Trials of a Transformer Collector

A friend of mine recently told me the Transformers fiction (movies, cartoons, comics. etc.,) was nothing but hot garbage. He stood firm on this. I tried to convince him otherwise but as I began defending the story I realized my entire argument was based on the toys. My passion for the toys has blinded me to the holes in the fiction. Still, I never claimed to be a Transformers fan, only a collector.

Over the years my Transformers collecting has taken on many different forms. There was one point I was so obsessed I launched my own Transformers website. The Transformers Collector. I even continue to use this old email account I created for that website to this day. I never cared much for the ‘fandom’ and as time went by I learned I just didn’t bother with any fandom. Fans, especially fanboys, are terrible people who can’t look beyond their little world. I wasn’t trying to be one of those. I was open to Go-Bots, Voltron, any transforming robot toy. I didn’t care for the fiction, the rivalries or the Trukk not Monkee people who hated on Beast Wars. Yet I also never cared for the fans who defended Beast Wars on the merits of the show. If the toys can’t stand on their own, I believed, then they weren’t worth discussing. Since my interest is in collecting the toys I had no reason to care about the fiction more than just my informal exposure as a child.

Transformers collecting has always remained on the back burner of my mind. I once built up a massive collection several years ago. I had so many toys I couldn’t even find space for all of them. Eventually I got tired of lugging them around every time I moved so I sold them all off. Then slowly over the years I began buying them back, each time I would change my focus from anything goes to very specific toys. Then a new line would be introduced that sparked my interest, or I would see a YouTube video showing off some obscure Transformer I had forgotten about that would rekindle my interest in the greater line as a whole.

Every time I would think about getting back into collecting there were always two deterrents that gave me pause. The first, as to be expected, is money. These toys are a finite resource with an ever increasing fan base looking to collect. As a result the scarcer toys have skyrocketed in price. There was a toy I bought when I started collecting, during the Ebay craze, that sold for $18 and I thought it was over priced then. Last time I checked they were asking $60 for that same toy. Every time I spent close to $30 for a single toy cognitive dissonance would sink in and I would have intense heartburn for days. I can’t see myself shelling out twice that now.

The second factor was the same issue I always had, space. I had focused on attention from toys and video games to movies and CD’s. The reason was mostly cost. Discs, whether they be movies or music, are smaller, cheaper and easier to obtain. I could build a massive movie collection quicker and easier than a sizable toy or game collection. Whereas I was limited on space it was also more ideal to focus on buying things that wouldn’t consume too much of that valuable commodity I was quickly running short on.

Why now? What changed? A couple of things. One, I am looking at a couple of job opportunities which would put me in a better financial footing than previous. I am college educated now. I have years of experience in my field which brings bargaining chips to the table when applying for jobs. This has opened doors for me to make more money to use towards collecting. Also age. I am 35 now. Every year that goes by I start to regret not doing the things with my life I want to accomplish. I have no goals on my ‘bucket list’ such as seeing the world or going to rock concerts. I have no interest in getting married, starting a family, buying a house; those are all things I have long since determined weren’t for me. Life is short. If I don’t spend my time doing the things I want to do, then what is the point of it all?

Looking back I have seen people with smaller apartments and lower incomes amass big collections. I realized it was fear stopping me and nothing else. I don’t have to buy every single toy I want right away. I can spend the rest of my life seeking them out if that is what it takes, or more importantly, if that is what I decide to do. In other words, I can put it off waiting to win the lottery and have the money to buy everything all at once, or I could say you know what buy what I can afford as I can afford it. That is my new goal. I won’t be busting out the wallet buying any $200 plus toys for any time soon. But I can start picking off the smaller, cheaper toys one by one. I am also thinking I might over come my need to buy complete and pick up a loose figure and build a complete set one piece at a time. While that was mostly how I did it before I am more disciplined now. I am older, wiser, and more importantly, I no longer feel the obsessive need to have a huge collection right away like I did before. I can take my time and collect the things I want. If I keep waiting for life to work itself out I might as well give up now.

I am not sure exactly where I will start. I am leaning towards focusing on buying the toys specifically from my childhood and then expanding from there. I might start small and slow with just a figure here and there. I have started this hobby up more than once. The difference this time is I am no longer juggling it with other hobbies like video game collecting. Since I am more into gaming than collecting I have shifted my focus there to avoiding the trap of buying old retro consoles. This keeps me from spending money on things I can do without and allows me to focus more on buying the things I have an actual interest in.

There was a small time when I thought I was done with Transformers collecting because I was worried what people thought. I don’t care what people think of me any more, which has really been very liberating in several other areas of my life, so with that said  am going to start my Transformers collection right after I get working again. I am working on making a plan this time so I don’t end up buying haphazardly with no goal in mind.

I am also limiting myself to toys from my childhood. While that will allow for some wiggle room when it comes to collecting toys from the line featured in the cartoon, I will opt out of buying newer toys just for the sake of it. My previous venture ended up leading me to buying Armada toys because I was having trouble finding sellers of the classic toys I wanted so I would fall into the trap of being in a Target or similar store and pick up the toy they had on the shelf to satisfy my urge to add a piece to my collection. If I can maintain a narrower focus I think I can build a respectable collection focused on just the stuff I want. I will post further details as I decide for certain which ones I want and which ones I can ignore.

For now I am just determining this is the direction I want to go, I will decide the specifics later.

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