Q&A: Star Wars Vehicles, Action Figure Storage, and Why Paper Bags Rock

By Adam Pawlus — Sunday, November 23, 2014

1. I recently purchased the TMNT figure re-releases at Toys r Us (four turtles, Krang, and Foot Soldier) and was wondering if you have any suggestions for how to store them out of package. I use tackle boxes for my 4" figures but these are obviously too large to fit. Would appreciate any ideas you may have.

I've got two options for you.

One: paper lunch bags. These are a good catch-all storage method for transportation (i.e., moving) and long-term storage of almost any toy. A brown paper lunch bag is kind of bulky, and you can roll it up to provide a safe home for your figure with its accessories. The padding grants it the ability to not get knocked around during a move, and you can write on the bag what's inside for ease of recovery. This system is terrible for easy access, though, as you may need to tape up or staple the bags shut to ensure parts don't get lost.

Two: (and this is what I've done with mine) - split storage. Weapons go in a jar, a bag, or a drawer. Figures go into something similar to these - I've got a smattering of older, shallower Sterelite drawers I use for Star Trek, TMNT, and other 1990s lines that don't easily fit in other storage systems. One drawer is basically a "weapon dump," with weapons in plastic bags so they don't get mixed up or lost. This is expensive, but they can be stackable and grant for ease-of-access. (Similarly, plastic under-the-bed boxes would work if you're single or if your significant other is cool.)

Three: buy original figure carry cases. If you only have a handful of figures (let's say 12-20) this may work for you. I don't find these to be good if you're going to buy a lot of toys - once you need a second or third case, this system sort of sucks.

Variations on these can be found at your local stores. If you have them nearby, I suggest giving yourself about 20-30 minutes in Walmarts and Big Lots! just to see some of what they have. There are tons of plastic storage containers that would work, but there's no equivalent to the Tackle Box that really works for bigger, wider figures in a scalable way. You have to be a bit more clever in assembling it yourself here.



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2. You've often mentioned tackle boxes as a good option for figure storage. Any specific recommendations for size and stores?

Makes and models change every few years, as a company may phase something out or the prices may change. There are two I have used for my Star Wars 3 3/4-inch action figure needs, and I change what I buy based on what's on sale or available in large quantities. I like these two the most.


The Flambeau Zerust Tuff Tainer 5007 was (a few years ago) widely available at Walmart, but they seemed to pull back on it. It's sturdy, strong, and clear with pre-cut tabs to make compartments - all things being equal I like these a tiny bit more. The Plano 3700 (and its cousins) I've been using since the 1990s, ever since Ryan Silva turned me on to them. (I'm not sure if he's still around or active.) They're basically the same size, and I usually only see them at Kmart. Or, of course, fishing and sporting goods shops. The dividers are on strips, so you'll need to cut them. Most of mine are the Plano ones.

If you need a lot of these I suggest buying 1-2 of each and then shop around. You may need hundreds of them - and if you do, getting them for $0.25-$1/unit cheaper will make a big difference in your bottom line. The best I ever could get them for was around $3-$4. Lately, they're closer to $8. Amazon is good and had them on sale over the weekend (as always click on the above links because I get a tiny percentage of the sale), and I've also ordered many from Tackle Warehouse. I suggest trying both and also checking your local sporting goods stores - be sure to ask if they carry these, and what kind of discount you could get if you place a hefty special order. I am assuming you will want a lot of these.

Each tackle box should hold about 12 or more figures, as each one generally divides up into about 12 compartments that fit most figures. Some wider guys won't fit. Some taller guys will, if you put them near shorter guys like Jawas and Astromechs. Experimentation is needed.

Oh, and the Creative Options Thread Organizer? Perfect for Hot Wheels or other 1:64 die-cast metal car storage. I need to buy a couple more of these, myself.




3. What is the deal with these new Disney Store diecast vehicles? From the pictures I've seen online, they look quite good, particularly Slave I. Do you know what scale these are? For only $10, I can't imagine them being very large, so I'm guessing they are somewhere between Titanium and Action Fleet size? It looks like they at least have a couple moving parts, but likely no stand included. What do you know about them?

They're neat, but not perfect. For example the Landspeeder doesn't have an exposed nacelle like it should - but otherwise, is pretty great. The scale is inconsistent, each one is pretty small and pretty cheap - if you want a series of models that are in scale to one another, this ain't it. The vehicles are nicely sized for the price - they run circles around the Titanium Series Ultra vehicles Hasbro did a few years ago - with some being a little bigger, and some being a little smaller. All I can say is go check them out at the store - the look is there, and the deco is quite good on the few I've seen finalized up close.




So here we are - November and December have been historically good seasons for new toys as the old stock sells down, retailers have no choice but to put up new stuff. I've been seeing a lot of Rebels and The Black Series hitting in my travels over the last couple of weeks.

This year, though, there may be other problems for some stores. I don't know if you follow the news, but the Port of Los Angeles has been backlogged for weeks with containers full of stuff just sitting there, not going through customs, and not going through to their destinations. Oh, and there were striking workers too. This may mean some items could be in short supply or miss the holiday season entirely. What's worse, fees and strikes have been mentioned so it's really not ideal for the collector. If you're a collector, you can afford to be patient. If you're shopping for your kids or loved ones, go ahead and buy stuff early - just in case. You wouldn't want a slight delay to mess up your gift-giving.

Depending on how the next few weeks go, it's a domino effect. If today's shipments are late it might be a while before things catch up, and nobody really knows when that will be. Don't dawdle if you want something, kids.

Semi-related, Nintendo's Amiibo figures are out. If you're familiar with Skylanders or Disney Infinity, they're like that - little $13 statues of Nintendo characters with some sort of near-field connection that's like an advanced version of the CommTech chip, if you've been with us long enough to remember that. I picked up a couple over the weekend and it seems Marth and the Wii Fitness Trainer are in short supply. (I bought Samus and the Trainer myself.) Because of the Turkey Shopping Orgee that is this week, I suggest grabbing a couple now if you are thinking of doing so.

--Adam Pawlus

Got questions? Email me with Q&A in the subject line now! I'll answer your questions as soon as time (or facts) permit.



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