Meet Mike F., a Transformers collector from Vancouver, BC. An average twenty-something who like most kids who grew up in the eighties has been a fan of the Transformers for years, having been entertained by the cartoon series and smitten by the toys. But unlike other kids of the time, Mike has taken his love for the transforming robots to the rare level of an "uber fan" with a collection that simply cannot be contained in a single closet, let alone a single room. The kid really loves his Transformers and has the collection to prove it.
Mike is a friend of mine. We met a couple of years back at a birthday party where he had brought a Transformer toy, not for the birthday celebrant, but for himself, having just come from a local comicshop. He mentioned something about being a Transformers collector, and when his mother reinforced his statement with well... motherly concern -- as if collecting so many toys was an unhealthy habit, I was intrigued, but honestly I didn't believe it. Sure the kid is just trying to have a conversation for the sake of having a conversation, it's a party after all, but when considering his concerned mother who was seemingly pushing her son to show off his toys, he must have been telling the truth.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, I finally got a chance to see the collection, and I have never seen anything like it.
Now you have to understand, Mike doesn't really show off his Transformers to anyone. He works the late-shift at a home hardware store, and doesn't have the time to give people a toy tour. His days and nights consist of mostly sleep and work, with spare time devoted to well, collecting Transformers. Having grown up as some what of a misfit, Mike found collecting Transformers helped him stay focused on a positive hobby, an expensive hobby at that. It takes a lot of pennies to get some of these toys off comicbook-store shelves and look how far he's come. For someone his age, this collection is something to be proud of.
Placing a value on the entire collection is hard to say. I ain't no Appraiser for the Antiques Roadshow, but I assume it's a pretty healthy number. He has several unopened Transformers toys in good condition with original packaging from the eighties which he said were pretty rare. You name it, he probably has it, and if he doesn't, he'll probably get it at some point. Though he's remains pretty humble about it all. Unfortunately when I told him that he should seriously consider putting it online for all to see, he didn't budge. I mean damn, a collection like his deserves to be seen. So I took it upon myself to do it for him.
I was welcome to checkout the toys.
The first part of the toy tour was the glass case in his bedroom. Obviously this is where he put his favorite toys, the ones he literally sleeps next to. The second part of the tour was having the toys spread out on the living room floor, and the third, even more toys placed on the dining room table.
Stuffed in boxes, in a crowded closet space, in his bedroom of his parents house, the plan was not to necessarily count how many Transformers he had, but rather to just experience being in the same area as all of these toys. It's not often Mike takes them out for Show and Tell, so I was pretty lucky. In one afternoon, I tried to photograph as much as I could, but it was pretty overwhelming.
He has so many Transformers he doesn't even bother to document them all. The most he's done is write the names on the boxes if the toys didn't already have their original packaging, (most didn't), but aside from that there wasn't anything remotely organized about the massive collection. And I wasn't going to organize it for him. From Generation One, to Generation Two, to the anniversary commemorative series, Beast Wars, Armada, and more, there are doubles, even triples of the same toy and the variations in between.
I've never seen so many Optimus Primes in one place!
So many in fact, I lost interest in Optimus briefly and was more fascinated by the Transformers I had never seen before.
Simply put, the collection is ridiculous, it's like having a toy store in his house and the awesome thing is he continues to collect more. I've seen other Transformers collections online, and this one is pretty up there in terms of the number and type of toys in the collection. One of these days I'll have to get Mike to do a comprehensive list of everything in it and I'll post it here.
Mike plans to one day build a space to house the entire collection.
Thanks to Mike and the family for letting me check out the Toys!