What I Love about Transformers

Discussion in 'Transformers General Discussion' started by EightiesKid, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. EightiesKid

    EightiesKid G1 archivist TFW2005 Supporter

    Mar 24, 2011
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    Hi all, I occassionally see threads talking about favorite memories with TF, and what people love about TF. Those are always terrific discussions, as it reminds me of why so many of us love this hobby and the toyline. I figured I would try to start a thread on this to see if anyone has any stories they'd like to share on the topic as well.

    This is a topic that I have given a lot of thought to over the years, I’m a new poster here and am not entirely familiar with the rules, so please forgive any mis-steps. Doing the topic justice requires a full answer and a longer post. My apologies in advance for the length of this post.

    The 1980’s

    I am one of those TF fans that grew up with the toys in the 1980’s, and I consider myself to be a Gen 1 purist. I got into Transformers back in about 1984. For Christmas that year, an aunt gave me Ratchet from series 1. At the time I unwrapped the gift, I saw that it was an ambulance and simply set it aside. Back then I was more interested in toys that could fight battles, like Star Wars. It was only about a month or so later that I found the Ratchet toy again sitting around in our house, and for the first time I picked it up to read it and saw that it said “trans . . tranzfo . . . transformers?” Realizing that there was more to this toy than I had first realized (I’m resisting the “MTMTE” pun here), I read the back of the box, saw the tech specs and the great battle artwork, and opened the toy. The toy itself was a little disappointing to me, as it wasn’t much of a robot, but I eagerly looked through the toy catalog that had been included in the box. I would read that catalog very carefully each day at lunch and after school.

    My family lived overseas at the time, so it was very hard to find a lot of the toys that my sibs and I wanted. We would only travel to the US once every other year or so, and in the meantime we would have to ask relatives to help us purchase toys and send them to us. Shortly after discovering Ratchet, my father was scheduled to head out on a business trip to the US, so I eagerly asked him to buy me a few toys. Brimming with ambition, I specifically asked him to buy me Optimus Prime and Soundwave. To my disappointment, my father wasn’t able to find Prime, but he did bring me back Mirage the race car, Ramjet, and Soundwave. I was allowed to open one of the three toys, with the rest to be earned through grades or good behavior, so I chose Soundwave, and he remains to this day one of my favorite toys. I put every piece of the toy to good use, even using the styrofoam insert as a “base” for Soundwave and Buzzsaw. From then on I was completely hooked. I would pore through the TF toy catalogs at all hours of the day, I would watch whatever TF cartoons I could find, and even though TF cartoons weren’t available where I lived, we would purchase the cartoons on VHS so that I could watch them.

    My mother was terrific about getting us toys. Little did I realize it then but she would often sit down with me and look at the TF catalogs and ask which ones I liked. Unaware, I would point to the ones that I had been staring at and using in my imaginary battles for months. Then magically, the next Christmas, I received Optimus Prime, Shockwave and Blitzwing. To date, that remains the fondest Christmas I have ever had.

    I was one of those children who loved not only to play with the toys and wage many battles, but I also loved to set up and pose the toys as collectible pieces for others to see, and then when I was finished playing, I would put the toys back in the styrofoam they came in and carefully insert them back into the boxes that they had come in to place on my shelf so that it looked as if the toys were still brand new in the packaging. For me, it was not only the toys that were neat, it was also the packaging, the artwork, the tech specs, the whole deal. Many times I had looked at a catalogue and thought that a certain character’s toy did not look very appealing, only to see the toy on a store shelf in its full artwork-packaged-glory and then suddenly change my mind and ask my parents to please buy me this toy that I had wanted for so very long . . . My parents were very supportive and got me many of the toys. My mother also patiently sent away for many of the mail order toys such as Powerdasher, the Omnibots and Reflector. I even got the S.T.A.R.S. cardboard computer-base, and I used the rising door compartment as a space bridge. Heck, I also had the autobot emblem watch, transformers bed sheets, playing cards, posters, comics, choose your own adventure books, and about everything else that I could imagine.

    Looking back, I can see that my siblings and I were very fortunate as children. I can see that even more now that I am an adult with my own family. I recall being told that I was very lucky, that transformers were very expensive, and how other children could not afford the toys and could only go into the stores to touch the toys. Perhaps it was that sentiment that led to my taking the Mirage toy my dad had brought back for me and giving it as a birthday present to a friend. Now that I am grown, I try to buy some TF toys and put them in the toy bins during holiday drives in the hopes that perhaps a child will discover the toy in much the same way that I did many years ago.


