January 11, 2010

Of Fates Found and Corgis Too - Collectible of the Week Pt. 2

Filed under: Collectible of the Week, Transformers, nostalgia — fairplaythings @ 11:11 am

Collectible of the Week Part 2


-Special Features: Choose Your Own Adventure. Paint Artwork
-Manufacturer and Year: Ballantine Books (US), 1985-1986;
Corgi Books (UK), 1985-1987
-Key Words: Transformers, Books, Choose Your Own Adventure

The Story So Far:

This is one of those times when the pictures really speak for themselves. With Transformers a big hit, it wasn’t long before every possible licensing opportunity came to the forefront. So it’s no surprise that a number of books for young readers came onto the scene.

Find Your Fate: Ballantine Books

In North America, these books took the form of choose your own adventure-type books under the banner, Find Your Fate. There were nine of them produced in North America, featuring painted covers and black and white art work in the interior. If memory serves, there was even a nice little collector’s sleeve for the first six books.

The interior art was based completely on the line art of the actual toys. If the character in question had to move, it actually looked like an outline of the toy was making the movement. And because it used outlines of toys, the toys actually resemble the toys. Jetfire* is actually drawn like his toy namesake rather than as “Skyfire”, while Ironhide is drawn as if he was pulled from a Diaclone back catalog.

Even better, these books did not guarantee a happy ending. You could royally screw up and let everyone die if your choices were wrong. Of course, you could undo the mistake by starting again but still, it was a nice touch.

One more interesting piece of trivia: the story arcs for the last three books features the Autobot’s leader, Ultra Magnus, with no mention of Rodimus Prime. In fact, it’s not clear from a quick skim what actually becomes of Optimus and Megatron after the sixth book, something that needs further investigation. Given my newfound involvement in the tfwiki project, a full read of these books will be useful to fill in the background for their respective entries, although given what I’ve seen so far, I also expect it to be somewhat painful.

Young Corgi Books: Adventure Game Books

Same concept, different publisher and market, the Adventure Game Books were released in the U.K. Although there are six in the series, I’ve only been able to obtain the first four in the series over the years. They seem to have come out in pairs, with the first two issued in 1985 and the second two issued in 1986 (with presumably the last two from 1987.)

Although the covers are attractive and rendered in a similar style as the Find Your Fate collection, the interior art is much different. There are less pictures involved and the renderings are more stylized than simple outlines. Although somewhat cruder, they have a spark of originality missing from their Find Your Fate equivalents.

The other thing worth noting is that YOU are in charge of this adventure. Instead of sitting back directing the actions of Optimus or Sparkplug, the reader is in the driver’s seat and it’s his (or her) decisions that will win or lose the day.

But enough rambling. Bring on the pictures!


  1. LOve the shift to the collectable merchandise in general, and this one in particular has hit me where I live! As a kid, the find-your-fate books were pretty much my “Beta” continuity (Cartoon being Alpha), I had most of them then (And now have all but one, I think).

    Loved the art so much (still do!), though occasionally awkward, often it was quite beautiful. And for every story element that was kinda funky, there was some other nugget that was just GREAT!

    I think my obsession with Bombshell’s Cerebro Shells comes from this continuity. They were downright SCARY here :)

    Can’t wait to see what bit of liscenced goodness you trot out next!

    Comment by Eric Donelson aka Destrongerlupus — January 12, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

  2. Happy to oblige. It’s a nice treat to be able to talk about the collection rather than simply acquiring, acquiring, acquiring.

    What book are you missing?

    Comment by fairplaythings — January 12, 2010 @ 9:26 pm

  3. [...] Addendum: Collectible of the Week Pt. 2: Of Fates Found and Corgi’s Too [...]

    Pingback by fairplaythings.com » Addendum — January 12, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

  4. Definitely missing “The Invisibility Factor” and I think I may also need “Desert Flight” (I have none of the Corgi ones, for the record ;))

    Most of them are the ones I had when I was a kid, but I picked up (Somewhere, I LITERALLY have no memory of where/how/when) a chunk of the ones I was missing in recent years, and haven’t spent much time with the “new” ones, so I’m a little foggy on those, as opposed to the “vintage” ones, which I read SO many times (And, as is the way with these things, only ever seemed to touch about 1/3 of the pages, no matter how I tried to diverge), that they’re like old friends.

    I may have to break out one of the new ones tonight and have a read now! Lord only knows what bizzare continuity-nuggets I’ll unearth ;)

    Comment by Eric Donelson aka Destrongerlupus — January 13, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

  5. Back when I was collecting them I had the hardest time trying to find a copy of Earthquake. It was really really tough to track down for some reason.

    Comment by Evil King Macrocranios — January 15, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  6. The later ones were (and are) definitely harder to find. I have an extra Attack of the Insecticons but I think the tail end of my line all came via eBay. Certainly that was the source of my Corgi (and I’m still missing two there).

    Comment by fairplaythings — January 19, 2010 @ 12:32 am

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