Wednesday, 6 April 2016

10 - Transformers Battle Gaia MIB, FINALLY MINE!

I realized I haven't posted in a while. Unfortunately, it's mostly because I've hit a slight dry spell when it came to finding any deals. Believe me, it's not for a lack of trying. However this all came to an end about 3 weeks back. Normally people would provide just the short story, but given this has been on my list for years, I'll bore you with the long version.

A friend of mine who lives in Tokyo messaged me and said that he saw a, "weird combiner Transformer that I figured you'd like." As you can tell, he's not really into Transformers. Given his not so specific description, I didn't think much of it, but figured I'd ask. So I sent him an image on google of different G1 combiners and asked if it was any of them. After what seemed to be forever looking at my What'sapp screen showing "Insert name Typing......" he finally replied and said it looked like the one with the grey chest, but the colours were different.

Now, my interest peaked a little given that he was referring to Bruticus, so I sent him an image of a G2 Bruticus, figuring most likely it was him. A day later......damn timezone difference.... he replied and told me the one he saw had blue thighs.

After nearly dropping my phone from jumping up, I asked him where did he find it, knowing that he doesn't ever go toy hunting. Turns out, he was over at his co-workers condo a few evenings before and saw it in a box with other toys. Apparently, he was going to go to Akihabara to see if he could sell his toys since he didn't want them anymore. While he wasn't into Transformers specifically, he did know a little bit and knew it was pretty rare.

Sorry for the poor picture, this was taken literally a minute after I took him out of the shipping box

So after getting the contact number, a little help from Google Translate, we worked out a deal, 100,000 Yen and I buy drinks for the 2 when I'm in Tokyo later this year. All in all, I couldn't possibly pass this up at that price. I did ask if he had any other Transformers for sale, but unfortunately they were all mostly played with and your usual suspects.

Slight flap crease

His Battle Gaia though, it was pretty much unplayed with. He got it when he was a child, but was moving out of Transformers, so he really just put the stickers on him and that was it, back in the box. All the joints are nice and tight, no discolouration and all accessories intact. It even came with the instructions.

For anyone asking what makes this so special, well, nothing tangible to be honest, despite the box art being different from Bruticus. What does make this special is two folded in my opinion. He's the last Transformer released under G1 in Japan and the only Decepticon released in Operation Combination. For a lot of fans, especially those who aren't as interested in Japanese releases, this doesn't seem like much, but given it's rarity (when he was released Transformers were dying in Japan, so even back then, they weren't everywhere) and his wonderful box art, it's a fantastic piece to add to one's collection.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

09 - Japan 2015 Trip Overview

Last year I had the opportunity to go to Japan with some of my closest friends for my bachelor party.....the trade off however was that I would take the Mrs this year for our 1 year anniversary/honeymoon. Pretty fair trade off I'd say haha.

While I knew that I would only have a few chances to go toy hunting while there, I made sure to plan out our days so that I could atleast hit all of the main spots that I've written about previously. With 2 weeks spread across Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, I was able see pretty much all of the places on my list and in doing so I came home with this haul.

Yup....that's right, 2 figures. Now mind you, since this was our honeymoon, I wasn't going to spend everyday hunting, BUT we did manage to go to about 10 different stores over the 2 week period and this is literally all I could find. (I already had the Hasbro releases of these figures and part of me feels like I just bought these for the sake of it.)

A few things to note:

1. Most of the stores that sell used Transformers I've noticed have started to get in a lot more 3rd Party figures. The overall G1 selection seems to be pretty scarce now and the inventory that they did have were being priced above what you can get on eBay or Yahoo Japan Auctions. 

2.  Yodobashi and BIC Camera locations use to have a much larger Transformers section. This time, there were only a few pegs of figures and nothing else. Even more recently released ones were nowhere to be found. Now they may have sold out, but from the looks of the setups, it doesn't seem like some of the stores would have even gotten them in to begin with.

3. Toys R Us, we only went to the Odaiba location and same thing, very small Transformers section with nothing to note.

That said, I can't complain. I've had the fortune to travel to a lot of cities, but Japan has always been my favourite vacation destination regardless of what toys I find. Finding toys there are always an added bonus but the money saved from not buying figures just meant we had some more spending money while we were there.

