Reflections on a Collection: 20 Years Later

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by 80Datsun210, Dec 19, 2007.

  1. 80Datsun210

    80Datsun210 Well-Known Member

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    Reflections on a Collection: 20 Years Later

    (I include some pictures, for illustrative purposes, for interest’s sake, and because I have a really crappy digital camera and I am pleased that any of these pictures turned out at all. Plus, it still amazes me how Transformers have evolved.)

    I was a serious Transformers fan when I was a kid. In the summer of 1984 I was between 4th and 5th grade. I remember seeing my first Transformer, at a friend’s house. It was Lazerbeak. I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

    My first Transformer was Cliffjumper. My parents gave him to me in the fall of 1984 as a bribe for practicing clarinet. I didn’t stick with the musical instrument, but I stuck with Transformers. I watched the cartoon religiously, even taped it and re-watched it multiple times (alas, those tapes do not survive). I knew all the Transformers’ names. I even remember one time a friend calling me on the phone to ask about the identity of a particular robot. I went over there, saw the thing, and declared disdainfully, “Oh, it’s just a Go-Bot.”

    I don’t remember when exactly I got most of them, except Cliffjumper was my first and Rampage was my last. I always had more Autobots than Decepticons; generally I just like cars, trucks, and planes. I was/am very proud to have Optimus Prime and Starscream.
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    I would have liked to have had the other Decepticon jets too, but that never happened.
    I never had Megatron--my parents wouldn’t buy it for me because he was a gun, and I couldn’t afford him myself. I wanted Skyfire/Jetfire but, again, cost was an issue. Never had Soundwave, although late in my period of TF collecting I got Blaster. I did have all of the Constructicons so I could make Devastator, and I had all three Insecticons. I would like to have had all the Dinobots, but again price was a factor, so I only had the triceratops (geez, I can’t even remember his name now! Was it Snarl or Slag?). There were even TFs you could send away for, special mail-order deals, of which I think I got four (photo below).

    I remember one Christmas--probably 1984--when my younger sister and I each got My Little Ponies AND Transformers. Hey, the grandparents wanted to be equitable. :)  We quickly swapped, but not before she broke Jazz. Of the TF toys I owned, Jazz was one of my favorites, along with Cliffjumper and Bumblebee, Hound, Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, Lazerbeak and Ravage.




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    Cliffjumper and Bumblebee, Lazerbeak and Ravage were small enough that I could carry them in my pocket to school, and I frequently did.

    I always took good care of my toys. I rarely took them outside; I played with them a lot but not roughly (to the point of breaking them), kept them on their own special shelf, was very particular about who I let handle them (I was sure my dad would break them). At some point, however, maybe 6th grade, I grew away from them. I still had them on their own shelf but didn’t do much with them. I seem to have stopped watching the cartoon somewhere through the second season. I never knew female Transformers, never knew the Stunticons or Aerialbots, never saw the 1986 movie or the 3rd season. Oddly, I did get Rampage. I don’t even know why. It wasn’t a character I ever knew. He went into storage along with all the others sometime in 1989, after gathering dust on a shelf for 2-3 years.

    It is a testimony to my love of them, however, that I took care to include a note with the box, knowing that sometime in the future it would be opened by someone--I couldn’t know, maybe me, maybe my parents, maybe even my children. Whoever opened that box, I couldn’t be sure they would know anything about TFs, but I wanted them to know that these toys were still special to me.

    The note is dated December 10, 1989. (Wow, now that I think about it, that was nine days after I got my first car: a yellow 1980 Datsun 210 station wagon! I was a sophomore in high school by then.) I placed it at the top of the box above all the packaging, catalogues, instructions, and box art, with the toys at the bottom. The paper, cheap loose-leaf notebook paper, is yellowed and brittle. The note reads, in part:
    By the time I had written the note, I had already forgotten a lot of their names, for example confusing Ravage and Rampage (I corrected it later). I don’t remember it much, but my note indicates that I was aware of the changes in Transformer-world and that I didn’t approve of it. (Although if I had stuck around a bit longer, I probably would have gotten some of the Stunticons and Aerialbots--I missed out on them.) Also, like the note said, I just outgrew them. A lot can happen in 6th-8th grades. :p 

    Since putting them in storage, I have opened the box once or twice (corrected the Ravage/Rampage mistake) and looked at them, reminisced, and put them back. It wasn’t until the hype and excitement of this last summer and the new movie that I got them all out again. This time, a number of them went into a special display cabinet. Amused visitors to my home comment on the odd assortment of things I’ve got in there: random knick-knacks, glass, drift wood, rocks, genuine antiques (including the cabinet itself), and--Transformers.

