(griffin's 2005 BotCon adventure)

- BEFORE  DEPARTURE - BotCon news & planning -

Normally this page is just news and planning relating to just the Convention it leads into, but with the change of owners of the BotCon brand and event, I think it is worth noting a brief history first, for those who are not very familiar with BotCon's 20 year history.

1994 - The very first BotCon was held by the Hartman Brothers on July 16th in Fort Wayne Indiana, and became an annual event with different hosts for the first three years.
1995 - BotCon was in Dayton Ohio, hosted by a long time fan with the online name of Raksha.
1996 - The third BotCon was in Chicago, run by a business called Men in Black, and their business approach meant losing focus on making it work as a fan event, and was one of the least popular BotCons by attendees.
1997 - The founders of BotCon join with Glen Hallit to form 3H, and decide to run the convention each year after the tag-team approach was spoiled the year before because fans weren't running it with a fan focus.
The American BotCon was held in New York state and had the first Australian attend a BotCon.  This year also saw the first of three Japanese Transformers conventions with the name BotCon (used with permission).
1998 - BotCon was again held in America and Japan, with the Japanese BotCon having their own exclusive transforming toys this time.
1999 - Again there were two BotCons this year, but they were in America and Europe this time.  (the American one this year was my first BotCon)
2000 - Another year of two BotCons, being in America and Japan this year.
2001 - Just the sole American BotCon this year.

2002 - This was seen as the golden age of BotCon, growing to such popularity that it was seen as the convention that Transformers fans everywhere considered a necessary thing to do at least once in their life as a fan.  But we didn't realise that behind the scenes of this years Convention, Glen Hallit had squeezed out the founding Hartmans of their own convention by secretly signing up an exclusive deal with Hasbro to be the sole owner of a license to host a Transformers convention and fanclub. Europe had another BotCon as well, which would be their last.  It is unknown if Glen purposefully chose a similar company name (3H Productions - while 3H Enterprises was the existing company name) to mislead Hasbro into thinking they were signing on with the Hartmans as well, or to mislead fans into not noticing that it was a new company running the show.

2003 - The convention for this year was initially advertised as BotCon, but ended up being renamed as the Official Convention because the Hartmans own the name BotCon. Even though Hasbro were endorsing this convention like the last nine annual American conventions, this would be the one year that didn't have an "official" BotCon anywhere in the world.

2004 - To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Transformers and to retire the BotCon brand on a high in its 10th anniversary, the Hartmans joined up with a new person (Pete Sinclair) and gave us one of the most fan-favourite BotCon's we ever had, on the weekend of June 19-20th. There were so many people wanting to be a guest in the final weeks that I heard that some had to be turned away.
Then a month later at the end of July, the second and final Official Convention was held by Glen Hallit. Things must have already been getting so bad for Hallit that Hasbro approached Fun Publications (a current license holder for GIJoe) a week before the Official Convention, to offer them the option of taking over the licenses for hosting an annual convention and fanclub.  They accepted, and had to take on a "fan council" of long-term Transformers fans to give them guidence, as FunPub was a business run by GIJoe fans who each have declared that they aren't Transformers fans.

2005 - The new chapter of BotCon, run by Fun Publications, was held on September 23-25th.


That's a VERY short history of BotCon up to 2005.

Up next is the news and planing that lead up to the 2005 Convention, which begins at the time of the 2004 BotCon in Los Angeles.
Some of it relates to both of the 2004 conventions (and will be included in the 2004 reports), as well as news items that aren't about the Conventions, but it all ties into the 2005 convention, either for being referred to at the convention, or being some of the problems that led to its change of ownership.



June 19-20th
BotCon was held in Pasadena (Los Angeles) California. And it was supposed to be the last BotCon.
After thinking that I was the only Australian at the convention, I found out on the 21st on the way back to the Airport, that there was another Australian there this year (Roady Prime/Chris). I later found out that this was actually his fourth Transformers convention, and I had no idea until now.


June 23rd
While stopping in Auckland for refuelling on the way back to Australia, I actually saw Chris in the airport, despite us being on different planes from America to Australia.  We just happened to both end up refuelling in Auckland at the same time.  I was too tired to go over to him and strike up a dialogue, and just decided that I would email him when I got back home.


June 24th
I was able to work out Chris's email from the Ozformers membership listing, and emailed him to see if it really was him at the Convention.
He replied that it was, and mentioned that he might go again next year, but wasn't too sure, as we were of the understanding at this time that the Official Convention (OTFCC) would be the only one in 2005, and it's track record so far was making it very unreliable (the location for this years Official Convention next month was already re-located to a nearby venue due to financial issues).
Back in 2003 at the first OTFCC, it was suggested that it would be held in Los Angeles in 2005... which we were both happy about as it would make it cheaper like this year (which was also in LA).
(obviously that 2005 convention never happened)

We both had an interest in going again next year, but we agreed that we would wait until we hear about where it is, and what events are announced first... and then reconnect to see if we wanted to share a room next year.


July 31st - August 1st
The Official Convention (OTFCC) was held in Chicago Illinois, and as far as I know, there were two Australians (but not me - this would be the first Hasbro endorsed American Transformers convention that I would miss since 1999).


August 31st (September 1st in Australia)
(Ozformers News email)
OTFCC is over.
The Official Transformers Collectors Club and Convention is no longer operated by Glen Hallit's 3H Productions (not to be confused with the Hartman's 3H Enterprises which did the first few BotCon conventions).
Due to failures on Glen's part to not fulfill the license contracts, Hasbro have taken back the official licenses.
If there is interest from other parties to do an annual convention or fanclub, it will most likely be more business oriented, mainly because Hasbro would require it. (this was a copy of the actual news email I sent out to Ozformers members on that day, and wasn't that prediction of mine end up being so true)
BotCon was doing just fine before he did the sneaky deals with Hasbro and messed up the formula, resulting in killing off the BotCon brand (in 2002) and then killing off the fan-run Hasbro-endorsed convention (in 2004). And now fans were thinking that we had lost the big annual fan-event, and would have to resort to the smaller, localised, fan-run, unofficial conventions.

Below is a posting to a fan forum in America from Glen announcing its end.

"Fellow Transfans,
It is with heavy heart that I write to you this first day of September. A wash of emotions are overshadowing the near and far future for us
personally and moving forward as a company. Due to constant delays on our part concerning the Collector Plates, Skywarp action figure, and delays in
shipping Sentinel Maximus and the Club Magazine, Hasbro has decided it was in their best interest and in their right to pull both licenses from 3H
Productions, as it violated the contracts we had with them. As of this day forward, we are no longer a licensee of Hasbro, Inc. What this means is
they (Hasbro), essentially, will be taking care of the loose ends concerning the above items in some way. We are no longer allowed to advertise,
promote, or sell anything further from this past year, or previous years's, conventions.
What the future holds for 3H Productions is anyone's guess. I have many a meeting with my lawyers concerning what the best move forward would be for
me to make, personally and business-wise, in light of all this transpiring. Bankruptcy? Maybe it might be a smart move. Other convention options?
Probably not, I have finally been beaten. It is quite odd to be sitting here typing these words, as I've personally lost more than my fair share of
monies since 1997 (in excess of $150,000 to make it known to people who claim I'm doing this for money) to make the convention the best possible
event it could be. I was never in it for the money, and that was my ultimate undoing. The business model I have used since 1997 could not work within
the constraints due to the "official" status. In some respects, Raksha and the like were right in becoming official wasn't a blessing at all.
I sit here looking at refund lists, Club Magazine issue 2 pages, the TRANSFAN event calendar and the publishing schedule for TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE
and WRECKERS. All now unofficial and worthless. A killer proposal was sent in months ago for next year, but deep down we knew there wasn't a chance
to get renewed. They want more money and a better, tighter running of the show and club. Sad to say, but we could no longer continue operating that
way and finally, the ball has dropped.
In the upcoming weeks, once we can settle this mess, maybe we'll provide an unofficial look at the remaining WRECKERS issues and pictures of the
exclusive proposals Slugslinger as Devcon, Strongarm as Brawn, Strongarm as Roadbuster, RiD Megatron as Beast Wars Megatron, and pictures of the Last
Autobot, Defensor. To top it off, a fan poll was designed so the community could pick the final exclusive mold choice for next year Energon Arcee, BW
II Thrustol, and 6 others were on there. That was proposed during the Licensing show in NYC months before the renewal proposal went in.
I cannot begin to apologize to each and every one of you. I feel I have let you all down, something which I hate to do to anyone. I was in it for the
long haul, to make sure all obligations were met, and to be able to move forward, no matter the obstacles and difficulties. Unfortunately, that
decision is no longer mine to make. I'll miss you all, especially the crazy crew of helpers we had at this past convention. For all those that
supported what we did since 1997, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. For those critics, I'm hoping your words came from a good place in
your hearts that made you speak out so against the operation of 3H. If not, well now you can attack someone else online ;-)
I am a fan once again. And it feels very liberating. I get to join in discussions, buy toys that excite me, watch the show from an uninformed point
of view something I've been sadly missing for years now. I wish whomever runs the convention and club the best of luck in the future and I sincerely
hope this fan community does not get taken advantage of monetarily, resource-wise, or any other way. You are all too good of people to let that
happen. Continue to express your opinions and feelings to Hasbro. They NEED to hear you, regardless of good or bad tidings.
The last 8 years have been great. It has been a long run, longer than I thought I would last. I've met a great number of people, some of whom I'm
proud to call my friends and I hope to see you all at the next convention and chit chat, from a fan, as a fan. Who knows? Maybe I'll write a memoir
about the convention years and give an insider's look behind the scenes. So many stories, so many pictures, so many miles of history and voyage. I'll
keep up with you folks periodically, as I work through the mess that is before me. The website is redirecting everyone to the Official Hasbro
Transformers website for now. Eventually, it may just go away, as I am doing for now temporarily.
Take care all of you. Relief for me as been granted in some strange way. My concerns need to focus on family and friends. This experience has at
least granted me that perspective on what is truly important in life. Remember folk, they are just toys. Relationships, positive relationships, are
what drive the world and people in community. Especially this one.
Talk to you soon, maybe? Next year at the Official Hasbro Toy Convention or whatever it is called next?
I'm done and out.
Warmest regards,
Glen, Amy, Dan, Scott, Glenn, and anyone else at 3H Productions."

