(griffin's 2013 BotCon adventure)


11-12 - PANEL - Hasbro products

From left - Clint Chapman, Josh, Sean, Bill, Mark.

110 slides in about 45 minutes... plus commentary on each.
It meant there was no time for Q&A, but people were invited to approach them at their exhibit... which I did, so have noted those questions at the end.

Very quick mention of the Ride (at all three locations now), The Legends game now in play, the Universe MMOG still coming (now aiming for end of this year), and TFPrime cartoon winning 3 Daytime Emmys.

For the products that are featured in the presentation... go to the Exhibit pages here.
Hasbro Display 1 (Generations)
Hasbro Display 2 (Exclusives & Platinum)
Hasbro Display 3 (Rescue Bots & Kreo)
Hasbro Display 4 (Construct-Bots)
Hasbro Display 5 (Beast Hunters & Predacons Rising)
Hasbro Display 6 (Merchandise, SDCC exclusives, diarama)

Beast Hunters 2014 (out by December)

Legion 2014 W1
Divebomb - red/white/blue redeco of Windrazor (an Autobot Defector)
Rot Gut - green redeco of Blight
Ace Vehicon - pale grey jet Vehicon
Bluestreak - blue/white/green redeco of smokescreen

Cmdr 2014 W1
Unicron Megatron - purple/bronze redeco
Ultra Magnus - remould with hammer
Decpeticon Bludgeon - orange/green redeco of Shockwave, with sword and new head

Deluxe 2013 W5
Night Shadow Bumblebee - black redeco
Prowl - remould Smokescreen

Deluxe 2014 W1
(Upsized Legion moulds - simpler, cheaper, BIGGER - more toy & more play)

Voyager 2014 W1
Optimus Prime

Kreo - Custom Kreo sets mentioned very briefly as the only Kreo product (each Kreon comes with 30-40 pieces to customise it)

Construct-Bots - inspired by the BotCon Custom Class, which Hasbro people saw was very popular.
(they showed off the entire first series - which are already known)
A promo video was shown, making them look like Centurians (cartoon from the 80s).

Series 2 sneak peak...
Scout W1 (club weapons)
BH Bumblebee
BH Starscream
BH Ripclaw

Elite W1 (launcher weapons)
BH Skystalker
BH Shockwave
BH Optimus

Triple Team Class W1
Unicron Megatron (a new jet) w/ Ratbat & Barrage

Predacons Rising exclusives - US Target, Tesco & Carefore
Beast Fire Predaking - Ultimate (new mould - was a regular release in Australia)
Predacon Abominus  - Legion 5-pack (Hun-Gurr, Twinstrike, Rippersnapper, Blight, Windrazor) Translucent redecoes
Optimus Prime Vs Predaking - Cmdr 2-pack (blue/white redeco Vs purple/black redeco)
Shockwave & Bombshock - Cmdr 2-pack (purple/pink redeco & green/blue Hardshell redeco)
Nova Blast Bumblebee - DLX yellow/purple redeco
Sky Lynx - DLX white/purple Skystalker redeco
Bumblebee Vs Blight - Legion 2-pack (black redeco Vs maroon redeco)
Smokescreen Vs Cindersaur - Legion 2-pack (Gen1 blue/red redeco Vs purple Rippersnapper redeco)
Cryofire Predaking - Voyager blue/dark blue redeco
Dark Steel - Voyager blue/grey Grimwing redeco

Generations 2014

Legion W1
Swerve w/ Flanker (blue/white Jet)
Cosmos w/ Payload (white/black shuttle)

Legion W2
Autobot Tailgate w/ Groundpounder (bulldozer)
Sharpshot (Shrapnel) w/ Reflector (camera)

Deluxe W1
Goldfire (lost the name to Goldbug) - gold/translucent blue redeco Bumblebee
Dreadwing - blue/translucent red redeco of Megatron
Autobot Skids - new
Waspinator - new (wings flap when pressing button on back)

Deluxe W2
Skywarp - FOC Starscream redeco
Scoop - new (with two Targetmasters)
Starscream - Armada

Voyager W1
Decepticon Doubledealer - redeco Blitzwing
Rhinox - new (2 Chainguns, mouth and ears move)

Voyager W2
Whirl - new (might have a sticker sheet to customise the toy)

SDCC exclusives
Metroplex w/ 12 figurines
Shockwave & Predaking
Guardians 5-pack (figurines - Optimus, Megatron, Soundwave, Grimlock, Starscream)

30th Anniversary
A two part program - regular toys promoting the anniversary (Thrilling 30), plus 30 special items throughout the year (like in the Platinum series and other exclusives).

Hall of Fame Voting

Hot Rod/Rodimus - 15%
Arcee - 16%
Prowl - 16%
Ultra Magnus - 19%
BW Megatron - 34%

Ultra Magnus and BW Megatron were the winners and inducted.


Finally, the Fan-Built Vote... winner will be announced at SDCC.

Told that it is an Autobot Jet though. Name and form will be revealed in two weeks.

