.....

BOTCON  2016  -  THE  FINAL  CHAPTER?  (AGAIN)
(griffin's 2016 BotCon adventure from Australia)


- NEWS  &  PLANNING  BEFORE  DEPARTURE -
All dates and times here are Australian East Coast


This page covers the BotCon announcements and news leading up to the Convention, and my own plans for the entire trip.

Following the events of BotCon 2015, which was held June 17-21 in Chicago...

July 16th 2015 - FunPub were chasing up extra shipping from people who ordered the non-attendee set, after just being approached at the Convention the month before about their new policy to prevent people from claiming back excessive overcharging of postage.
They had initially charged $50, but were now demanding an extra $12.95 more.

If they stop us non-American customers from claiming back a refund of excessive charges to Shipping of up to $70 (despite promising that they would voluntarily refund it), why should people be paying extra when there is an under-charging of shipping?
Surely they are making enough profit from the shipping charges that they aren't entitled to, to cover the rare occasions that it is under-estimated.

I've approached two of their senior staff about the matter with no results as of this moment... so it is poor form that they are actually proving that they are checking the shipping on all orders to be able to chase up people for money (for as little as $10), without also chasing up people with a refund (for overcharging up to $70).

This was one of the reasons why I wasn't initially committing myself to definitely going to BotCon 2016, if there wasn't significant reason popping up later for going.

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5th September 2015

Date and location for BotCon 2016 have been announced

April 7 - 10
Galt House Hotel
Louisville, Kentucky

Details for hotel reservations  - http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/

It might look they are getting in early, but since it is in April, it's not really. Last year they made the announcement in October for end of June... so by last year's timing this one should have been announced in July/August.
The earliest one they ever announced was almost 13 months early, for the 2011 BotCon at the end of June, by having the details released at the 2010 BotCon at the beginning of June.

Pre-registrations will probably be in April again though... :p

I was half expecting it to be in California this year, so I'm surprised that it is in the mid-west again (two years in a row), and a little out of the way, but I guess it's considered "central" to get more people in. The city isn't huge, but the airport is only about 5kms from the hotel.

Let's see how many people from Australia are keen at the current exchange rate (around US$0.70), or maybe even a lower exchange rate by the time registration and the event starts, as predicted by some economists.

I guess that will mean Pasadena for 2017 for the next Movie. (sigh... not going to happen now)

Some details for future reference...

Galt House Hotel/Schneider Hotels, LLC
140 North Fourth Street
Louisville, KY 40202
(0011 1) 800-The-Galt (800-843-4258) or
(0011 1) 502-589-5200
http://www.galthouse.com/

Amenities include internet (hopefully free), parking (hopefully free), and airport shuttle.
Discount rate (US$139 plus tax - currently 16.07%) only includes the nights of April 4th to April 10th (checkout the 11th).  Some years they have had 10-14 days available.

Quote:
Galt House Hotel, the Heart of Louisville, boasts 1,320 guest rooms and suites, 128,000 square-feet of convention space, two ballrooms, an exhibit hall and more than 50 meeting rooms. Galt House Hotel features six full-service restaurants and lounges, including RIVUE, a 25th floor revolving restaurant with amazing cuisine, as well as the Rooftop Garden and Terrace, Club 360° Fitness Center and the three-story Conservatory that connects the two towers over 4th Street. It is located within a day's drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population, offers 2,500 covered parking spaces and is located just 7 minutes from Louisville International Airport and the Kentucky Exposition Center. Galt House Hotel is connected to the KFC Yum! Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center, and within walking distance of Fourth Street Live! entertainment district, the Muhammad Ali Center, Kentucky Science Center, Kentucky Center for the Arts, Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum and Frazier History Museum. It is also within walking distance of unique shops and restaurants.

I did the usual booking of a room... just in case... but I wasn't sure about going this time.
One other Australian also made a booking, who was more keen to go than I was, but he later cancelled it in January when he decided not to go.
After the events of last year, and the falling level of support for FunPublications, especially by non-Americans, I was having trouble convincing fellow Australians to go... even the 2 or 3 who had expressed interest in the last year or two.

If I do end up going, the unexciting location will make it worth visiting somewhere on the way, if the budget allows it, as I would expect an exchange rate of about 60 US cents by then.
(at least it should be the "off season" for flights, so there should be cheaper airfares, and maybe better sale prices)

Looking at the email announcement, we get a few advance bits of info for next year...

Quote:
In the coming weeks, fans and collectors will be able to register for BotCon 2016 through the BotCon.com online registration system. Fans and collectors who register for BotCon as a Primus package holder will receive a five-figure TRANSFORMERS convention set, admission to the Friday private sales room experience, priority seating at all panels and seminars throughout the weekend and admittance to the Saturday night Casino Night and Awards party. Finally, Primus package attendees will also receive a special bonus TRANSFORMERS figure to go along with their convention box set. General Admission for non-registered guests will be available on Saturday and Sunday only.

It says "in coming weeks" for Registration, but I'll believe that when I see it. Last year they were promising December, then promising January, then promising February... and eventually it was done in May.
(I ended up guessing correctly, as registration didn't start until four months later, in January.)

Some images from the Hotel website and the BotCon website.

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.

There were some comments of it being close to the home state of the Convention organisers, as if it were a common thing, or a bad thing.  But to be fair, the Hartmans had most of their BotCons close to their hometown/state, and probably a larger percentage than FunPublications. (ignoring 95 and 96, as they were hosted by other people)

My BotCon map of the various locations makes it look like a military map of the north & south armies.

This was the greater Louisville area, with the Hotel and Airport.  Note that the Ohio river is the state border, with Indiana on the other side.

The Hotel and neighbouring blocks, from google maps.
The Convention centre is either part of the hotel building, or the building that is just to the south of the Hotel (in the satellite image), as it says Convention and Visitor Centre but has a commercial building on top (which is in the street view images below).  (it ended up being part of the Hotel complex, which was two buildings on each side of 4th street, not on the same side of the street)

The street view images from google.  In the first image, the Hotel complex is both of the buildings that are joined together by that glass overpass. (before I got there, I thought it was just the building that had "Hotel" written on the front)

The building to the left of the brown hotel building is a completely separate building and has nothing to do with the Hotel or Convention Centre.

The exterior materials and architecture of the brown building looks a bit old, like 1960s or 1970s... so hopefully it's had a few renovations during that time so that we don't have really old rooms.
Considering it is in the city centre with a river view but "only" about US$150 per night, it probably won't be too fancy on the inside.

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Some time in the next four weeks the full BotCon website was up, with links to the various regular elements (most still yet to be added).

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23rd September 2015

10th anniversary today of the first FunPub BotCon.

It's currently the 22nd of September right now in America (for another 8-ish hours), and on this day 10 years ago, the first BotCon by the current organisers (Fun Publications) officially began.
As bad as FunPub may be to many fans, they've managed to survive 10 years and put on 11 BotCons so far.
This anniversary date has also given me the motivation to process and complete my archive of the 2005 convention - so far I only have 2007 onwards done, and I never even typed up my notes for 2005 unlike previous BotCons.

http://www.toycollectors.com.au/botcon/bc05/bc05intro.html

For some fans, the Convention itself is one that is still loved and looked forward to each year. While for others, we just focus on the Convention while it is on and temporarily set aside any of the issues we might have from FunPub before the Convention.

