Lets talk about “holy Grail”s – the search for rare and important Transformer Toys

Takara Tomy Crossformer Black Shadow

I guess I missed May. This year has been a mess. So I wanted to do something different to try and get back on track here. I picked up one of my greatest Transformers purchases recently and it made me want to do a different kind of post. Today we’re going to talk about Holy Grails.

Holy Grail toys are something that, like the namesake, collectors tend to spend a very long time looking for, and sometimes never actually acquire. Its not unusual to have more than one, though typically for most collectors, there’s only one or two out there. It depends, for the most part, on what you focus on for collecting. For me, later-era Japanese G1 toys have always been my favorites from the line. Masterforce and Victory produced some really fun toys and one of my longest desired toys was Victory’s Black Shadow.

Black Shadow is one of two “Crossformers” from Victory. He and his partner Blue Bacchus show up as hired help during an attack on the planet Micro.

Something about the fact that he wasn’t just a normal “rank and file” Decepticon had me hooked. So the search for his toy began.

The odd thing is, Black Shadow isn’t particularly difficult to find. He’s not common by any stretch, but you can find one if you really want one. The problem with him, and with many grails from more obscure lines toward the end of G1 is the after market price continues to rise. There are a few key factors when hunting down ‘Holy Grails’, price being one of them:

  • Availability (Usually the foremost factor)
  • Price
  • material degedation

See back in the 80s, the idea of “how well will these toys hold up in 30 years” was something that never crossed a manufacturer’s mind. But as the kids who grew up in the 80s got older, and found themselves with disposable income, the toys that dominated what I call the Toy Renaissance of the 80s became commodities to obtain again. What these collectors found was the plastics used in some of the toys, degraded quite rapidly as the years passed. Unfortunately, for some toys, that makes finding a complete, unbroken copy impossible, or nearly impossible.

For me there are a few other grails out there. Some I’ve tracked down, like the solo carded Takara Ravage and Diaclone Jaguar. There are a few more out there – specifically the solo box version of Takara Ravage, and a complete Dinoking. Dinoking, like Monstructor, runs into issues with the pretender shells getting weird, moldy looking spots all over unfortunately. He’ll be one where as the years go on, getting a complete, decent copy is going to be very difficult.

But that’s part of the fun. Having something out there that you can continually search for, hoping you might come across a great score of a find is what drives the hobby. For some of us at least. I’ll continue to search for Dinoking, and now that I’ve secured Black Shadow, the search for his partner Blue Bacchus beings. He’ll be another long search. Blue Bacchus tends to be the rarer of the two and commands a slightly steeper price as well. Drop a line below on some of your grails!


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