(griffin's 2005 BotCon adventure)


Today for the Convention there was a guided tour of the local area, the general package pickup, Club Store, and MSTF fan panel.
I didn't go on the tour (but should have), so spent the day checking out more of the local stores and going to a couple of movies.  I don't recall what my room-mate Chris did, but he didn't go on the tour either.

7:30am-5:30pm - Tour: Fort Worth - Where the West Begins (Pre-Convene Business Center) (I didn't do this - the page is empty until someone can give some details about the tour)

9.45am - wake up (missed the free buffet breakfast)
I went off to check out the Walmart, which was very difficult to get to on foot, as the major road was like a highway with no crossings or intersections, and it was being upgraded or widened, as there was construction fencing all along this section.

10.50am - I was at the Walmart for about half an hour, buying three Transformers toys (Cybertron basic Armorhide, Brakedown, Undermine) and some American snack foods.
One thing worth noting for the non-Americans reading this, is that Texas is the home of Dr Pepper softdrink (they would call softdrink "soda" in America).... and I think it might have been this Walmart store that had a massive amount of Dr Pepper available.  There was more Dr Pepper on the shelves than Coke or Pepsi, so there must certainly be a local loyalty to that brand in Texas.
(Dr Pepper had a short-lived general release in Australia through CadburySchweppes from 1997 to 2003, so it probably isn't a well known brand to many Australians.)
I also saw another unusual softdrink brand called Pibb, which appeared to be competition to Dr Pepper, produced by Coca Cola.
It's also amazing to see how many cola drinks have a cherry flavour, when it doesn't exist in Australia by any of the cola brands.

The Walmart store still had in stock, the mid-2004 Walmart exclusive Energon comic.  It reprints Issue 19 (the first issue of Dreamwave's comic), with a new cover and a bonus mini-poster in the middle.  It was about $5, but I didn't buy it.

On the way back to the hotel I tried to find the Kaybee store that was supposed to be somewhere between the Walmart and the Hotel, but couldn't find it.  The Kaybee stores had been closing down at this time, so it was possible that this one had already closed.
(Kaybee was a toy store chain in America that was a bit like our Toyworld stores, but died out by about 2006 from the dominance of ToysRUs and Walmart.)

Noon - Back at the Hotel to offload my toys & food purchases, and headed back out to the Stonebriar Centre to see two movies... but there wasn't anything currently showing that I really wanted to see.

1.50pm - Movie (Venom) (a terrible movie... what a waste of $6.50)

3.30pm - Lunch at Sbarro (pizza) outlet - 2 slices and a Stromboli (very nice)

4.25pm - Movie (Red Eye) (not bad, but not amazing... was probably the best of the options available though)

6.30pm - I went back to the Super Target, buying a number of American confectionary snacks not in Australia.

7pm - back at the Hotel, I was in the room watching TV and eating, until I went downstairs for my session of the Package pickup in the Convention Centre.

Package pickup & Club store purchases. (Frisco 7 Lobby)
There were two sessions for package pickup based on the colour of your confirmation letter.
Green were 6-8pm.
Blue were 8-10pm.

The area for lining up and the package pickup tables were at the bottom of the map where it says "Pre Convene", and then the Club store tables were to right of that, just on the corner of the Frisco 7 room (they had their pallets of stock inside that room).

Since I was in the Blue session, I didn't bother to head down there early, or even at the start of my group, as the welcomes would already be done and the limited items in the Club Store would have been gone.
By the time I got there at 9pm, it was pretty empty...

This is what it looked like at the start of the evening, with crowds of eager fans (with green confirmation letters), and a welcome by Brian. (images from FunPub's website)


It certainly showed the drop in numbers for this year, with such a small number of people at just one of two (regular) sessions.
I count 52 heads, which you could probably quadruple to cover the people at the start of the Blue session, and the people showing up after the start of the session.
(in recent years, attendees have gotten into a more proactive routine, of being in line as early as possible, and the regular pickup session would have the bulk of the registered attendees)

Off to one side was the now-traditional FunPub Convention exclusives display case... showing all the toys and merchandise for this year, which included a hat and t-shirt this year.

