He was our first, together. But he wasn’t exactly the greatest or most well-known character from Beast Wars; in fact, he was fairly lowly.
Twenty years ago, Prime and I began our combined collection with a Beast Wars Drillbit.
He was purchased during my move to Wisconsin; I can’t tell which store. I have no idea which state. But in December of 1999, Prime and I started not one journey but two: our journey as collectors. Together.
Prime and I had met via a Transformers email list; it was a chance encounter with him, a few sentences that sparked a nearly two year long personal conversation. I had thought at the time that this would be the start of a new friendship. For me, friends were at that point few and far between, as I was seemingly estranged from a good portion of them.
In those days, most of my friends I had met through my ex. We didn’t just have a shared history, we had shared relationships. When the relationship between my ex and I dissolved, so did a good portion of my friendships. I had one friend who did visit me during the “Year of Hell” and my ex had gone from seeing him as a friend to absolutely hating him. Not long afterwards, another friend went from being so close as to be seen as family to “an asshole”.
I had no idea what he truly thought of me.
When Prime and I started to talk, I didn’t feel as alone. I had a friend but I didn’t know that our friendship would become something more. Now, here I was, making my way from North Carolina to Wisconsin, to start a new life, picking up souvenirs along the way. If I had been told that this would be my new life, that I would be leaving everything familiar behind and moving to the Midwest, I wouldn’t have believed you. If you had said that I’d be marrying a fellow collector, I would have said you were lying.
And if you had said that the very first figure we’d buy together would be a little, nondescript Predacon insect that didn’t even make an appearance in the Beast Wars show, I would have shaken my head and laughed.
But, twenty years ago, there he was: our first Transformer. The very first one that Prime and I would purchase together. Tiny toy, huge impact. On everything.
In the following twenty years, Prime and I would go on to make a lot more purchases. We’ve amassed quite a collection. We’ve made yearly pilgrimages to BotCons, picking up treasures. We’ve made payments on layaways. We’ve gone on hunts to Green Bay, searching for those characters who would plug the gaps in a particular series. We’ve perused eBay, Walmart, Target, Amazon, looking for what we needed. It’s been quite a ride, to be honest.
And it was all started by one simple little bug. Well, two actually, when you think about how Prime and I met. But our collection owes its start to none other than Beast Wars Drillbit.