If for whatever reason you lost all of your Transformers collection tomorrow, what figure would you buy back first? That excellent question was asked by Alex Kirk at a UK Transformers meet recently and created some fascinating discussion and introspective analysis. After the initial wave of “Nothing, I’d be free!” responses, everyone who was asked the question gave some very interesting answers. I’ve expanded Alex’s question to include the first three toys one would buy back, for whatever purpose that might be: rebuilding, three and done, nostalgia or a blank slate with the benefit of experience.
Each collector and individual will interpret the question and its answer differently, some may see it as a way to reach the same position again but with greater ease and less expense, some might just choose their 3 favourite figures currently, while others may see it as an opportunity to dispense with obligations to certain parts of their collection, omitting sections of it entirely for a potential rebuild. Of course one must also accept that some collectors would see it as their best chance of being rid of what their collections may represent to them, that is, a burden, obligation or an anchor.
Here’s one collector who has recently become widely recognised for an unbelievably comprehensive G1 and G2 collection of multiples displayed in every mode the figure comes in, as well as packaged specimens of each. So where does someone like Neal Rochman with virtually everything – at least three times over – start?
“When Maz asked me this, I didn’t even really need to think about it. My favourites have been my favourites for a very long time. My top three would be Liokaiser, Scorponok and the Police Countach (Police Sunstreaker) from Diaclone. I didn’t even realise it till someone else mentioned it to me, but I’ve (inadvertently) picked one from each line. G1, Japanese G1 and Diaclone. Guess it’s easy to tell my favorite from each series then!!!
“I’ll start with Scorponok. When I was younger, the Scorp on the left represents the toy I had. Pretty cool looking and a force for anyone to reckon with. But, when I got my first complete one I was blown away. Years of having only the shell compared to a fully ornamented Scorponok was no comparison. He immediately became my favorite toy and one the first ones I completed my ‘catalog collection’ of. He’s just so imposing, guns everywhere, huge claws, headmaster (my favorite gimmick of all time) and a colour scheme that works very well. Combined with his only line in the US cartoon “AUTOBOTS………..DIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!” Yea, Scorp, you’re #1.
“When the first TF Generations book came out and I got to see for the first time all the Japanese TF’s I never had access to, the pages stopped turning when I got to Liokaiser. He became the first Japanese toy I ever owned (and for a very long time, the ONLY Japanese toy I owned). He has always been a centerpiece in my mind. The toys are simple but look nice, a very smooth combined look with only one piece of kibble (first combiner to have his hands and feel built into the bots) and also the fact that he’s not a typical ‘Scramble City’ combiner is an extra added plus. I just love this guy so much.
“Lastly is a toy I dreamed of having for years, but didn’t actually add to my collection till a couple years ago. Police Diaclone Countach (or Sunstreaker). I’ll be honest, I don’t like the Sunstreaker robot mould. He was one of the last Autobot cars to be added to my collection and one of the few I didn’t have as a kid. But when I did finally get one, I fell in love with the vehicle mode. At some point, I was exploring online and discovered “Diaclone” and found a pic of that Red Sunstreaker. More importantly, I saw the POLICE version!!! Never had a simple paint job changed the way I look at a toy. It was just breathtaking, just so sleek and perfect looking.
I had to have one, but by this point it was already expensive (for what I was used to paying on toys) so I was content to simply stare at pics on the internet and one day dream of owning one. Fast forward about 10 years, my collection was done and then I see the Police Countach for sale one day. It’s bone white and one of the most amazing things in my life when I take it out and hold it for the first time. I can’t explain it, but it is one of the most beautiful toys I own. I only have the one and to this day it’s still displayed in car mode…just like my first Sunstreaker”.
Sid Beckett, well known for his contributions to the UK and global Transformers scene in various instrumental capacities, was one of those who initially answered “I’d be free!”, except he never quite revised that answer to indicate three toys he’d buy back first…
“As I stated in my Transformers Collector interview earlier this year, I’m an all or nothing kind of guy. I was actually in the pub with Maz and friends when this question was first posed, and my natural response is the one I have to stick with. If my Transformers collection burned to the ground or was swallowed up by a sinkhole or something; I would use that as my opportunity to get out.
