Collector's Corner: Interview with Richard Eso
Jul 30, 2018
PREVIEWSworld ToyChest proudly introduces Collector's Corner! Here, we'll highlight anyone and everyone with a love of toys and collectibles. Whether it's a hardcore collector with no room on their display case or a veteran sculptor who makes a living in the industry, we'll talk to anyone who lives and breathes toys!
This week, we talk to toy collector and the man behind Fresh Vinyl, Richard Eso!
Eso talks about his massive Godzilla collection and his popular YouTube channel.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF:
Life long Godzilla fan who also loves Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, I like the EDM, horror movies and having a good time sharing my passions with others! I love taking pictures of my collection and sharing them with the world and I thoroughly love discussing the many fun aspects of our hobby with all fans.
WHEN DID YOU START COLLECTING?
I started collecting in 1994 back when Trendmasters released their Godzilla line. I remember seeing commercials on TV for the Godzilla figures and I lost my mind. I had made my way to a KB Toys store to make my first purchases, which were the smaller four inch figures of Godzilla and his most popular rivals, Rodan, Mothra, MechaGodzilla and King Ghidorah. It wasn’t until late 1994 early 1995 that I started collecting imported Japanese Bandai figures. This is when I felt like I took my collecting to the next level. Over the years as I got older and started working throughout high school, I was able to collect more. There was a Godzilla convention being held in NYC in 1998 called G-CON and I was determined to go and obtain more collectibles. I mowed lawns thought out the spring and summer, $20 a pop, up till the convention. At this time, I was collecting the Japanese line of vinyl Godzilla figures produced by Bandai. Over the next 8 years, I spent a lot of time hunting down all the Bandai figures I could get my hands on. I eventually took a break from collecting in 2007. It was not till 2011 that I started collecting again. At this point I was able to jump onto some Godzilla collecting groups on Facebook, most notably The Godzilla Collectors Group, which I am proud to say that I am an admin in. The group focuses on all types of Godzilla collectibles from Bandai, X-Plus, Bullmark, Marmit, Toygraph and much, much more. 2013 was the year I took my collecting to a whole other level when I jumped into the X-Plus line. X-Plus vinyl Godzilla figures are not cheap. It is an expensive line to collect and prices are comparable what you would see on 1/6 Hot Toys collectibles. Once I got into X-Plus, this is what brought to Fresh Vinyl Reviews to life and my YouTube Channel. Up to this point, I am still heavily collecting X-Plus and many other Godzilla figures from various lines.
WHAT SPURRED YOUR INTEREST IN TOY COLLECTING?
For Christmas 1988, my parents gave me two Godzilla figures, which were the 12 inch and 6 inch Imperial Godzilla’s. This specific Godzilla figure was very popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Sometime around 1987 or so, I watched my first Godzilla movie, Godzilla Vs Megalon from 1973. That movie is like an 80's style WWF tag team match. If you have seen it then you know what I am talking about. My 2nd Godzilla movie was Son of Godzilla from 1967. That movie had a great amount of Kaiju action, a great film score and it was just fun all around. My third Godzilla film was Godzilla Vs Monster Zero from 1965. That film saw Godzilla and Rodan take on King Ghidorah. Lots of sci-fi fun. Now, my first Kaiju film was not a Godzilla film, it was Rodan from 1956. I vividly remember watching this movie in the 80's and being scared of the creatures that lurked in the flooded tunnels and then seeing the first Rodan hatch from an egg, seeing the miniature landscape crumbling to earth below, I thought it was real. I was like, "How did they do that?!". It was amazing. That awe inspiring story telling let my imagination run wild and I was immersed in this genre of Tokusatsu instantly. I love it!
WHY DID YOU START TOY COLLECTING?
As kid, I loved dinosaurs. Introduce Godzilla and the whole ballgame changed. He is a giant
dinosaur fighting other giant creatures while laying waste to a city. What is not to love?! Kids all around the world have superhero’s as their favorites. Batman, Iron Man and Superman are all guys in a suit. So was Godzilla, who was brought to life in 1954 by Haruo Nakajima. Godzilla has been a part of my life since I was five years old and the Kaiju sized train is still roaring on!
WHAT IS THE INSPIRATIONG BEHIND YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL?