2005 was my sixth BotCon Convention, and seventh Hasbro endorsed/official Transformers convention (the 2003 convention didn't have the name BotCon)... and even though this one had some familiarity with it, there was a lot of changes to the structure and running of this one, to fit FunPub's existing GIJoe model. That made it both interesting, and a little daunting at the same time. (change can be good, but sometimes people don't like too much change)
It was held at the Embassy Suites (Hotel & Convention Centre), at Frisco, Texas (just north of Dallas), from September 22-25.
This first one by FunPub only had activities from Thursday to Sunday, but there was still an early-bird package pickup on the Wednesday night. The Thursday activity was just a pre-Con tour, as there were no Custom Classes this year.  Ever since then we've had Wednesday activities, but the official Convention dates still don't include that first of the five days.

There was one other Australian attending this year (that I knew of), and I ended up sharing a room with him after meeting up the year before (at BotCon 2004 in Pasadena).

I directed a tweet in the direction of the Collector Club, but they didn't acknowledge it or retweeted it, probably because it had a TFW link in the posting, which I had to use for the majority of fans who are in America, to recognise and be willing to visit.

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4th October 2015

The theme of the 2016 convention is revealed, and is Beast Wars related.

Dawn of the Predacus
The BotCon 2016 Convention box set will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ground breaking cartoon and toy line BEAST WARS. Prepare for the "DAWN OF THE PREDACUS". Our first reveal from the 2016 Exclusive Convention box set is the former DECEPTICON who was reprogrammed and rebuilt... as a PREDACON! - Tripredacus Agent RAVAGE!

The BotCon 2016 set will feature FIVE all-new head sculpts utilizing the amazing TRANSFORMERS COMBINER WARS action figures.

Stay Tuned to BotCon.com for details on ordering this amazing box set.

The first reveal looks to be a BW Ravage from the Breakdown mould.

My first thoughts...

Good - the first reveal was six months ahead of the convention, which is a record for them, as they are usually 2-4 months before the convention starts. I wouldn't be surprised if they are rushing these out to get Registration started early for them to get more cash in after this year's failed to sell out on anything.

Good - Beast Wars anniversary, but was pretty much expected.

Good - Combiners, also expected, and as long as they don't mess it up, it should be the first unified boxset since Machine Wars.

Bad - Gen1/BW Ravage as a sports car... I'm not seeing it. It feels like it will be shoe-horned into a storyline that will be difficult to reconcile by purist BW fans (and this BW fan) that it will be aimed at.

Bad - Over-milking the Combiner toys while Hasbro is over-milking them will probably put off people.

Bad - giving more Beast Wars characters Vehicle modes is a bit of a weak way of using the characters in the anniversary year. The 2006 set was able to work by leading into the cartoon, but if they have another pre-BW set or a post-BW set, it won't have the same feel of Beast Wars to it.

Undecided - If they manage to have the majority of the Convention toys be Beast Wars characters done tastefully (not just a replica head on an unrelated toy), it could be a proper anniversary to the Beast Wars series, but after failing to homage 1984 or Gen1 in their "30th Anniversary" year (2014), I will wait and see how many non-BW characters they end up including.

If they also do "Magnaboss", it would be at least three of the toys, with Combiners Silverbot, Ironhide and Prowl included... maybe coloured to look like their BW namesakes.

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4th October 2015

A fan convention in the UK this weekend has had a panel for the Collector Club hosted by Pete Sinclair, and he announced the first guest for next year's BotCon - David Kaye (Megatron).
That should mean a Megatron toy thrown in as well, to make use of Voice Actor (for autographing the toy and/or Script Reading).

......

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9th October 2015

Four of the 2014 BotCon toys are being sold off in a special new boxset, called the Legacy Collection for US$185.
(Shokaract, Apelinq, Flamewar, Flare-up)
https://www.toyarama.com/store/2015-botcon-legacy-box-set-1-pc-p1303.php

They must have had a LOT of unsold toys from that year, so had to come up with some way of selling some of them, but it's probably not going to win them any friends, as all those people who went to the convention believing that attending was the only way you could get Flamewar, it is now for sale (like MW Starscream the year before).
Plus, these four toys come in a nice fancy box, but who's going to buy this if they already have these four toys (most who would have wanted them, would have bought them by now).
The price isn't very good for four Deluxes either, as they usually sell 2 Deluxes at the Convention for about $90, so these should have been discounted to be less than $180 (even with a box) just to offload them.
I think the expense of doing up this sort of solid box to help sell these excess toys will end up costing them more than they actually sell.  Maybe they will sell well at the next BotCon, by the walk-ins who didn't get these yet or know about them before (if they recognise the character names).


 

The fans have certainly been abandonning the BotCon convention and its toys since FunPub started screwing over their customers and mistreating fans from about 2010.
Just based on the statistics of what sells out at the recent few years of BotCon, it seems that the attendance/interest is dropping off despite two more record breaking Transformers Movies bringing more people to the Brand in the last four years. Just look at the 2015 BotCon, which I would have to say was the worst on record for what it failed to sell out, despite reducing most of the production numbers...
- pre-registration
- boxsets
- loose sets
- one of the two Custom Classes
- one of the two Frank Welker VIP groups
- the diaclone 2-pack
- the Gen2 2-pack
- the Waspinator 4-pack
- the kreo pack

If they want to start increasing their sales numbers and even sell out of future items without reducing the numbers even more just to make things sell out, they have to start mending fences with the fandom, as they are the customers of FunPublications, so they are the ones who need to be treated with respect and sometimes even some pampering or butt-kissing. (just like any other business, you have to kiss the butt of your customers and prospective customers, and make them feel like they are the most important person in the world, just to separate their money from them)

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9th October 2015

The latest email from FunPub (for something else) had noted that their discount Hotel rooms for next year are 90% reserved... so if you have even a slight possibility of going next year, reserve a room and just cancel it later if you don't end up going. (you will need to pay a day as a deposit, but it is refunded if you cancel before the cut-off)

So.... their allocated discounted rooms are not sold out yet, after a full month. I think that's a first, because even 2005 had their allocated rooms sold out (I came across the email update from 2005 just the other day).
Ever since 2007, the rooms were booked out within a day to a week of the announcement and there would be a second or third hotel on offer. Last year it took a couple weeks, but the drop in fan support was now impacting the potential attendance of people, who would book early just in case.

I think they are really going to be cutting back on the toy units this year just to make sure they don't have unsold stock 5 years in a row... even after trimming back on the numbers in the last two years.
(which proved to be true, as most of the toy numbers were reduced for BotCon 2016, with some being about half of the amount produced just two years ago)

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10th October 2015

The second figure is revealed - Transmetal Tarantulas from the Rook mold
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/images16/tarantulasREVEAL.jpg

A motorbike seems more fitting (the Groove mould), as it is more agile and sneaky than a big armoured personnel carrier.
I also used to believe that Transformers have in their DNA/CNA certain types of vehicle modes by default, so that when they change bodies or rescan, they would still remain a related type of alt-mode... and Tarantulas had the motorcycle mode as a Transmetal... not because he scanned one, but because he either used to be one and it was still in his CNA, or he was built/born with that default form inside his biology.
So far it's the dead Predacon brigade... and by having earth vehicle alt-modes in their late Beast Wars colours (for Tarantulas), it makes it hard to believe that this would be set after Beast Wars.  The story must be something pre-BW, and Tarantulas was using similar colours later as a Transmetal.
 

It was also announced on the BotCon website along with their Tarantulas toy reveal, the Voice Actor for Tarantulas (Alec Willows) is their second guest next year. (along with David Kaye)

This will be Alec's second BotCon, with his first appearance being 16 years ago in 2000 (ironically, it was the same year that had John Moschitta's only appearance before returning this year after 15 years).
He looked like he was about 70 years old 15 years ago, so I wouldn't be surprised if this was his last BotCon appearance if he isn't a big enough guest to be signed up more often than that.

