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BOTCON  -  SORTA  NEAR  CHICAGO
(griffin's 2015 BotCon adventure)


- WEDNESDAY  17th  JUNE -

Up again really early (4am) because I couldn't sleep, and it was raining again after having a clear day on Tuesday (Monday was massive storms in the evening)... which wasn't good for being out doing tours. Especially with a boat tour.

We were at the meet-up point just before 8am and there was only 3 other people waiting, making us think that FunPub had done really badly with their registrations or most people were deciding to skip the tour because of the rain.

A little after 8am there were about 30 people and 12-15 of those were FunPub staff... which is fine for it being a free reward for the staff, but if we are the ones paying, it shouldn't be a tour that they want to be on, it should be a tour that would be more interesting for Transformers (sci-fi/toy) fans, like going to Legoland or doing the Movie tour that includes places used in the Transformers movies.
After all, the Thursday tour was also a sightseeing tour that included a bit of the history of Chicago during the prohibition period.

8am-6pm - Lake & Mob Tour (Mega Center Entrance)
8am-4pm - Custom Class (St Charles Salon 3-4)

It was about 5pm when we were back in the room, which was an hour before I was expecting (based on the schedule), so I decided to get a Chicago Style pizza delivered.  It would take about an hour for it to be made and delivered, and the rest of the nights would be too busy to get one delivered.
First we went over to Target, to look for some things for Fatbot, and when we got back a little after 6pm, I looked up the website and menu of the "nearby" pizza place that did Chicago Style Pizza. It was about 6.30pm when I phoned in the order, and they said that it wasn't going to be delivered until about 7.30-8pm because it takes about 45 minutes to make and cook the pizza.  That would only give me enough time to eat a slice while it was hot and fresh before having to head down to the Package Pickup at 8.30pm.

At about 7.30pm I went down to the front lobby to wait for the pizza (they don't deliver to the room), and confront the front-desk about my card being double-charged for the room.
I had to leave my details to the front-desk staff, who would pass them onto the daytime manager in the morning... who was already familiar with the situation, from double-charging my room-mate the day before.

Waiting out the front with Fatbot for just a few minutes, a car pulls up with our pizza (and items for Fatbot as well).
I made the mistake of ordering a pizza with added toppings... which ended up ruining the classic cheese & tomato Chicago Style Pizza.
(for those unfamiliar - Chicago Style Pizza is a bit like a Quiche, in that it has a quiche-like crust that is filled with cheese and then topped with a tomato-y sauce... VERY nice... to some people)
I forgot to take a photo while it was fresh, so this was actually a photo the next morning when it was cold and the cheese was hard, so doesn't look as nice.

8.30pm - package pickup

Walking over to the pick-up point just on 8.20pm for the Golden Ticket package pickup session, it wasn't necessary to be early, but I wanted to be there a few minutes before the designated time just in case they were on-time this year and we had an official welcome.

They were pretty close to being on-time this year, as we went in just a couple minutes past 8.30pm, and within a couple minutes Brian was saying something, and people started approaching the table to get their Registered items

About 5 minutes later while I was getting closer to the head of the queue, I started hearing someone trying to get my attention from the other side of the room. It was Karl at the tables asking me what I thought of the Transformers Exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum (because some of his toys were used, and he knew that I was going to be visiting it on the way to BotCon).
Since he was only assigned to check in the VIPs and Dealers, he wasn't attending to anyone during this time, so I guess he was filling in the time by talking to me, even after I got my package, as I was asking him about the selling of their toys (him and his brother) this year, to see how it was going and how it felt approaching that closure of a significant part of their lives.  I was happy to hear that they still buy the occassional Transformers toy that appeals to them and so they aren't selling everything, so now it is more quality than quantity.

I got back to the room a little after 9pm and took some initial photos of what I picked up.  Since I missed seeing the Custom Class toy on the Registration site, I didn't get that until the next day at the Club Store.  Otherwise, it would have been included in the following photos.
Most of the photos below were taken when I got back home, and some are from the BotCon website (and are noted).

Everything that I picked up on this night that I kept (I also got the loose set, for others back home).

Both sides of this year's t-shirt.

Three of this year's pins.  Golden Ticket pin (Soundwave), boxset pin (middle), First day pin (Oilmaster).

The fourth pin for this year came with the Frank Welker VIP ticket (which I didn't get), and with it comes a mini-poster. (image below is from the BotCon website)

The Certificate that came with the boxset... and just like the last two years, there is no number on the certificate to prove how limited the boxsets are.

Lifting the lid...

Out of the box (boxset) and bag (attendee figure) in their alt-modes.
Boxset - Megatron (w/ Scalpel/white, Heavyweight/pink, Boombox/black), Packrat, Stepper (w/ Nebulon), Battletrap, Oilmaster (shell, car, jet)
Attendee - Zaptrap, Beet-Chit, Spy-Eye

And the boxset toys in their robot modes.