As a parting gift from the OTFCC creative team, pictures were released of convention exclusive ideas that may or may not have happened.
The first is a blue recolour of the RiD Super Optimus toy, which the small robot would have been called Hotspot and the larger one would have been called Defensor. This character was referred to on the Mega Zarak packaging.
The other pictures are drawings of other recolours, which would have had different heads on the toys to resemble that character from Generation One.
Energon Strongarm as Brawn and Roadbuster
Energon Slugslinger as Devcon
RiD Megatron coloured as Beast Wars Megatron
(the images below were publically released to the allspark website)


This would end up leaving a lot of fans (including me) out of pocket of a number of pre-ordered items that the Official Club didn't end up providing... including one of the 2004 Convention toys (Sentinel Maximus - toys were already made and later sent out by Hasbro), 2003 souvenir plates (possibly also made as they were also sent out later by Hasbro), the Mega SFC Skywarp figure (never made, not sure if it was up for pre-order), and the full-year Club membership (credit was given to the new licensed Club, which the cost would have also been covered by Hasbro)


September 1st
Hasbro posted up a short statement on their website after concerns and complaints were pouring in about the OTFCC and Official Club. Considering they had already pulled the licenses from Glen Hallit, this announcement from Hasbro was some what odd... unless Hasbro thought Glen would still be intending to fulfil outstanding purchases/pre-orders, but hadn't seen his public announcement of quitting yet (from the day before).

(from the Hasbro website)
3H Productions and OTFCC
Hasbro is aware of the issues that fans have experienced with 3H Productions and we continue to make every effort to ensure that 3H Productions fulfills its obligation to fans.
The Transformers collectors community is very important to Hasbro. We understand that there is much speculation on the Internet and we appreciate your patience as this matter is resolved.


September 22nd
(posted on the Hasbro news website)
3H Productions Update
Hasbro continues to work towards resolution of the outstanding product orders between fans and 3H Productions. Please know that we have been working diligently to come to a solution as quickly as possible and want to thank you for your continued patience. Of course, we will keep you posted as we have additional information.


October 5th
(posted on the Hasbro news website)
3H Productions Update
Hasbro has filed suit in New York State Court, Monroe County, against 3H Productions in an effort to ensure that collectors of Transformers toys and other merchandise who have paid 3H for certain Transformers branded merchandise receive their products or are refunded their monies.
We are pleased to tell you that we have retrieved the Sentinel Maximus figures from 3H.  Because 3H did not have the packaging printed, we are in the process of doing so.  Upon completion of the packaging, we will ship the Sentinel Maximus figures to all fans who ordered and paid for them per 3H's records.  We expect the printing to be completed in approximately four to six weeks, and the figures will ship thereafter.
We appreciate your continued patience and will keep you posted on additional details as we continue to work towards resolving these issues.


November 17th
After reclaiming the Sentinel Maximus toys back from Glen Hallit, Hasbro did up their own packaging and was now shipping them out to people who pre-paid one (including me), as long as their address was still current.

(posted on the Hasbro news website)
We are very pleased to inform fans who purchased TRANSFORMERS SENTINEL MAXIMUS figures from 3H Productions that Hasbro has completed packaging and the figures are beginning to ship to all who ordered and paid for them per 3H's records. As a special thank you to fans for their loyalty and patience, the TRANSFORMERS team has created a new and special look for the SENTINEL MAXIMUS package.
We continue to work on resolving the remaining issues surrounding the Official TRANSFORMERS Collectors Convention (OTFCC) and Fan Club and will keep you posted as we have additional information.
Thank you for your patience and continued support of Transformers!

This is mine,




Within a couple of weeks, the toys were selling on ebay for mostly $70-100, while some over-estimated the value of this unusual release, by listing it for $200-530... not that they got it.


December 20th
Another of the unreleased pre-paid items from Glen Hallit's business (which I also had pre-ordered), was being shipped out by Hasbro. It sounds like the plates were produced but held at the factory, possibly due to non-payment.  If so, Hasbro must have paid the outstanding bill and shipped them out to the fans who had pre-paid for them over a year before.

(posted on the Hasbro news website)
The "2003 Collector Plates" are on their way!
Some more good news for TRANSFORMERS toy fans.  While delayed due to issues with 3H Productions, Hasbro has now independently arranged for shipping of the 2003 Collector Plates, and has received confirmation from the factory that produced them that they are due to begin shipping on December 20, 2004.  As you are aware, these plates were promised from 3H Productions to all fans who attended the 2003 dinner or paid for them by special order.
Therefore, names and addresses for shipping, as well as for confirmation of payment, were derived from 3H Production's records. Please keep an eye out for them!
(image is official promotional image)


December 29th
News was surfacing from a number of sourcs that the official club & convention licenses had been awarded by Hasbro, to a company that already had the licenses for the GIJoe club & convention.

The official licenses begin in January.




January 3rd
Hasbro makes the official announcement of Fun Publications getting the licenses for the Transformers Club and Convention.
Details were given of the club's structure (below) and for those who were paid members of Glen Hallit's official Club (like me), they would have their membership carry over to FunPub's Club (the cost was probably covered by Hasbro to keep the fans happy... or to make up for selling the license to Hallit in the first place), provided they register with the new club by a specific date.
It also announces the creation of a Fan Advisory Board to reassure Transformers fans that the Club and Convention wasn't just being left in the hands of GIJoe fans.  Well known fans on the board are Jon Hartman, Rik Alvarez, Pete Sinclair, Karl Hartman and Ben Yee.

(posted on the Hasbro news website)
New TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club Announcement
To all Transformers Fans:
Hasbro's goal for its TRANSFORMERS Club and Convention has always been to create a fun and exciting experience for TRANSFORMERS fans. We realize that the convention specifically is a great opportunity for the TRANSFORMERS community to come together.  And we are pleased to announce the formation of a new TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club, which will be run by Fun Publications.
Led by Brian Savage, Fun Publications has a long history with Hasbro, successfully managing the G.I. JOE Collectors Club and Convention for the past ten years.  His track record and dependability made him an excellent choice to take over TRANSFORMERS. We are very excited about Brian's expertise and the new direction for the club and convention. Brian has a personal passion for collecting that has already been expanded to include TRANSFORMERS toys and products.
We are also thrilled that Jon Hartman, Rik Alvarez, Pete Sinclair, Karl Hartman and Ben Yee have volunteered to take an active role in the new Club, to serve as an "advisory board" to Brian and the rest of the Fun Publications team. These gentlemen obviously bring a wealth of TRANSFORMERS brand knowledge and experience to the table and will be working behind the scenes in a variety of ways.
We invite you to check out http://www.transformersclub.com  for more details in the coming weeks.
As many fans know, Hasbro has been working to resolve several outstanding issues between collectors and 3H Productions, the former entity running the TRANSFORMERS fan club and convention.  At its own expense, Hasbro has been able to complete and ship the Sentinel Maximus 2004 convention exclusive toy and the 2003 convention collector plates to customers that had paid for such items according to 3H Production's records.
We have also been addressing the outstanding issues of the unpublished fan club magazines, the Skywarp club exclusive figure and Wreckers #4. Unfortunately, these items were never produced or paid for by 3H Productions, and accordingly, Hasbro has not been able to fulfill these 3H Productions obligations.
However, since the fan community is so important to us and because we want get off to a great start with the new TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club, any OTFCC member that can provide us with a cancelled check or original credit card statement proving their paid membership in the TRANSFORMERS fan club for 2004, will have their membership rolled over to the new TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club for calendar year 2005.  Proof of payment can be sent to TRANSFORMERS Club, Mail Stop B-850, 1027 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02862 by April 15, 2005.
Similarly, for fans that ordered and paid for Wreckers #4 and can supply us with a cancelled check or original credit card receipt we will provide a discount in the amount paid towards membership to the new TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club.  Proof of payment can be sent to TRANSFORMERS Club, Mail Stop B-850, 1027 Newport Avenue, Pawtucket, RI 02862 by April 15, 2005.
We expect that TRANSFORMERS fans will be as pleased as we are to be working with Brian and his team at Fun Publications.  We are thrilled to be able to continue with the convention and collectors club.  Stay tuned to www.transformersclub.com for the club's upcoming launch.
On behalf of the entire TRANSFORMERS team, thank you for your support. We think you will like the direction we are headed and hope to have you as part of our community in 2005 and beyond.