....

Between those two Voice Actors, you have one who has been in almost all Transformers cartoons since Beast Wars (David Kaye voicing Transformers roles in every series after Beast Wars except RID-2001), while on the other end of the spectrum, Alec Willows has only ever voiced one Transformers character (Tarantulas) in just one Transformers series (Beast Wars).

Speaking of David Kay, next year will be his ninth BotCon (ten if you count 2003), which will make him the most frequent BotCon guest, jumping ahead of Peter Cullen who is still on eight and hasn't been a BotCon guest since 2012.  If Cullen isn't a guest this year he would be missing four in a row, after being a guest for four in a row.
http://www.toycollectors.com.au/botcon.html#3

I am thinking that Richard Newman (Rhinox) would also be a guest next year, as he went through some financial troubles a year or two ago, and has been invited to a number of conventions since.
It would also be good to cross off the remaining Beast Wars voice actors who haven't been a BotCon guest yet...
Don Brown - Scorponok
Colin Murdock - Quickstrike
Lee Tockar - Ravage
Carol Slavenkoff - Predacon Computer

Unfortunately, Cambell Lane (Rampage) died before being a guest.
 

Okay, rant time...

This will be the second Tarantulas in 7 months (from the subscription figure that only just came out in the last few weeks).
I guess it could be put down to bad timing to have two in two years, but when they knew they were doing a new Tarantulas toy for BotCon 2016 they should have released the 2015 Subscription Tarantulas first (June), so that it wasn't as fresh in peoples minds with this reveal.

Hopefully they didn't have this Tarantulas toy (and head) planned before the third subscription set, because they were soooo stubborn about giving a new head to a no-name unreleased Axellorator that didn't need it, over giving an accurate head-sculpt to the universally recognised Tarantulas (who stands out more with the wrong head).

An updated image of Ravage added to exclusives page.

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15th October 2015

A teaser image of the Tripredacus Council from the Beast Wars cartoon has been tweeted by the BotCon people... so maybe the last three toys for the boxset will be the three original Tripredacus members, who had their two agents in the cartoon (Ravage & Tarantulas), already revealed as the first toys.
https://twitter.com/BotCon/status/654350695567609856

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16th October 2015

The third one is revealed, Ramhorn from Brawl.... with a drill (which we would later find out that it was from the upcoming Hasbro Nosecone toy, meaning that FunPublications got first use of it)
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/images16/ramhornREVEAL.jpg

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21st October 2015

Club Magazine Issue 65
Page 2 - Info page - Noting next year's BotCon location and dates.

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22nd October 2015

Cicadacon artwork is  revealed, showing that he will be using the Air Raid mould, but with no new head.

We are told to check out the BotCon website tomorrow for the actual toy reveal!


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23rd October 2015

The toy image is revealed.
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/bc16exclusives.cfm
 

I think that a continuation of the 2006 theme would have been a lot better, with Cybertronian modes, but the problem with FunPub is that they have to produce about 15 toys for each convention, which means whole new themes because that's way too many to do a second batch of an existing year's theme.
It was a problem that 3H never had with their 2-3 toys, as they were able to give us 2-4 year arcs of stories and characters, which was able to make it more enticing for fans to keep coming back the next year, or follow the events, just to finish the story or collect the set of related characters (like the BW toys from 97-00 and the Wreckers toys for 01-02).

If it hadn't been a Beast Wars anniversary year, I think a set of Predators Vs Turbomasters, as combiners would have been doable (and awesome)... with the Optimus toy as Thunderclash and the Silverbolt/Cyclonus toy as Skyquake, and the eight limbs as each of the smaller Euro toys.
It almost seems obvious, and if it was an idea they had, FunPub probably would have decided against it after the poor showing of 2013 Machine Wars and the 2010 Euro/G2 sets... which were both fringe, semi-obscure elements of the fandom.
Given the right marketing, they could have still been popular BotCon sets.

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29th October 2015

Sea Clamp is revealed, from the Silverbolt toy.
 http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/bc16exclusives.cfm

Then began the debate over what their colours actually were on the cartoon - red, or, grey (but made to look red from the lighting in the room in their only cartoon scene).


.

At some point around now, a slightly different version of Ravage was released, with the grey parts looking bluer, so maybe the actual toy samples had finally come in.

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13th November 2015

The Brochure is up on the BotCon website.
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/Lexington%202016.pdf

http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/

Still only the two major guests, so maybe that is all next year.  David Kaye (Megatron) & Alec Willows (Tarantulas).

Noted in several places is that the 2016 BotCon will celebrate the 20th anniversary of Beast Wars... and with the toys and guests so far, it looks to be a better celebration than the 2014 BotCon, that was originally noted as celebrating the 30th anniversary of Transformers, but later we heard nothing or saw any sign of anything specifically 1984 or Gen1 at the Convention.

A possible Registration date or time-frame is not noted, but their FAQ page from the main page says "later this Fall", which would be by the end of November... after originally saying in early September, "in coming weeks".

Costs of the various items (in US$)...

Primus - $399 (five toy boxset plus attendee toy)
Minicon (kids/partners, no toys) - $140
Protoform (no toys) - $210
Iacon (non-attending) - $399
100 Golden Tickets - $325 (down from last year's $400 which had to pay for Frank Welker, but up from the usual $300) - it totals $724 with the Primus pack.

250 Loose sets - $295
Custom Class (Wed & Thurs) - $120
Assemble and unpainted Class toy - $75

Wed Tour - $115 - Horses & Kentucky Bourbon Tour - (8am-4.30pm) Kentucky Derby racetrack, White Castle for lunch, Jim Beam Distillery, Evan Williams Distillery.

Thurs Tour - $115 - Caving and Museums Tour - (8am-5pm) Marengo Cave, Conrad-Caldwell House Museum, Louisville Slugger (bad) Museum, Frazor History Museum.

Saturday has a Casino night and Awards dinner.
The Costume contest is back, as is the Filmfest for Friday (with submissions required by March 15th).

Theme outline from the Brochure....

As they sat aboard their own personal space station orbiting Cybertron, the Tripredacus Council seemed to defy Maximal Intelligence in every way. Shrouded in mystery and shadows cast by a single hanging lamp, this trinity of high-ranking Predacons plotted their own path to restoring greatness to the Predacon faction. While fans never saw them in combined form on the show, we know that the Predacons General Seaclamp, Cicadacon, and Ramhorn combined to form the fearsome and towering Tripredacus!
Of course, what good is a conspiracy without operatives to carry it out?
And the Predacon Council had some of the best operatives for that task!
Working as a covert specialist for the Tripredacus Council, Ravage was described as one of the few Generation 1 Decepticon warriors who was rebuilt and reprogrammed... as a Predacon. Given new stealth abilities and one of the Predacon’s most advanced ships, Ravage made his presence known shortly after his arrival on ancient Earth by capturing the renegade Predacon Megatron and dispersing his troops. Although the crafty Megatron soon turned the tides back on the famous feline with his own manipulation and offer, Ravage soon made his true loyalties known - “Decepticons Forever!”
But the former Decepticon wasn’t the only one who had previously sworn loyalty to the Council. Sly, secretive, and scheming, Predacon Secret Police Lieutenant Tarantulas had been a mole inside of Megatron’s crew from the very beginning! Turning into a disgusting, giant spider with the ‘occasional’ mad scientist tendencies and personality gave fans a character the likes they had never seen before in the Transformers mythos.
As BotCon 2016 celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the Beast Wars TV series and toy line, fans can relive these great characters through new toys and a new story! With FIVE new head sculpts spread across the box set and utilizing the awesome Combiner Wars molds from the Transformers Generations toy line, Voyager Class SEACLAMP, Deluxe Class RAMHORN, Deluxe Class CICADACON, Deluxe Class RAVAGE, and Deluxe Class TARANTULAS are ready to join fans’ Beast Wars shelves individually OR joined together as the unstoppable Predacon Battle Master PREDACUS!

