I see a lot of people coming in and leaving this hobby on and off. Collecting buddies suddenly tells me they are tired of this hobby and have decided to move on to other collection.
That leads me to a thought. What started them in this hobby could be what prompted them to leave it and start another. So what makes them think that by collecting other stuffs, they will not get sick of it one day and decided to call it a day and move on to another newer stuffs to collect?
What makes me stay in this hobby for more then 6 years now? After some thinking, I came out with this little roadmap of collecting stages specific to 1/6 only.
Stage 1 - New Collector's phase
Buy boxsets off the shelves, open them up and display as it is.
Stage 2 - All possibilities phase
Starts to do kitbash between gear from different box figs they have. This phase is the most exhilirating because the collector will know that their kitbash is the one and only unique figure only he himself had.
Online forums will play a big part here when the posted picture of his unique bash receives good feedbacks from fellow collectors. Favourable feedbacks means approval and approval from the same kind () speaks more then anything else
Stage 3 - Kitbash with better quality gear
Collectors moved on to this stage when off the box parts are no longer state of the art or no longer unique enough. They start to buy "designer 1/6" stuffs ie ACE, TS, other cottage industry's custom parts (ie Newline). Pays big bucks to get a bigger bang out of their kitbash.
Stage 4 - Self modification of existing parts and Self made simple parts.
Some collectors wanted to do a bash with accuracy. But though big the 1/6 world is, many parts are not made by any manufacturer ever. They started to make their own parts... simple parts like wrist bands, change rubber straps to nylon ones, weather (and I mean proper weathering) their gear etc, weapon modifications. Anything that requires secondary work on off-the-shelf parts.
Stage 5 - Get your 1/6 to behave like you
We are entering into an advance stage. factory churned headsculpts no longer satisfy the taste of individual. It does not depict / reflect the mood of the bash you want to do. Add moustache, repaint the sculpt to have an almost life like features, the eyes can deliver messages. Rework the body so that it can achieve a much human like pose.
Apart from these stages, some other factors also serves to help a collector maintain this hobby for a long time to come :
Factor 1 - Most of the collectors that stayed in this hobby longer then the others are mostly with plastic modelling background. Those 1/35 scale military modelling for example. All that modelling skills will also come in handy for the bigger scale 1/6 hobby.
Factor 2 - They have a deep interest in Military history. Keen eye and interest in Military gear. What gear was used in which era and what is not. Going out for trying to achieve accuracy with this knowledge on their 1/6 hobby.
Factor 3 - Will not stinge on buying book for reference. Many a times, collectors always have a dilemma on rather spending the money on figures then on reference books. I should say saving pictures on your PC and having a reference book on hand is not the same.
Factor 4 - Have a creative mind and keen sense that are able to create beautiful picture presentation of their bashes. Have a good looking kitbash that takes up 10hrs of your time to complete. Couple with a good picture presentation, the satisfaction is immense.
Factor 5 - Recognition from fellow collectors.
Most of the collecting buddies I knew fell out of the game on Stage 2 or 3. And they are at least missing 3 of the factors listed. Many quote that they have ran out of space. Space may be a constraint in our tiny country but I hardly think that can contribute one's loss of love for a hobby. You can stop/slow down the buying and start the "upgrading" of existing figures rather then to end the hobby totally. Is this hobby all about buying, buying, buying??
I only knew a handful of guys in Singapore that had gone on beyond stage 4. For me, I am sitting on Stage 4 and trying to break into Stage 5 now. It has taken me 6 years to come here. I have factors 1 - 3 and are working on 4. As for Factor 5, it is up to my peers to judge
I love this hobby even after these years. I do not deny at times, I have lost some of the interest in it and got sidetracked somewhere for awhile. But I always comes back. I think 1/6 will always be my 1st love - hobby wise hehe - and there will sure be many good years ahead.
My take and 2 cents on the 1/6 hobby.