Figures: the Panel

If you have any feedback about what I’m writing below, please leave a comment. I am curious as to if this is a concept worth exploring in a panel format (at say, a convention). It’s not like I’m running a panel or anything (yet), but it always sort of sat somewhere in my mind after listening to a couple of them last year and the year before.

If I stole all of Happy Soda’s choice shots and put it on a nice slideshow and ran it for 30 minutes, would that make it an entertaining panel at a con?

  • Alternatively, if I stole some of Happy Soda’s choice figures and put it in a nice gallery (possible hands-on!), would that make it an entertaining panel at a con? How about both?
  • Would the slideshow go better with music?
  • If the slideshow played in the background for 30 minutes, in which during that period three dudes were talking about figures, would you pay attention to the dudes (probably not)? What do you think these dudes should be saying to catch your attention?

What kind of people would go to a figure panel? Collectors? Would-be-collectors? Random people who are wondering what is up? Photogs? Gunpla peeps? Toy people (in general)? People with a couple figures? People with a couple hundred of them?

  • How many different types of collectors are there? Would it be useful (I think so) to storyboard your common figure buyer/collector types?
  • Critiques of different types?
  • Why do we do it? Little plastic wimmens swimmins? Little plastic dudes dancing?

Is it more useful to describe how people “interact” in figure collecting? What are commonly the things to do? How do you find the right place to hang out on the internet, so to speak?

  • A list of links? Forums?
  • Blogs? Making one? Reading one?
  • and like?
  • How to spend your money, ie., follow all the figure news and PR? You don’t need help for that I’m sure.

Photography? Figure scene is vibrant with the photos of figures. They are the loudest.

  • Should we steal Super Rats too? Or at least, his blog posts?
  • Are there anyone else we should be ste–, er, learning from?

Buy & Sell? Do we need panel speak on those (I’m leaning towards yes)?

  • Domestic? Import? Price discrimination? Wholesale?
  • Proxy?
  • Used? Budget?

History? Did anyone collected anime figs in the 90s? Up to the PVC boom? Do you even care about what happened in the scene before 2007? Are you Patrick Macias?

Figure care? How to clean figures? How to put together a Detolf? Fight lean? Is this something obvious or worth talking about?

Help me out guys. If any of the questions I raised sounds interesting, or is something you’d like hear answered, let me know.

No Responses to “Figures: the Panel”

  • NegativeZero

    I’m kind of unqualified here, as I’ve never been to a con in my life. However I do have a figure or two.

    Personally, I think you need to concentrate on either mecha or ‘character goods’. Pick one or the other and tailor the panel toward it. There is obviously some overlap between collectors (my collection is mainly figures esp. Nendoroids, but I’ve got a few gunpla and some Macross toys as well) but I think you risk fracturing the your panel by being too broad. Additionally by focusing one way or the other you’ll answer a lot of your other questions as well.

    A slideshow wouldn’t be interesting unless it was run in the background with some kind of open chat going on at the same time, in my opinion. Make sure it doesn’t update too often though, the sudden shift of image is distracting. Keep the area well lit as well!

    I’d steer away from discussing photography unless you’re able to really go into some technical detail – and especially not unless you (or someone at your panel) actually took some of the photos you’re showing off, because you’re likely to get questions about the lighting, composition etc for a specific shot.

    Talking about buying and selling isn’t a bad idea. Don’t forget proxy services – so much stuff is limited editions or exclusives, knowing a good proxy is pretty much essential if you’re a serious collector, especially for the figures / character goods side of the equation.

    If you’re going gunpla/mecha, you’ll want to consider talking about painting techniques. For figures, cleaning, display and storage are more interesting. You might want to check out the goodsmile blog from a few months back. In the wake of the earthquake they ran a series about fixing up damaged figures – reinforcing joints, fixing scuffed paint etc. Some other things to consider are talking about fixing leaning PVC figures, what to do when your PVC figures get that wierd sticky feeling to them, techniques for cleaning etc.

    Incidentally, if you can’t figure out how to construct a Detolf you have more issues than you realise.

    As far as interaction, I’d like to know that too. I’ve poked around on a few forums but haven’t ever really found a particularly active community. MyFigureCollection is okay but the site itself is honestly a bit clunky. There’s a few blogs that I have in my RSS, but mainly that’s to keep abreast of new releases. Goodsmile seem to be the only figure maker that runs a regular blog that has an english translation, which is a bit of a shame (I may be wrong on this?).

    If there was any specific topic I’d love to see discussed, it’s displaying Nendoroids. I’ve got over sixty of them and it looks dumb if I pack them all into one shelf of a Detolf, you can’t see the ones at the back. Need some kind of stepped platform or something. I’ve been considering building one from scratch, maybe from some foamcore or something, but figuring out the right dimensions to make everything and what sort of joins to use and so on is pretty complex, let alone considering alternative materials like acrylic.

  • omo

    That’s some pretty solid feedback, thanks!

    Stacking figures in a Detolf is definitely a pro-tip kind of thing. Nendos and figmas have their own problems, and given how popular they are I think it’s worth talking about.

    Also, construct a Detolf is easy to figure out, but it’s not trivial if you’re doing it yourself.

  • vendredi

    Another category in-between gunpla and figures are the resin garage kits (“gashapon”, I think is the term?) that are often produced in limited runs for different characters and come unpainted and unassembled. It takes some serious modeling chops to do them, so a workshop on basic techniques might be able to generate a lot of interest.

  • omo

    There have been some in the past. It’s pretty serious modeling so I’m not sure what the interest level of that is at a con. I guess it’s worth looking into just for knowing, but it’s probably not worth more than a quick mention in an informational panel.

    Maybe what’s more interesting to note is how these garage kits are sold in japan, which is more like doujinshi these days.

    As an aside, I think gashapon means something else?

  • NegativeZero

    Gashapon are capsule toys.

  • omo

    That does bring up another point: do we care about ufo toys, gashapons and trade figures? Probably to a degree? Maybe just avoid it by skipping that general subject matter (types of figures0?

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