Transformers collectors and online community contributors don’t come much more recognisable and respected than Benjamin Dolle AKA Peaugh. His video reviews have been a staple of the online fandom for some years now, his considerable body of work covering everything from vintage G1 to modern day 3rd party and mainline Transformers releases. Ben’s interests are not limited to Transformers, and for someone with such a high profile and held in such high regard by so many, his accessibility and continued enthusiasm for the hobby are a real asset and example to Transformers fans everywhere.
1) Who are you and what do you collect?
Benjamin Dolle, also known as Peaugh. I collect a lot of different things, from Ghostbusters, Ninja Turtles, Marvel superheroes, etc, but most of my collection is transforming robots, from Go-bots to Voltron to Sentai, but most of it is good old Transformers.
Oh man, the third party scene’s really shaken it up. It used to be that you’d have to scour and check the local shops for anything new, or stalk ebay looking for that vintage figure you were after. But now there’s so many choices and so many online shops that it’s usually not too difficult to find what you want. These days it’s more waiting for the mailman than waiting for your local store to restock.
I’d like to see less overlap in some of the releases. These days if one company announces a figure, three more are announced shortly thereafter. I’d be happy if we could just negotiate a Devastator ceasefire at this point.
In all seriousness, though, I’d like to see less combativeness over the various design philosophies. With so many companies making their own versions of characters, I think it’s great that people can find they one that they like. Even I disagree sometimes with which version of a toy is “best”, but it doesn’t make someone else’s opinion wrong.
Outside of my own wishes, how do I *actually* see it changing? I think we’ll see a lot fewer companies staying in the game. The whole scene’s just been growing so fast that something will have to give. I don’t know that that’s necessarily a bad thing.
Huh. This is actually more difficult to answer than expected. I don’t generally hunt for anything rare, and I’m hard pressed to think of anything I’ve gotten at a phenomenal price while on the hunt. I think my biggest success was putting together my whole Ghostbusters outfit with fully functional proton pack for Halloween a few years back.
I think that G2 Menasor that showed up on ebay last year was probably the most crazy thing I’ve been personally aware of. I know there’s kind of a secretive, behind the scenes, collector group that knows ALL the little details about so many of those old rumored prototypes and rare samples, but it’s not something I’ve been keen to get into.
On a pure instinct level, that figure would change almost daily. Maketoys’ Striker Manus would likely be the one that I’d nab on a gut feeling if my house caught on fire right this second and I had to go. But with the luxury of consideration, I’d probably take my G1 Bumblebee. It’s not particularly rare or hard to find or replace, but as my collection has rotated in and out over the years, he’s the one that never got sold/traded/lost. The Bumblebee on my shelf right now is the same one I’ve had since I was 7 years old. I’d hate to end that streak intentionally.
I would LOVE to have a G1 Victory Saber one day, or a non-GPS Monstructor.
8) What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
SAVE YOUR MONEY AND USE IT TO DO SOME GOOD IN THE WORLD! *laughs*
If you’re just determined to start collecting though, do some research, and try to commit to a focus, at least initially. There’s so much stuff out there these days that’s it easy to get overwhelmed and grab it all, because there’s a HUGE variety from line to line and company to company.
Stay away from combiners until the whole thing is out.
Take the time to check out something new once in a while. Some of my absolute favorite toys have been ones that I initially had zero interest in, but then got a chance to check out at a convention or a friend’s house.
Put together a budget and absolutely STICK TO IT. Very little actually sells out these days, wait a month or two if you need to save up.
Most importantly, have fun. Find what you like and go for it. Don’t put too much weight behind what other people think your collection should be. If you like it, can afford it, and are happy with it, it belongs in your collection. It’s your shelf, make it yours.
Many kind and gracious thanks to Benjamin Dolle for pictures and words.
All the best