Four years into the TFSource Blog project and we’re still finding topics to write about weekly. If that in itself is not something to celebrate within Transfandom, then how about taking time in this article to thank all of our loyal readers, supporters and especially the contributors who have made so much of what we do on the site possible. From the ever-popular collector interviews to informative articles on different sections of Transformers history, from brand new official and unofficial product to opinion pieces on the state and mentality of collecting Transformers, here are the top 5 most viewed, read and shared articles from the last 12 months, our fourth year.
~~~ 5. 1985 ~~~
This article was a real risk as I had no idea how the readers of TFSource Blog would react to a fabricated conversation, simulating a debate between an enthusiastic Transformers fan and a cynical Transformers fan about the then-upcoming 1985 assortment of Transformers as advertised in catalogues. The two viewpoints were deliberately chosen to be extreme and a parody of the kind of discussions, arguments and opinions found on Transformers forums today regarding new and upcoming products.
It turns out that the article was able to maintain suspension of disbelief long enough for readers to find the content entertaining, believable and engaging, while at the same time reminding them of just how good the 1985 offering of Transformers was. In addition to that, it demonstrated that no matter what era of Transformers we scrutinise, there will always be pros and cons, things to celebrate and things to bemoan. One wonders if much has changed in decades of Transfandom as far as the fans are concerned.
~~~ 4. Felisaber & The New King ~~~
Just like in 2013/2014, any article that involved Mastermind Creations’ 3rd Party version of Predaking (“Feral Rex”) ended up being successful. The pre-release review of R-07 Reformatted Felisaber (Catilla as a Predacon!) was no exception. With so many collectors on the fence about whether or not they needed a 6th Feral Rex member, or a slight re-tool and repaint of MMC Tigris (Rampage), this article must have provided them with an avenue to making a firm decision.
The sheer number of popular articles that Felisaber and his gang of Feralcons beat to reach 4th spot demonstrates that interest in 3rd Party Transformers is still high, and despite the main Feral Rex project coming to an end in 2014, the popularity of this set continues to be a phenomenon. This was demonstrated clearly by how well Felisaber did as a review and a toy, despite never being a part of Predaking in G1. At the time, Feral Rex still stood out as the best of all the 3rd Party combining teams, even with its inherent flaws.
~~~ 3. The Takara Version ~~~
The top 3 articles/features of the last year have all included significant contributions from other collectors and enthusiasts, these types of article or interview are always among the best performing of anything we post. With the everlasting debate about whether it’s better to buy Hasbro versions of Transformers at retail or wait for the Takara version continuing to rumble on, the new Robots In Disguise vs Transformers Adventure question inspired me to revisit the debate. Masterpiece Transformers are another good source of fuel for this discussion, but there’s enough history there, such as Hasbro versus Takara Animated and even Generation 1, to analyse the benefits and drawbacks of choosing Takara product over Hasbro.
Many of our contributors did admit that Takara / Takara Tomy often produce collector-grade toys as opposed to Hasbro aiming the toys at children, citing the budgets and demographics as the main reason for any disparity in toy quality or appearance. There was significant support and defence for choosing Hasbro over Takara though, enough to make for an interesting and well-received discussion. With the announcement of a Takara Masterpiece Thundercracker hitting the news today, this is a discussion that remains current and will continue long into the future as long as both companies are producing Transformers products. Everyone has an opinion on this.
~~~ 2. Collector Interviews ~~~
The featured collector interviews remain an enormously popular part of the TFSource Blog. Last year they actually outshone all of the regular articles with enormous share numbers and views thanks to the collections of Neal Rochman and Neil De La Cruz, and ended up being our most read pieces. This year, we’ve had exceptionally good numbers on a more regular basis with some really impressive collections and great interviewees, especially Immo De Maar and his incredible boxed vintage TF and pre-TF collection, Brad B and his tremendous dedication to Seekers and G1, and Michael Kingcaid with his unforgettable Transformers museum room. Interviewing Karl Hartman, co-founder of BotCon, for TFSource Blog was a genuine honour and privilege that I won’t forget in a hurry either.
In addition to the jaw-dropping sea of cabinets that the above collectors wowed our readers with, I have had the pleasure of putting a number of my own friends in the spotlight who I felt had such fine attitudes (and none too shabby collections) towards collecting, and so much to offer the community, their voices had to be heard. People like Dan Ghile, Jon Strong and Matt Dennett have all contributed to this blog and had the opportunity to share their collections with us too. In addition, we had the pleasure of bringing into the fold the first interviewees from Poland (Marcin Starzomski) and Mexico (Eduardo Cardenas), something we are enormously proud of. Going forwards, the plan is to bring some of the more recognised personalities in the Transformers world to the interview table, and we started this with Hyperoptic’s interview, someone who was very well known in G1 circles for the quality of his collection and as a person despite his wish for anonymity.
~~~ 1. All Our Toys ~~~
What will happen to our toys when we die? That question alone was enough to propel this article not just to #1 for 2014/2015, but for the entire period the TFSource Blog has been live. By far the most popular article we have ever published, this was basically a glorified collector interview, the only differences being that instead of asking one collector multiple questions, we asked many collectors just that one question. As the collective age of the fandom increases, as responsibilities grow and intensify, or as we are forced to consider our futures this question of what we do with our amassed plastic becomes highly relevant. Some collectors found the topic morbid, but most found the opinions of our contributors fascinating, as well as providing a staggering variety of their own. The topic was so widely discussed that I was invited by TFTalk/TFYLP to join them on their excellent podcast to discuss the matter and the enormous spread it achieved.
What also helped this article was that all the photography was taken from the most impressive collector interview imagery provided to TFSource Blog over the last 4 years. Allying those mesmerising collection displays with some of the incredibly accessible wisdom we have in the community made for a winning formula. In fact it’s the same formula that has made the TFSource Blog a success, and it’s no coincidence that year after year the most popular articles end up being the ones where an ever-widening bank of collector contributions have helped diversify and strengthen what we are able to offer. A deep and heartfelt thanks to all of our readers, supporters and our contributors.