02 December 2013

The Birthday Post

Today is my birthday.

Every birthday brings me one year closer to death. Happy Birthday to myself. Heh.

As many said, its not the destination, but the journey that matters. The journey is in turn enriched by the people around, and some of the really key ones are friends, collector buddies, if I may. Without them, I'm certain that my collecting life would lose a lot of its luster, a lot of its attraction.

A supportive wife, E, does wonders always as well.

This year's birthday happens to coincide with the exact day a year ago, when E and I moved into our new place. So, in a way, its 'extra' special.

I thought this year, I would do something special with my birthday post. I'm going to invite some collecting buddies and E, to talk about me, on my blog. I'm going to invite a few fellow collectors to say some things about me, about my collecting or any other thing about me, and I will post it on here, unedited (erm... except names and places).

The danger with inviting people to say something is that I'd end up inviting either too many, or not enough. Or I'd miss out inviting those who feel they ought to have been invited, but weren't and it then could be upsetting.

Now, if I then say that I have invited the collectors whom I talk to the most often, it may also cause offence to some who might think that I just haven't been talking to them enough!

Because what's worth doing is worth overdoing

It's a difficult decision, but in the end, I invited 3 collector buddies who at some point or other had actually given me gifts, and, also E (naturally). How shallow of me. I know right?

Once I identified and asked these guys, and they have kindly responded, I faced the dilemma of how to place them - in which order? I assigned a name to a poker card and I drew them randomly (I wanted to draw names out of a top-hat, yes that would be cool, but I don't have a top-hat).

So here we go, other collectors' thoughts about me will be presented in this order - E, Arkvander, VF-1 and Maz.

Am I a good guy, a bad guy, or just a non-entity in their minds? Find out after the jump.

E's thoughts

(E is the wife of heroic_decepticon, also known as evil_autobot, and has been very supportive of my hobby. Her superpower is to spot that rare thing that I inevitably miss on toy hunt trips; her other superpower is that she can name up to 65% of the Transformers in my display shelf)

It's been a year since we moved into our own flat, which is small in size but certainly "big" from a transformer collector's perspective.  Sometimes I look at our shelves and I wonder how many books and CDs I could have put there instead of .... heh.   Just kidding! :P   

I'd like to share a story or two on this special day.  

Back on the day we got married (2008).  My newly-wed husband had only one but special wish for that day.  He asked if we could watch Transformers: The Movie (1986) together on our wedding day.  And we did.   He told me how he cried badly when Optimus Prime died in the movie and how it was like a part of him was also gone with Optimus Prime.    

Occasionally I would argue with him that I don't think Megatron is all that powerful, since Megatron transforms into a gun (and needs somebody to hold and fire it, and that somebody is usually the one who always wants to take over him as the leader of the bad lot).  And he would come up with this theory that even the strongest and most powerful has its own weakest link, and had Megatron transformed into something else then he might become so powerful that he would be invincible (and the Transformers world wouldn't be as interesting as it is).

And then it was this day last year.  After we unpacked the boxes, we could not find the Lucky Draw SCF Skywarp and the SCF ghost Starscream.  We thought we left them in the packing boxes (since they are so tiny) so we took a cab immediately and went after the truck which was carrying all our packing boxes, and we trawled through all those boxes one by one on the street to look for these two little fellows whilst the movers stood there wondering what went missing that were so dear to us.

I think all I wanted to say here is that Transformers is part of our life as a couple.  Day in and day out. We live with Transformers and they live with us.  Transformers is my husband's best friend, who keeps him company since 1984 and through Transformers he has met many great friends all over the world who share the same passion.  

A big THANK YOU to all of you who are reading this because nothing makes him happier than writing and sharing his love for Transformers with you all in this special space.  


Thanks E for contributing to this special post. Really glad to have moved into our place, which you designed.

To be honest, I really panicked when I thought I lost the SCFs, because not 1 but 2 Lucky Draw SCFs were in that package and if they were lost, Arkvander and I would have a less robust SCF collection today (hint hint).

