellowjacket and a decent Wonder Man, I'm not done). I feel pretty good about setting and sticking to my limit, also knowing I dont have to have every single figure, and that I can say "no" if I dont care for the version, sculpt, etc. 

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Yep, I needed this advice 20 years ago. All the mistakes I've made over the years, especially regarding the BAF's. I was the opposite of Atlantis, I could not restrain or be patient when it came to the KIngpin BAF. I just had to have it so I bought the whole wave. Then when the single figure came and looked better I was stuck with the BAF version. And probably many other waves too. Take your time and learn to cherry pick in some cases. And keep in mind price drops on certain characters and versions you may want. I admit it's hit and miss but you might just get lucky in some cases. Oh and Atlantis if you ever get tired of your version of Kingpin and want the BAF we can talk about a trade, LOL.

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8 hours ago, Atlantis said:

.What I do is concentrate on certain periods that really appeal to me (I'm loving the 70s Avengers line up for example- and until I get Mantis, Moondragon, Yellowjacket and a decent Wonder Man, I'm not done). I feel pretty good about setting and sticking to my limit, also knowing I dont have to have every single figure, and that I can say "no" if I dont care for the version, sculpt, etc. 

Great minds think alike. The 70s/80s Avengers (East Coast only) and their villains are my limitation. I'm waiting on that same list of figures for our heroes and would add a better Hercules in there. We need his classic look revisited.

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This all seems like good advice, but I don't really think there's a one-size-fits-all method of collecting. I knew from day one the plan was to be an X-Men completionist, and I started with the widely available characters I liked best (prioritizing popular characters I knew would quickly go up in price), moved on to the bargain-bin characters to flesh things out quickly, and finally used patience and leveraging of poor seller decisions to maneuver my way into older, more expensive figures on eBay for very low prices (effectively, anyway), often essentially free, and occasionally at a profit.

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My collection began as Avengers only, any one named an Avenger was in my sites. 

Then expanded to the MCU films. 

Then Hasbro started dropping works of art like the Kingpin and Ghost Rider and I could not resist. Or awesome box sets like the Alpha Flight set.

ive reigned in my spending and am back to the Avengers and the occasional figure that strikes my fancy. 

My overall attitude towards collecting is get what makes you happy while staying within your budgets.. luckily for me I’ve been able to maintain a nice balance..

 

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My personal method to collecting Legends is fairly simple.

I buy the version of a character that I most identify with or that I'm most familiar with (i.e. 90s X-Men, and general classic versions), once I have my preferred version of a character then I don't purchase another version. Because I have the Apocalypse wave Wolverine, I didn't buy the X-Force one and etc.

If there's a Wolverine in a wave for a BAF that I want to collect, then I'll try to find his BAF piece loose on Ebay or Dorkside or at some of my local shops.

In my view, I don't need an X-Force Wolverine because it isn't my ideal version of the character (it's a cool look and all) but it could be someone else's perfect version of Wolvie and I don't want to rob them of that.

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2 hours ago, Dabboi said:

My personal method to collecting Legends is fairly simple.

I buy the version of a character that I most identify with or that I'm most familiar with (i.e. 90s X-Men, and general classic versions), once I have my preferred version of a character then I don't purchase another version. Because I have the Apocalypse wave Wolverine, I didn't buy the X-Force one and etc.

If there's a Wolverine in a wave for a BAF that I want to collect, then I'll try to find his BAF piece loose on Ebay or Dorkside or at some of my local shops.

In my view, I don't need an X-Force Wolverine because it isn't my ideal version of the character (it's a cool look and all) but it could be someone else's perfect version of Wolvie and I don't want to rob them of that.

I have a similar mindset, for example I have the Vintage Wolverine and Cyclops which are the costumes I like so I don't need anymore, useless it is something really different like the AOA version

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