I have four IKEA Detolf cabinets in which to display all the Transformers I own in my current apartment. It’s the most cabinets I’ve ever owned, but it’s not the most display space I’ve ever had. The room that these cabinets live in is not a hobby or toy room, it’s a spare bedroom. There is still currently enough space for a grown adult, maybe two, to sleep in it on a mattress on the floor or on a snugly-fit sofa-bed should the need arise. One more cabinet, The Fifth Cabinet, and this will no longer be possible. All other spaces in the apartment are either unsuitable because of space or layout, or because of natural light exposure. Therefore, I cannot have…The Fifth Cabinet.
My collection consisted of Masterpiece Transformers, 3rd Party figures of all sizes, Generation 1 and vintage Diaclone toys, new Diaclone figures, Titans Return and Takara Legends Transformers, as well as various other bits and pieces. These did not all fit into four Detolf cabinets. They also did not all fit into the ample display space I had in the last apartment. Much of my collection, and especially the packaging, dwelt in storage. I didn’t want a storage collection, so I sold off all those toys I knew would never be displayed in the four cabinets.
What remained was a collection of toys that I could mostly display in four cabinets; a collection with more focus that allowed me greater control over it and less obligation to buy a variety of new toys. It still did not mean that all the toys would fit in the four cabinets and look good. I don’t want four crowded cabinets. I want The Fifth Cabinet for a well spaced out display that contains everything I would like it to. I have four.
I still have items in storage, although most of it is now admittedly packaging. That packaging tends to be vintage Generation 1 Transformers packaging and therefore not something I would ever consider recycling. I’m not feeding you any more cardboard, Icelandic recycling dump. Stop calling me. Because I am a toy collector, I buy toys even when it’s probably better to not do that due to space and finances. I’ve been much more sensible recently because I still have toys I have not opened or given attention to that I purchased in May, but that’s not a situation that’s unique to me. Since the four cabinets are now full, I have peppered the top of the cabinets with some M.A.S.K. figures; one for each cabinet. If The Fifth Cabinet ever becomes a thing, I will need a fifth iconic M.A.S.K. figure. Did I not mention that I mildly collect M.A.S.K toys? Oops. Toy collecting is complicated, serious and confusing.
I lied. Sorry. Almost all of my TakaraTomy Diaclone toys are now also in storage. As a result, I have been moved to sell my extras of the Powered System Suits which I was buying three of every time. Eventually this will probably spread to the main figures as well. TakaraTomy are releasing so many Powered Suits and new items in this toyline that buying multiples was becoming ridiculously expensive and simultaneously swallowing space at an alarming rate. It’s become so overwhelming that I have placed a stop on any further Diaclone pre-orders. I have not ordered the show exclusives from Diaclone EXPO 2018, nor the upcoming Battle Buffalo, nor the Waruder Powered Suits. Why not just get one of each and keep it manageable? Because four cabinets. Four full, lightly peppered cabinets.
I have some nice unopened toys that I look forward to photographing and enjoying, so I won’t buy any more new Transformers for my collection until that’s done. I’ve managed this ably since May. I won’t buy any more new Transformers for my collection because I don’t, and won’t, have The Fifth Cabinet. I also won’t buy any more new Transformers because my outgoings have increased. Thanks a bunch extra car and homeowner costs. No seriously, thank you. We really did need that car and a home. I may buy something at TFNation, though, because obviously.
Post-TFNation 2018, though, I am left with four full, peppered cabinets, increased outgoings, unopened figures to enjoy and give attention to…and the very real prospect of no more Transformers buying. That is a sobering thought. It almost feels like a game of chess that has reached its conclusion because of a series of strategic moves that have left me with only one possible outcome under the current set of circumstances, despite previous decisions appearing to indicate added longevity and wisdom in this approach. Buying more toys without selling means that items go directly into storage. That’s no good. Selling my current toys to buy more means swapping things I really like for things I may want, and that doesn’t seem like something I’d automatically get more out of. It also means more selling, and if there’s one thing I have had my fill of, it’s selling Transformers toys.
So what’s the solution? You’re expecting me to say The Fifth Cabinet, aren’t you? But no, it’s not. That would just get filled, probably with the toys I already have and am yet to open, as well as stuff that probably shouldn’t live on my desk currently…and the inevitable slip up in discipline. Hello, SDCC reissue Dinocassettes. That, however, would render this current room unsuitable for guests, and when you live so far away from those you love and care about the most, it’s not something one can readily give up without consequence.
No. The solution is to employ as tight a focus as possible and only keep hold of or buy Transformers that I am absolutely the most passionate about. I’m already there, though. I love my collection deeply. Packing more onto each shelf would be a stop-gap measure that would reduce the quality and enjoyment of my display. I must now learn, properly, to appreciate what I have and understand that my collection is not diminished by items that are not currently in it, or items that I desire.
Now that would be a collecting achievement I could be proud of.
All the best