(griffin's 2014 BotCon adventure)

- FRIDAY  21st  JUNE -

6.30am - wake up... worked on my computer to check the messageboard until Dallas woke up about an hour later.
Went to breakfast, which was I was getting bored of because it was the same things every day. Great for those staying one or two days, but when you are there for a week, a bit of variety would be nice.
I had some cereal (Frosties) and a couple of pastries.

8.45am we headed up to the convention centre, to get there before the first panel started at 9am, in the Conference Building this year. (the previous two BotCons it was in the Ballroom)

I also had to bring with me the box of toys that I had pre-sold to Americans through the TFW2005 board (toys that weren't released in America), but only one of the two people showed up to get them.  The rest I donated as Door Prizes and trade for a Mega SCF on the Sunday after the Dealer Room was closed.

We got to the Panel Room (on the lower level) just as people were being let in.  If we had been there 5 minutes earlier we would have been let in first with the other Golden Ticket people, but since there is reserved seating for GT holders, jumping the queue doesn't really matter unless it is a big line and you don't want to wait an extra 60 seconds.

Inside this year's panel room, which was narrower but longer... which meant anyone sitting at the back half (this was taken at the halfway point), wouldn't see much at all.

The first five rows were reserved for Golden Ticket holders, which is one of the things I most value from the extra $300, as it means I don't have to fight for seating or miss things to get/keep a good seat when covering the news for our site.

The first panel was about five minutes late to start, but that's pretty good for them considering most years the panels are late to start and then make everything late.
(one of the FunPub ladies before the Thursday LA tour was not impressed when I joked about it being a tradition for BotCon, after she was telling me that they listed an earlier time for the start of the tour just to offset any fans that are late... a little bit too defensive considering she was the one who first implied that fans are ones who are always the late ones)

9-10 - PANEL - James Roberts (Conference Center room 104)

10-11 - PANEL - Filmfest

11am - DEALER ROOM OPEN (Ballroom)

At the Club Store, none of the at-show toys had sold out yet, nor were any low on stock after the Thursday night sales.  This should mean getting enough for friends on the Saturday when they allow people to buy extras.
They did say though that the Custom Class figure and Membership toy Rampage were both sold out during the Thursday night sales... so they must have cut back on the numbers compared to last year, which they had trouble selling and didn't sell out at all.

It was a rather disappointing year this year for me in the Dealer room, with only five toy purchases, and none were too exciting as there were no new moulds.  Each had its own "good" reason, but nothing to boast about.
For example...
Beast Hunters Prowl - hard to find and it was the last of the 2013 mainline figures I was missing... but isn't a new mould, or a great mould, so is only good for tying up a loose end.
JP Advanced Dino & Soundwave - good to be one of the first outside of Japan to get them, but had to pay US$40 each for getting them a few days earlier than if I had ordered online from my usual source. (and they aren't new moulds either)
Choro-Q Optimus & Megatron - completes the set of six, but they are fragile, tiny toys that are also not new moulds for me (having the other decos already)... but another loose end tied up.

I also bought the Soundwave/My Little Pony limited edition covered comics to go with the Optimus one from last year.. but at US$10 each, it's a lot for something I'm only buying for the cover. At least it has resale value, as they can get about $50 on ebay.
I also got this year's Free Comic Book Day of GIJoe and the Transformers, as IDW had copies at their table to give away. (and an IDW sticker)
Plus, a signed copy of Stan Bush's latest CD.... which I listened to the next day, but didn't like it as much as his previous works.  I listen to his older songs heaps, but this CD only really had the one song on it that I liked, which was the one we had here for a Carlton Beer commercial (Thunder in your Heart).
And that was pretty much it for this year's Dealer Room for me... which is very disappointing, and surprising. I didn't find anything on Saturday to buy, and only found two items on Sunday (and again, neither were new moulds).



During this three hour session of Friday Dealer Room access, after about an hour looking and buying, I prioritised taking photos of everything I could in the Dealer Room - the Hasbro exhibit, the guest exhibits, artists, and Art Contest display (see Dealer Room page for photos).  Plus I had to give time to friends that I bumped into, as well as harassing... um, quizzing, the Hasbro people, in particular their main marketing guy on the Brand, Mark Weber (really nice guy, who did a good job of looking interested in answering fan-questions - I compile a list of Hasbro questions throughout the year and take it with me each year to BotCon).
He told me that the guy from the last two years (Clint Chapman) had moved on from Transformers, so it was a shame to have turnover so quickly after such a long period of Greg Lombardo being the face of Hasbro at BotCon.
Let's see how many BotCons we get out of Mark.


I went back to the Inn and quickly got changed, as I wanted to go straight back to line up for the Universal Studios Fan Event... as we had over a thousand people going, and it was estimated to take about an hour to get everyone onto buses that could only fill up two at a time out the front of the Convention Centre.
Usually I hate wasting time getting somewhere early just to stand in a queue for ages, particularly ones that don't give you a return of the same amount of extra time to the time spent in the queue (like the Dealer Room queue - why get there early and wait for an hour or two, if it only gives you an extra 1-2 minutes on others at the end of the queue, which isn't an advantage to finding things first if you go one way and others go elsewhere and find a bargain first).  But on this occasion, if it takes an hour from 3pm to get everyone at Universal Studios, I'd rather be up the front for 30-40 minutes than get there at 3pm and be near the end, losing an hour at Universal Studios. (queuing up at 2.30pm would mean getting on a bus by about 3.15pm... but queuing up at 3pm would mean getting on a bus at around 4pm - at least half an hour extra at Universal Studios, which we don't have the whole day there so need every extra minute we can get)
Waiting for Dallas to get ready, we left at 2.40pm, which meant getting there at 10 minutes to 3... and we didn't get on a bus until 3.35pm.  Something I was hoping to avoid... but it wasn't the end of the world, and I'm sure I was late for things as well.
As we got onto the buses we were given special badges on lanyards and exclusive Transformers themed tickets to get into the park. (I got Bumblebee, and found an Evac ticket inside the park)
The bus took 35 minutes to get to Universal Studios (4.10pm), but had some trouble finding where buses had to go for dropping off people, as the front area was currently under construction (looked like they were constructing extra parking structures), so it was a bit of a maze.
Before we got off the bus, we were told that buses would start going back to Pasadena every half hour from 8 or 9pm (for those with kids I guess), and then the bulk would be there at 11pm after the last of the Fan Event items.

3.00pm - Bus to Universal Studios - Green Street

8.00-11pm - Exclusive Fan events at Universal Studios after closing

The map of Pasadena to Universal Studios (at Universal City).

The bus back from Universal Studios took about 35 minutes, and with about 10 minutes walk back to the Inn, it was about 11.45pm by the time we got back to the room.
It had already been a long first day of the Convention, but I didn't get to sleep until 2am, as I had messageboard duties to attend to.

Go to next day - SATURDAY 21st JUNE

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine except - Maps are from Google, and BotCon official images are from the BotCon Site. Others will 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 take as many photos as possible, and will only resort to using others if I failed to get something important, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The Australian Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction (started way back in 1996 - probably the oldest Transformers fan community in the world)
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au