When the TFsource blog project was started in 2011, we had a vision of a weekly series of articles that would aim to eventually touch many corners of the Transformers collecting universe, primarily G1, and be a valuable online resource for collectors. The idea was always to add more authors to the team to help cover more bases and add further variety to the content offered. With the recent addition of more writers, a snazzy Source Blog re-design and precisely one year’s worth of Source Articles, it seems like a perfect opportunity to look back and reflect on the best of the articles presented in 2011/2012.
Using forum views and the amount of discussion generated in the respective article threads posted on the most prominent and active Transformers communities, we have come up with a 2011/2012 Top 5 most popular Source Articles list. Not the most accurate measure of popularity maybe, as one can never truly judge how every single reader receives an article as not all forum readers are vocal, but we’ve gone with the logic that if someone was moved to comment, we must have done something right. Or wrong. Very wrong. Anyway, here’s the run-down!
~~~ #5 – Canadian G1 Transformers ~~~
I don’t know whether this article’s extended discussion was a result of the Blog’s growing following getting vocally involved in the latest offering, or the large number of forum members who were introduced to Transformers during their childhood in North America, but the fact is that its appearance on our top 5 list came as a surprise to me as I tallied up the results. It was one of those amazing circumstances where during the promotion of the article, a board member actually provided pictures of a 1984 pre-rub Canadian minibot showing the Robot Points on the front of the card, which I immediately added to the article.
The Canadian G1 Transformers article didn’t just focus on the famous red cartoon-accurate Dinobot Slag, but also touched on a number of interesting tech spec and package printing oddities such as Swoop being labelled as Tracks, or Megatron’s techspec indicating an Autobot allegiance. A particularly fetching variant of the Pepsi Optimus Prime was also available in Canada where the Pepsi logo covered the entire trailer. Mail-away promotions were also discussed, including Canadian mail-away minibots which had G1 style instruction books.
~~~ #4 - Contentment ~~~
The last article I wrote to wrap up 1 year’s worth of submissions to the TFsource blog was an introspective piece inspired by lengthy conversations I had recently undertaken with a number of thoughtful, reflective and wise collectors. Examples were given of situations where I had let my lack of contentment with the condition and content of my collection affect my decision-making, leading to disappointment or regret, while at the same time expressing a degree of satisfaction with where I found myself today with my collection.
I was quite concerned about promoting this article on the forums as I was afraid it was far too self-indulgent and contained home truths that would leave me open to criticism from more ‘sensible’ collectors. As it turned out, there was much positive feedback with many collectors expressing similar feelings from their past or current situations, being able to relate directly to the feelings expressed within, if not the precise situations described. It just goes to show how much more there is to toy collecting for some people than just the issue-free amassing of plastic and cardboard. Highlights included how I ruined my Finnish Diaclone Black Tracks, and some decent pictures of Diaclone Police Sideswipe, Police Sunstreaker and Yellow Sideswipe. Who doesn’t love a good Countach gallery?
~~~ #3 – In Their Own Words ~~~
Proving particularly popular was the 5-part “In Their Own Words” series. After a few complimentary private comments about the interview we did with a number of collectors’ wives, I wanted to offer more members of the community a chance to tell us of their experiences. On the rare occasions where the Source Articles have been heavily contribution-driven, the feedback had been positive. This series provided collectors an opportunity to showcase their photography, bargains, treasured rare and obscure pieces and what they were enthusiastic about, eventually leading the Blog staff to introduce the monthly Featured Collector’s Corner interviews.
Highlights from this series included very rare pictures of the Milton Bradley European G1 “Jazz-Porsche” by Mijo, Marco Salerno’s short-packed GiG G1 Cyclonus, stunning photography by HighPrime of his Japanese exclusive DoubleClouder, a KO Overlord with a Star Sabre head from Morgan Evans and Diaclone & Micro Change Series campaign prize file cards from Martin Lund and Ras. It is always refreshing to see how welcoming the community reaction is when some of its finest residents have the chance to express their joy of the hobby in their own words.
~~~ #2 – Japanese Transformers 1988 (Chōjin Masterforce) ~~~
Another surprise for me was just how popular our series of articles on Japanese exclusive Transformers anime Masterforce was. Of course this is an extremely desirable toy line, it always has been among collectors, but the figures from this series are red hot on the collector’s market right now and everybody is chasing something from this era of Japanese exclusive releases. There is no shortage of Masterforce material online though, yet it created more discussion than any of the Diaclone articles. I myself fell head over heels in love with it after watching the anime through to its conclusion. Much of the photography was provided by HighPrime, Heroic Decepticon and Eric Warren, and the life they brought to it is almost single-handedly responsible for its relative success among our articles so far.
Apart from the incredible photography of Overlord, Metalhawk, DoubleClouder, headmaster Juniors and the various Godmasters, the articles also discuss the anime, rare figures from the line and how they compare to the US counterparts. The discussion generated by this series showed me how in-demand some of these figures still are, how many collectors still count Masterforce toys as holy grails and that articles about nice looking rare toys will continue to trump any writer’s bleatings about his toy-collecting feelings! And rightfully so.
~~~ #1 – The $3k Black Tracks Fraud of 2012 ~~~
And so it was that from all the Source Articles published weekly from September 2011 through to September 2012, more popular and commented upon than any of our articles on Diaclone, Micro Change, North American or Japanese Transformers, prototypes, interviews or commentaries on the state of the fandom, was the story of how an Italian Diaclone collector was cheated out of nearly $3,000 by someone who targeted him specifically for such a scam. While the injured party received a refund, a collective bad taste was left in the mouth of the collecting community due to the despicable actions of one of its own.
It’s not entirely surprising that such a shocking and blatant criminal act within the fandom should incite such a vociferous response from forum readers, especially as the number of people involved in the investigations meant that there were all kinds of different angles, opinions and input being thrown around during the discussions. The whole debacle was a testament to what can be achieved by the community with knowledge, persistence and a desire to get to the truth. The overall feeling was that people had definitely heard enough about it by the time everything was out in the open and solved, but this article stands as a stern reminder about the risks of high-end vintage toy collecting and the importance of knowing as much about your hobby and the people and toys in it as possible.
Knowing our hobby, our toys and our community, and sharing that information is exactly what we have aspired to in the first year of our Source Articles. Thank you to all of our contributors for making it such a pleasure and a success, and here’s to year 2!
Yet more thanks to HighPrime, Mijo, Martin Lund and Sixliner for the pictures above.
All the best