BOTCON 2016 - THE FINAL
(griffin's 2016 BotCon adventure from Australia)
8.00am - wake up
9am-2pm - Panel room (Cochran/Addition, Rivue Tower)
- PANEL - 9am - TCC Magazine/Comic Panel with Pete Sinclair & John-Paul Bove
- PANEL - 10am - Stan Bush & Vince DiCola
- PANEL - 11am - Transformers Filmfest
- PANEL - Noon - Beast Wars 20th Anniversary
- PANEL - 1pm - Script Reading starring Judd Nelson, David Kaye, Venus Terzo & Gregg Berger
2pm-5pm - Dealer Room (GRAND BALLROOM) & Art display (Willis)
5pm - Return to room
7pm - leave room
7.30pm - Golden Ticket meetup (Lobby - Fourth Street Live)
8pm - Hall of Fame presentation (Fourth Street Live)
8.30pm - Stan & Vince Concert (Fourth Street Live)
10pm - back to the room & meet up with others
4.00am - sleep
Night 3 at Louisville
8am - I woke up after another very short sleep... and the next two nights were going to be even shorter.... which is standard practice at BotCon. (if not, you aren't making the most of the experience)
Andy and I both got down to the Panel Room (Cochran/Addition -
3rd floor Rivue Tower) just a couple of minutes past 9am, and they hadn't
even opened the doors yet... so it didn't look promising that this year
wouldn't be running late with their events.
Since there wasn't a Golden Ticket line and there wasn't a huge crowd for the Club Magazine panel (it wasn't likely to reveal much now that it was ending in four issues time), I joined Andy at the end of the queue.
OMG... I just saw Jon Hartman walking around. You know it must
definitely be the end when someone like that comes back and they aren't
here to sell off their collection, like he was last year.
(if you don't know who Jon Hartman is, tsk tsk... :p .... he was one of the two founding fathers of BotCon 22 years ago, this July 16th, but hasn't really been to BotCon as a regular attendee since FunPublications took over in 2005)
It was 9.12am when we finally got into the Panel Room, and Andy got a good seat in the regular section, while I took up residence in the front row seat that was equal distance from the stage and projector screen (for my photos).
9am - PANEL - TCC Magazine/Comic Panel with
Pete Sinclair & John-Paul Bove
(very late to start)
10am - PANEL - Stan Bush & Vince DiCola
(late to start)
11am - PANEL - Transformers Filmfest (no separate page as there wasn't much to report)
(late to start, at 11.10am)
Lanny getting ready to begin the Filmfest screenings.
This year we actually had some entries (last year there were no entries).
After a number of technical glitches, we had five entries... with one that had to be fetched as the person sent in a blank DVD.
During that pause, we had people doing character impressions to fill in the time, including one of the Australian attendees doing an impression of Cykill.
The five video entries this year were...
- Beast Wars clips done to the Japanese credits song.
- Animated Hot Rod doing the opening credits to Magnum PI.
- Peter Cullen's Dreams, with clips of his various characters meeting each other.
- The Sunbow cartoon intro done with MTMTE comic characters superimposed in some places.
- Kreons Vs zombie Cliffjumper.
Fans voted by applauding, and Peter Cullen's Dreams came first, followed
by Animated Hot Rod, and the Kreons.
Brian and Lanny both sporting new looks this year in the "head follicle"
department. One with a new beard, and one with a pony tail.
Noon - PANEL - Beast Wars Voice Actors with
David Kaye & Venus Terzo
(late to start)
1pm - PANEL - Script Reading starring Judd
Nelson, David Kaye, Venus Terzo & Gregg Berger
(late to start)
At the end of the Script Reading just after 1.30pm, the room emptied, and most people made their way to the Dealer Room in the other Hotel Tower... which was a big rush of people through some corridors, doors, stairs, lifts and escalators.
2pm-5pm - Dealer Room & Hasbro Display open (Grand Ballroom & Grand Hall) & Art display (Willis)
I wasn't interested in joining the stampede and lining up for the next
30 minutes (because I didn't really have any money to spend in there),
so I went back up to my room to grab a snack (from the remaining junk food
bought yesterday) and grab my spare camera batteries (which I found out
during the first couple of panels that I had forgotten, so it was lucky
that the battery I had in the camera didn't run out). I headed off
to the Dealer Room just a couple of minutes after 2pm and got there while
people were still filing in.
