Years passed, seven and a half to be precise, and the memory of the Mallorcan find faded into history. Nothing more was discovered or pursued by us regarding the gumball Beachcomber, no more were ever seen by us and it never made the headlines. In early 2014, though, I believed I had finally found another of those Spanish gumball Beachcombers, an opportunity to make up for not being the one to spot the original find in Mallorca, an opportunity for a proper souvenir from that holiday.
|Another KO Beachcomber exactly the same. Or is it?|
Having secured my own bootleg Spanish 'gumball' yellow and blue Beachcomber, I was once again able to feel proud of my own resourcefulness, detective skills and - at the same time - lament all the many interesting things I had sold from my collection over the years that had I kept together, would have amounted to a monumental collection of oddities, variants and one-offs about which I could be truly proud. Alas, they are all gone, and I have always said that I am not a minibot collector (can you imagine the turmoil of a minibot completist now having to chase these KOs?), so I decided to sell this KO Beachcomber too.
|Blue/yellow KO Beachcomber|
|Size comparison with Windcharger|
Yes, it has sentimental value. Yes, it was a symbol of how I could compete with any of the variant collectors out there despite my limited budget, but I had new priorities, and sacrifice is the name of the game these days. Document and move along, that's the philosophy now. Even though it didn't have any of the unique stickers or the gumball packaging, it was still worth a great deal to a minibot collector, as we can see from the above size comparison, it fits in perfectly with existing official Transformers/pre-Transformers minibots.
|KO "Alonso" Spanish Beachcomber Mk II|
Throughout this whole experience, something about this second Spanish KO Beachcomber seemed a little less impressive than Ras's one, and it wasn't just the lack of stickers, pristine minty-ness or gumball packaging. It seemed far too close to a regular Beachcomber, but I dismissed it as a general waning of interest and investment by me emotionally in vintage toy collecting. It wasn't until I had sold it, and started editing my pictures for an article, that I realised what I had just bought and sold. Ras kindly allowed me the use of his pictures so I could show the item as it came originally, packaged and stickered. When comparing our robot mode pictures side by side so that I could pick the best one, the penny (or 1 Euro coin) finally dropped.
|Minibot collectors everywhere just had aneurysms|
They were different, the inverse of each other. I promptly got back in touch with the seller of this second KO Spanish Beachcomber, the blue/yellow one (not to be confused any more with the yellow/blue one). That's when the history and details were revealed to me, details that a choice few already knew. That's when the real discovery was made.