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Calling all military members

Oct 26, 2011

    1. I tried doing a search and didn't find anything. If there is, please merge this! And I hope this is the right place for this. Military spouses are welcome, since I assume that even having a husband/wife in the military can affect this hobby to an extent.

      I was wondering how many other collectors out there were in the military also, and i thought it would be nice to have a place where we could discuss some of the difficulties or issues that being in the military has brought to your hobby. Or maybe even fun stories of your experiences!

      So what branch/service are you in? How long have you been in? Have you gone on any deployments, and if so, what did you do with your dolls? If you live in the baracks, have you had any odd situations happen during room inspections or problems with roommates? What precautions do you take with your dolls when you have to move to another base? for example, do you just let the movers take everything but your dolls and just physically take your dolls with you in your car or do you ship them? How many dolls do you have? Feel free to throw in any other dollie tidbits!

      I'm currently in the US Navy and have been in for over four years. I'm not in a deploying billet right now, so I've been on here my job. I'm not married so I don't have a spouse (I'm 22, almost 23...so young... lol) to leave behind, but I am worried down the line for when I'm up for orders for a short tour (a year or so overseas) and even though it'll be a PCS move (basically living overseas rather than just a deployment) I'm not sure if I'd feel comfortable having my dolls included in the move, but I'd like to have one or two with me. Anyway, I started this hobby about three years ago when I still lived in the barracks and luckily, my roommate was very open-minded. I have several dolls, but I live off base and have room for them. When I lived in the barracks, I only owned 2 MSDS and an SD because I have very VERY limited space. I've already moved several times. Luckily for my first PCS move, I didn't have many dolls. I packed them up very very well and made sure the packers knew that they were fragile. I've moved twice here, but it was just from house to apartment, etc, so it was a little easier to deal with. I just packed all my doll stuff in a huge tupperware container. If I get PCS'd again, I'm going to drive them physically to my parent's house. I have way too many dolls to risk those movers transporting them, plus the fact that a few of them are either limited or have one-off mods that cannot be replaced easily or at all.

      So please share your experiences. I know the experiences will probably change up depending on branch, etc.
       
    2. I was a spouse (hubby just got out 2mths ago after 12yrs in the AF) and I've never had a problem. I would take pictures outside and just get lots of questions. The fact that I make stuff for them usually helps relieve people of the "omg, a grownup collecting dolls" look. I have yet to meet anyone on a base who collected any dolls other than Precious Moments, but, hey, we all have our own things ;)
       
    3. Retired Navy here LOL Also a Navy spouse at one time (confused so many people as I was in the Reserves & working for DoD, & outranked hubby....) I was in Hawaii but never Japan (well, except the one deployment to Thailand, where we had a 5 hour layover at the Tokyo airport)
      But no BJDs at that time - late 80s, early 90s.
       
    4. I'm a spouse of an active duty airman. He doesn't collect, and is often wary of letting me show others my dolls (he's worried about how our nerdiness can be perceived by his peers/bosses). That doesn't stop me from growing my little family! XD

      The only other person in my town that collects is actually prior Air Force, and her husband is retired AF. I also knew of one collector who was also a mil spouse while we were in Germany, but I didn't get a chance to meet her before we left.
       
    5. My entire family is military. I'm not, but I DO get the gist of "people not taking me seriously". Just because you are in the military, doesn't mean you can't live a little. That was said to me, by my own gramps, a retired Army Sergeant. (He served in Korea ;) )

      It is real cool to see military people who also own dolls. :3
       
    6. Hello all! I'm currently active duty Air Force and have been serving for about 3.5 years now.

      I haven't yet received my first doll (waiting on the incredibly insane DollZone backup :|) but I can tell you right now that as soon as I get him, I'll probably be hiding him in my dorm room most of the time. I don't know of any other BJD people out in South Dakota and it seems the general mindset is very... conservative in this area? I know I'd be getting a lot of rude questions/stares of I took my dolls out for a photoshoot. That and living in the barracks with the majority of airmen being on the younger side (18/19ish) I don't really want to risk any of the rowdy guys knowing I have such expensive things just sitting in my room in case I step out for a minute.

      Luckily if all goes well though, I should be finishing up my enlistment and separating this fall! I definitely plan to hand carry all my dolls when I move to my new location. There's just no way I'd be able to trust movers not to lose them or handle them roughly.
       
    7. I hand carry mine in my luggage or have them prepacked. They might open it to make sure you aren't smuggling anything that they aren't allowed to pack (thinking candles here ;) ) but they will let you repack it and tape it up. I've only had that happen once.
       
