I’m known for TL;DR articles, so I have posted the pics of my collection first, and posted the article below them. If you love reading back stories and such, I hope you enjoy it. If you just love eye candy, no hard feelings 🙂 Note the tag “Tanner Toys Collection” is to pay homage to an idea my parents had decades ago – they always thought it would be cool to start a toy store called Tanner Toys. It never happened, so this is my tribute to them.
If you collect anything, you are pretty much going to be labeled a nerd. As I have found out from personal experience, not all nerds are created equal. If you collect baseball cards (well, before they became super hot to collect again) you were a level one nerd. Nerdy because you collect pictures of men, but at least you can say that you do it because you love sports. Loving sports = macho … right?
Level two of nerdism is comics. I used to lump people who collected cards & comics at the same level. Not true. Comic collectors are an entirely different breed. Card collectors may idolize Babe Ruth, whereas comic collectors follow the Avengers, or X-Men…and they know the entire lore behind them as well. A video of a Mike Trout bomb gets a card collector going, while Wolverine exposing his claws gets a comic collector excited. I have bought and sold comic collections with thousands of books, and have observed that the typical comic collector is wildly different from the typical card collector.
Level three is something entirely different. Collecting toys … or, as you may have already guessed it, Transformers. Level three of nerdism is where you get excited about watching other youtubers play with a toy, and base your buying said toy upon its playability and poseability. If sports card collectors are the jocks of the nerd world, comic collectors just might be jocks compared to Transformer collectors.
I’m all three.
Sports cards have gotten super hot recently, so my once nerdy lifestyle has now become super fascinating to people, and droves of people are considering it as a legitimate investment medium. Comics are the same in many ways – the movies and tv shows are making comics more relevant now than perhaps ever in recent history (either that, or I’m just so engrossed with WandaVision, I have forgotten to care about what others think!)
But what about Transformers?
To be honest, I’m just not sure. I see them as my guilty pleasure. I had a super vague childhood memory of my friend’s devastator and dinobot from a couple years ago – a lime green construction truck with a scoop and a triceratops with some sort of translucent face mask and red horns.
I never really got super into the cartoons or anything, but as an adult, I started thinking how absolutely brilliant it was to be able to take a toy and transform it from a robot to something else. Then, even more mind blowing – when you could take several of these robots that transform and create an even bigger transformer. Absolutely astonishing!
If there is one thing you may already know about me, it is probably that I LOVE collecting Jose Canseco baseball cards. In fact, I had the largest unique collection of his up until 2018 when I sold out, only to return to collecting my favorites of his. I have been on television, done countless interviews, was on the cover of Beckett – the most popular sports card magazine ever, and even got to hang out with Jose at his house! My initial goal was to get virtually every baseball card of his ever made – an impossible feat, but a fun one.
Shown below are a few of my absolute favorite cards of his. All of them are 1/1s … meaning that these are the only cards like this to exist! Included below is a card made entirely of wood and signed in gold, a laundry tag from a game worn rookie jersey, a game used bat knob, game used bat barrel, game used button, and game used elephant logo sleeve patch.
When I sold out, I diversified my collecting habits by focusing on vintage baseball cards, graded key comic books, and yes, transformers. In order to successfully dabble in so many areas, I had to change my entire collecting philosophy, and that meant throwing out the “gotta have it all” attitude, and focus only on what truly excites me. This philosophy stays with me even today, as I continue to collect Jose Canseco baseball cards. A card company may put out a certain card of his with 10 different parallels/variations, and only one may interest me … or none at all. Wildly different from pre 2018 when I had to get all 10.
So that is where I began my journey into collecting transformers, which is first determining what speaks … no … sings to me. That is typically large pieces (official or third party – it doesn’t matter to me, as long as the eye appeal is there) and many times custom painted.