Really happy that E is with me on this collecting journey, sharing our time with Transformers, giving me time to write my blog, helping me to photograph difficult shots (she is a better photographer than me) and giving me feedback on my photos.

Since my birthday is on a Monday, E arranged to have friends over today to celebrate. These were also arranged by E and prepared by MMC (thanks, you know who you are!). Also, thanks for all our friends who were here today, heartfelt thanks!


Arkvander's thoughts

(Arkvander owns and writes Mostly Transformers Redux and is a co-founder and organiser of Charticon, which based on string-theory based quantum statistical analysis streamed through the TORQ super-computer, is one of the most successful unofficial TF Conventions around)

First off I'd like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute. It means a lot to me that you value my opinion enough to allow me to add my thoughts to what I'm sure will be a very special post.

I am going to be completely honest here, you have always been one of my biggest influences. Ever since I first found your blog years and years ago with all the pretty Japanese G1 pictures. Every time I would search Jpn G1 your pictures would inevitably come up. But the way you would discern each piece and make sure it was the best of the best was very influential. It taught me to not just "settle" for pieces that weren't up to par just because they were convenient. Not that I try to find pieces at your level, but it made me set a standard for myself instead of just flailing wildly.

A set of custom Tech Specs, which includes characters from G1 Japan, TFTM and MTMTE (comics). Arkvander created these himself for the Charticon convention and he saved and gifted me a set. I talk about these Tech Specs in more detail here.

You also helped expand my collecting goals. Originally I was only after Japanese exclusive molds that weren't released in America, but you made me see that many of the repaints were wonderful pieces as well, and with the help of Hyperoptic I realized that I wanted all Japanese exclusives, recolors and all. And lets not even get started on the SCF quagmire. Before you I had a bag of SCFs and HOCs mixed together that I kept in the closet. After your influence I have purged myself of all HOCs and my SCFs now have a permanent display area in my room. I've come to love these little non-transforming figures, I'm just hoping the same thing doesn't happen with myclone. Oh and the Ehobby. Thanks in part to Maz as well I am now hunting down Ehobby figures which were totally not on my radar before last year. I think it was seeing the post: "Recap on Ehobby exclusives from Yesteryear" that made me realize the value. I never really thought of them as Generation One Expanded, but that is essentially what they are, so I must have them. So your influences have been far and wide and I'm not sure if I should thank you or punch you, haha.

2 unexpected gifts I received from Arkvander - custom SCF figures which are homages to the Hate Plague in the episode Return of Optimus Prime. I'm glad to see that some SCF influence has rubbed off me and infected Arkvander!

As for your collection, I must admit it is one of the most impressive, beautiful collections I have ever seen. Your attention to each piece as well as completing goals that I have set for myself as well makes it a sight to behold. I enjoy just going back and looking at the pictures on your blog as future inspiration. Your custom display cases are very awesome as well, and they perfectly showcase everything without overshadowing your living space, just as they should.

I think that sums things up pretty well, so I will just wish you a Happy Birthday and perhaps I'll head on over to your blog to check out some more pictures :)

Your friend,



Thanks Arkvander for the kind words. Before today, I did not realise the 'influence' that my blog had on you, but to be fair, there are more than a fair share of things that you have influenced me on as well. An example? I never wanted D-108 and D-109 until you told me subtly more than once that they were also dino-cassettes and worthy of the set... haha.

I'm really happy that you are into SCFs too (or by my influence, haha). I think we are 2 of only a very small handful of collectors who not just collect, but value SCFs for what they are. I've had fellow collectors wanting to punch me for collecting 'little rubber non-transforming figures', but you my friend, see eye to eye with me on SCFs! I am also very very very glad that I managed to snag a piece of perhaps the rarest SCF figure ever for you *hint hint*.

Thanks for the kind words buddy!


VF-1's thoughts

(VF-1 is a super-secret-ninja-collector-type-VF-unit-01; little known to the world, his pre-Transformers collection is without a doubt without peer)

Those of you reading this blog, will know already that HD has an awesome Transformers collection, ranging from G1 to Japanese exclusives to current Masterpiece and 3rd party toys and equally stunning displays to house them. 

