Afzal and Hakim – How self storage enables these Star Wars figurine collectors to relish their passion
Issue: Oct 2020
All hail Star Wars enthusiasts out there! StorHub self storage had the honour of interviewing two Star Wars figurine collectors, Afzal and Hakim, who have proven to us that juggling a full-time job and your hobby is attainable; you can have your cake and eat it too! Read on to find out about how these two childhood buddies have bonded over this hobby for decades, how they get their hands on limited edition items, the ways figurines have evolved over time and how storing their collections at StorHub has changed their lives for the better.
When asked what the deciding factors were for them when choosing a storage facility, both Afzal and Hakim agreed that being able to access their unit 24/7 here is a plus. Prior to moving into StorHub, Hakim had placed his collections in a storage facility where appointments had to be made for him to access his unit. That was a huge bummer for him as all his collections had been moved out of his home and he enjoys dropping by regularly to reorganise them and takes pleasure in appreciating his assortment of figurines.
As for Afzal, he chose us because the air-conditioned unit acts as an added protection for his items making them less likely to have a foul smell. He has also noticed that his items are barely collecting dust in the storage unit which is a big contrast from when they used to be kept at home. Other reasons are that our Changi facility is close to his home, the friendly service we offer, the cleanliness of the facility, and the ease of payment and rental. Sounds like StorHub fits the bill! Afzal had previously rented two of our smaller units but later decided to simply merge everything and upgrade to a bigger unit as his collection grew and after Hakim decided to share the unit. Since storing with us, the quality of their lives has improved drastically. Both Afzal and Hakim managed to empty out a room in their respective homes which had previously been used to store their Star Wars figurines. For Afzal, the room is now a bedroom cum study room which his kids are pleased with because of the bunk bed they get to sleep in. For Hakim, the master bedroom is now back to being nice and spacious and he has plenty of storage space for the more valuable things that he wants to keep within reach.
You may be wondering why two people would be willing to store the treasure trove that they both hold dear in the same storage space. As it turns out, Afzal and Hakim go way back. They got to know each other as secondary school classmates and have been collecting Star Wars and Marvel figurines since 1995 for 25years! The pair started to really get into the hobby because it was especially exhilarating to hunt for rare items like the figurine of the Star Wars character, the Stormtrooper, back then. In the past, figurines were solely available at physical stores like the comic stores in Lucky Plaza or Far East Plaza. In the 1990s, collectors would set up booths in Clarke Quay. Star Wars fanatics would sometimes even be able to chance upon vintage pieces released in the 1970s when they dropped by China Square Central in the early 2000s which was where the booths were later relocated to. Nowadays, Afzal’s go-to store is The Falcon’s Hangar while Hakim’s is Toy Realm.
It’s no easy feat to get one’s hands on limited edition figurines which are usually available in local or overseas online toy stores. For figurines that have been discontinued, enthusiasts would have to reach out to hardcore collectors to purchase them. These stores even take pre-orders for those eager to reserve the merchandise. In the United States, information on the upcoming merchandise is normally shared around 4 months before it even becomes available in stores.
Afzal and Hakim also graciously shared some fun facts and let us feast our eyes on their favourite vintage pieces. To prolong the shelf life of the Star Wars figurines, the packaging is made of a material with UV protection to slow down the yellowing of the merchandise. Both Afzal and Hakim are unabashed in their protectiveness of their collections. Afzal would spray a white coating on figurines that have started to turn yellow over time and would use desiccants to keep humidity in the storage containers to a minimum. As for Hakim, we could tell that he loves his collections to bits from how he handled all the figurines that are in their original packaging with utmost care to prevent any scratches, bends or dents which would cause them to lose some value. Afzal’s favourite is the Boba Fett’s Slave 1 collection released in the 1980s which is a replica of the spaceship that the Star Wars character flies in the movie. He shared that this collection is now sold at almost 13 times of its original price since it has been discontinued. He also owns the 2020 version of it which has a much more intricate design. Hakim’s favourite was his Boba Fett and Han Solo in carbonite collection. Both of them are considering putting some of their beloved collections on the block some time in future and revealed that the first platform they would go for is Carousel. So be sure to be on the lookout for these hidden gems!