(I took with me several questions submitted by other Australian fans)

BotShots Soundwave.
Why wasn't there a Botshots Soundwave figure produced? It was a perfect opportunity to have the Animated or Movie version in BotShots. (both being cars)
He seemed surprised that it wasn't done, being an iconic character. He needs to look to see if a Soundwave is in next year's line, and if it isn't, he's made a mental note of it.

No MP Autobot cars by Hasbro?
It comes down to licensing. TakaraTomy's licensing only covers TT product. Hasbro has to get their own license, and it doesn't seem to be a priority at this time.

Beast Wars in 30th Anniversary.
The 30th anniversary will be talked about on the panel, so couldn't say anything yet, other than that "the Anniversary will commemorate all 30 years, not just the early years".

Gen1 accurate Arcee toy.
Still on their wish list, but nothing at this time. (but he did seem cagey about that response, so maybe there is something in the works that he can't talk about)

Toy first designing vs show first designing.
Wouldn't say why they are doing it more now, but it sounded like it is the preferred process now, as he said that they are trying to make sure they work closer to the animators, to give them more to work with, and more time to produce them.

Rescue Bots
The toyline prioritises Optimus and Bumblebee, like other Transformers lines, but the cartoon doesn't even feature them (they each appear twice in 26 episodes).  Does this make it harder to sell the line to the kids or parents wanting the four cast characters, or do they still sell since they are the faces of Transformers?
He wasn't aware that there were so many Optimus and Bumblebee toys in Rescue Bots... so did think it was odd that the actual cast characters are less represented.

Hasbro prioritising SDCC over BotCon (can't photograph presentation at BotCon).
Okay, this isn't entirely true, as they reveal sensitive items at BotCon knowing that it won't be publicised.
Unfortunately, they don't plan out their presentation to allow for fans to photograph the non-sensitive stuff, and then later make sure that all cameras are away for when they show the sensitive stuff.
This year is just one hour like last year... and the guy doing the presentation didn't want to risk having more time than he needed. I assured him that he could have the entire day blocked off and he'd still have questions coming. As such, he said that we are not likely to have any time for questions because he has so much product to go through. I suggested that in future, to do what earlier Hasbro presentations did and have two hours, or maybe two single hour panels, with one being camera-free, and the other allowing us fans to photograph.  After all, Friday is for (the more dedicated) pre-registered members only, so why not have a panel on that day of the future stuff that walk-ins are less likely to take note of or remember.

Product to fill the gap between Beast Hunters and TF4.
He repeated what Hasbro AUS said, in that new waves would be released of just older figures (similar to how there was a sixth wave of Dexluxe TFPrime that was just older figures to pad out the series). This will occur until the end of the year (to cash in on the cartoon re-runs and the finale movie in September).... and then a new line will be released in Dec/Jan, which will be revealed at tomorrow's panel. (which is noted above)

Wave 1 Beast Hunters being mostly wave one TFPrime.
I raised this to highlight the lack of new product in Australia... in that we had wave 1 TFPrime on shelves all year last year, and then Beast Hunters comes along with mostly the same toy characters, which have now been sitting on shelves for 6 months. I mentioned that this is now the third year of excessive wave 1 stock preventing restocking... which not only means less choice for kids and collectors, but it also hurts the brand enough for retailers to start cutting back on product (Retailers in Australia have totally, or nearlly completely, dropped the Generations, Kreo and Rescue Bots lines).
The product manager was actually surprised to hear that Generations are not being released in Australia (due to lack of retailer support of the Brand after 2-3 years of shelfwarming main-lines) in addition to missing the entire second series of Kreo, and most of TFPrime... he actually typed a note into his phone to look into what is happening in our market. He was a bit disappointed/annoyed that they go to a lot of trouble producing all this product, only to have it not be released in markets that should be stocking it.
(this probably means someone is gonna get in trouble for it at Hasbro AUS... and it'll mean more blacklisting of me by Hasbro AUS)

Construct-a-bots or Construct-bots
It's definitely without the "a", but they prefer to pronounc it with the "a".
But it was interesting to hear that on the panel itself, they were pronouncing it Construct-o-bots, while in person it was more Construct-a-bots.

Rumble & Frenzy colours being swapped by Hasbro in the last 4 years - did a Gen1 cartoon fan make their way into Hasbro and force the change?
It took a while to explain this to him, but once I did, he seemed to understand what I was asking, because he seemed to know who made the recent change, but said that there was no reason given behind it. He basically agreed that it was just a personal preference by that person (who he didn't want to name), to "reset" the colours of those two characters.
(which is disappointing, and creates even more confusion to the fandom, while Takara sticks to the traditional toy colours and Hasbro are now swapping them over)

Decepticon allegiance symbols on Seeker jet wings now the opposite way around.
Prior to when the reissues came out about 10 years ago, all Seeker Jets except Gen2 Starscream, had the symbols on the wings in the same direction as the one on the nose. Then it started being a random thing, some would, some wouldn't. Now it seems that all the Seekers (including the Classics... even the BotCon Rainmakers this year) have the symbols in the opposite direction, which makes it look wrong in jet mode, and ends up being upside down in robot mode.  Since the original cartoon had them upside down, is this another case of someone at Hasbro retconning the toys to homage the cartoon instead of the original toys?
After FunPub's Lanny said that he did it on the Rainmakers to match Earth Military jets, I asked if that may have been the reason why someone at Hasbro was doing it as well.
Clint said he wasn't aware of it (as it is just a minor thing), but agreed that if there isn't a reason for it, the symbols look better being the right way up in both modes.
The guy who was responsible for the Masterpiece Acid Storm was called over, and he said that he specifically made sure that the symbols were the right way up in robot mode, which meant that they were the traditional way around on the wings.

