Thursday, June 20, 2013

Body Box Adventures

Before I go on, I just wanted to point out that the next round of Munda auctions is up tomorrow. I actually bid on a couple this time, partly because eBay is annoying me this week. (There are a couple of very inexpensive items I am trying to acquire for a project, and I keep getting sniped. Sniped, on cheap stuff!)

We got out of work unexpectedly early yesterday, so I took that extra time to clean out my Stablemates body box. Aside from the fact that there was no way in heck I’d ever get around to working on them any time soon, my "Dollar Table" selection was looking a little skimpy. I like having a certain amount of inexpensive items for kids, cheapskates, and people who’ve already blown their budgets but still want to buy more stuff anyway.

None of them were specifically bought as bodies, but most were "comes with" box lot items. Some of I wouldn’t necessarily classify as body quality, but I decided to just sell them all that way anyway, just because I didn’t want to deal with the drama.

The most painful experiences I have had at BreyerFest - aside from the Roommate Issues, and the actual incidents of me injuring myself - have been when I’ve had to deal with people who put up big fights over condition, often over the most minor of flaws.

We’re not talking about honest pricing negotiations: these were the kinds of folks who wanted me to sell them a $40-50 Special Run for ten bucks, because of a single smudged dapple. It’s gotten to the point that if more common models with already low price points have even the tiniest of flaws, I sometimes relegate them to the body box, just so I don’t have to get into arguments with people over what constitutes a "body".

What pains me more though, are the models that aren’t so common - yet are technically classifiable as body quality.

My thinking is this: just because something is classified as body quality doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be used as a body. I have a small but significant assortment of models I’ve fished out of body boxes myself, and place on the shelf right next to LSQ Test Colors.

The problem is that the prices for pieces that are meant to be bodies - and pieces that are simply rare, but in poor condition - are indistinguishable. The price for a body-body is a reflection of its value as a "base" or armature for a new work, while the price of a body-rarity is because it still has some residual value even in spite of its condition. (A coverless, poor-quality copy of Action Comics #1 may not be worth much, for instance, but there’s certainly still a market for it.)

One particularly painful year I had a body quality Adios for sale. Normally this wouldn’t cause me much consternation, but this guy was a Chalky - a white plastic Chalky, to be precise. While Yellow Mounts are not too difficult to come by, Chalky Adioses definitely are - even in body condition.

I was reluctant to sell him, but my sales stash was quite skimpy that year, and he was a recent flea market pickup that I had not yet grown too attached to. Since he was technically quite rare, I put him on the shelves with all of my other stuff. I figured he’d be a fairly easy sell, right?

Nope. He lingered on my shelves straight up until Saturday. I’d happily chirp to anyone who looked his way about his Chalky status, and his exceeding cheapness, but no dice. This was a bit before the current Chalky craze, and it was true he wasn’t in the best shape, but I kept thinking what the heck?

When I pointed out his Chalky nature to someone who appeared to be genuinely interested in him, the expression on the (eventual) buyer’s face was clearly one of "And I should care why?" She needed it as a body, nothing more.

My first reaction was "No, you do not deserve him! Begone!" But I needed the money, and I needed the space. Who was I to deem her money unworthy? I swallowed my pride, bit my tongue, and took the money, because she was willing to at least pay the asking price.

So the way I deal with this situation now is by tossing quality models of dubious condition status into the body box. That way, if someone happens to find it and recognize it for what it is, it cheers my heart a little.

Honestly, I think I have an easier time selling models like that in the body box because, well, I am not the only one who specifically goes hunting for buried treasure there. Other hobbyists are all too eager to show me Chalkies, Pearlies, and vintage customs from famous customizers pulled out of other people’s body boxes - things that I would have been proud to add to my collection.

It happened last year, with an early Lady Phase. Some of the earliest Lady Phases, for some odd reason, come in a very white - but not truly Chalky - plastic. I don’t know if they decided to go with virgin Tenite (no regrind = minimal yellowing over time) or it was a last little remnant of Chalky white plastic mixed in with the standard semi-opaque stuff.

She was, unfortunately, very much a body: her condition much worse than the Adios, even. I’ve been running a bit of a surplus of models here, so keeping her wasn’t even remotely an option.

The person who fished her out of the box stared at her a good long while, turned her over in the lamp light several times, and then said something to the effect of "She’s something special. I think I can fix her up." 

I think I ended up selling her for the same price as the Adios. It wasn’t about the price, though.


Anonymous said...

And then you have collectors like me that might want perfect condition in our brand-new-release models, but when it comes to the oldies, as long as it has no major breaks I'm good. I have lots of scuffed and "body" models that won't ever actually be bodies but remain in my collection for many reasons. I love rescuing the down and outs when I go to antique shops. Like my one-antlered moose that was $3.50. No one else would ever buy him, and missing an antler doesn't bother me. :)

Lori S. said...

I've had someone squabble over condition on a horse that was already in the body box! Of course it's not perfect! That's why it's in the BODY BOX! *headdesk*

While overall I enjoy doing room sales at BF, sometimes it makes me want to head for the bar, pronto.

Amber said...

I love body box refugees! Some of my best/collectible pieces have been out of someone's remake bin. It's almost to the point that that is where I check first when shopping. :)