If you follow Transformers photography on Instagram, you may well have come across the gorgeous outdoor and diorama pictures of ”Egorchrome”. Once I saw his collection and ability to bring toy robots to life, I wanted Egor Nikolaev to be one of our interviewees. Egor is the first collector from Russia we’ve had the privilege of featuring, and it was great to see that the collection behind the photography was every bit as awesome as the art that he creates.
1) Who are you and what do you collect?
My name is Egor “Chrome” Nikolaev. I’m from Moscow, Russia. I’m 34 years old and I work as the head of a marketing department and food stylist/photographer. I have two lovely children and a wife (she somehow miraculously tolerates my hobby). Today I basically collect the MP line Transformers. But apart from that I gather various commands: Destroyers team, Dinobot team, the Command Femobots, the Dragons team and other groups that can be combined. I like to compare the same character in different versions and sometimes I do customs/repaints.
2) How has the collecting scene changed in the last 10 years?
Hobbies are highly dependent on the quality of the toys. The number of quality toys have certainly grown over the past year, and that means increased choice. Previously, collectors would take all the toys that they could find. Now we have a choice, and of course such an abundance has been created through third parties. Many heroes have two or three or four versions from different companies. I think our hobby is thriving! It is a paradise for collectors.
3) How do you see, or hope to see the scene changing in 5 years’ time?
In the next five years, we will get many figures for the basic sizes (CHUG and MP). But of the lines used, I think only G1 and G2. For the re-creation of the other remaining lines, we need 15 years at least. Of course a lot of very simplified Transformers will be issued, but we understand that small start, so it’s all right.
4) What has been your single biggest success as a collector, or your greatest ever find?
One of the biggest successes was just purchased, a “Barbie house” for my bots. This is a set of 50 pieces of walls and ceilings. I use them for photos and for the shelves. Now I want to buy even more walls, and create different fun scenes. Of course I shoot not only on the background wall. I like to take pictures on a white background and I love to shoot Transformers in nature.
5) What is the most surprising or outrageous collecting story you have heard?
I am very afraid of the appearance recently of many Ebay fraudsters. The stories about the scams on Ebay get worse and worse. I personally have three times been faced with the fact that a good seller from Asia becomes rogue and a fraudster. Before they sold and quickly shipped without problems. Then they start lowering the price (dumping), gaining a large number of orders, and then either do not send the items at all (giving a fake tracking number) or send some unnecessary cheap bracelet or other cheap useless thing instead of an expensive Transformer.
6) If you could pick one item from your collection to keep, what would it be?
Scraper of course! He is close to me because he is the leader of a very unusual subculture group of Decepticon builders. They show that there is no be completely dark color in the description of the Transformers characters. There are positive and negative sides of one and the same character. Of course I am impressed by his intelligence and role in the Constructicon team. Also important is the fact that the story of his origin is treated differently. And to top it off – I’m crazy about his earthly altmode.
7) If you could have one item out of someone else’s collection, what would that be?
Maybe Masterpiece Thrust, and from those who have not yet been released – Generation Toy GT-2 Leader (IDW Megatron).
8 ) What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
Most importantly, do not immediately rush to spend all your money. Before purchasing, watch three or four video reviews, read the written reviews and only then buy. And be sure to listen to friends. See their collection. I have a friend and a guide in the world of Transformers – on Instagram his nickname is @warp_rus. So, thanks to his collection, I was able to learn a lot of important things. For that, I thank him a lot.
Many kind and gracious thanks to Egor Nikolaev for words and photographs.
All the best