Like I've told some friends who are going to be going at the end of this year. Transformers wise, it's going to be hit or miss and you shouldn't feel bad going home empty handed. If you're into other toy lines you probably will have better luck, although a LOT of popular products like SH Figuarts stuff sell out the day of release so even then, you may go home empty handed. But with that said, there's just so much to see and do in Japan above toy hunting that you won't get bored and you certainly will not regret going that's for sure.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

08 - Transformers Goodbye Megatron Giftset

So I realize it's been a while since my last posting. While I've been busy acquiring some new pieces, unfortunately the majority of them have been your run of the mill figures both Hasbro/Takara and 3rd party ones. While they're all great, especially the recent MMC Vos figure, they have been reviewed by many other more prominent reviewers. 

That said I present to you the first vintage acquisition in months, Goodbye Megatron. 

Ever since I picked up the Goodbye Convoy set, I've been searching for a decently priced Goodbye Megatron set. Now, normally speaking, I prefer the set to be complete or at the very least near complete. This one unfortunately is missing all of it's paper work (including the all important poster!!) and it has a cut on the back of the box. The figures are in great condition, very tight joints although Megatron is missing a few pellets.

That said, I was very lucky to get this guy at a low enough price, so despite all that's missing, I still feel very good about this piece. Knowing how I collect though, there's a pretty good chance I will be selling him down the road for a complete one, but in the mean time, it makes for a nice placeholder in my collection.

Now I know a big focus of this blog has been to discuss where I get deals, specifically in Japan. This one has a pretty interesting story. A buddy of mine who lives in Tokyo was in Okinawa for Golden Week (national holiday in Japan). When he was there he ventured around town and came across a flea market type event (sorry I don't have much details on it, but if you're interested I can ask for more info). While he was there, he saw this guy sitting on a table for sale and although he knows next to nothing about Transformers, he's always been nice enough to take photos and or text me if it was something I was interested in.

Now mind you, there's nearly a 12 hour time difference between Japan and Toronto, so this was sometime around 3am that I received a text. To his surprise and (unfortunately) mine, I was awake finishing up some work. I took a look, sleepy eyed and all, and texted back, "BUY IT NAO". What do you expect? It was late so spelling mistakes were a given. 

After a little back and forth negotiating, he was able to settle on a price with the person who frankly didn't know exactly what he had. He knew it was old and a Transformer but that was it. He paid him the 10,000 yen while I danced around in my pj's. Roughly $100 for a Goodbye Megatron set, I'd take that any day of the week. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

07 - Hello Goodbye Convoy

Finally!! I've been patiently waiting to find this set along with the Goodbye Megatron set for some time now. There have been a number of opportunities but unfortunately none for a price I was willing to pay. Patience finally paid off and now I have him.

Unfortunately the box has a pretty big flap crease, but thankfully the rest of the box is in decent condition aside from the small tear in the top left corner. 

The contents are complete, stickers have been applied except for Convoy's trailer. It also comes with all inserts except the poster which is missing. Hopefully I can track one down to make this set complete.

While I'm certainly happy I was able to get this set, I do feel a bit disappointed because around the same time of this auction, there was a completely unused Goodbye Megatron set also available. Sadly I had just purchased this one and so I didn't have enough funds for the other. The Megatron set did end at a fairly decent price for whoever was lucky enough to win it. Guess the hunt continue for that one!!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

06 - So Close to Operation Combination - Battle Gaia

Please be advised, these photos are from the Yahoo Japan Auction that closed yesterday for about 130000 yen. Not mine.

This listing came up online about 6 days ago and at first I just added it to my watch list and didn't give it much thought. A couple days ago however, I gave it another look and my eyes nearly popped half way out of my head.

At first glance, you see Overlord, Star Saber, Victory Leo and Ginrai, nothing too special. But when you start looking a little closer, you'll notice a few pieces of Liokaiser, with a Leozack and Hellbat at the bottom.

The real gem though if you look at the blue figure next to Siren is GREAT CANNON....aka Onslaught from the Battle Gaia set. If you look closely, you'll see that he already has his combiner head attached and cannons on the back.

After a short moment to re-align my eyes back into their sockets, my search began to locate the rest of the pieces in a sort of Where's Waldo search. After about 5 minutes of flipping my laptop to the side and upside down, I finally was able to locate the other 4 members of Battle Gaia. Can you see where they are?

