Collection Spotlight by ReflectorItís kind of scary these days, especially since schoolís started back up. I only get the chance to go home every four to six weeks, and the first second I walk into my bedroom each time, I can only ask myself ĎÖWhat have you been doing for the last five years?í Truthfully, itís been a lot longer than that. It only just started to get creepy recently.
I canít say that I started collecting Transformers in September of í84 (credit to my parents for not having made me yet then), but my sister did. She was almost four years old at the time, and she loved Transformers for reasons inexplicable. She forced my parents to buy her some of the classics (Prime, Megatron, Soundwave, the Constructicons, etc) and a few of the video tapes before she got bored of the line around summer of í87. By then, I was close enough to an age of big kidsí toys that she passed them on to me. I was hooked.
I must have whined an awful lot, because much of my personal vintage collection is from that year. Unfortunately, my parents were apparently broke from all the bigger stuff they bought Kim, so I got basics: Terrorcons (Rippersnapper, Cutthroat, Sinnertwin), Technobots (Afterburner, Nosecone), and Throttlebots (Freeway, Rollbar). I think my obsession got my sister back into the scene, because I recall getting a Powermaster Optimus Prime for Christmas that year (I think) since we were fighting over the old one too much. So my folks continued to buy for me through G2. I was eleven when Beast Wars started, and far too old to be playing with toys.
Like so many others, I was turned back onto Transformers around 1999 when my sisterís friends and I watched an old copy of the movie during a party at my house. Kim, being on a brief nostalgia kick, dug out as many of our old toys as she could find and brought them back to the land of the living. When she moved out in December of that year, she officially gave me the shopping bag full of memories. Doesnít it seem weird that I returned to toys at 15, right about when other kids are quitting? I still wasnít into Beast Wars, so I did some bartering with high school compatriots, shopped at vintage toy stores during vacations, and perused eBay to bolster my G1 collection.
(As an aside, it was June 2000 when I discovered TFArchive. I was the only kid I knew who liked Transformers still, so I scavenged the internet for people like me. The Archive message board was the first I found, and since Iíd had no prior exposure to Transformers fans, I figured it was the only and so stopped looking. Ah, memories.)
RID began in July í01, and I loved it. I bought everything from that line except the four or five Beast Wars repaints, which I still couldnít dig. (I did somehow wind up with almost all of the Beast Machines repaints, but I think my mom paid for thoseÖ) I tried my best to tape the cartoon since I had school from 3:00-3:30, but Fox was too unpredictable and I gave up halfway through the series.
At seeing the first shots of the initial Armada toys, I sighed that I would finally have money to spend on old toys again. They were just so ugly, I thought, and I knew I wouldnít buy a single one. Donít take my word on things, because I wound up buying one of each mold except Laserbeak (which I now regret just a little) and, again, the Beast Wars toys. By the time Armada started, I guess I just wanted to support Hasbroís idea of returning to an all-vehicle line, and I wound up getting addicted.
This thirst continued into and through Energon, a line I collect almost religiously. Iíve also been supporting Universe a little (the Micromaster combiners and the repaints of G2 and Machine Wars toys I donít already have). I canít afford Binaltech, so Iíve been supporting Alternators where I can. Sadly, I still buy most of Dreamwaveís comic books too, and Iím struggling to keep up on the DVD front. Itís really hard when you donít work.
Most of the G1 toys you see in the pictures werenít mine as a kid, sadly. Iíve bought a whole ton of vintage stuff from eBay and via the dealer room at Botcon/OTFCC over the past three conventions. Those that I had as a kid are specially reserved for the fancy glass case my ex bought me, though many of those you see in there are recent purchases to replace those I couldnít find in the basement toy room. The exceptions to that are a number of Micromasters I had as a kid, which I didnít stuff into the case because of limited room and to keep up the Micromaster city theme I had for a while; and the fifteen or so Autobots on the second-to-bottom shelf. Those are OTFCC í04 purchases which havenít been filed away on the appropriate shelf yet.
My other shelves are fairly neat, sort of. I have four regular shelving units (including my case), all lined up along the wall opposite my bed. The shelves on the far left are for G1 toys, including reissues and knockoffs, and paperwork like comic books and tech specs. The shelves next to those are my kind of miscellaneous shelves: G2, RID, Alternators, Universe, and Japanese stuff. (I also have a few GI Joes stuffed on the bottom). On the other side of the window is my fancy case, and next to that on the far right are my Micromaster shelves, as well as some various boxed stuff and puzzles and stuff. Autobots always get the top shelf, Decepticons get the second.
The only toys I own that are not pictured here are my limited collection of duplicates, as well as those I have at college. Those currently include only a few of the newer Energon figures (the leaders two-pack, Towline, Downshift, Cliffjumper, Mirage, and Sharkticon). As always, the Energon collection will be slowly growing.
Sadly, space has been running out for me very quickly. Iíve had bunk beds for years, but my place hasnít been a very popular hangout spot since about tenth grade. When my momís cat pooped an evil and impossible stain on one of my mattresses, my mom insisted I move the mattress from the top bed down so that I wouldnít have to sleep on bare futon. I didnít really care, but this gave me an interesting fix for my shelving problem.
I bought a plank of some fancy wood from Home Depot and cut it to fit on my top bunk bed, where my Armada and Energon toys now live. Itís surprisingly sturdy. I have plans to someday use the remaining wood to build little hills and cover the whole thing with artificial grass and maybe some train town trees and houses and stuff to make it look awesome, but I think by then I will be wholly insane.
I donít know if you could tell, but I really like to cover my walls with Transformersey trash. The space between skater posters on the wall behind my shelves is plastered with Marvel comic books (bagged, of course). I have the complete run, but the holes are thanks to my lazinessÖ The wall nearby is covered with RID cards. I think Iím going to take them down, since I kind of had to stop hanging them once Armada started anyway. I just have too many. The wall behind my bed is hidden by a Singapore newspaper that came packaged with Overlord when I bought it. That was too cool to throw away.
My philosophy on collecting is pretty simple: no Beasts, no boxes, no repaints. Sorry to all of you readers who are righteously outraged Ė I know Beast Wars was a bitchiní show (though I admit to only having seen three episodes), but I just canít get into the toys no matter how I try. I usually buy loose old stuff, and Iíd throw away the boxes/cards for new stuff if my mom would let me. She still thinks Iím going to sell them someday. Repaints and slight remolds are too expensive for the unemployed collector, so I generally buy the first one I find (unless the second is slated to be far cooler). Iíve violated all of these on occasion, mostly in RIDÖ I also try to buy vintage toys that are as close to broken as possible. Accessories are accpensive.
Iíd say that the highlights of my collectionÖ well, I guess it depends on what you mean. If youíre talking about rarity, I have MISB one of those black Convoy reissues they did in 2000 that was limited to a couple thousand pieces. If youíre talking about popular desirability, I have a Japanese Overlord MIB, a complete and lovely Reflector, and a working Shockwave MIB. Personally, I think my coolest piece is something Iíve always had: my voice changer helmet. That thing rules.
Some day, I hope to own one toy of each mold, except for Beast Wars/Machines. Iím pretty close to that goal: I only need a hundred or so more G1 toys, about ten more G2, and one more Machine Wars once I can find those damn Universe guys. There was a thread in the Toys forum a few months ago asking for the sizes of collections, and I have the shame of having the biggest of those who answered. Today my collection includes 433 toys, nearly all of the US comics, and a couple dozen VHS tapes. I fear the day when I get a jobÖ