One fun aspect of being a Transformers fan over the years is that many friends and acquaintances have given me their old childhood Transformers and Transformers-related items because they know that my adult self will appreciate them tremendously more than their adult selves do. From Skywarp to Ramjet, from Skids to Wheeljack, from lunchboxes to freakin' Piranacon, I have gladly received these tokens of their childhood, each now imbued with a little story of their acquisition, and each containing an insight into what type of young Transformers fan that person was. Did they add the stickers, and if so, were they done correctly and well? Were they compelled to gnaw on swords and antennas? Did they manage to keep all the guns and accessories? Or did they just smash them to bits?
Sadly, the number of friends who still have old TFs to part with only diminishes with time. Furthermore, as my G1 collection has reached voluminous proportions, the odds of acquiring something I don't already have are slim. Which brings me to Howie!
Howie Kenty, aka Hwarg, is a composer and friend from NYC. (Listen to "THE PRECURSOR".) I knew him from the melodic prog band, The Benzene Ring. Recently, Howie's parents were moving and asked him to come deal with all his childhood belongings. When it came to his collection of Transformers, G.I. Joe and He-Man figures, I'm glad I was the person who came to mind. He trusted that I would either enjoy them myself, or farm them out to friends, or sell them and share some of the proceeds. All my thoughts exactly.
As I waited for the box of surprise goodies, I had several expectations of what I would find. I didn't presume that things would be in good or complete condition -- after all, if he had been a meticulous young toy-hoarder, wouldn't he want to keep or sell them himself? And while I hoped that I would acquire something I didn't already have, I considered my chances to be pretty low.
Sadly, I already owned most all the He-Man figures that arrived with the exception of a belt-less Prince Adam and a couple of the Meteorbs. No King Randor or Scare Glow for me. I intend to pick through these, maybe do some comparisons against my own collection for quality, then sell these as a lot on eBay. For someone newly waxing nostalgic about the days of Eternia and Snake Mountain and wanting an instant and well-rounded collection, Howie's figures should bring some instant satisfaction.
Never having been a G.I. Joe fan, I was largely clueless about the plethora of figures (mostly broken) and vehicles I encountered. Oh, I recognized Golobulus and a broken Snake Eyes and Sgt Slaughter, and sure, that S.N.A.K.E. armor looked familiar, but most of the stuff was a mystery. Fortunately I found WHOBIT, a clever website for identifying G.I. Joe parts and figures. I've finally identified everything and listed some optimistically-priced eBay auctions, but I don't expect them to fetch much.
Which brings us to the Transformers. Whereas I knew I'd be interested and excited no matter what I found -- perusing someone else's collection is always fun -- my expectation was that I would already have everything he sent. Granted, my G1 collection isn't complete, but I'm not actually looking for Autobot Pretenders, Micromaster bases or (cough) Action Masters. No, there are only about a dozen G1 TFs left that I'm actively (though very casually) seeking, and that includes some pie-in-the-sky pieces like Deszaras.
So imagine my surprise when I open the box and one of the first things I see is Pointblank -- complete with his spoiler/shield and Peacemaker, his Targetmaster partner!
To put the odds of this in perspective, if we simply focus on 1986 and 1987, the years that the majority of Howie's TF collection came from, there were only 4 out of 113 that I was seeking, or about 1 in 28. Luck was apparently on my side.
Howie was a pretty meticulous Transformers collector as a kid. All his toys were stickered, usually fairly well. His Ultra Magnus was fully complete, Counterpunch had both his guns, and his Motormaster and Onslaught were missing only one piece each among all the combiner-related kibble they came with. I was impressed; this is about how meticulous I was with my TFs as a kid! Whereas Pointblank was the only completely new acquisition for me, I was able to trade out my sun-damaged Bruticus head and chest for Howie's more pristine ones.
eBay sales have proven a bit slow of late, but when all is said and done, I should be able to send Howie some cash for his preserved boyhood friends. I'm glad he entrusted them to me!
Check out The Benzene Ring here! (I've been listening to Breathing Water in a Dream quite a lot lately.)
And when you return, tell me about any G1 treasures that you have been given by people who knew they would be better treated in your capable, obsessive hands!