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    Some of them I’m afraid to transform, they’re so fragile now. Their stickers are peeling off, held on in some cases by Scotch tape. The joints of the most popular ones are loose and others are stiff. Blaster’s tape compartment used to open, for example, and I could put Rumble or Frenzy inside. Now it’s stiff and I’m afraid I’ll break it if I try to force it open. They all feel frail in my hands, and tiny compared to today’s TFs.

    My “Generations” pairs:
    Or: "You've Come a Long Way, Baby!"
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    Ravage was the closest I ever had to having a TF that was posable. Now they’re all posable. They’re also bigger. I suppose to get in all the intricate moving parts, they need to be bigger. Compared with modern TFs, the G1 originals are small and rather boring, since they have very few moveable parts. The robots pretty much just stand there; if they’re lucky, their arms move. Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, Brawn, Gears, Huffer, Seaspray, Beachcomber--they were all so tiny they couldn’t even hold weapons. Starscream was one of the coolest toys I had, because he had actual projectile weapons: little plastic missiles that ejected out even up to six inches!

    Transformers are all made out of plastic now. I was so proud of my TFs with die-cast parts and mourned when they stopped making them that way. I understood EXACTLY what Optimus Primal meant when he commented, “Die-cast construction: it’s a lost art.”

    I’ve actually started buying Transformers again. I’m not interested in trying to collect all of them, or in trying to “catch up” on the toys I’ve missed for the last 20 years. I still prefer cars and trucks to other things, such as tanks (I’m not likely to ever own Brawl, for example), although if I ever saw them, I might buy some of the toys from Beast Wars (thanks to people on this board for encouraging me to watch it!). I still have more Autobots than Decepticons. Mostly I’ve just got TFs from the movie: Bumblebee (both ’77 and ’08 Camaro), Ironhide, Jazz (with G1 paint job!), and Barricade, but I surprised myself when I bought some characters I never knew: Alternator Skids, Alternator Ricochet, an orange Jeep Wrangler (can’t remember the name), and Arcee. The Alternators I don’t know at all, but the car collector in me likes that they’re real car brands. Arcee I know only from reputation because, like I said, I’ve never seen the 1986 movie. In 1984 I could get my parents and grandparents to buy me toys. Now that I’m 34, if I want toys, I have to buy them myself! :lol 

    Here’s a “quiz” for you--because I can’t remember and because I know there are people who love to show off their geek knowledge! Can anyone identify the TFs in the picture that are numbered? Hint: #2 is not Sideswipe and #3 is not Huffer. 1, 2, 4a and 4b were mail-order specials.

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    Then there’s the delightful puzzle of sorting out the “jar o’weapons,” into which I threw every loose piece that came with any of the Transformers, including Hound’s spare tire and gas tank, and Starscream’s hands and tail fins. Some of them were more easily identified than others. If there is interest I will post a picture of it all laid out, to see if people can identify any of the rest.

    It’s a modest collection, I know, but I love my Transformers and am proud of my collection and wanted to share it with other TF fans because frankly, no one around here cares. Thanks!

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  2. Grimwing

    Grimwing Scientist Supreme

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    It's a pretty great encapsulation of g1. even if you don't have megatron I think the set looks great. You can really see the passion for these toys and their history in these pictures.

    glad to hear your going to try and collect some of the new ones, you've got a good attitude for collecting.

    quiz:
    1. nosecone- computron limb
    2. red sunstreaker- "diakron"
    3. pipes - minibot
    4.a./b. mini-spys.
     
  3. optimus major

    optimus major Banned

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    i hate saying this but shouldn't this be in toyark or the collection area

    anyways....good collection and just seeing g1 prime makes me jelous, i wish i still had my first two transformers, and i miss them dearly (i grew up with beast wars)
     
  4. Optimus Scourge

    Optimus Scourge Arcee's boy toy Veteran

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    Actually #1 is a mail away "powerdasher"
    And number 2 Is a mail away omnibot Overdrive.
    3&4 are correct, but they aren't mail aways.

