Back to the Future. Star Wars. Batman. Transformers. Predator. The Terminator. These are some of the cool properties you’ll be seeing in this short Q&A with Khai from Kool Kollectibles.
It’s no secret to anybody who knows me that I love Batman and Transformers. While I own a few Batman figures here and there, I have around a hundred or so Transformers toys from various toy lines, and a bunch of of the old Marvel Legends toys among other stuff.
But some people take toy collections to a whole other level, be it upmarket highly desirable or rare items, fantastic displays, and with the internet people can even develop their own fan following. Well, I for one am a fan of Kool Kollectibles, I love checking out new pics of whatever amazing toys he has picked up, and took this opportunity to ask him a few questions, and of course share some stunning pics of his amazing collection.
You can find Khai’s main site koolkollectibles.net, and link to all his other social media pages from there.
No two collections are the same, and no two collectors are the same. Thanks to the magic of the internet collectors and fans around the world can enjoy seeing what other people are into, get ideas about how to display their loot, discover something they never even knew existed or just admire a really fantastic collection.
So without further ado, here’s some quick questions and amazing pics from Kool Kollectibles.
JOHN: What are your overall favourite top 3 toys and why?
KHAI: I collect a lot of different lines of figures and other collectibles, but my top 3 right now would have to be (not in any order):
1) Hot Toys 1/6th scale Chewbacca figure
2) Pop Culture Shock 1/4 scale Ryu Ansatsuken statue
3) Hot Toys 1/6th scale Delorean Time Machine
JOHN: One issue every collector faces is space. How do you store and display your collection? Do you ever get rid of old items to make room for new items?
KHAI: The best bit of advice given to me as a collector was to put money aside for decent glass display cabinets. Some collectors continually spend money on figures, but either have no space to display them, or have open display cases that results in a lot of dust maintenance. So I saved up money for a while and bought some big glass display cabinets and it was the best decision I ever made. Having your collectibles displayed well in a glass cabinet really takes the collection to another level. With decent lighting too, it simply looks amazing, and is less maintenance with dust etc.
Also, a collection shouldn’t be judged on its size. Some collectors think bigger is better. That’s not necessarily the case. I’ve seen some smaller collections, but they’re displayed well and in a classy way, and are collectibles that are loved by the owner, not because they are the “in thing” at that moment in time.
I normally buy things to keep, and so have not had to sell many things at all. But for space and money, I did end up selling my 6″ Star Wars Black Series figures since I was getting essentially the same characters in the large 1/6th scale and didn’t need to double up. So now that I have my larger cabinets in place, I try to pick and choose the items I buy now to fit into themes or source material that I love.
JOHN: You have a focus on Hot Toys movie characters and Transformers Masterpiece figures, why these particular lines over other lines/brands of toys?
KHAI: Most of my collecting is based around nostalgia. I grew up in the 80s watching the classic cartoons such as Transformers, Battle of the Planets, He-man, MASK etc. Then through the 80s and 90s and even now I still love movies. I love the classic action and sci-fi movies from the 80s and 90s. I was lucky enough as a kid that my grandparents and parents spoiled me with the original G1 Transformers toys, many of which I still have today. When I saw the TF Masterpiece figures around the 2010 mark, it was mind-blowing for me to see the characters I loved in a toy form that was as close as their cartoon aesthetic as possible. And with such improved engineering, the TF Masterpiece figures are some of the best Transformers toys ever made. With the nostalgia that they bring, I smile each and every time I see them.
As for Hot Toys figures, Hot Toys is by far the benchmark at the moment on 1/6th scale collectibles. The attention to detail, realism, paint application, and tailoring is second to none. And with them making iconic characters from Star Wars, Terminator, Back to the Future, Predator, Aliens etc, and then new characters from the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, there was no way that I could pass them up! They are simply some of the best action figures around at the moment, and look incredible when displayed together.
JOHN: Any advice for new collectors, or people looking to get into the hobby?
KHAI: Spending can quickly get out of control, especially with peer pressure in buying everything to keep up. I would say just stick only to source material that you truly love, and pick and choose carefully what you buy. Remember, it’s not about the size of the collection that matters, it’s how you love each item in your collection that really matters to you and those close to you that come and look at it.
JOHN:What are you top toys that fall into the category of “unobtainium” for you. That is toys that are very rare, super super expensive or just not made anymore and are nearly impossible to get ahold of even if you have the money. What are your top “wish list” rare items, your holy grail items/toys?
KHAI:I recently got my first Pop Culture Shock statue with the Street Fighter Ryu. I have played Street Fighter since arcade days in high school, so for about 25 years now. The characters are ingrained in my consciousness! If I could wind back time, I would go back and buy the PCS Street Fighter statues previously released. PCS truly limit their edition sizes, and once sold out the price skyrockets to a point where I cannot justify the expense. So those PCS statues are some that fall into this grail category for me.
