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I Miss BotCon

July 7th, 2017 Comments off

This past 4th of July weekend, I traveled to Southern California, where I grew up. We made a stop in Pasadena for some good ramen. On the way out of Pasadena, I drove past the Pasadena Convention Center. This made me think of BotCon, and how much I miss it.

I’ve been to three BotCons: 2009, 2011, and 2014. All 3 was at the Pasadena Convention Center. Notice all these BotCons coincide with the movie years. I made a post about my BotCon experience for 2009 and 2011. I didn’t make a post for 2014. If I knew that was gonna be my last BotCon, I totally would have.

BotCon is the ultimate Transformers convention. There are several theories as to why it’s called BotCon. Some fans think it stands for Robot Convention, while others say the word is a mesh of Bot and Con, short for Autobots and Decepticons. Whatever the reason, I have thoroughly enjoyed every BotCon I went to. I’m from Southern California, and I have a home near Pasadena. This is why I only been to the Pasadena BotCons. Pasadena is also not far from Hollywood. Around a short 20 min drive when there’s no traffic (but anyone from SoCal can tell you that there’s always traffic). And this probably explains why all the movie years have BotCons in Pasadena; it makes sense for a city close to Hollywood to host the convention of a major Hollywood franchise.

And this brings me to the point of this post: I miss BotCon. This is another movie year (though I have yet to see TF5… not sure if I will see this in theaters or wait for home release… the reviews are not encouraging, but that’s a discussion for a different day). So if BotCon was still running, there would have been another BotCon in Pasadena this year. And of course I would be attending if there was.

I can only guess at why BotCon ceased to be. Here is one link documenting this sad turn of events. The article is real vague, though. My theory is Hasbro wants to directly control and monetize all conventions associated with their intellectual properties. They have come up with something called HasCon. But this convention deals with all Hasbro properties, and not devoted exclusively to Transformers.

BotCon will always be special for me. I remember the first time I entered the dealer room. I reverted back to being a 8 year old again, and got so psyched over all the robots in the room. The surprise visit by Tyrese during the 2009 con had me and all other TransFans freaking out like the fanboys we are. I can’t begin to count how many new and upcoming TF toys, both official and third party, I first saw at BotCon. Seeing customized TF figures by other hardcore fans was always a treat. And I love going to Pasadena. It is the perfect venue for BotCon. In my opinion, BotCon is just the right size too… big enough to have a decent number of fans to support all the activities, and not overly big like AX or SDCC where it’s too crowded and you spend most of your time waiting to do anything.

I will indeed miss BotCon. HasCon is in Rhode Island this year, close to Hasbro headquarters. I’ll check it out if it ever makes it to the west coast, but I have a feeling it won’t be the same. Of all the cons still running now, TFCon probably has the most resemblance to BotCon. I will try to make it to TFCon one day. But until that day… til all are one! Transform and Roll Out.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

My BotCon 2011 Experience

June 12th, 2011 3 comments

I am back from BotCon 2011! General admission was on June 4th and 5th and I was there both days. Once again I went with my buddy Gemini. We couldn’t wait for BotCon 2011 since we had a blast in 2009, which was also in Pasadena. BotCon 2011 did not disappoint! Check out the pics below.

 

The Venue

 

Across the street from the convention center were parked fan customs of Ratchet and Bumblebee. Notice Ravage is on top of Ratchet. Very cool. Movie Ironhide and G1 Trailbreaker showed up later but I forgot to take pics.

 

Convention Displays

 

 

BotCon 2011 Exclusive Figures

 

I’m not sure what are the names for any of these figures. Also, I had a chance to take pics of the exclusive Animated Stunticons, but forgot to.

 

Hall of Fame

 

 

Upcoming Third Party Figures

 

FansProject is working on an add-on for G2 Optimus to make it look more G2, similar to the add-on for Classic Ultra Magnus and Rodimus. This is shaping up nicely. Word is, there will be 2 versions, one for Prime and a black repaint for Scourge. I’m getting this for sure!

Another shot of the same product from different angle. Also includes a shot of the clear Rodimus add-on.

These are the upcoming FansProject Insecticons! In color for the first time! Really, really looking forward to these. All 3 are required purchase for me.

Masterpiece Ramjet by iGear, or “Jet”. TF Source was selling these for $130 on Sunday. These were available to be touched. The quality is not too shabby, feels like real MPs by Hasbro. Now if they were only about half price I would’ve bought one.

