I've been in the habit of offering a small token of thanks when set up and selling at organized events or online, usually being a small rubber or plastic bulk monster or robot toy such as you'd find in a party supply store. Cool, colorful trinkets in keeping with my theme of late 70's/early 80's awesomeness. They are something I can offer to someone just for stopping at my table and they help make the event a better experience for everyone.
Six years ago I found a huge bag of brightly colored plastic Gundam figures that I couldn't pass up, although I was never sure of what to do with them until recently when the local party store, Paper Mart, closed it's doors forever. Up until that point I would toss a few in a shipping box, or leave them on my table in a small candy dish with a sign saying "Take One". I've dispersed these guys over the years and have a finite number left. They are a diminishing resource so it's important that they be fully utilized before they're gone forever!
The venerable Paper Mart is closed after thirty years. I guess the kids didn't want to go up against Wal-Mart and Target anymore. It was a big groovy place with cards, gift wrap, novelties, and tons of Steelers stuff all year round. At one time I would have gone there to rummage for Star Wars supplies, another for Halloween stuff. Yet at another point in life I would have bought everything glow I could find, but those stories aren't appropriate for this blog. This time, my last time, I went to Paper Mart and found several bags of small, jiggly, squishy dinosaur toys, perfect for my Gundams to fight, and priced next to nothing.
I now understood what need to be done with my remaining Gundams. They would each be bagged with a rubber dinosaur in a claustrophobic struggle for survival which would also serve as a contact point. So, I created some header card art; I used Copic markers and took some liberties with the designs, then cleaned it up and added background and additional layout on the computer. I think the results capture the fun atmosphere I was going for.
Then comes the tedious assembly portion of this project. Once I got to putting the things together and discovered that the dinosaurs were so stretchy that any 'bot could ride one, (plus they fit into the bag more easily,) it became a lot more enjoyable. Dino Riders redux?
The result is a freebie I'm most proud of. While the concept stands well enough of it's own, through happy accident the various color combinations serve as tribute to so many great, classic toys and characters. The appropriation of various properties and the packaging might be borderline keshi. I can only hope the kan (editor: Sans ji ) translates to "Thank You" but that's part of the fun (editor: It loosely translates to "Positive". Win!) I included contact info and formatted the card to fit in a business card holder. The creation is totally fun and functional, and I like to think it's a pretty cool, real world way to stay on the radar of the collectors I do business with.
Anyhow, I'll be making more of these things throughout what is looking like a busy summer show schedule. Please let me know if you get one and which favorite toy it reminds you of. So much of why people select whichever one they do depends on personal history, and we here at MZ are all about sharing the toy collecting experience!