What’s up guys, welcome back to Fitz’s Toy Chest!
I’ve mentioned it before, but there were 3 main pillars of toy collecting in my life. I’ve shown you pieces from two of them so far, Star Wars and G.I. Joe. This week I’m digging into the third.
In 1983 I started seeing commercials for these new toys that could change from cars and jets into robots. As you can imagine, they blew my mind.
These toys were called GoBots and they were tits. I had at least half a dozen, maybe more. They were small, rugged and pretty inexpensive.
Then, in 1984 I saw something that made GoBots look like the hot garbage they actually were. Commercials started appearing for a line of GoBot killers. They were of course, Transformers.
Acquisition Year: 1984
Acquired via: Gift
Years In Possession: 34
At first I was resistant. I’m loyal to a fault, even in regards to toys. I didn’t want to like these GoBot ripoffs, but it didn’t take long for them to break me. They were bigger, shinier, more well designed and overall sexier than the the GhettoBots.
Their cartoon was even light years ahead of the shitty Challenge of the GoBots show.
Many of the G1 Transformers were just repackaged and rebranded toys from Japan. They were made with higher quality craftsmanship and the steps to “transform” them were far more complex. They were like action figure Rubik’s Cubes.
Of course they were also way WAY more expensive than GoBots, which presented a challenge for me, a kid from a lower middle income family.
I would obsess over the sale ads in the weekend paper, pointing out which ones were the coolest looking. For some reason I was drawn to the army jeep (maybe because it reminded me of G.I. Joe?)
It took awhile, but one day my dad came home from work with a surprise. My first Transformer. I don’t know where he got it, but it was the jeep, Hound.
I loved it.
Did I mention the added fun of putting all the decals on yourself? They came completely unadorned with a small sheet of stickers and an instruction booklet. The instructions not only showed you step by step how to transform the toy, but where to put all the stickers.
Much like the Joes, Transformers had a profile card on the packaging. The gimmick with these cards were the ability stats were “encoded” for secrecy. To “decode” them, you placed a thin piece of red trandparent plastic over the card which canceled out the red noise printed over the stat graph. It was genius and captured my imagination.
Over the next couple years I took it DEEEEP with Transformers. It defined my Christmases in 84/85. It seems like that period lasted so much longer. It’s hard to believe that it was really just 2 years between my first introduction to Transformers and the release of Transformers The Movie which effectively killed my passion for the line for many years. Looking at it now, that movie is fantastic, but it’s hard to watch so many characters meet their brutal end. Definitely scarring for a kid.
Luckily I got over it, and to this day I love the G1 Transformers and enjoy revisiting the original cartoon (fuck you Beast Wars) from time to time.
Well, that’s all for this week guys. Join me again next time for another peek inside Fitz’s Toy Chest!