Sunday 7 February 2021

Simpler Times

Well well well. It’s been a few years. 

Since wrapping up The MEC back in February of 2015 I’ve been on something of a blogging journey, with the two blogs that I linked to in my last post (almost six years ago to the day!) meeting wildly different fates.

Green Card Back started out as a place for POTF2 toy photography before finding its feet as a full-on Star Wars fansite. It charted a journey over the years that went from excitement about the sequel trilogy to grief once the films actually came out. Since then the blog has become a .com and found a new audience on YouTube with Vintage Collection action figure reviews. 

Variable Thoughts, on the other hand - a blog about everything non-Star Wars in my life - very quickly tailed off into oblivion.

In the intervening years (and particularly through my career as a digital marketer) I've found that if you want to reach an audience online, you need to push everything through a lens of branding and SEO and promotion.

I get why those things are important. But honestly?

I miss the days of just posting a blog about whatever it is that I’m into at any given time.

The Times Are A'Changing

Here’s a case in point. Yesterday morning a box of Marvel Legends figures arrived on my doorstep. These were the four new Spider-Verse figures; Peter B. Parker, Miles Morales, Gwen Stacey (with Spider-Ham) and the Prowler.

I’ve been getting more into Marvel Legends over the last year, with the recent X-Men Sugar Man wave marking my first complete build-a-figure. 

Yet due to social media profiles and blogs needing to slot into a particular niche to grow, I’ve not felt comfortable sharing these scores. 

Another “brand” I’ve maintained in recent years has been the Robotic Drift Instagram account. This started off as a place to post pictures of Transformers, Marvel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and whatever else took my interest. 

But as I became much more invested in Transformers, they took over the account. And as my posts became that much more focused, the account also became more popular. This even led to yet another website.

Yet my interest in Transformers has waned over the last year or so. And as I’ve tried to share my growing interest in Marvel Legends, I’ve been met with a resounding “not bothered” by most of my followers.

Which is completely fair; after all, these followers started following a Transformers account. It’s not fair to expect them to move with my whims. We all know how annoying it is to see an account pop up in your feed that you have no interest in and no recollection of following it in the first place. 

Just... don’t be that guy.

Keeping it Simple

So as far as I can tell, the best thing to do is to take it back to basics. Clear the mental decks, if you will.

And back here where my blogging journey began feels like the best place to attempt that. Well. It’s a place that I can attempt that.

So here we go.

Marvel Legends Spider-Verse Figures

This weekend I got a box of Marvel Legends Spider-Man figures in the post and I am thrilled. Into the Spider-Verse is a great film - I don’t know about you but I relate hard to Peter B. Parker.

The figures are excellent. I might post more photos of them some other time. Or maybe not at all. 

That’s really kind of the point.

I started the MEC because I loved collecting Star Wars toys and wanted to share that with the world. It didn’t matter that I later got into Transformers, and Spider-Man, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I just enjoyed blogging about things I enjoy.

And honestly? Doing just that this wintery Sunday night in February is more than enough to make me happy with this little hobby.

It's great to be doing this under absolutely no obligation at all.

So, thanks for reading. And see you next time - whenever that is.

Sunday 8 February 2015

Last Post!

Transformers Masterpiece Sideswipe and TMNT Classics Michelangelo on the shelf | The Mos Espa Collection
I think this just about covers it...
Well, it’s been great fun.

The MEC, or Mos Espa Collection as it was known for the duration of its existence, is coming to a close. For reasons I outline below this will be the last post I make here.

It’s been a good run, just two weeks shy of five years old and four posts short of 200. Writing and running this site has put me in touch with some of the friendliest folk in the toy-blogging community, and feeling that you’re not alone when you indulge in a niche hobby like ours makes it more enjoyable by tenfold. In particular I want to give a shout out to Optimal Omega, Chris at Stunt Zombie and Bro Midnight at Green Plastic Squirt Gun. They’ve all been supportive of my ramblings over the years, and each brings a personal and unique perspective to their own collections over at their respective blogs. I heartily recommend all three.

Why am I winding up? That’s a good question. I still love blogging but I’ve ended up at a point where the MEC no longer reflects the type of collector that I am, and it’s gotten increasingly difficult to create content. In retrospect it’s essentially been a practice blog, for want of a better term, whilst I’ve figured out what toy lines I enjoy collecting, how the toy industry and fandom works, how blogging works, and how it all integrates into my life. I’ve learned quite a bit, and rather than walk away from the hobby I’m taking that knowledge and putting it into two new projects.

