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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Collecting Rules

A good friend of mine brought up a very interesting question to me the other day: what do you collect and why? In response I told him I collect things that fall within certain categories or guidelines in order to maintain some semblance of sanity in this crazy hobby since it is impossible to collect everything. He wanted to know specifics which lead me to actually write down the rules in my head for the very first time. I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to share them here (more for myself than for anyone else) but I figured it would be an interesting read. So without further ado: my Rules.

1. Collect all American G1 figures, loose and complete in good condition.

This includes tech specs and instructions for each figure, includes all mail-aways that aren't re-releases (Sunstreaker, Ratchet, etc), includes mini-spies (Autobot and Decepticon versions), Decoys (Red Decepticon variants included) and giftsets. Multiples of the same figure are allowed if they were released in giftset form as well as individual release form. No re-issues or KO's allowed. All parts must be original as well.

2. Collect all G1 Japanese and European exclusive figures loose or MIB, complete with paperwork.

Like American G1, this includes tech cards and boxes when possible. An exclusive is defined as any mold that was not released in America, or any figure that was recolored for Japan or Europe. For example Minerva would qualify, Cab would not since he was not repainted from Hosehead. Again, no re-issues or KO's allowed.

3. Collect AFA American G1 of figures owned as a child.

Because obtaining a complete AFA G1 collection would be very improbable and expensive, I am limited to only purchasing AFA or future AFA-cased figures of characters I had as a child, which I define before the age of 12, during my first falling out with Transformers. Still this is no easy task as I had (and still own) over 120 G1 figures as a child.

4. Collect all American G2 and Beast Wars figures loose and complete in good condition.

This includes variants (Black & White Prowl), exclusives (Wal-Mart Rattrap), and Botcon figures from 1994 to 2002.

5. Collect Japanese Beast Wars and Beast Wars II exclusive figures loose or MIB, complete with paperwork. Collect all of Beast Wars Neo, MIB.

Just like the Japanese/Euro G1, an exclusive is defined as any mold that was not released in America, or any figure that was recolored for the Japanese lines.

6. Collect all Japanese Car Robots figures, MIB.

Because I purchased most of my collection before it was released in America as RID, I decided to keep it all within one line. This includes any exclusives, such as JUSCO and clear Car Brothers.

7. Collect every color SCF from ACT 1 to ACT 8, including chase figures and exclusives.

Just like it says, every color SCF from the Generation One period of SCF, including all exclusive sets, Wonderfest, Figure King Skywarp. All of it. No HOC allowed by any means.

8. Collect all e-Hobby recolors of G1 figures, MIB, with exceptions.

This one is a little tricky since E-hobby tends to be all over the place. But my basic rule for this is if it was released by E-hobby and is a recolor of an existing G1 toy and it would fit in the G1 universe then it is allowed. So I won't collect the MP Ghost Starscream because it isn't a G1 mold and I won't collect the VSE set because it wouldn't fit in the G1 universe since it is Shattered Glass. This is a newer area I have ventured into so I haven't worked on the rules for long with this one.

9. Collect at least one of each "Animated" character, best possible scale. Loose and complete.

Another tricky one. Because in Animated certain characters were released at different size classes (*coughBulkheadcough*) I didn't want two Bulkheads. So I decided it was best to try and get the size class that best reflected the scale as shown in the show. It also means I don't need to buy the legends version of each character.

10. Collect all Masterpiece figures that appeared on Seasons 1-3 of the G1 show that are in scale to each other.

You may have noticed a pattern forming: I need to keep adding qualifiers in order to substantially cut down on the figures in the line. So for the MP figures, Soundblaster doesn't qualify but Ratbat does. Megatron doesn't qualify because he is out of scale with the MP-10 figures and beyond. Tigertrack also doesn't qualify but I bought one anyway because I love yellow Lambos and he isn't displayed with my other figures anyway.

11. Collect Classics, Generations, Universe, Henkei and Third Party figures that will be used to create "scenes" from IDW comics.

This one is all over the place. Because CHUG (as may people call it) and Third Party figures are so sporadic and come from so many different lines it is hard to set some rules down for them. But I have decided the best way to collect and display these figures is to purchase ones that would fit well together in the IDW universe. So I have Toyworld's Hardbone (Hardhead) with Classics Optimus Prime and Legends Wheelie since they are together in RID. I have a majority of the Lost Light crew together on another shelf. I have Thrilling 30 Metroplex with Toyworld's Throttlebots and Hexatron to represent Spotlight: Metroplex. This is more or less a collect what you like and don't what you don't rule, but I at least have a basic framework in mind when purchasing figures.

12. Collect all the minicons not released with larger figures.

Uhhh, yeah. Long term goal here, nothing in the immediate future.

13. Collect anything Sharkticon related.

I love Sharkticons, my wife loves Sharkticons. This is the only character collection rule I have. Whereas some people collect all Starscreams or Optimii, I collect all Sharkticons.

14. For everything else, collect what you like and don't buy what you don't.

This is probably my most important rule, as it completely destroys any semblance of completionism that I once had. I once thought I needed to own everything, but after the Unicron Trilogy and the Movie figures that is no longer true. This rule gives me freedom if nothing else.

15. Display and curate everything in the most aesthetically pleasing way possible.

Given space limitations I must sometimes be creative with how I display my collection, but I always want to make sure it is pretty to view. This usually means I need to put as much work into the display as I have building the collection, but what is the point in having it if you can't display it in a pleasing environment. I also need to keep in mind preserving everything as best I can so that falls under this rule as well.

So there they are, the 15 rules that govern what I buy and what I don't. I feel they are pretty all-encompassing, at least until the next Transformers line comes out. Now I just need to remember to check back on this thing every now and again to make sure I'm not violating anything.


  1. My god, that collection room is impressive.

    As far as the rules, those are some great guidelines. Mine are naturally different and everyone's should be. This is funny because I have a post coming up tomorrow more or less about the same thing! I guess this is a topic that's been weighing on everyone's mind.

    1. Thanks! Great minds I guess. Perhaps all of this was inspired by Maz's recent article on why collectors collect? The person who asked me about it referenced his article first, so in a roundabout way it sort of stems from that.

  2. An excellent post.

    I was quite suprised to find that you collect BW and RiD and Animated stuff too. And Mini-cons as well. I thought you were a G1 mold guy pure and pure. Nothing wrong with that, given the size of your collection room, but I myself really had to call it quits with I saw RiD and Armada growing to the proportions it did. There is just not enough space.

    You have inspired me to come up with some rules too - like you, I have a basic framework in mind, but I guess, writing it down wont hurt.

    1. Yes I tend to over focus on G1, but I love many lines. I don't talke about Beast Wars and RID much because I more or less completed those when they came out. I want to try and diversify more in the future, I feel I have been too focused on one aspect recently. I look forward to reading your rules, I've always been curious what drives collectors.

  3. Even I learned something new here! I didn't know you were still going after Car Robots and some Beast Wars stuff. I thought you had everything from those lines that you wanted. So does this mean you'll be eyeing my exclusive Car Robots Indy Heat and Wrecker Hook now? Oh and congrats on picking up BW II Drillnuts. Awesome little toy and a much better color scheme than the U.S. release.

    1. I decided I couldn't just do it halfway, I either need to commit or not do it at all. I already have Indy Heat, but I am on the lookout for Wrecker Hook :D

  4. Dang Ark...I always love seeing your collection! Rules are for sure needed,I like how you have yours set up!

    1. Thanks, as soon as I'm done renovating my room I'll post some updates, but that will probably be another month.