 When I think about HD as a collector overall, the fact that he is one of the most well respected collectors in the community to me is an even greater achievement. HD has a great attitude towards collecting and what I admire most of his collecting mentality is he is always willing to help other other collectors. From sharing lovely toy pictures through his blog, to providing detailed maps and guides of where to find vintage toy stores in Asia, to helping friends acquire missing pieces to their collection (and never for the sake of profit), the list just goes on.

With this piece, VF-1 started a tradition - that instead of vying tooth and nail for pieces, it is actually possible for TF collectors to share and give to each other, not for profit, but in comradeship. VF-1 gave me one of the jewels of my collection, a nearly C10 MISB pre-rub Bluestreak. I have not seen a nicer specimen.

A personal example, I can share is a few years ago not long after I first met HD, I mentioned to him I was looking for a rare pre-Transformer toy for my collection. Not only was he willing to help me hunt for the toy both locally and during trips to Japan, later on, when I had a lead to getting the toy, he also spent hours analyzing and weighing the pros and cons of whether I should pursue the deal or not, even discussing and getting E's input and help and also taking up her time as well. To this day, I really really appreciate the help offered to me for the sole sake of helping a fellow collector and friend. I find HD's advice to always be honest, profound, logical and well reasoned.

The Diaclone blackhood Fairlady Z in the photos above was VF-1's housewarming gift to me, last year, before I moved into my new place. At the time, it came as real surprise when I received it. Wow. It goes without saying that its a pivotal part of my Bluestreak collection because it is the original incarnation of anime accurate Bluestreak.

Through both direct advice and by example, here are some areas I have been influenced by HD:
  • Contentment: It is OK to be missing pieces in a collection and to own non-perfect pieces
  • Focus: Instead of having an enormous ever expanding collection, sell down and focusing on key pieces will allow more enjoyment
  • Patience: Instead of overpaying, wait for a better deal to come around
  • IDW More Than Meets the Eye comics: Amazing series! Great recommendation!
Happy birthday HD and congratulations to you and E on your 1st anniversary moving into your wonderful new home.

~ VF-1


Thanks VF-1 for contributing. 

From E's and my perspective, you have been one of my most stead-fast and straight-shooting collector buddies. Colloquially speaking, if there is anything you ever need E and I will always 'have time of the day' for you, always.

I know I have thanked you and your wife before, but I want to say here again that without your help in the month leading up to 1 Dec 2012 last year, this site would almost certainly have ceased to exist. The fact that this blog is still here today, serving the community in whatever mysterious ways it can, is a credit to VF-1 and his wife. Thank you my friend.

I am very glad to have been able to bring you joy by introducing More Than Meets the Eye (and Fables!) to you.

PS: Something I will talk about more at some point, Takara 08-Streak, unused MIB... sponsored by VF-1...


Maz's thoughts 

(Maz is the owner and webmaster of www.TF-1.com and a frequent contributor to the TF Source Blog. In his free time, Maz also moonlights at Madame Xanadu's parlour where he divines (or creates) future Transformers' buying trends - when Maz writes about something, people fall in line to want to buy it - his pen is truly mightier than any sword) 

Collecting Transformers; when you scratch away the surface of paying tribute to - and expressing appreciation for - characters, stories, nostalgia and toys, is an exercise in amassing plastic and metal. Some of us find ways of making this pursuit more interesting by writing, taking photos and becoming involved with the community. I've been in and out of the community a few times over the last decade and a half, and I can say with my hand on my heart that my most recent stint back in the hobby would already be over if I had not met people like Brandon, the Heroic (not Herpic - I'm looking at you, Autocorrect) Decepticon.

In this day and age of globalisation and the proliferation of the Internet, making friends in other countries who you genuinely care about but have never met about is no longer considered odd or slightly creepy. In HD, and very few others like him, I have found a genuine person and a great friend who has redefined the word community for me. I trust him implicitly, have benefitted immeasurably from his unconditional kindness, support and unrivalled level-headed thinking and advice in a way that would compare with close friends I have had for decades.