Non-boxed sets were available for $140 (members) or $165 (non-members).

Boxed sets were $265 (members) or $310 (non-members).


This means that there are 400 pairs of Clones, not 400 in total.



The comic/program guide, which comes with the boxset pack, but is also for sale to walk-ins (and non-attendees who want one bought for them).

After I had picked up my boxset and attendee figure, I headed towards the Club Store.

The promo and info banners, with schedules for the weekend and products available at the Club Store.


A clearer look at the promo images (from FunPub's website)


The mystery 8th toy for pre-registrants is the black recolour of the TFE Arcee toy, of which photos were floating around a couple of months ago. It is a Decepticon called Flamewar, and its biocard says that she works for the Predacon alliance (Beast Wars era) but was one of the original Megatron's Decepticons during the Great War. Function is listed as 'Tripredacus Agent'.

The Virulent Clone 2-pack is (just) 2 of the same blueish recolour of the BW Buzzclaw toy, each with the same biocard listing their name as 'Virulent Clone'. They are Decepticons, with the function of 'Shock Troop'. Yes, this means four of the 12 convention toys are of the same mould. Since both of these toys are exactly the same, anyone wanting just one would need to buy the pair and find someone to sell the other to.
The biocard describes them as self-replicating clones like the gen-1 Insecticons, which is probably why the convention organisers thought it a good idea to sell a pair, like a very small clone army, especially if with the Buzzclaw and Dirge toys.

The Autobot 2-pack is probably the more interesting, and priced accordingly, at US$65 (loose in baggies), compared to the US$35 for the 2 Virulent Clones, which were also loose in baggies. 'Autobot Ratchet' is indeed the white recolour of the TFE Towline toy, which had been seen on the net recently, while the Flareup toy is the red recolour of the TFE Arcee toy, also seen recently on the net. I recall all three coloured versions of this
Arcee toy being shown together recently, and this is why - all three are part of the 12 toys available for this convention.
Autobot Ratchet's Biocard says that he has been wandering the galaxy for the 50 years after the great war (I guess he didn't die in the Movie then) learning hand-to-hand combat techniques. He is still listed as Chief Medical Officer on the bio-card. Flareup is said to be a student of Firestar (female Autobot from the Gen1 cartoon). Her function is Demolitions, but the motto is very familiar - 'Where there's fire, there's me'.

This was what the Club Store looked like by the time I got there, stripped of anything worth buying (of the regular Retail toys they had on offer).

This is what it looked like for the people in the first session. (image from FunPub's website)

I bought a t-shirt and the two 2-packs of toys (Ratchet/Flare-Up & Virulent Clones).

These are photos of this years toys & biocards.



Inside the box is a foam insert with bits cut out for the seven toys, and the boxset pin for this year.
The pin was a new concept for BotCon, but a standard feature that will be with every BotCon since... and not just one, but two or three (or in the case of 2015 - four!).

Speaking of Pins, this was the incentive "early registration" pin, that went to people who registered in the first five weeks - something that I missed because I tried faxing the form in two weeks before the cut-off but had to post my registration form in because I couldn't get the fax to get through to their fax number... which then arrived to them after the cut-off.
(image is not mine - I don't know the source as it was saved 10 years ago)

This incentive pin is a consistent feature for the FunPub BotCons, and for several years it was only given to the first 100 people who registered, and then to all people registered on the first day.
It is such a redundant incentive, because the real incentive for people was to register early just to get things that sell out fast, like the Custom Class or the Boxset in the more popular years.  In the ten years since this convention, I am yet to see anyone proclaim that they were registering early just to get the pin, or others upset that they missed out.
I think this could be a cost-cutting measure that could be dropped to make up for losses made in the less popular years.

The box and the seven toys that were inside.


This was the bonus attendee figure, only given out with boxsets pre-registered or bought at the Convention.  It was called Flamewar.

The large 2-pack, available at the Convention at the Club store - Ratchet & Flare-Up.


The small 2-pack, also available at the Convention at the Club Store - Virulent Clones (identical toys and biocards).


