2012 RJ Summit - My personal experiences

Written by Myles on Thursday, February 23, 2012.

Below are my personal experiences from my adventures this weekend.  Unfortunately, I did not snap any photos of my own this go-around, so I am borrowing from Ed's previously posted repository.  Please feel free to add your own to the comments section below.

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The 2012 RJ summit has come and passed.  This was the third such gathering that Ed has hosted at his house.  It was enjoyable to see familiar faces from both the first and second summits, in addition to new faces this time around.  Hopefully we will continue to see them in future years.

In preparation for the trip to the other coast of Florida, I started to dig through my stash of toys in the hopes of coming up with decent trade items.  I have my usual bin full of broken and unloved toys and parts that never seems to decrease in volume (or weight - this thing is chock full of diecast) year after year.  However, I wanted to bring a few other special items that might interest others.  Who knows what might be out there that I might need to pry loose from my fellow collectors' hands!  As I was scanning my bins, I decided to take a hard look at my own collection.  Around me, as of late, it seems that many collectors have been downsizing or at least refocusing their collections, and it made me reconsider my future in this hobby.  No, I am not getting out.  That seems like an impossibility to me.  However, my shelves are so overstuffed, and storage bins are taking over several rooms in my house.  This is just getting to be an unreasonable situation.  In particular, I have numerous jumbo machinders that need to be added to my shelves, but due to their bulk, there is no way to currently make that happen without a major reorganization and release of items (or at least put a lot more things into storage).  With limited time to make any real substantial decisions, I grabbed a few things that I was on the fence about, hoping that I might make my mind up on the trip (I am specifically mentioning this as an explanation to Ed in relation to one of our conversations).  I also brought along a few items for show-and-tell (e.g., see here and here).  

I shot over to Ed's early on Saturday morning in the hopes of assisting with the setup, but the tables had not yet arrived, and Ed already got a head start with the other preparations.  Robby (REX-203) was already there, and it was great to catch up with him.  I originally met him at the first summit, but he was unable to attend last summit.  For those of you not in the know, Robby is one of our moderators on the forum, and he is an amazing artist who draws for IDW on their Transformers comics and other products.  I was able to show a few interesting recent pickups before some more attendees began to file in.  Plus we got to talk a little Machine Robo.  

One of the early arrivals was Tom K., who has been very active on our facebook page.  He mentioned that he went to Planet Retro Gallery the day prior.  Again, this store was discussed on our facebook page.  Are you starting to see a trend here?  If you are not following us there in addition to the forum and this website, you might be missing out!!  ;)  Anyway, Tom said that they had a nice selection of vintage Japanese robot toys there.  This created a dilemma - we were already at the summit, but it was still a little early.  Ed insisted we head on over there to check it out.  He really wanted to go too, but I promised him I would be his eyes and ears.  In the meantime, Fred (a New Yorker and Micronauts kit-basher who flew down for the summit) showed up.

So Tom shuffled the few of us over to the store (we saw a pink flamingo fly overhead during the trip - not something you see every day - ahh, Florida life!!), which was buried in a warehouse storage unit within a residential community.  The store is only open a few days per month, so you need to time things right.  This just happened to work out perfectly for us.  The store sells vinyl records in addition to vinyl toys!  Ahh, vinyl all around.  I ran into Steve (Evil King Macrocranios) at the shop, and he indicated that he was heading to the summit right after his shopping.  I had met Steve during last year's summit festivities, and he had even managed to swing by my place to check out my mess of a collection (we had carpooled cross-state).  He put up a good review of the store on his site, so I won't go too deep into it.  But it had a great selection of modern and vintage vinyl, in addition to some diecast sprinkled in.  For example, there were a lot of nice bagged Bullmark and Popy standard sized vinyls.  If I had the cash (and wasn't saving for potential summit trades/purchases), I would have snagged a lot more.  As it was, I picked up two Robocon diecasts for Ed (which I believe he forwarded to Tattoo Jack), a Popy Mazinger race car for myself, and two Bullmark repro vinyls for my kids.  Lots of fun, and the owner was definitely appreciative to have shoppers who were actually familiar with the toy characters.