I started by going into the room with the Hasbro exhibit first, as it wasn't too busy while people were in the main dealer room fighting over toys. Although at the Hasbro Exhibit, I had to fight for a clear view of the display cabinets, as a certain fansite owner kept standing in front of the cases for several minutes, blocking the view of others without looking to see if anyone else was behind him first, or giving others a chance to have a quick look before continuing. I even had to wait two minutes to photograph the last display case, so that he could explain to one of his website staff how to use his camera while standing right in front of the display case, instead of stepping aside, or even apologizing when he finished and walked off.
I guess it is only fitting that it was one of two fansites that didn't activate my registration when I tried to join back in 2005, and has more recently taken a couple of my news items or images without credit.
So it ended up taking me just on 40 minutes to take all the photos of the Hasbro exhibit and the Artist area next to it, before heading into the main dealer room at about 2.45pm and spent the next hour walking around, taking photos, looking at toys, talking to people, and buying my only transforming toy from the Dealer Room for BotCon 2016 (the Japanese ToysRUs Geoffrey Giraffe Optimus toy).
At 3.45pm I was in the Art contest room, taking photos of all the entries, which only took about 10 minutes.
Just outside the artroom was the Info desk (where you could exchange faulty toys or parts), and a queue of people for the VIP autograph session with Judd Nelson.
It was just around 4pm at this stage, and since I had now drained my
main camera battery, I went back to my room to plug it in the charger for
tonight's activities, and came back to probe the Hasbro people (Mark and
Ben) with some questions.
It was great to see Mark Weber back again for a third year, after he only expected to be at the 2014 BotCon. He had moved to another Brand last year, but ended up being required to attend BotCon last year and this year. And Ben Montano was the new guy in charge, replacing Jerry Jivoin, who left the Rhode Island office at the end of last year.
I didn't have a lot of questions this year and some were asked the next day as I had run out of time at the end of today... and these are the only ones that I can post here publicly.
Q - Why was IDW allowed to make Megatron an Autobot, considering that
there are certain foundation, iconic elements that Hasbro doesn't like
to change, so that it doesn't confuse the general public or their own customers,
A - The IDW comics are such a niche story universe, that these more radical ideas can be played out without affecting their core products (retail toys) and mass marketing (like the Movies). It was one of the various ideas that was proposed at one of their various joint meetings, that the Hasbro people were fascinated with and wanted to see how it would play out... and it brings intrigue to the story, for fans to keep watching for the first signs of his ulterior motives to surface, and then eventually return to being a Decepticon when his ultimate goal has been achieved.
(now before anyone gets all upset about Hasbro spoiling something in the IDW comic, we were mostly talking hypothetically, and everyone should know that it isn't a spoiler that he will be a Decepticon again in the future, it would just be a spoiler to say how it happens... you'd be crazy to think Megatron was going to remain an Autobot forever)
Q - Where does Legends Wreckgar go on Sky Reign, and why was it dropped
late as a gimmick for that team?
A - Basically Wreckgar would look like his motorcycle mode, plugged into the back of SkyReign (using one of the posts on the side of the bike mode) so that would look like a back-mounted weapon, which would never be used. But since it just looked like a motorcycle hanging off his back, and that two of the other Voyagers/Combiners didn't have Legends partners (Optimus/Ultra Prime & Scattershot/Betatron), it was decided that it wasn't necessary for SkyLynx/SkyReign to have a Legends partner if it would spoil it more than it added to it.
Q - Why aren't there any Plush Rescue Bots? The toyline is aimed
at kids under 5 who are still likely to have toys they cuddle in bed when
they go to sleep at night, but they can't really do it with the hard plastic
Rescue Bots toys.
A - A great idea... we should definitely look into that. (hopefully
(I forgot to ask if we are going to have a Gen2 Defensor, to go with the other three Gen2 Combiners that we have coming - not that it mattered, as they wouldn't confirm or deny anything yet to be officially revealed.)
