Writing a response to a previous article from one of our most esteemed RRCo alumni hasn't really been something we've done before but after letting Dorian's last piece sink in, I felt I had to throw my hat into the ring of that discussion.
Any kind of intent to my collecting isn't something I've often thought about. I roll with my gut, living with the flow to line my shelves with whatever robots take my fancy. Maybe that means minuscule Legion Class lads alongside Unicron Trilogy bricks, Movie Deluxes and G1 reissues. That's just - well - that's just "Buying Transformers". Without focus, without direction, without intent. At least from the outside looking in, I'm aware it looks like I don't practice a particular purpose to my plastic habit. Even as I type this my desk is populated with Energon Mini-cons, Titanmasters, G1 Micromasters, a couple of Masterpieces and a Barricade. My collection is an eclectic mix of the best of all and any eras of Transformers, but mostly leaning towards the early 2000's. I don't just "buy anything" and I feel like going forward, that's becoming more clear to me.
The thing that's spurred me on to type this is how in the past couple of months I've really found time for the one subset of toys most overlooked and disdained by collectors at large: the gimmick based simple supermarket fodder. The Energon Igniters for the Bumblebee movie are a subject I've already immortalised my thoughts on; but them, along with a first foray into the field of Cyberverse have really been playing on my mind more than anything else. My phone tells me it's been exactly a month since I got MPM Camaro Bumblebee, an absolutely stellar piece well worthy of its own article, but it's the Camaro that's a third of the size for a sixth of the price that's been in my hands the most.
Of course, Siege has come back from what feels like hibernation to furnish me with more must-have mini-masterpieces but while Hasbro UK were getting their act together for what may as well be the entire first quarter of this year, all I had to subsist on was what I could find in shops and honestly, I've relished it. Running with the little hit of hype that comes from seeing a new Cyberverse figure I didn't realise was out and actually taking it home has been more than enough to allow me to really enjoy a few of those figures. I mean really enjoy, in a way I'm rarely struck with at the ripe age of 26. Warrior Soundwave had me feeling like it's 2003 all over again. These toys aren't necessarily of the same lasting value as your Generations fare, they're the Transformers equivalent of junk food, but sometimes (like right now as I properly grapple with my mental health for the first time) that's exactly what you need. Comfort.
I've just gazed off into the middle distance for a minute, regarding my Masterpiece Cheetor. A sublime figure, looking like he's just walked out of my telly in 1997. But I don't Love it. It doesn't make me feel warm, or secure or inspired or like as long as he's in my hands or on my bedside that everything's alright. I haven't transformed him apart from getting him to bot mode from his packaged cheetah state. I hate how the unending covering of paint makes every joint creak and feel like I'll break it. It's stiff and inflexible despite the abundance of articulation. It's one of the shiniest, most properly finished figures I own but handle it for any length of time? No, I'm good thanks. And this is where things like Cyberverse Prowl come in. Toys as meat for the hands. Toys as objects to be handled first and looked at second. Toys as toys. Without pretense, without finesse, without luxuriance, spartan in a way.
So if there's currently an intent in my mind (or there was when I set out to write this and take this tack) it's to rep those gimmick guys. I'm well aware my taste in robots may be atrocious, but I still feel like I have taste. I'm not just scattergun buying for the sake of it. What I'll always care about first and foremost from Transformers is fun and I'm at a point now where that's all I want to pursue, all that really brings me anything. Go ahead, sacrifice some joints for sturdier build. Sacrifice some detail for a fun gimmick. Sacrifice some paint just so I don't feel like I'll chip and scratch the thing within the first five minutes of transforming it. Yes, of course I'll still have have space in my heart for the higher end pieces, I know what's good but I also know that the toys you, Dear Reader, will tell me aren't worth my time are also good in their own warm blanket kind of way. That's how it always used to be and I'm happy to make it that way again. Now if you'll excuse me I'm off to hunt for a One Step Wheeljack.
Read Dorian's previous piece here
Read my piece on the Bumblebee Movie toys here
Follow Ben @Waspshot23