JOHN: Do you collect any traditional (meaning cheap and usually small eg 6-12″) action figures, or just the more upscale stuff with better detail and sculpting?
KHAI: I used to collect the smaller cheaper figures such as the Star Wars Black Series and NECA figures. But I found they were harder to display in a way that showed them off well, and then I was doubling up the same characters in larger scales. So to minimise my cost and space issues, I just decided to stick with the larger collectibles and buy less of them.
JOHN: Your entire collection gets sucked into a mini-black hole, except for ONE toy of your choice, what toy would that be?
KHAI: Always a hard question to answer, as collectors tend to end up with a few items that are their favourites. Strangely, if I had to save just one item in my collection from a fire or black hole, I’d probably pick the TF Masterpiece MP-13 Soundwave. Soundwave was my first TF G1 toy when I was a kid, and the Masterpiece version is amazing. So for nostalgia, fun factor with the transformation etc, I’d have to say that.
JOHN: Batman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Transformers – which is your favourite movie/comic/toon franchise and why?
KHAI: Star Wars would have to be my pick for favourite franchise, particularly the original trilogy. I used to watch the movies every weekend on VHS tapes, and just love the whole story arc and characters.
JOHN: Where can people connect with and follow you online?
KHAI: The best place to keep up with my latest news etc would be the Kool Kollectibles Facebook page and YouTube channel. I also keep the website and Instagram account up to date too! Links below 🙂
Thanks Khai for taking the time to answer some nerdy questions. There were so many great pictures of your collection, it was hard to pick, so I put as many in as I could.
There are some more great pictures below to enjoy, in some excellent display cases, be sure to follow Khai on Facebook / Twitter etc at the links above if you want to keep up with his collection, or view lovely full screen HD galleries of his toy collection.
So many wonderful toys. My favourites have to be the Batman 1989 toys, Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight and the Terminator toys from various films. Just a spectacular collection any comic book fan or action/sci-fan would be very jealous of.
I never thought I would see the day when I am genuinely more excited about watching a LEGO Batman theatrical movie than the next Batman live action movie
LEGO Batman, he’s a swell cat I tell ya, I even got to meet him one time when he was in Melbourne as you can see in the fabulously cheesy picture up there.
I just happened to be wearing a Batman T-shirt at the time of course, he waved me over but refused to sign my powerade bottle, explaining that his LEGO hands were too big to hold a human sized pen.
You can take the best Batman cosplayers in the world and frankly it bores the hell out of me. I mean I respect what they do, the passion and the enthusiasm, but it just does not hold my interest.
But a photo with a life size LEGO Batman excites the hell out of me. It speaks to that inner child that used to play with Kenner Super Powers Superman and Batman toys and the same kid who listened to read along picture books with an audio cassette that read the book out loud to you (and had cool sound effects). The two books I had when I wass a kid were TRON and Star Wars, both were AWESOME!
Lego Batman is not the sort of thing I thought I would ever care about
I remember un-enthusiasticly playing with some LEGO bricks as a kid in a big plastic bucket along with other odd toys that got mixed into it, possibly some Playmobil. Either that or the fisherman dude in the bucket was a giant. It was fun I guess but I never really built anything, just sort of messed around with them. When I was a teenager I had this cool LEGO set that could be built into a Formula 1 style racing car or a single seater biplane, both were pretty cool.
That is the sum total of my experience with Lego, which at this point means I have not touched a LEGO brick in at least twenty years. When LEGO Batman (the LEGO toy sets) came along, I was not even aware of it. I had seen the Harry Potter and Star Wars LEGO toys in shops whenever I went browsing for superhero action figures at Kmart and other chain stores, and was aware of the various licensed LEGO video games by Travellers Tales.
When Travellers tales released the first LEGO Batman video game, then I started to pay attention. I had previously played only one of the TT LEGO games, the original Star Wars Trilogy LEGO game that I played for free and wrote about for an old video game review for a website.
LEGO Star Wars was a fun but unremarkable game, most noteworthy for its two-player co-op which suited kids playing together, and the drop in- drop out co-op was also well suited for parents playing video games with their kids. The LEGO games are mindless fun, relatively easy to complete but a challenge to find every item and unlock every character. They are games that encourage replay, but can get a bit dull after a while, they really are made for and suit a younger audience.
