For those who have been around in the Transformers collecting hobby for two decades or more, there’s every chance that their vintage G1 collection has long been completed and much of what the first years had to offer has been experienced. This will be the case especially for those who never ‘stopped’ or took a break since childhood, and those collectors do exist.
In my own case, I see a lot of similarities in how I used to collect as a child and how I have spent most of my adult collecting years acquiring Transformers (and later Diaclone). My childhood collection, for example, was almost entirely made up of Autobot cars and Decepticon jets, including multiple versions of the same moulds, e.g. Red Alert & Sideswipe, Starscream, Thrust, Dirge & Thundercracker. As an adult, my collecting has often swayed towards mould completion across variants and regions.
In addition, I only owned one Micro Change Series-based mould as a child, Hubcap. It’s little surprise, then, that my adult collecting self gravitated towards Diaclone instead of MC when I became hooked on pre-Transformers and variants. In fact, only the minibot variations featured in my collection prominently down the years, no doubt a remnant of my love for Hubcap.
All this has meant that it took quite a number of years for me to fully appreciate Micro Change-based Transformers moulds, with my first experience of G1 Blaster finally coming in 2022! Sure, I had Twincast from a couple of years earlier, but that still counts as a late discovery relative to many other long-time collectors.
I’d purchased mint versions of Laserbeak and Ravage, Reflector and Browning for my Ceji Joustra Diaclone collection years ago, but on the whole that was for the purposes of collection completion and documentation of that line’s history, not because I was a keen Micro Change mould collector. In fact, I’ve never owned a Ratbat. Cassettes in general are a big miss in my collection, including Eject, Rewind, Ramhorn, Overkill, Slugfest etc.
If it wasn’t for the Walmart reissues, I doubt I’d have a Rumble or Frenzy! Also, many of my Walmart reissues remain sealed since that was my primary reason for buying them; the belief that MISB/MOSC vintage Transformers would remain beyond my means forever.
This Diaclone-focused buying – or rather the avoidance of non-Diaclone Transformers from the early years – was not restricted to Micro Change. I’d only briefly owned an Omega Supreme during my early collecting days, and I’ve never really gone after Deluxe Insecticons (originally Beetras), Whirl or Roadbuster (originally Dorvack). However, Shockwave and Jetfire have featured prominently in my collecting past and present.
As a result, it’s been really nice to add items like vintage Blaster, Perceptor, various cassettes and a proper pre-rub G1 Soundwave to my collection after all these years. I’ve even gone so far as to buy a set of carded Canadian G1 cassettes as well, primarily for the differences in Hasbro Canada packaging (Robot Points on the front!). Allied to my Milton Bradley Ravage – another packaging variant-inspired purchase – I feel as though I’m finally paying some decent respect to the line’s Microman heritage stalwarts.
These sorts of major gaps created by hyper-focused buying in my earlier collecting are not restricted to pre-movie Transformers. Recent purchases have seen me finally add Springer, Broadside, Gnaw, Metroplex, Battletrap and Octane to my collection. Seeing out 1986 is definitely a priority now. Sure, I had token examples of some of the above figures at some point in the distant past, but they were quick to go when I needed cash for Diaclone, Mexican Transformers or something of that ilk.
As you would expect in present day G1 collecting, none of this stuff comes cheap in the sort of condition I like, so it’s been a slow process. My last article on repurchasing toys I owned in the past also shows that I’ve gone from hyper-focused to mildly scattergun. Conflicting priorities such as new Diaclone vs vintage G1 vs Car Robots vs Unicron Trilogy discovery really mean that neither ‘goal’ progresses that fast, and that can be good and bad at the same time.
Furthermore, with so many different areas of focus to my collecting now, I find it’s very easy to miss out on brand new product at a time when it would be smart to pre-order. Perfect examples of this are the Generations Selects toy colours Cyclonus, Masterpiece Shouki and Crosscut, brand new TakaraTomy Diaclone items such as Powered Greater, and even 3rd party items such as TFC ST Commander.
There’s a very strong narrative in the wider community that encourages collectors to buy what they love, and not feel that obligation or completionism should drive their collecting. I agree with this, because I distinctly feel the difference between receiving a toy I was fascinated by and curious about versus something I know inside out and felt like I ought to have for the sake of the collection. You don’t want to know how many Mini-Spies I’ve bought since 2020, and there are only four bloomin’ moulds!
So what’s the best way forward? Budget and space will always be a concern, and I know it’ll always nag at me if I don’t complete my Car Robots line-up having gone at that so purposefully over the last year, or my bit-by-bit G1 Raiden. However, the thought of buying another repaint of Mach Alert or Speedbreaker appeals to me slightly less right now than experiencing Superlink Landmine, Micron Densetsu Megatron or Diaclone Trivers Trijeter for the first time.
Does this stand in stark contrast to last week’s “Repurchasing – But Why?” article? Absolutely. Variety and fresh experiences may well be the key to enjoying the hobby (and life generally), but I’d forgive anyone who viewed my collecting right now as directionless and fickle. I’d argue it has direction and purpose, just possibly a few too many of each! Having too many things you want to buy that you can’t afford might just be a touch better than having too little to look forward to that interests you any more in the hobby. I’ll be honest, the idea that I am 24 years into Transformers collecting now and only just about to experience G1 Gnaw kinda makes me happy.
And being happy is what counts the most, right?
All the best