Rediscovering The Joy of Collecting
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 9:21am CDTCategories: Site News, Toy News, Site Articles, Collectables
Posted by: Burn Views: 30,255
I picked up a G1 figure. E-Bay, or Facebook, or forums, I can't remember how I did it, I can't even remember which figure it was, but it stirred something inside of me. The excitement for collecting.
"Didn't you already have that though?"
I thought I did, but without realising, while I had been collecting modern figures, I was simply going through the motions.
There was no thrill of the hunt, because it has simply become easier for me to order them online, more often than not, the Takara Tomy versions, which means waiting for HobbyLinkJapan pre-orders to go up. So with a few clicks of the mouse, the order is placed and I have to wait.
And then the figures would arrive, I'd open them up, transform them a couple of times, and then there'd go on display. The only figure I truly got excited over was Titans Return Triggerhappy, because lets face it, that figure is just awesome.
"But Burn, we've gotten a lot of fantastic figures in recent years!"
This is true, I will not argue this fact. I feel the designers of late have really innovated, and I've enjoyed the engineering aspect of new figures. New figures are great, but, they lack nostalgia. Yes, nostalgia.
"Oh no, he's going to go Geewunner on us. I'm out!"
Hear me out here. I got back into collecting Transformers 15 or so years ago, because of some problems I was having mentally. They reminded me of a time in my life when things were simpler, and I was happier, and collecting Transformers helped me get through a very rough patch in my life.
It was also a time when Beast Wars/Machines had just recently finished their runs and one of aspect of collecting back then was discovering all these new figures and characters, and thanks to ball joints, putting them back together! Many lots were discovered on E-Bay and much fun was had working out what parts belonged to who.
But that was then, this is now.
And not much has changed. When I got that G1 figure all those months ago I was reminded of that aspect of collecting that was a lot of fun. Restoring the figures, bringing them back to life.
And it's this that has helped reinvigorate my collecting. Finding older figures (preferably with all their accessories) and restoring them. That may involve simply replacing their stickers (Toyhax.com is the place for them if you're curious!) or completely disassembling them and cleaning them before putting them back together.
Or in some cases, repairs may be necessary.
Did you know that Titans Return Trypticon was in fact not the first Transformer to have a problem caused by springs? While I can't say for certain he was the first, but I did discover that G1 Pointblank had spring issues.
I picked up a G1 Pointblank in a G1 lot last year, he had a busted door, but other than that he seemed to be in good condition, and he had his little Targetmaster buddy. In July I came across a seller on Facebook who had a few figures I wanted, including a G1 Pointblank. He emphasised that Pointblank had a problem with his left leg.
See those knee joints? They have springs in them. There's two ratchets with teeth on them, one is molded into the outer leg, while the other moves back and forth as you transform the figure. Those springs allow that ratchet to move back and forth.
The problem is, the spring is constantly pushing the ratchet out, throw in years of age and transforming, and the screw that holds it in place eventually comes free.
But hey, that's fine, the G1 Pointblank I was getting had an unbroken door and that's all I needed to fix up mine!
Imagine my shock when I inspected mine and found the exact same problem with the leg.
To be honest, it probably didn't need to be fixed, he transformed fine, but I wanted to fix it anyway. So I set out to fix the problem, which to put simply, was the screw hole had become threaded.
Solution? Drill a larger hole and fill it.
My first attempt failed, but I persisted. Eventually I resorted to removing the spring completely (it's actually NOT really necessary if you intend to display him in robot mode) and using a touch of super glue to hold the screw in place.
G1 Pointblank wasn't the only figure I've worked on recently. I also picked up Sparkabot Guzzle. Great little figure and his sparking figure worked as well. I already had Sizzle, though he wasn't in great condition either, which is where I lucked out and found a seller that had Fizzle AND Sizzle as well. So I could replace my Sizzle and complete my Sparkabots collection!
When they arrived they were a little on the dirty side, so I started with Fizzle. Took him apart, cleaned him in nice warm soapy water, inside and out and reassembled him. Not only was he clean, but his sparking feature worked better than it did when he first arrived.
I then moved onto Sizzle ... and that's where I ran into problems. The heads of the two screws in his legs snapped off, which meant I had to drill them out. Or, I could simply use the legs off my other Sizzle!
