I knew Sean Meece as the Beast Wars guy, or the outdoor Transformers photo guy. With a seemingly endless array of incredible outdoor locations, both natural and man-made at his disposal, Sean has rapidly become known online for sharing great photos of his vast and varied collection whilst on his travels. I first became aware of Sean thanks to his excellent Beast era Transformers collection that he showcased on TFW2005, and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him better over the last year, at the same time appreciating the depth and passion he has in his collecting. A huge supporter of my own work and an genuine Transformers fan, I now know Sean as that excellent photographer guy whose passion and admirable attitude towards the hobby is something we could all aspire to.
1) Who are you and what do you collect?
I am Sean Meece or better known as Jetbolt. I’m currently 28 years old and I like to take Transformer pictures outside and just like taking pictures in general. I’ve taken pictures of figures at many beaches, on a race track, aircraft carrier, and parks. I like to travel, so might as well combine my other two hobbies with it. I’ve been a member of different Transformers fan sites over the years, the first being TFans under a different name. I’ve been a member of TFW2005 since December 2009 and still enjoy my time on it and some of the friends I’ve made as a result. Some of which has carried over off the site. My online name came as a result of combining half of Beast Machines Jetstorm’s name with half of Beast Wars Silverbolt’s name. My first fan event was 2015 TFcon Charlotte and hopefully come 2017 I’ll be back down that way.
I’ve been a fan ever since I saw the first episode of Beast Wars one morning before school in 1996. I was and still am a creative person. So just the concept of animals that could turn into robots was just so cool to me. I just kept watching and seeing how the characters grew. From the time I was eight until I was thirteen, they were with me as I grew too. Later after the series ended, I started watching Beast Machines. It was darker but it gave me my first introduction to vehicle transformers. By far my favorite was Jetstorm. He reminded me of so much of The Joker that I saw just years before. One moment he could be funny and the next moment he’s going to try to take out a Maximal.
After Beast Machines ended and seeing the first Robots in Disguise series. I was left confused. Like why is the show not in CGI? Where are the Maximals? Why is Megatron back and why does he sound strange? Though I did like X-Brawn from early on and I absolutely loved Scourge when he came on. He wasn’t a joke like Sky-Byte but a legit threat. Personally I think if he was handled by Mainframe it would have been a similar show like Beast Wars was. I think he probably could rival Beast Wars Megatron as a character. Even now Scourge is still my favorite Decepticon.
But by far my favorite series since Beast Wars was Animated. The characters and development they went through during the three seasons really reminded me of my childhood series. In fact it kept me as a fan. I was nearly out until I saw the premier and just fell in love with it. The series gave me my ideal Optimus Prime, a nobody that became a great hero. Someone that had faults but overcame them. I take that over nearly perfect and wise any day. There wasn’t a character that I didn’t like on it. I was so happy to see some childhood favorites pop up during the series.
Now I spend a lot of time working on picture galleries on my Facebook page (Jetbolt’s Toy Photos) and uploading some of those images on my Twitter account and TFW. In the past I’ve also done comic skits on TFW. Not as much now as the Facebook page has taken a lot of focus. Currently I’m in the 330’s when it comes to page likes which is far more than I thought I would have. I don’t do reviews or fancy photoshopped pictures. I’m just outside dealing with the wind, the bugs, the heat, and the cold taking pictures in my yard or hours away.
My main interests in collecting are just beast transformers and just whatever I find cool looking or just able to get for a good price. The beastformer could be a G1 update, a Beast Wars update, movie, or whatever. If it has one then it becomes a top priority for me. Unlike some collectors that might just go for Masterpiece only, I have a large amount of figures from G1 to the current line and some 3rd party figures. Though Beast Wars is my largest single toy line in my collection.
2) How has the collecting scene changed in the last 15 years?
Changed quite a bit over the years. I remember when it was just one series and that was the series for the TV show. Then the first Transformers Universe line happened. Around the same time the Alternators popped up. They were like pre Masterpiece figures, G1 characters in what was then current alt modes. Not too long after stuff just exploded. The first Masterpiece Prime, the Classics line, and the first 3rd party figure.
Since the Bay movies happened the series has gotten more exposure. But the down side has been less spacing during non-movie years in the toy section. Now add the combination between over-ordering and poor distribution, it has just made online shopping the main source for a lot of people. Why waste the gas for something that might not be there?
It’s amazing to see the growth of the 3rd party companies. A lot of the companies know fans can be impatient and they really have delivered. Especially on the Masterpiece side. I do wish they did different stuff. Do we really need different versions of Masterpiece Insecticons or Dinobots out at the same time? Like the many combiners that are the same? There’s so many other characters that could have been done that haven’t. But by far my favorites would have to be non G1 inspired. Like the Planet X Fall of Cybertron Dinobots, or the Mastermind Creations Decepticon Justice Division figures. I really like their take on IDW Turmoil. My first figures from a 3rd party company were the Mech iDeas Demolition Crue.