The Primus Package ($399 for club members or $499 for non- members)
consists of the following and will be received at your assigned registration pick-up time:
• Beast Wars Uprising: Dawn of the Predacus A five-figure COMBINER WARS boxed set which includes five Beast Wars Predacons who merge to form PREDACUS; all presented in an illustrated display box. Also included with the set is a certificate of authenticity, tech specs and figure weapons. Stay Tuned to BotCon.com for the reveals of each figure!
• Convention name badge and convention pin.
• Convention program with comic.
• Admittance to the Exhibit Hall including the Private Exhibit Hall Experience on Friday and Early Bird privileges on Saturday.
• Admittance to all convention panels/seminars and Awards Dinner.
• The pre-convention tours and classes are available for an additional fee.
• BONUS FIGURE: Primus Package attendees will receive an extra surprise convention piece not available with the non-attending package.
This extra piece will not be sold and is our gift to you for making the trip. (You must pick up your convention package in person.)

Golden Ticket Upgrade
This year we continue to offer an (optional) upgraded package for the Primus package holders. This upgrade is called the Primus Golden Ticket (limited to 100 packages). This upgrade provides you with the following extra benefits to assist you in maximizing your convention experience.
The upgrade cost is added to the Primus package price and you must be a Transformers Collectors’ Club member to take advantage of this special option.
• Early package pickup on Wednesday night OR Thursday before the regular posted pickup times.
• Early shopping at the club store for exclusives before the regular posted shopping times AND triple the regular limit on exclusive convention souvenirs.
• Exclusive Golden Ticket Cloisonné Pin and surprise bonus.
• Pre-signed autograph item (signed by all attending special guests ).
• Meet and Greet Reception (pictures, light hors d’oeuvres, discussions, no autographs) on Friday night with David Kaye, Alec Willows
• Reserved seating in the first three rows of all panels.
Cost is an additional $325 added to the Primus Package (Golden Ticket total $724).
 

Something significant that has been spotted on another fansite that I didn't notice - They didn't mention the prize drawing on the Sunday for the free entry to the next BotCon... and it is one of the standard paragraphs that they recycle each year, so cutting it out is very significant.
If they were no longer doing the prize draw, it will be a very quiet end to the Sunday.
This year had very little on for Sunday, and a lot of people were only hanging around (sitting around the edges of the Dealer Room) because of the prize draw at 3.15pm.
Even most dealers were packing up an hour or two before the close because of the departure of most walk-ins and many pre-registered attendees, and if they didn't have the prize draw this year, the Dealer Room would have been empty after midday.
(the reason for this missing element became clear later, as it was the final BotCon)
 

I also missed this, as I had skipped over the bits about room-to-room trading, but other fansites had pointed out that FunPub have now prohibited non-Hasbro items from being allowed on site anywhere, not just in the room-to-room trading.  I agree with them being prohibited from within the Convention, but it seems a bit excessive to have them banned from the entire Hotel, even if they don't enforce it, as this will just give them bad publicity before it even gets tested.

Quote:
please do not bring any items for sale during Room-to-Room trading that may infringe on Hasbro owned intellectual property. Products that may infringe on intellectual property rights of others are not welcome on the premises at any time. Violation of this policy could result in expulsion from the event and hotel property.

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15th November 2015

A recent podcast that Pete was on (within the last 24 hours) has responded to a few of the issues, and talked about some related club items.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvmkxPli9wI

It's a 2 hour podcast, so check it out if you want to sit through it all.

More guests and events are to be announced, as the Brochure was released "early".... but nothing "significant" to effect a decision to get the Primus pack registration.
Something else for Beast Wars to come, plus some non-Beast Wars stuff.

Registration will be "soon", because they want it to be open before they have to give their numbers to Hasbro, in order to adjust the production numbers. (not exactly soon, as it was another 2 months away)

There should still be a prize drawing. He suggests that it could be a different prize this time. (he mustn't have known yet about the end of BotCon, but someone at FunPub did know to keep it out of the Brochure)

They don't have the Samples of the BotCon toys yet.

They are doing the new heads from a new company this year - The Four Horseman.

Some issues with Ravage and Seaclamp heads with the first versions, but fixed it easily.

The attendee figure will be a Deluxe with a new head.

Of their at-show toys, one is going to be their centrepiece toy for BotCon, which is not a Combiner Wars toy.... and they will be making it extra limited to drive demand. (this was the RID-2001 Megatron mould)
Of the other at-show toys there will some Combiners, and a Generations toy using "not American" tooling (so a mould released in Japan). (this was the Slipstream mould)

The convention comic will NOT be in the "Uprising" story universe, at this time.

No comment on the the Cybetron Con trademark issue.

At about the 41 minute mark Pete talks about the 3rd Party issue, which he says that basically it is a Transformers Convention and that dealers and private rooms shouldn't be selling non-Transformers products.
Apparently they won't be looking for it, either in the rooms or in someone's hands walking around with it... it is really just aimed at the Dealers. People are just blowing it out of proportion - as the policy isn't really new, it is just being made more obvious to exhibitors beforehand.
(The problem is the way FunPub communicates these things, often in a vague way, like this one, in that they could have reassured attendees that it only applies to Dealers... and save themselves the criticism, or having to clarify it above the noise of complaints.)

The 2015 BotCon had a rating of about 8-8.5 out of 10 from the people who filled in the survey form. And 20% of the feedback forms were from people attending their first BotCon, which was noted as being a bigger number than usual. (when greater numbers of the regulars drop out due to being disgruntled, the proportion of first-timers has to increase, and the feedback rating goes up)

-------

FunPub don't do damage control or try to make up for problems. They either blame the fans or ignore it completely.
So now, after five years of problems and minimal or sporadic communication by FunPub to the fandom they are needing to make money from, is just extraordinary.
The main assets left that still draw in fans are BotCon and their exclusive toys... both of which are suffering in recent years.

The stats don't lie, it is not just a vocal minority... BotCon have been showing an inability to sell out their preregistrations and at-show toys for the last few years, despite reducing the amounts of toys in recent years and the Movies are driving more people to Transformers.  And yet the BotCon attendance and sales is not only plateauing, they are falling. The most successful Transformers Movie in terms of dollars, was in 2014, and yet 2014 and 2015 had a fall in success of BotCon pre-selling registration and the at-show toys.
Even though I felt that this year had a notable drop in attendees on site, FunPub would never reveal attendee numbers, so the amount of exclusives they have for sale and if they sell out, is the only objective statistic we can rely on.
This site keeps track of the stats, showing that 2013 was the last time they had something sell out during it's initial sale period, and 2012 was the last time that they sold out their boxsets during the pre-registration period.
And I think it is telling that this year's Subscription set of classic Gen1 characters (the Mayhem Attack Squad) was noted as not being able to outsell their first Subscription year which was their best year... when five years ago, these significant characters done as Classicverse toys in a unified set would have been like Punch/Counterpunch - everyone would be wanting them.

----------------------------------------------------------
19th November 2015

Hasbro signs up an exclusive global exhibitor.
This isn't directly related to BotCon, but it is worth noting, as people were hoping or assuming that it would be a replacement for FunPublications.  But it shouldn't have anything to do with the Convention or Club.... as they are different concepts to a themed public interactive exhibit.