Inside the back of the pretender shell.

Some random comparison photos.

An assortment of Gen1 Pretender shell toys.  The sculpting of Oilmaster's pretender shell goes well with the first year pretender next to it.

Generations Swerve, BotCon Oilmaster, Generations Gears.

TF3 Megatron with BotCon Megatron.
Note that my BotCon Megatron isn't standing flat on its Right foot... because it is has two left feet and I didn't find out until I got home. (you really only have time to check if a toy is missing something, or has something obviously damaged or broken... you don't have time to transform all (15-20) of the BotCon toys and study every tiny bit of them before the Convention ends just so you can get it swapped over for a good one)

TF2 Scalpel with BotCon Scalpel.

Generations Wheelie, BotCon Stepper, BotCon Riccochet.  Wheelie is there because I thought Stepper reminded me of that toy, but next to each other they aren't that similar.  Riccochet is there because the Stepper toy was their "second chance" at doing that character... in fancier colours and with a different mould.

BotCon 1996 Packrat and BotCon 2015 Packrat.

Gen1 Battletrap with BotCon Battletrap.  I don't know if it is the wrong colours used on the BotCon toy (it should have been grey with the dark blue) or that the Springer mould is too lanky for the squat looking Gen1 Battletrap... because I'm just not feeling "Battletrap" from the BotCon Battletrap toy.  My Gen1 toy is missing the black rub-sign on the left shoulder, which is why the BotCon version only has black paint on that shoulder.
(it looks like a missing paint app on the right shoulder, and I think they should have had black on both sides if it wasn't going to be a square bit of black to homage the rubsign)

Biocards for the boxset.

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The attendee figure (set) - Spy-Eye, Zaptrap, Beet-Chit. (I think it is the first time since 2006 that the attendee figure isn't a Deluxe.)

Ehobby "Reissue" Gen1 Zaptrap, BotCon Zaptrap, Generations Skrapnel.

Generations Reflector and BotCon Spy-Eye.
Note that my Spy-Eye has two left arms.  It was a second QC issue that I didn't realise until after I got home and someone else pointed it out.  Like I said above for my faulty Megatron, who's really going to have the time to scrutinise all their BotCon toys enough to spot this sort of thing... that is small enough to miss unless you spend a time playing and transforming each toy.
These were the only two issues I found on this year's set, and I think that's the first time I've ever had issues with my BotCon toys... and they were both in the one year that it was reported by the FunPub staff as being their best year for minimal QC issues.
How typical of me to beat the odds and get two faults in their best QC year, and no faults in their really bad years.

Biocard.

The Comic cover (image from BotCon website).

The Comic is a stand-alone story set in the Multiverse/Axiom Nexus FunPub Universe.
Basic story is very similar to Guardians of the Galaxy, with a group of prisoners coming together and breaking out of jail, and then saving the Transtech from "Diaclone" parasites eating away the core of Cybertron... earning them a pass from the authorities.

Some samples from the comic to show the various convention toys in action.

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With a heavy Diaclone theme this year, most of the characters are just empty shells with a driver/operator in the middle.  A bit like the Japanese Masterforce cartoon, which had humans controlling lifeless robot bodies.

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In the back of the program guide/comic was information on this year's Club Store items, which would be available tomorrow.  It is good that they are revealing more of the at-show items before they are released, but if they really want more people to Register to attend, they need to reveal more of the toys before Registration... or at the very least, educate and interest the fans on the toys that are more obscure or unusual, so that they are more likely to buy them later when they are released.  Having the majority of the toys this year being Diaclone homages that weren't even related to the Transformers Branded toys, you need more than a day to get people warmed up to them enough to spend 3 times US Retail pricing on them.

Gen2 2-pack (General Optimus from Gen VOY Roadbuster & Sgt Hound from Gen DLX Scoop) - 1,100 units.
Diaclone 2-pack (Orange DLX Hoist & Black DLX Skids) - 1,500 units.
Waruders 4-pack (DLX Waspinators - blue/red, purple/black, yellow, white) - 2,000 units.
Kreo Earth's Most Wanted (Kreons cartoon Dr Arkeville, comic Robot Master, cartoon Autobot Spike, cartoon Nightbird, Animated Sentinel Prime, Animated Headmaster) - 900 units.
 

The Golden Ticket name badge this year.
They allow you to enter in a screen name don't even bother to include it... why have it as a Registration option then?

And yes, they can't spell "Australia".  At least you can tell what country I was from... Fatbot had "Canada" on his. (he's also from Australia)

The cumulative haul for this year...

I spent the next three hours on the computer and eating cold pizza.  I only ended up eating half of it, so the rest will have to be eaten tomorrow.

Asleep around Midnight.


Go to next day - Thursday 18th June.

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