A past that’s hard to find

I’m a tourist in my own past. At least, I am when it comes to my Transformers collection.

During the last twelve months, I’ve been focusing my attention on collecting (as best I can) sealed, vintage Transformers. It’s genuinely been the most fun I’ve had with my hobby for the last twenty years!

Prior to that, the most fun I’d had with Transformers was from 1984 (when I got Optimus Prime for Christmas) to 1988 (when I got Powermaster Optimus Prime for my birthday). Those four years, and I remember them well, contain some of my fondest and most cherished childhood memories.

Each new Transformers toy that I acquire from that period is a nostalgic trip back to my childhood, to those stories I read (and heard) in the Marvel UK comics and Ladybird books/tapes, and to those adventures my toys and my imagination took me on.

Of course, finding sealed versions of those childhood toys is no easy task! It’s a past that’s hard to find. But finding each one again is a wonderful and fulfilling experience.

My initial collection of Autobots.
My initial collection of Decepticons.

These photos, taken in the spring of 1987 show the Transformers I had when I was 9 years old. They were my first Transformers and became the heart of my collection in the following years.

Sadly, those toys are long gone. But life can sometimes proffer second chances and when it does I wholeheartedly believe you should take them! The likes of online auction sites, conventions and toy fairs, and a network of friends often provide those second chances.

In the last year I’ve happened upon a few of those original Transformers, purely by chance. Sometimes they’ve been the genuine vintage version and sometimes they’ve been the “Generation 2” version. Maybe that’s cheating a little bit, but the way I see it, G2 is just as valid as G1!

Even back in the 1990s, Hasbro gave G1 collectors a second chance with their G2 range.

Such is the inescapable nature of collecting something, I find myself looking again and again at these pictures and I’ve been drawn to the thought of tracking the rest down. They call to me. Their grainy forms whisper to me, beckoning and goading like a devil on my shoulder.

Suddenly a plan forms: to see if I can track down the rest of my original Transformers, to get the heart of my 35 year old hobby beating as it did once more.

It won’t be easy. Or cheap. Have you seen what sort of prices a sealed G1 Optimus Prime goes for these days? Please don’t look. A sealed Wheeljack, one of the few of the early Transformers that has never been reissued since 1990, is a little bit on the expensive side too*.


Saying that, I found a boxed, mint, complete Superion gift set in April of this year for a reasonable price and being able to revisit my 9th birthday all over again was worth every penny (even the shipping charge!).

Here’s a checklist of what I’ve found so far:

  1. Swindle (G2 version, Phats Collectibles Anaheim, January 2014)
  2. Bumblebee (G1 Chinese reissue, vintage toy shop Leicester, June 2018)
  3. Seaspray (G1 original, eBay, July 2018)
  4. Beachcomber (G1 original, eBay, July 2018)
  5. Breakdown (G2 version, TFN convention, August 2018)
  6. Snarl (G2 version, eBay, November 2018)
  7. Onslaught (G1 original, eBay, January 2019)
  8. Optimus Prime (G2 version, eBay, April 2019)
  9. Superion giftset (G1 original, eBay, April 2019)
  10. [Redacted (currently bidding for one… )]

In fact, this task may even be impossible! Do all of these toys still exist in sealed condition? I’ll be happy to wait, to see what’s out there and what can be uncovered like long lost treasure, just as I’ll be happy to not find them at all and let my imagination assure me that they are out there in an attic or a warehouse yet to be located.

Like any hobby based on nostalgia, I have a past that’s hard to find and that’s for a very good reason: it makes those wonderful childhood memories all the more cherished!

May your luster never dull, and your wires never cross.

–Graham (@grhmthmsn)

What are your current Transformers collecting goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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Published by grhmthmsn

Blogger, photographer, worrier.

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