A Collection Like No Other

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Here at O’odham Action News, we are continuing to highlight the Community members here in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. With extra time due to COVID-19 quarantines, many people saw 2020 as an opportunity to find new hobbies or rediscover already existing hobbies. 

When one thinks of “collecting,” there are many possibilities that come to mind. Community member Mah-Vic Masten has been collecting figurines since he was young, and the pandemic gave him the chance to become more involved with it.

Masten offered some insight as to what specifically he collects. 

“The majority are action figures. There’s dinosaurs, Transformers and Godzilla,” Masten said. “They are the majority. Then there’s Funko Pops, a couple of Lego sets. [I] think I started collecting more when I was in high school after watching the ‘Transformers’ movie, the Michael Bay one. I tried out my first Transformer, completed it, then I started down the rabbit hole with that genre. Then I was collecting Godzilla a few years back at Atomic Comics. Then dinosaurs—I’ve been [collecting those] for several years, but then after high school I started buying more. I found more collectors’ shops around the Valley.”

Masten judges the figures by their overall quality and condition. “If the piece looks good enough, then I would find a use for the figure, like being on display,” Masten said. “For Transformers, I started a custom paint, [repainting] the details on the figure that were painted then. Or [I’ll use] stop motion, animating them.” 

How does he find new items to add to his collection? “Usually, I’ll see them online a few months ahead. Or I look them up online.” Collectors host blogs, wikis and fan sites, but you don’t necessarily have to be online to find collectibles. 

“I learned about several collectors’ markets, [and I go to the] secondhand stores around the Valley, such as Bookman’s. I may get lucky sometimes. There was a few times I got lucky at Goodwill,” Masten said.

Masten’s collection numbers approximately 2,000 figurines, all varying in price. The most expensive item? A Dino Riders Brontosaurus from the late 1980s, valued at more than $700. Although the pandemic put a halt to in-person Comic-Cons and toy conventions, where Masten would collect or sell his figurines, he still continues his work online through eBay and OfferUp. 

Besides trying to find more space to display his collection, his next step is to offer his repainting and repairing services to the public.