Just as it reached 5pm and the rooms were closing up, I asked at the Club Store if they had managed to sell out of anything yet. They told me that only the Custom Class toy had sold out so far, which seemed to be the only thing selling out in recent years because it has very small numbers and is pre-ordered at Registration, which takes up most before the Convention even starts. So even with the drastically reduced toy numbers for Megatron and Airazor that were almost half of the numbers of just 2-3 years ago, they still didn't see them sold out on their second day (unlike the peak of FunPublications' popularity which had some toys sold out by the end of the Friday).
Back at my room at about 5.30pm (after chatting to a couple of people
on the way back), I logged into facebook to post on the Ozformers page
about the Transformers Convention that was currently in progress, and found
a private message from someone that just stunned me, and made me a bit
emotional. Tim Finn was one of the big identities in the fandom during
the first 10 years of BotCon, and he was one of my very first American
friends through BotCon. Since he was one of the most friendliest
people you'd ever meet, and just as colourful and entertaining, he became
one of the positive elements that many of my earliest BotCons had, for
being one of the familiar faces & friends each year, as well as the
usual interaction with an awesome guy, and the introductions he would make
of various friends and important people.
He just sent me a message earlier in the day to let me know that he would be arriving tonight for the Saturday and Sunday, after several years of missing BotCon.
This had me speechless.
I literally sat down on my bed to try to process it.
I just didn't know how to react.
To him I was probably just one of his hundreds of BotCon friends, but to me, he helped make a number of my first BotCons great, in particular my first two (along with another great guy who was big in the fandom at the time, called Tony Buchanan). He made such a great impact on me and my first BotCon experiencs, that I would keep coming back each year knowing that he would be one of the friends that I would look forward to meeting up with again... so it was a big hit to me when he stopped attending BotCon from about 2010 (I think 2009 was his last one, which we even shared a room that year).
This news was also sad, for further proof to me that this was indeed
the last BotCon, as several people were showing up after several years
of absence, like Jon Hartman, Tim Finn and an old Norweigan friend from
several BotCons about 10 years ago called Rikard Bakke.
At this point, after seeing or learning that those three were here this weekend, I honestly expected to see Raksha show up as well (I don't think she did).
By this time, Andy was now suffering from a cold/flu he must have picked
up on his first couple of days in Louisville (the symptoms were relatively
minor and could only have incubated for 1-3 days, so at least it wasn't
a virus he brought to America with him, or caught while flying over, as
he travelled over on the Monday). But when I heard a week after I
got home about a big outbreak of a cold or flu by BotCon attendees when
they returned home (not at the convention), it sounds like Louisville was
a hot-bed of something contagious that week. I'd never heard of a
post-BotCon mass infection before, so this was obviously something serious.
Considering it was so wide spread this year and I was sharing a room and touching the same things as someone infected, I was just surprised that I didn't catch it, as most of my BotCons end up having me suffering during the convention or when I get home, from something I caught while travelling (airports and planes are a breeding ground for colds and flu viruses).
Hmmm... maybe I was the carrier and I was actually imune to one of these viruses for a change.
I got showered and dressed for the evening activities, and dressed warm
for what was supposed to be a very cold night (forecast to be within a
couple of degrees of water freezing).
Within a couple of minutes of 7.30pm I rushed out of the room to head across to the Lobby of the other tower, only to rush back because I had forgotten my room keycard (the second time that weekend).
Andy wasn't a Golden Ticket holder so was staying in the room, and wasn't sure if he would be heading down to the Hall of Fame presentation and Concert later. (he didn't, as he wanted to get some rest and medication into him... but he was asleep when I got back at about 10pm, so it was best not to wake him to let me back in.)
7.30pm - Golden Ticket Dinner (meetup Lobby 7pm - walk to Fourth Street Tavern)
8pm - Hall of Fame part 1 (Fourth Street Live)
8.30pm - Stan & Vince Concert (Fourth Street Live)
It was about 10pm when I got back to my room (Andy was already asleep), and after changing back out of my warm clothes into t-shirt and shorts, I was on the Ozformers messageboard and found a message from fellow Australian Kenan on the Ozformers messageboard from about 9am that morning, saying that his plane would be arriving at aboout 8.15pm and should be at the Hotel by around 9-9.30pm.
