Welcome to the next in a series of interviews with different Aussie Transformer fans. Last time we chatted to Lisamaree who was at the time living abroad. Today we will be talking to Raymo, a country lad like me who now, luckily for his hobby, lives a lot closer to the big TF shops up in Northern Australia.
Transformers Allegiance, if you had one?
Your Techspec motto if you had one?
All too easy. Which is sort of opposite of my own personality and more like my alter ego, or as I say my wrestling personality, cocky but relaxed about it.
What existing, official Transformers character best describes you?
I always go with G1 Brawn, although Bayverse Jetfire is probably more accurate now, old, slow but will do a solid if someone needs it.
Which special ability of any Transformers character would you want to have for yourself?
Flying, which in bot mode makes me a dirty con
How would you rate yourself on a C scale, C10 being MISB Mint perfection to the lowest C1 ‘junker not worth it even for parts’?
Fan/Collector since (year)?
What drew you to Transformers, making you become a fan/collector?
The box art and the cartoon, I do remember though that my friends and I would get pissed off because rather than the dynamic poses we saw on the boxes and cards the toy itself was a glorified brick.
Do you think you will collect Transformers until you die?
I will certainly have them until then, and maybe one will go with me, but I’m not sure if I’ll be actively collecting, even in the last three years my actual accumulation/collecting of them has slowed, I still have a good collection though. Confused?
Do people outside of the hobby know you collect TFs (like at work/school)?
For sure, I’m actually more comfortable sharing pictures outside of the collecting community with others, and any chance to show someone “the room” I take it.
Were your family/parents supportive of collecting toys or did you have to hide your passion from them and friends?
Everyone has been supportive, despite some very heavy spending periods it never became a financial problem. I think most people have seen it as a positive and fun influence on my life. We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
Have you attended any fan-meets, Fairs, Conventions?
oh you want more info?
2004 Sabretron in Sydney, loved it, here is a picture of my young self
Went to NYCC in 2015, hated it, but got to see the Toy Hunter and he truly loves what he does.
Any creative endeavours with Transformers (drawing, writing, customising, etc)?
Does dusting and building fancy cabinets count?
Favourite series/era/year, and why?
G1, I think as time has gone on I became something I hated previously, an f’ing geewunner!! Yep, I had it all, everything up to stinking animorphs and then some, and over the years it’s all been pared back to something a geewunner would own. I love the Transformers Prime series and the toys and was hoping it was the first step to making a canon TF universe, but no, it was a one off, but a brilliant one, I also like the 2001 RID, it’s a bit more of a JP based cartoon but being a big fan of the rising sun it’s my style. But yeah always come back to G1, it’s the original; it’s what created a juggernaut. It’s classic good versus evil with the greatest hero ever G1 Optimus Prime.
Least favourite series/era/year, and why
The movieverse has taken a big steamy Sludge like dump over what could have been something amazing, I get the attraction, and considering now that someone who was ten when the first one came out is now 20 and still loving it is probably more the demographic they were aiming at rather than us old farts. But to me as a toy collector a lot of the figures look like melted plastic with a shitty head stuck on top.
Collect any comics?
Had a good stash of the IDW/Dreamwave stuff but got rid of it, was good when it came out but has no personal connection. I do still have a tonne of 90’s x-men and some very large G1 TPB’s. My brother knows more about my comics that me, I’m pretty much a toy guy these days.
Favourite Comic issue/story, and why?
IIRC the one where the Dinobots were already on earth as well as Shockwave, something, something darkside, I’m not so good with stories and have forgotten how much I hate space travel.
Favourite Cartoon episode/story, and why?
Fire in the Sky, as explained earlier
Favourite Character, and why?
Optimus Prime, the most noble of heroes, something any kid should aspire to be, certainly shaped who I am today.
Sexiest Transformers (robot) Character?
A typical perv question from Big Angry Trev.
G1 Arcee (does anyone think her voice sounds like Tea Leoni from the movie Bad Boys?) and TF Prime, although BW Blackarachnia, grrrr baby grrrr, that voice…………droooooooooooool.
Which Transformers character would you want to exist for real?
Black Zarak, bad ass looking, and huge.
Approx TFs toy collection count (or give a range like 200s, 300s, etc):
A lady never tells
Sealed collector or out-of-packaging collector?
Varies, if it has a window it’s sealed, if not it’s opened. Mostly.