Linkin Park golden Soundwave is still coming, in August. (But it doesn't look as good now, as it is half gold plastic, half shiny gold)

I also asked about the delay with MP Soundwave & Acidstorm in Australia (because their display case had July on both). He said that they should still be released next month globally, and had not heard anything about it being delayed anywhere.
Which means, the delay in Australia is not due to any global reasons (like a delay in production). We just have to wait four months after America gets it, to see it on shelves here.
Which will mean most of us are likely to import it for less during that time, leaving more in stores for other people who can't/won't order online.

I asked about the MP Acid Storm wing flaps not being folded down on the box photo - they are surprised that it was missed, but it is too late to fix it.

There was a big return of 3rd party stuff this year, which I thought might have been FunPub being desperate for dealers. But according to FunPub, it was because Hasbro didn't issue them a demand to restrict it. Which means, FunPub don't care unless Hasbro goes to the trouble of reminding them.

I asked why they don't invite TakaraTomy to have a display of their products at what is supposed to be a Transformers convention, the international convention for Transformers.
Apparently Hasbro don't want to confuse anyone by having TakaraTomy toys on display somewhere at the convention, even if it was no where near their display.
Sure... they don't really care about the 3rd party stuff being sold at the convention as if Hasbro is condoning/supporting it, but official JP stuff that many of the attendees would have at least one of, is considered too risky to confuse people into thinking they are available in America. Ooookay....

Is the mechanical engineering of the actual toys (the individual parts) only done by JP designers?  Is it a talent that Americans at Hasbro just don't have, or just never been nurtured in case anything ever happened to TakaraTomy. Like if they ever got bought out again and shut down, or suddenly went bankrupt during another global financial crisis, would Hasbro be able to do the technical engineering of designs that seems to be soley done in Japan from Hasbro concept drawings.  Is there a worse case scenario if this happened?
It was not something he wanted to speculate, or comment on, if they have backup systems in place.  (I guess if there was a collapse of the JP side of the production process, Hasbro would probably just do a lot of redecos until they could import enough talent from Japan to work on new designs)

Kreo - make new back panels to prevent covering up painted chests... can they be sold as a bag of extras to retro-fit early wave kreons?
Something Hasbro could offer the fans at BotCon or on their store site – replacement Kreon vests in a pack of different colours.  Most of the Kreo with back-kibble have vests that cover up the chest paint-apps... which obviously annoyed people, and wasted the whole point of having the chests painted.  Finally this year, they started producing some “capes” for back kibble, but there are still some with vests because the capes have 4 posts, while the vests have 1 post.  We need a cape with one post, so that people who have Kreons can swap the vests for capes, and be able to see the chest paint-apps.
Maybe they could sell it on the Hasbro site as an exclusive “accessory pack” with enough Capes to cover all previous figures that need them and have extra weapons to make it worth buy, or have 3 maintanence packs covering each series/year so that people aren't forced to buy a lot more than they need.
This has been passed onto the Kreo division for consideration.

Botshots codes missing - all of the multipack boxes in the second series that I bought (from different sources) only had one code-card in them, so only had a portion of the Botshot points advertised on the front of the box. I reported it to Hasbro, but was told that no one else had reported it... without saying if they actually looked into it, by opening up a box and looking for themselves.

Why is licensing being charged, when it should be free, or even paying people to have their brand out there, to compete with the likes of Disney and Nickelodian, who are blitzing the merchandise shelves. TFs branding/logo should be in every department of a department store, to cross-promote and keep the Brand in the faces of consumers who don't go near the toy section or buy toys very often.  It's like Coke or Mcdonalds - you need to do whatever it takes to get your Brand saturating the market, not kept it as an exclusive logo of the elite and charge a hefty fee for the privilage of it. Hasbro has to approve each licensed product anyway, so why charge for licensing when it should be used as a promotional tool, to the extent of even paying to have the Brand on certain high-visual items.  Toys are their main focuse, so they should be increasing the demand on the toys by getting their brands out in all other areas of the department store.
This was obviously not something he could answer as it was a different department, but seemed to agree with the rationale of it.

What was Hasbro's impression of FunPub's handling of the licenses, or if any of the negative feedback from the fandom was getting back to them, as official licenses are a proxy face of Hasbro, and mustn't tarnish their image in the process.... no, I didn't ask that. That would be unproffessional of Hasbro people to comment privately or even publicly about that sort of thing.

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, all I ask is for you to please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The Australian (and Asia) Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction (started way back in 1996 - try to find a Transfan community that's older)
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au