(scan from the BotCon program guide, introducing us to the Fan Council)


January 4th
Dreamwave officially closes its doors, making it a bad half-year for Transformers fans, with the sudden closure of the official Club & Convention and the Comic company, and it would take 4-5 months for both to return to new owners.
Glen Hallit's Club & Convention closed September and returned in January with Fun Publications.
Dreamwave closed in January and IDW would be announced as the new licensed comic company in May.

It was noted by fans that most of this press release by Dreamwave was exaggerated or incorrect, to try to save face over their own failures and dodgy dealings (it was found out later that the founding owners hadn't been paying their staff, and were spending and syphoning off money from the company, to allow themselves to set up a new business and website almost straight away).

(Posted to ATT newsgroup)
Toronto, Ontario - January 4, 2005  - Dreamwave Productions announced today that after eight years in the comics industry, four of which they were self-published, they will be ceasing operations.
Established in 1996 by brothers Pat and Roger Lee, Dreamwave infused a stagnant comic book market with art and design that effortlessly combined the then dominant "American" art style with the newly emerging Japanese "Manga" art style. Since then, the company had grown to become one of the comic book industry's premiere publishers, producing a variety of original titles.
In 2002, Dreamwave firmly established itself in the comic industry as a force to be reckoned with when it launched an all-new Transformers comic's line. The return of the 80's icons shattered industry sales records, skyrocketing the book to the number one sales slot for an impressive six months. The Toronto-based company's other successful licenses included Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Duel Masters from Japan, as well as properties like Devil May Cry and Mega Man from video game giant Capcom Entertainment. President of Dreamwave Productions, Pat Lee stated "there are a number of reasons for my decision to close Dreamwave", citing that "the shrinking comic book market combined with a weak U.S. dollar and unsustainable monetary commitments has finally proven to be too financially taxing."
As the only Canadian independent comics publisher, Dreamwave Productions has struggled in recent years to maintain its status within a relentlessly shrinking comic book market. Unfortunately, consistently diminishing sales totals over the last several years have taken their toll on the small publisher and made it impossible to continue.
The specific details for closure have not yet been released but Lee assures both fans and clients alike that "although this is the end of Dreamwave as a comics publisher, I will still be penciling a number of new exciting projects in conjunction with other studios in the upcoming years."
PR & Marketing Department
Dreamwave Productions


January 4th
Hasbro puts out a comment to reassure fans that they were already looking for a new comic company to take on the license.

(posted on Hasbro's news website)
Hasbro's contract with DreamWave Productions for Transformers publiscations expird at the end of 2004. Prior to that, we began discussions with several publishers interested in continuing the Transformers comic book series and expect to announce our new publisher shortly.

This resulted in the following items listed on Previews/Diamond, no longer being released.
NOV04 2624a TRANSFORMERS BEAST WARS #1 cov A $2.99
NOV04 2624b TRANSFORMERS BEAST WARS #1 cov B $2.99
NOV04 2624c TRANSFORMERS BEAST WARS #1 cov C $2.99
NOV04 2624i TRANSFORMERS BEAST WARS #1 incent $?


January 11th
Hasbro Accepting Additional Proof of Purchase for Collector Club Membership.

(posted on the Hasbro news website)
Hasbro's TRANSFORMERS team wants to thank our fans for the positive feedback we have received following our announcement that Fun Publications will be launching a new TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club and Convention.  Based on this feedback, we learned that many fans paid cash for their membership in 3H Productions' Official TRANSFORMERS Collectors Club and were not given any receipt.  As proof of members' payments by cash, Hasbro has decided to accept a photocopy of the cover of the first issue of the club's newsletter sent by 3H Productions  bearing the  member address label and/or a copy of the "welcome letter" sent by 3H Productions.  Of course, we will still accept a copy of a cancelled check or original credit card statement or PayPal payment confirmation.  Any of the above proofs of payment must be sent to:
TRANSFORMERS Club Mail Stop B-850
1027 Newport Avenue
Pawtucket, RI 02862
by April 15, 2005 in order for the membership to transfer over to the new club for 2005.
Once again, many thanks to the fans for your enthusiasm.  Here's to a great 2005!


January 11th
New official collector club open for registration.

(posted on the new Club website - http://www.transformersclub.com)
Welcome to the new Hasbro Transformers Collectors' Club (TCC)!
We are very excited to bring you this NEW club with a bi-monthly 16 page four-COLOR newsletter!
Your bi-monthly newsletter will contain information on everything Transformers, from G1 to Cybertron. It will include product reviews, shipping schedules, information on new releases and interviews with Hasbro Transformers designers. Each issue will also include an exclusive ongoing 6 page Transformers comic. The comic story will start with the first issue of each year and conclude with the final issue of that year, making a complete 36 page comic.
Your newsletter will come every other month stitched in the center of your issue of Master Collector. Master Collector is an indexed Toy and Doll trading newspaper with several thousand classified ads each month. With your club membership you
receive a free 30- word ad each month that will be placed in the print version and online version of Master Collector. In addition, one person chosen each month at random that has placed a specific ad for a Transformers item, will receive a free Transformers figure!
During the in-between months, you will receive your Master Collector and a small insert with upcoming shipping and ordering information.
Here is the really big news! If you join the Transformers Collectors' Club by March 18, 2005 you will receive a FREE Exclusive Transformers Collectors' Club figure! This figure belongs to a combiner group, so over the next 5 years, you will receive each piece to build this exclusive club combiner! During the next 4 years you will receive (as long as your membership is in good standing) the four limbs to this set. During the 25th Anniversary year, you will receive the main body. Who is this character and why is he so unique? Details to follow…
What else do we have planned for you? Plenty. We are working on club exclusive figures, club forum, club store (where you can order your Transformers directly) as well as the Hasbro International Transformers Club Convention. The Convention date is not set in stone but it looks like it will be sometime in the fall of 2005.
Here is what you get with your membership:
16 page bi-monthly (6 times a year) newsletter containing articles on:
New Releases, Shipping Schedules, News from Hasbro, Product Reviews, Historical Articles, Hasbro Interviews, 6 page ongoing Comic-book in each issue (all of the 2005 issues make one story), FREE Membership Transformer (if you join by March 18), Able to purchase member's only figures from the club store, Club store featuring all Transformers Products, Discounts on packages to the Transformers Convention, Member's Only Forum (starting in February), Prizes from Club Contests, Master Collector Subscription, Free 30 word ad in Master Collector each month to use for buy, sell & trade, Free Transformer given to one club member each month, drawn from the ads place in Master Collector.

Here is what you need to do now:
There are two links on this page, One will let you sign up for the club using a major credit card (Visa, Discover, or Master Card); the other link will let you sign up for the first issue at no charge (US addresses only).
If you do sign up for a full club membership before January 18th, you will receive 14 months (that's 7 newsletter issues and 7 extra Master Collectors).
You can also send a check or money order (international orders please use an international MO) to:
225 Cattle Baron Parc Dr,
Fort Worth, TX 76108.
You can call 800-772-6673 with a Visa, Disc, or MC.
Your bi-monthly newsletter will come stitched inside your issue of Master Collector and you can send in a free 30 word ad for Master Collector each month. Third Class subscriptions should be received by the 11th of each month. First Class subscriptions should be received by the 1st of each month. The first issue will be February 2005. By signing up by January 18th, you will receive 7 issues instead of the normal 6! Your first issue is free!

THIRD CLASS MAIL TRANSFORMERS COLLECTORS CLUB $40.00 per year for 12 issues (Includes 12 Master Collectors And 6 newsletters coming in Feb., April, June, August, Oct., Dec.)

FIRST CLASS MAIL TRANSFORMERS COLLECTORS CLUB $62.00 per year for 12 issues (Includes 12 Master Collectors And 6 Newsletters coming in Feb., April, June, August, Oct., Dec.)

CANADIAN FIRST CLASS MAIL TRANSFORMERS COLLECTORS CLUB $69.00 per year for 12 issues (Includes 12 Master Collectors And 6 Newsletters coming in Feb., April, June, August, Oct., Dec.)

FOREIGN/OTHER COUNTRIES AIR MAIL TRANSFORMERS COLLECTORS CLUB $89.00 per year for 12 issues (Includes 12 Master Collectors And 6 Newsletters coming in Feb., April, June, August, Oct., Dec.)