Other Masterpiece Seekers by iGear: Thrust, Dirge, and Sunstorm. Can’t remember what iGear calls them. I’m guessing they will also be around $130 per.

Apparently, iGear is making their own interpretations of G1 Ratchet and Ironhide. Right now its pics only and no prototype displays. These are looking promising. No word on what the price will be.

Sonicron by BTS Toys. This may be released already. No mystery who this is supposed to be. I may get one if it gets good reviews and the price is acceptable.

Scavenger figure, I think by TFClub. He appears to be Voyager size. Pics in the back does show other figs and they will combine. We talked to the guy manning the booth. He has confirmed that 3 of the Constructicons will be released, but at this point there’s no word on the other 3. He also places the price point at about $100 per fig after shipping. Details are so sketchy on this right now. At Voyager size, this Devastator would be so impressive combined. But it would totally suck if they made 3 and then stopped.

The above 2 pics are not 3rd party products. They are repainted customs being offered by this one booth. Nowhere else to put these pics so I lumped them here. You can see the guy that does these in the upper pic. He’s got impressive skills to say the least.

 

Contest Entries

 

There were many entries. I only took pics of the ones that grabbed my attention.

This last pic above, that was the winner.

 

Kre-O

 

When I first learned of Kre-O, I was thrilled. I loved Legos when I was a kid and I built TFs out of them. However, I think I read somewhere that these sets will NOT transform. What these sets offer is to build one mode, take it apart, and build the other mode. That kinda takes the fun out of Transformers. Quality of the bricks could also be an issue. Many have attempted to copy Legos, but none have reproduced the quality (I’m looking at you, Mega Blocks). I’ll read up on some reviews before I get these.

 

Cosplayers

 

I only managed to snap 2 pics of Cosplayers. I saw many others but were too lazy to take pics. Some were real creative. Definitely better Cosplaying at this Con than the 09 Con.

This Movie Starscream has got to be the best TF cosplaying I’ve ever seen!

 

Current and Upcoming Hasbro Figures

 

All store exclusives in this pic. I already got the Prime and Comettor 2-pack. Will also get Leadfoot and the Terradive repaint. Undecided about the rest.

More store exclusives. I have the blue Sideswipe repaint.

Definitely getting US version of MP Rodimus, even though I already have the Japanese version. US version will include the Targetmaster figure, and I’m hoping the flaws are corrected, like the Japanese 2nd release.

Here’s my chance to get Unicron! He will retail for $59.99. Looks like he’s got a more Movie accurate head mold too.

Current Reveal the Shield figs. I’ve got the bottom row. Still trying to find Grapple.

I’ve got all of these, except Mindset and Fallback. Amazon was selling Wreck-Gar for $14.99 right before BotCon started. I wasted no time buying one. They are all sold out now, I should have bought more. I’ll post about this later.

I now have Windcharger and Chopsaw (see Haul section below). I like to get the G1 legends figs. I haven’t seen them anywhere, other than BotCon. Not gonna pay the markup that the dealers ask though.

Some Power Core Combiners on the top row. I’ve got all the Generations figs in the bottom row.

DOTM Scouts. So far I’ve only bought Sandstorm. The new ones are on the bottom row. Some of these have potential to be good.

More DOTM toys. Top row are the Human Alliance figs. I’ve bought Roadbuster. Haven’t opened him yet, but he’s looking good. More scouts on the bottom row.

Optimus Prime and Megatron from Transformers Prime. Really looking forward to these.

The other TF Prime figs. The Matrix packaging on the bottom will be a Comic-Con exclusive.

This is Ultimate Optimus Prime. It’s huge! Retail I believe is $89.99. I plan to get one.

DOTM Leader class figs. I’ve got Sentinel, and Bumblebee is available just about everywhere. Ironhide is looking promising.

DOTM Voyager figs. I have Shockwave and Skyhammer. Might get this Prime with the ax too.

More DOTM toys. I’ve got Prime and Megs at the bottom. Will also get Thundercracker when I see him. Some dealers already had him at BotCon.

