Every fandom has them, that one piece of merchandise or memorabilia that directly connects the fan to the series, or the series characters, or perhaps to their childhood, or more simple time in their life. Star Wars collectors have the original Kenner figures, and realistic light sabers, Star Trek collectors buy pieces of the set, and Ghostbusters fans have their proton packs. My fandom is what many may consider a little lower on the geek totem pole. What am I talking about? Power Rangers, and what is the center piece for my fandom? The Original Mighty Morphin Power Ranger power morpher.
Originally this was going to be about the morpher itself, its mystique,and what makes this collectable toy so sought after and how or why it jumped up so high in price through the years, and the truth is just WE (meaning fans) loved this children’s show. It was very important to me, and to others and still is. I am sure you could have picked on up at a yard sale for 5 bucks, and as Power Rangers got older and stuck around so did some of the fans, and in that wanted a piece of the series beginning,or their childhood back. As the internet and ebay took off many who kept their toys most likely saw that some were willing to pay for this “toy”, and like any other capitalist someone said ” I wonder just how much someone will pay for this?” and the legend grew. I remember back in 2004 when I really began to yearn for these pieces of my childhood, I got on ebay and found the morpher and laughed at a $75 buy it now price, years later I would regret laughing. last summer finally got a morpher for a price I am proud of.
But when I asked for a little background from other member of Rangerboard.com (ranger fan board) I found answers that were not so capitalist, but very simular to mine. Stories of growing up attached to this show, stories of fond memories, and that one toy from their favorite show that always alluded them. So instead of a story about how ‘bad” some people are for pricing and toy for $250 and perhaps paying that much, I wanted to write about perhaps why its so special, and what makes collecting this particular toy so fun for some fans.
A little background:
The original power morpher over the past years has become somewhat of a hot collectable, even though the toy is 18 years old is is not quite rare can go from $100 (if your lucky to find one that much) all the way to $300. The success of show made sure there were plenty for childs hand. The original toy retailed for around $25 dollars and came with all 5 “power” coins, morpher, and blaster gun used in the show.
So what makes this toy so special? so expensive? Well in some cases of collectable toys its rarity or limited editions, and as we have established these are still rather easy to find ( only thing rare is to find one under $100) The value of these are 100% driven up by the fans and their love and nostalgia for the series, and paying triple digits for an 18 year old toy that just pops open, blinks, and makes an annoying little noise is a combination of insanity, but in their minds (speaking from the point of view of one of these fans ) worth it in some cases.
But this love, this lust, goes much further than just having a simple childhood toy, this is about having a piece of your childhood hero. Most collectors do not just stop when they have the morpher in their hands, online via Rangerboard and Ebay there is an entire ecosystem dedicated to customizing your morpher however you want.The closest thing you can relate his to is to car collectors, some car collectors want the car to look like it just came off the line, some want to trick them out with all the bells and whistles, and the Power Ranger fan base is not much different.Some (like myself) want screen or show accurate morphers based off the U.S. version Mighty Morphin Power Rangers or the Japanese show in which its based Zyuranger. You can take off the toy stickers flip the toy upside down ( the toy versions stickers where applied upside sown) and apply new custom stickers that look just like the show from http://www.reprolabels.com. Some strip the original paint to give it a new coat. Some want to completly customize it and paint it the color of their favorite ranger to show of to others something they have never seen before.
You can buy new faceplates for the morpher, some in metal to give it a more realistic weight. Some buy metal and even real gold coins to place in the morpher, some even customize it to look destroyed (since the original Power Rangers powers were destroyed.) or weathered. Some even build or buy elaborate cases to house their prized collectables, and even that can get deep in customization. Sometimes just like with cars, customizing is half the fun.
say what you will about adults buying toys, and then spending money and time to customize those toys just to get done and set them on a shelf. If its chasing the toy that never ending up ender the christmas tree, or recapturing that toy that mom threw away, or simply chasing childhood and placing it directly into a toy from a cherished childhood show.
My childhood is setting completely restored on a shelf, ready for me whenever I want to morph back and be a kid again.