Jeff Sung Toy Interview- (Collection selling Sept 16th and 17th, 2017)

on Saturday, July 01, 2017.

Diecast Robot and Vehicle Wonder

Jeff Sung Toy Interview (collection selling September 16th and 17th, 2017)

For those of you that don't know, there will be an absolutely incredible Japanese diecast collection being sold this September, 2017.  Jeff Sung has been a long-time collector and is letting the toys go.  Below is an interview tracing his collecting background and giving some perspective to the mass of toys being sold at in the near future.


Well I’ve watched your collection organically grow over the years.  From my perspective, you’ve been  super dedicated and private guy.  My personal observation is that you really like mint toys.  
How long have you been collecting?  Was there childhood drama to spark the obsession?
It all started in 2001. I had my junker D-17 on my desk (the only surviving j-robot toy from my childhood) and chanced upon eBay. I bought a couple of items from this HK seller, discovered ToyboxDX, RobotJapan, Celga and Yahoo Japan, then the love-hate relationship for the next 16 years.
I grew up with Mazinger and Science Ninja team Gatchaman. In fact, those were the only animations I ever watched on TV. Then we moved to Canada and that's when transformers started. Funny I never really got into transformers. I got into this hobby purely based on the attractions of these toys. They are just so much FUN to play with. Interestingly enough, it's also the precise reason why I'm getting out. I just can't play with them anymore. My perfectionist side prevents me from getting incomplete/broken toys to play with, then the economy just makes playing with them insane and impractical. 
Stating my perspective on privacy, I am guessing few people know the depth and breadth of your collection.  How large is it and how did you start as a “direction” or “specialty”?
I think the final count is over 700 pieces. I was STUPID and NAIVE. I used the data files at ToyboxDX and tried to "get them all". Of course, 16 years later, I couldn't even complete the Popy GA series. Popy was the only toy company I was aware of initially. Along the way, I fell in love with the funkiness of Takatoku gokins and the heavy/chunky design of Bullmark toys. Like a wildfire, it just spread, Ark, Clover, Eidai/Grip pretty much anything that I found interesting. I ventured briefly into MFV's but a couple of broken missile trigger tabs stopped that expensive experiment quickly. I was never really into jumbos either. I stayed pretty much with good old zinc all the way.
How did you get to the point of selling?
As I mentioned before, the main reason for selling is that I just can't play with my toys anymore. Next would be the time constrain. I just can't afford 2, 3 hours a day searching Yahoo Japan, looking for that missing piece or unknown treasure. I guess the extra money doesn't hurt either. Finally, something I read earlier this year pushed me over the edge. It says that once you reach 50, you should prepare to simplify your life. Letting go the unnecessary and hold on to what truly matters to you. That's pretty much it! 
What is your favorite larger toy?
That's easy, the Takemi Pegus. Again, I only took it out of the box once. The cost of the toy really doesn't allowed it to be "played" in my case. But it is an amazing toy specimen. It's large, heavy, pretty much all metal and full of gadgets.
What is  your favorite smaller toy?
That's also easy, Takara magnetic Jeeg with 11 mm joints. That has been my favourite since I was a kid. I had an original one that I played with constantly. Even my kids love that toy. If you look up toy in the dictionary, there should be a picture of Jeeg.
Can you share details on your DX plastic toys and favorites, rarity, etc?
I don't really have a lot of DX plastic toys. By the time I discovered the DX plastic base sets, they were already very expensive. There have always been other toys in front of them on the priority list. I guess the exceptions would be the toys from Tomy Dinosaur Corps Koseidon series. I found them early so they did not cost me much, but I have seen some crazy prices the last year or so. Again, it's the toy aspect of the line that attracted me. They invite you to play with them with their gadgets and projectiles. And who can resist dinosaurs? They are also very well made and are not fragile at all compared to typical vintage MFV or diecast toys. I just love the design of that toy line. The smaller diecast version of these would be second on my favourite toy list. They are quite common but pricey now. I guess the DX DinoHunter and Izenborg toys would be hard to find in mint boxes. But in terms of aesthetic or play-ability, the "cheaper" Koseidon DX plastic line would be just as good.
Can you speak to the Thunderbirds DX Popy set?  I’ve not seen another in person and it is fascinating.