For past members of the 3H OTFCC:
You are entitled to a free one year membership in the new TCC provided that you can supply Hasbro with proof of membership by April 15th. We realize the dates for the free figure giveaway do not mesh as our deadline is March 18th, so here is the deal: If you go ahead and sign up with a paid membership, any membership credit due provided to us by Hasbro will be added to your existing membership. For example. If you signed up with us and your end date is 1/01/06, we would extend your membership end date to 1/01/07. Same goes with the partial credits that could come from the Wreckers #4 proof of purchase. Any membership credit that we receive from Hasbro will be added to your existing membership end date. This way, you will not miss a single issue!


January 11th
Transformer Collector Club magazine comic preview.


First week of February
The first issue of the Club Newsletter (FEB/MAR) comes out, noting the Convention as being likely in the Fall (our Spring).
(us in Australia get our copy of the newsletter at the end of the month)


Early February
Comic Company Devils Due is in the running to pick up the Transformers comic license, but not yet confirmed as Hasbro is still talks with comic companies.

(From Comic Book Resources website)
I hear the ink is not quite as dry on the "Transformers" license between Hasbro and Devil's Due as I might have implied. And that this week a number of publishers were flying out to meet and greet the Hasbro boys...  I've also been told that Devil's Due may have balked at some of the terms demanded by Hasbro and may have passed on the license. Or at least, passed on it for now, as it currently stands. Certainly their relationship with Hasbro and the generally well accepted and well selling "G.I. Joe" has made them the most favoured publisher. But contracts are contracts. Diamond's almost unique decision not to cancel the ordered "Transformers" books, but keep them active for the next publisher to use without starting solicitations from scratch is due to a very hands on approach from Hasbro.
Expect the next publisher to have to deal with that kind of thing a lot.


February 18th
The first press release announcing the Transformers Movie that came out in mid-2007, but was originally slated for mid 2006. It also notes a different writer than who ended up writing it.

TRANSFORMERS, the brand that has been a legendary kid and collector favorite that is "MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE," is making the leap to the big screen for its first worldwide, live-action film. With the popular toys, comic book line and animated series on the Cartoon Network, the time has come!
Slated for release in the summer of 2006, DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures will develop the movie, with Steven Spielberg as Executive Producer. Lorenzo di Bonaventura ("Constantine"), Don Murphy ("The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen") and Tom DeSanto ("X-Men" and "X2: X-Men United") are also attached to produce. John Rogers ("The Core" and "American Outlaws") is on board as the writer for the motion picture. A TRANSFORMERS toy and game line supporting the movie will be available in summer 2006. The Hasbro Properties Group is currently signing licensees from around the world in all major merchandise categories.


March 27th
The second issue of the Club Newsletter (APR/MAY) was given an advance viewing at a Transformers convention in America (TransformersCon).

(posted on Seibertron)
Pete Sinclair and Karl Hartman of the Transformers Collector's Club were at TransformersCon this weekend with copies of the next issue of the Collector's Club Magazine.
The issue gives details of the official Transformers 2005 convention which will be called Botcon! (the title BotCon has been sold to Fun Publications Inc).

(from the newsletter, when it arrived in Australia at the end of April)
The convention will be at Frisco (north of Dallas) Texas, at the Embassy Suites Hotel for the weekend of September 22-25. Registration forms will be available by May 1st.
(Registration forms didn't get released until June 9th - hopefully this isn't a first sign of the delays we should expect from them when it comes to BotCon announcements and registration)

The newsletter also notes that the convention brochure and registration form will be posted out to members. (I don't think I got this - maybe it was only posted out to Americans because they were more likely to attend than non-Americans)
Preliminary details include - a day tour on Thursday and registration pickup on Thursday night, plus Friday events that include panels and Dealer Room access.... adding a third day to the convention, that excited some (for making it a longer convention), but frustrated others (who work or study and previously would only be able to fly/drive in Friday night and fly/drive out Sunday night).  For me who has to take a whole day to get there and back, it would make it more difficult to get more time off work and cost more money for accomodation, but I was keen to have a longer Transformers convention.
The newsletter also noted that they will be having a prize draw at the end of the convention for free (domestic) travel to the 2006 convention, which would become a regular feature for the FunPub BotCons.
Hotel reservation numbers were listed, and we were told to mention the BotCon convention for a cheaper rate. (US$129 per night plus tax)


March 28th
Having the date and hotel details released, I emailed RoadyPrime/Chris to see what his thoughts were on going this year, and if he wanted to share with me.

He replied to say that he was already planning to go, and would probably be there from Wednesday to Monday... which is what I would have thinking of doing too as I had done that since 2001.
He noted that he prefers to be on his own, but if the costs were expensive, he might make an exception.


April 7th
I received notification that I was now registered online to the Club, but I must have been registered to the club by February as I had received the first issue in that month.
This was probably required for members to shop with the Club's online store, as the registration to their Conventions was all by Fax until 2010.


May 2nd
Chris emailed me to see if I had locked in travel plans yet, as he had already booked his flights.
Arriving in Dallas at 5.30pm, Wednesday 21st.
Departing 8.10pm, Monday 26th.

He also asked if he should book a room for the both of us.

I told him that I was probably going to book flights in a couple weeks as I still didn't have enough saved up yet to pay for it. It was still about five months away, so there was plenty of time to save up for all the expenses.
I said that he could book a hotel room in case he got there before I did (if he still wanted to share with me), and if I get there before him, I'd just wait around for him to show up. (for some reason I didn't think to get Chris to have my name on the registration, so that I could check-in if I arrived first).


May 3rd
Chris emails me with a copy of the room booking details, with 2 double beds for five nights.
The tax rate was a whopping 13%.

Embassy Suites Hotel Dallas-Frisco, TX
7600 John Q. Hammons Drive
Frisco, Texas 75034
Phone: 1-972-712-7200
Fax: 1-972-712-7221

Check in:                   Wed, Sep 21, 2005
Check out:                  Mon, Sep 26, 2005

Rate Description:    TRANSFORMERS CONVTN
Rate Per Night: $129.00

Total for Stay per Room:
Rate (USD)          645.00
Taxes                83.85
Total               728.85

At the current exchange rate, that works out to about AU$470 each, but closer to the convention, it would be recalculated and transfered to Chris so that he would have it on his credit card by the time he checks in.


May 4th
Email from the Collector Club, to let us know that registration would be delayed by a month...

We are also still working on the Botcon information which we thought would be ready by the first of May. We are still missing some information and we hope to have these ready to go by the end of May.


May 13th
According to a press release, the Japanese Transformers company Takara was being taken over, and would be renamed.  The prospect of the new company changing focus that could mean less or no Transformers toys was another blow to a fandom already dealing with disruption in the Comic and Convention fields.

(from Tformers)
Takara will be disolved & Tomy will be the surviving company since Tomy will have the majority of the shares. Tomy's Toyama Mikitarou president will assume the position of the President & Representative Director, Chairman Keita Sato of Takara will assume the position of the Representative Director Vice President & Chairman Masami Ochiai will assume the position from the index of the director. On September 1, there will also be a new strategic joint venture company established with the tentative name "Takara Tomy Network" which will concentrate on media aspects such as television, cellular phones & procurement of projects of animation production companies & new content.
As a result of the merger, the new entity will be known as "Takara Tomy" and will be established on March 1, 2006. (ten months later)


May 19th
Hasbro announces that a new comic company has been signed up with the Transformers comic license - called IDW Publishing.

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (May 19, 2005) – The Hasbro Properties Group (HPG), the intellectual property development arm of Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS), intends to
license its popular TRANSFORMERS brand to IDW Publishing (http://www.idwpublishing.com/) for the introduction of a new line of TRANSFORMERS comic
books. Adding to the successful TRANSFORMERS comic book library that currently includes more than 30 titles, IDW will re-launch a much-anticipated
new line of TRANSFORMERS comics. The first comic, a special introductory "0" issue, would debut in October 2005. The next comic in the series would
debut in January 2006. The comic books are expected to include the classic Generation One (G1) storyline, as well as new plotlines and new series,
and would be distributed to a wider audience through comic book outlets, trade bookstores and mass retailers.

"This year, the TRANSFORMERS property will gain greater exposure among both core supporters and new fans of the brand, as the comics are distributed
at mass market for the first time," said Tom Klusaritz, vice-president of global publishing for the Hasbro Properties Group. "We’re excited that IDW
plans to publish the TRANSFORMERS comics, as well as expand upon the storyline by utilizing the best TRANSFORMERS writers and illustrators globally."
IDW Publishing, the publishing arm of Idea and Design Works, LLC, is the comic book licensee of several popular shows, such as CSI (CBS), 24 (FOX),
and ANGEL (Fox). IDW is also home to successful adaptations of comics based on the Konami videogames Metal Gear Solid and Castlevania, and movie
adaptations from Dawn of the Dead to Shaun of the Dead. In both 2004 and 2005, they were awarded Diamond Comics’ Gem Award for "Publisher of the
Year." For the TRANSFORMERS series, IDW plans on using a mix of well-known and up-and-coming illustrators, inkers and writers to bring the property
to new heights.

