Monday, July 31, 2006

Internet helps expansion of Toycon

from: http://technology.inq7.net/infotech/infotech/view_article.php?article_id=10004

They're colorful, made of molded plastic or die-cast metal and are put in equally colorful boxes. They could be tiny and or life-size. Some are covered in dust and some have never left their packaging boxes. Some are cheap and some are extremely expensive. Nonetheless, everyone loves them.

They are toys. And the Internet has helped in assembling enthusiasts and beginners alike virtually and in real life for a congregation of collectibles in a hobbyist's haven.

What better way to love toys than by having a big exhibit featuring them? This was most apparent in the last Philippine Toys, Hobbies and Collectibles Convention at the SM Megamall where thousands of people, young and old, enthusiasts and casual collectors, came together to have a visual treat of the biggest exhibit of toys and collectibles in the country.

Azrael Coladilla, the organizer of Toycon, said the event has been expanding in the last few years. Even the spacious Megatrade Hall was not big enough for this year's Toycon. They're already thinking of moving the event somewhere bigger.

"We've had nearly 100 exhibitors this year compared to just 60 to 70 in the previous years," Coladilla said.

Coladilla attributed the increasing size of Toycon to the Internet where collectors find each other through newsgroups, specialty collection sites or through trading websites.
"Many started trading collectibles through their mobile phones but it was the Internet that really boosted the industry."

He also said the movie industry made collectibles even bigger, particularly movies based on comic book or cartoon characters.

This year's Toycon, as it is called, is perhaps the biggest one ever held by Collectibles Unlimited. The SM Megatrade Hall 2, the biggest space in Megamall, was packed to the walls. Aside from representative collector shops and hobby groups, there were a slew of individuals who put up their own kiosks either to show off their collections or trade these with other rare toys. One such collector's kiosk had racks of unopened boxes of limited edition Star Wars character busts, figurines, light sabers and vehicles. There were two kiosks with mostly McFarlane or Weta Workshop action figures.

Some shops also featured hardbound and magazine Marvel, DC and Vertigo comics, trinkets, custom-designed shirts and giveaway toys from fast food shops. There were dozens of resellers of Tamiya vehicle model kits, military action figures and mecha model kits of Voltes V, Gundam and Mazinger Z. One collector even brought in a custom-made living room table with a transparent top showing unopened boxes of two Voltron Vehicle Team toys.

Two days into ToyCon and there was no slowing down of people streaming into Megatrade Hall. In fact, the organizers had to control the entry of people to avoid overcrowding. The aisles were so packed that one would have had difficulty making his way through as people huddled. But then again, business was brisk; a representative kiosk of popular anime shop 2Rats was selling anime merchandise like hotcakes. Most of their sales came from the video copies of popular anime, which they were selling for half the price. There were also manga, Japanese comics with English translations. Not surprisingly, there were a few manga that were in Japanese.

"We have a few buyers who want the Japanese versions. Pinoy sila" was the answer of the sales lady, referring to the otakus who are so addicted to everything Japanese that they even learned the language.

It wasn't hard to miss the limited-edition busts and figurines of DC, Marvel and movie characters. Major favorites were 12-inch Superman figures, especially with the screening of "Superman Returns," as well as the Terminator/Terminatrix figures and the Alien Versus Predator figures.

Coladilla said anime is also a new staple in Toycon. Whereas anime events were frequent in the country for years, Toycon only started introducing anime cosplay recently and the number of participants was a surprise even to him.

"But that's why we included anime; it's also a genre of collectibles so it is just right to get them together with the other collectors," he said.

As for next year's Toycon, Coladilla promised that it would be bigger and better than this year. There are plans of moving out to a bigger area but that may not happen until after next year.

"We've been having Toycon in SM Megamall eversince it started and we're known for having it here. Regardless I'm sure the 6 th Toycon will be an even bigger event."



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tnx to Alex Villafania for writing this article !

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