Inside a relatively nondescript shed 40 minutes from Mudgee lives one of the largest collections of Transformers figures and merchandise in the world.
The collection is owned by 45-year-old Trevor Hopkins who has spent nearly his entire life amassing a seriously impressive collection of more than 5000 pieces of Transformers paraphernalia from its inception in 1984 to present.
The Mudgee Guardian was invited to Trevor's purpose-built shed that he has dubbed the 'Transformatorium' to view the collection and talk to Trevor about his passion for the shiny shapeshifters.
Trevor was seven years old when he received his first Transformers figurine, a generation one Decepticon named Dirge that transforms into a jet. Trevor, as he put it because his son was in the room, 'lost his poop', and the love for Transformers has not waned in the nearly 40 years since.
"It was just something new and interesting I hadn't seen before and it wasn't the usual superheroes flying around with their capes and their underpants on outside and it seemed to have everything," he said.
"If you liked robots, there's robots. If you liked cars, if you liked planes, it had all of that. If you liked dinosaurs it has giant robot dinosaurs - so it really captured my imagination from the beginning."
Upon entering the Transformatorium it is hard not to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of items housed inside the shed which sits adjacent to the Hopkins' family home.
You're greeted with floor-to-ceiling views of Trevor's collection which includes more than 4000 individual figures of all sizes and rarities from all generations as well as more than 1000 pieces of merchandise like t-shirts, DVDs, video games, cushions and even a floor mat.
Trevor spent his time during COVID lockdown fitting out the interior with enough shelving to display the collection, which continues to grow.
"This is one of the largest collections in the world. I hadn't intended to reach this [point] - it was more I just really enjoyed it and it was a fun, harmless hobby and it seemed to interest other people.
"People would pass on their kid's older toys or they'd pass on their old toys from when they were kids themselves...," he said.
"I just kept collecting and they kept bringing out new versions of classic characters and great new characters and then they started making new cartoons and live-action movies and it just became a hobby that I thought was dead but now is suddenly alive and brimming once again."
Trevor's collection and his prolific online presence mean he is well-known among not only the Transformers community but has also attracted the attention of Hasbro and Paramount, the owners of the franchise and the publisher of the Transformers films respectively.
"There's been a lot of promotional events around the release of the latest film," Trevor said.
"I got invited to do the roar and snore at Taronga Zoo, after [the company] wanted some representatives of the fandom. I went along and did questions for the media and met some d-list celebs and then to say thank you they gave us more tickets."
"It's a bit of fun. You get a few freebies out of them. My son Orion is a big Transformers fan too so he usually comes to these events with me."
Trevor's 10-year-old son Orion, who sported a Transformers shirt and pants himself on the day of the tour, said he is as much of a fan as his dad.
"They [Transformers] all look really cool and the cartoons are really good," Orion said.
"My favourite is the Bumblebee movie, it's really good. [And I like] Bumblebee, both old and new."
According to the Guiness Book of World Records online, the largest collection of Transformers memorabilia consists of 5,150 items, and was achieved by AJ Ard in the USA on 5 September 2022. Trevor hinted that he might have a go at besting that record one day.
"It is getting crowded but we're not out of room just yet," he laughed.
With visitors travelling to the from as far away as Sydney to view the collection, Trevor embraces all corners of the fandom and distilled his love for the franchise, while also taking a stab at the sometimes toxic online discourse around it.
"I do it for the love of it. It's toy robots, it's supposed to be fun," he said.
"If you're not having fun what's the point?"
The Transformatorium is not open to the public, however anyone who wants to get in touch for a tour or would like to donate any Transformers items can get in touch via the Big Angry Trev's Transformatorium page on Facebook.