With BotCon 2014 less than a month away, it seems time to get back into the swing of things here on the blog. This year's theme for the convention toys will be "Pirates vs. Knights," an evocative concept that has generated a great deal of speculation about what characters and molds will be used. One of the molds suggested has been the Vector Prime mold, but since I've already featured that toy (and also used it in my Pre-Beast Wars Family Feud photocomic), I'll instead showcase the BotCon 2007 use of that mold as Alpha Trion.
The character of Alpha Trion dates back to the second season of the original 1980s Transformers cartoon. Alpha Trion is clearly one of the oldest of all Autobots, and serves as a wise grandfatherly figure whenever he shows up. There seems to have been an effort to create a toy of this character around 2003 or so for the pre-Fun Pub convention, and indeed this concept did show up in the Wreckers comic of that era, but no such toy was ever produced. As such, the 2007 BotCon exclusive became the first transforming toy of this character ever released.
That a transforming toy of Alpha Trion was ever made at all was perhaps both inevitable and ironic. While Alpha Trion was a popular character from the '80s cartoon, he had never been seen in any non-robot mode during its run. Arguably, this made the job of choosing a toy for the convention exclusive that much easier, and the Vector Prime mold always seemed to me to be an inspired choice.
Because Alpha Trion used the Vector Prime mold, he comes with a little friend, who was given the name "Beta Maxx" (a reference to the old videotape competitor to VHS). Beta Maxx has never, to this day, appeared in any fiction whatsoever (unless you count the bio page Fun Publications created for the character), so I'll not say anything more about him except to give this link to his alternate mode in case you're interested.
Of course, the true oddity about this Alpha Trion is that he was ultimately revealed in the Transformers Collectors Club fiction to be the evil Alpha Trion from the Shattered Glass universe! There is some debate about whether or not this was the intention for this toy from the start, but I find the idea that Fun Publications had planned out the story for this Alpha Trion toy so far in advance doubtful. It seems much more likely to me that, some time after BotCon 2007, the writers had need of an evil Alpha Trion character, and having just released this toy, it was a natural choice.
I have no knowledge of whether or not this mold truly will be used for one of the "Knights" at BotCon 2014, but the mold, especially with its built-in sword (seen here on both Vector Prime and Alpha Trion, who also wields a spear from the official 2004 convention), seems a natural choice. We'll find out for sure in a few weeks!