You won’t see shelf after shelf of little or medium sized plastic robots here. 50 Optimus Prime variations don’t take up an entire rack in my room. Because of this, I will never get to take pictures that draw shock and awe from the masses due to the sheer amount of quantity. (Seriously, I’ve seen some of your stuff that you all post – it is jaw dropping!) Using my previously mentioned new collecting philosophy, I have spent a significant amount of time researching, negotiating, hiring (for custom work) and curating a collection that is currently less than 20 figures. That is what I would like to show you today! Oh, and by the way, I’m a Photoshop Ninja, so I had a ton of fun 🙂
One of my first “keepers” was what everyone has probably dreamed about (well ok, maybe not everyone!): A dinobot combiner. I researched this like crazy to make sure I got the one I wanted most. Shuraking does it for me – the amount of bling, heft, and balance is marvelous. I’ll admit, I was extremely intimidated by putting together 5 dinobots and then combining them, so they sat in separate boxes for *weeks* before I actually got to it.
Gigapower Chrome Dinobots (with Shuraking cameo!)
Though the Dinobots are my smallest Transformers, they are huge and they are beautiful. I spent a long time researching which dinobots I wanted to get, and these fit the bill for me far more than any others I found. Plus, they look perfect when paired with Shuraking!
Toyworld Old Green Constructor Devastator
I ordered this piece, cancelled it, ordered it, cancelled it, and finally ordered it again. It received a LOT of hate online because it was wildly different from the promotional pictures, but I love Devastator and he is different enough from the others to justify getting. I had fun with Photoshop and created this:
Wanna hear something super crazy? I have never seen this pic below ever … until *after* I created the pic above!
Toyworld Weathered Yellow Constructor Devastator
If my wife had it her way, she’d tell me to sell all my Transformers except for this one. This one is ridiculously cool, and I picked it up from someone in Italy – I had no choice, because this limited run done by Gunner sold out quickly! The photoshopability of this is astounding. I love being able to do crazy things like this:
Toy World Cell Shaded Constructor Devastator
Remember this epic scene in the cartoon?
Probably not, because I made it by photoshopping in Devastator. Here is the Cell Shaded Devy! It was a limited production run from LEK, if I recall correctly. I fell in love with cell shading done properly, because it is so mind bending. It is like looking at a cartoon in real life!
Zeta Superion Custom Cell Shade
The pic above shows a Superion cartoon. Guess what? That is a real figure, too! I researched an artist forever, and eventually decided that Mon at Grinkrystal in the Philippines was the right man to execute what I wanted. It took a bit less than a year to finish, but Mon did a terrific job. This might possibly be my favorite piece! My gosh, I love the progress pics on projects like this. It really adds to its story! Here he is all cleaned up and looking professional:
Cell shading isn’t the only thing I like. I also love the battle damage feel when done properly. Again, I went to the drawing board to research how I wanted it done, and who I wanted to do it. Orlando at Decepti-Punk Customs was the man for the job. He worked closely with me to get everything how I wanted! I LOVE Metroplex’s intimidating size, but I just don’t like the stark white plasticky feel (I’m probably in the minority!) . Here is what he looked like when I bought him:
And here is what he looks like now. This 2ft tall behemoth looks like he could hop off the shelf and go to battle!
Here’s the thing about Transformers … the larger the figures you buy, the larger the figures you want. Along with Metroplex, Fortress Maximus was completely transformed as my other “Tower of Power”. Here is what he looked like when I first bought him to be customized.
And here is what he looks like now!
Scorponok & Black Zarak
I never really even know about either of these guys, but man alive, did I know I wanted some custom pieces of them. From the factory, he is an amazing figure.
But as I have found, while I like him regular, I LOVE him customized. Here he is now:
And here is the Black Zarak version!
Last but not least, I did a fun poster style version based upon my figure:
I was first introduced to Omega Supreme by seeing him on eBay. In fact, that’s how I met Decepti-Punk, because this is a piece he did as well! Here is what Omega – an already super impressive figure – looks like from out of the box. It is no wonder he is a grail figure for many folks.
Here is my custom version. He looks pretty perfect now, and is my oldest son’s favorite piece! He looks like a gigantic robot made of real metal.
This guy is so very cool. I don’t know why, but the concept of a space shuttle where the neck can be pulled out and the front portion is similar to a dinosaur mouth is super intriguing to me. Here is what he looks like out of the box:
and here is what he looks like now:
I do have one more piece that is incoming. The Haslab Unicron. I’m super excited to add him to the fold!
So, that does it for my Transformer collection! It is possibly I may never get another piece again. For now, I’m more than satisfied with my small collection of giants. Thank you for reading! I always love positive feedback – what are some of your favorite pieces that I’ve shown? Here they all are again 🙂