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In our first Installment of MEGA COLLECTORS we welcome Ben Schenk.
Those in the LOTR community might know Ben for his WETA/Sideshow museum like collection in the groups.
However Ben is also a Toy Biz connoisseur. His Toy Biz LOTR collection room Youtube video is iconic, and has over 22k views.
If you haven't seen it, it will spark a fire in you. I sat down with my good friend to chit chat and blow Gandalf sized smoke rings.
Donnie: First off. How many Helm’s deep Gimli’s do you own?
Ben: I have 10 displayed in my collection and 3 more not displayed for a total of 13 currently. The last 2 that I picked up were from you.
Donnie: Do you remember the first figure you bought?
Ben: I am not 100 percent certain but I believe it was Frodo in the half moon from the Fellowship of the Ring.
Donnie: What gave you the drive to collect every piece?
Ben- I went to a CD exchange with my girlfriend and they also had other memorabilia. I was not looking for anything specific on this trip but they had about 25 of the trilogy blister packs from the set there.
I was checking them out and picked out about 6. The guy working there was like I will give you 1 free if you buy that many. My girlfriend at the time, my wife now without hesitation said: "What if we buy them all".
He was like I will give you 5 for free. We bought them all.
I immediately came home and started searching out information on the set.
I ran across Erygoo's collection video that night on Youtube. I was hooked and that evening started working towards building a complete collection.
Donnie: Did you have any challenges along the way? Like lack of a full checklist? Foreign exclusives? etc.
Ben: I ran across a few lists here and there but nothing complete.
The best resources were a few YouTube videos and figurerealm's website.
Some of the most difficult pieces to locate for me were the UK exclusive dual packs for the Return of the King.
I purchased a few of them multiple times because many of them arrived damaged as the sellers just shipped them in bags.
The hardest piece to get was Arwen and Asfaloth red box. I had to purchase a lot of around 200 pieces to get it for my collection.
Donnie: What is your favorite Toy Biz figure?
Ben: I would say my favorite Half Moon piece is Helm's Deep Gimli in packaging and my favorite loose piece is electronic Treebeard.
Donnie: Did you expect the insanity that the Youtube video caused for future collectors?
Ben: I just wanted to document my collection and share it with others because I was inspired to collect the line from seeing Erygoo's video.
I have met a lot of people from posting that video and still get people messaging me about it to this day. It is very cool.
Donnie: What are your thoughts on the new Amazon series?
Ben: I am excited to see where a Middle Earth TV show will take us.
There is not a lot of information out as of yet but I love that it is being set in the 2nd age and filmed in New Zealand.
I will be a Prime member for the duration of the show for sure.
Donnie: What do you think of the current, and future state of LOTR collecting?
Ben: There is a large community of collectors and many different pieces for all budgets and tastes out there.
I have shifted my focus to collecting the Weta and Sideshow polystone pieces these days. Weta is still producing a hand full of new items every year for us collectors.
I believe the new show is going to bring a whole new group of collectors into the Middle Earth space.
All the new stuff to collect it will only make people curious about what came before.
I believe the future is bright for us Middle Earth collectors.