“UK 1:6 Collectors Club” Forum Shutting Down

A screenshot of the UK 1:6 Collector’s Club forum homepage taken February, 2013.

Sad news from the UK…

The UK 1:6 Collectors Club Forum (UKCCF) will soon be shutting down. Founded in 2002 by Action Man collector and customizer, Ade Pitman (aka “Fatbear”), the venerable UKCCF has long been “the place to be” for fans and collectors of 1:6 scale action figures in both Europe and the UK. Thankfully, Pitman is not too bitter about the end of his forum, but he does feel the hobby’s rising costs may have played a factor in reduced visitation to the site, saying:

“I`d be inclined to agree that sadly the UKCCF is a shell of it`s former self. The crazy pricing of figures ( £90 for what we paid £25 only a short while back) and other factors have dwindled the visits. The UKCCF used to get over 2000 hits a month and now barely gets 400.”

The one, the only, Sandbox logo. (Art: Daryl Williams)

(Art: Daryl Williams)

The UKCCF’s official closing date has yet to be announced, but plans for shuttering the site are clearly imminent. Interestingly, the story of its demise parallels that of the old U.S. forum known as the Sandbox. According to a recent post by “The Volunteer” on the UKCCF:

I have been a member of the UKCCF for some years now, and whilst it was once the hub of activity, the “place to be” if you like, I have noticed recently that posts will sit here for weeks, MONTHS even, before an answer is forthcoming. I hate to say it lads, and I hate to see it, but I have to say that the UK 1:6 Collectors forum has just about had it’s day.”

The "Trenches" forum logo. (Art: Trenches)

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? But for the name, it could’ve been written by an American about the Sandbox! Fortunately, fan exodus from older forums often results in the simultaneous growth of newer “text and photo” forums such as the Trenches. And fans in Europe and the UK are already moving on to alternative online forums, as a recent post by The Volunteer reveals:

“I would like to send out a formal invitation to all members here, (those who aren’t already that is) to drop over to the One Sixth UK forum, and join the party! Over there, there is no “bad blood,” there are no politics from the old days. I believe I can say without contradiction that each and every member there absolutely loves it! It’s like the forums of old, where everyone congregates to see what has been posted, to see reviews of the latest release from DML, DiD, Hot toys etc. It’s the place to be for UK, European and worldwide members!

Bottom Line: It’s always a sad day when any fan forum or collector website shuts down. But it looks like UK fans have matters well in hand. We wish the new “One-Sixth UK Forum” all the best!

osukhead

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7 thoughts on ““UK 1:6 Collectors Club” Forum Shutting Down

  1. kneonknight says:

    It’s always sad to see to see a forum go down for the count, especially those that have run for several years. I would have to agree that rising costs are driving many people out of the hobby, and may even be preventing some from starting a collection to begin with. Granted, many manufacturers are turning out really incredible figures loaded with exceptionally detailed uniforms and gear, but that level of quality does come with a price. I’ve harped enough on the subject of modelling vs. collecting toys, so I’ll spare everyone the rant, but that is exactly the crux of the matter – the more expensive “models” are slowly driving the normal “action figure” off the shelves, which is stifling one segment of the hobby. Hopefully, Hasbro will do something for Joe’s 50th that will allow those on a budget to start a collection and keep up interest in the vintage type stuff.

    In any event, it’s good to see that a new forum is rising from the ashes, so to speak. I wish the members there all the best, and might just pop in for a visit myself.

  2. Matthew Pak says:

    I’m also missing “visibleinnards.org” which was a great forum for Henshin Cyborg and other Japanese action figures. Unfortunately the owner decided to shutter in in December of last year since there’s no new product, less posting and quite a bit of spamming towards the end. Which is unfortunate because there were lots of good customizing posts and heads up on Yahoo Japan auctions.

  3. kneonknight says:

    I’m having to wonder if the whole thing isn’t a vicious circle. Consider this – a few collectors start making realistic custom gear for vintage Joes, start offering them for sale or trade on a public forum, which spawns a sub forum for the new hobby of 1/6th scale modelling. Manufacturers note this, and begin offering more realistic kit, which draws in more hobbyists. Soon the community is buzzing about whose product is superior, and the manufacturers begin racing to see who can put out the most realistic and accurate pieces, which drives the prices upwards. As this continues, there comes a point where only the most wealthy or fanatical people are still collecting the newer items, the investors begin selling off their stockpiled MIP figures and accessories, some of the old timers begin ranting about how the hobby isn’t what it used to be. Forum posts slow to a trickle, then stop entirely. Industry people notice this and the decline in sales, and conclude the hobby is dying, and so begin phasing out the product. This scarcity further drives sales down, forums begin closing because there is nothing new to discuss…lather, rinse, repeat.