IDW PUBLISHING is a division of Idea + Design Works, LLC, a revolutionary creative service company with a wide range of clients. Among their best-
selling titles are CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Konami’s Metal Gear Solid; and GrimJack: Killer Instinct. IDW has films in development at
Sony Pictures, Dimension Films, and Paramount Pictures.


May 22nd
I email Chris to say that I still haven't booked flights yet, but should be able to afford it in the next 2 weeks.
I sent him links to two maps I had done up from Mapquest (before Google maps), for him to use as well if he wanted.

The first map was to show where the Frisco hotel was located from the Airport that we would be flying in to.
The star on the left is the airport, while the star at the top is the location of the hotel/convention.

(I thought it was amusing that Frisco was located near a place called "The Colony", as it was something that stuck in my head since Beast Wars, which was what Inferno called his stasis pod.)

This second map shows the area around the hotel, with department stores, toy stores, a grocery store, some fast food outlets, and the nearest post
office, which is a fair distance north.  Print it out if you need to, and use it when you get there.
While this second map was the nearby area to the hotel, showing approximate locations of major stores that Mapquest was able to show me... which would only show the location on the road, not which side or within a big block of land away from the road... so all those stars in a row near the bottom of the map could have been on either side of the road - I just had to hope that they were obvious when I get there (I never found the Kaybee).

I included some food places that I was likely to use, and the nearest post office some distance to the north (just in case it was necessary).


May 25th
It is confirmed that Michael Bay will be directing the 2007 Transformers movie, commenting on it while he was still finishing up on his previous movie "The Island".

(from IGN)
"I mean, I've gotta finish this one first. We're starting to hire people. The thing is, I haven't read a script yet. I've just heard a pitch from the
writers. The script's coming in next week."
Bay says it wasn't so much the show that appealed to him, but more the prospect of starting a new family film franchise. "I'm not necessarily a fan
of the show, but I love the writer's take on this. I love the whole changing up of the machines. The hook the writers have, I'm really into. I've
always wanted to do kind of a big family movie, a franchise piece, so that's why I'm interested in it."
Although Bay was reluctant to commit to directing the film, it did sound like he's ready to get to get to work on the film should the
script be ready. "It would be my next film, yes."
Earlier in the day, writers of The Island and Transformers, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, also spoke to press about Transformers. "In terms of
Transformers, it's the same approach [as The Island]. How do you do giant robots and care? We used to joke that we were calling it Campbell's Soup:
The Movie because it was the ultimate product placement. You know, just put the toy up there and what are you gonna do? So we've been very diligent
to find what the character story is. How they relate to the story, how they relate to the humans, so it's not just a toy commercial. So I think it's going well."


May 27th
I  booked and paid for my flight with QANTAS who had a special to six or ten American cities, included Fort Worth (the Dallas airport), making it the cheapest at that time of all airlines.
A good thing for me because I prefer them, being a member of their frequent flyers program.

Airfare return to Fort Worth from Brisban - AU$1699
Taxes - AU$407.10 (this was before the government made them include all compulsory costs in the total price... as businesses were making things look cheaper by not including taxes in the advertised prices)
Insurance - AU$122 (always necessary for foreign trips)
Total - AU$2228.10

I leave Brisbane Wednesday Sept 21 at 11.10am and arrive at Los Angeles at 7am LA time (still Wednesday).
I then leave LAX at 9.11am, and arrive at Fort Worth at 2.15pm Wednesday.
Based on what Chris told me, I am likely to get to the hotel a couple hours before him.

After the convention I leave Fort Worth on Monday at 5.48pm, and then leave LAX at 11.20pm to arrive back in Brisbane Wednesday 28th at 6.05am.



May 28th
Another email update from the Collector Club, to let us know that they won't be making their end of May deadline for releasing the Convention brochure and registration forms.

Also we are still working on the convention info and hope to have it online soon.  We still have some names we have to clear with legal for the figure set.


June 6th
(email from the Collector Club)

We are trying to finish the BotCon registration forms now so any day.... (lots to do)


First week of June
The third issue of the Club newsletter (JUN/JUL) was hitting American homes. (it would be the end of June when they arrived in Australia)

Convention brochure and registration forms are noted as still not ready yet (was supposed to be out before May, but we've been getting some email updates to keep us informed - nothing worse than delays and silence, to not keep us informed of what is going on, so this was pretty good from the Collector Club).
According to the newsletter, the hotel is next to the largest shopping mall/centre in Dallas - the Stonebriar Center Mall.
We also get the first "warning" that there will be set of exclusive toys this year. (no one imagined it would jump up from 2-4 toys to a whopping 12 toys)
More details are given for the Thursday tour of Fort Worth (the city to the west of Dallas), visiting the Mint and heritage listed stockyards.  As an incentive, people who sign up to the Thursday tour will be able to get their registration pack (and toys) on the Wednesday night (instead of Thursday night for everyone else).
They also expand on the extra day (Friday) of the convention, in that it (panels and dealer room) is only for registered attendees.  Walk-ins can only come to the convention on the Saturday and Sunday.
Plus, two evenings of events for registered attendees - a casino night & charity auction on Friday, and an awards dinner on Saturday.


June 9th
Email from the Collector Club, letting the members know that the Convention Brochure (of details) and registration forms were now on their website.

Here is the big news you have all been waiting for!  BotCon '05 information is now on the web!
We are very excited to bring you this new chapter in BotCon history so join us  at the Embassy Suites Dallas - Frisco, September 22-25 2005 as we celebrate Transformers Changing Gears!
The pdf versions of the BotCon brochure and registration forms have been loaded at the club site: transformersclub.com.
Stop by and check it out.  The html version will be loaded tomorrow.
You will definately want to make sure you are in the first 100 to get the special Deathsaurus pin!
Non-attending packages are available as well.
Thanks for your support.

(from the brochure)
Convention toy exclusive is a 7 figure box set, ranging from Beast Wars to Energon, with three new head sculpts.
The seven toys have been named as - (Decepticons) Deathsaurus, Buzzclaw, Dirge, (Autobots) Ironhide, Chromia, Ricochet, Fallback.
1250 sets, with 850 being boxed and 400 being loose-bagged.
Other convention package items are, Convention Pin, name badge, program with comic, special access to some events, and a secret convention item for full pre-registerd attendees.
First 100 full registrations received by July 15 get a free Deathsaurus pin.
Check the program guide for art contest details.
Guests are yet to be confirmed, and will be posted on the website.
Some panels expected will be Hasbro, IDW, voice actors, and on Collecting in general.

US$48 Thursday Tour (Fort Worth, Cowboy Hall of Fame, Currency Mint)
US$265 Full Member package, except Tour.
US$315 Full Non-member package, except tour.
US$120 Member Basic Attendance package, with no toys.
US$165 Non-member Basic Attendance package, with no toys.
US$75 Kid's basic attendance, up to 4 kids, if with a full package purchase.
US$60 Additional Kids basic attendance.
US$140 Member additional 7-figure toy set, no box, one extra only, max 450.
US$265 Member non-attendance package (toys, etc)
US$315 Non-member non-attendance package (toys, etc)
US$40 Non-attendance shipping
Couldn't see a registration deadline, but probably some time in August.

Convention hours:
Thursday Sep 22
- Dallas Tour (US$48) 8am-5.30pm
- Registration pick up (paid by 15 July) 6-8pm
- Registration pick up (paid after 15 July) 8-10pm
Friday Sep 23
- Registration pick up from 8.30am
- Contest judging noon-2pm
- Dealer setup 7.30am-2.30pm
- Registered guest's preview 2-5pm
- Games night for registered attendees
Saturday Sep 24
- Dealer Setup 7.30-10am
- Registered guest's preview 8.30-10am
- General Admission 10am-5pm
- Awards dinner for full registered attendees
Sunday Sep 25
- Exhibit hours 9.30am-3pm

Hasbro International 2005 Transformers BotCon - September 22-25, Frisco TX

Embassy Suites Dallas - Frisco
972-712- 7200
Rates from September 20-26 at US$129.00

Promotional images of the hotel, as it was being boasted as being so new that it would only have opened maybe weeks or months before the Convention in September.


June 10th
Chris and I spoke again (by email) after seeing the brochure and registration forms.
I give him my flight details that I booked two weeks ago and ask when he wants my half of the room money (before check-in to use to pay for the room, or when we meet up to use as spending money at the convention).
He tells me to bring it with me, but have it on the first day in case there are any issues with the Hotel charging his card.


July 1st
I take the registration form to the Post Office to fax it in to Fun Publications, but fails after several attempts.
When I go back to the Post Office three days later (Monday), I post it instead, hoping that it gets in before the July 15th "earlybird" cut-off. (it doesn't... and what makes it worse is that my Credit Cards are lost during this time they are in the mail, so all the payment details are now wrong, and I have to wait until I get new cards to then call them in to Fun Publications - so typical huh?... my usual bad luck that spoils everything I want to do or plan to do.)