That would be from another childhood memory, the Thundbirds. I remember on the way home from school, I would always stop at this store, finish watching the daily episode through the front window before heading home so I wouldn't miss any of it. As I discovered eBay, the Dinky Gerry Anderson toys were amount my early acquisitions. I came across the Thunderbirds DX base set during one of the routine "Popy" searches. I just had to have it. It has all the vehicles, the orbiting T5, the parting trees just like the TV series. It's a GREAT set for any Thunderbirds fan 
How did you get so dedicated to the Takatoku Time Bokan and later series character diecasts?  Why do you like them so much?
It is a radical change in design from the typical robots. It is so much more creative than your typical shooting fists, chest missiles , and hand held weapons. To our inner child, how can we resist the combination of bugs and robots? The animal based ones are a bit of hit-and-miss. Most of them are great, but a couple are kind of meh to me.
Please explain the obsession with Eidai Grip toys.  What are highlights in your eyes?
That is a toy line that I fell in love with at first sight. Small, dircast yet they all (well most) come with missiles or some sort of gadgets. They remind me of the small toys I would always have with me on a road trip when I was a kid. I have a weakness for base sets. The Grip Condorman, Hurrican Polimar and Maha GoGo bases are all great examples. The Thunderbird 1 jumbo took me a long time to find boxed. But it did not have an original missile till a tip from Bill. That made it special. But IMHO, there is nothing that comes close to Mekabuton of Time Bokan series. Robot and beetle, enough said. 
What is your rarest toy?
After 16 years, I don't think any toy is rare anymore. Someone probably has a whole case of it somewhere. I guess unless you have access to the original production number. The condition also plays a big part. A toy could be common but a perfect example of it could be very rare. I guess the DX Takemi Pegus could be consider the rarest in my collection since I have never seen another one in that mint condition.
Do you have any good stories to relate?  -Tales of “the find” or “back in the day”, etc.
I never had the good fortune of finding old stock in a small town toy store (only in my dreams) or some mis-labelled auctions. I did have the opportunity of picking up a dead mint box set of Godaikin Voltes V for $250 in a toy shop in the Bay area (no, it's not KMH) around 2003. It's a good thing I'm not a big Voltes fan, I would kill myself for letting that one slipped away. 
What toy is so funky, terrible, outdated, etc that you gained an appreciation for?  Often the quirky toys take some in person handling to appreciate.
It is sitting right in front of me, mocking me as I type. It's a toy Myles and I briefly discussed. It's made by Takemi and the box label has it being a plane/land fighting machine/submarine all in one. How can anyone say no to that? I waited and waited till it was down to 2000 yen before I pulled the trigger. It's the worst toy I ever bought. It's all plastic, poorly made, just a total piece of crap. I was so ashamed of it I didn't bother packing it with the rest of the toys down to Morphy's. I'm not sure if I can ever appreciate it. Sometimes, a toy is better left in its box. 
What is next with funding, will the proceeds be for anything in particular?
Nothing! Maybe use the money to do some travelling.
Will you be collecting again or stopping?
I think I am done. I have not visited YJ even once after the toys were shipped. I actually feel FREE. Maybe one day something is going to pull me back in. But for now, I can say I'm finished. 
What do you most get out of the hobby (friendship, hunting, display, get-togethers, life experiences…etc).
For me, 99% of the fun is in the hunt. Over the years, I have learned to be discipline. It has saved me a lot of money but also means lots of disappointments. More often than not, I would get outbid. But when I do get that notification of winning an auction, that's the high that keeps me going. Personally, I think of this hobby as a private journey. I have met a great friend in Bill but otherwise I have kept it to myself for the most part. 
Can you part any wisdom to future collectors in this diecast area?
Ha ha. Stay away!!! Seriously, the time and money one has to commit to get into this hobby is becoming unreasonable. Self control is a must. And no matter how rare you think a toy is, another one will always pop up. Finally, follow your own interest. It is your collection, so collect what you like not what others are talking about. Trends do occur in this hobby where certain toy becomes "hot". Just go get something else and come back to it when it cools down. 
P.S. Why so few DX toys?
It's mostly due to cost. I give my self a monthly budget and very rarely I could accumulate enough to go for the big boys. 

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