Those screws snapped as well, so back to drilling them out. Eventually I got him disassembled, cleaned up and put back together. A set of stickers from Toyhax later and Fizzle, Sizzle and Fo'Shizzle Guzzle and they were ready to rejoin the collection!
Simple restorations really, but I took so much pleasure in taking old battered figures and giving them a new lease in life.
"You could do that with any era, clearly your Geewunner bias is showing"
It's not bias actually. When I returned to collecting, I collected what was current at the time, meaning I have all the figures I want from Beast Wars through to Titans Return.
That being said, and I say this with a disclaimer that I have only really searched locally (Australia), from my searching on E-Bay, and even what I see on Facebook and forums, there's not much out there from later lines like Armada.
And I feel that is because we are live in times where things are more disposable. It's easier to go out and buy something new rather than to fix it. Kids toys missing an arm? Just throw it, we can duck down the shops and get another one.
And to me, that's disappointing, because the generation that grew up on Beast Wars and A/E/C now have disposable incomes and will be looking to get figures they missed out on as kids.
But where are they? Where are the complete figures? The junkers?
Believe me, if I came across some of those figures I'd snap some up for customising purposes, but they just don't seem to be out there.
Of course I do have some G1 bias, it's what I grew up with, it's what helped me through a dark patch in my life, it reminds me of a simpler time, and I have to admit, I'm pretty damn proud of what I've achieved of my G1 collection and would like to get to a point where I can say "I may not have every G1 figure, but I feel my collection is complete to me".
It's that goal, plus the joy of restoring figures, that has helped me rediscover the joy of collecting, and I know I'm not the only one. Take a look at our Transformers Toy Haul thread. Others are collecting G1 figures. We have an entire thread dedicated to the clunky Pretenders!
I've seen interest from the younger generation who are discovering Marvel UK, and all the characterisations some of the lesser known toys received, or even characters that never received a figure until recently. Like the little wheel that could, Scrounge!
And I have to admit, I do enjoy talking to some of the younger collectors who are discovering G1 and suggesting figures to them and helping them find them. Who doesn't enjoy the thrill of hunting down a figure?
So for once, in what has been a long time, I feel the excitement and joy of collecting.
How about you though? Are you an old fart like me enjoying the hunt for old figures, or maybe you enjoy hunting modern figures, or maybe you're a young whipper snapper delving into the history of Transformers and looking to collect across the eras. Let us know on the forums!
"Oh thank **** he's finally finished waffling on!"
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Posted by Evil Eye on August 20th, 2017 @ 9:25am CDT
So once I'm able to properly collect again, BW figures (TMs and TM2s especially) will be on my priority list.
Posted by Rodimus Prime on August 20th, 2017 @ 10:16am CDT
I do think there is joy in repairing old figures, especially G1 toys, which are much sturdier and can withstand some fiddling/rough handling. Unfortunately I don't have the patience for it. I get in a rage if I can't transform a figure exactly as the instructions say. But that's probably not the figure or the instructions, but rather my anger issues.
Posted by kurthy on August 20th, 2017 @ 10:22am CDT
I stopped being interested in G1 toys after Classics started coming out (wish I hadn't been out of collecting then).
However, I did find a bunch of Armada guys for my son that I had had before I stopped collecting two Christmas' ago. I had to restore armada Megatron, OP, and Overload. They are out there.
Posted by leokearon on August 20th, 2017 @ 11:06am CDT
Posted by Blackstreak on August 20th, 2017 @ 12:37pm CDT
Then reality set in. It gets expensive. Obviously some are more expensive than others like the Pretender Monster Decepticon team found here: https://www.seibertron.com/transformers-toys/gallery/g1-1989/monstructor/991/1/. The plastic can break only so many times before I give up.
Posted by ArmadaPrime on August 20th, 2017 @ 1:44pm CDT
Personally I feel that whilst the love is still strong, there's definitely a little less of the raw excitement. I thought perhaps it was an age thing but I think it's more about knowledge? If I get a figure chances are I already know a lot about it through leaks, official reveals, review samples/dodgily-acquired-early-copies, and the fact that on a budget I tend to be firmly in the two-waves-late-off-ebay box rather than the preorders-months-in-advance one.
