Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's totally him

Well, I guess... maybe... uh

There I was, late July 2002 sitting in the lobby of a Holiday Inn in Fort Wayne Indiana. It was Friday morning and I had driven overnight for BotCon. I had planned on driving the 10-12 hours from Atlanta over night and sleep a few hours before pre reg pick up. I didn't count on getting there too early and having to wait for my room to become available. So there I was sitting in the lobby, half napping, half playing my Gameboy Advance. Eventually more people started pouring into the hotel and before I knew it, some friends from Transfandom/TFW2005 (before they split up) had plopped down next to me in chairs. We all were super excited for the weekend and chattering away about what we hoped the exclusives would be.

You see, back then, it was a mystery.

That's right, back in the old days, the BotCon exclusives were a mystery. You could wait until the con to buy them, or buy them at pre reg blind. If you didn't like them, there was plenty of dealers willing to buy yours on the spot. The most you had for a clue was a rough size hint on the pre registration form.

It was super fun.

Well, in 2002 things were changing. Instead of the usual one or two exclusives, there was four. That's right, before the 10-15 exclusives of the Fun Publications days, we only got one or two. So four seemed insane. Let me break it down for you. This year there was a pre registration exclusive. Then, as the current comic publisher wasn't happy with 3H selling comics, they sold a small exclusive that came with that years convention comic. Then after that you had the traditional large and regular sized exclusives. Also for the first time, we all knew who the large exclusive was going to be. 3H had shown him off in order to get more fans to the con.

So, going in we knew the large toy was Cyclonus made from the Beast Machines Ultra Class Jetstorm toy. Which still left the other three a complete mystery. To add to the fun, there was two different con shirts that year and if you bought one during pre registration, it would be a mystery as to which one you got. Of course you could buy the other one at the show (and I did).

After I got my room and a nap, I met my friends from the lobby to go to pre reg pick up together. We were all staying at the Holiday Inn, the second hotel with a convention discount rate, but also about two blocks away from the con center. So we had a short walk ahead of us. We got in our respective lines (separated alphabetically by last name) and picked up our pre reg kits.

We were given our shirts and a small box with all out con materials inside including the pre reg exclusive. The other three were available for pick up at the Friday night dinner for those in attendance, or Saturday morning for everyone else.

The shirts were either Optimus Prime or Megatron decorated with neat art of their various bodies on the back. I got the Megatron (and totally bought the Optimus shirt the next day). The pre registration exclusive was Tap Out! Made from the recent Cliffjumper keychain toy in a neat green deco. I was ecstatic over Tap Out. I was a big fan of the keychain toys that were released months before the show.

They were reissues of the classic Bumblebee and Cliffjumper toys with a small plastic loop molded on allowing for a keychain to be attached. With this in hand, we all decided the small toy with the comic had to use the Bumblebee keychain mold. Also inside the little box was all sorts of goodies including an Optimus Prime sucker (I still have it, good thing it's wrapped in plastic... yikes) and also a neat art print. My friends got Skywarp, but I totally got Tigatron. They were all jealous, as they should have been.

There was also the convention guide book inside, which on it's cover had what one friend decided HAD to be the other exclusive. You see, the cast of Robots in Disguise (the 2001 series) were all guests and the guide cover reflected that. Each actors characters were on the cover... but for some reason, Prowl was purple and black. This wasn't too much of a hint to the rest of us, but that one guy swore we were definitely getting this.

I mean loudly. Very loudly. We were in the Burger King and there he was screaming over and over, "GUY'S, IT'S TOTALLY IT, IT'S TOTALLY IT, OH MAN IT'S SKYWARP FROM PROWL THATS WHY THE PRINT WAS IN THE BOX, GUY'S THAT'S WHY!"

So we had to leave Burger King and eat at Rally's and he had to chill out, which he didn't. He went on and on and on. Later as the dinner went on, we went down to hang out at the con center with the other non dinner attendees and tried to hear what was going on inside. Those in attendance were given free Armada and Heroes of Cybertron toys and a showing of the pilot episode of Armada was shown.

I wasn't too jealous of the toys, because they had already been showing up at stores. I was jealous over the Armada showing as it wasn't due for air for a few more months and I was eagerly looking forward to it. During the dinner, 3H revealed what the exclusives were to much applause. We didn't get to hear what they were and headed out to join in the parts parties.

Over the course of the night, I heard that there was a Cheetor in Jetfire colors. I also didn't pay it too much attention as that just sounded ridiculous.

The next morning I stood in line to get my exclusives, still mostly clueless to their identity. Then one of my friends stopped by to show me one of their con exclusives. It was CatSCAN!

Made from the Beast Machines deluxe Nightslash Cheetor in RATCHETS COLORS, in a pretty neat box that was made to resemble a small laptop, CatSCAN was pretty cool. In fact he remains to be one of my favorite BotCon exclusives. The small comic toy turned out to be made from the Bumblebee keychain as we predicted. In a cool metallic blue, Glyph was a really nice looking mini bot!

Now, about that Skywarp Prowl toy... it of course never happened and that friend didn't really hang around us for the rest of the convention.

Guess he was embarrassed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Bludgeon

To know your own limits, you must first know your foe's limits.

