Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Transformers 2002 Botcon Europe: Rook

In July of 2002 my brother and I flew up to Fort Wayne, Indiana to attend (at the time) my third Botcon convention.  That year's exclusive toys were all branded "Expanded Universe" as opposed to Beast Wars for example as 2001's exclusives.  Of the exclusive toys that year we got 2 repainted G1 minibot keychains that Fun 4 All had recently released to specialty retailers in the U.S. - Glyph (a blue Bumblebee) and Tap Out (a metallic green Cliffjumper).  As part of the news that came out of the show was the annoucement of a new European offshoot of Botcon.  There was a show in Europe back in 1999, but there weren't any exclusive toys made.  The 2002 show however promised a exclusive toy!  Being on the Botcon mailing list the announcement was made that non-attendee sets would be made available for something like $65. At first chance I quickly filled out my registration form and sent it off.  On November 3, 2002, Botcon Europe was held at Wolsey Hall in Cheshunt, United Kingdom.  The exclusive toy was none other than Rook, a silver repaint of the Fun 4 All Windcharger keychain.


Surely you've seen this toy floating around the internet or at a toy show you've attended.  Rook has to be one of the most easily attainable official Botcon toys.  Why is that you may wonder.  According to the official Botcon site, approximately 3,000 Rook toys were made, but the official attendance numbers at Botcon Europe was only 240 people.  Who knows how many toys were sold or given away at the actual show, but Hasbro had a surplus of this figure and he would eventually be given away in the U.S. at various functions.


The toy itself isn't that bad.  The light gray combined with the blue windows is a nice look.  I hate the newly sculpted loop on the front bumper for the included keychain, but at least the chain portion is removable.


A one-time war correspondent during the Great War, Rook was famous for keeping his cool under fire on the battlefield. Never one to give up the opportunity to give the populace the truth behind the headlines, Rook made it his personal mission to report the actual state of affairs, no matter the cost. He never distinguished between Autobot or Decepticon each had their own stories to tell, regardless of their philosophy. Welcomed by Optimus Prime and tolerated by Megatron, Rook gained the respect of both faction leaders by refusing to back down from asking the tough questions, even if it meant jeopardizing his life or career. Rook became infamous during a particularly brutal siege, where Megatron and his troops were cornered within a abandoned outpost on the far side of Cybertronian Mithril Sea. He entered the fortress and convinced Megatron to work out a temporary withdrawal from the region. The irony of the situation was he had already convinced Optimus Prime of the very same thing! After a tense stalemate, both sides withdrew from the war zone and refocused their resources elsewhere during the war. When peace finally came to Cybertron, Rook realized his negotiation skills could be put to use with his penchant for reporting. Capitalizing on his celebrity status from his wartime exploits, Rook is able to get the real story behind the latest news no matter where, and when, it happens. 

Unlike the other two keychain exclusives, Rook didn't come with a trading card style tech specs.  He's an interesting character, but in the grand scheme of things a character and toy that is easily and often overlooked or forgotten.  Hardcore G1 collectors may want to add Rook to their collection, but for many you are better off saving your twenty bucks for something else.

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