Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The GoBots Command Center by Tonka (1985)

My personal GoBots Command Center

If there was "ever" a toy that was the embodiment of my toy experience as a kid in the 80's, one that immediately brings back a flood of memories, all good, it's this toy. Most people tend to look down on the GoBots, often referring to them as the poor mans Transformers, but not me. Though I was also a big fan of Transformers, I also dearly loved The GoBots as well. Sure they were smaller and not nearly as interesting, but there was always something about them that I always loved. I wish I could say what that was exactly, but I honestly don't know. I just loved them too. But there were only about a handful I actually owned as a kid and as I rediscover these, old memories are slowly coming back. But right off the top of my head I know I had Psycho, Cy-Kill, Rogun and this Command Center.

I guess I should say the first thing that re-ignited my long lost passion for GoBots and toy collecting in general would have to be the Discovery Channel show Toy Hunter. I know, it's an often debated topic because of it's host, Jordan Hembrough. Personally, I'm not a big fan of the guy for several reasons, but the show itself was such a blast of nostalgia to watch, especially because it was something I could do with my son at just the right age. It's different now, but those are good memories. So on a random episode I remember Jordan digging around a guy's attic for toys when he happened upon the Rogun GoBot, and very intense memories of my favorite GoBot came flooding back. It was awesome. I eventually got my hands on him, but it reminded me of the other figures from that line I also had, one of which was The GoBot Command Center. I have very specific memories of being in the first house I can remember living in as a child and playing with this thing on the floor, a whopping 32 years ago.

Image courtesy of pleasesavemerobots.blogspot.com

I won't bore you and get into the actual specifics of this beast of a toy, because you can check out any number of other sites and blog posts about it, but I will say that this was one of 3 playsets that Tonka would produce for  the GoBots brand, with this one being released in 1985. While not a terribly exciting toy, and kind of bland compared to other playsets of that time, there's still something very retro cool about it. It's simple, but in a retro streamlined kind of way, and I think that's what I love so much about it. It literally takes all of 2 seconds and 3 moves to transform him from a walking robot to a stationary command fortress.

When I got the collecting bug again recently, one of the first "toys of my youth" I immediately set out to track down was this guy. And he's very easy to find. It seems a lot of people my age did the smart thing and kept their GoBots packed away for decades because there is no shortage of them on eBay, and most of them in relatively good shape. And the prices are all over the place, so there's no real way to gauge how much he's worth because I don't think anyone really has a clue. You can find some as low as $10 without the original box, and then you'll find some in the exact same condition for a few hundred. So you just have to be careful and not overpay. Personally speaking, with the box included, and if he was even "mostly" complete, I'd say he's worth about $30-$50 without shipping. Now, being as he's a Command Center/Fortress after all, there are a few pieces that do end up going missing in time, but thankfully there aren't many and they're easy to keep track of. As you can see in the picture above, 2 hoses, a gate, computer monitor and stickers are all that you really need to keep track of. Oh, and the red dome on his head too seems to be a piece that often disappears. Lucky for us, there are plenty of sellers on eBay who sell only these little pieces to complete your's.

Image courtesy of toyarchive.com

Of course I would have loved to get one with the original box, but with people asking for highly inflated prices, I just couldn't justify spending that much. Then one day I came across a listing where someone had him for $7.99, plus $18 to ship. He was in excellent condition as far as I could tell, and only missing a piece or two that I could easily track down over time. It didn't include the box, but for $7.99, I wasn't going to complain or pass this up. As it was an auction-style listing, I knew there was always the chance someone could outbid me at any time, and I had at least another week to go till it was over, so I put my bid in and crossed my fingers. Truth be told, I had actually forgotten about it over a week later when I got that email notification saying I had actually won this baby with my single $7.99 bid. Score! And a week later he was in my hands. I have yet to see if his lights actually still light up or not, because I keep forgetting to go get the specific battery he needs, but he looks amazing sitting on my shelf and I couldn't be happier. I may try and snag the original box some day just to complete him, but for now, I'm in no real hurry.

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