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


- SATURDAY  20th  JUNE -

Up again at 6am, I was getting ready to leave for the 8.30am opening of the Dealer Room (for 90 minutes before the first Panel of the day), when I realised that I had lost my small notepad.  It had everything written since the beginning of my trip 10 days ago, as I note just about everything for these adventure write-ups... as there is too much to remember later.
I was really bummed about it too, as I looked through all my things in the room and couldn't find it.
The last place I remembered using it was in the Panel Room yesterday, so I went down there first to see if it had fallen on the floor. (I remembered that my watch had fallen under my seat during one of the panels when I took it off and placed it on my backpack, so maybe that happened as well)

Passing by the Lobby I saw that the fan noticeboard was now a mass of room sales and items for sale... including mine for the Japanese Movie Stingers I took with me that no one had wanted yet (the noticeboard was out since Wednesday).  I actually sold one of the four on Saturday evening, but I ended up donating two to the Club as Door Prizes (at least a couple fans can get a surprise toy instead of the mostly gimmick prizes they were giving out as door prizes), and brought the fourth back home with me to sell off later.

At the panel room there was no notepad, so I went to the Dealer Room which was now just opened and asked at the Club Store if they have any Lost & Found.  They did, but they didn't have my notepad.

I then went to the Hotel front-desk to see if they had a Lost & Found, but the staff were all busy checking out people... so I went back to my room to check all my luggage again, just in case I missed it.
It wasn't there, so I was pretty much giving up, so headed back to the Dealer Room.
On the way I stopped at the Hotel front-desk and someone was free, so I asked if anyone had handed in a small notepad... and she reaches under the counter and pulls out my notepad.
Yay!... I was so relieved.
It was really annoying (yet another hassle this trip), but happy to have it back in my possession.

Making my way back to the Dealer Room I spent the next half hour taking photos of the Art Contest entries and various other photos that can be seen in the Dealer Room page.

I also bought some Japanese Transformers from one of the regulars (Fumihiko), who often has some great prices, but also some expensive prices.
The four translucent EZ toys at the top of the photo were US$80 for the set... which is expensive for Retailer freebie toys, but I guess he probably has to go to a bit of trouble getting them all from the different stores.  This is the dealer who always has BOXES of the various retailer incentive/freebie toys and accessories... if you are willing to pay a premium for them.
At least his other items that I wanted were better than I was expecting to offset the EZ toys.  $70 for the Go-Shooter toy (it is hard to find it under $100 before shipping), and the Tokyo Toy Show Nemesis Prime for $100 (more than I would normally want to pay, but most sell for $150-200 before shipping), and one of the four BeCool launcher trailers for $10 (I'm only missing the Optimus trailer now).  He even knocked off $10 from the total, making it $250 for the lot.

Nemesis Prime is the one TF4 movie mould I really liked, so I want to collect all 7 versions of it... so I'm just missing the regular Japanese version now (it wasn't a priority until recently when I saw that it was different enough for me to want it).  Fumihiko also had the Nemesis Grimlock as well from the Tokyo Toy Show, but I'm not as keen for that mould to spend $100-120 for (his price), and I don't like collecting mere black Japanese redecos unless the mould is really good, or the colouring makes some sense. (okay, it rarely makes much sense... it is just done to sell more toys)

I took the toys back to my room and headed back to the Panel Room just before 10am.
The first three panels of the day were ones I was most interested in, and by getting a good seat for a less popular panel that preceds the more popular Hasbro presentation meant that I didn't have to fight for a good seat when everyone else was showing up to fill out the room.

10am - PANEL Gen1 Retrospective - Susan Blu & John Moschitta (St. Charles Ballroom)
11am - PANEL Online Fandom - hosted by several fans
noon - PANEL Hasbro Product Preview - Hasbro's new toys  (WARNING - Big page of photos)
1pm - PANEL Cosplay - about fan costuming for Transformers fans (I missed most of this)

One of these years I'm going to sit through the Cosplay panel, just to get the full experience of what they talk about.  I know that it is about tips and techniques for making costumes, as well as attendees showing off theirs and talking about how they made them... but I think it is only fair that I give proper patronage one of these years to a fan element, because I like seeing more fan elements to the convention.
The problem though is that when I have things to do each year with photos and coverage of the whole convention, and I need to start making sacrifices, the Cosplay panel is one that is first to go because it doesn't have news, and can be "covered" in my write-up with a few photos at the beginning or end.

Anyway, I had to skip it this time because one of my camera batteries had run out, and I needed to go back to my room to recharge some of it, because there were still three big panels to come, and I needed to make sure I had something in reserve if my other (older) camera battery ran out (which it does a lot quicker).
After about 20 minutes on the charger (giving me time to check if I needed to get any more toys from the Club Store for friends back home), I quickly ducked down to the Club Store in the Dealer Room to pick up a couple of new requests from friends back home, and then into the Panel Room just in time for the 2pm Panel.

Since it was a little after lunch time when I was at the Dealer Room, I saw that the Resort had set up a nice spread of food for the hungry attendees just outside the doors to the Dealer Room (this was the foyer between the outer doors and the main doors to the Hall that housed the Dealer Room.

