Holiday Mech Madness
Early in 2013, thanks to an episode of "Toy Hunter," I rediscovered the Shogun Warrior toys of my youth.
I never was able to find one of those large toys from the 70s in a condition worth the price it was selling for and gave up the hunt. "Pacific Rim" hit DVD in October. I had heard of the film but like most Americans, sadly, I was in no hurry to see it even being the SF geek that I am.
Japanese “Mecha Culture” appealed to me but I was not a diehard fan of it. When I finally did watch the movie, I fell madly in love with it. It was a live action take on giant sized mechs like the Shotgun Warriors battling an apocalyptic invasion of Godzilla like creatures called Kaiju.
The mechs in the film were called Jaegers, the German word for hunters. I had watched the film three times by the point I took my son Christmas shopping at Toys R Us, slightly prior to Black Friday. We found Pacific Rim figures of both the Jaegers and the Kaiju from Pacific Rim as we wandered through the aisles.
The 7-inch Jaeger figures caught my eye but I didn't pick them up. We headed home, our shopping done, and I continued to watch Pacific Rim during my down time from writing and daily life, falling even deeper in love with it.
I began to long for those Jaeger figures because few things cry out to the heart of a SF geek like nuclear powered, 260 plus feet tall mechs. I, at last, admitted to myself that I needed those toys for my writing desk.
I returned to Toys R Us, post Black Friday, to search from them. They were completely gone, snapped up by rapid Pacific Rim fans as I myself had become. I began to search online for the Jaeger figures only to discover holiday madness and demand far outweighing supply had driven their prices insanely upwards.
The $17 figures were now going for $30 to $80 each online (with some only available from dealers in the UK!) depending which figure one desired. And the 18-inch Gipsy Danger that was supposed to retail for $80 was up to over $100 even on Amazon. I spent hours upon hours searching the web for more sanely priced figures as prices continued to soar.
At the time of writing this article, the 7-inch Crimson Typhoon Jaeger is up to $100 from some online sites and the 18-inch Gipsy Danger has sold out even from Warner Direct. The cheapest I have seen it from any American store is around $170 with shipping. One store is even moving them at a staggering $300 each (without shipping included) price.
This tale of my personal Christmas shopping experience sounds like it will end in defeat but no. I got smart and went straight to the parent company that manufactures the Pacific Rim toys based on the Warner Brothers film. While they too were out of stock, the toy company issued a press release announcing they were releasing a second run of all the figures in early 2014. I pre-ordered the 18-inch Gipsy Danger for under a $100, with shipping included, and beat the Christmas insanity if only barely.
Now, as I finish shopping for the rest of the extended family, I can rest assured that Gipsy Danger is on his way to my home and I got my Jaeger. The moral of this story being: If you find something you want for Christmas, buy it straight off and don't hesitate like I did or it could cost you big time.