Hasbro (America) have announced signing up a Singapore company the global exclusive rights to hosting Transformers interactive exhibits (like the one at the Indianapolis Children's Museum, the one in Singapore last year, or the one in Macau last year).... until 2023... excluding Japan (which is TakaraTomy's jurisdiction) and the city Indianapolis (which must mean Hasbro will have more exhibits at the Children's Museum in the future, or just don't want to prevent it).

The Singapore/Malaysian company is called Dayspring (a division of Cityneon), and aim to have their first exhibit in 2016 through their other division Victory Hill called "The Transformers Experience".

Victory Hill have already just made an announcement of their first American exhibit for 2016, which they should have open by March/April at the Treasure Island casino (which is quite central on the main Casino strip).

It would be good timing for BotCon if it is open in March or early April for international people to visit on the way to Kentucky, but we probably wouldn't know until it is too late to plan travel. BotCon is on the 6th to 10th April, and I find it better to do things before the Convention... but on this occasion, if anyone goes from here, it might be better to do a stop in Vegas on the way back... and if it still isn't open by then, at least you get to explore Las Vegas.
(it was announced February 6th that the Las Vegas exhibition will only have the Avengers portion open in April, as the Transformers portion won't be open until late 2016)

----------------------------------------------------------
23rd November 2015
At the Hasbro America fan presentation, the "Cybertron Con" name has beome a successful convention in Asia and they wanted to protect the trademark as much as possible. Botcon 2016 will be happening as planned.
http://www.bwtf.com/events/hasbro-hangout-november2015

----------------------------------------------------------
25th November 2015

A third Voice Actor guest has been announced - Scott McNeil (voice of Silverbolt, Rattrap, Dinobot, Waspinator).
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/bc16guests.cfm

.....

That's three Beast Wars voice actors, who make up half of the first (10) characters introduced in the first episodes of the cartoon.

Attending - Megatron, Waspinator, Dinobot, Rattrap, Tarantulas.
Missing - Optimus Primal, Rhinox, Cheetor, Terrorsaur, Scorponok.

Scott must have been a late signing to have missed being included in the brochure that was only released a couple weeks ago.

----------------------------------------------------------
19th December 2015

BotCon registration update - now aimed for mid-January.

The Collector Club sent out an email today, letting us know that the registration for BotCon that was originally planned for September, then November, is now pushed even further back to mid-January.  And it is not surprising that it is over half way through December and they are now letting us know that registration isn't starting in November.  Nor is it surprising that it has been four weeks since their last bit of news, killing off any momentum or hype from their marketing department.

Quote:
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy New Year!
We are still finalizing the registration system move to the new server. This has taken longer than expected due to issues with the old programmer. Their non-cooperation has caused us to have to rebuild the original version of the registration software from back-ups.
We do not want to impact your Christmas funds as we are entirely too close at this point to start registration. The current plan is open registration in mid-January.
We hope this relieves any anxiety you may have concerning BotCon registration and helps with your funds planning.
Thanks for your support and have a great holiday season!
Brian

That gives people here more time to save up (for attending or a non-attendee set), and hopefully FunPub have sorted out the problems now, and not leave it until mid-January to then have to waste more time fixing the bugs.

----------------------------------------------------------
23rd December 2015 09:08 AM

The Seibertron website is reporting that all Transformers Club Memberships will end December 2016.
People are seeing this as another sign that something is happening to the Club, after the BotCon Brochure was missing the prize drawing for 2017.

23rd December 2015 01:00 PM

Being up for four hours on Seibertron on their news page and not taken down or clarified by the website staff or their FunPub spokesman (Jesse), it does mean that something is definitely changing. It's just typical of FunPublications to stay silent when the fandom's rumour mill snowballs out of control... but I don't think the Club is closing at the end of 2016... because they are promoting their 2017 Subscription set in the next issue of the Magazine. (when I got the magazine later, it wasn't noting anything about 2017, as the next subscription set would end up coming out at the end of 2016)

I agree with what some others have said, that it is likely they are moving to a January-December membership cycle, to make it easier to track, as well as align the club comic to it (which would always be one issue out for their March membership drive/cutoff that a bulk of member would sign up to for the Membership toy). It might also be to give them more consistency with the membership fees, so that people aren't able to squeeze two BotCon discounts out of the one membership fee if you have an April/May convention after a June-September convention.
The drawback of this will be for those who transition and get less than 12 months membership in 2016 despite paying for the full 12 months (even if they get all the same things like the Membership toy and BotCon discount).
It would also make it difficult to encourage people to register between February to October (like at BotCon to get walk-ins to join), as people won't want to pay too far in advance of the next year's membership cycle.

Or... maybe they are just dropping the whole membership element of the Club completely, and just be a Convention organiser and online store. After all, they can drop the magazine or have it as its own paid subscription, and sell the Membership toys like their other exclusives, and business would actually continue as normal (with everything just having a single price instead of a non-members price that no one probably even pays anyway).
After the last few years of no members website, or incentive to join if you aren't using it for a BotCon discount or access to a Club exclusive like the Subscription sets, the membership concept is a bit of a dead weight for FunPublications now, and it couldn't have been making them any money after the cost of the 6 colour magazines, Deluxe toy and postage for all seven items.  The various member discounts wouldn't be a loss to them as they would have been the normal pricing, while the non-member prices would have instead been a bonus to FunPublications.

I just hope this doesn't impact on BotCon, or see its demise, as it is still an iconic event... but a growing number of people are just preferring to sacrifice that experience to make sure FunPub don't end up getting their money.
So if the Club is being folded, they would end up being like the company called "Men In Black" from the 1990s, who hosted BotCon in 1996, and we saw how that turned out, as an online store hosting a fan convention just to produce a lot of toys that didn't end up selling.
I guess jt would be no surprise if FunPublications did do go the way of just being a toystore that hosts an annual convention, as someone had already pointed out a few months back, their facebook banner lists their purpose as being a toyshop and collectables store, rather than a convention host or fan club.

23rd December 2015, 04:53 PM (just eight hours after the news broke)

Looks like I was wrong.... it really is the end.

According to Pete's Facebook page, BotCon 2016 looks to be a farewell party to FunPublications' role in Transformers.

Looks like I might now have to go to BotCon next year... just in case there isn't another one for a while, or at all.

I really hope that Hasbro are planning ahead like they did during the collapse of 3H in 2004 (in which they approached Brian the week before the 2004 Official Convention, with the offer of taking on the license).
And I also hope that Hasbro will have something in place for the production of  fan-targetted toys, as FunPub was the only source of Hasbro exclusives that weren't released by Hasbro (like SDCC exclusives, which aren't purely for the fans), while TakaraTomy still has Ehobby, Million Publishing and TakaraTomyMall for collector exclusives.

----------------------------------------------------------
28th December 2015

Collector Club Magazine The current issue (number 66 - Dec/Jan) contents...
Page 2 - noting that registration for BotCon will be very soon (obviously written before they decided to postpone it to January). It also notes that there are more reveals and guests to be made.

----------------------------------------------------------
14th January 2016

The last BotCon news item was November 25th. That's almost 2 months ago which loses the momentum of the hype for the event.

The news isn't all good though, as we may have an announcement of a new guest, but its due to the cancellation of one of the first guests.

Alec Willows (Tarantulas) has had to pull out of his commitment to BotCon due to signing up to a new Stage Production role for the April period.
His replacement is fellow Beast Wars arachnid Voice Actor - Venus Terzo (Blackarachnia).