    EDIT: Very nice story, and it is so awesome that you have all the ones from childhood. That, my friend, is truly priceless. But I'm sure you know that ;) 
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2007
  5. Grimlocka go-go

    Grimlocka go-go Back from the Dead TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ebay:
    #1's Drill dasher
    #2's overdrive

    ^beat me to it
     
  6. ckhtiger

    ckhtiger old skool fool

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    god I love your posts. first we get your whole "first time watching beast wars" so an entire set of people can relive what we did 10 years ago, and now you take us back 20+ years to the joy of owning those transfomers as a kid. man, you're like vector prime of this place, controlling the time.

    thanks man, for that little trip down memory land :thumb 
     
  7. Optimus Scourge

    Optimus Scourge Arcee's boy toy Veteran

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    Indeed. Like I got in a Dalorean @ 88MPH :) 
     
  8. Basketball Jones

    Basketball Jones Decepticon

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    The post was fairly enjoyable to read.

    The sole survivor of my childhood Transformers was a battered G2 Inferno with one fist.
     
  9. trebleshot

    trebleshot www.Toyark.com Veteran

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    That was a nice read. I also liked how the pictures complimented the narrative, too.

    I'd say a decent portion of my G1 collection are originals from the 80's, and still in decent condition. Of course, when I got into them (1985), I had a next-door neighbor who was 4 or 5 years older and mostly displayed them on a shelf, much like I do now (but only a portion is actually on display). He also kept all the accessories and packaging.

    My neighbor had left quite the impression on me, and I started doing the same with my TFs. Unfortunately the packaging for most didn't survive the move from England to the States after my dad's assignment was over, but the TFs held up quite well. Once I have more room to display them all, I'll get around to posting my own pics.
     
  10. 80Datsun210

    80Datsun210 Well-Known Member

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    "Powerdasher" and "Omnibot"--that sounds right. I have the literature for them somewhere, I just thought it would be fun to ask the boards first. :) 
    #3 is Pipes, I remembered after posting. No, he wasn't a mail-away, just re-using the Huffer mold as near as I can tell. He wasn't in the cartoon at all, was he?

    The "mini-spies" weren't mail-aways? Where did they come from? How did they get in my collection? Oh--they're spies, of course! :rolleyes:  One thing neat about them is they have springs/gears in the wheels so when you pull them back and release them, they run forward on their own. The drill thing does too, I think that was why it was called Powerdasher.

    Sorry if I posted in the wrong category, but it seemed like "Transformers General Discussion" to me. The Toyark and Collections categories are under "Mint in Box," which these definitely aren't.

    Another thing I noticed recently that I thought was neat, is, on the underside of a lot of them (maybe all, I haven't looked) is Japanese writing, "Takara," and "1980-1982."

    Glad you're enjoying it, ckhtiger. Now that fall semester is over and the grades are turned in, I can actually write about non-academic stuff and even goof around. :)  I might even get to watch Beast Machines. I definitely want to re-watch Beast Wars.

    What does G2 refer to?
     
  11. Dark_Convoy

    Dark_Convoy Old Bastard Veteran

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    That's awesome that you still have all of those vintage figures!

    I don't know how much you researched or looked into Alternators, but they are the majority of my collection and I own one of each, they are my favorite transformer line (along with the Masterpiece line)

    Check out my collection:

    http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b98/snabald/TF_Collection/
     
  12. trebleshot

    trebleshot www.Toyark.com Veteran

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    The mini-spies came packed with the 2nd wave of minibots and reissues of the first wave of minibots. Pipes is a member of the former, so that's probably how you got at least one of the two. There are actually about 16 variations on the minispy: 2 colors, 2 factions and 4 different alt modes. Also, because of the rub signs, it was hit-or-miss on which faction you got for any of them.

    Pipes does use Huffer's alt mode but the transformation is very different, as the cab ends up behind his head and upright, while Huffer's head is on the underside of his cab.

    G2 refers to Generation 2, which consisted of recolors/reissues of G1 toys, as well as some new TF's including Laser Optimus Prime and a TF actually called Gobots.

    G2 Toys
    G2 Series
     
  13. GreenScream

    GreenScream Neo G1 Collector

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    Great post. It reminds me of why I love Transformers. I too, just got back into collecting about a year ago. The hype of the movie got to me.

