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


FRIDAY JUNE 29TH - MONDAY JULY 1ST
Rhode Island and then the journey back to Brisbane

FRIDAY 29TH JULY

7.20am - awake, eat, get ready.
8.30am - head over to the Convention Centre.

Below is one of the two countdown clock hands for the Movie. The other was at Hasbro HQ.

This was the other side of the welcome sign, and a sign alerting us to the second level Hasbro shop and Sector 7 truck and Optimus Truck.

9am - At the convention centre for the first panel, David Kaye (first of 4).  (Ian and Liam went off by 9.30 to go to the Hasbro tour.)
10am - Stan Bush (first of 2)
11am - Movie Writers (first of 3)
Noon - David Kaye (second of 4) (I didn't go to this one)
1pm (lunch break)
2pm - Board Wars Trivia Prelims (and results of finals)
3pm - Movie Writers (second of 3) (I didn't go to this one - Ian and I went down to queue up outside the Dealer Room)
4pm - Got into the Dealer room when it opened.

6.30pm - Went downstairs to the Hasbro shop and Trucks display
7pm - Went back upstairs before the Dealer Room closed, and then met up with Ian, Liam and Steve (plus Patty and Caroline).
8pm - We all went off to have dinner at the restaurant next to the Cinema.

10.30pm - Came back to catch the last half hour of the MSTF presentation.

MSTF (9pm-11pm Friday)
This has been an annual event at BotCon, and this year apparently marks its tenth 'episode'. I caught the last half hour of it, which had a wrapping up of yet another one of their versions of the Movie, and then a short clip-show tribute to their last ten (years) MSTF panels.

11.10pm - Back to our room. Asleep by 12.30am.

SATURDAY 30TH JUNE

7am - Awake. Ate more of the different sugary cereals I bought on Thursday.
8.30am - Went to the Dealer Room, checked out the Hasbro Display and took details
9am - Board Wars Trivia finals (I didn't go to this one - results are included in the Prelim page)
10am - Movie Writers (third of 3)
11am - Hasbro Movie Partnership
Noon - Activision
1pm - IDW Comics
2pm - Peter Cullen
3pm - Collector Club
4pm - David Kaye (third of 4)

4.20 - I left the panel room (I'd sat through one of his presentations already) and went back to the Dealer Room for more toy hunting.
5pm - Dealer Room closes for the day.  Liam and I went off to the nearby Apple Store to do some free Internet browsing.

7pm - Back to the room to get ready for the Saturday night party, getting to the Party a little after 7pm, but it hadn't started yet (it was late).
When it did start, they handed out to everyone in the room a "goody bag". It wasn't as spectacular as I'd hoped, but it was free, so who can complain.
Items from the goody bag - t-shirt (nice front, but has a web adress for an online store on the back, which spoils it), a sheet of collector cards, a car freshener like the one Bumblebee has in the Movie, and a Megatron Movie Poster.  I think we also got the Stan Bush advertisement and music offer card as well, but it's in a photo of the pre-reg stuff in case it was in that pack instead.

I took it back to my room (so that I wasn't weighed down by it all night, or damage/lose it), and came back.
Returning to the party room at about 8pm, food was being served and queues were lengthy.  The food was just Buffulo (chicken) wings and Pizza (it was all vegetarian by the time I got to it, but I saw people eating some with meat on them), plus heaps of huge (cold) apple pies.  Throw in free pepsi, and it was a great 'free' feed.

The crowd while the food was out.

A little after 8pm, the music started (some band I can't recall), which was so loud Ian and I could hardly hear each other.

Then just past 9pm, Brian got to the stage to present awards to fans and gifts to four of the Hasbro team (gotta keep the sponsors happy).

The fan awards given out (the trophies and medals in the picture above).
Best Web Resource - Seibertron
Best Web Design - TFW2005
Best News Website - TFW2005
Board Wars - TF Wiki
And the Art Contest winners were announced as well, with the winners highlighted in my Art Contest page of this BotCon report.

From 9.40pm to about 11pm, it was Stan Bush (one in black next to the one in yellow) playing songs with his band.  I didn't stick around beyond his second song, but apparently he did about half a dozen of his songs (including his three TFs songs), and then started doing covers of other songs that his band knew the music to.
(photo from Legham)

So I was back at my room around 10pm and had to pack before I went to sleep.  Liam was leaving Sunday afternoon, so we both had to check out of the room Sunday Morning (I would be sharing the Sunday night with Ian and Caroline at their hotel, so would need to carry all my stuff over to them early in the morning).

