On the way to TFNation 2018 this year, I did the usual thing of picking up packets of Icelandic chocolate-coated liquorice for some friends back home. For a while there it looked as though one of the packets would be mine, but it found its intended owner eventually. Just that momentary, short-lived feeling of desire and connection I felt with it ensured that as soon as I was back home, I went and grabbed a pack of the same chocs I felt I had missed out on. It’s not unlike the feeling of having missed out on particular Transformers releases, either as a child or an adult on a tight budget, and over-compensating for it somewhere down the line.
I know that in my case, I originally set out as an adult toy collector to buy the things I never had as a child. Even though I have evolved as a collector and have had varying tastes and trends come through my collection ever since, this whole fear of missing out on particular types of toy has had a noticeable effect on my toy-buying habits. Not just in the present, but also when I look back. Certain purchases and cases of prioritisation can wholly be put down to the aim of avoiding circumstances where I would miss out on releases or specific types of toy within a wave or series.
When Masterpiece was in full flow, I had a habit of avoiding the larger release toys on my first pass. Items like MP-10 Convoy and MP-11 Starscream passed under my radar until their second round of releases. I dug into the smaller Masterpiece Autobot cars and bought all variants, saving the cash (hah!) that I would otherwise have spent on the larger toys. Having missed out on them and then as a result paid a higher price down the line, I overcompensated by prioritising Skywarp, Thundercracker, Ultra Magnus, Star Saber etc upon their release to make sure I stopped missing out on the larger Masterpieces.
I also had quite a time trying to track down end-of-line TF Animated toys when I collected those, and the odd Japanese exclusive from the Takara line too. As a result, as soon as I had bought into the Titans Return line, I just ordered every wave in full before release from my favourite import stores, then handed over wads of cash when they dropped. Sure it was great to not miss out on a single figure, but that behaviour is extremely expensive. Having now sold all of Takara Legends and Transformers Titans Return, it’s very easy for me to see how much of a financial hit that was and how much I lost on resale compared to buying them when they were brand spanking new on the market. Another manifestation of this was just how many Titan Class Fort Maxes and Trypticons I owned, no longer wishing to be that guy who never experienced the higher-priced BIG Transformers. Missing out on G1 Fort Max and its reissue, Generations Metroplex and the like had its effect. And I paid for it.
The memory of missing out on various G1 reissues and reissue exclusives from all the way back in 2000, stretching to the modern day, still plays on my mind and my collecting habits. I had a tighter budget back then, so as a result, I would skip reissues that I figured I could live without or that I owned in some other capacity and focused on maybe Diaclone-style reissues, or those that had brand new colour schemes. All these gaps are catching up with me now, as the feeling of having missed out originally has led me down a path of filling in gaps in my reissue collecting. This has been an expensive endeavour, as G1 reissues and exclusives from the Takara-only era are more dear than they used to be, by some margin in particular cases.
With the new Walmart/Hasbro Asia reissues that are hitting the market right now, I was determined to not make the mistakes of old and to ensure that I got in there at release. Too often I think back to TRU displays of Commemorative reissues I just skipped because I just thought reissues would be a part of the scene always, going forward. I’d buy the whole damn range if I had the chance now at retail prices. So, I made sure I got straight in there with Hot Rod, and actually fought off a little panic when my budget contracted significantly, meaning I had to wait for re-stocks on Devastator, Starscream and the minibots. I was also convinced I’d missed the boat on the SDCC Retro Rock Garage Vol 1 Dinocassettes, watching history repeat.
This kind of behaviour, being significantly influenced by a fear of missing out, is responsible for much of the stuff I pre-ordered over the last few years. Despite this, I’ve stopped putting in early orders for upcoming Diaclone figures and will just see how successful I am picking them up on the fly. Not committing to purchases up front has a degree of financial freedom at its root, but it’s not stopping me from committing to the G1 reissues in the vintage-style boxes. Something about those is gnawing away at me and ensuring that I don’t dally when it comes to purchases. I don’t often buy a lot at toy shows, but at TFNation 2018 I made sure I came home with all the minibots, Starscream and Devastator. It’s almost as if, like in the past, living through a bubble of G1 reissues is a golden era. I’ve seen these bubbles burst and the reissues disappear more than once, but this time I’ll not be leaving anything on the shelf or skipping a single one if I can help it, and it’s mainly the fear making me do it. Helps that they’re stunning, though.
All the best