 

My BotCon 2011 Haul

 

No trip to any anime/toy/comic convention is complete without acquiring some loot. And so I proudly present my acquisitions from BotCon 2011:

  • Windcharger, Chopsaw, Breacher, Sunspot, Firetrap, Backfire – These were purchased as a set of 6 for $48 at the Hasbro booth. That comes to $8 per fig. Hardcore fans will tell you that the prize here is Windcharger. And that was pretty much the reason I bought the set. Most dealers ask $40+ for just Windcharger, so I figure $48 bucks for 6 figs is not too bad. Hasbro knows how to milk it though, this is one way to rid figs that don’t sell. I’ve seen the other 5 figs go for $5 sometimes. But anyway, Breacher was new when I bought him, I just forgot to take the pic. I’ve also opened Sunspot and I checked out Gemini’s Windcharger. All 3 are good figs, so I don’t regret buying this set at all.
  • TF United Megatron – I have the first Classic Megatron released in the US, back in 2006. However, I don’t like his Nerfy colors and I’ve always wanted one that was more G1. In the 09 Con, I thought about buying the Henkei version for $50, but in the end decided not to. On Saturday when we lined up to get into the Con, we saw a Devastator costume with a Henkei Meg attached to the shoulder. This gave me the idea to re-look for either a Henkei Meg or a United Meg. One booth had many United Megs for $50. I made an offer for $45 and the guy agreed. I now finally have a G1 looking Meg in the Classics-verse.
  • Beast Wars Complete DVD Set by Shout! Factory – Beast Wars is a great series, in my opinion only 2nd to G1. Gemini introduced me to the show, and I watched all 3 seasons on his Rhino DVDs. I wanted my own set for some time now. Rhino Beast Wars DVDs went OOP for a while so the price was all marked up. News broke of a Shout! Factory version some months ago. I have their G1 Matrix of Leadership set and that was great, so I expect the Beast Wars set to be great as well. As of this writing, I don’t even see this set listed on Amazon, only the Season 1 set. So I’m happy to get one so early at $45 for the complete series.
  • Encore Sky Lynx – I know, I mentioned before how I think Sky Lynx is one of the lamest Transformers ever. But the deal I see at BotCon was just too irresistible for a G1 guy. One dealer only asked $35 to get rid of these. There were about 10 units when I first saw the deal. I didn’t get one right away because I was still considering if I really wanted one. I came back 20 min later and only one was left! You can’t really see it in the pic, but the top right corner is kinda messed up. So I offered $30 and the seller took it. $30 for Sky Lynx is not bad at all. I’ll open him later and check out the walking action.
  • Obi-Wan Transformer – Got him new for $8. This looks like the Ep 2 Jedi Starfighter. He’s only worth about $8. Not recommended at MSRP.
  • Kre-O Optimus Prime figure – This I got free from the Kre-O booth. This is supposedly a convention exclusive. Some dealers were buying these at $5.

All pics below.

So that about wraps it up, my experience at BotCon 2011. I had a great time and I’m certainly looking forward to more. Chances are, BotCon will not be back in Pasadena next year. I was lucky to have it close to me in 09, and so soon again this year. Depending on where they have it next year, I might consider traveling, but that’s a post for another time. For now, I’m looking forward to the third movie.

I do have a small gripe about this year’s Con, and it’s that you have to buy tickets on each day. In 09 I bought tickets for both days on Sat. I wonder why they made this change. However, I do want to point out that there were no lines at all to buy the tickets on Sunday, so it’s not a big issue.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the BotCon organizers for making this such a great event. Long live Transformers and long live BotCon! Until All Are One… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

Roll For BotCon!

June 1st, 2011 5 comments

BotCon 2011 is this coming weekend! I’m so stoked! It officially starts tomorrow, but I will only be there for General Admission which is Saturday and Sunday. I can’t wait for all the robots and the TransFans. Pasadena Convention Center is a great venue for the event. I will be doing some serious shopping. I need to make a list of figures that I’m looking for so I don’t miss anything. I might attend some panels. In the 09 Con on Sunday, Tyrese made a surprise visit! Who knows what surprises Hasbro has in stored for us.

Below I have some previous posts mentioning BotCon on this blog:
BotCon 2011
BotCon 2009 Pics Part 1
BotCon 2009 Pics Part 2
BotCon 2009 Pics Part 3

I will be sure to post pics from BotCon 2011 in a later post. TransFans, heed the call! Transform and Roll Out… for BotCon!

Categories: TF News

BotCon 2011: Back in Pasadena!

July 15th, 2010 1 comment

I’ve mentioned repeatedly on this blog that I went to BotCon 2009 and had a blast. In 2009 it was in Pasadena, in Southern California where I grew up. I currently reside in Northern California. Going back to SoCal is only a short drive of 5 to 6 hours. I missed BotCon 2010 because it was all the way out in Florida and I was just way too busy to be planning a trip cross country.

