For the record, this site's name is a combination of Superman's home, 'The Fortress of Solitude' and the term 'testicular fortitude', coined by wrestler Mick Foley. It takes quite abit of balls to collect such stuff, as you either endure copious amounts of ridicule and/or bust the bank for the next hit. And of course, you need a place to store your scores. Hence the name.
I started collecting toys in 1999, with Star Wars Episode 1 being the catalyst. I never really sat down to watch and rave over the Original Trilogy as a kid, though Mum did buy Power of the Force merchandise for me as a kid and I do remember being particularly fascinated with the Royal Guard. I still am.
I remember watching the light saber duels in Episode 1 and thinking that it would be cool to own some memorabilia from the movie.
That's when I really started collecting. I took up part-time work at my school's computer lab to fund this hobby, and looking back that led to me eventually finding my way into an IT profession.
I wasn't much into pop culture before that, and my interests largely revolved around Liverpool FC and The Beatles.
Supporting Liverpool FC is like life, full of ups and downs, and not always rosy, but once you've sworn your allegiance to a football club, you're in it till the end.
I make it a point to pick up their shirts where I can.
At the point of writing, only two members of the Beatles are still around. What magic they made.
The first figure I remember Dad buying for me was a Kenner Super Powers Superman, which probably was the first comic-related toy I owned. Superman has always been ridiculed for being a boy scout and being out of touch with the human condition (owing to his god-like powers) but these are not the reasons why he's my favourite superhero. Clark's true power comes from Ma & Pa Kent and Lois, his family, not the yellow sun. That's the aspect of his character that I identify with, as my family is important to me.
Hot Toys Superman Returns 2-in-1 Superman
Then, an aunt actually sewed a simple shirt and pants to fit over that small figure, and I used Play-Doh to form his glasses. Not very ingenious, but I guess that triggered my fascination with comic alter-egos figures.
Hot Toys Superman Returns 2-in-1 Superman/Clark Kent
My collection started with Star Wars, then evolved to Transformers, then Marvel & DC figures, Gundam and now 1:6 figures. I don't know how long my 1:6 fascination will last, but I'm still very much enamoured with the sculpt and detail of these figures.
Each time I wanted to go into a new line of figures, I'd sell off huge chunks of the previous collection to finance my new forays. My brother, who's nine years younger than me, shared a room with me and kindly put up with the amount of living space that my collection took up then.
Moving house in 2006
Thankfully, my dear wife allowed me to have my own toy room in our home when we got married in 2006. Arthur helped me with the move, and my No 1 Fan Girl, Em, christened it, "Shaun's Hacienda of Action Figures & Toys", a nod to my favourite private detective, John Shaft.
I also have a slight interest in kicks from adidas and Nike...
...as well as sportwear from adidas and Nike.
I've come to make great friends through this hobby, my Best Pal, TED (a.k.a, The Enormous D@#$), whom I've known since '02 and been on many toy runs with, as well as my 1:6 Guru, Alex, who's always willing to share his encyclopedic knowledge about 1:6 figures and whose massive collection has always been an inspiration. I'm privileged to have an annual membership (bestowed upon by the owner's descretion) to his toy museum, which is 15 minutes from where I live. Through this blog, I've also come to know fellow toy collectors who rave about our common interests and it's always a pleasure getting to meet them in person.
I currently pick up all of my 1:6 and Transformers action figures from The Falcon's Hangar, whom I've known since the beginning of my collecting days, and clearly remember Roy giving me the address of his mailing list at his flea market stall back in Clarke Quay. It was a chore getting to their original store at Katong Shopping Centre, much better when they relocated to Far East Shopping Centre, and a joy to visit their present premises which is a 15 minute stroll from my office.
My DC Direct 13 Inch and comic needs are met by G&B Comics who have also grown quite a bit since I first visited them in 2002. Do check out their fantastic figure display. Over the last year, they have organised fun events for members, such as Free Comic Book Day and a Christmas party.
I'm lucky to be a toy collector in Singapore as the contacts that our specialty shops have built up over the years means that we get the best of toys from both US and Asia. That said, while Singapore is my home and the shops here sustain my monthly toy habit, my favourite shopping destination is Hong Kong, where the toy shops are legion and sportwear shopping abounds.
The highlight of my toy collecting hobby so far includes being featured in Fareplay, Toyfare's site, attending the inaugural Singapore Toy & Comic Convention and contributing items from my collection to the Comics & Superheroes Exhibition at the Singapore Philatelic Museum.
If you're a fellow toy blogger who'd like to trade links, e-mail me at isolation9 at gmail. If you're a Singaporean blogger, I'd like to list your blog here.
Singapore Toy Collections Online
"this my story both humble and true, take it to pieces and mend it with glue"
- John Lennon