BotCon in Hasbro's Backyard
(griffin's 2007 BotCon report)

Collector Club (Fun Publications) Panel - 3pm Saturday

From left - Lanny, Brian, Rik, Ben, Karl.

- Membership for the Transformers club is apparently reaching the same number as their GI Joe club (which has been around for a lot longer), and is expected to overtake it in the next month or so.  (So, shouldn't that mean we should get priority with the convention dates now?  After all, the organisors kept saying that the GI Joe convention (their first love) was always mid year because it was the bigger club, but I guess they never expected us Transfans to outnumber them)
They did say that they would be looking at alternating between the two conventions in the Summer (our winter) timeslot, with the other being in Spring (our Autumn), getting rid of the Autumn (our Spring) timeslot completely.  So instead of a September TF convention like in 05 and 06, they hope to have it alternating each year between April-ish and June/July-ish, with the GI Joe convention.

- The choice of location of each convention was mentioned (as it does every year).  The point they want people to realise is that it is really hard to find hotels with convention facilites willing to give a discount rate under $169 per night (their target rate) for the 'small' number of expected convention attendees.  They send out requests to various hotels each year, with the estimated stats, and then see which hotels come back to them under the requested room rate price.  They never aim for a city, they only select one out of the affordable options that come back to them.  If fans were prepared to pay more per night at a hotel, FP would have better choice and locations.

- The website is expected to have an overhaul soon, but it and other club stuff takes a lot of time due to the approvals process with Hasbro and not enough FP staff to cover all their TF and GIJoe committments.

- Exclusive toys - Difficult to get toys done in such limited numbers.  Often have to get a batch of several limited figures done at once, like the membership toy Breakaway being late, due to it being done with the BotCon toys.  The quantity is always a gamble, with some having a huge demand (BotCon Classics set) and others having very little demand (Airazor and Astrotrain).  They had 2,000 of each Astrotrain and Airazor produced a few months ago when the membership was at about 1,400 which has left them with quite a few left over (not every member wanted one either).

- Alpha Trion is not part of the Classics Universe, which is why it doesn't appear in the convention comic.  It was one of their early ideas for a BotCon toy, and when the overall theme later became Classic-verse, they kept Alpha Trion because it was such a good idea.  (The Minicon with Alpha Trion was meant to be announced at the Club Magazine panel the next day, but was still yet to be decided.  It will be announced in the Magazine or website whenever they get around to it (their words, not mine))

- BotCon Mirage was not done in clear white or a clearer blue because the non-transparent parts would have ruined its look, from their experience with a transparent GI Joe figure.  The transparent parts might have made up the majority of the toy, but had to be dark enough to hide all the non-transparent parts.

- BotCon Springer was first planned as Sentinel Prime, but later changed as the theme changed to Classic-verse.  The Springer toy had so many paint apps that Takara told them that they had to pick some to leave off.  FP told them no, and it stayed as they wanted it.  (Considering that the Mirage toy has no paint apps, it was probably like a trade off.)

I skipped the David Kaye panel (4pm), and that was the last of the day.

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