So it is with great enthusiasm that I report the following: BotCon 2011 will be back in Pasadena! I am totally thrilled that this will be back on the West Coast where it’s easily accessible for me. Usually the BotCon organizers do not announce the location of the next BotCon until it’s fairly close to the date of the event. So it is very unusual that this was announced right after BotCon 2010 ended. It is also unusual that Pasadena is getting it again 2 years later considering the same location usually does not get it again til 5 or 6 years later (if ever). I’m not sure what bucked the trend this time. Maybe because 2009 was such as success, or maybe they just want to coincide the release of the 3rd Transformers movie at a location near Hollywood. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it will be back in Pasadena. Me and Gemini will be there for sure! You can count on it!

The Pasadena Convention Center is a nice place too. The surrounding area is nice, and there are plenty of nice restaurants right across from the convention center. Right now Botcon is not so big that you can’t even find a place to eat without a long wait around meal times. I should have took pics of the outside venue in 2009, but I will do it in 2011. Part of the reason I stopped going to Anime Expo is the venue. I hate the Los Angeles Convention Center. It is in the heart of downtown LA where it’s pure ghetto. Sure it’s next to the Staples Center (where the Lakers play, and everyone knows me knows that I am a Laker die-hard, and congrats to them on their latest championship), but the whole area surrounding the place just feels trashy. AX is also over-populated IMO. Way too big and way too many attendees where doing anything becomes more of a chore than having fun. But yeah, I’m getting off topic. BotCon in Pasadena is just the right size and venue.

There is a story about 2009 I want to mention. The lines to get inside were pretty long (I don’t even think the BotCon people expected this), and it went around the convention building into this one area. Total wait to get in was about 90 min to 2 hours, not too bad by convention standards. Anyway, the line went under this tree that had a pretty big beehive in it! Obviously the bees were disturbed and they started to fly out and attack people to defend their nest. It was a crazy scene for a while. Some people were stung, including kids. So we heard a lot of crying. Yeah, I need to mention that BotCon has a lot more kids than your typical anime conventions. But the BotCon people quickly re-routed the line so we wouldn’t be under the tree. Still, if I had been stung, I would’ve quickly called up a lawyer friend of mine. I’m gonna need to put his number into my speed dial before I go in 2011. I wondered what kind of bees they were and asked it out loud. Gemini replied, “Bumblebee.” LOL!

And for those of you that missed my BotCon 2009 pics, here they are: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

TransFans, Roll for BotCon! Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: TF News

Botcon 2009 Pics Part 3

June 22nd, 2010 2 comments

Today is the final part of my 2009 BotCon pics. Part 2 appears here.

 

Cosplayers

 

Warpath
 

Sideswipe
 

Now that is one sexy Cobra Agent. I let her terrorize me any day.
 

 

Contest Entries

 

I’m not sure what the contest was for exactly, but there were plenty of impressive entries.

I’m not sure what this was so I’m just gonna lump this in here. Looks like some kind of Photoshop tutorial for TFs.
 

 

Last but certainly not least…

 

Tyrese! Yes ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Tyrese Gibson! Chief Master Sergeant Epps made a surprise appearance on the last day of BotCon, and the crowd just went wild! The fans stormed around him to get a chance to shake his hand and get his picture taken in the dealer’s room. I don’t know if Hasbro planned this or not, but the whole thing really felt like a surprise b/c it was not advertised at all. The lucky fans who were close enough during the surprise lined up for a chance at his autograph, but he only stayed for like 20 min and they ran out of stuff to sign real quick. I only managed to snap this pic of him from a distance, but it was still cool. Good to know that Tyrese cares about his fans.
 

Well, there you have it, my experience at BotCon 2009. It was unforgettable to say the least and I’m disappointed that I won’t be going this year. It is definitely on my radar for next year. But before I sign off this post, I should mention the stuff I bought at BotCon 2009. No trip to any anime/toy/comic convention is complete without acquiring some loot, and so with that, I proudly present a list of my BotCon 2009 Haul:

Henkei Thundercracker
Alternator Prowl (used)
Alternator Hound (used, and missing gun)
Alternator Skids
Sound Label Soundwave (spark blue)
Revoltech GR-2 (no. 021)
a Decepticon pillow
… and probably some other stuff that I can’t remember now.

TransFans unite… and heed this call… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

Botcon 2009 Pics Part 2

June 17th, 2010 Comments off

Part 2 of my BotCon 2009 pics continues today. In case you missed it, Part 1 is here.

