I love Toyfare magazine. I look forward to it coming out every month with its hilarious talking toys, informative Chop Shop how-to’s, and hot news. The biggest appeal it offers me is a nostalgic reminder of the cool toys I had when I was little. Throughout the price guide they feature the comic book or animated origins of character toys. In the latest issue they pictured the Transformer’s Jetfire.
I read these letters that people write in complaining to Toyfare about not being able to find the right toys because of exclusives or hoarding, it’s not like the old days. Maybe I lived in a lame part of the country but I could never find the toys I wanted when I was little. I would hop from Skaggs to Pay N Save to Fred Meyer to Kmart to the little overpriced toyshop in the mall and I still would never find the one GIJoe or Star Wars I needed to complement my collection. Somehow my younger next door neighbor always got the toys I needed like he (or his parents) was always one step ahead of me. He had an amazing Transformers collection that included Jetfire. I’m not sure where the manufacturing origins of the Transformers line of toys started. Hasbro must have licensed or stolen some designs from Japanese toys.
Since the Shogun Warriors, especially the die-cast series it has been increasingly easy to spot domestic imports. When Robotech was popular on TV you could find many toys and models from the show other than the lame Matchbox license. The ultimate example is Jetfire. This diecast and plastic piece of toy engineering genius was an exact replica of a Valkyrie that could transform from jet to guardian to robot. I remember it being heavier than most toys and this would make your arm tired when you flew it around the room. When you needed to transform it in midflight you would do so expertly with the patented Transformers sound effect: “Ke-ka-ko-ko-ku.” Years later when the Transformers’ (or maybe it was GoBots) popularity was dwindling they licensed out some non-existent robots to some model company like Monogram. It turns out that these were recasts of the transforming motorcycle and jet from the Mospeda series, a cool find when you’re yearning for any anime merchandise you can get. More recent examples are Bandai’s Beetleborg and Power Ranger series. These two toy lines may seem lame now, but if I was a little kid again the Beetleborg Metallix dressup armor and weapon action figures would be top-notch. So be on the look out for domestic imports, you never know where they might pop up.