How much do you think you’ve spent on your collecting habit?
A couple of bucks
Any rare/expensive figures in your collection?
Black Zarak, both Goodbye sets MIB for all of them, lurve my boxes.
What interesting Licensed Merchandise items do you have?
Nothing out of the ordinary, bed sheets, bed tent, board game, Soundwave tape deck etc.
First Transformers toy?
Now this is something, I’m not 100% on this. No matter the time I put into working it out I can’t nail it but it’s either Brawn or Bluestreak.
One toy you most want?
Powered Convoy Giftset MIB
The centrepiece/favourite toy in your collection at the moment (and why)?
The custom Metrotitan that a guy named Michael did, it may not mean a lot to most, but to have G1 Metrotitan and Metroplex as well as their modern gigantic counterparts all together is just so perfect.
Favourite toy in your early years of collecting?
Worst toy(s) ever in your opinion?
Some piece of junk bayverse one step Prime my mum thought would be good to get me for xmas a few years ago.
Toy(s) that were most disappointing when you got them?
MP-09 Rodimus Prime, the literal version of ambition out weighing talent.
Thoughts on gimmick and non-convertable Transformers toys?
Non-convertible transformer, oxymoron central. At least action masters had something that transformed.
They went too complex with the early Bay movie toys and now it’s gone too simple with the crap being put out now, some look like a giant bar of soap or those old shampoo bottles shaped like TF’s.
Thoughts on unlicensed fan-project figures/accessories
I used to be totally against them, but they certainly fill a collecting gap for the addicts, and as we’ve seen are also free R&D for Has/Tak.
Thoughts on the Transformers Brand over the last five years
It’s in a balance, it’s good we have Beast Wars MP figures coming out but the bread and butter movies need a re-boot, even when they are released the shelf space and hype has dwindled. Now we’re going back to the old chestnut of Bumblebee, FFS we have already been saturated with his toys in the first three movies, now, more. I get it he sells, but most kids already have him.
Which single TFs toy should every fan own?
G1 Optimus Prime
Which Transformers toy/product would you give as a wedding present?
MISB G1 Optimus Prime
Do you collect other toys?
I have a very good MOTU collection and an ok Voltron one which has recently been majorly downsized. Oh yeah and Lego, enough to sink the Titanic.
What type of music/movies/TV/books do you enjoy
Cranking psytrance as I type this, love metal, some old hip hop, K,C,J-Pop, very eclectic, will even rock some country. Movies, we have been spoilt for choice lately, marvel stuff, Star Wars, then the earlier stuff Avatar, Terminators, Alien series, Pacific Rim, all the usual nerd stuff. TV is Battlestar Galactica new and old version, Star Treks, Law and Order, Brooklyn 99, Seinfeld, House, Stargate, Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad, it’s a big list J Books, I have generally been a non-fiction reader but since the flow of canon Star Wars novels have come out I am into those, as a huge fan of Ventress the Dark Disciple novel was off the chart awesome. Lots to read still but unlike Transformers where I can say my love these days is really with toys, with Star Wars it is with the mythology…….but not the legends stuff, the new canon, it’s like the Marvel CU, we need a continuous story to get invested……..Transformers I’m looking your way!
If you died today, what would your tombstone say?
Solid (pun intended)
Questions from other Fans
What is your preferred design for G1 Jetfire? the animation model or the toy? please elaborate.
It’s the toy, so cool, tall, sleek, powerful and proud, a true warrior. But the anime version is certainly up there, even now that we sort of have a combo version from the generations toy as well as FT Phoenix I can still say the G1 toy is the one for me. Here’s the funny thing, I grew up in a very small town, about 3000 people, our local news agent was the toy shop. There was a massive area of Transformers, but there was a secondary area of Robotech fighters, I looked at them with disdain, what the hell is a gerwalk mode!? But if I could go back now I would buy the entire section! For its time the toy had superior articulation, size and quality, plus the badass look in bot mode with all the armour.
How Many Jetfire toys do you have?
Only nine, but my Energon and Armada versions are in the “to sell pile” so really seven. I’m a small fry in the toy collecting department of Jetfire, there is a fella on TCCA who has a ridiculous amount of the G1 toys MIB, loose, or whatever. I’d love a sealed one, but in the past few years I’ve managed to get one with the painted Robotech symbols, as well an MIB version that only had one owner from Australia who told me the history of it, to me that is something special, toys can pass through many hands, even sealed ones could have had 10 owners previously, but I got this Jetfire from the only person who had ever had it, the guy who opened it as a kid, almost as good as opening an old case found in a warehouse somewhere in China full of sealed boxes.