“I love Transformers, and I love my collection. But a recent experience with a dead collector’s (Lego) collection has recently made me rethink my habits. Possessions bind you in life, and mock you in death. While I’m too weak willed to consider parting with my collection at this juncture in my life – especially with the hard work, stories and friendships that I can attribute to nearly every figure (a Thunderwing is just a crap toy, my Thunderwing I bought from Woolworth on holiday in Cornwall back when my family still pretended to like each other) – if the collection was to go I’d take it as a sign to move on with my life.
“Sorry if that’s a somewhat morose answer, but it’s honest, and I can tell you that as much as I love the collecting, I couldn’t limit it to just three. I can abstain, but I cannot moderate, and I know that would be the gateway back in”.
Bryce “Brr-Icy” Rutledge, known for his photography and not for being verbose (or counting apparently), had the following to say:
“After a long deliberation with myself (and Maz making me pick single toys instead of combiners, only me apparently though…) I think if I lost it all, I would buy back these three. Being some of my favorite moulds, and each are impressive on their own, making a decent display alone.
“Masterforce Overlord, the mould has quickly become one of my favorites, I’ve owned it twice, it was the first Japanese mould that I re acquired when I started recollecting G1 (to be fair I only owned him and Liokaiser before). Victory Saber, I had been told when I first collected G1 that I would love them, but I never listened. Fast forward to today, it’s one of the centerpieces of my collection. I’m more excited for Star Saber’s Masterpiece figure than any of the others that have been announced so far.
“MP-10 Prime is one of the epitomes of modern engineering with how accurate he is in both modes. It was a hard choice, I was going to pick MP Soundwave as I have more attachment to the character, but it’s three toys…not nine since I wouldn’t really want him without the cassettes. Since I did give up my G1 collection before, I should give mention to the three that I bought back first then, Dreadwing (both jets), Predaking, and Sixshot were the ones I had to have back right away then”.
And what about the man who asked this question in the first place, UK collector Alex Kirk?
“If I lost my entire collection, chances are I would not start again. There are figures I would miss, but if replaced wouldn’t have the scratches, bumps and sticker wear which tie them to me, and it just wouldn’t be the same. However one figure I would buy again in a heartbeat is THS-02 Hybrid Style Convoy. Simply put he looks great, a masterpiece figure with all the accessories that weren’t included in the 20th anniversary figure, highly posable, and sums up what Transformers should be about: fun. I used to have this figure on my desk in a previous job (a job which nearly killed me), and no matter how bad my day was, this little guy would always put a smile on my face.
“On the whole I have never been a fan of Beast Wars/Beast Machines figures, I find the majority of them too spindly, gangly and they just don’t look right to me. So when RID was released in 2001, coupled with the fact I had my first job and was earning money, I was over the moon to see a return to traditional looking Transformers. RiD Optimus Prime was my first purchase from the line, and I was completely blown away with the articulation, and the multiple armour configurations. The big revelation to me was that all the amour pieces and weapons could be incorporated into the different modes, compared to my beloved G1 figures where weapons and add-ons were largely only used in one mode and suffered from being separated and lost. To me this figure represents how I want my Transformers to look in both robot and vehicle mode, and I will always point to him as a shining example of Transformers at their best.
“Alternator/Binaltech Smokescreen is a G1 figure with superb articulation, and looks fantastic in robot mode and highly detailed in car mode, what s not to love? Before Classics and the Masterpiece line were released, Alternators were the closest I thought I would get to have an improved modern version of my favourite childhood figures. Smokescreen was the first figure released, and I was so excited to get him I remember getting up early to get down from uni to Argos to make sure I was able to pick him up. When I first transformed him I was taken aback by the design and the transformation, all the way down to his engine transforming into his gun. Whereas up to that point I felt that TF’s suffered from one mode being made to look great at the loss of the other, Smokescreen gave me a G1 feeling figure and a detailed scale model of a rally car, and even now I marvel at how one turns into the other”.
More insights and opinions from guest contributors next week!
Many kind thanks to Alex Kirk, Bryce Rutledge, Sid Beckett and Neal Rochman for inspiration and contributions. Thanks also to Tony Bacala for picture contribution.
All the best