Now in general this is great- it can better inform purchases and build up hype for figures, but there's honestly been times where I've passed on a figure simply due to seeing so much I might as well own it already.
Maybe this is actually saving me from getting toys I won't be that excited by and hence avoiding the get-stuff-on-autopilot pitfall you mention, I honestly couldn't say. It does end up leading me to some purchases I'd never have expected otherwise- whilst I do really want, for instance, a Topspin, and will get one eventually, i could just as easily get a slightly older or more obscure figure I've little knowledge of and enjoy the discovery aspect that way.
Not really sure if I'm heading to a conclusion here, but perhaps it's this: news and leaks and reviews are great, but too much of a good thing can sometimes serve to dampen, rather than build, the hype.
...or maybe I should stop buying toys half a year after they come out, and actually get on board with the hype while it's still fresh. such is the life of a broke student in a market with nonsense distribution
Posted by Burn on August 20th, 2017 @ 2:44pm CDT
ArmadaPrime wrote:If I get a figure chances are I already know a lot about it through leaks, official reveals, review samples/dodgily-acquired-early-copies, and the fact that on a budget I tend to be firmly in the two-waves-late-off-ebay box rather than the preorders-months-in-advance one.
Now in general this is great- it can better inform purchases and build up hype for figures, but there's honestly been times where I've passed on a figure simply due to seeing so much I might as well own it already.
This is an interesting point! The thought did briefly cross my mind. As I live in a rural part of Australia, well removed from any capital cities, I'm often weeks behind others in Australia in finding figures in stores (hence why it's just easier to go with TakaraTomy, I'm already waiting, may as well wait a little longer). I see reviews, people posting their hauls and then talking about figures and by the time I get my hands on it, the hype has gone away.
Posted by MadProject on August 20th, 2017 @ 4:37pm CDT
Sadly, purchasing online is my only valid option to get TF and other toys I collect, since here in Italy it arrives almost nothing.
It's kinda depressing going at supermarkets and toy stores (there's one pretty big in a town near the one I live, about 30 minutes in car) and find anything but old-but-no-old-enough (usually recently released figures, like first wave of TR) and 1-3-flip/flop figures.
The biggest joy I had in hunting down figures, and probably the last one, was near Christmas 5 or 6 years ago.
I was at this mall looking for a new PC, and while I was there they were cleaning the back of the store, putting a lot of unsold things on sale.
They took out the old toys while I was checking the price of the pc, and there was, on the pile, an old RID 2001 Optimus Prime in MINT condition (maybe some minor damage due the time)
The sale was really big (like a % less for each unsold year) and basically it costed something about 10 USD.
Obviously, he came at home with me.
Posted by DeathReviews on August 20th, 2017 @ 6:02pm CDT
The thrill is still there - you just have to know where to look
Posted by Burn on August 20th, 2017 @ 6:32pm CDT
DeathReviews wrote:The thrill is still there - you just have to know where to look
I know where to look. At the only store in town that has Transformers.
I can travel 100kms (60miles) north, spend an hour driving just to get to a city, then spend another hour driving around to get to various stores, knowing all too well that the result won't be any different because we're located half a country away from the nearest capital city.
Posted by hausjam on August 20th, 2017 @ 7:45pm CDT
Posted by Megatron Wolf on August 20th, 2017 @ 9:31pm CDT
There is a bit of silver lining though, with the money i save from not buying hasbro stuff ive been able to start buying comics again & working on other collections that i had to neglect in order to afford transformers. That is where i get that feeling i use to get as a kid, coming home with a stack of comics from my favorite series both new and old waiting impatiently for the next issues to come out, going on ebay finding gargoyle & alien/predator figures that i could never find as a kid and finally getting them without spending a tone of money. Transformers will always be special to me, its been a part of my life for this long and it always will be but if things keep going the way they are it wont be at the top anymore.