A merciless, emotionless master of Metallikato, the deadly Cybertronian martial art. Attacks his enemies' fracture points while remaining outside their line of fire. High-powered antennas produce electrical fireballs with a range of over 400 yards. Battle armor secretes ordorous, mucus slime. Smoke generators in legs produce billowing clouds of black smoke that disorient the enemy. Inner robot armed with high-voltage electric cannon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Mindwipe

Just one look from me and you've lost.

A mystic; spends most of his time trying to contact the electromagnetic essences of long-dead Decepticons than talking to live ones. Binary-bonded to Vorath, former Nebulan Minister of Science, expelled from office as a result of an illegal experiments scandal. In bat Mode, has hypnotic stare, flies at 700mph. In robot Mode, uses vipor pistol -- shoots streams of neuro-circuitry paralyzing liquid.

The new big show.

Earlier today I was having trouble getting to sleep, which worked out as Brian Kilby texted me to check the RFC mail list. We had gotten the press release for the new official convention (replacing BotCon) known as HasCon.

I was kinda blown away.

So this fall, HasCon will host events not only for Transformers, but also My Little Pony and other Hasbro brands. That's kinda a deal maker as whenever I go to these shows, my wife is pretty bored. But here, she'd be able to enjoy the MLP stuff. Making for a better time for the both of us and not just me.

Also in the email was news of the upcoming new Fan Club to replace the ending one ran by Fun Publications. I'm a sucker for a fan club and even more for an official fan club. I can't help but to wonder how it would operate and how things would go. I generally liked the former club magazine and hope we get some sort of newsletter. Hopefully the new club would have some sort of membership exclusives.

Speaking of exclusives, I wonder how the at show exclusives would be? Would they be some super niche thing aimed at fans? Or would it be special editions of current figures? Personally, there has been some pretty neat special editions of current toys, so I'd be for that.

I'm super interested in what's to come of this new show. It feels weird to have watched 2 incarnations of official Transformers conventions open and close. This new show is almost like a comic con based on Hasbro characters. Considering all the properties they own, I'm not against that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Transmetal 2 Scourge

A plague upon all their houses!

Scourge is possibly the most despicable of the already loathsome Predacons. Delights in taking depravity to all-time- low levels. Obsessed with germ warfare and lethal chemical development. Despised by peers for his inclination to test deadly viral and bacterial concoctions on fellow Predacons. Skilled in combat, Scourge wields photon cluster cannons with chemical warhead capabilities. Has electrostatic disrupters inside antennae; capable of leaping distances exceeding two miles with use of wings.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

When two become one.

He's going everywhere with me.

Holy crap Combiner Force. I mean, seriously guys, holy crap.

Let me explain myself, I like Combiner Force. A few months ago when the trademark became known, speculation began leading to much shrugging from me. I mean, it was just a name. Part of me assumed it was going on newer uses of Combiner Wars molds, the other part was just fine with seeing what would come to be.

Courtesy of BWTF

Then it happened, NYCC was starting up and news from it began to seep out on social media. I was at work and was taking a break and saw something wonderful. I saw what Combiner Force was.

Know that Amazon commercial where Gary Busey yells at his TV? I totally did that at my phablet.

Courtesy of BWTF

Basically, while some toys just interact with Mini-Cons in the way they have before, there's a new group of figures. I forget what they are exactly called in the two packs they're being released in. However I just can't get over the gimmick. Similar to Energon and Landcross, two Transformers can combine in several different ways. Unlike Energon and Landcross, a top is only a top. A bottom is only a bottom. And I'm only so mature, so pardon me while my inner 12 year old giggles after saying that.


Courtesy of BWTF

These little guys are pretty basic in design, making for a simple toy one can fiddle with mindlessly while watching TV. Which is what I'm going to do. Thanks to being part of the Robots in Disguise line, the figures have the cool RID visual style, which make these simple figures look a million times better. In fact they look like they could have been late Japanese G1 or Brave figures.

Courtesy of BWTF

Like all RID figures, they interact with the RID mobile game and can be scanned right on in. I wish I played that game more. It's pretty fun. The Combiner Force theme will play heavily into season 3 of RID which according to reports from NYCC will also feature a Deception combiner. That's pretty exciting, I love the RID cartoon. It's a super fun show that keeps getting better as it progresses.

Courtesy of BWTF

Just like I talked about in my PMOP post, these toys are getting that specific fan excitement in me really going. Just like my beloved Titans Return toys, I'm literally chomping at the bit to get these bots. It's a much played out and overused term, but it really is a good time to be a Transformers fan.

Or at least for me.

Many thanks go out to my super awesome friend Ben Yee for allowing me to use his pics from NYCC. If you're reading this, you probably already know about his site, and you should because it's literally one of the tent poles of the fandom and I'd highly suggest you follow his Facebook page. It's freaking great.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Spooky Spotlight: Octopunch

Anything that can sink is worth sinking.

The terror of the deep. If he's not stealing sunken treasure or ancient artifacts, he amuses himself by smashing holes in submarines and cruise ships. Electrically-charged, razor-tipped harpoon gun momentarily short-circuits on contact. Also armed with vice-like tentacles that stick to any surface. So strong underwater that he can wrestle a whale to a standstill. Inner robot convers to metal-rending crab creature equipped with depth gauges, deep-sea radar and acetylene torch gun.