This will be the third BotCon for Venus, who like Alec Willows, hasn't been a BotCon guest since waaaay back in 2000.  Her first BotCon was 1997, which was the first BotCon to have Voice Actor guests.

........

----------------------------------------------------------
16th January 2016

An update email from FunPublications, telling us that

Hello all,
It is almost time to register for BotCon 2016! We will begin registration for BotCon, North America’s largest Transformers fan convention, next week. We will send out an email when it goes live and will also send updates via our Twitter and Facebook pages. Follow us to stay in the loop on the latest BotCon announcements!
Speaking of Facebook, for your first look at PREDACUS, the combined mode of the 5 figures from this years boxed set, visit our Facebook page here.
Thank you for your support over the last 12 years as we look forward to seeing you Louisville, KY, April 7th-10, for the biggest and best BotCon yet!
Have a great weekend!
Brian


The email thanks us for the last 12 years of supporting them... which sounds very final, but is still not an official announcement from FunPublications (which they should have done by now if it is no longer a secret).

On that Facebook posting they were replying to someone was asking them how quickly the boxsets sell out so that they don't miss out on this year's Predacus set.
Not that FunPublications would admit to it in their reply by saying that they haven't been able to sell out their boxsets in the last four years, so it could make it fairly safe again this year (unless they've reduced the production numbers a lot this year).

----------------------------------------------------------
19th January 2016

The boxset box-art was posted on facebook, done by Marcelo Matere....

The box art looks like it would fit right in with the other Hasbro and JP Combiner Wars/Unite Warriors boxsets.

The one thing that someone on TFW noted, is that it doesn't have the "BotCon" or "BotCon 2016" logo anywhere on the front of the box. If it wasn't for the "included Pin" image saying BotCon on it, you'd never know that it was a BotCon exclusive boxset.
I think it would have looked better having the BotCon label on the box instead of being cheapened by having an "included" something slapped on it like some regular promotional item. And the pin is something that I don't see or hear anyone getting excited about, or care if it is even included.

According to a recent podcast, apparently there are only 9 CW toys for BotCon... which could allow for them to be doing the three Magnaboss characters, but it wouldn't come with enough limbs to make a second full combiner.

The artwork of the five Boxset toys was also released at some point around now, and would be on their biocards.
.....
.

.
......

An email from FunPublications today also let us know that registration is not starting today, as we were told last week that it would be this week.  It sounds like it should be soon though.

Hello Members!
Just so you can quit checking today.  Registration is not today.  However, you do need to go to TransformersClub.com/shop and make sure your log in works (click on My Account and log in).   If it works in the store, it will work in the registration system.   If it does not work you may need to renew your membership.  If you have any issues, please let us know.
In addition, if you have an issue with your credit card company, please do not call us.  Only your card company can fix any approval issues.
Thanks for your support and see you in Louisville!
Brian

----------------------------------------------------------
20th January 2016

An email from the Collector Club today lets us know that registration isn't starting today, but gives us some last minute details before registration is finally started (the wording suggests it will be starting very soon, like maybe in the next 2-3 days).

Hello Members!
Some exciting updates regarding BotCon 2016 Registration!
First, a reminder about some package details. If you register as a Primus package holder, you will receive not just the 5 figure boxed set, but also a FREE additional Deluxe figure. We are excited to announce that this figure utilizes the Combiner Wars tooling and also features a NEW head sculpt that does not appear on any other souvenirs.
Also, the CLASS KIT (and Assembled Class Kit) features an alternative head sculpt that is not available at retail. You can add an Assembled Class Kit when you register.
Finally, per the BotCon brochure, this year's Golden Ticket features a surprise bonus! That item is in fact an alternate version of one of the Legends Class souvenir items.
Take one last look at the Convention Brochure so you know exactly what you are planning to purchase and we will see you very soon in Louisville, Ky for BotCon 2016,10th April 7-April 10!
Thanks for your support and see you in Louisville!
Brian

----------------------------------------------------------
21st January 2016, 05:51 AM

BotCon registration is now open - for both attending & non-attending people... closing March 21st (giving people two months to register).
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/register.cfm

The registration is now open (as of three hours ago), and it worked quite smoothly.
I guess without any bugs in the system this time, it was launched quite suddenly without warning... at least for us who are sleeping on this side of the world who would have stayed up if we'd known it was today.

When I woke up and saw that registration had started 3 hours ago, I was worried that I had missed the Thursday Custom Class (as I wasn't interested in either of the tours, so was planning to only go for the four days instead of five - so if I had missed the Thursday Class, I wouldn't have signed up for the Wednesday one)... but surprisingly, it was still available. Even last year I think the Thursday Class sold out pretty quickly, so this could be an indication of another drop in attendance for this year.  As such, I think the non-attendee allocation of boxsets might sell out this time, as there was more interest in the Combiner set this year, but not really any increase in the interest to attend the actual convention.

Looks like the new program allows you to add-on items later because there is an option on the first page to skip past the boxset screen if you already bought one (I haven't tested it though).

I ended up getting....
$724 - the Golden Ticket Primus pack,
$295 - Loose set (to pass onto someone else),
$120 - Thursday Custom Class,
$30 - T-shirt,
$75 - and unpainted Custom Class toy
(plus $7 processing fee)

That came to US$1,251... which was AU$1,830.10 on my credit card. (plus exchange rate fee of about 2%, which hasn't been charged yet)

----------------------------------------------------------
21st January 2016, 06:32 AM

According to comments on TFW, apparently the Thursday Class is now full... so I must have just snuck in at the end. (or at least, I hope I got in... or hope that there are no issues with my registration when it is manually processed)
Now to find someone in America that I know well enough, to share with, to cut the cost of accommodation.

----------------------------------------------------------
21st January 2016, 07:07 PM

I wonder if FunPub would cancel the convention if they don't get enough people registering to attend... and just sell off their toys through their online store like with their other toys.

Because... we have now had the first full day of registration in America, and we haven't had any of the usual announcements from FunPublications about how well they have been selling, nor have there been too many people on the two main fansites saying that they have registered.
Even on Seibertron there wasn't many people there saying that they had registered. Despite people thinking that the TFW community is opposed to FunPub, there were more people posting there that they had registered.
It was only just a couple of years ago that there would be at least a hundred people on both sites posting up that they had just registered... even last year with the nightmare of a registration website there were heaps of people in the first day saying that they registered.

I decided to cut back on the time there this year as there isn't anyone else going that I know (or those that promised to go this year)... and Louisville doesn't appeal to me enough to get there early to explore it or to do either of the pre-Con tours. If there were people going that I knew well enough to enjoy the full package I would have done something on the Wednesday and flown in on Monday like most years. Instead, I'll just fly in Wednesday and do the early bird package pickup that evening, and save two nights accommodation (if I can't find someone to share with).

----------------------------------------------------------
23rd January 2016

I went to the Travel Agent two days later to book flights, after checking out options online the day before.
I was completely surprised to find that there were no direct flights from Los Angeles to Louisville.  Los Angeles is the second largest Airport in America at the moment, while Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky, and the airport is the largest one serving a Kentucky city. (the North Kentucky airport is larger, but it services the Ohio city of Cincinatti that is just over the border from the airport)
So I had to see what my flight options were, that could get me to Louisville without detouring too much, as I was not wanting to spend more than 5 nights in America this time, which didn't leave me with any time to be stopping off anywhere on the way.
I wasn't able to find too many options between LA and Louisville, and going via Dallas looked to be the quickest option. It would still take about 9 hours, which would mean no time to do any toy shopping in LA on either day travelling through. (there is a ToysRUs and Target near the airport that I like to visit if I have a few hours between flights)

The travel agent gave me some other options, but they would have taken longer, with some even requiring an overnight in LA or some other city on the way to Louisville.  A couple of options even required flying all the way to the east coast of America and then flying back to Louisville.