I didnt plan on writing an essay but once i got going i just couldnt stop, so ill close things off with some sage advise: if you find yourself losing the passion you had for collecting or any hobby in general just take a step back and reevaluate it. You dont have to abandon it completely just do it differently, instead of focusing on new stuff look for old stuff that you dont have or cut back and start a 2nd collection, try rediscover and old one or hell bite the bullet and do something different entirely. There are plenty of options out there you just need to take control, and remember missing out on one figure isnt going to kill you or destroy your collection. Sure youll be pissed and you have a right to be but you can always use that money on something else.
Posted by MaverickPrime on August 21st, 2017 @ 12:47am CDT
After I finished, I felt like I had bonded with them in ways I hadn't really felt since I was a little kid and I went all out playing with my toys, not caring about playing in the ground, grass or water, taking pieces off due to battle damage or adding clay for reasons I just can't remember, somehow they felt more alive and I felt like they had more play value than fully articulated figures, I was having way more fun with toys with nothing but shoulder movement and knees at best!
I had wanted that set since I was like 8 or 9 and when I knew it was on it's way, I feared that ot would be underwhelming, with Combiner Wars already close to it's ending...but I was surprised at how well those G1 molds held up, somehow seeing them as I had seen them in the cartoon all those years ago.
They all now have a special place in my heart because of this, specially Armorhide, who I could take almost completely apart, made me feel like I really knew all about him, like I had owned him for years.
Posted by zko on August 21st, 2017 @ 4:08am CDT
There is probably my biggest regret though, that I didn't get into BW as a collector and see alot of the awesomeness that line had except for occasionally looking at figures in the stores.
I think my fondest memories of collecting have to be of Cybertron and Animated figures, just because distribution was so great for those and every one was so well designed. I think I wound up with almost every stock figure from TF: Animated but the Roadbuster Ultra Magnus recolor, though since I have the blue original one it doesn't hurt that bad heh.
Posted by NeonPrime on August 21st, 2017 @ 8:50am CDT
However nowadays it's not quite as thrilling. Distribution within the last few years has been so bad that the thrill of the hunt is gone. there's been a lot of waves that were scarce or skipped all together. While I still can't resist checking toy departments I'd much rather just pick up want I want online so that way I have it. Especially this year with my favorite 'bot Hot Rod, the only movie figure I plan on picking up, being a Walmart only exclusive.
In addition to distribution is the rising cost of the figures. $20 for a movie deluxe!?!?!?! I understand the whole rising oil and production costs but the current pricing is just plain absurd. Personally I think if Hasbro stopped wasting money on all the dumbed down one steps, non transforming toys and other peg warming merch they could afford to lower the price. I'm actually glad the movie sucked so hard so I'm not compelled to pick up the entire line like in previous years.
With all of that said I ,like the author, find myself picking up and enjoying older figures. Whether it's G1, Beast Wars, Movieverse, or heck even bootlegs to fill in the gaps in my collection or to restore or kitbash I find it more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, I've picked up many cool figures especially with the Titans Return & RID line. But with the lack of distribution and absurd prices I think it's actually cheaper and easier to pick up the old stuff.
Posted by ScottyP on August 21st, 2017 @ 9:10am CDT
The mention of Toyhax/Reprolabels can be spot on for newer things too. Generations Crosscut was one that got the "open it, transform once or twice, put on shelf" treatment initially. However, after taking the time to use their upgrades on it, it became one of my favorite more recent toys. That added interaction brings another element to the enjoyment of the hobby. There's a small part of doing stickers that gives me the feeling I'm creating something, even if that's not really the case.
Posted by Rated X on August 21st, 2017 @ 9:52am CDT
Posted by wilcosu35 on August 21st, 2017 @ 12:17pm CDT
I was born when G1 was on tv, so naturally i didn't grow up with it. I did have some transformers when i was young but they were mostly second-hand, incomplete and well-played with.
My real entry into the brand came when Beast Wars was on tv here in the Netherlands. I spent my pocket-money on a bunch of figures, but later grew out of it. After i moved out to study, i gradually picked up interest again and started buying. It wasn't collecting, it was hoarding. At a certain point i had most of the figures from BW up to and including AoE.
Then i got my own house, and after first cramming all my stuff into a room, i found out i didn't enjoy it anymore.
