When I was a kid my dad went to California to a funeral. It was my grandpa, whom I had no memories of. When he returned he brought me a gift, since he had been gone for a while. It was a shiny new transforming robot toy. No, it wasn’t a Transformer, it was one of those pesky Gobots, you remember them right? Well even if you don’t I do, vaguely so I had a few growing up.
Here is the thing. Due to some corporate fighting I don’t have any desire to get into, the toy company that made the vastly more popular Transformers toyline, Hasbro, ended up buying out the company that made the Gobots line. Oh I am not going to dig into the semantics of both companies importing Japanese toys, that story is old and well documented. The fact remains, Hasbro took over the name and, well, killed the line off decisively once and for all, more or less.
When I was a teenager I lost interest in toys and shifted my focus to videogames. For brevity sake I will skip a few details and say beginning in 2001 I got back into toy collecting, hard. Specifically Transformers collecting. In fact to this day I still use an email account with thetransformerscollector in the name. A few years later I had been collecting Transformers and amassed quite a collection. During that time I decided to expand into Gobots, the Transformers cousins. After buying a few I realized they were much better quality than I had remembered them being.
Now I am older. I have either sold off all my toys or given them to nieces and nephews over the years as birthday presents. Recently I started getting the overwhelming desire to start up collecting again. At first I was inclined to wade back into Transformers collecting. It was simple really. I grew up with the toys, enjoy the cartoon and have fond memories spanning decades of buying toys. The thing is even if you stick to just one toyline, say G1 or the original 80s line, you could be spending thousands of dollars chasing down hundreds of figures. If you expand into modern stuff and, well let me put it this way they have been putting new Transformers figures on toy shelves every single year since 1984. That means there are now thousands of figures to choose from, several dozen varieties of the same figure in many cases. This makes a persons head spin when trying to decide where to start.
Then I came to a conclusion, no a revelation. There are 85 total toys in the Gobots toyline. Specifically transforming toys sold by Tonka in that packaging, not counting a handful of variants and recolors. What this means is, since the line was killed in 1987 or so, there is a distinct, narrow set of figures making up the collection. And because the vast majority of the public prefers Transformers, or the rest see Gobots as inferior knockoffs, it means the toys never accumulated the massive value their Marvel/Hasbro counterparts did. This means you can pick up a Leader-1, the Gobot equivalent of Optimus Prime, for under $30. Good luck finding a halfway decent figure only no stickers no parts of an original G1 Prime for that cheap. In fact sealed, carded complete in box Gobots often go for less money than G1 toys do loose, incomplete in many cases.
For someone who has a deep admiration for metal transforming robot toys with a limited budget, it appears as thought Gobot collecting is the way to go. At least for now.
I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I have done some online browsing but to be fair, I still have my complete Puzzler Gobot set of six combiner toys. I only have one single G1 Transformer left, an original Bumblebee. This means for all intents and purposes, I already have more of a Gobot collection than I do Transformers anyways.
I don’t necessarily need to pursue a complete set. Going after a complete set of any Transformers line would drive a person completely insane. The good news is, if I decided I somehow did want to go that route with Gobots, at least it wouldn’t break the bank. The trick is finding sellers. Unfortunately the toys are cheap due to low demand, that doesn’t mean they are in great supply. Oh well, I haven’t decided if I will begin a Gobots collection or not but I am starting to see a case for it more so than Transformers at this point. Maybe I stop living in the past and sell all my toys and collectibles and focus my attention on something more productive like my house or yard? We’ll see. In the mean time all I can say is from my observations the Gobots toys are a lot better than people remember them.