This was just past that food table, with outer doors to the left, the walk-in ticket booth at the back, and the door to the Dealer Room to the right.  The usual info/sign-in booth was on the right as well, which is where you could swap over faulty toys or parts before the end of the convention.  (unfortunately I didn't find the two Quality Control issues in my BotCon toys until I got home)

This was just a small part of the queue for Frank Welker autographs and photos for the VIP ticket holders in the middle of the day (on my way to the Dealer Room).
With them needing to queue up twice for the two different sessions starting at 10am and going until 3pm, and with both likely to have run long, I wouldn't be surprised if some people ended up spending 4-5 hours of Saturday for their $200 photo and autograph... missing out on Panels that featured Voice Actors Sue and John, Hasbro's presentation, and the Collector Club toy reveals.

Meanwhile, I was back in the Panel Room for the rest of the afternoon, grabbing a good seat for the 2pm Panel that didn't have as many people in it to fight over, which meant I was in a good seat for Frank Welker later.

2pm - PANEL The Japanese Perspective - Andrew Hall hosting Transformers art in Japan
3pm - PANEL Collector Club - by FunPub
4pm - PANEL Frank Welker

Since the Frank Welker panel only went for 30 minutes and started 15 minutes late, I was able to go back to the Dealer Room for the last 15 minutes before it closed for the day.
This was when I took photos of the Hasbro display of the new toys they added in after their Presentation earlier in the day, which were included in my Hasbro Display pages (you can find them from the main Index page or Dealer Room page).
I also got to harass the Hasbro people with some more questions, now that I knew that certain things weren't covered at their Panel.  Answers to those questions can be found on the 3rd Hasbro Display Page.

Back at my room at about 5.30pm (my interroragation of the Hasbro people ran a little past the closing time of the Dealer Room), I had to decide what to wear to the Awards Dinner.
I was under the impression that they were wanting people to be more formally dressed this year because of the inclusion of the Hall of Fame awards, which would include Frank Welker, and probably filmed for future publicity purposes.
But after failing to find where I thought it said "collar, trousers and tie" for guys at around the time of the Brochure being released, and clarification by one of the FunPub people that collar and jeans would be enough... I almost decided to go across to Walmart to get some jeans, but ended up going with the white collared shirt and trousers that I packed... and left off the tie (with a t-shirt underneath).
It wasn't as casual as I was allowed to be, but I figured that the Dinner would be a couple hours of just sitting at a table, and I could do what I do in other years and change into something comfortable when the auction starts later in the evening.

Yeah.. the stress and hassle of a mere toy convention. :p

In all seriousness though, as I have noted in previous years, I am a supporter of the more "mature" or formal elements of the Convention, to give it a little bit of respectability to being seen as just a toy convention for kids and adults who still think they are kids.
Having something sorta formal like a dinner gives the whole convention weekend a complete spectrum of elements and atmosphere... with various fun, casual elements balanced out with the more serious, mature elements that we can tell non-fans about who may otherwise look down on toy fans and a toy convention that is primarily aimed at adults.

Before the closing of the Dealer Room I sorta heard an announcment about the Awards Dinner and I think something about a pre-dinner cocktail reception... but since I was trying to talk to one of the Hasbro people, I wasn't able to concentrate on the specifics of the announcement.
I just know that in some previous years that people were to gather outside the actual Dinner hall about 30-60 minutes beforehand for pre-dinner drinks and interaction with the guests... so I had a feeling that this was happening this year, despite it not being on any of the schedules (which wasn't a surprise, as a number of locations were changed or added to the schedule without any updating of the printed schedule in the Hotel's front Lobby... prompting me to do up my map that is at the top of this page, and post it to some fansites to help out attendees find various events that had changed).
So when I had walked back to my room from the Dealer Room after it closed, I saw Hotel Staff setting up tables with drinks and snacks outside in the "Terrace Patio", and wondered if that was for us, or some other event at the Resort. But by the time I got back to my room, a thunderstorm had come across and was dumping rain on us yet again this week.
I then figured that if there really was a pre-dinner reception, it would have been cancelled or moved (if they managed to save the food, drinks, glasses and dinnerwear from the rain).
As such, Fatbot and I didn't bother to head down until 7.30pm... because neither of us were really that comfortable standing around for any length of time in less-than-comfortable clothing, when the sit-down Dinner was the real attraction.
The only downside of that is being one of the last to get into the Dinner Hall, so we ended up sitting way up the back... but more about that on the Awards Dinner page.

7.30pm - Awards Dinner and Auction (St Charles Ballroom)

At about 10pm when the Dinner and Awards were over, I went back to my room to change into something casual (as noted above), so that I could sit in on the Auction more comfortably.
On the way to my room, I saw at the "Clubhouse Lounge and Bar" (number 13 on the map at the top of the page) a number of the artists all grouped together after the Dinner, mostly drawing stuff.

10.15pm I was back in the Dinner Hall, and sat in on the Auction (noted in the Awards Dinner Page) until it ended at about 11pm.
Heading back to my Room for the night I was surprised to see that the Artists were still there an hour later, and looked to be there for a while yet.
Either the inspiration to draw something can hit at any time, or, they all had deadlines that don't get pushed back just because they are at a Convention for a week.

Back at my room at about 11.15pm, I didn't stay up for very long as we were now onto the last leg of this year's convention... and I was already starting to feel sad about the convention, and 2 week trip, were almost over again for another year.  In less than 24 hours time it would be over, again.  And as bad as it may or may not have been this year, it is always sad to me for it to end each year because it is a long wait for the next one. (if you don't live in a country that doesn't have multiple Transformers conventions each year, so I can only afford to travel to one each year)

My cumulative haul by the end of Saturday.


Go to next day - Sunday 21st June.

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