In a dream world, every collectible would be mint condition. Time and life, unfortunately, have different plans.
Meet Dave from Toy Polloi, who wants to help you when it comes to bringing your childhood toys back to life.
Toy Polloi is YouTube’s No. 1 vintage toy restoration channel, featuring nostalgia, reviews and, of course, great restoration guide for classic brands such as Transformers, Masters of the Universe and Kenner Star Wars. We’re talking lots of vintage Kenner action figures and ships, Star Wars fans.
Dave takes his time to explain the method and techniques required to make your toys look like new. That includes removing yellow stains and refreshing decals to full scale repairs and lots more. You’ll also find toy hunts, unboxings and customs and dioramas.
Even if you don’t have any toys to restore, we still think you’ll find the Toy Polloi videos highly satisfying and almost cathartic. Give them a look here! We recently chatted with Dave, who takes us through some of the inspiration and more when it comes to toy collecting and restoration.
Over to you Dave…
Where does the name come from?
Toy Polloi is a play on the Greek phrase ‘Hoi Polloi’ which means the many, so many toys. Mrs. Toy Polloi came up with it when I was setting up the channel and it sounded good and fitted with what I had planned.
When did you create the channel?
I started the channel back in January 2014. Nine years later it’s still going strong and gaining new viewers all the time.
What was the inspiration for creating the channel?
I never intended to start a YouTube channel, fixing and collecting toys was just something I did as a hobby. We had a friend visit one day and they brought along James Bruton, a very well known YouTuber who now has a million plus subscribers. He saw what I was doing and said that he thought others would be interested to see what I did and thought that starting a channel would be something I would enjoy. Turns out he was correct. I enjoy making the video and it seems plenty of people like to watch them.
How often do you post new videos?
I try to post two videos a week on Toy Polloi, a main repair or restoration video on Friday, and a shorter review or toy hunt video on Tuesdays. I also have a second channel ‘Toy Polloi Two’ where I post unboxings, photoshop tutorials, and other videos that don’t fit on the main channel.
What are we getting when we tune in?
You get to see me, well my hands mostly fixing and repairing vintage toys from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I take you through all the stages of working out what’s broken, creating new parts, general repairs, paint touch-ups, sticker re-creation, etc. And end up with a fully working toy at the end of the video. I cover lots of common toy lines like Star Wars, Transformers, MOTU, Action Man, and G.I. Joe, but also try to show toys that people may not know about or have completely forgotten.
What is some advice for someone looking to clean up their items?
Hot soapy water and a toothbrush are what I always suggest. Most dirt will come off with just a simple clean. You’ll see me do this in pretty much all my videos. A good clean makes the world of difference before you set about doing any other repairs.
What do you personally collect?
My collection is pretty eclectic. I have large collections of Star Wars, Action Man, Transformers, and Micronauts, but have toys from so many other lines. Mostly it’s toys I remember having as a kid, or the ones I wanted but never managed to get. I also am still finding new items and toy lines that I never knew about back in the day and often end up down a new rabbit hole of toys. I never had any Kenner M.A.S.K. toys as they came out just a bit too late for me and have only recently found out how great they are, so that is a new collection I am slowly adding to.
How’d you get started in collecting? What was your first?
I obviously had toys growing up but then in my teenage years decided to sell most of them as I needed money for new hobbies like computers and R/C cars. It was in my early 20’s that I realised that I wanted to get them all back and started collecting again. The first toy I got was one that I had always wanted as a kid but never managed to get. We were at a carboot sale with some friends and I found a Star Wars At-St for £5, it was beaten up and missing parts but that didn’t matter to me. That was the start of the collection I have now. From there re-bought all the toys I had sold and then carried on getting all the toys I had wanted and more.
Do you have a personal grail and do you own it?
There are quite a few grail pieces I would like to find and quite a few I have already managed to get. I think every collector has items they would really love to have. In recent years I have managed to get a selection of Tomy Wind-up Doozers from Fraggle Rock back in my collection. These were toys I had growing up and loved and just wanted to see again, they didn’t disappoint. Often my grail pieces are not expensive items, they are just hard to find.
There are many items still on my list, the Action Man Command Centre and All Terrain Transport would be amazing to have but I currently don’t have space for them. I would also love to find the Mattel Space 1999 Eagle Transporter, another large toy that looks amazing.
What can we look forward to with the channel?
Many more vintage toys are being saved from getting thrown away. I have plenty of projects in the works on some really interesting toys. I know people love to see Star Wars, MOTU, and Action Man repairs so there are a few of those lines up. But as mentioned I like to try and show toys that people have long forgotten about. Hopefully there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
Anything else that you’d like to include?
Thanks for inviting me to answer your questions, and if people aren’t already subscribed to my channels, why not!
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