Part by part, series by series, i sold off my collection. The only thing i retained were my Masterpieces, which i'd decided would be the only thing i wanted to collect from then on. It was roughly at that time that MP-10 was released and the series really started to kick up the pace.
I've been an avid MP collector since then, but you are right in that there is no hunt involved: Simply open the webshop of your choosing, place your preorder and wait for it to arrive at your doorstep. Unpack the figure, transform it once or twice, and put it on the shelf. It makes for a nice collection but the acquiring isn't very exciting.
So then, early this year, i decided i wanted to add something new to the collection. Never having seen G1 (though i have watched it a couple of months ago), i wanted to have something from that era, a piece of history if you will. Ofcourse, since my main collection is MP and those take up an increasing amount of space, i wanted something which would not take up much room, and would be relatively easy to acquire in good condition.
Having that in mind, and having done some research, i settled upon Micromasters.
So over the last half year, i've bought a bunch of the little guys but i still have a lot to get. Which means i'm actively collecting again, actually being on the lookout for figures that i haven't got yet.
And that thing, the hunt for the stuff that you want, is exciting, and is part of what makes me happy as a collector.
Posted by Burn on August 21st, 2017 @ 4:20pm CDT
Rated X wrote:Dont know how ill sell all this stuff in my older age. Im too lazy to piece out my collection and deal with shipping.
This is something I've thought of many times over the last few years.
Over the next few weeks I'll be taking photos of figures I'm looking to get rid of, mostly movie figures that I don't like/need. But as for the rest? I have no idea.
Posted by ExciKaiser on August 21st, 2017 @ 7:25pm CDT
Burn wrote:I thought I did, but without realising, while I had been collecting modern figures, I was simply going through the motions.
I couldn't have said it better.
I recently rediscovered the joy of collecting and even playing with my TFs.
But not with G1 figs, but with Titans returns.
I think I explained it in my first/introductions posts and also still recently in the TR topic.
I'm still not 100% sure why, as I said it's maybe the line-gimmick thing which relinds me the Unicron trilogy area, or the quality of the toys, we need to admit the lasted generations before CW were quite crappy..But it brought me so much back into collecting that even felt the need to register on a forum because I suddenly wanted to discuss TFs with other people !
So different root causes and different solutions, but I completely understand what you describe about "rediscovering the joy of collecting". I'm currently completely inside this period.
Rodimus Prime wrote:In 11 days, I'm going to be 35 years old. I've been a fan of Transformers for 30 years. In the last 10 years my collecting fire dwindled somewhat, simply due to the figures not being very appealing. I wasn't as enamored with the Generations line as most of the fandom. I even tried to cull my collection by putting everything up for sale and keeping whatever was left. But then, Combiner Wars and then Titans Return were released, and their appeal just kicked my collecting urge up about 4 notches. Was it the impressive updates to the G1 figures, most of which I had owned and lost over the years? Most likely. Bottom line is, I feel like the way I felt in the late 80s when I was getting Transformers for the 1st time, and the way I felt in 2000 when I got back into collecting after a 5 or 6 year hiatus. It might wane again after Power of the Primes is done, or it might not, depending on what's next. For me, it's all about the appeal of the product, and its ability to connect with my memories of childhood.
Nothing to add here, we're apparently twins, even for the age. Except it's more TR than CW which brought me back.
and like you I wonder what will happens next, will they be able to entertain this renewed interest ?
Burn wrote:Over the next few weeks I'll be taking photos of figures I'm looking to get rid of, mostly movie figures that I don't like/need. But as for the rest? I have no idea.
I already started some years ago, I definitely saw myself my interest lowering. I've been completlist for the first movie, and I still don't really know why. I've been able to sold them back (except Prime). I even got some 3P, that I also sold back.
I think at some point in the time, I was getting TFs by habit, the current releases", even going to 3P etc.
We could think it's what I'm currently doing with TR being completelist with no reason, but no, there something different. I don't know what/why/how, but it somewhere made me realize I should get only TFs which entertains me, not the ones which are current, newsed in websites, available on BBTS etc.. (and throw out those don't like and I was keeping for no other reson than "people said it's a good figure")
The main visible difference ? I now have a hunt list in ebay, with several listings and automatic searches.
something I never got before, as I was simply getting what was currently released..