Has your collecting rate increased since you moved from a rural to a more suburban setting?
There have been two collecting phases in my life, childhood and adulthood. Both coincide with pre-internet and intra-internet, as well as rural then urban. I will expand on this….. as an adult the internet has essentially gone from a rural service to metro, so yes this change has made finding things easier, in 2002 when I first got onto ebay it was like a small country town, and it was full of friendly people, now, especially post movie era, it is a place where scammers and dickheads live. While you can get more, the prices are higher and the risk of dodgy goods is everywhere.
So to answer the question, my peak was between 2002 and 2004, I was living in Canberra, there were a lot of good TF toys in the stores, RID and Alternators, as well as very good prices for G1 stuff online and a huge second hand market at garage, car boot and market sales. That was a golden era for collecting for me.
Have you been able to draw your daughter into the world of giant transforming robots at all?
I have tried, she’s not a big fan, she knows I love them but the common toy interest we share is Lego, she loves building them and playing with them. We have amassed a decent train collection, as well as her friends sets.
Besides Big Angry Trev, is there anyone that you admire in the world of Transformers (fellow collectors, actors, comic artists, toy designers etc)?
I love the writings of a guy called Maz, he is a true TF historian and someone who I genuinely think I would get along with in real life. Heroic Decepticon is good too due to his ability to financially accommodate his G1 collecting, but probably out of mine and most people’s league. I’ve got to know a few guys through TCCA on facey who have similar collecting interests to me, they have mostly lurked in the shadows as I have, people who are humble in their collecting impress me.
Name one thing about the TF community that you don’t like.
I can name two things. The…………… how do I put this…………..dick waving shit of my collection’s, bigger, worth more, better than anyone else’s crap.
Here’s a fun fact, I had 1500 Transformer toys in 2004. At the time from what I could tell one of the biggest in Oz, did it give me anything? No……… (unlike my collection now, which when I look at it gives me genuine happiness)
It took up a lot of space and cost a lot of money. Now this is pre-movie era, so I had every Western G1 to Animorphs and whatever was coming out at the time, PLUS, most figures I had two of to display in both modes, if it was a triple changer or combiner then there were more figures I had, it was out of control, and the display was bots just jammed up against each other, with boxed stuff from Armada getting stored away. That’s not collecting, that’s an addiction and a hoarding issue. Luckily I had the income to support this insanity, and when push came to shove a couple of years later I was able to sell most of it and take a pause for the better.
So yeah, back to the question, there are many fans out there, some might collect era’s we don’t like, some may have 10, or 1000, or 5000 figures, that doesn’t matter, we all love the same thing, people use “till all are one’ a lot but let’s mean it. We are ALL ONE, we love Transformers, lets embrace it.
Old man rant over, for now,…………………oh wait my second, or third point, or wherever I’m up to.
I don’t like how there is a secrecy around parts of the TF collecting community, I’m not saying that some departments should open their doors for all and sundry, but when an important topic that effects all collectors in that area regardless of personal connections comes up it should be shared, I’m a massive fan of the history of the toys, but some of the people who have the knowledge choose to not share it. What’s the point?!
Conversely, name the thing (or things) that you really like about the TF fandom.
There is a guy named Kelvin who really embodies passion for the hobby and I think that kind of passion is great! To go further I can easily say that 90 plus percent of the people I have met in the TF community are so similar to me and that they share a passion for what is basically a toy line, but being nerds we fear human interaction so most of my contact while on the whole is positive and online only.
What was your opinion of ROTF Jetfire?
Loved him, based on one of my favourite planes the SR-71 Blackbird, merely a spy plane, but the fastest ever. He was such a good character, since the movie I have toured the US extensively and got to see Jetfire in person and it was so good, smaller than I expected but beautiful and sleek despite the age. He made the ultimate sacrifice to help Prime, he got so elevated in my opinion when that happened, he’s the only Bayformer toy I own.
What is your favourite Jetfire toy?
G1 all the way. I have to give positive mention to the Generations version, looks amazing and did well to not get sued by the a-hole from Harmony Gold.
Got any other questions for Raymo? Pop them in the comments section below: