Welcome to the seventh installment of our regular segment, where a vintage collector is given 10 short questions to answer. The same questions will be given to the next collector appearing on the segment.
This episode is huge! Not only is it a double-header, but the featured collectors are a couple! I know there are a few collector couples doing the rounds but it’s not something you see every day. I’m thrilled they agreed to appear on the blog.
So who are the lucky couple? Clio is a collector who I’ve previously bumped into on Rebelscum and was actually one of the members to respond to my first ever thread on that forum. She’s 28 and works as a ‘Environmental Geoscientist’ in Calgary, Canada and when she’s not collecting vintage Star Wars she’s neck deep in her other hobbies – Kenner SuperPowers, Wonder Woman, hockey and cake decorating. Yep pretty much the perfect woman.
Clio’s boyfriend Noel is 32 and works as a ‘Geotechnical Engineering Technologist’ (I had to google both of their jobs!) Noel’s into table hockey, classic Mega Man video games (and a lot of other video games), strange pets, Dr Who, NHL and collects hockey jerseys. You can check out more about Noel on his website:
Considering this is a special episode I thought I’d let Clio talk us through how her and Noel met. Take it away Clio!
“We met three and a half years ago, mostly due to our shared work in the field of
geosciences and our love of hockey. I mostly collected Wonder Woman, fossils and some Royal Doulton figurines, I knew nothing about vintage Star Wars, I didn’t even know it existed. The first time I went to Noel’s apartment, he showed me his collection. He had an entire wall of MOCs, all neatly hung, and then a glass case with some loose figures, ships, and play sets. It was a pretty impressive collection and he had amassed it in less than four years. For the first year of our relationship, I just listened to him and watched him make deals and learned how it all worked. The passion Noel had for his collection and the community was infectious and I wanted to be a part of it so I picked up my first piece about a year after we started dating. Noel’s goal was to have one of every figure MOC, mine was to get as many bad guys, especially Snowtroopers, as possible. We don’t go to any conventions or anything like that, mostly to toy and collectible shows that we find in and around the city. As our collections progressed, we both began shifting to Canadian MOCs. Noel began replacing his American MOCs with Canadian ones and I focused less on Snowtroopers and more on getting the bad guys I liked on Canadian cards (still as many as possible) and developed a love for Hoth Leia.
Six months ago, we packed up our collections, bought a house and moved to Calgary together. We now have one collection room that houses all of our things together. The room is probably 85% vintage Star Wars (the rest is Mega Man, Wonder Woman, and my Super Powers collection). Noel’s MOCs cover the walls and fill up the cabinets and shelves, his loose figures stand in long wall-mounted cases, my case of a Super Powers/Star Wars loose mix hangs below. I have a small corner dedicated to my MOCs, but since the Toy Toni scandal I have put my collection on ice and have been selling off pieces rather than acquiring them, but I always have my eye out for some Canadian baddies and Hoth Leia MOCs. Noel also introduced me to Kenner’s Super Powers line, and I’m focusing on them a bit more these days. I still love vintage Star Wars, but acquiring them isn’t a priority for me right now. Noel’s collection is now nearly completely Canadian, and he’s almost got all the loose figures as well. We would love to get to know some more collectors, so if you’re ever in Calgary, get in touch!”
Thanks for that Clio now to the ten questions!
1. How long have you been collecting?
NOEL: 1989 to 1996, 2007 to present
CLIO: 2012 to present
2. What do you collect?
NOEL: Canadian MOCs
CLIO: Canadian MOCs, “bad guys” (Snowtroopers, Stormtroopers, AT-AT Drivers, TIE Pilots, and Biker Scouts), Hoth Leia
VSWC: Check out a selection of their fantastic collection.
3. What’s your grail?
NOEL: That I own: MOC wind up R2-D2. That I want: a Canadian multi-pack.
CLIO: That I own = GDE Stormtrooper, That I want: Meccano Snowtrooper MOC
4. What collectors inspire you?
NOEL: Scott MacDonald got my collecting started again.
CLIO: Actually, Noel inspires me. He’s very detailed and meticulous. Everything I know about Star Wars collectibles, I learned from Noel! I also admire those collectors who are humble and collect what they love, no matter the flack they get from anyone.
5. What is your most embarrassing moment as a collector?
NOEL: Forgot my wallet at the booth at a Toronto Toy show then spotted a loose Imperial Gunner in a $3 bin. Ran back to get my cash, but by the time I got back to the booth selling the Gunner, someone was buying it. I also turned down a case (like 24 MOC) of UZAY figures in the early 90s. Guy was selling them for $20 each (Blue Stars were $40). I bought a 12” IG-88 instead. (I still have the IG-88).
CLIO: My most embarrassing moment was when I had bought Noel a MOC for his birthday that he really wanted. We happened to be in a local vintage toy shop that had the exact same MOC and Noel was determined to buy it. I did everything I could to try and convince him not to buy it and when he wouldn’t back down I had to tell him that I’d already bought it for him. I was bummed! It was disappointing for sure, but more embarrassing that we were having these very serious, geeky discussions as to why Noel shouldn’t buy a MOC in public and I got to feel like that annoying, nagging girlfriend.
6. What is your favourite Star Wars film?
NOEL: Star Wars – A New Hope.
CLIO: The Empire Strikes Back
7. What would you change about the collecting community?
NOEL: Get rid of scammers, fakes and repros.They are all bad for the hobby, and waste my time during online searches.
CLIO: More female collectors so I can geek out with other ladies!
8. Forums or Facebook groups?
NOEL: If you want good answers without a bunch of keyboard ninjas hijacking your threads then forums. Sales are much better on Forums too. Facebook is full of flakes who never come through on deals. If you want to show off your collection for immediate applause (I do sometimes) then Facebook. Facebook has an extremely short memory too. I could showcase my Sears Vaccuform figures every week and have to explain to people what they are each time.
CLIO: Both have their advantages and drawbacks. I definitely prefer the forums and use that as my major source of information and prefer to sell there as I have had more success on the forums than Facebook. If I just want to see awesome pictures of collections and share some, or connect on a more personal level, then I’ll go to Facebook.
VSWC: I’m in awe every time I see these Sears vaccuform figures.
9. What Star Wars character do you most resemble?
NOEL: Luke when my hair is long, Imperial Commander when I wear a hat, Madine when I’ve been in the oil fields unshaven for too long.
CLIO: When I’ve been caught in the rain/early morning: Chewbacca. When I’m going out in Canada in the summer: Hoth Leia. When I’m going out in Canada in the winter: Snowtrooper.
10. Is there one thing that collectors may not know about you?
NOEL: I’m a very underrated collector. I’m 32, but have been collecting since I was in grade 2. I’ve seen it all in this hobby, and know a lot. I do get annoyed when noobs don’t do any research and post easy questions, then other noobs post wrong answers.
CLIO: I am not a completest at all, even when I have a focus. I really only collect the pieces I really, really like and don’t care if I have one example of everything. Also, after the ToyToni scandal, I took a very long break from collecting and still have yet to purchase a new piece because I’m so put off by the whole thing. I’ve been focusing on my Super Powers and Wonder Woman collections.
VSWC:Well thanks to both of you for coming onto the blog. It was a real pleasure having such a great couple here and great to get to know a little bit more about you both. Good luck in your collecting and Clio I hope Toy Toni doesn’t permanently dampen your collecting experience. I myself was stung twice by him and it took some time to recover but now I’m as happy collecting as I ever have been!