Tuesday, August 05, 2008

EBAYTATION is the sincerest form of flattery (and irritation)

It is a strange form of flattery to see a robot figure I made get put up on eBay by someone I've never met, especially when they're asking for a price I would never in a million years expect anyone to pay. Then when these people make a couple hundred dollars selling that robot it also irritates me knowing I won't see any of that secondary market money. I guess it's naive and idealistic but I wonder why people bought those things in the first place if all they were going to do was sell them later because that's not really why I made them. Mostly I wonder what the hell is going in those bidders' minds. I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

Cybcon 2005 Jazz on eBay
Here's quick recap for those that have missed out on the last four years of my adventures in making toy robots in my garage. Back in 2004 I got together with some internet friends living in Washington state who had been running their own little independent Transformer fan convention for a couple years. They had seen some internet pictures of the resin cast robots I'd been doing and they asked me to make some stuff for their show anyways.

This show they were doing named Cybcon was unique in that they had been making their own convention exclusive toys for a while before I came on the scene. Pretty much what what they would do was take existing Transformers and repaint them and even add extra parts sculpted out of clay. Then they'd distribute them at the show as toy robot party favors of sorts. This is the idea behind "convention exclusives". They're toys that you can only get at a certain convention. The majority of toy brands with official conventions have some sort of convention exclusive but for a bunch of guys to get together and do this kind of thing in their backyard was a pretty crazy idea. And I'm all into crazy ideas.

Cybcon 2006 Kranix on eBay
Since I was into also into resin casting (the process of making plastic things by hand in your garage) I wanted to do a totally original, from the ground up unique figure never seen before. Now this was a pretty radical idea because even the official Transformer convention Botcon didn't have totally unique convention exclusive molds. It had been explained to the Transformer fandom why Botcon would never have an all original exclusive mold Transformer roboplastico exclusive and although it was slightly disappointing, people came to accept it would never happen. So again, for a couple guys to have unique toy robot party favors at their Transformers party was pretty wild. Now I'm not saying what we did was anywhere near official quality but just the idea was pretty wild. It was all exciting and fun to me. We would be making fan history of sorts. Looking back I can honestly say I had more enthusiasm and passion than actual talent and ability, but I did it anyways.

I made a small number of unique figures for each of the shows for three years from 2004 through 2006. The intention was that people would get them at the show and take them home and love them and hug them for ever and ever. But this is the Transformers fandom so of course profiteering douchebaggery always trumps sentimentality and a handful of the toys I made for Cybcon ended up in the hands of people who weren't there. I've never quite understood why. These robots I've made are nowhere near Hasbro quality and they're not even official Transformers. They look exactly like something a guy made in his garage by hand. I guess the allure of that secondary market makes people do extremely dumbass things (and I'm talking about the people on both the buying and selling side of this).

So when the seller writes that "This one especially brings me to tears to sell" in his descriptions for both Cybcon Jazz and Kranix, excuse me for doubting that (and thinking they're a total ass). I say it's outrageous that the starting bids on these are $50 and $100 but it's comforting to know they probably won't pull that. I don't care if the seller thinks each figure "represents all that is good about the collective creative minds in the fandom". Because I'm thinking right now as one of those creative minds that these auctions represent all that is selfish and retarded about the fandom.


Sean said...

Yeah, I'm not really into selling custom stuff I bought from someone else, though, to play the devil's advocate here, I have thought about selling my "battle damaged" Batman Dark Knight Returns figure that was made from this Marvel Legends Black Panther. I wouldn't take credit for it though and I'd honestly try to split the earnings with the guy I bought it from if it went for a lot of money though so I guess that's a little different than the people selling your shit and not cutting you in on it.

Anonymous said...

Jeez. That is kind of messed up. I want to say I have seen the Iacon One golden disks set go for a lot too.

I had actually been sort of meaning to ask you if you'd consider making additional casts of the awesome BotCon 2008 super exclusive tetrajet, only unpainted so that I could do my own colors.

Paul said...

I dunno, maybe the seller has fallen on hard economic circumstances? I'd be kind of honored if someone was willing to pay a ton from my work. Do painters get pissed when their art is sold on the secondary market for more than what they'd have sold it for?

Heavyarms said...

Well I guess its nice to know that they both are the one that bring him to tears to sell.

Guess I shouldn't tell you that I traded my Skywarp for an old pack of Big League Chew and a ride in a Dodge Avenger Stormtrooper, huh?

Not really.

Heavyarms said...

And OMG, did you look at the guy's feedback? The most recent one is 5 years old!

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Well Sean it's not really about getting a cut of the secondary market (although when that first Bumblebee I made eBayed for over $400 I was wishing I did). What rubs me the wrong way is that these were meant for the fan convention attendees and when someone who wasn't there ends up with one then I see that as wasted time on my part. They took a lot of time to make and when 10 to 15 percent of the total units end up in the hands of non-attendees I figure I just wasted a significant amount of my time on those.

Mr. E I will go back and make some blanks for you once I get my next project started and I have more resin. Iplan to start on that September 1st so I'll be in touch once that's going.

Paul, the seller is simply another one of those buy low, sell high kind of guys that isn't a collector so much as a speculator. I have a copy of the eBay auction from September of 2006 when he bought the Kranix. I know he never went to the show and all the sugarcoated sweet words in his auction description don't convince me in the least that Jared isn't anything but a scalper. I try to avoid guys like that when I make friends in the fandom because we don't share the same type of love for the hobby. Hell, it's exactly because of situations like this that I do not buy from or sell to friends. If he's in any sort of financial trouble then judging by the stuff he's auctioning off it's because his priorities are messed up. If he couldn't afford to own Diaclone Countachs he shouldn't have been buying them.

And Heavyarms, if I crash that Avenger into a tree does that mean I turned it from a Stormtrooper into a Biker Scout?

Evil King Macrocranios said...

Well just for posterity I'll list the end prices. Jazz eventually sold for $123.50. Kranix went for $89.88, which I find especially retarded considering people are selling it online for $30.


Minibox 3 Column Blogger Template by James William at 2600 Degrees

Evil King Macrocranios was voted king by the evil peoples of the Kingdom of Macrocrania. They listen to Iron Maiden all day and try to take pictures of ghosts with their webcams.