The most memorable thing about the LEGO Star Wars video games were the amusing story scenes that played out throughout the game, giving a brief overview of the major events in the movies. Like animated cliff notes really. The cut-scenes had no dialogue, just expressions and sound effects. By the time LEGO Batman arrived on the scene, the Travellers Tales LEGO video games now had voice actors, which meant that LEGO Batman 2 had a full voice cast, and the story scenes were good enough to be released separate from the game as a direct to market animated CGI feature with expanded content.
Fast forward a few years and the video game series is up to LEGO Batman 3. LEGO Batman made a significant multiple scene stealing appearance in the theatrical The LEGO Movie, voiced by Arrested Development’s Will Arnett, next to Chris Pratt’s lead character (Andy in the brilliant Parks and Rec, Star Lord in the ever groovy Guardians of the Galaxy).
I know that the upcoming Superman v Batman or Batman v Superman (or whatever other nonsense click baiting name they come up with) film will be great fun, and I can’t wait to see it. But however good or bad it is, every BATFAN has basically already seen it in our minds.
The story will be cobbled together from comics that have been around for donkeys years, there will likely be nothing new in the film, other than JLA member cameos building up to DC’s eventual JLA movie release. If you want a JLA Year One story, well Mark Waid already wrote that comic series in 1998, it is a good read, and I encourage you to take a look at it if you have not already.
As much as I want to see Batman v Superman, I don’t expect anything new or innovative from the film. However, the LEGO Batman solo movie, spinning off of the success of The LEGO Movie and LEGO Batman video games I am super excited about. The Lego Movie not only had Batman as one of the main three characters, but cameos from Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern
I’m a big fan of Arrested Development, as are my brother, sister and girlfriend. There is barely a day that goes by that we don’t mention a quote or reference to Seinfeld and/or Arrested Development. For people that don’t “get” those shows, saying to a fan you don’t like Arrested Development is like saying you don’t like oxygen. It is just UNFATHOMABLE!
I am also a big fan of Will Arnett in pretty much everything, even the lesser Saturday Night Live vehicle movies with hit and miss gags I find are still pretty entertaining. But my favourite Will Arnett appearances would have to be his minor roles in The Rocker, Blades of Glory and 30 Rock. And his brilliant pairing with Christina Applegate in the TV show Up All Night.
In addition to numerous cameos in everything from 30 Rock to Parks and Rec and The Office, Will Arnett has been a decent voice actor in a surprising amount of animated theatrical features and video games.
Danny Phantom, King of the Hill, Ratatouie, The Simpsons, Monsters vs Aliens and more are on his resume, so it is not a bit surprise that he as was cast as LEGO Batman when you consider all the voice acting experience he has.
The LEGO Batman theatrical film will be something special, with a much bigger budget and a better voice cast than the direct to market previous CGI LEGO Batman animated feature (the story scenes from the video game were released as a direct to market feature).
The success of the LEGO Batman games and animated spin offs also lead to the recent DC original feature, the mouthful that is LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Justice League vs. Bizarro League.
The JLA LEGO animated movie is short at under an hour, but it is great fun, and again aimed at kids (but I watch everything). This JLA feature is unique in that there is no video game it is directly based on. It uses the LEGO DC characters as featured in LEGO Batman 2, and has a decent voice cast including the ever talented Diedrich Bader and John DiMaggio from the excellent animated show Batman: The Brave and the Bold.
The strength of the LEGO Batman I.P. (and by extension the DC universe) is so strong now that new media can be born from it that has no connection to the LEGO toys at all, other than the basic look of the characters, instead trading on the visual recognition of the iconic LEGO character style, and immediate market value of Batman and the DC Universe.
One of the things I love about LEGO Batman is that it is a great introduction of Batman to kids that parents know will not sneak in any underhanded psychotic violence like other DC animated shows and features. I don’t have any kids (yet), but when I do, LEGO Batman is something I would be very comfortable for them to enjoy, as a game, or movie or as toys, the I.P. is just really fun and I am super excited for the upcoming LEGO Batman film with that funny bastard Will Arnett. More excited than Batman v Superman because it will be something fresh and exciting, rather than stale and predictable.
My girlfriend finds the Nolan-verse Batman films too dark and depressing, but she liked the Will Arnett LEGO Batman, and enjoyed The LEGO Movie so much that she went out and bought the Blu-Ray. That is a testament to the good writing and fun humour in the film, but also the strength of the timeless look of the LEGO toys and characters, which are fun for kids, adults and man-children such as myself.
If you’re itching for more fun reading, head on over to my brand new blog *Pixels in my Blood (link in blue below), a blog about my favourite video games of ALL TIME. It doesn’t have a “follow”” tab yet, but relax about it – there will be one soon enough dear reader. Now if you will excuse me I have to get back to playing LEGO Batman 2, easily the best game in the series (yes, better than the dull levels of LEGO Batman 3).