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


Hasbro Future Product Panel - 10am Sunday
until Midday

From left - Eric, Aaron, Greg, Mike.

Panel started 20 minutes late.

Spring 2008 (our Autumn) - Movie line (series 2) sub-titled 'Allspark Power', with 10-12 new items.
(not sure what they mean by a 'Spring release', because if these new items aren't out until 'Spring' it leaves a six month gap between the items in the Hasbro display booth (up to September) to these in April. Perhaps they mean that these toys will all be released by Spring, covering that six month period)

New items shown:
- Incinerator - Osprey (dual propellor planes at start of movie) (voyager)
- Landmine - Autobot Army Buggy (from the movie) (deluxe)
- Stockade - Decepticon Black Sector 7 Van (from the movie) (deluxe)
- Desert Attack Brawl - sand coloured Brawl (leader)
- Nightwatch Optimus - dark blue Optimus (leader)

- Robot Heroes Galvatron, Beast Wars Megatron, Cheetor, (a Gen1 Dinobot). All four were uncoloured pre-production models.

Transformers Animated - the other main line for 2008.
- Partnership between Hasbro and Cartoon Network.  2008 cartoon. US production.
- Marketting motto 'Don't lose tradition, but move with the times'.

Press Release details.
- Set in the near Future, Detroit.
- Main cast - Optimus, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, Prowl.
- More interaction in a human environment, less 'Robots in Disguise'.
- More episodic, but still an overall arc.
- Smaller cast of robots - for better character development.
- Action and Human elements.
- Focus on peronalities and Abilities.
- Familiar & new character cameos.
- Human super villians and Decepticon villians. (Decepticons rarely appear (?) but very powerful - big threat. Show focusses on the Autobots)

Art - stylised and fluid animation. More energetic and expressive. Realistic and stylised transformations.

Model sheets shown:
Autobots
- Optimus (Cybertron mode) - truck (they start with Cybertronian forms first, and toys will be produced)
- Optimus (earth mode) - van like Energon Towline (a 'cab' and 'trailer', which turns into a giant axe)
- Bumblebee - yellow hatchback car (a bit like Classics Bumblebee) (youngest of the team)
- Bulkhead - green Armoured vehicle (the muscle of the team)
- Prowl - dark coloured motorcycle (a ninja)
- Ratchet - ambulance (medic, oldest of the team)
- Grimlock - grey gen1 T-rex (plus 2 other Dinobots)
Decepticons
- Megatron (Cybertronian robot mode shown with a fusion cannon on the arm)
- Starscream - resembles Armada Starscream in both modes
- Blitzwing - tank and jet triplechanger (has a split personality with (2) faces that turn around inside the head casing)
- Lugnut - purple transport jet
- Black Arachnia - purple spider (looks a lot like BM version) the only female of the series
Humans
- Capt Fanzone - police chief
- Sari - girl
- Isaac Sumdac - her father, wealthy businessman
Human super villians
- five shown, one called 'Angry Archer'.
Locations
- Ark (Autobot ship) - exterior and interior
- Nemesis (Decepticon ship) - exterior and interior (huge, about 50 times the size of the Ark)
- Detroit skyline (city makes robots now instead of cars)
- Sumdac tower interior

Toys
- 90% accuracy between Toy and Animation.
- New sculpting style
- No full-line gimmicks - transformation is the feature.
- Each will have a signature weapn and pose.
- High poseability.
- Release is allegedly beginning in March (show starts in December, and toys need to be in stores or else it's wasted advertising, so this may not be accurate)

Toys shown:
- Deluxe Cybertronian Optimus
- Voyager Earth form Optimus (pre-production model)
- Deluxe Bumblebee
- Voyager Bulkhead
- Deluxe Prowl
- Deluxe Ratchet (pre-production model)
- Voyager Grimlock (animation only)
- Voyager (Cybertronian?) Megatron as an alien VTOL jet
- Voyager Starscream (not shown)
- Voyager Lugnut (pre-production model)
- Voyager Blitzwing (sketch only)
- Deluxe Black Arachnia (pre-production mode)
- (Lockdown mentioned - a Bounty Hunter)

The Future
- Season 2 already in production. (Season one has 13 episodes)
- Already looking at the possibility of a third and fourth season (maybe seasons are not 'one per year').
- Gen1 cameos and the desire to create more new original characters.

A clip was shown promoting the new series, and included some comments from Marty Isenberg (writer/editor - and worked on Beast Machines), plus mentioned something called the 'Allspark artifact' - a square pyramid shaped Gen1 Matrix looking device.

Then we were shown an action clip (called a 'sizzle'), featuring a montage of action sequences from the new Animated series, set to the music of Metallica's 'Fuel'.
 

Transformers Universe - is back as the non-mainline umbrella label.
Fall 2008 (our spring - September-ish) - Classics 2.0 - this time with Deluxes and Ultras.
Expect about 4-8 deluxes and about 3 Ultras.
Figures shown:
- Deluxe Sunstreaker and Sideswipe - Sportscars with different robot chest panels (not straight recolours).
- Deluxe Octane - triplechanger tanker truck and Hercules Cargo plane.
Figures mentioned:
- Prowl / Silverstreak / Smokescreen
- Ironhide
- Galvatron (not a recolour of Megatron)
- Possibly a Classics Combiner.
- Maybe Jazz.

Basically, first half of 2008 will be Movie line and Animated line, then in the second half it will be Universe line and Animated line.

Alternators and (large?) Titaniums have been cancelled due to them having the smallest profit margin, and they needed to commit to things like Classics which had more demand and profitability.

We probably shouldn't expect to ever see another full sized trailer for Optimus (like in Gen1) because of the cost of it and size of packaging required.

Unlike recent years (eg, Prowl, Optimus), they are trying to limit releasing characters in muliple lines at the one time, unles they have completely different alt modes. For example, Prowl will be in the Animated series as a motorcycle, so it is okay for them to have it in the Classics series as a car, but a Classics Ratchet may be unlikely while Ratchet is an ambulance in the Animated series.

They would like to have a combiner in TF Animated, but nothing definite yet.

The four large Titanium prototypes on the Hasbro tour (Cosmos, WW Bumblebee, Arcee, Shockwave) may still be reworked and used somehow, but nothing yet has been planned.

Not every character in the Animated cartoon will have a toy made of them.

A Gen1 Dinobots reissue is not likely because they can't find the moulds.


Go to next panel/page - 1pm Sunday - Club Magazine (I skipped the Midday David Kaye panel, as I went to the first one)

Or - Return to Sunday page

Or - Return to main index page



griffin @ otca.com.au

Ozformers News and Interaction Boards
Ozformers Website and Resource Guide
BotCon website