    8. I was in the army a long time ago. That's where I first learned about BJDs, because I had my own computer and internet connection for the first time, and I stumbled across them online while searching for J-rock music groups. But I didn't collect dolls at the time, so I can't really say anything about the difficulties of having one.

      I had other dolls, action figures and Barbies. They had stands and I displayed them on my dresser. My drill sergeant had a couple G.I. Joe figures, and I remember him joking with me that his dolls could kick my dolls' butts. ^^ He was so funny! And I thought it was cool that he wasn't like making fun or anything, just joshing with me a bit. My best friend at the time (who is also on DoA, though I don't know her username) also collected Barbies and figures. I don't even know how we first started discussing them, but we ended up having so many things in common! And years later, finding each other through facebook, we realize we are both BJD collectors these days!

      To be honest, I don't think I would have wanted BJDs while in the military barracks. I had about 9 different roommates in just a couple of years, and all but one of them, my dear friend Angela, stole things from me and borrowed my stuff without asking, often ruining or losing it. I woke up one night to the reek of my roommate painting her toenails--with my nail polish! She often stole personal hygiene items like that from me, including a comb that she lost. I searched for it for a month before she finally admitted to borrowing it, and replaced it with a junky, ugly one that I just threw away. :\ If I'd had BJDs, I'm very doubtful they would have been safe from the slobs and thieves I had to live with.
       
    9. off-base housing wasn't remotely an option for me at the time. You could only live off base if you were married, and that's still not an option for gays and lesbians, even if we can now serve in the military and date at the same time. @_@ Ridiculous.
       
    10. I lived off-base for most of my 6 years active service, but I was in the Navy in the 70s - not a lot of WAVE accommodations back then.... I also chose to move off-base w/o a housing allowance (I moonlighted as a cocktail waitress in a disco)
      Now that I've outed MY age, LOL - I retired as a Reservist. It has gotten stricter in a lot of ways for younger servicepeople, & for single ones.
      I certainly would never have kept anything valuable (BJDs or anything else) in my barracks! I had some SPECIAL roommates...
      Had some of those in college as well - again w/the storing of valuables at my MOM's house...
       
    11. Army wife here. Hubby rejoined nearly 6 years ago so we've moved a few times since then. He did 8 years service, couple of years Reserve, then got out for a few years then back again. He's about to be deployed next week. Not looking forward to it but it's been a life-long ambition of his so he has my full support.

      I only had large porcelain dolls and figurines on our first two moves. I packed them, got them specially noted on the inventory and counted the boxes when they came off the truck.

      Our second to last move I had a couple of BJD's but our move was only a couple of hours drive away. I took all my dolls with me.

      Our last move we moved into our own house (Yay no more rentals). I had alot more BJD's this time (maybe 30 or 40 - if you look at my profile you would know that I've lost count). We took a couple of trips and filled up the house with everything we didn't want them to take. We couldn't take my large display cabinet that had been repaired (poorly) from the last move but the movers broke it again for us so this time I got cash. Hooray, I overvalued it and then we were able to salvage it and use it again anyway. It kind of makes up for the second move where they pinched stuff.

      That's sad about not being able to get married accomodation. The Australian military has been recognising gay and lesbian de-factos for a long time.

      It's a shame you feel you have to hide your hobby. My hubby doesn't give a crap - he says they're mine and he'd never ask me to hide them. I have a large collection - they're in the lounge, stairwell, office and I have a workroom filled with them. He quite honestly loves me being the weird one to his straight personality. He's quite proud of all the strange things I do - loves shocking people at work with stuff I get up to
       
    12. Ugh, I feel your pain of moving with dollies! We moved to Texas from Germany in November, and I insisted that I ship all my dolls with insurance. It cost way too much money! But what other choice did I have, when the movers were horrible about packing delicate things? And several of my items were broken again this time (thankfully no doll stuff)... and it ALWAYS seems to be my stuff and not my husbands.

      He's adamant that we can't pay to ship them through the post again, so hopefully we'll get another stateside assignment. I honestly don't know what I'll do if we have to go to Korea or Turkey or the like. I would only be able to take a few, and though I have family, I don't really trust any of them to properly store and keep my collection until I return. It was bad enough when my mother ruined $300 worth of kimono (water damage) because she didn't bother to put a lid back on my box after looking for Christmas ornaments!
       
    13. I don't know if you have it in the US but we have this policy where if you pack items in their original packaging yourself that it counts as insured by the removalists policy. I had it specially noted on the inventory and had to insist when the removalists came that it was included. That way I was able to pack them properly and they never got damaged.

