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So, you’re staring at your shelves of robotic amigos. Or maybe your neatly stacked rows of boxes containing your plastic (and if you’re lucky, die-cast) army. Whatever, this is all theoretical so just go with it. As your eyes gloss over a little and you inventory all of your amazing finds, maybe you want a little more out of this? I did, but I had no idea what I was going to do to alleviate the anxiety of amassing an army of awesome that basically served only as badass decorations.
Now, my story as a Transformers collector is somewhat typical - my parents were moving out of my childhood home, and in the attic were loads of childhood cast-offs, and the usual crap that attics seem to accumulate. Lights, broken tools, you know the drill. However, there were a few Transformers toys, among others, and I made sure to keep them. Luckily my older brother was not nearly as destructive as I was with toys (or anything else, for that matter) and there was a respectable number of figures still complete and in decent condition! So this was my adulthood start to collecting - a random find of a few dozen G1 figures about to be thrown out. CLASSIC!
After this amazing revelation in the elevated cave known as my old attic, I remember being sure to look around in stores to see if Transformers still existed in a new form. And sure enough, they sure did! This was around 2004, which (to me) was a very perplexing time for Transformers. I liked SOME of what I saw, but not a whole lot. Tf’s eventually landed somewhere in the back of my mind after being unimpressed, and having lots of beer to drink anyway...however…
The Classics drop! Now, I am going to cut the nostalgic crap right here, and get back on point, because we all know that Classics was the most devastating line to be released for anyone who grew up with the originals. So, Classics was the detonator for me, and specifically the Commemorative Reissue Soundwave.
So now, years have passed, and it’s 2014. I have gone from just being some random dude in Toys R Us, to making my first Ebay purchase, to - well, hoarder is probably the most accurate word now. While I am lucky to have learned to utilize this flaw into something that helps me streamline when my focus shifts and make some money for myself, I have still always felt...bored. The Hunt consumed me, and when it was over, and whatever it is finally arrived at my door - the magic was gone. Like Th0r4z1n3, I had rarely ever touched my prizes after acquisition. The effort and value lost in a freak accident or slip of the grip meant instant rage and regret had something get broken or damaged. Dusting was a monotonous duty. WHAT AM I DOING?!?!?!
SELLING!! Selling is what I started doing, which is what has landed me into a MUCH more satisfying side of collecting. Now, money is great, especially when I was lucky enough to buy dozens of those previously mentioned Classics for original retail, and then find years later most had skyrocketed in value. Money rocks, of course. But part of the selling aspect I took to heart was making sure I absolutely NEVER sent someone something that had an issue I could have found myself. Early on, I had received some packages that left me a bit boggled, and of course had some stuff show up in...less than acceptable condition. So in my fury, I decided I wouldn’t be that guy. Ever. EVARRRRRR!!?!?!?! This meant transforming, posing, and - PICTURES!!
Now, I have never considered myself an artsy type of dude. I like breaking things, talking shit, fixing things, and boobs. Normal stuff I would say. BUT - the more I sold stuff, the more I realized how much fun I was having. Have a question about those shoulder or knee joints? Time to transform! Figures I had simply left in a box, or chillin’ on the shelf watching me eat dinner were now being taken out, transformed, posed, dare I say - played with - like the initial purpose they are meant to serve. Toys. Toys, yo. They’re toys. Expensive? Usually!! BUT THEY ARE STILL TOYS!!
Now, I will never have a bad thing to say about collectors who are MISB or MIB collectors who never even blink at their collection. I’ve been that guy, and I know the value of an unused rarity. However, I can honestly say that selling brought me to a sweet part of the hobby that for whatever reason I had been too stubborn to approach, which is enjoying the figures!
The best part of the photography aspect is there are no rules. You do what you want, learn as you go, and screw everybody else. They want a different background? Somebody wants a lower exposure rate? Well, they can DO IT THEMSELVES!! Ha!! Personally, I try to take nice, clear pictures, and edit as little as possible. But sometimes the filter must be applied, or maybe you swap the hues to see the possibilities of color scheme swaps. It doesn’t matter, because there are so many tools everyone can use for their own advantage.
Instagram, Twitter, PicsArt, and Photo Grid apps can lead to countless hours of just messing around and coming up with whatever you want! Another bonus is when you learn the ropes of social media and hashtagging, you find yourself connecting with people you may have never run across, and you KNOW networking is the shit as a collector! Instant gratification by getting favorited, liked, followed, whatever! You can totally suck at everything else in life, but don’t suck at collecting!! No one cares if your trailer has transvestite roaches, crush them with a toy and take some pics!!
So, this is my story on becoming just a (dangerously handsome) dude with entirely too many toys that served no purpose, into an actual hobbyist! The change in attitude of looking at my collection as simply decorations, and throwing out my paranoia of losing value on “investments” has probably been the greatest decision made during my time collecting. Well, that and my insane amount of anger at people who don’t take care of people who buy things from them….But, this is my story, and I’m sticking to it. What’s your story??