Now for me a personal annoying change over the years has been the decline of original characters. Beast Wars was mostly made up by them and many are still my favorites of the line. So I personally get so annoyed when Optimus Prime or Bumblebee get figures in different size classes. To me it’s taking away from being able to world build a series. I wouldn’t have many of my childhood favorites if that was the approach during Beast Wars. So whenever they do happen, I tend to go for them first because I like originality. Most of the time they just look cooler to me and more liberties can be taken with them. One reason why I like Combiner Wars Alpha Bravo, Off Road, and Rook so much.
3) How do you see, or hope to see the scene changing in 5 years’ time?
Ideally, I would hope the collector side is expanded upon. This is the 20th anniversary year of Beast Wars. We are nearing the same for Car Robots/RID and the Unicron Trilogy with Micron Legend/Armada. Here are fans of different series that are older and each have characters they liked from childhood. I liked Rattrap, another might have liked Side Burn, and still another might have liked Sideways. I would love to see in five years that the Beast Era, RID01 and the Unicron Trilogy fans can have updates as common as G1 fans have had
over the last decade. To me it would be sad to see a large group of adult collectors basically be unnoticed in comparison because they weren’t children of the early 80’s.
4) What has been your single biggest success as a collector, or your greatest ever find?
It was in 2013 and I was heading towards Wilmington, North Carolina. Ended up stopping at this small thrift store and found a box of Beast Wars Transformers. Got it all for $20 and was able to restore or recover a lot of my childhood figures. Weapons got lost, some figures were broken on me, stuff like that. What I didn’t need, I took to a collector store in Pineville, North Carolina and ended up getting $50 for it. Pretty good turn of events.
5) What’s the more surprising observation you have made as a collector?
For me it would be troop building. I just don’t get the concept of spending all that money to just buy the same figure over and over many times. Seekers are one thing as they are different colors and characters. Say Generations Scourge, I’ve seen pictures of people that had a good amount to give him his Sweeps. Then later with Transformers Prime with the Vehicon figures. I could understand maybe three, but fifteen? To me that’s kind of annoying for people who are trying to get one in store. I’ve heard others say they go online to get multiplies. The thing is, if something is in high demand and distribution is bad, normal stores are going to get picked clean and somebody that wants one only is going have to go online. But if they can’t score one online either, then they are kind of out of luck unless they so happened to get lucky and find one before a scalper or a troop builder does. It took me a good amount of time to find my Transformers Prime deluxe Vehicon figure. As soon as it became clear about Jet Vehicon not coming on the Hasbro side, I struck. I just didn’t want to fight online troop builders and scalpers for it. For me personally, it’s a waste of money and I don’t do it. I’d rather buy fifteen figures I don’t have instead of fifteen of one single character that I do have.
6) If you could pick one item from your collection to keep, what would it be?
Oh man that’s hard. Part of me wants to say RID Scourge, because that was a figure I wanted for a long time. Then another part wants to say Beast Wars Razorclaw. That was one of my favorite figures as a kid. In fact when the left claw on the figure broke, I took the same piece off the VHS version because I couldn’t part with it. When that part broke years later, I just combined the two figures. This was before I had a computer and Beast Wars had been replaced in the stores by Armada. So it was really either toss or do what I ended up doing to save the figure. It wasn’t until almost ten years later that I found a junker Beast Wars Razorclaw and a new VHS version which serves as my Beast Wars Neo Rockbuster. I did a further modifications to make the colors of Razorclaw more uniform. So as much as I like RID Scourge, I would have to pick Beast Wars Razorclaw over him. Just for how much time I put into saving the figure over the years.
7) If you could have one item out of someone else’s collection, what would that be?
The 2006 Botcon Dawn of the Future Past Megatron. I loved the character as a kid during Beast Wars. Until Animated, he was my only favorite Megatron. I have croc Megatron, season 1 Megatron, Transmetal Megatron, Dragon Megatron, Beast Machines Megatron, and even the Robot Heroes Beast Wars Megatron. So I would love to have a pre Earth Beast Wars Megatron in my collection.
8 ) What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
Don’t feel pressure because somebody is getting the latest hyped up Masterpiece or 3rd party figure. If one is not interested in it or can’t afford it, put the money towards something else that one likes more. There are good figures out there that are not Masterpiece or from a 3rd party company. Combiner Wars and the new RID line have great figures. The new upcoming Titan Returns line is sure to have some great figures in it. Older lines from G1 to Transformers Prime had some amazing figures too.
Many kind and gracious thanks to Sean Meece for words and photographs.
All the best