      I'm just glad that I don't have to worry any more. There's nothing more stressful than watching people treat your stuff poorly. I had 1 removalist that put my industrial sewing machine on it's end and wheeled it out the door on a trolley. Industrial machines are meant to be moved standing upright. Nice long line of oil out the door. We had drained it for removal but it's not supposed to be bone dry. I told them if the timing is out they're paying for it and made sure they put it back down properly when I found out.

      Don't you hate it when your parents mess with your stuff? My Dad had some boxes stored in his garage whilst we moved. He unpacked them and re-packed them "better". It meant that alot of stuff got dirty and it took ages to straighten out. Yeah I've moved 13 times in 16 years but you're better at packing with 3 times in 45 years. He also took all our knives and sharpened them on his grinder (which meant that alot of them became ruined). I finally found my metre long metal ruler after a couple of years in his garage that had suddenly become his - funny he'd never had one before. Alot of stuff I just left with him if he wanted it that bad he could have it. Moral of the story, don't leave boxes in the shed of a hoarder - they may want them more than you do.
       
    14. not to butt in since I'm not military or military spouse- but i've had to move about every two years lately as well as help friends move back and forth from japan. I can offer a strategy for getting dolls moved...

      I've found the best thing to do is to unstring them and pack them really well inside of plastic tubs. However, don't put delicate parts like hands and heads in the boxes. Take the heads and hands, also well-wrapped in plastic tubs, with you in your own luggage. The bodies are typically much thicker resin and less prone to breakage than the hands or heads with elf ears and expensive face-ups. I've moved a lot of my dolls this way- especially going back and forth from Kansas or Illinois for christmas.


      obviously i don't have experience with military movers(although my last move the company we used broke a lot of my furniture. ;3;), but it might help. <3
       
    15. From my experience plastic tubs always get broken. I have around 20 or more that have been moved and I can always count on several to get broken - they tend to like stacking them to the roof - with the bottom ones always getting smashed. I only move my fabric, yarn and the kids toys (their tox boxes) in them. I just kept the original packaging for all my dolls till we moved into our current house - then a couple of big bonfires ensued. Although it did take me a while to let go of them after keeping them all that time but it was either lose them or not get into my workroom. The naked and faceless dollies told me to get rid of them
       
    16. I would NEVER send ANYTHING really valuable & hard to replace w/the military movers ever again! I was into retro clothing for my last 2 military moves. Going to Hawaii, I didn't need the winter stuff so had it put in storage. I'd noted the overall value but vintage, you know.... & of course the really nice stuff disappeared when the storage boxes came back... I can only imagine what would have happened if I'd sent expensive, LE dolls....
      The Navy DID reimburse w/$$$$ but for stuff that has more value (hard to find, LE, etc) that's cold comfort.
       
    17. My family has been military for several generations. I first got into dolls when we were stationed in Japan in the 80's. Before BJDs, Volks made "garage kits," and I was really into those.

      My husband just retired last year from the Army. I've moved frequently all my life, and long ago learned that if a thing is important to you, you move it yourself. :) A few of my less favored dolls can move in their boxes (unstrung, wrapped in bubble-wrap), but most of the dolls are carefully wrapped and put in a large suitcase that goes with me on the plane/car/whatever. If that means I go without extra changes of clothes and have to buy new toiletries as soon as we arrive... so be it! :)
       
    18. That's a really good idea about the heads. I was thinking about doing that last time, and just ran out of time/wasn't confident in the military/civilian baggage handlers to not break them. It's easier to replace the bodies than the heads, especially with LE face-ups. I suppose my Dollfie Dream heads could go in the luggage, and my resin heads in my carry-on, though. LOL, but it's quite interesting to have to explain to a TSA agent why you're carrying disembodied heads. XD At least one lady managed to call one of my DDs a "Sailor Moon doll". :)

      Has anyone ever had any luck insuring their dolls? Specifically with USAA? I tried to before we moved and was very firmly told no by the gentleman on the phone. He said stamps and baseball cards were valid, but dolls were too fragile. O.o I tried to explain that most were vinyl and that resin isn't like porcelain, but I couldn't seem to get anywhere. Any suggestions?
       
    19. Box them yourself and just say the box contains porcelain dolls? I did something sort of similar with a different item. I just taped the box up myself, labeled it with what I wanted it to say, and it shipped to me without problem.
       
    20. I was able to insure my dolls w/USAA as part of my HH, but I haven't tried to get moving insurance or the special items insurance yet....