Now the point to this post and my bit of advice for any auction hunters out there. Don't let enthusiasm take over common sense. Don't look at an auction and think what the maximum amount it could be worth, look at it for what's the minimum.

I didn't win it sadly, I set my limit to about 80000 yen. As much as I wanted to win this lot, the main reason for me was for Liokaiser and Battle Gaia. The thought crossed my mind to sell off the other pieces in the lot that I didn't need and so I began to determine a value for everything. 

After doing a lot of searching online to determine what fair market value was for the other pieces, I realized that there was a really big risk to this. Most of the figures here are just bodies, and based on these pictures alone, it's impossible to tell the condition they were in, especially my main target Battle Gaia. Secondly, it was stated that there was a box of accessories, great, but no pictures of what they were. 

Unfortunately, most of these figures without their accessories aren't worth a great deal, so the value of most of these was up in the air. For my targeted pieces, again, it was impossible to tell the condition of the figures and if they had any accessories, which meant that even if I won this, tracking down the accessories for them, especially Battle Gaia would be next to impossible. 

Lastly, shipping, this is a big lot and after factoring shipping to Canada, it would add an extra $150 atleast. So barring all that in mind, I set my limit, lost, and closed my browser, remembering one of my rules of never chasing a bid past my limit. 

Guess my Battle Gaia hunt continues....but then, that's part of the fun isn't it?

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

05 - Transformers Collector's Edition e-Hobby Road Rage MISB

I've had this guy in my collection since 2008 where I purchased it in Tokyo from one of the Mandarake's. Road Rage as many of you might know is a re-colored Tracks and was meant to look like a reissue of the Diaclone Corvette Stingray, sadly no Diaclone driver included.

When I was in Tokyo that year, I had set off to hunt down as many of these eHobby Diaclone style reissues as I could possibly find but this was the only one I could come across. This set in particular was extremely popular and finding one second hand back then was difficult. As much as I would have loved to acquire a true Diaclone version, this was the next best thing for me.

Sadly though, I've hit a point where I'm downsizing a number of my figures in favor of acquiring others so this guy will be gone from my collection within the next month or so as I already have a buyer lined up. That said, I thought I should give it a post of it's own as the story of me acquiring it is a memory of that trip.

We had just arrived in Akihabara after a day of sightseeing elsewhere in Tokyo, it was pouring rain and the Mrs was pretty hungry so we decided that we would only go into one store since it was close to closing time anyways. After entering Mandarake, I did a quick look through only to find disappointment. Just as I was about to leave a friendly associate came over and asked what I  was looking for, when I told him e-Hobby Transformers, he said they just received some new toys that day that weren't out yet. He quickly disappeared for a good 20 minutes, while in the meantime the store had pretty much emptied out. We weren't entirely sure what to do since he was gone for so long and we were just about to leave until he came back with Road Rage. I quickly paid for him, thanked him profusely since he looked out of breath and I could tell had pretty much run around the entire place looking for it. We went on to eat at a restaurant on the upper floor of Yodobashi, the Mrs happily eating and me happily admiring my figure.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

04 - Transformers Dino-Cassette C-121 Gurafi/Graphy MIB

I've been on a little mini quest or side quest if you will, to obtain the 4 dino-cassettes as of late. Now I know the rarity of them are some what questionable as they do pop up from time to time for sale in Japan and even on eBay, the prices are normally a tad bit more than I'm willing to pay. While I'm determined to eventually collect them all, I've set myself a specific amount that I'm willing to drop on each figure since at the end of the day, rare or not, they're just cassettes IMO.

By stroke of luck, I happened to find myself in a position to purchase this little guy above for about $160 USD shipped. Before doing so, I spent a good half hour combing through the internet to find information on if this was a KO or not. With all signs pointing to it being an original, I pulled the trigger.

Reviews of the figure have been done before in depth so I won't be going into a whole lot of detail. That said however, it's a very unique figure. Is it worth paying hundreds of dollars for a single cassette? well that's all up to the individual purchaser.

Unfortunately, I won't be adding C-122 Noizu/Noise anytime soon. A buddy of mine happened to find a complete one available for sale, but by the time I decided to purchase it, the seller had already sold him for about $450. In hindsight, it might be for the best because after getting Gurafi in hand, I'm no longer sure I would be willing to dish out $400 for Noizu. Here's hoping luck strikes again and I can get him for under $200...... I know I know, wishful thinking haha.