A couple years back, I acquired the USMC MEF set, which I largely consider my ultimate grail. I decided to keep it MIB until my assembling skills got up to snuff, and I think I’ve finally reached that point - however, I’m still a little hesitant to crack him open, for two main reasons:
Age - This particular set is ~12 years old at this point, and while it appears that its previous owner stored it responsibly, I can only confidently vouch for the two years I’ve had it in my possession. I understand that, over time, fabrics fray, adhesives dry up and deteriorate, and paints fade, with poor storage conditions hastening the onset of these issues. I’ve gotten burned on this a few times with some older sets from lower-end brands (e.g. 21st Century Toys), but I’m hoping that the HT figures have held up somewhat better. My biggest fear is that I’ll open this guy up all excitedly, just have some of the smaller accessories fall apart in my hands due to age. Which brings me to my next point…
Cost of replacement - I usually don’t like to use the term “rare” when it comes to mass-produced action figures, but the reality is that I seldom come across extra parts (aside from a few regular listings from far-east sellers) or other MIB samples of this set on eBay. So, if a part on own my set decides to crap the bed (either due to age or my own incompetence), I would have very limited options in terms of replacing it outright.
I guess ultimately what I’m asking is, how well do the HT military figures hold up in the box under presumably optimal storage conditions? Is it almost a lost cause to crack the set open at this point?