AJ Ard loves Transformers so much that he’s designing his very own characters that he hopes to have added to the franchise.
The IT technician, from California, USA, is also the owner of the world’s largest collection of Transformers memorabilia.
And what better time to take a look around it than as the latest film in the series, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, hits cinemas.
Optimus Prime and the Autobots will take on their biggest challenge yet in the new flick, but one thing’s for sure – they’re always the winners at AJ’s house.
AJ has a whopping 5,150 number of unique Transformers items that he proudly displays in three purpose-built rooms in his home.
He originally received the record title in 2017 with 1,313 items and has grown his collection since.
AJ briefly lost the record to Louis Georgiou (UK) that same year, when that fan came forward with his collection of 2,111 memorabilia items.
AJ took the record back in 2018 with 3,626 items, and he hasn’t stopped collecting since.
The dad-of-three has been a Transformers fan for almost as long as he can remember, and he started gathering his record-breaking collection together when he was just six years old.
He said: “I’ve been a fan since the very first episode aired in 1984 thanks to my Mom. My favourite memory was my Mamo taking me to get my first Transformer (Cliffjumper bought from Goldsmiths dept. store in Memphis, TN).
“But my greatest memory is my Nana taking me to Toys R Us in San Lorenzo, CA, to pick out all the technobots so I could merge Computron for my 10th birthday.”
AJ’s current favourite item from his collection is his self-transforming Optimus Prime, but that’s not the most expensive.
The priciest items he owns are his Haslab’s Unicron, worth around $1,000 (£797) and a boxed complete G1 Metal Hawk, which can sell for as much as $2,000 (£1,594).
And it’s Omega Supreme who is his favourite character overall.
AJ’s home is a cave of wonders for any Transformers fan.
He said: “I have three rooms that display the three eras of the Transformers.
“The first room is the MARVEL room which represents the golden age. It includes all G1 toys from 1984-1990 released in the US and some from Japan and UK. This room also houses every Marvel comic for the Transformers series - G1 and G2.
“The second room is the MASTERPIECE room - the silver age. This room showcases Masterpiece Transformers. This room also displays Titan Class, Combiners, The Line of Mega Primes, media area showcasing all video game and video platforms for the series as well as a homage to Transformers: The Movie (1986) display in the middle of it all.
“The final room is the HASBRO room - the Bronze Age, which looks more like a store for a large majority of the items are in boxes or on cards still in mint shape. These items will hang on the walls and ceiling of the room. This room is still in progress, but I just finished the MASTERPIECE room this weekend.”
AJ loves sharing his passion with his kids, who enjoy looking around his collection just as much as he does.
They hang out in the rooms together and AJ tells them stories about all the items he’s acquired over the years, sharing memories from his own childhood growing up with Transformers.
AJ is also an author, an engineer and an artist, and even won his first drawing contest when he was in the first grade with a drawing of a Transformers poster.
As well as continuing his collection, AJ is planning to implement digital tours of his special rooms so that fans around the world can explore, and he’s also working on designing, modelling and 3D printing his very own Transformers.
He said: “I hope to add to the Transformers multiverse someday. I have 300, but 30 visually ready for illustration, modelling and eventually 3D printing.”
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