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Friday, March 11, 2011

GPS: the silent killer. Why you should hate this as much as I do.

Perhaps first a little definition, the TFWiki defines Gold Plastic Syndrome (GPS) as:

fandom terminology used to describe the phenomenon of a toy's plastic decomposing and becoming brittle to the point of shattering or crumbling under minimal-stress conditions.
 which usually means that if a particular toy is plagued with this issue the game is over. This seemingly small problem destroys toys of some of the neatest and most unique Transformer characters out there. Not only can you never transform them again, most likely you can never even touch them again. Most toys that deal with this issue were made between 1988 and 1995 with a few stragglers years later. If you are a fan of Transformers of this era then I feel sorry for you. Some of these toys have only small parts that are cast in the gold plastic, others have their entire bodies cast this way. Most Transformers that suffer from this problem have become very expensive on the secondary market due to not many examples surviving this long.

Here is a good example: the European exclusive Pyro:
This is the only toy I have lost to GPS thus far and it was only because he fell from a shelf which, frankly, would cause this to happen to pretty much any toy. But  you will notice that the only pieces that actually broke were the gold cast ones.
Just look at that shear.



Boy, let me tell you, this was a hard thing to find one morning. Pyro is actually a really fun toy so I was sad to see him destroyed. Unfortunately this type of breakage can happen from just moving a figure with this problem and many fun figures are afflicted. First and foremost in my mind are Pretender monsters Slog and Bristleback. They form the chest and arm of Monstructor which I have to leave combined now for fear of disintegration upon contact.
I haven't transformed him in years and probably never will again.
 Also suffering from this problem are many Generation 2 toys, including Electro and Slingshot both of which are made almost entirely out of Gold Plastic. I have just come to accept that I will not ever be able to play with these toys and it is just best to leave them as they are...
Forget about even removing him, much less combining him.

 ...forever protected from the outside world in their packaging. In fact, I am going to go a step further and get them encased in AFA's protective cases for another layer of protection.
The solution to GPS: AFA grading and homage figures.
The unfortunate thing is these will never be removed from their packaging and used as they were meant to be: as toys. All anyone will ever be able to do is look at them and see how much fun they could have had. If any toys need a reissue by Hasbro, it is every transformer that has this problem. Unfortunately most of the these characters are not popular enough to warrant a reissue so I don't really ever see it happening. So I say good luck to you that own these figures and here is to coming up with creative ways around this problem.

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