First week of July
Posted up on TFW2005, from the convention organiser, explaining the new structure of pricing for FunPub BotCons, compared to recent BotCons...
(by now there must have been a fair bit of complaining by fans, as the response here was a bit bitey in return by Brian - it's no wonder he doesn't think much of Transformers fans, as he wasn't given much of a chance... based on him being an outsider to the fandom, and how we were burnt last time a business took over the convention in 1996... and to some extent, 2004)

Here is a recap of the packages:
We believe that we have every budget and desire covered with these:

1. We offer a $9 General Admission entry on Sat or Sun that includes the seminars on those days IF there are seats available (registered guests first several hundred seats available). When has there been an entry that cheap at a Con? Last year's entry was $40. Not many families can afford that.
There will be souvenir figures you can buy that are not in the package for a low cost.

2. We offer a $120 entry (Protoform) for those who are only worried about the early entry to the sales room on Friday & Saturday but don't want the toys or dinner AND they really want to come to the Friday private seminars. (most presenters will present twice but their topics may change)

3. We offer a $265 entry (Primus) that includes everything. This is $30 cheaper than last year's set if you purchased one of everything.
This set includes 7 figures plus a bonus item (compare that to last years' two items, oh and btw, did you get BOTH those items last year?).

4. We offer a package for family members (Mini Con) who just want to go to everything with the main collector for $75, which includes the dinner/ all seminars & events, AND if you have more kids you need to bring, the extra Mini Con package is $65 to help families afford to come. This is a money saver for families you have never had before.

5. We offer a non-attending set (Iacon), which has not been done before (actually it has - last year). Yes it is the same price as the attending set and you don't get the dinner or the extra item, BUT we SHIP it to you for no extra cost. (within America)

6. We offer a second set of the figures loose for half price (limit one per boxed set). This has never been done before and it allows you a second set to display or play with. Price it out per figure - $20 each. This seems to be very fair to us. (Last year if you wanted a second figure to take out of the box it was MORE than the first, not less)

7. The dealer rate for a 3-table booth is between $55-$100 LESS than last year's OTFCC (depending on if you were on the wall or not). Single tables are also LESS than last year. Oh and the electric and phone? We worked a deal with the hotel to get the price down. They set those prices, we don't.

I am really puzzled on how we can make more, different, packages. This seems to meet every budget and desire. The problem is that this is all very different, and folks really have to read the brochure to understand the different levels. I know that it is a lot but I am sure it will all become clearer over time as we release more information. We just wanted to get these forms up as soon as we could.

When you finally see the set and box, you will agree that it is WELL worth the price. We will post pictures when we have items that are viewable.
We have been working with many different collectors over the last 6 months and this set/convention has been produced with their guidance and is an EXCELLENT value for Transformers collectors.

Again, we understand that some may need to save for the set. This is why we got you the registration forms as soon as they were available. There will be a lot more information coming over the next couple of months and we will show pictures as soon as we have samples from China that are suitable to show.

FYI: The hotel is already over half full. If you wait too long, you won't have a place to stay.
Thanks for your comments. I hope this clears some of it up.

It was also noted from a question to Fun Publications about the convention being so late in the year (it is usually around July).
'Unfortunately it will probably always be in late September/early October. With us doing two conventions (GIJoe & Transformers) and SDCC sandwiched in between there is really no other time we could do this.'


July 13th
San Diego Comic Con is on, and the new release date for the 2007 Transformers Movie is revealed to be July 4th, so that they can promote it as 07-04-07 (in America, which has the month before the day).
On display is a full sized truck and trailer covered in cloth to give the tease of Optimus Prime, with some Transformers themed details (including cardboard hub cap covers and mud flaps)... which would then show up at the BotCon charity auction (the cardboard bits, not the truck).


July 20th
I register at four of the major global fansites, to start interacting with more of the American fans that I might meet up at BotCon, as it should make it more fun. (I don't think I met up with anyone this year from a fansite, but did in later years)
I regisered at TFW2005, Allspark, Seibertron and Tformers, but only the first two accepted my registration. (this was back when it was more of a manual registration system on sites, so it was either intentional, or missed)


July 23rd
The first of the convention boxset toys was revealed on the Club website.

BotCon '05 Convention set SNEAK PREVIEW!
As BotCon '05 draws closer, we will slowly reveal early images of the exclusive convention set!
Samples are beginning to arrive at our offices and you will see the FIRST images right here.
This first figure to be revealed is BUZZCLAW! Please note that monitor colors vary from screen to screen and that these images are not final production samples. Some aspects will change from what you see here. Check back soon to see the next figure in this amazing SEVEN figure set! BUZZCLAW is just the tip of the iceberg.
The best is yet to come!


Buzzclaw is a redeco of the Beast Wars Fuzor Buzzclaw, which has a beast mode that is half lizard and half praying mantis.
The seven toy names have been revealed as - (Decepticons) Deathsaurus, Buzzclaw, Dirge, (Autobots) Ironhide, Chromia, Ricochet, Fallback, and will be recolours of toys from Beast Wars to Energon.


First week of August
The fourth issue of the Club newsletter hits American homes (and Australia at the end of the month).

With less than two months left to go and registrations already being taken, the newsletter notes that guests will be announced soon.
This was one point of contention with this new business, in that they are expecting people to just register without even knowing who the guests will be... assuming that people will just commit blindly just because it is a BotCon convention or because there are exclusive toys - a lot of people will only go because of who the guests are or if their friends are going, and if some of those friends are holding out to see if it is worth attending for certain guests, the rest can end up deciding later as well... or decide against going because the reveals were too late to be able to afford the higher price of this new convention. (previous BotCons were under $50 registration, plus 2-4 toys under $100 - this one was $120 with no toys or $265 with toys)

The newsletter also notes that they sent out 6000 registration forms (which I can't recall if I received one), and that the show is "filling up very quickly".  (not quick enough, as there were only 800 full-registration packs available, and according to later stats, it was rumoured to be about half sold - so about 400 of the 6000 mailouts registered, which is under 10%)

Just like the previous issue, the hotel is being boasted as having Breakfast included (which was an awesom buffet), and afternoon drinks (something I didn't take note of, and found out later that it was free drinks and snacks downstairs from 5.30-7pm... but I can't imagine that it was alcoholic drinks unless it was just a single complimentary drink).


July 30th
The second boxset toy is revealed, and the biocards of the first two are released as well.

Fallback - Energon Strongarm coloured like Gen1 Outback., because the character is supposed to be the original Outback in a new form.



The writing on those were hard to read, but they were typed up and posted on the ATT newsgroup by pyresdomain @ crosswinds.net

Heroic Autobot
Function: Infantry
"Do not let your path be dictated by the rules."
Profile: Fallback was once the independant-minded Autobot known as Outback. Having once believed that he would be nothing but a casualty of war, he
was proven wrong when, even after almost being destroyed, he survived and was granted a new exo-form. Having been given a new chance at life,
Fallback decided to take on a new name and a new purpose: to follow in the footsteps of great Autobots such as Ultra Magnus and Rodimus Prime and
become the best Autobot warrior he can be. Though still not a big fan of rules, Fallback has learned to respect them and utilise them to his
Abilities: Fallback's body is composed of armor designed to resist most forms of artillery fire. His primary weapon is an axe forged from solid
Energon. This can also double as an energy canon. In vehicle mode, he can go up to 180 mph with a range of 1,000 miles. His tires are reinforced,
allowing them to travel on the roughest of terrain without damage.
Weakness: Fallback still sometimes reverts to his old way of thinking, and thus falls into situations where he is outnumbered.

Evil Decepticon
Function: Warrior
"Mercy is a luxury afforded only to the weak."
Profile: Buzzclaw is one of the few remaining members of the ancient Insecticon clan, a group of Transformer warriors dating back to the beginnings
of the Great Wars. He is brash, loud and obnoxious. However, he is also dedicated to helping Deathsaurus bring the Decepticon Empire back as a major
power in the galaxy. He sees this as an opportunity to practice his own brand of brutality on the populations of planets everywhere. His past as a
warrior in the gladiatorial pits of Polyhex have afforded him skill and preference for hand-to-hand combat. He relishes the feeling of an enemy's
body going limp at death in his hands or claws.
Abilities: Buzzclaw is trained in various forms of hand-to-hand combat and has spent eons using those skills in battle. His insectiod beast form
allows him to use his skills in both modes, each allowing him to utilize different weapons. As a beast he can use his claws and mandibles to tear
enemies apart. In robot mode he uses his wrist mounted claws and shield in combat. Like all Insecticons, he has an innate ability to create clones
out of himself from eating raw materials in his immediate vicinity, however, this ability has become diluted over time as he has changed his exo-
structures. It is this ability that Deathsaurus hopes to unlock from his genetic code.
Weakness: Buzzclaw's over-reliance on hand-to-hand combat makes him vulnerable in situations requiring more artillery-based solutions.