I started my YouTube channel for a couple of reasons. I love filming and video editing. I have always played with a camera as a kid and my parents were videographers for some time. I always found creating content to be fun. The main draw to start a YouTube channel was to give back to the Godzilla community. I wanted to share my passion with others. I started doing reviews and really had fun with what I was doing. I like to provide silly, witty and fun videos that are informative and entertaining. I also started a live show that is streamed via my YouTube channel periodically, called Fresh Vinyl Live. I have even taken the show to G-FEST, which takes place once a year in Chicago in mid July. It is great because I love interacting with fans and other collectors. I am into my 6th year of providing content on my channel and I am always trying to think of ways to expand and involve the community. In the past year, I started a new series of videos called the Fresh Vinyl Collectors Spotlight, which is very similar to the Collectors Corner that we are doing here right now. The Fresh Vinyl Collectors Spotlight is a way for me to get my fan’s to interact and become part of something bigger. I am always in front of the camera so I felt it was a good idea to get the community involved. The biggest part for doing all of this is because when I was a kid, I did not have all these resources available to me when I started collecting. There was no Facebook, Instagram and the internet was still in its infancy. There is so much knowledge out there to be found in any one of our amazing hobby’s, why not share our experiences and joy together?! Now that is FRESH!
DO YOU COLLECT ANYTHING ELSE?
I love 1/6 scale pieces such as the Hot Toys Star Wars figures. Being that I am a full time Godzilla collector, I decided it was smart to limit myself to certain pieces from other lines. With Hot Toys, I decided to just get the big bad villains from the Star Wars franchise such as Darth Vader, Darth Maul and some Imperial and First Order Stormtroopers to act as companion pieces to the Dark Lords of the Sith. I am also a big horror movie buff of the Saw franchise and I have a 1:1 scale replica of Billy, the jigsaw doll, sitting on a tricycle, in my collection room, which is also autographed by Tobin Bell and Shawnee Smith.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PIECES?
My favorite pieces in my collection are my autographed Godzilla figures, which were signed by the actual Godzilla suit actors and my Billy doll from the Saw franchise. Billy is an exact replica from the Saw II puppet that was used in the film. There were only 100 made back in 2010 and 10 of them were autographed by Shawnee Smith. I was fortunate enough to snag one of the 10!! At the end of the day, Godzilla is king around these parts and when it comes to my absolute favorite Godzilla collectible, it is without a doubt the heart of my collection, my X-Plus 30cm Godzilla 1964 RIC Exclusive. The dorsal plates light up blue and he has a closed mouth which depicts the most menacing look for Godzilla. His fangs are poking out from his upper jaw. His eyebrows are narrow and mean looking. His stare is deathly. Not the Godzilla you want to mess with, unless you are Mothra.
WHAT IS YOUR HOLY GRAIL COLLECTIBLE?
Throughout the years, the “Holy Grail” question has always come up often. Collectors and Godzilla fans would discuss what would be their Holy Grail. When it comes to Godzilla collecting, I think I have all my MUST HAVES. Horror collecting, I have my Billy doll from the Saw franchise. I am actually stumped right now on what to pick, haha. I used to think the 3ft tall Yuji Sakai Kaiyodo “Big Guy” Godzilla 1989 soft vinyl kit to be a holy grail but I obtained that a couple of years ago and it is still in the process of being built by a professional kit builder out in Las Vegas. I’ll just take a bag of spicy nacho Doritos and a water!
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO FELLOW TOY COLLECTORS?
I always tell collectors to collect what they like and collect what they can afford. The great thing about any hobby, there is something out there for everyone. When I was young, I started with a child friendly line, which was affordable and did not take up much space on my shelves. As I grew up and started working, over the years I evolved as a collector and was able to jump into the more expensive lines such as X-Plus, Marmit and S.H. Monster Arts, much of which can be purchased through online shops such as thevampirerobots.com. So do your research and ask the right questions when you have questions. The only way we learn is to help each other. It does not matter how many figures you have on your shelves, that does not make the collector. Quality over quantity. Help others and have fun. We are all in this together. BAM!
WHERE CAN PEOPLE FIND YOU ONLINE?
If you are interested in checking my content out, you can check out my YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/c/FreshVinylReviews and follow me on Instagram and Twitter. @MrFreshVinyl or follow me on FaceBook on the Fresh Vinyl Reviews page and on my website, freshvinylhq.com.