It was about 10.30pm at this stage so I sent a reply PM as I think he
was currently logged into the board (it was cheaper for me than sending
a text with Global Roaming), asking him if he was staying at the Galt and
what his room number is. I said that I had just got back from the
Concert and would be up for a little while if he was willing, or to wait
until tomorrow if he was too tired from flying.
He was only flying in from New York, but it was still late, and it would have still taken up at least 6 hours from his last hotel to this one. He was also only in Louisville from Friday night to Monday morning (leaving five hours before my flight, which would mean leaving the hotel before I would even wake up that day, so I wasn't likely to see him on Monday), so there was very little spare time in each of our schedules to cross paths and meet up.
In less than a minute, he calls my phone.
Just remember, I was in the dark, half-dressed, with someone else sleeping in the room.
I grabbed my shoes, wallet and phone, and quietly raced out the door into the hallway, but the phone stopped just before I was about to answer it.
I went back in the room to get properly dressed, with socks and a jumper, so that I could go back out and track him down, but he then he calls again before I can even get my shoes off to put the socks on.
I raced back out of the room, and tap on the phone to answer it, but in my rush, my finger hit the ignore before it touched the accept... sigh.
I go back into the room once again, each time making all this noise with the door and phone, so I imagine that Andy was woken up at some point... and then I get a beep beep of a text from Kenan, telling me that he's currently at the 4th Street area, with the various people still queued up to buy a CD or see Stan Bush.
I figured that since he wouldn't be back for a little while, I had time
to get myself properly dressed, and head over to the Lobby area and either
catch him as he returned, or track him down by finding out his room number
or with a text or two.
I finished checking my messages on the Ozformers board, and one suddenly pops up from Kenan, telling me that he just tried to call and sent a text, and that they arrived at the hotel about 35 minutes ago but they had ducked out to find some food... and the other things he mentioned in his text.
He said that him and his missus would be back to the hotel soon.
I send him a text to say that I couldn't answer the phone while in the
room while Andy was sleeping, and that I was going over to the main lobby
to wait for him to come back.
I get over to the Lobby at about 10.40pm, and while I waited for him I wandered around, checking things and taking some photos.
Near the front desk was an electronic screen that was about the size
of a TV, that scrolled through various BotCon images.
Also near the front desk was the usual wall of tourist brochures, and
looking through them, I was right in thinking there wasn't anything spectacular
that I would be excited to check out and tell others.
I did find out that there was a free electric bus running along two streets near the hotel (if I had been in town longer and there was something nearby that was worth checking out), and a 75 minute trolley bus tour that I would have done if I had been there an extra day. Something for me to do if by chance there is another BotCon and it is in Louisville.
While I was waiting for Kenan to show up, Dispensor was off stalking
a couple of the feature guests, looking to recruit new slaves... um, loyal
followers of the great Dispensor. (he made me say that)
He first spotted Gregg Berger (in red)...
... and then Venus Terzo (with the white sleeves).
At 11.10pm Kenan and his missus show up and we head back to their room in the Suite tower, which was HUGE. It looked like a whole apartment, with multiple rooms, balcony and kitchen.
We both shared stories of our trip so far, with them having the much more interesting adventure by spending time in New York before arriving at Louisville (he had a lot of photos to show me).
A couple of times he had to go out onto the balcony to have a smoke, and with it being barely above zero degrees at that time of night, I found that it was really cold outside when you only have a t-shirt and shorts (I was only expecting to be inside the Hotel so didn't even have a jumper on).
I was there until about 3am, but I had to get back and get some sleep
before the full day tomorrow (which I had to get up at around 8am).
I still had to finish up a couple of things on my computer, so I didn't end up going to sleep until about 4am.
My Haul by the end of Friday, with my one single toy addition for the
During the day I saw the Australian who was at BotCon last year (Jack,
from Perth), which now officially makes it four of us Aussies here this
And Andy said that there might be another New Zealernder here this year, which would make it six from our part of the world.
That's a pretty good amount for the final BotCon. (it's just a shame that there couldn't be more)
Go to next day - Saturday April 9th
Or - Return to main index page
OZFORMERS - The Transformers
Fansite for News and Interaction in Australia (OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au