According to a posting on the ATT newsgroup by wiigii@hotmail.com....
(quote)Hasbro has said in the past, when people kept asking why toys obviously meant to be G.I.Joe's Outback were named Big Brawler, that Outback Steakhouse has a serious lock on the "Outback" trademark for toys. (unquote)

This is apparently why this Convention toy is not called Outback, and why we probably won't ever be seeing anymore Transformers toys called Outback from Hasbro. Ironically, the Outback Steakhouse chain in America is an Australian themed restaurant chain, and they are the ones preventing an Australian themed Transformer.


August 19th
I get email confirmation that I was now paid up for the Covention Registration... but lets have a quick look at what that took to happen...

July 1st - pay the post office to fax the form to FunPub while I was at work.  It failed after several attempts because it was after hours in Texas, so their fax machine was not reliable outside of business hours.
July 4th - post the form to FunPub by airmail.
July 15th - Early Bird cut-off.
July 23rd - I email the Club to let them know that my credit cards were lost the day before and that if the registration form arrives in the next week, it won't work and I will phone in the new card number when it arrives.
They tell me to wait until they get the form, as they can't record the credit card details and don't have a system to look out for a particular registration to hold or reject.
August 15th - FunPub emails me to let me know that they receive the registration form in the mail and that they would charge the credit card.
August 16th - FunPub emails me to ask for an alternative payment option as they tried to charge the card on the registration form but it was rejected. I call them up and give them the new card details.
August 19th - FunPub emails me with confirmation that the new card number worked, and US$265 was now paid as of today.
See... all that hassle and delay just to spoil my fun.  If the fax had worked this wouldn't have been a problem and I would have been registered seven weeks ago... but no... that would be too easy.  Not only does the fax not work, forcing me to post it, but then before they get it in the mail, my credit cards are lost, forcing me to then sort out new payment arrangements and drag out the registration process even more when they get it and try to process the payment.
All that time I was stressing over getting registered, some two months after I had paid for flights and promised Chris that I would be sharing with him to help cut the cost of the room.
So typical... every time.
Nothing ever happens smoothly or according to plan for me.


August 11th
Two of the BotCon guests finally get announced, some 2 months since Registration was open (June 9th).

The first two guests to be announced are Michael Chain and Wally Burr!
More guests will be added shortly as they are confirmed.

Wally Burr - voice director for The Transformers (1984), G.I. Joe and Inhumanoids animated TV series as well as Transformers: the Movie. He did fill-in voice work for several well known Transformers characters such as Jazz, Ratchet, Sharpnel, and Thundercracker.
Michael Chain - is a film and television actor as well as an accomplished singer and song writer. Mr. Chain has done voice work on many feature films, television shows and commercials. He is probably most recognized by TransFans as the voices of Hoist, Powerglide, Red Alert and Skids from the 1984 Transformers animated TV series.



August 11th
Two unknown toys show up on ebay that are assumed to be BotCon toys - Ironhide and Ratchet from the Energon Tow-line toy... because Ironhide was announced to be in the boxset, but Ratchet ended up being one of the at-show toys.


August 13th
Two more of the boxset toys are revealed - Ironhide & Ricochet.



Techspecs typed up from from the biocards and posted to ATT by michaelmcc79@aol.com

Heroic Autobot
Function: Saboteur
"Bluntness wins battles, subtlety wins wars."
Profile: Ricochet was one of the top trainees in the espionage division of the Autobot academy. His skill in sabotage gained the attention of
Espionage Director Bumblebee, who took the young Autobot under his wing. Unfortunately, this had the negative effect of boistering Ricochet's ego to
an extreme. He thinks very highly of himself. However, his abilities often justify this belief. Unfortunately, his attitude has led to conflict with
fellow Autobots from time to time. While he is an adept spy, Ricochet prefers sabotage, which he feels is a much more effective way of fighting
enemies than outright battlefield confrontations. "He'll grow and learn...if he survives long enough," Bumblebee says with confidence.
Abilities: In vehicle mode, Ricochet has a top speed of mach 2.0. His primary weapon is his lance, mounted on the top, able to fire bursts of plasma
energy. His outer skin is composed of a special alloy that is able to avoid most advanced detection methods. Combined with his almost silent running
engines, he can go undetected in enemy territory with ease. In robot mode, Ricochet is extremely agile. He has a massive array of visual and
listening equipment built into his head unit. In addition, his lance doubles as a melee weapon.
Weakness: Ricochet's attitude sometimes leaves him in situations where he has taken on more than he can handle. While other Autobots will come to his
rescue, they have been known to do so grudgingly.

Heroic Autobot
Function: Security
"High tech circuitry is no replacement for guts."
Profile: An Autobot of few words, Ironhide prefers actions over excessive talking which he refers to as "leaking lubricant". A veteran of several
Great Wars, Ironhide is one of the oldest and most experienced Autobots currently in active service. His gruff exterior hides a kind, inner soul
whose concern for life knows no bounds. Younger Autobots often joke about Ironhide as an antique from a bygone era, but his skill, experience and
loyalty often win them over in the end.
Abilities: Following the battle of Moon Base Four, Ironhide's body was severely damaged. Utilizing the legendary Reconfiguration Matrix, Optimus
Prime generated Ironhide's new form. His new body retains his original trithyllium-steel alloy which has been blended with new material and has
formed a special ablative armor making him more resistant to artillery and electromagnetic attacks. Ironhide's arms house chemical mixtures that can
generate anything from supercooled liquid nitrogen to metal dissolving acid. He can fire these from emitters built into his wrists. Ironhide is able
to combine with his trailer unit for increased mobility on the battlefield.
Weakness: Ironhide is still one of the slowest Autobots, though his speed has increased thanks to his new form. His compassion for other living
creatures can also be used against him.


August 16th
The fifth (of seven) boxset toys is revealed - Deathsaurus... a larger toy than I was expecting, as it is a recolour of the RID Megatron/Galvatron toy with a new head.




August 19th
The full set of BotCon toys are shown off, revealing the last two of the set - Dirge and Chromia.

Here it is! The entire 2005 BotCon Exclusive Set: "Descent Into Evil"!
Below you will see: the box top art and the foam insert with the figures inside the box. Notice there is a storage 'locker' for weapons and accessories in the foam storage tray featuring the Transformers Timelines logo. Underneath the foam insert you will find diecut tech-spec cards and a set of PRINTED instructions personalized for each figure.



The box is 19" X 12.25" in size .
The lid removes to reveal the SEVEN figure set!
The figures can be removed and replaced without damaging the packaging!
In addition to what you see here, the set comes with PRINTED instructions personalized for each character AND a comic which tells the full story of "Descent Into Evil".

The final comic will be full color!
This a page from the Convention comic at the final inked stage before color has been added. This storyline completes the Convention set as the full story is revealed!



August 19th
A BotCon update Q&A email from mastercollector.

1. The hotel is sold out, is there a alternate.
Yes, We have made arrangements for a block of rooms a the Hampton Inn Frisco (about 1.5 blocks from the show). You can call their toll free number at
866-751-8400 or you can do it online at hamptoninn.com and use the code TRN. When you call in tell them you are with BotCon or Transformers and they
will give you a very special rate.

2. The set looks great! Can I order one if I can't come to the show?
Yes. Just download the registration form at botcon.com and you want the Iacon package (non-attending). Please remember that any non-attending
packages ordered before the show includes shipping. After the show (if there are any left) we will put them in the online store at
transformersclub.com/shop and the shipping will be extra. Please note that for attending packages, we will stop taking checks on Aug 29 (we have to
have time for them to clear). After that date, you must to use a credit card or cash. We also don't take checks at the convention but there is an ATM
in the lobby of the hotel.

3. How many sets are left?
Out of the 800 boxed sets there are just under 400 still available to be pre-ordered. We are over half sold out. The loose sets (450) are over 2/3
sold out and you have to purchase a boxed set in order to get the loose set (one per boxed set).

4. I understand that there will be some souviner figures at BotCon. How can I get them?
Well, many times these items sell out at the show as we run a smaller quantity. After the show, if there is anything left, we will put them online.
We do limit everyone on Thursday night so that each registered guest can have an opportunity to purchse these items. The only way you can get them on
Thursday night or Friday is you must be a registered guest. If anything makes it until Saturday morning, it will be available to the General Admission attendees.


Early September
With three weeks to go, my registration confirmation letter arrived in the mail, with a blue piece of paper to say that I was in the second pickup session.

I also get an email from my closest American friend (Tim Finn) that he wasn't going to be at the convention this year.  I was saddened by this, but also surprised, because he was one of the small number of fans who had managed to have a perfect attendance at BotCon in 2004 (since it began in 1994).


September 5th
A final email conversation with Chris before the Convention.
Even though we are both arriving on the Wednesday, we both aren't doing the Thursday pre-Con tour... something that I should have done since I didn't do much else outside of the Convention.


First week of September
Four more of the Convention guests are announced, along with the two that were previously announced.

Paul Dobson, Brian Dobson, Michael Dobson, Michael Chain and Wally Burr all weekend, and commercials actor Colton Dearing will only be there Saturday 24th signing autographs.
(scan from the program guide)


BotCon '05 Convention Seminars and Schedule listing, and times. (the schedule on the right is from the back of the name badges)


Don't miss this very rare chance to hear the real inside story (directly from the Takara and the Hasbro teams) on how Takara and Hasbro interact on a
daily basis. They will be discussing the creation of Transformers lines, how and why certain decisions were made, what was dropped out, and some very
interesting stories. The presentation will include early boards and documents that will show the evolution of the Transformers lines.