    I remember my uncle use to help us decide on which figures to buy. I remember he wouldn't let us buy any other seeker jets outside of Starscream, complaining that the mold was lame. I also remember watching the first couple seasons of the cartoon and then the movie at the theatre. Soon after that my uncle moved and my brother and I lost interest in Transformers and turned to GI Joes.

    Since I've started collecting again, I've been buying figures of characters that I really liked as a kid and keeping an eye out on the reissues that are being released. I was to young to remember all of the Transformers my brother and I had when we were kids but recently showed him the Cybertronian guides and he was able to point out every single one we had. About 40 or so. Its a shame that my parents threw them out when we moved. Optimus, Megatron, Soundwave, Prowl, Jetfire, etc... :( 
     
  14. Socialvegetable

    Socialvegetable Wrecker

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    I really enjoyed your post. Not only was it insightful and entertaining for a fellow fan, but it was well written, a rarity these days. I was born in '85, so I was a little too young for the G1 toys, and most of my first transformers were from the G2 series. I always loved and took care of my toys, especially my TFs, and as I got older, I'd still pose them around my room, or take them all out, line them up and just look at them and admire the designs. When I was a teenager, I'd buy a toy every now and then if I saw one I liked, and I watched Beast Wars religiously. After that though, I guess my interests migrated, as I never watched any of the newer shows, and the last toys I picked up were Megatron, Prime, and Starscream from Armada.

    Seeing the first wave of movie toys last summer rekindled my transformers passion, and I got most of my old figures during a trip or two home. Opening that box and inspecting all my Action Masters, G2, Beast Wars, and Armada toys was amazing. I'd seen them all not too long before, but it was still like falling in love all over again. I don't know if it's sentimental value or an appreciation of good design, but I'll always love Transformers, and it's one of the few fandoms I care enough about to participate in. I never stopped collecting toys, but I had moved onto the designer vinyl scene as well as Megaman toys, and had all but forgotten the joy of collecting Autobots and Decepticons.

    I can't wait until I get another display case at my apartment so I can go home and collect all my Action Masters transforming bases. My fiance and parents had an Amazon wishlist full of TFs to guide them on their holiday shopping, so I'm very much looking forward to next Tuesday. Star Convoy, welcome home.

    Once again, great post. Not sure why I felt compelled to tell my tale, but I'll chalk it up to inspiration via your post.

    EDIT: I also just remembered that I have the first VHS releases of Transformers "More than meets the eye" and "Attack of the dinobots" in their original packaging, and I used to watch those and the movie ALL the time.
     
  15. Johnator

    Johnator 'Til All Are Gone!

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    Very intelligent and interesting post. I really enjoyed the step by step through the collection. Well done!
     
  16. 80Datsun210

    80Datsun210 Well-Known Member

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    I've looked more at the packaging and literature that came with them all, and have been able to answer a couple of my questions (or rather, fill in the holes in my memory).

    Turns out the "mini-spies" were included in the packaging with Brawn and Huffer. I don’t know if that was a regular thing or if Hasbro varied how they were packaged--I mean like, did everyone who bought Brawn or Huffer also get a mini-TF or was that some kind of limited-time special offer?
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    [​IMG]

    So here's something I'm wondering about:
    I've scanned a bunch of stuff--packaging, newspaper ads and clippings with TF prices from 1985, fan club material (anyone else remember STARS--Secret Transformer Autobot Rescue Squad?), mail-away offers, and even some of my drawings and writing from 5th-6th grade. I figure I'll post the story under the fan fiction section (even though it's not exactly "fan fiction") and the artwork under fan art. As for the rest...Should I go ahead and post the images here or should I put them somewhere else? I wrote a sort of "Part 2" to go with the opening post of this thread: while the op was on the toys, this part 2 is about what else I found in the box (with scanned images). I'm inclined to post it all here, unless there's some protocol about posting lots of images in a discussion thread. Also, the story I had to scan; is it OK to post 11 pages of gifs in the fan fiction section?

    Edit: Artwork
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2007
  17. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    nice little story, kudos for typing that out.

    now print this and put it in the box for the next 20 years.
     
  18. 80Datsun210

    80Datsun210 Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of typing things out...
    I posted my "story" in the fan fiction area.
     

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