So I hit the toy show up this weekend... Here's my little recapping of it.
-Showed up around 9 and I have to say it was really hot in the center... From what I was told the morons that run the Expo Mart wouldn't turn the AC on till 8:00 which is well after people had lined up, and just when they started to let folks in for the early buyer event... I got there at 9:00 and felt it was still toasty in there and that's just BS. I hope the event people got pissed off enough to say something.
-Right off the bat I ran into my buddy Bill from the local Pittsburgh collecting group (and PSWCS), and we wandered around the rows together as he'd already been through it once. It was cool to have a buddy to wander around with, plus he sees things I always would miss.
-Immediately I saw Endor Wave, HFG, Sandtroopers, Georgetrooper, and other odds and ends from this year with prices as over-inflated as the egos I see from some of the more condescending people in this hobby in general... It was staggering. George Trooper was commanding nothing short of $50, which if it was all you wanted it's what you'd pay, but yowza that's a lot for one easily obtainable figure.
-HFG packs were well over the $50 mark as well... Disappointing (at that time) because I had yet to see one and needed one for myself but also my gf's son for his birthday... This is why I hate prick scalpers irregardless of how useless it is to bemoan those morons. When you spend $25 on a kid for his birthday and these dickless morons buy it all up and charge $50, you're really in a tight spot within this hobby.
-I noticed that stuff from 6, 7, 8 years ago or more was often times marked up... Anyone remember ASP-7? I do, he's one of my favorite POTF2 figures probably and I buy extras routinely... He went from not being able to be given away for $2 a piece at the show to a whopping $8 asking price simply because Star Wars had a good year last year... Of course, he wasn't selling, but man did I mention how I hate the guys selling stuff at the show sometimes?
-Deals could be had though! Fear not... I made my first purchase in the 2nd aisle when I noticed there was an $18 Evolutions Clonetrooper (Yellow) set sitting there... The guy I bought it off of is someone I've dealt with before and who has attempted to rip me off in the past, so I looked the set over closely. $18's well under retail for me though and it was good so I grabbed it happily. "Our first catch of the day".
-Wandering around I ran into 2 people with overpowering body odor... It happens every time at this show.
-Saw a stand selling stuff at overinflated prices but the guy did have some Saga for $5. Namely AT-AT Drivers and Sun Fac's, which I bought one of each of. I had to watch my penny's though.
-At the last aisle I saw 2 of the coolest things ever and got one of them... One guy had a booth and had original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back wall paper. The SW paper was used but removed and in good enough shape to be re-used. The ESB Paper was still on its roll. The guy wanted $100 for each which probably in the grand scheme wasn't horrible and he would've negotiated I think... The other thing I couldn't pass up though. Another table had a sealed box of Puffs Tissues from 1980. The box is all decorated in Ralph McQuarrie Art of Luke/Vader's duel on Bespin. It's freaking great and was $12... It's too weird not to have, so I bought it and now it's one of my proud weird ass things in my collection. I love it because it's something that strikes me as uncanny to still be in good shape/sealed and it's also covered in McQuarrie Art which I am a huge fan of.
-The autograph people on hand were: The Orbitz gum chick (the one that goes "fabulous!" with the nice white teeth). She was a nice lady but nobody was looking for her autograph it seemed. Then there was Jaws from the James Bond films... I felt bad for him because he is obviously in pain from his size and things, and rides a scooter around. He was the nicest guy in the building though, and would have conversation even if you weren't buying an autograph. The guy seemed great, honestly so that was really cool I thought.
Then separate of them, and arriving later in the morning, Billy Dee Williams was there in the back of the convention center... The 501st guys on-hand gave you a ticket to wait in line actually, and they'd call like ticket #1 to 50 to go wait in line, then 50 to 100, 100 to 150, etc., etc.... The line to see Billy Dee was slow but it steadily moved.
I saw a number of people seemingly force him to shake their hand, or put their arm around him or whatnot... I found that to be a little overbearing towards him. I also noticed that they were having you fill out a piece of paper of what you'd like him to write on your autograph for you, and I watched as people practically wrote out paragraphs for him. I thought that too was ignorant irregardless of what you were paying.
I just had him sign it to me since I figured this is the only chance for me to nab Williams' autograph. I told him it was nice to meet him and he looked at me shocked as if I was the only one to be cordial to him all day and said it was nice to meet me as well and even referred to me by name... That shocked me equally and I really felt he was a nice guy, but that people sort of thought they could treat him like an exhibit instead of a human and it disgruntled him a bit. I mean I saw guys with 40's of Colt .45 in brown bags that they were going to have him autograph and I don't think that's a particularly good way to be friendly with the guy.
Anyway, he seemed cool to me and while the autograph was expensive ($30, yikes), I don't buy many auto's so this was just one of the few I'd wanted. I got it and moved along.
So the show overall... I didn't buy much at this show. It was as big as ever but I found there to be too many scheisters this time. People have an exagerrated sense of what Star Wars is worth right now and so I noticed a lot of overpriced old crap, some even with the clearance tags still on it, and so I really didn't look hard for the usual bargains like $2 loose figures and things. They had some stuff here and there but a lot of it was now overpriced so I bailed with minor buying.
Ironically though on the way home I hit some stores and found Hunt for Grievous finally for myself and my gf's son. Got it out of the way but at a hefty cost. Buy now though rather than regret it later.
I of course spent time with the local collectors at John Harvard's Brew House afterwards. Had some beer and a little soup before the hot ride home. Always good to see my friends like Bill, Bob (And his lady friend), Dave, Mike, MikeE, Jason, Tronzo and the gang...
It'd be great if the show got big enough to, at some point, open both wings of the Expo Mart up... more autographs and things. To be perfectly honest I think Comic-Con and the Pittsburgh Toy Show need to unite because separated I have pretty much ruled out going to the Comic-Con at this stage of the game (You pay and arm and a leg just to get in, and then its Star Warsy stuff is highly limited compared to past years). If it were a true Toy Show attached to it like other Comic-Cons have become though I'd likely be more inclined to go...
Either way though that's neither here nor there.
Anyway I think the show was good... Oh, and there was another thing. The one bigtime vintage collector (he's part of the OSWCC though I don't know him well myself) had a Vintage carded Obi-Wan Double Telescoping Lightsaber figure on-hand at the show. There was also a seller with what he said was an original Rocket Firing L-Slot Fett Proto... The Fett I had a hard time verifying its authenticity but I'm not Rocket Fett expert either as it's something I just haven't ever even had on my radar.
The DT Ben I can definitely say is a pristine authentic example and it's gorgeous. If you're a vinty guy it's a thing to behold looking at that piece. I heard rumor that it was offered to be bought at the show as well, for $25k... Not sure if that panned out or not. The guy with it was to have a Vader too but I guess he didn't bring it? Too bad, it would've been cool seeing perhaps all 3 double telescoping saber figures together at one time as I believe he has a Luke too carded.
Cool stuff for sure. I just hope modern prices go back in the toilet soon so I can go back to buying random crap figures for cheap like usual. I always loved my haul of a bag full of figures for dioramas and stuff that I paid like $50 total for, haha.