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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Thoughts on Shmax

As a result of me purchasing insurance for my Transformers Collection (see my previous post) I thought it would be prudent to organize and catalog everything I have in case there is a loss. Enter Shmax. I have been a member of this website for a long time, since only a few months after it was created. I thought it was a great way to keep track of everything I have. However in the past seven months or so I have sold and bought a lot of stuff and there has been a ton of turnover. And unfortunately I hadn't been keeping up on Shmax like I should have been. So I decided to start from scratch again. I wanted to get a fresh start because on Shmax there is an option that lists what condition each of your items is currently in and the default is Sealed. When I first became a member of the site and put all of my information in that wasn't an option, but since I didn't really update all of the items I had already entered, 79% of my collection was now listed as sealed, when in fact it is mostly loose and opened. So I figured I would have to go back through at least 79% of the items anyway, why not start again from the beginning and do it right.

So now I have a completely updated collection on Shmax. In fact I will be putting my own "dynamic signature" on this blog sometime soon. I must caution you though, there is one small drawback (at least for me) to Shmax: it makes you want to amass more and more transformers. The website assigns you a 'rank' based on how many figures you have relative to all the other users on the site. While I was updating everything I found myself thinking I should have kept more of my Armada figures so I could add them to my total and increase my rank. And then I came to my senses, the reason I have sold off so much stuff over the past year is because I am streamlining. I don't want more stuff! My philosophy now is firmly quality over quantity. So beware; you may find yourself trying to find ways to up your figure count to bump up your rank and not even realize you are doing it.

Although I do wonder how many more it will take for me to get inside the top 20...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thoughts on Insurance

I used to work for an insurance company. In fact, I have actually worked for two different insurance companies in my professional career. Once trying to sell it, once underwriting it. You would think after so much experience in the insurance industry I would be the first person to buy insurance for my transformers collection.

Not so.

I have known I needed to get insurance for a long time. I even went so far as to getting a couple of quotes from different companies; but I never pulled the trigger. Even after my own transformer room was flooded from my water heater exploding I did nothing (everything was fine BTW, minus Pyro who fell off the shelf when I was moving them). I don't know if it was just procrastination or if I just wanted to spend that money on more transformers, or it was just plain stupidity but it just never happened. Then I saw this. And that was all it took. I immediately went out and purchased a separate policy for my figures last week.

It was just something about seeing all of those ruined boxes spread out on the ground that lit a fire under my ass. I could finally visualize what would happen if my room flooded for real. The last 'flooding' was nothing more than water seeping under the wall into the middle of the room. I had to tear up the carpet and use a wet-vac but there was never very much water. But all of my figures are in my basement. Granted it isn't a true basement since one side is walk-out, but it is still a basement.

So now I'm paying a few extra hundred bucks a year for piece of mind. I do feel a lot better about it, but the insurance company told me to keep detailed lists and pictures of everything. Hmmm....I wonder how I should do that....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Third Party Love...

If you know anything about the Transformer collectibles community you know that the Third Party companies have begun their slow and eventual takeover of everything fanboyish. These companies have been coming out of the woodwork to showcase and sell items that are either too cost prohibitive for Hasbro or that have too little demand. Case in point: see my previous post on the Wreck-Gar updates. While not technically a 'Third Party Company', Maiden Japan is still filling a need left open by Hasbro. Its funny, ten years ago I never would have guessed that most of my Transformers purchases would be from companies other than those that actually hold the Transformers trademarks! Not that I am complaining by any measure, I just find it interesting that the community can support so many different companies at the same time. For example, I received the following two figures just recently. They are from completely different manufacturers, have different aesthetics, and yet both are updates of G1 Decepticon characters and thus go on the same shelf. I thought this would be a good opportunity to show off just what some of these 'Third Parties' are up to:

First off is Fansproject Causality Thundershred (aka Shrapnel)
Wolverine pose

Alt mode: about as convincing as the original

 Shrapnel was my first Insecticon when I was little (an consequentially my only Insecticon until I was a teenager) so I thought it was very cool that he was the first to be released. Fansproject is planning the other two Insecticons which should be out in the next couple of months.
Next is TFClub's Hercules (read: Devestator) Exgraver (aka Scavenger)

Not a bad likeness, and substantially larger!

Oddly enough Scavenger was my first Constructicon when I was young so it is doubly appropriate that he be the first one I receive out of the set of six. TFClub does a nice job, but Exgraver isn't as refined as the Fansproject releases although I am looking forward to the other five members of the team to make a substantially huge Devestator.

Personally, I hope all this Third Party madness continues. If this trend continues there may even come a day when I won't bat an eye as receive an updated Getaway and a few Pretenders!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I am One Lucky Duck (Mail Call)

Got this in the mail yesterday:

All the uncut tech specs from the back of the Menasor boxset!!! These are extremely rare and I got them all for less than $20! Someone really missed out on this; but everyone's loss is my gain! These giftset tech specs are very difficult to find since many people don't cut up the back of the boxsets. Although Devastator and Superion aren't that hard to find. So now I only need Defensor, Computron and Piranacon (yeah right!).

Yay, sometimes eBay does work!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In the Navy...

No, I am not dead. Just got back from vacation in Virginia Beach. One of my favorite memories from my childhood was coming to the Norfolk Naval Base (which is in the Virginia Beach area) and touring the base and all of the ships. So I thought it might be fun to tour everything again and see all the 'Navy' stuff. Unfortunately in the post 9/11 world a lot has changed. No longer can you actually go on the ships and they really only allow photographs from a good 200 yards away. So it would have been a big letdown if not for one little factor:
That's right. Aircraft Carriers. And not just any Aircraft Carriers:
The granddaddy of all Aircraft Carriers, the USS Enterprise! Now I have more than just a passing interest in the Navy mostly due to the influences of Star Trek, so this was a real treat for me, especially because she is due to be decommissioned in 2013. Also in attendance along the Norfolk shores was the newly commissioned USS New York (the same class of ship as the USS San Antonio above) which was partially built using some of the steel from the World Trade Center. If you have never seen ships like these in person let me just tell you they are massive; so much larger than you probably think they are. Even though we didn't get to board them or even get out of the bus and look it was still amazing to see all of these in person. Eat your hearts out Star Trek fans.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Terrorcons and the Beach

Since the end of summer is quickly approaching it is about time for my annual trip to the beach. This used to be a constant in my young life; my family would always go to the beach in August as kind of a "farewell" to the summer season before school began. In my adult life I unfortunately lost this trend. My wife and I started going in December or March when the area was a lot less crowded for a weekend or so. But all that changed last year when good friends of ours decided to get married at the beach. It was a week-long excursion with all their friends and family, and everyone stayed in a couple of houses right on the beach. It was so much fun they decided to do it again this year and we promptly signed up. So for the second year in a row I'll be going to the beach in late summer again and it brings up so many good memories.

Predominantly in my head are the memories of two G1 Terrorcons: Cutthroat and Rippersnapper. I remember getting these way back in 1987 at the beach and toting them around everywhere I went. There are even a few pictures around to prove it. It is so odd, occasionally when I look at them now, all those memories will come flooding back to me. I still have my original terrorcons, and they show a little wear, but they are part of my G1 display now. It is strange for me to think about originally purchasing these figures all those years ago and they are still part of my life today. I guess I'm nothing if not nostalgic.

My original Cutthroat with my 'new' AFA version.

Looking at these figures still in the packaging really takes me back.

Rippersnapper with his sealed counterpart.