The flights I had booked on the 23rd, and paid on the 24th...

April 6th - Wednesday
Bris - LA flight (10.00am - 6.00am) (-17 hours timezone change)
LA - DTX flight (8.35am - 1.40pm) (+2 hours timezone change)
DTX - LKY flight (2.40pm - 5.38pm) (+1 hour timezone change)

April 11th - Monday
LKY - DTX flight (3.35pm - 4.58pm) (-1 hour timezone change)
DTX - LA flight (5.55pm - 7.17pm) (-2 hours timezone change)
LA to Brisbane flight (11.20pm)

April 13th - Wednesday
Arrive Brisbane (6.10am) (+17 hours timezone change)


.

Some of those connections are very tight.
Hopefully the two gates at Dallas on each day are near each other, as it's the same airline for the two flights so I can get both tickets at the first check-in point (and the luggage gets transferred automatically)... so I should be able to jst walk from my arrival gate to the departure gate of the next flight without needing to go through security or ticketing (if the plane isn't late arriving at Dallas).

My flight out of LA to Dallas on the 6th is the real worry, as I only have two and a half hours to go through customs, walk to another terminal, and go through security.
Some days it can take up to 90 minutes just getting out of the international terminal... and you need at least 30 minutes to go through American airport security these days... leaving me with very little margin for error.
And if I miss my Dallas flight or the flight out of Dallas, I may not get to Louisville until a day later, which would not only mean missing out on the Custom Class and have to wait until the Thursday to pickup the registration pack, but if I end up sharing with someone, they might be affected by it as well, like if they can't check in before me or have to pay for the entire room at check-in.

The total cost of the six flights was AU$2,343.56 and that was without Travel Insurance, as I had bought a year-long policy last year, which covered me for this trip.

----------------------------------------------------------
3rd February 2016

Could there be a Megatron toy at BotCon this year?
According to a teaser video that has just been released, it looks like there might be, based on a planned but unreleased Convention toy.

Below is an image of the planned (and cancelled) 2005 Megatron toy.
Images taken from the TFW2005 website.

A tweet later from BotCon would seem to confirm its existance, by noting that "Megatron" will be limited to one per attendee and is expected to sell out on the Friday.  They said the same thing last year about some of their at-show toys, but none of them sold out despite reducing the numbers, so if they are trying to "warn people" again this year, they must be planning to reduce the numbers again to make sure they sell out, even if it means selling out early and having a lot of people miss out, like the walk-ins. (which is what ended up happening - the number of units was reduced to 850, and were sold out Saturday Morning before the walk-ins could get to them)

----------------------------------------------------------
20th February 2016

It's been just on a month since Registration started and we've had one news item from FunPublications, and it was just a teaser clip rather than an official announcement of an event, guest or toy.

It's no wonder their convention and club are failing - they should be releasing teases and info every few days, especially after Registration has started and they are strruggling to sell attendee boxsets (no announcements were made this year about how well they were selling).

Today, we have a new activity announced - a live concert on the Friday night (April 8th) by Stan Bush and Vince DiCola, at a nearby live entertainment venue.

The venue is near the Convention Centre, and is a free entry public area, so this won't be an additional cost to attendees... but it will require BotCon attendees to walk there and back.

Looking at the maps, the Galt House and Convention Centre is on the northern end of 4th Street, and this entertainment venue is four blocks south... so it's a little walk of about 10-15 minutes, and hopefully not clashing with anything at the Convention Centre, like the Golden Ticket dinner, which is usually on Friday night.  (it did end up clashing, and I had to leave the Golden Ticket event early to see the concert)

I am thinking that this would be the last time we will see the pair performing together as the numbers of us old timer fans who love their 1986 work, are very few now, and I'd feel really bad for them if they ever did a performance and only had about 20-30 people showing up... so having it at a public venue for non-attendees to attend is a good way of padding out the crowd.

----------------------------------------------------------
2nd March 2016

Transformers Hall Of Fame Nominations for 2016

There wasn't anything publicly posted by Hasbro or FunPublications, so once again it looks like Hasbro (America) privately contacted and invited (only American) fansites to participate.

This is just the pre-voting nominations round for just a week, so there should be a public voting method in the next couple of weeks from the top three of each category.

The categories...

1 - Favourite Transformers Character (fictional robot character)
2 - Favourite Underrated Transformers Character (fictional robot character)
3 - Best Transformers Related Musical Act (real life Humans)

The second category is new this year, and should be interesting... but I fear that the immature vocal minority on certain fansites will push for Erector again.

The other two categories have been done before, and after two Music winners already (Stan Bush and Vince DiCola), there isn't a lot of well known Musical Acts left to choose from.

The previous Robot inductees are...
2010 - Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Megatron, Starscream, BW Dinobot
2011 - Ironhide, Ratchet, Soundwave, Waspinator
2012 - Grimlock, Jazz, Shockwave, Wheeljack
2013 - Ultra Magnus, BW Megatron
2014 - Arcee, Rodimus
2015 - Prowl (individual robot), Predaking (combiner robot)

----------------------------------------------------------
4th March 2016

A VIP guest is announced - Judd Nelson, the voice of Hotrod in the 1986 Movie and the 2009 Animated cartoon.
http://www.botcon.com/BotCon2016/bc16nelson.cfm

We are thrilled to offer the BotCon 2016 Judd Nelson VIP PASS. This package upgrade allows you access to our very special BotCon 2016 guest, Judd Nelson! This is the FIRST EVER appearance for Judd Nelson at a Transformers convention! The VIP PASS is $129 and is in addition to the cost of your Primus, Golden Ticket Primus, Minicon or Protoform package.
The Judd Nelson VIP PASS includes:

- One (1) autograph signed in person by Judd Nelson (Friday afternoon*)

- One (1) professional 5x7 photograph with Judd Nelson (Saturday afternoon)

- Exclusive Hot Rod art print

- Exclusive Hot Rod Cloisonne' Pin

- First seating at the Judd Nelson Panel

*Please note that there will be no photography permitted during the autograph session.
Your autograph slot will be on Friday afternoon 3:30-6:00 pm and your photo slot will be Saturday afternoon (time TBD). This autograph package for registered attendees is limited to 200 slots.

If you have already purchased your Golden Ticket Primus, Primus, Minicon or Protoform package, log in to the registration system and start a new Attending Registration. If you need more than one, you should put the number needed in the "how many are your registering?" box. On the next page insert each person's name, age and relationship to you. On the Package selection page select "2016 Attendee Bypass" (do this for each person you are registering). This will get you past this page as you already have an attending package. When you get to the Daily Events page you can choose the Judd Nelson VIP PASS for each person.
If you have not registered for your attendee package, you can now do all of this at one time. Just start a new registration and follow the screens.

...

It's a shame that this was so last minute, as it is unlikely to convince too many people to now go this year who wasn't already planning to, with it being just five weeks away.
I think if they had this locked in back in December, and announced it like Frank Welker was last year before the Brochure was released, this could have helped sell extra attendee sets this year.

I'd say that this was a last minute addition, as it follows the same concept of Frank Welker last year, and that was included in registration as an add-on option... so if they knew about this (or had it confirmed some time ago), it would have also been a registration add-on.

