No matter what type of collector you fancy yourself, inevitably there's always that one figure that eludes you, and the journey to acquiring it is almost half the fun of actually owning it. For me "The Hunt" is actually what I enjoy most about obtaining certain figures. I'm not one to play with the things that I collect, for the most part once I get a figure it gets placed on a shelf, admired from a distance, and I very rarely ever touch them again (except to re-arrange or dust them).
I'm currently in the process of trying to obtain one of those fabled "Holy Grail" type figures that I've been on the lookout for for several years. I've only ever seen this guy pop-up a couple of times, and inevitably it would be out of my reach; I'd either be completely broke or get out-bid at the last second. This time however I just happened to have a bit of money set aside, and stumble across the listing at just the right time. The money I had set aside isn't quite enough to buy the figure outright, but with a bit of work I should be able to sell off enough stuff to cover the difference rather easily.
Since I haven't finalized the purchase yet, I'll refrain from going into any specifics about it, but this made me think about some of the other stories that go along with some of my other figures. Granted that the end-game is always to obtain whatever figure it is that you're hunting, but a good story to go along with the figure is always a major bonus to me. It's nice to be able to sit back, look at my collection, and vividly remember all the loopholes I had to jump through to make it happen.
I remember the first time I'd ever went on a "mission" to hunt down a figure. It happened not too long after I was able to complete my Go-Bots: Monsterous figure. I was looking up some information about it, and found out that it was a repaint of figure from another line; Machine Robo: Devil Satin 6.
Growing up we were pretty poor, so it was pretty rare that I ever got any "new" toys (most of them came from garage sales or flea markets). Out of happenstance I happened to win a gift certificate at a small carnival, and used that money to buy the Monsterous Gift Set. It was the only combiner-type figure that I ever owned, and had always held a special place in my memory. Now that I knew there was some super-rare version of this figure I'd made it my goal to find this thing, and make it mine!
I started combing the Internet frantically looking for information about it, and to find one for sale. It took quite a while, but eventually I had come across a seller in Italy that had a "Mint in Box" DS6 up for grabs. Looking back the price was not that high, but at the time it was the most expensive figure I had ever purchased. I remember looking my collection over, deciding what figures could fetch me the most money, and frantically selling stuff off until I had enough to make the purchase.
This took "The Hunt" to a whole other level for me. While it may seem like common since now, it hadn't occurred to me that I could easily fund large purchases by selling off some of my lesser-wanted figures: GAME ON!
I also remember how going to BotCon became a mission for me one year. This lead to me selling off my Brave Max to pay for my Primus Package at the convention, which I regretted almost immediately. I had a great time at the convention, met some really awesome people (who I still keep in contact with to this day), but I missed that big mamma-jamma. This in turn fueled my desire to re-acquire this figure, and gave me another story to go along with my collection.
Several years later, with a Fortress Maximus now in my possession, I had decided that it would be awesome to be able to display both versions of this figure side-by-side. I went into "purge mode" to fund the purchase, found one for sale, worked out a deal with the seller, watched the tracking on an almost hourly basis waiting for it to arrive.... and FedEx delivered it to the wrong address. It took a solid week of constant back-and-forth with them to get it worked out. They initially claimed that it had been left at the front door, so the delivery was made, and it was out of their hands. I had told them that I had been at home all day waiting for the package, and that no one had left anything on my porch. As proof they offered a picture the driver had taken of the package sitting by the door.... but it was not my house in the picture. Eventually they figured out that the driver had delivered it to the right house number, but the wrong street. They made several attempts to retrieve the package, but the resident would not return their communications (which included repeated stops at the house, and leaving notes on the door to contact them). Eventually they had to threaten to make a police report, and take legal action against them.
About a week later I got a knock on the door in the middle of the night (I just happened to be up late having "movie night" with Mrs. Th0r), it was the guy who's house it had been delivered too. He was not too happy about having to have to hand the package over, but said that he had been threatened with legal action (not my effing problem, especially since he had tried to keep it). I could tell that the package had been opened because he had taped over the shipping label, but everything checked out, and there was no damage to the figure or box so I was fine. At the time it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life, but looking back now, it's one of the most memorable stories I have to go along with one of my figures.
Metrotitan was one of those figures that I'd just assumed that I would never own. It just doesn't show up for sale very often, and when it does it's extremely expensive. I had purchased one of the "High Quality" knock offs when they first came out, and figured that it would just have to do. One day while looking through listings on Yahoo Japan I happened to come across a listing for a junked-out Metrotian and Metroplex for pennies on the dollar compared to what it would have cost here in The States. While I had looked on YJ several times I had never taken the time to set up an account with a proxy service (Yahoo Japan does not ship to other countries). I had enough money to cover the purchase price, but with the listing ending in a few hours, I didn't have time to set one up now.
I decided to see if I could find a "middle man" within the short amount of time I had left; what could it hurt, at least I would have tried. I put a post in the Wanted section on TFW looking for someone with an Yahoo Japan account that would be willing to middle-man for me, and crossed my fingers for a reply from someone who I could trust. Within a few minutes I had a reply from a board member who I had done some transactions with before. (Coincidently I had tried to buy a Metrotitan from him on a couple of occasions, but it had never worked out.) I promptly sent the money, offered to give a bit extra for helping out, and made sure he know I would promptly pay any additional fees that were involved ASAP.
It took a couple of weeks to arrive, but once it did, I was not disappointed. There were parts of him that were extremely yellowed, and damaged, but I knew that before hand. I spent my next free night disassembling him, and replacing pieces with parts from my knock off. The pink on the KO made it obvious that it was not the "real deal", but thankfully I only had to replace some of the white/gray parts on the original. And that folks, is how I ended up with my "Frankinsteined" Metrotitan.
Hopefully I can make this a regular "category", sharing stories about some of my more recent purchases as they happen, but for now I hope you found this to be an interesting read; feel free to post some of your more interesting stories in the comments section.