It’s now 2 years since the TFSource blog project was launched featuring weekly articles about – primarily – G1 Transformers collecting, collections and toy matters. Since then, Source Blog has taken on more regular excellent writers and has continued to bring insightful and engaging collector interviews to the community, as well as ongoing discoveries about ancient G1 and pre-G1 mysteries together with a greater focus on more recent Transformers releases and products. We take this opportunity to give you the best of the Source Articles presented in 2012/2013.
Using unique page views and general analytics voodoo, we have come up with a 2012/2013 Top 5 most popular Source Articles list. As with the 2011/2012 Top 5, it probably is not the most accurate measure of popularity, but the results aren’t as surprising as last year (with one exception), so chances are we’re not that far off the mark. Without any further pomp or ceremony, here’s the run-down!
~~~ #5 Yet More News To Me ~~~
Showing that Generation 1 and pre-Transformers are still very relevant, the fourth article in the infrequent “News To Me” series proved to be very popular. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the content was worth celebrating, just that any article which claims to feature previously-unknown discoveries regarding toys pushing 30 years of age may be hard to resist for any type of collector. The opening image of three of the rarest minibot variants in the world may have helped too.
The big draw in this installment, however, was the possible discovery of a Panasonic promotional Micro Change Series Cassette Micros, or “Pre-Enemy” as some have taken to calling it. The theory put forward here is that Panasonic may have had Takara do a special run of these cassettes to mark the launch of their high-end limited Ångrom series of micro-cassettes, possibly used in conferences, exhibitions or some corporate event. Since its publishing, pre-TF collectors have shown scepticism and support in equal measure, but it’s a mystery that may never be solved, and that’s the appeal of this kind of item and article right there. Three cheers for Canadian Fortress Maximus, Mexican Smokescreen and No-Grey-Border Wheeljack for providing further revelation.
~~~ #4 Binaltech and Masterpiece – 10 Years Ago ~~~
2013 saw the Source Blog dedicate more than a whole month to the celebration of Takara’s magnificent Binaltech line. I’d like to think that our featuring of those toys helped a few collectors rediscover their love for what was a truly big deal at the time, and dragged a few newcomers kicking and screaming into sampling the die cast licensed vehicle goodness. Those individual articles featuring 4 Binaltech releases at a time didn’t make the top 5 though, it was the 10 year anniversary celebration of the first appearance of BT-01 Smokescreen and MP-1 Masterpiece Convoy that pulled in the hits.
This article was the idea of Torsten ‘Nevermore’ Abel, and he provided all the facts, dates, events and details of how the two legendary toys were revealed to the public, as well as the birth of both the Binaltech and Masterpiece toy lines globally. A worthy tribute and celebration of toys that changed the face of Transformers collecting forever, I hope Torsten one day publishes the full unedited article somewhere so that the full extent of his research and work can be appreciated.
One of the revelations of the modern Transformers collecting age, Takara Tomy and Hasbro’s almost-reinvented Masterpiece line. MP-10 Masterpiece Convoy saw Takara – and later Hasbro – re-release Masterpiece Convoy (Optimus Prime) to a new smaller scale, followed by a slew of the Autobot cars like Lambor (Sideswipe) and Red Alert. The sheer scale of the hysteria surrounding these releases, their tremendous popularity and meteoric second hand price rises contributed to a very well-received series of Source Articles.
The background to this gallery of highly photogenic Masterpiece Transformers was my own timely decision to finally give in and begin collecting them, just as the prices and demand were beginning to reach ridiculous heights. Of course, since then we’ve had second production runs of Soundwave and Convoy, Hasbro Soundwave hitting TRU shelves in the US and UK as well as a flood of knockoffs of the Lamborghini Masterpiece cars, so the article is now very much a snapshot in time, instead of a lasting or definitive resource.
~~~ #2 Collector Fail ~~~
So here’s the big surprise. The second most popular (or visited) article that we published on the Source Blog in the last 12 months was a piece about how much of my own collection I had accidentally broken, ruined, crushed, pulverised or destroyed. I don’t know whether I ought to be happy that an article about one damaging valuable pieces of their own collection struck a resonant chord with so many other unfortunate collectors, or if I should be worried at how much joy readers took in seeing the many ways in which I broke my stuff. Either-way, “Collector Fail” beat off competition from all Diaclone, G1, Masterpiece, Movie, Binaltech, Transformers GT and variant Transformers articles this year to make it to #2 on the list.
Lowlights include the calamitous mis-transformation of a mint unused Joustra Diaclone Browning resulting in a snap at the waist, a Joustra Diaclone Diatrain that spat off its chrome nose due to weak sparkly blue plastic, the well-known weakness of Alternators/Binaltech Prowl wing mirrors and a tragic episode with a Diaclone chrome Trainrobo. Maybe an article about all the times I’ve been ripped off will prove equally popular next year?
~~~ #1 Just Say Yes ~~~
Result indeed. The most popular Source Blog article in the period of September 2012 to September 2013 was . . . the one I wrote last week. The success of this piece could mean a couple of things, the first being that the number of collectors who appreciate our work is increasing by the year, by the article, and that we are improving with every step. Or, seeing as how the article was about how I finally caught on to what others had been raving about for months, it could have ended up at #1 because I gave the readers what they wanted; a piece about the best 3rd Party toy on the market right now and the divine ongoing More Than Meets The Eye Transformers comic by IDW, written by James Roberts.
Proving that one should take careful note of the recommendations made to them by their esteemed collecting colleagues, “Just Say Yes” was a tribute to the magnificence that is FansToys Quakewave, the 3rd Party toy aiming to fill a Masterpiece Shockwave-sized hole in our collections, and to the best Transformers fiction and media I think I have ever come across in my life. These two things are coming together quite nicely in the IDW “Dark Cybertron” crossover too, it’s a good time to be a Shockwave and comic lover. With the amount of product – quality product – on the market nowadays wearing the Transformers brand, it’s increasingly easy to let something amazing slip through your fingers as you concentrate on what you can afford to collect and spend your time on.
It should be noted that of the 10 most popular articles I looked at for this week, 7 of them were Masterpiece-related. The #1 piece featured 3rd Party toys and current TF comics, and those facts tell you all you need to know about what’s burning most brightly in the Transformers collecting community at this point in time. Tastes are becoming more sophisticated and collectors and fans are being catered to in a way that we have never experienced or enjoyed before – by fans! Honourable mentions go to “Sacrifice“, “Who Is Tigertrack?“, and the other two Masterpiece articles that also received a highly respectable number of hits. Also, congratulations to Bryce Rutledge whose collector interview for Source Blog was – overall – the 3rd most popular thing we published in the last 12 months. Pretty pictures and wise words are still clearly very much in fashion, and here’s to another year of the same!
Endless and gracious thanks to Shanti Seigel, Gordon Yip, Torsten Abel, Rakuten Be-J Web Shop, Morgan Evans, Brandon Yap and Bryce Rutledge for massive contributions, and to Curt from TFSource for making it all possible.
All the best