The quintessential Ramjet(s). On the left, is a stunning piece from Maz, the pre-production orange canopy Ramjet.

HD's ability to see the hobby and the people in it for what and who they are in the grand scheme of things (positive and otherwise), and at the same time show the kind of innocent enthusiasm for Transformers acts as a source of endless inspiration for me, and forces me to re-evaluate not just how I go about collecting, but my life. I can categorically say I have made positive decisions about the way I conduct my everyday life and the way I see my long-term future as a direct result of his influence and friendship. Someone I have yet to meet in the flesh, look in the eye or shake their hand. I also see him as a shining example of someone who has made a tremendous personal, spiritual and professional success of themselves, things I aspire to.

Pre-production orange canopy Ramjet. To our knowledge, there are probably less than 5 of these in existence and only 2 pieces that are known to exist. To me, the orange canopy is one of the most beautiful expressions of Ramjet. It also matches the box art. Read more about this super-excellent pre-production sample over at TF-1 here.

That's HD as a person, as a Transformers collector there's nothing more I could say about his collection that has not already been said. One word would do: "Wow". You would think that after 15 years in the hobby, having seen and owned all manner of rare items and huge collections, it would be hard to continue finding things to be impressed by, but the Heroic Decepticon collection is one of those I would stand in front of for hours, picking apart visually shelf by shelf. To have what HD has, you either have to be ruthless and free-spending, or someone that people enjoy helping, resourceful, patient, intelligent and willing to embrace the hobby in a way that few of us get to do - travel Asia and then lay a roadmap for the rest of the community to follow suit.

He has also helped introduce me to the world of 3rd Party Transformers, gifted me items I never thought I would own again and maybe most importantly in terms of the hobby, brought IDW's More Than Meets The Eye to my attention. You don't bring that much joy to someone else's life and not leave a lasting effect. My daily conversations with HD and VF-1 (quoted elsewhere in this article) now act as an essential part of my day, something I look forward to and miss terribly when we have no time to 'meet'. If that's not the most basic definition of a friend, then I don't know what is. 

So happy birthday my friend, congratulations to you and E on a lovely year in your lovely new home, and here's to that night out that you, me and VF-1 would spend talking about toys, comics, life over a beer or 3.

All the best


I call Maz, the 'Mighty Man' or 'Mighty Maz', because that is what he is. It is rare to find another collector with the depth of knowledge and dedication that Maz has. There is nearly no question about pre-TFs or USA TFs that Maz cannot answer in terms of release information, stamping, molding variants, availability, etc.

I attribute a lot of successful finds to Maz - sometimes, when I oft-handedly mention I am looking for something, Maz will actually add that to his search list and very quickly would come back with results and recommendations. Among the many rare pieces in my collection that Maz played a part in are Diaclone Swoop and a very rare SCF figure.

Checking our What'sApp group is also one of the things I do first thing every morning, it helps me start the day and to relax when the going is tough. I'm mostly guilty of radio-silence due to work load and for that, I do apologise! I do look forward to meeting in the flesh and who knows, I might have more stuff for you my friend!


All the presents together...

... well, they were not exactly birthday presents, but they are presents... so they count, I say.

Top row (left to right):

  • Custom SCF hate-plague Cyclonus, from Arkvander
  • (below Cyclonus) Custom SCF hate-plague Ultra Magnus, from Arkvander
  • MOSC pre-rub Ravage and Rumble, a present from myself.
  • MIB pre-Transformers Diaclone Fairlady Z with blackhood (aka blackhood Bluestreak or anime accurate Bluestreak), from VF-1
  • (below Diaclone Bluestreak) MIB unused Takara boxed 08-Streak, sponsored by VF-1
Bottom row (left to right):
  • USA boxed unused production sample / prototype orange canopy Ramjet, from Maz
  • USA boxed MISB pre-rub Bluestreak, from VF-1

I leave off with perhaps one of the best early G1 molds out there, the anime accurate blackhood Bluestreak (Diaclone Fairlady Z)... and now open the floor for any others to chip in and say something in comments section! All are welcomed!