I took some photos of the stuff I got so far, before packing it away into bags and boxes.

This was my haul by the end of the Saturday.  It seemed to impress Liam more than it did me, but then again, I've been de-sensitised ages ago with my massive collection at home.

Midnight - Asleep.
 

SUNDAY 1ST JULY

7am - Awake, eat more junk.
8am - We moved our stuff into Ian's room, and checked out of our Hotel.
9am - Ian, Liam and I lined up early for the Hasbro Product Panel.  It was going to be the priority panel by fans, and there was a huge queue by the time we were allowed in.


A photo of me, Ian and Steve in the queue to the Hasbro panel.  (photo by Legham)

10am - Hasbro Future Product (2 hours)
Noon - David Kaye (fourth of 4) (I skipped this one, as I went to the first one)
1pm - Club Magazine
2pm - Stan Bush (second of 2) (I skipped this one as well, as I went to the first one)

I was in the Dealer Room from about 2pm until it closed at 3.30.

Some costume photos (a female Spike, Inferno), taken by Legham.  Other costumes seen at this BotCon were Red Alert, Wheeljack, and an Optimus Trailer attached to someones wheelchair (photos of some of them should be elsewhere in this report).
....

3pm - Winners of competition (free entry to next year) were drawn, and the Convention was officially closed.  It was announced that the time and location of BotCon 2008 were not yet known.

4pm - Steve drove the three of us to a nearby post office for Liam and I to post some of our stuff home.  Liam had to go off for his bus, and when we had finished at the post office, Ian and I stopped at the Train station to pick up my ticket for the next morning's trip to NY.

5pm - Back to the hotel room, and I packed up everything ready to go first thing in the morning.

7.30pm - Ian, Caroline and I met up with Steve and Patty once again, and went to a nearby restaurant for dinner.  They went to a movie afterwards, but I went back to the hotel because I was tired and I was the one doing 34 hours travelling the next day, starting early.

10pm - Back to the room, and asleep soon after.

Monday.

I set my alarm for 7.15am, to give me enough time to get to the trainstation before the 9am train back to New York.  Ate as much of my remaining sugary breakfast cereals before leaving at 8.15.  Left Ian and Caroline to enjoy another few days in Rhode Island.  It's a really nice place, but probably a little too quiet for me.
9am - Caught train to New York.  As you can see below, there was no pollution at all on that day, which was really annoying, because it was only one week before that I was sightseeing with poor visibility due to the smog.  This would have been a good day to go up the Empire State Building.

12.30pm - Arrived in NY.  Took about half an hour to work out where the bus to the airport leaves from.
1.40pm - Next shuttle bus left for Central Station, which I had to board another bus for the airport.
3pm - Arrived at JFK airport, but so early for my 7.10pm flight, that the check in counter was not opened until 4pm (there is only one QANTAS flight in and out of New York every day.  Had my bottle of water confiscated at the security checkpoint, and they wouldn't even let me drink it to save wasting it.
The departures board noted that the flight was going to be delayed by 30 minutes, which had me worried about my connection at LA.  I asked if it was going to be alright, and they said that the plane was late coming in from Australia (again) and that it shouldn't affect my connection because there were about 20 other people transfering at LAX as well (for the Brisbane and Melbourne flights), so they would hold those planes for about an hour or so.  If it ended up being really late, they would just keep us on the plane as it continued onto Sydney, and I would be put on a domestic flight up to Brisbane.
So by 7.30pm we were on the plane ready to take off, but we sat at the gate for some time. An announcement was then made, saying that a plane had blown tyres on the runway, so it had to be shut down to be cleaned of debris.  This added another hour to the delay and we ended up taking off at 9pm, almost two hours late.
11.30pm LA time - we landed at LA and were rushed off to our flights at another terminal.  The Brisbane plane was already boarded and waiting for us about an hour, so as soon as the dozen of us from the NY flight had got on board, the door was closed and we moved away from the gate.  It still took some time to make our way to take off, and left LA at half past middnight on their Tuesday.

As I had expected, flying back in a different month meant having a new selection of entertainment.  Actually, most was the same, but there were new movies listed, including the one I watched first up - 300.  I was on an exit row again, but this time, it was the exit we boarded through, so I didn't have to walk far to get to my seat.