Firstly, Variable Thoughts is a blog about life in its entirety – which for me means a splattering of comics, films, video games and action figures. It’s an attempt to get away from having everything segmented and compartmentalised, and I think it’s also a better online profile to be able to show prospective employers.

Going in completely the opposite direction, Green Card Back is what I originally envisioned this site to be. It’s a weekly photo blog that spotlights Star Wars action figures from 1995-2000 with the affection and nostalgia that I feel that they deserve, and I’m keeping it separate because I want it to stand on its own as a complete project. How long it will last is anyone’s guess, but I’m giving it a two-year lifespan to see how it plays out.

So it is that I’m signing off here for the final time, with a ton of gratitude for the fact that we live in a world where anyone can make a soapbox for their interests and connect with like-minded people from literally anywhere. I’ll keep the blog up for posterity for the immediate term, but otherwise it’s time to look towards the future – which is something I find truly exciting.

As ever, thanks for reading. See you around!

Friday 9 January 2015

Spotlight: Ascension

Transformers Classics Bumblebee action figure toy Autobot Deluxe car The MEC

I never 'got' Bumblebee. Not as cool as Jazz, not as useful as Inferno, not as chaotically fun as Grimlock... And yet here we are in 2015 with the little yellow guy that could leading the Autobots in a new animated series, after starring in four hugely successful movies and becoming arguably the second most famous Cybertronian ever.

Yep, even replacing that cassette guy.

Transformers Classics Bumblebee action figure toy Autobot Deluxe car The MEC

Perhaps if he'd had an action figure as fun as this Classics version in the 80's I would have been more into him; after all the easy, satisfying transformation, articulated robot body and sporty alt-mode make this a solid toy, and one of my best purchases of 2014.

I think it's safe to say there's still time to warm to Bumblebee as a character. Quite possibly unlike his namesake, I think this Autobot is going to be around for a little while yet...

Monday 6 October 2014

The Team

Transformers Animated Dinobots Grimlock Snarl Slag Swoop Autobots Hasbro Takara Toys Action Figures

Transformers typically means G1 to me, but nowadays the brand is all but defined by how many different versions there are, whether that's Aligned Continuity, the Bayformers, IDW, or however else the story has been told. I still haven’t even watched all of Beast Wars, let alone journeyed into the world of Transformers: Animated. However, when the Emcat got me an Animated Voyager Grimlock for our first Christmas together I knew that I had a new sub line to collect… 

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Dinobots.

I am a fairly rubbish collector. I mean, I’m miles better at it than your average man on the street, but I have such a wide range of interests and, at least for the last few years, such a meagre disposable income that I’ve found completing pretty much any planned focus difficult – hence why TMNT Classics Michelangelo and Leonardo are still wondering where their brothers are...

The Dinobots however are a team that demand completing; especially when one of their members is Swoop, a toy that was unavailable in the UK during the days of G1. Animated presented the chance to collect a complete version of the powerhouse Autobot team, and after that Christmas Day I obtained Swoop and Snarl (not Slag) in fairly short order.

These Dinobots have stayed with me through every house move, every car boot sale, every action figure purge, because they represent the success of a focus, however small. It doesn't matter how clumpy and inarticulate Snarl is, or how frequently Swoop’s head pops off – these robots make a mean looking red, grey, blue and gold team; and one that deserves to be kept together.

Thanks for reading!

Friday 3 October 2014

Spotlight: One Of A Kind

Cheetor Beast Machines Transformers Beast Wars Maximals Autobots Hasbro Mega Takara

More Wednesday market bargain grabbing, as this week I picked up Beast Machines Mega Cheetor, sans tail. For a great number of reasons, this is the first beast-era figure I have ever owned...

Cheetor Beast Machines Transformers Beast Wars Maximals Autobots Hasbro Mega Takara

It's not hard to see why. He's lanky, doesn't fit in with any other size class, has great difficulty standing and is just kind of garish, to the point that my girlfriend volunteered the word 'crass' to describe him. It's an accurate description as well. That chrome! That neon! That swiping action feature! This guy is such a 90s toy that it hurts.

And you know what? That's what makes him pretty unique amongst my Transformers collection. One of a kind, in fact. 

Welcome to the MEC, Cheetor.

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