Monday, May 30, 2011

Botcon Flashback - 2007 Providence, Rhode Island

Welcome back to RTR as we continue our celebration of Botcon as we count down the days until 2011 Botcon (that I'm sadly not attending).  If you ask most Transformers fans who have attended multiple Botcon shows what the best year has been I think the majority of them will all say 2007.  Why you may ask?  Well for one reason the exclusive box set of toys, "Games of Deception" are hands down some of the best exclusives we've gotten period.  Another big reason for the thumbs up was the exclusive behind the scenes tour of Hasbro's headquarters just down the road from the convention center.

Looking back at all of the pictures from 2007's show reminded me of just how much fun it was.  I was sick for most of the show and had lost my voice so it made it hard for me to express my delight in all things Transformers that week.  One of the things that I kind of remember about the weekend was waiting in the long lines Thursday afternoon to pick up my toys.  Just in front of me I remember seeing a couple waiting and on their badges it listed them from Matthews, NC - just up the road from Charlotte, NC where I was living at the time.  It turned out that the guy was actually Arkvander who runs the equally awesome blog, Mostly Transformers Redux.  We are pretty good friends now and bounce Transformers related talk off each other regularly, but at the time neither of us knew who the other was.

Before I share pictures from the convention center and such I wanted to start off this tour with the Hasbro tour.  There was a lot to see and learn about so I'll do my best to describe the pictures.  My memory is a little foggy though as this was 4 years ago now.

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I gotta say the inside of the building was very cool looking - not your traditional looking office building.  There were several of these smaller banners hanging from the rafters as we entered the building.

As we entered the foyer portion of the building we were shown a few glass cases that housed some canceled ideas from various Transformers series.

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The hulking robot on the left is Megatron.  Sadly I don't remember his back story, but wow!  This was something of amazement to see first hand.  The smaller jeep in the middle I don't remember.  My guess is a World War II version of Hound?  The jet to the right I believe was supposed to be Starscream.

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A better view of Starscream along w/ Ace from G.I. Joe?

One the next shelf were several hard copies of canceled 6 inch Titanium toys.  It's sad that these never made it past this stage as they were some of the best looking Titanium molds I or others had seen.

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G1 Shockwave

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G1 Arcee.  While not perfect, a nice rendition of the female Autobot.

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Cosmos!  Why Hasbro?  Why?!

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Cybertronian Bumblebee!

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I wish I remembered the story behind this trailer!

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Before the current version of Botcon the annual Transformers convention was known as The Official Transformers Collector's Convention or OTFCC for short.  I won't go into all of the history there, but one of the future exclusives they planned on doing was taking Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime and making him G1 Defensor.  This is as close as we'll ever get I imagine.

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In between the stops on the tour was some awesome art on the wall.

The next stop along the hallways were several tables of prototype or test shot toys.

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Most of the toys shown were movie toys (yawn), but it was still cool seeing them in this stage none the lease.

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I love the Furby packaging used for leader class Brawl's mock up packaging!

There were several tours taking place at the same time so while we were waiting for the group ahead of us we got a chance for some photo opportunities with several other iconic Hasbro properties.

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I'm not a big Star Wars fan, but the life size Boba Fett and Han Solo in carbonite was really cool.

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In one of the hallways were several windows showing off various Hasbro toys.  Being a G.I. Joe fan I had to snap a quick pic.  If you look towards the back you can see the Cobra Trooper had an unfortunate accident!

We were taken into a larger room that was full of movie images where we were given some insight into the character models used in the first live action movie.

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On the other side of the room we were treated by an employee who helped w/ the color design of the toys.

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There were other bits of the tour that we weren't allowed to photograph or I simply didn't photograph, but it was an awesome tour in all.

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On the way out to the parking lot we were "thanked" for visiting by none other than G1 Optimus Prime himself.

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My wife (the one on the right, not the left) was a real trooper.  I think even she had a good time on the tour.

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We did get a little lost when we were first navigating the roads trying to get to the hotel and convention center.

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...and then I sawed the large banner on the side of the parking deck.  Finally I know where we are going!

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2007 - the year of the movie.

As with previous Botcon conventions I didn't know what the other exclusives offered at the show would be until I saw the signs in the convention center lobby.

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Alpha Trion was leaked onto eBay if I remember correctly, but Weirdwolf was a surprise.  Notice the production numbers?  A huge increase from 2006's 500 sets.

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Springer and Huffer.  I love that Huffer toy.

All weekend I heard a rumor that movie Optimus Prime would be making an appearance at Botcon.  Sure enough we were lead to a large hallway in the convention center and low and behold look who joined in on the fun.

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Whether you like the flames on the truck or not (I don't) the truck was really cool to see in person.

In years past I've so much in a hurry to hit the dealer room to score some good deals before they all disappear, but this year I made it a point to stop by the room that housed the contest entries submitted by various attendees.  Some of them were really well made as you'll see...

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Articulated G1 Computron!
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Abominus!  I love the elongated antenna on the head.

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Classics Leokaiser.  I would've paid some serious $$ for this at the time.

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A good attempt at G1 Superion using the Energon Aerialbots.

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For all of the Marvel G1 comics fans.

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A few dioramas featuring movie toys.

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Junkions unite!

Just about all of the toys on display inside the dealer room courtesy of Hasbro were upcoming movie toys.  Now I'm not a huge fan of the movie-verse toys so please excuse me if I don't really comment much on the pictures.

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Titanium toys hadn't quite died out yet, but would soon at retail leaving Soundblaster and Primal Prime (below) from Beast Machines without a retail home.

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Hasbro tried something new with Robot Replicas - highly poseable PVC figures.  I only bought one during their existence and I wasn't all that pleased.

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More of the Robot Replicas.

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Transformers Unleashed Turnarounds.  I don't personally know anyone that purchased one of these!

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Ultimate Bumblebee.  This was pretty impressive for it's time.

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Leader class Brawl (as previously seen during the Hasbro tour).

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Payload

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Dreadwing

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Longarm

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Thundercracker

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Rescue Ratchet

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Recon Barricade

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Arcee

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Dropkick

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Starscream (Target exclusive)

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Jazz (Target exclusive)

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Masterpiece Starscream (Walmart exclusive)

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Armorhide (Target exclusive)

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Elita-1 (Target exclusive)

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Legends class Starscream and Blackout

Another new entry into Transformers were Fast Action Battlers.  These were meant for young fans and featured simpler transformations and some sort of action gimmick.

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Bumblebee

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Barricade

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Decepticon Frenzy

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Gyro Blackout

I would be remiss if I didn't at least share what the main box set of exclusives were as it was part of what made 2007's Botcon so memorable.  The box set was entitled "Games of Deception" and featured 5 Decepticons.


Thundercracker, Thrust, Dirge, Dreadwind and Bugbite.

These toys were selling for several hundreds of dollars each on the secondary market for a few years after the show and for good reason...they are excellent.


The attendance freebie given out was this nice translucent blue crystal Mirage.  I don't normally go for crystal toys as such, but this one makes sense for the character and it was free just for showing up!

Botcon 2007 was the last show that I've been able to attend and I'm glad that my last experience was one of such magnitude.  From the beginning of the show to the end it was a blast.  The dealer room was packed full of deals (sadly though I didn't photograph my haul that year), the panels were entertaining and the venue was one of the best.  I hope to one day be able to return to Botcon and relive some of these great memories.  Until then I'll be staying glued to TFW2005 and Mostly Transformers Redux next weekend for all of the Botcon 2011 news and pictures!