Join us for this fascinating look into the design room at Hasbro. The Hasbro Transformers designers will be discussing and showing the steps involved
in creating, designing, and manufacturing Transformers. This will give great insight as to why decos look like they do and how the team comes up with
an engineering design that allows the character to transform between its bot mode and alt mode.

This will be the first public showing of upcoming Transformers products. The entire team will be taking questions during this seminar. Here is your
chance to ask all of those Transformers questions you have been pondering.

Have you ever dreamed of being the voice of a Transformer? Have you ever thought how cool it would be to read alongside some of the great voice
actors from Generation 1, Beast Machines, Cybertron and more? Well, here's your chance! Be sure to join us for this 2nd annual Wally Burr event in
which you will have the chance to audition in front of this legend. Ten lucky finalists will be chosen from the auditions to participate in BotCon's
own Transformers Idol in which Wally and a panel of experts will decide who will win the grand prize: a spot alongside Michael Chain, Paul Dobson,
Michael Dobson, and Brian Dobson during the Saturday night script reading. Don't miss out on this once-in-
a-lifetime opportunity!
Initial auditions for Transformers Idol will be Friday from 1-1:45PM. The actual competition with the ten finalists will take place Saturday from 9-9:45AM.
Two winners will be selected, 1 male and 1 female, to participate in the Saturday night script reading. Each winner will need to be available on
Saturday afternoon for a short rehearsal. Please make sure to have this time available if you wish to participate in the event as you may just be the
next Transformers Idol at BotCon 2005!

Join Paul Hitchens as we learn all about the story behind Transformers: The Movie! See the design process for the new characters and how the Matrix
evolved into the final design. Original copies of the script used in production and full storyboards will be displayed along with examples of never
before seen storyboards of deleted scenes. Test footage will be shown and explained. Discover how the movie was promoted to the public, to theatres
and to toy stores. Finally, unusual trivia and errors from the movie will be covered in detail.

Our voice actor guests will be answering fan questions and discussing their roles on the various Transformers series. Join them as they share their
own special stories and memories about their part in Transformers history! Check the seminar schedule for times and location.

MSTF -- it's a floor wax! It's a dessert topping! It's...neither, actually. Join Greg "M Sipher" Sepelak, Doug Dlin, and Phil Zeman (or whoever was
conned into doing this) as they present an in-depth, detailed philosophical discourse about Transformers episodes cleverly disguised as jokes, quips,
and skits on stage. Partially scripted, partially improvised, about the only thing guaranteed about MSTF is that it's probably unrehearsed.

Join IDW Editor Dan Taylor and Hasbro’s Creative Director Aaron Archer as IDW Publishing presents the premiere issue of The Transformers:
Infiltration and the return of Hasbro’s The Transformers to comic books. Find out how the Transformers comic book series came to be, as well as learn
where the series is heading, and how IDW Publishing and Hasbro collaborate to bring it all together. Also, get a sneak peek at what else is in store
for the Transformers at IDW – including an announcement or two and a few surprises that are bound to please new and old Transformers fans alike.

Hosted by J.E. Alvarez, one of the BotCon Advisory Panel Members, this power point presentation of some of the rarest Transformers ever produced is a
real treat. Included will be rare variations, unreleased figures, concept sketches, several prototypes and some extremely astonishing toy samples
never before seen by the public. Of course, out of respect for the people who have donated images, there will be NO PHOTOGRAPHY ALLOWED!

From the schedule details and times, I drew up this timeline "map" of the things on offer and what I wanted to do. It helped me visualise where different things were, and where I needed to be for them.



Comments by Brian, from Fun Publications.
We put a ton of effort into these figures. To do the decos on all of the convention pieces took around 135 different plates or drawings/photos. You
have no idea how much time we have spent trying to make the figures look like the characters they represent. The only one that may not register is
Chromia. She is really Moonracer. But you can't use that name. Ever heard of King Moonracer from the Isle of Misfit toys? Legal would not pass this
name. Now, we probably should not have used another TF character's name. If we had more time we would have created a new name that was related to
moon somehow. Sometimes you run out of time. Legal name searches do not happen overnight.
In less than 9 months, we have started a club, created a totally new newsletter with a propritary story, started our web presence, found a convention
location, put the whole program together, manufactured the Skyfall figure and all of the convention pieces, invited guests, found you shuttles,
etc.....plus all of our regular work. This is over two man years worth of work we have done in a very short time period. We havespent countless hours
laboring over each aspect of this show, club and collecting group. Please don't ever criticize the care and time we spend
working for collectors. You have no idea how much sleep we have lost and how hard we work.
The figures have to look like the cartoon reference. We can't add murals to the sides of the vans etc... You can paint anything on a screen or by
hand in your basement, but that does not mean it can be put on a toy that is mass produced.
Let me explain that each of these toys are 3-11 different molds. You can't make one arm green and the other purple because they are in the same mold.
Items in the same mold end up the same color.
This also creates a limitation on what you can do. Again, these are specific characters. The colors and decos were taken directly from the cartoon
reference. Please do look at the cartoon again to re-familarize yourself with what the characters look like.
Because of the transforming constraints of each TF figure, there is not much you can do to a TF mold/figure. About all you can do is to change a head
and the colors. (Some weapons are even figure specific.) So if you have a tool that looks like a particular character (like Towline) you can change
him into Ironhide or maybe another van type character. You can't really go further than that as you can't change the torso, legs, arms or the figure
won't transform. Plus any new head must fit the footprint and style to make the transformation work. You can't put horns on a figure if it won't go back in the body.
Do you have any idea what you can do with Joes (GI Joe toys)? Well since they are all the same scale and most parts have the same type of inserts,
you can Frankenstein a totally new character by taking a helmet from one figure, arms from another, legs from somewhere else and weapons that come
from a totally different set of molds. There are many more possibilities and combinations you can do with Joes you just can't do with TF figures.
In closing, there are many people who think we have made a Herculean effort with everything we have produced this year. We have worked our butts off.
We can never please everyone as each person has their own ideas about what they like/don't like. What we try for is something that pleases the most people.
If you want any other answers, please attend my seminar at BotCon and I will answer any question I can. We are here for the collectors. We are people
too and we work really hard at what we do. We are just like anyone else and we are happy to take suggestions. You also have no idea the constraints
we have to work under just to get items made. Until you walk a mile in our shoes, you will never know what it takes to do these toys.
Thanks for listening. Hope this helps and I look forward to seeing each of you at the show.

Comments from Lanny Lathem, also from Fun Publications.
Hi folks! I've posted a few times, but thought I should introduce myself.
My name is Lanny and I am the director of creative services for Fun Publications. We publish Master Collector and run the GIJOE and TRANSFORMERS
Collectors' Clubs. A lot of folks refer to us as 'Master Collector', but that is really just the name of the classified paper that our Club
newsletters ship with. I moved my family cross country to begin working for Fun Publications when the license was granted by Hasbro to do the
Transformers Club and Convention earlier this year. Prior to that I had done freelance work for the GIJOE Club exclusives packaging for several
years. I had Transformers back in the 80's and sadly sold my original Dinobots at a toyshow when I got into GIJOE collecting. Boy that was dumb! I
now how 2 sons, one of whom is a Transformers fan to the extreme. Me working for the Club and Con is like a dream for him.
This is our first year and we are learning from this experience. It's been a little tough reading some of the criticisms about the convention set
that I and many others worked so very hard to produce in a short time window. I guess that comes with the territory. It seems one set of figures will
never please 100% of the fans in every way, but I think you will be very pleased when you see all these wonderful toys in person with your own eyes.
Next year, I think we will make an even better set.We really do want to provide the best show and exclusives we can for the Transformers Collecting
community. The course is set for this year, but we are reading the boards and we are listening. Your support this year will help us make BotCon '06
an even better event. We are veteran show promoters, but we are new at BotCon and we are counting on you guys to help us make this a success, this
year and in the future.
Please don't beat me up. My goal here is to inform. :-)
Thanks for your time. I hope to see you at the con.


September 18th
A Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico is named Rita and is charted to hit deep into Texas, all the way to Frisco.  It is a more powerful hurricane than Katrina which hit 3 weeks earlier to the east of this one. Based on the amount of damage and destruction caused by Katrina, everyone was fearing the worst with this one, especially those travelling long distance to BotCon, in case it was postponed in the next week.
I would be checking the weather reports every day until the convention, but fortunately, when it hit land, it turned east away from Texas.  We didn't even get any rain in Frisco.


September 20th

The day before departure and I had to work from 4pm until midnight. (with an early departure in the morning tomorrow)
I wasn't able to get any more time off work than the days I would be away, so I was working today and working the afternoon of my return the next Wednesday.

Go to next day - Wednesday 21st September

Or - Return to main index page

***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, 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)
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au