7am Brisbane time - arrived in Brisbane.  Had a huge queue at Customs.  They are expanding the airport due to the unpredicted increase in patronage, but it's still about a year from being completed.
Most years I have to open my bags because the toys show up on the scanner as something unknown. This year, the lady asked if I had toys and breakfast cereal in my big back, and even though it was true, I found it really surprising that she could guess it by just looking at the Xray scan.
Caught a train home.
10am - arrived home 34 hours after leaving the hotel in Rhode Island.  Another BotCon adventure had ended.
 

My Haul.

After my stuff arrived a week after I got back, I took out all the good stuff and took a photo.
Toys, games, books, comics, merchandise, pre-reg stuff, and the posters in the poster tube.
A pity about the bulk of my haul being figurines that don't transform, or count towards the collection, otherwise this would have been my best haul yet.  As it were, I came back with 37 transforming figures that count to the collection, equalling my previous best at BotCon 2001.

NY TRU - Optimus Helmet, Robot Heroes Magnus & Megatron, Robot Heroes Bumblebee & Soundwave, Titanium 2-pack (G1 Optimus & Bumblebee), Gen1 Candy Cube.
NY Virgin Music - Monopoly Boardgame, Movie DVD.
NY Comic shop - Movie TPB, Movie Prequel TPB, Cybertron TPB, Ark artbook.
RI KB toys - Optimus Stomper.
RI Stop N Shop - Optimus and Megatron Candy Boppers, Movie Candy Cube.
RI Target - Titanium Movie Optimus 3-pack (robot, truck, protoform), Robot Heroes Jazz & Thundercracker, Arcee, Signal Flare, Hardtop, Stratego boardgame.
BotCon box set - Dreadwind, Bugbite, Thrust, Dirge, Thundercracker.
Attendee toy - Mirage. (plus the Target pack with transforming gift card)
BotCon 2-packs - Alpha Trion, (un-named Minicon), Weirdwolf, Springer, Huffer.
From the BotCon store - Voyager Megatron, Voyager Optimus, Slammer Brawl, Vector Sigma.
Dealer Room Friday - Robot Heroes 5-pack (Optimus, Megatron, Mirage, Skywarp, Cliffjumper), Classics Constructicon 5-pack (Scavenger, Bonecrusher, Long Haul, Hightower, Decepticon Scrapper , Alt Ravage, Alt Rumble, Nike Convoy, Nike Megatron, G2 Swindle, G2 Vortex, Micromaster Fireflight, MM Silverbolt, MM Airraid, MM Skydive, MM Stormjet, MM Rotor.
BotCon store - T-shirt, Diamond edition Convention Comic.
Dealer Room Saturday - White Porsche Minispy, Golden Disks (kitbash item from unicron.com) IDW Escalation TPB, Infiltration TPB.
Saturday Night Party - T-shirt, Poster, Trading cards.
Dealer Room Sunday - Takara Head Rodney, G2 Ramjet, PVC Metalhawk, PVC Ginrai, PVC Dai Atlas, PVC Star Convoy, PVC Cerebros, PVC Diaclone Magnus, Takara Dezarus, Movie Game Guide.
Throughout the weekend - Posters, Hotel Room keys, Six Lunchables 'toys'.

One thing I realised - this was the first BotCon I came back from with money still in my accounts.  Since most of the money I was taking was in the form of Credit Cards, I was really tight on spending, and came back with a couple of grand left on the cards.  Every other year, I have maxed out the cards and all cash, to the point where I have had trouble getting home from the airport on one or two occasions.

Well, back in April, May, and even June, I felt like this would be the Last Time. But the event itself has an infectious feel to it, that draws you in so deeply that you commit yourself to more without even knowing what you are committing yourself to.  I don't like how much this has all been adding up to, and I can't imagine that this event will feel the same for too much longer, due to the 'old guard' slowly disappearing every year, making me feel more out of place at a toy convention that continues to attract more younger newbies.
I've decided to go to another two, to make it ten, and ten years of BotCon for me.  And then I'll re-evaluate it.  I have to think about settling down eventually, and these sort of extravagent one-week events can't be justified if I end up having higher priorities.
Until then though, here's to next year.

That's right, once again, the Aussies are coming....


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griffin @ otca.com.au

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