    I continued collecting for several years, but as with many kids my age, I began to drift away once I hit junior high and high school, when to my surprise toys suddenly became very “uncool.” I never lost my love for the toys, but it was not until college that I shook off the peer-pressure and re-embraced my love for certain toy brands and collectibles. During much of the 1990’s I did not follow Transformers, as I was busy with High School, college, “growing up,” etc. I missed out on Beast Wars, Beast Machines, etc, even though I had moved back stateside.


    Then in 2001 I heard rumblings that some of my favorite characters would be released again in the RID line. Eagerly I ran to a TRU to see the new toys. The toys were not to my liking, but the excitement I felt at the possibility of my favorite childhood toys returning sparked me to continue following TF news. Shortly afterwards, Hasbro reissued Hot Rod in G1 packaging. My brother, sister and I ran to TRU one day and found two Hot Rods on the shelves. Eagerly we snapped them up and cheered. We had never had Hot Rod growing up and my brother, especially, had always wanted one. About that same time I saw that the Combaticons had been reissued in a different color and I purchased Onslaught. I then began seeing that some transformers were being reissued in Japan, so slowly I began to get pulled back in. This was my chance to buy transformers toys that I had wanted as a child but had never had.

    That takes me to some point in 2003, I was at a TRU one day to buy a gift for a friend when I looked on the shelves and much to my surprise I found a reissue G1 Starscream staring back at me. I picked it up and examined it, and then pondered it for a few minutes. I had never had Starscream growing up, though a friend had owned him. Back then if one of us had a particular TF toy, we had a “code” whereby when the rest of us had a chance to get a new TF toy, we would avoid the ones that were already owned by our friends and purchase a new toy that no one had. This way we would “pool” our resources so that we all had different TF toys and then we would be able to play with as many different TF characters as possible. It was sort of like having a “community TF collection.” As a result, I had never had Starscream, though I had held him in my hands at one time before seeing him on the TRU shelf that day.

    After a moment’s hesitation, I thought what the heck, and purchased the Starscream. I then took it home that night, curious to see if TF toys would still be fun now that I was in my late 20’s instead of in my middle school years. Much to my surprise, I opened the toy and had a lot of fun posing the toy, transforming it, and then reimagining some battles and storylines in my head. It wasn’t the same as when I was younger of course, but it was still a lot of fun, and reminded me fondly of that time in my life when I was younger and all I had to worry about was schoolwork and play. To me this was a bookend and a reminder of that time when I had first received the Ratchet toy from my aunt. That aunt has since sadly passed away, but I am forever grateful that she introduced me to this toyline. When I attended her funeral I remembered that day fondly and gave thanks to her for providing me with a cherished childhood memory.


    Like many G1 fans, I am now in my 30’s, I am married and have my own family. I have my own little guy who is now playing with his own toys. I’ve tried hard not to push him in any direction, but he has already noticed my TF toys displayed on the shelves, and has been asking to play with them. I’ve also shown him a few select scenes from cartoon episodes and the 86 movie, which has now resulted in him yelling out “you got TOUCH! You got POW-WAH!!!” My wife just smiles and shakes her head.

    I’ve told my wife that I will probably pass my collection on to my son if he ends up liking TF long term. When I look back now at Transformers and my life, I can see how it bridged two generations, and now possibly a third. I look back at the countless hours of fun, both as a child eagerly at play, then later as a teenager struggling with growing up, and now as an adult raising his own family. Transformers have always been there in some shape or form, and have provided a subtext to my life. I will always love the toyline, even as it changes over time to appeal to new fans. For me I will always love Generation 1, the originals.

    I still collect Transformers today. When I wonder why, the answer is always simple – because I love transformers. I love posing the toys, I love the imagination and possibilities that the toys evoke, and I love the nostalgia factor. Collecting these toys reminds me that while I may grow up, a part of me can continue to retain that childhood wonderment that I felt many years ago and that I feel anew today. It has been a lot of fun collecting reissues and modern updates of classic characters.

    One final anecdote, when I was married several years back, my wife and I created our own wedding programs and we added quotations that were meaningful to each of us. My wife inserted quotes from her favorite author, Jane Austen. Meanwhile I included a quote from one of my favorite philosophers; yes you guessed it, a Transformers quote. I quoted Optimus Prime with “Until the day til all are one.” When people asked me about that quote later, I responded that to me the quote talked about the goal of people unifying as a race, but that until that day, may we all find comfort in each other, our friends, loved ones and fellow people. Wise words perhaps, but in reality I was simply happy to reference my favorite toy line during an important life moment.

    So that’s my (lengthy) story, I would certainly love to hear/read about the experiences that others have had.
  2. Digilaut

    Digilaut I'm Mary Poppins, y'all!

    Aug 29, 2008
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    Wow, I love this story, and the way it's about to become full circle with your kid :)  Really brings a smile. Thanks for sharing!

    I don't have alot of time right now, but I will try to come back and share my story, too. Oh, and welcome to the board! :D 

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