I blame Maz. Just so you know.
A couple of weeks ago, we started talking about Transformers: Binaltechs (or commonly known as "BTs"). Over instant messaging and other media. Maz was saying what an awesome line it was, and guess what, I agreed.
In truth, other than a handful of pieces, I myself have (always had) a nearly complete run of BTs, each bought from retail at the time of their release.
So in a sense, the conversations with Maz pushed me closer and closer to the edge, where falling over means I would embark on (perhaps) completing my BT collection.
Then Maz released his articles on TF Source, one after another... "BINALTECH BT-01 TO BT-04", "BINALTECH BT-05 TO BT-08" and most recently "BINALTECH BT-09 TO BT-12". While the first article pushed me over the edge, the second and third one irreversibly knocked me right into the chasm of BT collecting once more.
So, just so you know, I blame Maz.
I started my 'complete the BT collection' mission with searching for a BT-17: Black Convoy, which is something I have been kicking myself for missing out for sometime. At the time, I was a student studying in Australia and its release caught me by surprise - read, I didn't bludy know it was going to be released.
BT-17 was a Japan Wonderfest Winter 2007 exclusive release. Officially, there are supposed to be 1000 pieces. From what I see on the market, there seems a lot less than that exists. Why did I kick myself for missing out? Since I did not source BT-17 early back then (although I had lots of connections and could easily have), it came with a whooping price tag of SGD$450 (USD$360) by the time it hit Singapore shores.
C'mon, I was a student then. There wasn't a snowball's chance in hell I could pay S$450 for BT-17. So I left well enough alone and it left a shard in my heart for years (I did make 100% sure that I did not miss BT-18 though, which was another exclusive). Now it's 2013 and I've pretty much buried my pain, only to have it dug up by Maz once more! So, yeah, I blame Maz for psychologically incepting me to re-start BT collecting.
Once the mission was formulated, I knew at once that BT-17 would be the most difficult of my missing BTs to find. It would also be the most expensive. So, I quickly gave it my highest priority. I searched ceaselessly for it on 3, 4 and 5 May.
One of my first stops was eBay, where to my horror, there were 2 sellers listing BT-17 at USD$999. Really?!? $999? Now that I would and could afford USD$360, this has turned into a USD$999 piece?!? Look at this horror...
I did a little more research on price and found a recently ended open auction for BT-17 to be USD$525. Okay, that sounds more in the ball park and slightly reassuring...
I started searching on Forums and even on Shmax and pretty much nothing came up. There were 1 or 2 replies where an owner would just say they don't want to sell. On Saturday night last week (4 May), I was running out of ideas. I started to What's App a few Singapore friends with my 'BT Want List' and requested that they helped me look out. While doing that, I thought I'd be helpful as well and supply them with photos of the actual stuff I was after.
While searching for a nice photo of BT-17 online, I clicked on a link that led me to a Japanese online store. I looked at the listing and it said "In stock". Wow. Looked at the price, looked at shipping estimates from Japan and after a few moments concluded that the price was more or less in the ball park of the eBay auction that ended. "Whoa", I thought, "I'm going to buy this".
So I added to cart, checked out and paid for it. The system was such that I had to wait 24 hours for them to confirm the order - because the item was also a store front item and they had to ensure that in the time between when I bought it online and the time they pulled it off the shelf, no one has actually walked into the shop to buy it.
I got my confirmation on 5 May and on 6 May got confirmation that BT-17 has shipped form Osaka to HK. BT-17 actually arrived on 8 May (very fast), but I could not pick it up until today (11 May).
While waiting for BT-17 to arrive, I went out there and sourced BT-20: Argent Meister, bought from a shop at Yau Ma Tei on 7 May 2013.
... then, on 9 May 2013 (that's just 2 days later), I bought a BT-22: Convoy from CTMA Centre. This was case fresh if you can believe it. I saw the guy take it out of a case that still had another 3 BT-22s in there (case of 6).
So, the Binaltech story continues...