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Back to the summit we went.  People started to turn out in full force.  Among them were Jack F. (an Orlando native and a fun-loving collector who I had the pleasure of seeing on several occassions (including two visits to my home)), Patrick (a.k.a. Getterblakk, another kit-basher) and his son, Tattoo Jack (reponsible for a huge quantity of the content on this website), Jacky (a newer collector and also contributor to this website), Charles and Brent (local collectors), and Damon (lucky draw specialist).  I am sure I am missing others.  Everyone set up their toys on the trade tables - it was a sight to be seen.

I managed to make a few deals myself.  It was a good thing I brought those parts I mentioned earlier  - while I did not need them, they were perfect for kit-bashing, so my load got a little lighter.  Patrick hooked me up with a Jetfire arm I needed (big thanks, though now I need the screw to hold it in place - forgot about that - UGH!).  And Jack and I made a deal that netted me an Aoshima Getter 2.  I also managed to get a hold of the Takatoku Mekabuton that I virtually snagged from Ed the week prior.  

Among the talk and trading, Robby pulled out his amazing new RJ robot compilation poster as a free handout to all attendees.  Outstanding work as usual, and top quality - such thick paper!  It looked real familiar to me, and he explained that he had the basic work done years ago (that must have been what I had seen), but finally managed to color it in for this event.  Ahh, the life of a busy artist!  But we are so glad and lucky that he found the time to complete it.  He also pulled out some other artwork he had completed, and I managed to obtain an amazing Shin Getter poster.  Others were lucky to snag some of his other varied pieces.

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Then Ed pulled out a shipment of posters from Valent Wang and Don Figueroa (Mecha Workshop).  Amazing large scale work in a variety of posters on top quality paper.  They are working on a new comic book (Armarauders) with possible toy tie-ins.  Although they could unfortunately not attend, these gents were kind enough to send a selection of these posters, signed by the artists, for our attendees!  Their work is astounding!  Great detail and futuristic mecha designs.  Check out some of their work below.  I can't wait to see what they have in store for us.  

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Bryan and his wife Wendy did a panel on cels.  He talked about how cels are made, what to look for in purchasing cels, and what makes some cels more valuable than others.  He had a nice selection with him.  Overall, it was a fun addition to just the toys.

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Later, Ed pulled out his collection of Transformers prototypes.  I recall these from when he used to have them out on display with his main collection, but they have since been relegated to storage.  It was interesting to hear how the design and manufacturing process progresses through the creation of the toys.  Many of the attendees were astounded to see how these protypes were different than the actual issued final products.  And the colors of these prototypes was the most interesting part to me.

As the day wound down, a group of us decided to head out for dinner.  Unfortunately, not all could join us (and one in particular got lost enroute).  But the dinner talk was great, as we delved into a deep conversation on the state of RJ, how Ed would like to see it grow and evolve, and future special plans such as an RJ presence at conventions (see here for some details).  

Finally, it was time for goodbyes and the trip home (short for me (staying at in-law's 1/2 hour away), longer for others).  After crossing Tampa Bay twice (it makes sense to pay attention to signs at night), I got to my destination and presented my boys with their presents.  They were very happy campers.  The following day, I dug out my old Micronauts toys I had as a kid (I had brought them for possible sale or trade, but they ended up making the trip back with me).  Watching my kids play with these, using their imaginations, made my day.  Finally, on Tuesday, I made the long drive home (seeing deer, an armadillo, and wild boar along the way).  Its always good to be home after a long trip, but at the same time, I miss the time chatting with friends face to face about these toys we collect.  Its truly rewarding to be able to share your passion with fellow collectors.  

Thanks again to Ed and his family for opening their doors to us, thanks to those who provided artwork to the attendees, thanks to those involved in trades and sales, and thanks to all the long-distance travellers who made the pilgrimage down to sunny South Florida (oh yeah - the weather was perfect for us on the day of the summit).  

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About the Author

Myles

Myles

Myles a.k.a. Kingboy D calls the paradise of South Florida home.  This closet case collector relishes online gaming as well as a zinc fix away from the children.  Myles is a tour-de-force of once lost archives and a collector of all toys pre-loved.