This is one of the nine other alt-modes of Deathsaurus (jet mode).

It's not one of my favourite moulds (from the Robots In Disguise series), so I didn't really want to transform it ten time to photograph its ten modes... so here are two of the beast modes from FunPub's website.

And this is a compilation of official Hasbro images of the 10 modes of the 2002 RID Galvatron toy, to show what this BotCon Deathsaurus toy can do.
The ten modes (clockwise from top-left) -  two-headed dragon, giant hand, one-headed dragon, jet, hydroplane boat, car, elephant, bat, gryphon... and robot mode in the middle.

Some comparison photos.
Deathsaurus and the original Japanese Deathsaurus/Dezarus from 1989.

Ironhide & 1984 Ironhide.

Fallback & 1986 Outback.

Ratchet & 1984 Ratchet.

The three biker bots - Flamewar (attendee figure), Flare-Up (at-show toy), Chromia (boxset).


The Insects - 2 Virulent Clones, Dirge, Buzzclaw.


The 11 different biocards that came with the 12 toys. (the two Virulent Clones had the same biocard)


These are the other items in the pack - namebadge, certificate, entry ticket for the hourly prize draw (I forgot to use it), and a feedback form (which I did hand in).

The comic/program guide.

The cast covers the 11 different convention toys, plus cameos from the Tripredacus council and Bumblebee.
Deathsaurus is another rogue like BW Megatron was, and is creating insecticon clones. The Autobots have sent a team to stop Deathsaurus, and the Tripredacus council have sent Flamewar as well.
Fallback, Chromia and Flareup are captured by Deathsaurus, and Ironhide and Ratchet have to come to their rescue. They manage to kill Buzzclaw, but Flamewar interferes when Ironhide starts fighting Deathsaurus, allowing Ratchet and Ironhide to be captured.
Ricochet, who was actually with the first three Autobots who were captured, wasn't captured, and releases the Autobots before the base is destroyed (Deathsaurus set it to self destruct after taking all his clones).
It is revealed that Ricochet had inplanted a virus into Deathsaurus' batch of clones before Deathsaurus escaped, which should cause them all to malfunction.
Since Flamewar was being tracked by the Autobots, the Tripredacus council destroy her ship (with her on it) because she is now a liability.

Some sample panels from inside the comic that shows the Convention toys.

The t-shirt for this year.

The complete set of FunPub's 2005 BotCon toys.


The Complete set of 2005 BotCon toys (includes the Legends Ramjet toy that Hasbro were giving out the next day).


After the package pickup and Club Store purchases, I went back to the room to drop off the stuff and then head back down to the Convention Centre for MSTF.

At 10pm, another edition of MSTF began, hosted by Greg Sepelak, Phil Zeman & Doug Dlin. (Frisco 8-9)

MSTF involves a group of fans voicing their often-humorous comments over the top of cartoon episodes that are being played on a projection screen, based on an American TV concept called Mystery Science Theatre.  I've never seen the original TV show, so MSTF is like trying to watch a movie and having someone near you talking about it while it is playing... you either enjoy it or walk out within a couple minutes.

I generally don't sit through much of them, mostly because it is late at night, or I am with other people, or (in more recent years with my computer) I have things to do for the local messageboard.

(image from FunPub's website)

After an hour of MSTF I went back to the room to play with the new toys and eat the junk I bought today... getting to sleep at about half past midnight.

The total haul so far this trip, with the ranks swelling out with all the BotCon toys (a regular feature of the FunPub BotCons, with a large chunk of the Haul taken up by their toys and not leaving as much money for spending in the Dealer Room).

TFC Dark Scorponok, Override, Red Alert, (from yesterday)
Armorhide, Undermine, Breakdown (today's Retail purchases)
Boxset - Deathsaurus, Ironhide, Riccochet, Dirge, Buzzclaw, Chromia, Fallback
Attendee - Flamewar
Big pair - Ratchet, Flareup
Small pair - Virulent Clone, Virulent Clone

Go to next day - Friday 23rd September

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, 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