About a year ago, I wrote an article for this blog about the rediscovery of older Transformers lines and toys I had in my collection, and how the Triple Takeover podcast I present with Sixo and Toybox Soapbox had inspired me to go back to those lines and buy figures I skipped at the time. Since then, the pattern has continued unabated with many more Car Robots, Binaltech and Henkei Transformers added to my collection. While the premise is similar this time around, I want to focus more on why there has also been a distinct element of repurchasing the very same things I sold in the past.
A lot of Transformers collecting is about discovering new things, having fresh experiences in order to remain interested, excited and inspired about what the franchise’s history and future has to offer. While a lot of my rediscovery of older lines I may or may not have collected in the past led to the buying of items I never had – items like Super Fire Convoy and Henkei Bumblebee – for the most part I seem to have re-bought a lot of what I had experienced and sold already. Why? How was it different or justified this time around? Why expend budget on known experiences instead of chasing new ones?
Once again, it all centres around the discussions I was having with my fellow presenters on the podcast. Typically, episodes are themed around a particular era, subline or style of Transformers toy, or maybe even non-Transformers lines like M.A.S.K. or Diaclone. We tend to discuss things we like and harbour vast enthusiasm for, even if one of us does not share the experiences of owning the toys. Car Robots, Classics/Henkei, Binaltech/Alternators, and most recently Diaclone have all undergone this treatment.
When one spends a good amount of time collecting and enjoying something, they can become well-placed to inform others of its advantages and disadvantages, quirks and pitfalls, magic and horror. The aforementioned toylines were no exception. I’d already re-bought Car Robots JRX, Alternators Mirage, Kiss Players Hot Rodimus and Henkei Skyfire to name but a few by the time we arrived at the topic of the TakaraTomy Diaclone V2 toyline, of which I was an enthusiastic early adopter. The resulting discussion and feelings were entirely predictable based on recent form.
It’s fair to say that when a subline of toys attracts you in the first instance and you persist with buying it for an appreciable length of time, there’s a lasting appreciation and bond which ultimately leaves happy memories and feelings of positivity. Even if those toys have been sold over time, those feelings can remain. When I sold my previous Car Robots JRX specimens, Binaltech Transformers and most specifically my Diaclone V2 toys, it was never because I’d come to the conclusion that they were bad figures. It was almost always to do with focusing finances, prioritising space in the home and storage, and matters to do with circumstances at the time.
So when it comes to recording an episode – or even having a detailed and lengthy conversation – on one of those toylines for which you still have significant affection, certain urges start to stir again. It was immediately evident during the Diaclone V2 conversation between Sixo, Toybox Soapbox and myself that we all still held the figures in the absolute highest regard. Just as we did with Binaltech. We’d also all sold them in the relatively recent past, in no small part due to the line’s cost and exponential rate of new figure release. For me personally, three years have passed since I purchased a new TakaraTomy Diaclone V2 toy.
It wasn’t just a podcasting thing, either. Just the other night I had a lengthy chat over FaceTime with a great collecting buddy about Diaclone V2, and while he was in the process of organising it all for sale, by the end of our 2 hour discussion he was almost entirely determined to buy a couple of the recent items that looked interesting to him, as well as keeping a few bits to enjoy again. This was simply a result of us recounting to each other what our original experiences with handling and owning the toys were like. Positive experiences, happy memories, revisited once again with a similarly enthusiastic other party…with predictable (read: devastating) results!
It was precisely this process of sharing fond experiences and recollections of Classics/Henkei that led to my repurchasing of Mirage, Optimus, Rodimus and Jetfire (except I went for the Takara Henkei versions, gotta inject some freshness into it!). I ended up asking myself “Why did I sell these in the first place? Why couldn’t I just have reminded myself of their worth at the time?”
Sometimes it is simply a case of being overwhelmed by a particular aspect of your collecting at a specific point in time. Was there something else more exciting that needed exploring? Was it just a time where making money back and freeing up space made more sense? Years later, those concerns may have resolved themselves to the point where your collecting is once again ready to revisit items you let go in the past. And there is zero shame in that.
Can it be an obstacle to further enjoyment of the hobby, though? I spent so long lusting after a TakaraTomy Masterpiece Reboost because my budget for toy buying was being focused on reacquiring most of what I’ve discussed and photographed above! This represented a whole lot of revisited experiences instead of fresh new ones. Well, the thing is, you can’t help what you love, and if things departed the collection when you had little choice in the matter or under certain circumstances, it’s not surprising that they would one day find their way back into the collection.
Masterpiece Reboost eventually got bought in-between a host of other things I repurchased in the last year or so. As expected, Reboost is utterly magnificent and a lovely new experience. Something that absolutely has to exist in the course of my hobby enjoyment in order for me to stick around and continue being inspired.
That said, those enthusiastic discussions on the podcast about toys we used to own and have re-enabled ourselves on do not just have an effect on us. There are no shortage of posts on social media where the three of us have been blamed for enabling fellow collectors into purchasing the very toys we’ve been waxing lyrical about. In some cases, those other collectors are repurchasing them, too!
Let’s now return to the question posed at the start of the article; why have I been repurchasing things from my past when space, budget, time and interest are all at a premium? It’s simple, one can’t help but like what they like, and a good toy remains a good toy. Taking regular opportunities to discuss the virtues of toys from our past with like-minded enthusiastic collectors who share similarly good memories of those toys reminds us what we fell in love with originally. I’m also happy to admit that the opportunity to photograph and talk about elements of Transformers history – such as Binaltech and Henkei – at a time when a majority of collectors are focused elsewhere remains a hugely enjoyable and attractive way for me to engage with this hobby.
There are so many toys we like and buy, forget and replace, that it is easy for things to slip out of focus over time. Sometimes we just need reminding. And I can tell you, there’s one specific item I’m eyeing for repurchase that I probably should never have sold in the first place, and it’s making my heart swell just thinking about it…
All the best