~ HD
02 / 12 / 2013


  1. I love this post and you deserve all the recognition you get for being a standout collector and inspirational person. Happy birthday and happy collecting! Layers ;)

    All the best

    1. Thanks Maz. I can't wait to get the MTMTE stuff and GMan's little secret. heh.

      It will be another milestone for me.... =)

  2. Happy Birthday, man. I don't really know you, just from reading the blog and your comments on mine, but you have been a major influence on me. Which is funny, because I'm working on an article about influences. Anyway, just from reading the blog, and what others have said about you, you truly deserve your place in the fandom.

    1. Thanks man. Very humbled to be a 'major influence' on you and look forward to your upcoming article.

      I might have mentioned somewhere, but I'm a fan of your latest blog articles. They tend to take interesting slants and brings up interesting points for discussion.

    2. Thanks for the compliments! I'm trying to be different.

  3. Forgot to mention just how much I enjoy reading your blog entries and look forward to reading them for years to come! : ) Happy Birthday!

    1. Thanks buddy. You do realise that without you and V's help last year, a very large part of the blog would have ceased to have photos. So you are as much a part of this as me!

      Cheers my friend!

  4. Happy birthday...been reading your blog for 3 yrs. very informative and interesting. What is still left in your collection that you still looking. look like you have everything already.

    1. hi Popoko, thanks for the kind words.

      Well, I am looking for the white versions of the Japanese exclusive Headmaster heads from 1987 (all 6 of them), if you have to know... hahaha....

  5. A very Happy Birthday to you my friend (now that it is finally the 2nd here in the states, lol). I wish you only good things for the future and many happy returns!

    1. See, when it is stretched across time-zones, a birthDAY can be quite long, and momentous too. Thanks for contributing once again, E and I really appreciate it.

      All the best for your collection too!

  6. Happy birthday B. Great article from some great friends, it's great to have good friends in the hobby, it helps to make the collecting journey more enjoyable. Here's to many more years, and keep in touch more! haha

    1. hey icy, thanks for dropping by. I know I have been slack on FB and we have been talking less than we used to. Inevitable sometimes due to time constraints. Definitely good to have great friends in the collecting circle and to count you as one of them too!

      A toast to many more years it is then!

  7. Hopefully I'm not too late to wish you a Happy Birthday as well HD!

    I've been a follower for a few years now since returning to collecting, and yours was the first blog that really stood out to me, not only for the beautiful pics and rare pieces, but for how your love and interest of Transformers came through as well.

    All the best in your continued collecting, and for another year of you sharing your love of TF's with us.


    1. hi Joe, you are not too late if you are in a time zone that is still 2nd Dec... haha.

      Thanks for the kind words man. It's odd to me that my posts do turn up quite regularly on Google. I'm a vain-pot and sometimes do searches to see if stuff turns up. Typically when a plain old Japanese ID number is Googled, my blog tends to turn up. Try say "transformers c-308" or something.

      Odd, I know. But I assure you there is nothing fishy.

      Like E said, Transformers has been a part of my life since I was little. In perhaps more ways than I can imagine, it would have shaped me and my life in one way or another.

  8. Happy Birthday HD, cool story about the Lucky Draw SCFs (far from cool at the time!) - where did you find them in the end? When my interest wanes, all I need to do is check your blog for updates and then the inspiration/motivation is restored to keep looking for the couple of Takara G1's that are still on the want list.

    1. hey Matt, been a long time my friend! How are you?

      Well, the Luck Draw SCF figure was supposed to remain a secret. But this being a Birthday Post, I thought I'd allow one secret out. These are so rare that the community thinks there are less than 50 out in the wild. So far, there are only 4 (yeah, FOUR) known pieces in the world - as in 4 pieces that I know for sure someone out there actually owns.