 

“Unreleased and Upcoming” Toys

 

hehe… I put that in quotes cause at the time all these were not released, and planned for the rest of 2009 and part of 2010 (I think all have been released as of this writing). As such, they were all behind glass display cases, standing prominently for the eager TF fan to drool over.
 

The toys in the middle and bottom rows are 2009’s BotCon Exclusives, the “Wings of Honor” set of 5 figures. Don’t remember who they are, but all repaints. I think it was about $200 for the whole set. Not sure who are the guys in the top row.
 

Various “upcoming” ROTF Deluxe and Scout class figures. I still don’t have any of these ๐Ÿ™
 

ROTF Leader class Prime, Meg, Jetfire. I have Prime.
 

Same toys, different angle.
 

Various “upcoming” ROTF Voyager class figures. Again, I don’t have any of these ๐Ÿ™
 

Various “upcoming” ROTF Voyager class figures out of the box.
 

Various “upcoming” ROTF Deluxe class figures. I have Sideways, Sideswipe, and Breakaway.
 

Various “upcoming” ROTF Deluxe class figures out of the box.
 

ROTF Devastator!
 

Human Alliance Bumblebee. I really wanted these at the time, but I’m not feeling the robot mode.
 

Human Alliance Bumblebee and Sideswipe.
 

25th Anniversary Soundwave re-issue! He comes with 4 cassettes, one of them (Ratbat) never re-released in the US since the 80s. Being the G1 purist that I am, I knew I had to have this set, despite the fact I already have two other Soundwave re-issues. He ended up being a SDCC Exclusive, but that would not stop me. I ended up getting him thru ebay. I paid $64 shipped, but he’s worth every penny.
 

G1 and ROTF Soundwave and Ravage, side by side. Cool.
 

Fast Action Battlers. I don’t care for these at all.
 

Here we have various store exclusives. Titanium Thrust and Prime were Target Exclusives and they appear on the bottom shelf to the left. I have Titanium Thrust. Next to them are Ultra Class Powerglide, Hardhead, and Skyfall, Walmart Exclusives. MP Skywarp on the top shelf is another Walmart Exclusive. Next to him is the TRU Exclusive Whirl and Roadbuster 2-Pack. Not sure if Ultimate Bumblebee was an exclusive, I know I’ve seen him around and I think at a bunch of places.
 

25th Anniversary Insecticons and Perceptor, and a ROTF Fallen figure.
 

As I look at these now in June of 2010, I’m amazed at how many of them I actually managed to find and buy. Nothing stops me when I want my TFs.

Stay tuned for Part 3… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics

Botcon 2009 Pics Part 1

June 15th, 2010 2 comments

BotCon 2010 is coming up in about a week. To celebrate this upcoming event, I thought I post pics of BotCon 2009.

Last year I attended my first BotCon. It was in Pasadena, in Southern California, not too far from where I grew up. Now I live in Northern California so in a way it was kinda like a homecoming, but of course I’m there for the robots.

BotCon 2009 was awesome! To be surrounded by people as passionate about Transformers as I am, the feeling was just overwhelming. I would love to go again this year in Florida, which also gives me a chance to check out Walt Disney World. However, going cross country would require some planning ahead of time, which I never really got around to. Maybe next year.

I did not have a blog in the summer of 2009, so this is as good a time as any to post the pics. Enjoy!

 

Convention Displays

 

“Revenge is Coming!” At the front entrance.
 

From a different angle.
 

That little girl snuck in there when I was taking this pic :).
 

Real life movie Optimus Prime in alt mode!
 

How did they get this truck in there?
 

Close up of the Autobot insignia. Now that’s bling.
 

Movie Bee!
 

Bee’s about to pee on that guy. I call it Bee Pee.
 

 

Dealers

 

This was one of the first dealer’s booths near the door. I think this was the official Hasbro booth where they sold toys (they had another bigger booth for events). At the time the TF figures you see here were all either unreleased, or just barely released.
 

Same dealer but to to left. I was feasting my eyes on these deluxe figures for the first time.
 

This is the “Gears of War” set, all accessories to make Classic figures more G1. I really wanted a set, but at $45 it was kinda hard to justify. Also a preliminary figure of Optimus in his Hearts of Steel incarnation, later released as Knight Morpher.
 

Same dealer, just slightly panned up in angle to show their nice statue of G1 Optimus. Looks like this was the RobotKingdom booth. I do not buy from them online b/c their shipping is simply ridiculous.
 

Stay tuned for Part 2… Transform and Roll Out!

Categories: Pics