Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Collector Spotlight - Ken

This is the first of a series of blog posts on other Super Powers collectors who have agreed to participate in an interview and allow me to spotlight their collection.  If you want to participate in an interview and have your collection spotlighted, please message me.

Today we are giving the spotlight to one of the most avid collectors of Green Arrow Super Powers figures, Mr. Ken Rohlf, also known as krohlf24 on the www.kennersuperpowers.com message board.

Before I get started, I would like to acknowlege Ken's service to our country in the Army.  He bravely fought for our freedom as well as the freedom of others while on two tours of duty in Iraq.  I applaud Ken and other people in the armed forces serving our country worldwide!

For those of you who don't know Ken, he originally grew up in Northern Ohio, and currently lives in Tennessee.   He is a fan of many of the sports teams from his home state of Ohio, and works in sales and distribution.  He is one of the top contributors to the Super Powers forum, and currently focuses his collection on collecting Green Arrow (based on his love of archery) and Lex Luthor pieces.  He still enjoys playing with toys (don't we all!) with his nieces and nephews, but don't be alarmed, he only plays with them with his loose "beater" figures!

Now.. on to the interview!

What kinds of toys did you play with as a kid?
Star Wars, Voltron, Transformers, Secret Wars, G.I. Joe(12” and 3-3/4”), He-Man and the MOTU, Thundercats, Lone Ranger, Silverhawks, Crystar and of course SUPER POWERS. I'm positive there are others, but these are the ones that stick in my mind at the moment.

Were Kenner Super Powers one of your favorite toys as a kid, or did you grow to appreciate them later in life?
I grew up a huge fan of comic books and loved the Super Friends cartoon so Super Powers was a great toy line to transition from the books and TV to action figures.  It wasn't until later in life that a real appreciation grew for Super Powers as more than just toys. It was something I became passionate about and they became my collection.
If you had Kenner Super Powers as a kid, which characters/vehicles did you have?  What were your favorites?
My cousins and I would get together and decide who got which figure. We would always buy different figures. Batman and Superman were the only ones that both me and my cousins would each have because they were the two most popular at the time.  I had Batman, Superman, Joker, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Firestorm, Darkseid, Cyclotron, Shazam and the Batmobile.

When did you begin to seriously collect Kenner Super Powers?
I picked and chose for years before leaving them all behind in my teens. It wasn't until my brother was born(18 yrs. Younger than me) that I started going back in the toy aisles again. It wasn't until my late teens that I started picking things up for myself again. About three to five years ago was when I got real serious about collecting again though.

What made you want to start collecting Kenner Super Powers (what interested you in the line)?
It wasn't until I was on leave from the Army that I was sitting at my computer in our Apt. my wife was to work and I was really bored. I was goofing around on the internet and started thinking about the toys I had as a kid and how nice it would be to have some of them back. Super Powers was one of the first lines that popped in my head. I remembered the action features and the name of the line. I looked them up and found Michael Mensinger's kennersuperpowers.com site and an article written by Jason “Toy Otter” Geyer and it was all over from there.

How did your Super Powers collection evolve over time (how did your collection grow)? 
I started off buying loose incomplete figures, just for nostalgia, but that just wasn't good enough. I had to have them in mint(as mint as a loose figure can be) condition and complete with the accessories, I wanted to display them. First was the figures, then the vehicles and the Hall of Justice. Next I wanted to get all the mini-comics and all four of the variations. A friend of mine decided to sell off his collection and I got first dibs on anything I wanted. It helped me to obtain some of those hard to find mint on card pieces and in some cases I was able to grab a few pieces that I'd been searching for, for years. Some pieces, to this day I've never seen available to the public again. I'm sure some private sales have taken place and other pieces are out there, I just don't know about them.

Do you have a particular character or foreign focus?  Why did you choose that focus?
I have two characters! Green Arrow and Lex Luthor. I love archery, so it was inevitable that I choose Green Arrow! I've managed to get one example of every cardback type and every Green Arrow that is known to be released overseas.

 Lex Luthor was a complete accident, but I'm glad it happened. I started with a Kenner and Estrela Luthor, took a chance on what was being sold as a Lily Ledy Luthor, because I had never seen one before. One day I look around and realize I have a good run going with Luthor having picked up both the Playful, Pacipa and GMJ SA Luthor. I have since compared it to every known variation of Luthors from every country of release and believe that my chance has paid off and it is in fact a loose complete LL Luthor.

As for the foreign focus, I have the Estrela line. All complete with their accessories. In my opinon Estrela is the closest released production figure to Kenner's line. To date I have 16 of the 17 characters and 14 of the seventeen mini comics released by the Brazilian company. I have posted pics and some information regarding this line on Mike's site.  I'm still looking for a loose Estrela Flash. Superman, Aquaman and Flash mini-comics. As well as a MOC Green Arrow, I have a loose one already.
Do you collect foreign or pre-production Super Powers pieces?
Years ago I made it a goal to own at least one example from every foreign country. That goal has been completed! Palitoy, Australian, NIBO, GMJ SA, Tri-Lingual, Lily Ledy, Gulliver, Pacipa, Playful and Estrela.