    That may not be accurate, but it seems to be the way the cycle ran.

    Conversely, Barbie is still doing just fine, but I noted that they have modified their original approach, and offer product aimed at several different fanbases, from the little girl wanting to play with her dolls all the way up to the investor/collector who wants meticulous craftsmanship and is willing to pay top-dollar for it. Maybe action figure manufacturers could learn something from Mattel.

    I dunno. I’m sure if I had it all figured out, I’d be a multi-millionaire.

    • Wayne Faucher says:

      I agree with your point concerning the apparent steady sales of Barbie product. There must be a marketing strategy at Mattel that Hasbro could utilize with Joe. It would require expanding the Joe line to cover all levels. Parents to high end collectors. I mean, can you even imagine an ENTIRE ISLE of GI Joe at Toys R us or Walmart? What makes that possible for Barbie? There must me a quantitative answer. It would require a big leap of faith AND a big investment. I’m assuming that isn’t a leap Hasbro wants to take.

  4. kneonknight says:

    At the risk of sounding like a bit of a smart-ass, I know that one feature that keeps people buying new Barbie dolls is that horrid neck attachment that breaks so easily.

    On a more serious note, the main reason Barbie continues to be successful is the same marketing strategy they have been using for the past 50+ years…basic doll, seperately packaged accessories and clothing. You can still get a basic Barbie in swimsuit and sunglasses for about $5 and simple outfits at about $6 each. Here’s the kicker – the doll itself, when first introduced, sold for about $3, so it has not yet doubled in price. And I cannot think of a single year that Barbie has not been on the shelves, even during the ‘Oil Crisis’ of the 70s which supposedly sounded the death knell for G.I. Joe.

    I’d really love to know how Mattel does it, and I’m sure Hasbro would, too.

    • I couldn’t have said it better myself. The razor-n-blades approach, that’s the secret. It’s not rocket science. But the “brains” at Hasbro would rather make stiff-armed statues and Lego-ripoffs. Bleah.

  5. kneonknight says:

    In all fairness to Mattel (regarding my comments on Barbie’s neck) they have always gauranteed to repair or replace any Barbie doll that breaks. It’s even printed on the packages.

    That aside, I am fairly certain that once the “stiff-armed statues” tank, as they invariably will, some genius at Hasbro will say “See? No one wants the 12″ G.I. Joe anymore!” and they will proceed with whatever idiotic plans they have for some odd-sized counterpart that will also fail miserably. ‘What do you mean, nobody wants the 8.3104792″ UltimaJoe?’ HA!

    But, yeah, razor-and-blades. As I stated in a previous rant, a new uniform does NOT equal a new figure. With Barbie, you only ever need one doll, and can dress her however you want. (That excludes, of course, the higher end collector’s and personality dolls, but you probably wouldn’t want to be putting undue wear on their outfits by dressing and undressing them anyway.) Hasbro completely lost sight of this, possibly due to the infuriating practice of giving each 3-3/4″ guy or gal a seperate biography, personality, etc. The whole thing turns into a “too many chiefs, not enough indians” affair.

    Now, I’ll admit that there was nothing to really distinguish any of the vintage or AT Joes except for their initial uniform and later the color of their hair and beard, but I don’t think Hasbro ever expected anyone to buy more than four or five Joes, tops. They were counting on kids (and parents) to get a basic figure or two and then load them up with accessories. During the early years, tv commercials and ads in comics even emphasized a cooperative aspect to play, a pooling of resources with other kids to expand the possibilities of your squad or ATeam.

    Then, when the Classic Collection made it’s debut, they tried to cash in on the collectors by aiming the product at adults, even though it was sold in the toy aisle. And we continued the trend of ‘new uniform equals new figure’ started with the HOF and RAH lines before.

    Gahh. I’m chasing my tail.

    If anyone from Hasbro Happens upon this, here’s the TL;DR:

    Figure = razor, a 1 time purchase = anchor point

    Accessories = blades, multiple purchases over a long period = profit and happy, return customers.

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