This month’s featured social media account is a YouTube channel I discovered one day when I was browsing for Toy reviews. It just took one video for me to know that this guy is passionate about toys. I learned very quickly that there was an accompanying Instagram account that showcases toys with beautiful photos. The channel is Toy Galaxy, the owner is Dan Larson. I had a chance to chat with Dan about his channel, his passion for toys, and Boba Fett. Here is that Interview
(Danniel Slade) Dan, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. Can you tell my audience a little bit about yourself and what your channel is?
(Dan Larson) I am a lifelong action figure collector, sometimes illustrator and writer and host of Toy Galaxy on YouTube. Toy Galaxy is an entertainment, and sometimes comedy, channel with a general focus on pop culture but a specific focus on action figures. We cover toys mostly but that allows us to veer into video games, movies, TV, comics and even the economics of free market capitalism. It’s a lot of fun.
(DS) How did you come up with the idea for Toy Galaxy?
(DL) Toy Galaxy is a 2 person operation between myself and Producer Greg. When we decided we wanted to make a YouTube channel Greg’s only interest was in MAKING the channel. Designing it, managing it, editing the videos, etc. I love action figures and wanted to write and host the shows. It was a perfectly cooperative relationship.
(DS) Your videos look professionally edited and are well researched. Is it just you, or do you have a team that helps with the brand?
(DL) Just the two of us. I research and write. Producer Greg does… pretty much everything else.
(DS) What is it about toys that make you want to make these videos?
(DL) I’ve been a collector of action figures literally as long as I can remember. Other interests have come and gone, but action figures never faded. I can’t really even explain it. It’s one of those things where you just like what you like and, for me, that’s enough.
(DS) Is there a review that you have not done yet that you are itching to do?
(DL) Not really. We’ve covered all my all time favorites. We may have even covered Boba Fett a little more than our subscribers have been comfortable with. There’s always NEW stuff coming out so there’s never a shortage of things to talk about.
(DS) What is your fondest memory about collecting toys either when you were younger or as an adult?
(DL) Honestly it’s this. It’s the creation and growth of Toy Galaxy. I may not have made it clear how much I just really like action figures, but to be able to have created something with one of my closest friends that has grown into the thing that it has because action figures… that’s a pretty cool to me.
(DS) What is your favorite toy line?
(DL) Probably a dead heat between Star Wars Black Series and Marvel Legends. I’ve always been, first and foremost, a Star Wars and Marvel Super Heroes fan. To be able to collect so many great figures from those 2 universes is a dream come true for me.
(DS) What is the Boba Sett and how did it come about?
(DL) The Boba Sett is my personal collection of vintage, Kenner, 3¾” Boba Fett action figures. For about 25 years I owned the single figure I had as a kid. Absolutely beat to death. Loose, all the paint wrecked. Discolored. No gun. It was always my favorite figure.
Thing is, when you already HAVE the thing you like the most, the best you can do from that point on to try to relive the feeling of acquiring that thing is to hunt for another one and REACQUIRE it. And that’s initially where The Boba Sett came from. It was just me LOVING that figure and wanting to relive that feeling of finding one. Better paint, tighter joints, slightly different or better colors.
It was pretty casual at first. I wasn’t necessarily SEEKING them out. If I saw them at yard sales, or flea markets I would grab them. But it occurred to me that these figures were also a sort of marker for the time and place that they were acquired.
I could remember where, when, how, how much, what the weather was like, I could remember everything about the day that I picked it up. And at that point, the collection changed into being about more than just the physical figures. It was a scrapbook of memories, places my wife and I had visited, people we had met, all kinds of good times.
That’s what *I* see when I look at the collection. Now, as of this writing, there are 375 figures in The Boba Sett and that makes it REALLY difficult to remember the specifics behind every single one. So back when it was still possible for me to remember every story, probably around 25 or 30, we started a log so now it’s all documented. Date, price, location, who we bought it from, why we were there etc. It’s grown into a thing that people know about and seem to enjoy watching it grow and have even asked to contribute to which I never would have expected when we started.
(DS) You have an Instagram page with some amazing photos. Are these photos all taken by you? If so, how did you get into photography?
(DL) Yes, they are all taken by me. Photography was a natural progression from all the things I was already interested in. That said, I don’t particularly consider myself a photographer. It’s more about having access to a photo booth, which means I have good light, and a phone with a camera that does a lot of the heavy lifting.
For me, Instagram is about sharing in the community of toy and action figure collectors. Being a part of it, sharing what I like, enjoying other people’s enjoyment of the things they like. And, like The Boba Sett, Instagram is a great scrapbook of all the things I’ve done in the last however many years I’ve been on Instagram.
(DS) I am sure after watching the videos I know the answer to this but, do you have a favorite piece in your collection?
(DL) If I could only take one figure with me to that hypothetical desert island it would be my original Kenner Boba Fett. That should come as a surprise to exactly no one who knows me at all.
(DS) How many pieces total do you have in your collection?
(DL) I couldn’t possibly put a number on it. It literally changes every day. More than 375 pieces and certainly not as many as a LOT of other collectors out there.
(DS) Do display everything or does stuff get stored?
(DL) I display very little. As I get older the light effect of light exposure on different plastics becomes more obvious and that’s something that really bugs me. Knowing that, things I bought NEW and thought I was taking care of, still becoming damaged just because they were out on a shelf is really frustrating.
I cycle stuff around, try to keep things out of direct sunlight. At the same time, I try not to worry TOO much about it. I know it’s all finite and will be around, in whatever condition, long after I’m gone.
(DS) Where do you see your channel in the next few years? Do you see yourself growing your brand?
(DL) A lot of that is up to YouTube. They keep changing the rules and allowing legitimately harmful content on their platform so who knows where THEY will be in a few years. Maybe we’ll be on Netflix. Maybe we’ll be at community theater.
As for growing the brand, yes, it’s always been part of the plan and it is something that we are actively working on right now. Toy Galaxy has been a great way to develop our voice as a creative team and we want to apply that to other genres as well.
Movies, video games, comic books, gardening, auto maintenance… it’s all in play going forward thanks to the people who watch, like and subscribe to our videos on YouTube and our Patreon supporters at patreon.com/toygalaxy
(DS) How can someone find out more about you and Toy Galaxy?
(DL) The best thing to do is subscribe to our channel on you tube and then watch the entire archive of videos. While you’re working your way through 3 years worth of videos, maybe also follow Producer Greg and I on twitter (@toygalaxydan, @toygalaxytv), Instagram (@toygalaxy) and Facebook.com/toygalaxytv
Dan, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions. For those who want to follow Toy Galaxy on Instagram head to https://www.instagram.com/toygalaxy and click that follow button. Also, go ahead and subscribe to his YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/toygalaxytv. I promise, you will love his videos and you might learn something about your favorite toy.
Slade started Temple of Geek in 2012 with his friend as a podcast. Since then, it has become a lot more. His obsessions are Transformers, Star Wars, Classic Video Games, Superheroes, and comedies.
Slade’s life was turned to the Darkside when his father gave him a gift in 1985. He was presented with the leader of the Decepticons, Megatron. Since then, Slade has become a collector of the robots in disguise.
The only other thing that comes close to Slade’s love of Transformers is Star Wars. He has met a few of the cast over the years. Slade’s one goal in life is to meet with George Lucas and just discuss movies with him.