A Fort Worth-Based Superfan Shows Us His Ridiculously Huge Star Wars Toy Collection.
When news broke in 2012 that the Walt Disney Company would be acquiring Lucasfilm, most people's reaction was something like, “Welp, I just hope the next Star Wars movie doesn't suck.”
For Fort Worth resident Mike Woods, though, there was a bigger fear. His main worry, he's said, is that they're going to make so much new Star Wars merchandise that he's going to end up broke trying to collect it all.
Fortunately for Woods, who boasts one of the largest Star Wars collections in the state, he's more into vintage stuff, variants and bootlegs these days anyway. Seriously, it's nuts: The guy's amassed roomfuls of Star Wars toys and gear over the course of his decades-long hobby.
So: What does one do when he's got most every Star Wars action figure out there? He starts making his own, naturally. Which is why, in recent years, the longtime student of the collecting game has begun to master the art of molding and painting his own figures and packaging, which he sells through his website and at toy conventions.
Recently, and emboldened by multiple viewings of the teaser trailer for The Force Awakens, we caught up with Woods to check out his massive toy collection and the workshop where he makes his Breaking Baddies figures.
How many years have you been collecting?
I'm 36 now. I started collecting when I was 18. I mean, I had some stuff when I was a kid, but I actually started accumulating things when I was 18 years old.
What drew you to Stars Wars in particular?
I was born in '78. Star Wars came out in '77, when I was infant. In '80 was when the second one, Empire, came out. I was just cognizant that there was toys and stuff at that point. I mean, I was still very, very young. By the time Return of the Jedi came out it was in 1983, the toy line was huge. The toys were really what got me into it. Actually, it was Yoda — because he's green and it's my favorite color. And he's little bitty. Man, what a cool figure! And I got that figure, and when you flipped it over, on the back of the card were 77 other figures you can get. You're like, “Who's this guy? What does he do?” You have so much wonder as a child, and I got into it that way. I started and I wanted to collect all the figures on the back of the card. But some of them you couldn't get anymore. I had missed the boat of the first two movies, basically. So, by the time the third movie came out, it was everywhere. It was like when a movie comes out, you see 'em everywhere you go. I love Star Wars — so does everybody else, obviously. There was kind of a dark period after Return of the Jedi, when the movies didn't hang around. Obviously, it's huge now.
How did you get started making toys?
I really was just doing it to see what I can do, and what I could come up with it. I ended up really getting into it. I had a little novelty house up in Baltimore that wanted me to make a figure exclusive for their store, and I got invited to a gallery show in New York.
It's called Clutter Gallery. They have a magazine, too. Basically, it's about designer art toys that people do. I'll be in it again in February. It's called an in-action figure show; it's basically toys and action figures people make. Then I got invited by DKE toys to have a figure at San Diego Comic Con, and so I got my debut figure there. I have some figures in an Oklahoma toy show and art gallery.
What was your biggest inspiration for making your own figures?
When I got into that, again, I was looking for foreign bootlegs. Over in other countries, they didn't have the license; Kenner originally had the license in the '80s. So, over in Poland, they didn't have a license to make Star Wars figures. So they took Kenner figures and made these horrible, bad color, just horrible paint jobs. Just wrong. All wrong. But there's something kind of neat about that. Some of these figures probably cost a penny. Now, today, those are some very hard-to-get figures — and pretty pricey. So I was looking for some weird-colored items like that, and I came across this little mutant Jawa. And he had the body of a little Jawa, but the arms and legs of this little Yoda here. Somebody had the idea of making their own like that. That was when I got the inspiration; I can swap heads around and call them my own thing. I can make my own creation like that. It started out with me just trying to do that. I put a few of them online to sell, and people loved them. I make them a lot slower than other people; I have a full-time job, kids and everything else. There's a lot of times, where late at night I'll be in there airbrushing and mixing resin and pouring, or I'll do it early in the morning before work. I also like to mix things up, like mixing Star Wars with Breaking Bad. Then it appeals to both Star Wars and other fans.
What's been your most popular creation?
One of my most popular figures — and the one that really put me on the map — was Gumball. He's an R2-D2 gumball machine. This little guy put me on the map. There's, like, people wanting to buy my stuff!
How did you come up with the name Falcon Toys?
[I came up with it] a long time ago, when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was making these backer cards for figures that were worth $20 but, on a card, maybe worth $2,000. I was making the packing that was rare and missing. It sounds like “fucking toys” and Millennium Falcon. So, you just merge the two. That's what art is to me. I'm just merging everything. I just want two things to be one. It doesn't sound like you're cussing until you put in a sentence!