I’ll be the first to admit that I walk the toy aisle first at stores like Target before I do anything else. I don’t want to meander through the store and miss the opportunity at a choice figure. When I do this I also check out the other action figures I am not looking for, just in case someone hid a something that I really want that they couldn’t afford. In doing this I often see what has become of the Transformers. Their current iteration, whichever that may be, is not my forte. I like my Autobots and Deceptions in G1 (first generation) style. Yes, from the old days of the Hasbro and Marvel’s cartoon series. Those were Transformers because they were made of metal, had rubber tires, and each one had an actual character. I never had as many Transformers as I would have liked (who did?), but I cherished each every one that graced my toy chest. I think back to those precious few and the adventures we had. I was reminded all too well of these toys when I picked up Mark Bellomo’s recent book, The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Transformers Action Figures. It was nothing less than perfect.
Bellomo first caught my attention with his Ultimate Guide to Vintage Star Wars Action Figures: 1977-1985 (seen here). That book awoke so many memories of trips to the toy aisle with my grandparents, backyard escapades, and friendships that simply ended with the passing of time. The Transformers were always on the pricier side of the toy aisle. Certainly, I had a lot of the Minicars (Bumblebee, Gears, Huffer, and Warpath), but it was the Jets, Cars, and Dinobots that I always wanted. Collecting these original toys now is definitely on the more expensive side of collecting. Forget about getting a MIB Jazz without a rubsign sticker. Sadly, little things like car payments and electric bills win out over Jazz, these days.
When I started to flip through The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Transformers Action Figures, I was hit with a swarm of memories. It was very much in the vein of nostalgia I had with the Star Wars book, only this time, it was memories of a dear friend who had long passed away. He had plenty of the Transformers in his short young life and as I read every grain of information this guide provided about each toy and character, I was taken back to those moments of playing. This is not something I expected in learning about the history of Jetfire/ Skyfire, nor did I think an image of Smokescreen would take me back to the last time I saw my friend.
Bellomo’s book is an incredible guide to the history of these great action figures. Each and every detail, no matter how minute, is written about here. He even discusses the perils of transforming certain bots and what you have to watch out for. Though I have to admit, among the sadder memories, I laughed at loud at his “Easily Lost Weapons and Accessories” descriptions for each toy. We remember each accessory our bots had, like phantom limbs, and long to possess them again.
The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Transformers Action Figures is a fantastic full-color guide to the best Transformers toys ever made. It spans from 1984 to 1990, chronicling the inception of the toy into our pop culture, the movie, and its gradual decline. If you are a fan of the G1 Transformers, I cannot recommend this book enough. It will provide you a Matrix full of memories that you will be glad you opened.
Order The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Transformers Action Figures here.