Pre-production wise is all Green Arrow stuff. Proof card, Cromalin with errors markings and an Engineering Pilot.  I also own a conceptual drawing of the Batjet.

How did you go about finding Super Powers pieces?
Years ago it was brick and mortor stores and store catalogs Hills, Sears, etc., then it was the back of magazine adds. Nowadays, unfortunately eBay for the most part, but there is always toy shows, comic shops, flea markets and garage sales. I'm lucky enough to have friends in different countries that have helped me out. Other places I'll keep private, to keep competition away.

What were some of your most exciting acquisitions?
Those rare and HTF pieces are always exciting, but my 1st pre-production item was the most exciting since it represents a step in the production process.

What pieces were hard to obtain?
The hardest pieces to find are the ones that exist in small quantities. Pre-production stuff exists is super small quantities. Certain foreign pieces are also extremely hard to locate. MOC NIBO Penguin and GMJ SA pieces just to name a few.

Was there a particular Super Powers piece that you passed up on purchasing that you now regret not buying?
Yes! I had the chance to buy a MOC Estrela Luthor and passed.  I had a loose one already and hadn't actually decided to put together a Luthor focus until later.  The seller offered it to me more than once and tired to convince me that I needed it for a Luthor run. Man, I should've listened!

What are your favorite pieces?
I love them all! Looking at my MOC pieces, seeing my entire loose collection on display.

Is condition important to you, or is just having a piece important.
Both! When looking at US pieces, loose or MOC, condition plays a huge role for me. When I look at foreign pieces or really rare examples I'm more lenient on condition. Either because it's that rare of a find or because it's coming from another country and I've seen first hand what postal services can do both here and overseas.

What is your Holy Grail piece… what are you wanting to add in the future?
Like every Super Powers collector I know, Manbat and the Tower of Darkness playset are the two most sought after Grail pieces. With Green Arrow as my main figure focus, any of his pre-production stuff is right up there for me as well.

How do you define a Collection? (All USA Cards/ Everything/ Character focus?)
That's up to the individual collector. Mine has many definitions, each set forth by my current goal or focus that I have at the time.  Whether it be MOC, Foreign or character focus. I know a few collectors that have to have everything for theirs to be complete.

Do you collect any of the non Kenner Super Powers items?
I do! I have all four of the BK happy meal boxes, unused. All four of the prizes that came inside, I wouldn't call them toys though since a Batman tooth brush holder, Superman coin,  Puffy door sticker and an Aquaman bathtub floater aren't really toys, IMO. I also have all four of the figural cup/holders still sealed.

How do you display your collection (or do you store it?) Do you use protective cases?
My loose collection is displayed in a custom bookshelf. I added a plexiglass window to the front that opens like a door, to keep the dust out. My MOC collection is carefully packed away during house renovations to keep them from being damaged. About 40% of the MOC's are in acrylic cases.
Do you collect anything else? If so, what do you collect, why does it appeal to you, when did you start….
About the same time I got back into collecting, I starting thinking about all the toys I had as a child. I started picking up random things like G1 Transformers, MOTU, Thundercats and Silverhawks. I have put together a mint complete loose set of US Secret Wars, including the lenticular shield inserts. As well as a mint complete loose set of Gabriel Lone Ranger figures, it's only five figures, but finding all those little pistols to complete them is a pain.

What other kinds of hobbies interest you?
I've been customizing SP figures on and off for a few years now and enjoy it, as a hobby. I've also been thinking of getting into makings molds and castings, when time will permit me is another story.

 Ken's custom El Capitan Rayo

Do you want to share any personal information about yourself (any interesting life stories, what is your job? Education? Sports teams you like?  Favorite activities?  Do you play with any of your old toys  with your kids/ nephews/ nieces)?
Being a Veteran of the US Army, Infantry, with two tours to Iraq, I support many great organizations that help out the Armed Forces. Now I'm in sales and distribution. Being from N. Ohio of course I'm a fan of the Browns, Indians, Cavaliers and The Ohio State Buckeyes. My collection is off limits and the kids know it, another reason it's behind glass! I have bought my nieces and nephews plenty of loose “beater” figures to play with, which makes us all happy :^) They're big time into the Star Wars and DC Nation cartoons at the moment so I'm good with either come playtime!

For those of you who are interested in Ken's collection, and would like to see how it is growing, please visit his collection thread at the Kenner Super Powers Forum.

Thank you Ken and I hope everyone enjoyed!


(If you would like your collection to be featured in a future blog post, please message me, or get a hold of me on the Super Powers forum (@www.kennersuperpowers.com - handle: HUT64).

(All photos in this blog post are credited to Ken and are his property)

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