Monday, July 2, 2007

BotCon 2007: A Non-Attendee Perspective

It might seem a bit odd to be talking about BotCon given that I wasn't able to go to the convention this year, but I expect that I'm like most Transformers fans, keeping in touch with the latest data online as much as possible. My abilities to do this were somewhat limited by my vacation in KY over the past week, but I was still able to participate in a number of online discussions about what was going on. Here are my thoughts.
  • Exclusives: Perhaps it's a bit mercenary of me, but the toys have always been the major reason for me to go to BotCon, and so it's always the first thing I want to find out about when I look up what was going on. I've already talked about the five toys from the boxed set revealed several months ago, and will focus here only on the toys revealed at the convention itself. I've also updated my exclusives data sheet with such information as I currently have available, although there seems to have been some confusion about the Alpha Trion/Weirdwolf 2-pack. I'll post more reliable information once we get the expected e-mail from Brian Savage detailing post-convention news.
    1. Clear Mirage: This was the attendee-only freebie. A clear blue version of the Classics Mirage mold, intended to represent Mirage as he turns invisible. Apparently a lot of fans didn't like this one. Oddly enough, it's one of few that I really liked, and I've already got a couple of requests in for people looking to get rid of the one they got at the convention. If no one ends up contacting me, I'll look for it on eBay.
    2. Alpha Trion/Weirdwolf 2-pack. The first of these has been known for a couple of months already, and is a remold (new head) of Vector Prime from the Cybertron line. This is the definite "must buy" for me, and I'll be looking on eBay if it turns out that FP doesn't have any leftover to sell to club members via the online club store (they never have before, but like I said, there seems to be some confusion on this one). Weirdwolf was one of a number of characters revealed in an online teaser of the convention comic, but we didn't know for sure which of the teased characters would actually be at the convention. It's a recolor of Snarl from the Cybertron line. If I end up getting this as part of a 2-pack deal to get Alpha Trion, I'm turning right back around and selling Weirdwolf. A lot of folks really like this one, but it's just not for me.
    3. Springer/Huffer 2-pack. Springer is a repaint of Cybertron Defense Hot Shot, and Huffer is a repaint of Armorhide, both toys from the Cybertron line (and, no, in the case of CD Hot Shot, that's not redundant). Again, it seems that my tastes run counter to those of the rest of the fandom here, as I've heard lots of good things about them, and there seems to be little question that they've sold out (although, again, I hope to get more positive confirmation of this when Brian Savage sends the expected e-mail), but they just don't interest me.

  • News:
    1. It was disappointing (but not wholly unexpected) to learn that both the Alternators and Titanium lines are being canceled. The latter was even more disturbing because of the revelation of several molds which will, apparently, never see the light of day. The Cosmos figure is especially interesting, and I can only hope that something happens to give that design another chance elsewhere.
    2. We also learned that the "Classics" line will see more molds (although not under that name. Apparently these will be released under a new "Universe" line), which is great news, but unfortunately fuels the anger of those who were angry at FP for doing exclusive repaints of several of the Seeker jets, thereby making it unlikely that these characters (and certainly not replicas of the same designs) will ever be made available at retail. I have to repeat what I've said elsewhere many times over: FP wanted to make cool exclusives, and the Seeker jets were obviously popular choices that Hasbro hadn't yet done. They STILL had to get permission from Hasbro to use them, and Hasbro had, at the time, no plans on using those concepts. The fact that Hasbro made a decision later to do something whereby they probably would have used (at least some of) these ideas does not negate this. FP ensured that (all of) these designs would get made. If FP didn't make the exclusives, there was a strong chance that the toys would never exist at all. And even with this latest turn of events, we probably would never have seen all of those Seeker designs used (Thurst, with it's peculiar wing-design, would have been especially unlikely). In any event, it happened. Deal with it.
    3. It has already been known that a new cartoon will be showing up on Cartoon Network (dubbed "Transformers Animated") next year. Attendees got to see the first actual animated clips (as opposed to just still pictures) to be seen, and apparently these, coupled with the news of classically-inspired characters scheduled to appear, have converted many fans from being fearful about what this new cartoon will bring to being excited about the possibilities.
We don't yet know where next year's convention will be, or even what the dates are, although it's been more or less confirmed that it will be in the Fall again, with hopes for getting a convention in the Summer again in two years, and basically flip-flopping Fall and Summer with the Joe convention also run by FP thereafter. Once those announcements are made, I'll have to go through the whole process of deciding whether or not I can go all over again!


  1. The Botcon license is up for renewal, right? I figure that's the reason we don't have information on the next show yet. If it's a three year long license then Master Collector just did their last one under their 'lease'. I imagine we'll enter a bit of an information blackout as we did between the 2004 and 2005 conventions when nobody knew who the next convention organizers would be.

  2. An interesting possibility, but this would be the first I've heard of it. Why should we expect that the license is currently at three years? In fact, given that the club is pretty much guaranteed to have been given at least five years to work with when it first got the license (as evidenced by the free club combiner, to be completed over that five-year period), I'd say we have good reason to believe that the convention license is good for at least that long.

  3. It's speculation on my part. Starting in 2002, 3H was granted the official license. Then in 2005 it went to Master Collector. So that's three official Botcons under 3H then three under MC and now there's this lack of info on where or when next year's convention will be. I was basing my theory of a three year license on this circumstantial evidence. I think that the fan club is a seperate license and is subject to different terms.


  4. Well, I've already explained why I think that things may well have changed since then. As to whether the club and convention rights are separate, I have no solid info, but don't think that's actually the case as Hasbro sees it. It may be nothing more than that they want to keep the same group holding both, but that they are indeed separate.

    But again, I'm not sure. I am pretty sure that the license isn't actually up for renewal right now, though. There's been absolutely no mention of anything like that on the usual boards.

  5. Oh, by the way, not telling us where the next convention is yet isn't at all unusual for FP. Last year (when they told us that this year was to be in Rhode Island, and during the summer) was the exception.


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