      You could trawl the 'net and not find photos of this piece other than the promotional photo at the back of Transformers: Generations magazine (the first edition). Even places like TFW, TFU and Shmax do not have propoer photos of this piece.

      Anyway, I'm rambling since I'm seeing an old friend (ie: you).

      In the end, it took 6-7 people turning the unpacked new apartment upside down to finally locate the package which contained them.

      i do hope you inspiration is renewed, just in time for xmas and the new year!

    2. Wow pleased that you found them, they sound as rare as myclone red alert - would be great if we knew how many of these chases were actually produced. I'm not familiar with the SCF chases at all so looking forward to a write up!

      As you mentioned in another reply above plenty of your stuff turns up on google images - when I see it I can tell its yours even without the watermark lol you've set the bar for transformer blogs really. All the best for collecting in 2014!

    3. I think these are rarer than MyClone Red Alert, because the latter is still a 'mass released' albeit chase figure, while these are lucky draws. Although with that said, I have actually only physically seen 1 MyClone Red Alert, whilst there are a number of the lucky draw SCFs that i have seen.

  9. Already wished you a Happy Birthday on Facebook, but will a wish here too cancel my previous wish?

    I can't remember exactly how I ran across your blog originally. May have been a generic Google search or maybe it was Arkvander who informed me? However I found your blog I'm glad I did because it's been a fun journey following a fellow TF collector in another country.

    Of course I'll always be in debt to you for helping me land one of my G1 JPN holy grails (as silly as they may sound), C-200 Lander! Hope you had a wonderful birthday.

    1. hey Colbey!

      I think wishes, once wished, goes into eternity. So there is no danger of cancellation, haha!

      I think found your blog through Arkvander's. I think yours was at the blog-rolls side bar of his blog. It's really been good and over the years, I feel that there's lots of connection between our 3 blogs, like a little community of sorts.

      No worries with Lander, I know how key that is to you. I'e been waiting for you to post about this though.... don't be slack now!

  10. Hi HD,

    A big belated Happy Birthday shout to you and congratulations to you and E on your 1 year within what I like to quietly refer to as New Cybertron! ;) Many have already provided the feelings that I would express as well to you and your contribution to and for the fandom.

    As always your posts and pictures never seem to amaze me and I too very much value your assistance and advice on all things related to TF! Here's to all future discussions, posts and many adventures we will have in the realms of Transformers.

    All the best!!!

    1. hi Logik!

      New Cybertron is cool. It does remind me of the episode "City of Steel", where Megatron did indeed dub Manhattan 'New Cybertron' after the Constructicons were done with it.

      Always glad to assist. It seems though that I always happen to be overseas when you urgently need input haha.

      Looking forward to more adventures!

  11. Happy belated b'day, dude! (^_^)v

    Yeah... I know I have been silent. A lot has happened, and in the end I found myself smack dab in the middle of the whole "Sword Art Online" fandom. I also think I forgot to give you the memo as well. (^_^ ;; )

    Either way, I want you to know that no matter who I regenerate into, where I am, who I am married to, and what I collect... You will always be my mentor, my influence, 3rd Division Captain, the little Devil on my shoulder, and (one of) my (favorite) friend(s). (^_^)v

    Oh... And I owe you a trip to J-World Tokyo in Ikebukuro. That, or a small lunch. So until then, remember that you can never die as long as Hot Rod dos not try to save your life. That, and I hope you the best and for those many glorious years you will face within this hobby. (^o^)/

    1. hey buddy, its been awhile! How could you have distanced yourself from Transformers for so long? haha...

      I'm really happy to be the Third Division Captain, really. I've still yet to see his Bankai, but then I've stopped reading the Manga for awhile now.

      By the way, i sent you an email re the address for Mandarake Sapporo. I know it has moved, just not sure where it moved it. Would be good to update that on my Google Maps and also to make a trip there this month. Let me know what you can dig up and whether you have other recommendations to make.

      Haha, I like the Hot Rod part... if he does try to save me, I'd get killed haha....

      Cheers buddy,
      ~ HD


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