Hopefully he'll be at the Golden Ticket event/dinner, as I'd be keen to see & hear him in person (outside of his Panel), but there's nothing on the US$129 VIP package that I want.
Autograph - don't really care for them, and only bother about the big names like Cullen and Welker. (and it seems that the Golden Ticket people got an exclusive print with his autograph on it anyway)
Photo - I prefer to take photos of them, not of me with them. I will know that I've seen them, I don't need the proof of me in the same photo.
Print - I have hundreds of artwork and posters, and this isn't one of my favourite characters.
Pin - I really don't care about the Pins, or FunPub's obsession with them.
Front Row(s) seating at his panel - I get that already with the Golden Ticket.

Friday night is going to be busy for those with a Golden Ticket, VIP pass and wanting to see the Stan & Vince concert.

It was tweeted later that day that Judd Nelson will be at the Golden Ticket event, which means I definitely won't need to consider getting the VIP pass. It makes the GT more valuable than the VIP pass, because you can actually rub shoulders and talk to the guests at the GT event (the VIP pass only gives you a few seconds to speak while the photo is being taken, and while he is signing your item).

Now I just gotta cross my fingers that the GT event on Friday isn't at the same time as the Stan & Vince concert.

----------------------------------------------------------
5th March 2016

Allspark website is reporting that IDW is doing the convention comic, and that it will fit into the IDW Beast Wars universe (Gathering/Ascending), which has no connection to their G1 universe.

----------------------------------------------------------
8th March 2016

Corin Howell has released some comic art, that is said to be from the BotCon Comic, as he is the artist this year.

----------------------------------------------------------
9th March 2016

The collection of Artists in the Dealer Room has been posted up on the BotCon website.
Most of the regulars are there, and the ones I don't recognise are probably IDW artists or fan artists (any artist can buy a table, not just licensed artists).

The BotCon website also now has a link to an airport shuttle bus on the left hand menu bar, with no announcement that I was aware of, so maybe there is no special rate.  The airport is quite close by so a discount was either not possible, or would be negligible anyway.

----------------------------------------------------------
10th March 2016

The first two pages of BotCon comic (Dawn of the Predacus) have been released on their facebook page, without any speech bubbles.
Written by John-Paul Bove, with art by Corin Howell.

....

----------------------------------------------------------
11th March 2016

The Collector Club sent out an email today to remind us that the last day to join the club is March 16th, and athat all memberships will end at the end of the year.  It is also the first official mention that things are ending, and to reassure us that Hasbro has plans for the future.
The GIJoe fans were getting emails as well, also telling them that their Memberships were ending December 31st, but unlike us, they didn't get reassured that Hasbro had plans for the future of their Club & Convention.
 

Hello Members!
Please note that March 16 is the last day you can join the Transformers Collectors Club. If you are interested in receiving the discounts for BotCon, the 2016 FREE Membership Incentive figure and/or purchasing the TFSS 5.0 (to be revealed in full at BotCon 2016) you will need to be an active member as of March 16. All memberships will end December 31, 2016. Hasbro looks forward to sharing new plans for the Collector’s Club with you in the future.
We appreciate your support over the last 12 years and wish the brand well in their new endeavors.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing each and every one of our Club members at BotCon 2016!
Brian
 

I was surprised that the GIJoe club was ending, as it is FunPub's favourite Brand (they were doing Joe conventions for about 10 years before they did BotCon, and their senior staff (aside from Pete) are GIJoe fans... and never got interested in Transformers, despite running the Club and Convention for several years (at the time I was asking each of them)).
That was what made me think that they probably had the licenses taken from them, as I would have expected them to try to keep doing GIJoe stuff since they are big fans.
I guess the GIJoe toyline will just become one of the usual Movie toylines, that will only see product out for 6 months around a movie, and then that's it.

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11th March 2016

Today was all about the bad news, with BotCon also tweeting out that Scott McNeill will not be attending BotCon 2016 as a guest due to personal matters.

That's so sad, for the fans who were going and wanting to see him.

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11th March 2016

At about the same time, FunPublications sent out an email to let us know that Gregg Berger (voice of the original series Grimlock) was taking his place as a guest at BotCon this year.

Hello Members!
We have some exciting news! On Friday afternoon, BotCon registered attendees will be treated to a script reading panel starring Judd Nelson, David Kaye, Venus Terzo, and Gregg Berger! To see this you must be a registered attendee, so make sure you have signed up for your Primus, Golden Ticket Primus, MiniCon or Protoform package. Also, for those who have already registered, if you have not yet added your Judd Nelson VIP Pass to your existing package you can do that today! Visit BotCon for the details and then if you need to register, add the VIP pass or do both, you can do that here.
As you can tell from the above paragraph, there has been a guest change. Unfortunately due to personal reasons, Scott McNeil had to cancel. However, Gregg Berger will now be coming! We will all miss Scott, but we are very excited about seeing our old friend Gregg in a few short weeks.
Registration will close on March 21st so there is not much time left to register. Currently there are only 30% of the Primus packages, 8% of the GT packages and 19% of the Iacon (non-attending) packages, left.
Please note that March 16 is the last day you can join the Transformers Collectors Club. If you are interested in receiving the discounts for BotCon, the 2016 FREE Membership Incentive figure and/or purchasing the TFSS 5.0 (to be revealed in full at BotCon 2016) you will need to be an active member as of March 16. All memberships will end December 31, 2016. Hasbro looks forward to sharing new plans for the Collector’s Club with you in the future.
We appreciate your support over the last 12 years and wish the brand well in their new endeavors.
Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing each and every one of our Club members at BotCon 2016!
Brian

........

I'm actually quite surprised at how many sets are still unsold. 30% of the Primus allocation and 19% of the non-attending allocation... plus about a dozen Golden Tickets left.
Even if they didn't reduce the number of boxsets this year (from not selling out for the last four years), having about a quarter (about 400) unsold, of an estimated 1500 boxsets (last year's number), is a lot of expensive boxsets that FunPub have to clear out before the end of the year.

As for the loss of their two main guests this year, it looks like FunPub is getting all sorts of karmic bad luck right now, just before they end their Transformers operations... and it isn't even caused by their mishandling of things this time.
If these things had happened six years ago before things started going bad for them with the Transformers fandom, they would have earned a fair bit of sympathy over the massive bad luck of two of their first three headline guests cancelling. As much as some fans want them to fail, it is other fans (attending the event) who will suffer most from this.

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12th March 2016

Following up the email they sent out to members yesterday, FunPublications also posted on their facebook page a similar message about the end of their Transformers operations, and a reminder of the membership cut-off in a few days time.

Quote:
Thank you to each and every one of you that has supported us over the last 12 years. The party isn't over yet though as we have a big year still to come, with the TFSS 4.0 starting to ship next month and the TFSS 5.0 starting soon! At BotCon 2016 we will be revealing all six TFSS 5.0 figures, so stay tuned for that.
In regard to memberships, some quick follow ups. If you are a member as of March 16th, 2016 you will be able to purchase the TFSS 5.0. If your membership expires during the time period when the 4.0 or 5.0 are shipping, you STILL can pay the installments (if that is the option you selected) and you will receive all your figures as you normally would.
As far as concerns over auto renewals after March 16th. As we have said, we are not taking any new memberships after this date, so there are no auto renewals as there will be no memberships to renew.
Finally, back to the very first point. Thank you! Thousands upon thousands of you have supported the Club over the years and right now, as of today, the TCC is the strongest it has been in a few years! That is because of all of you! Those who enjoy what the TCC offers and enjoy what we do. You are an amazing fan base and thanks to all of you who continue to have an important impact on the hobby! You all are what makes this fun to do!

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12th March 2016

The latest Podcast that Pete guest stars on, has shown off some closeups of BotCon toys, including what looks to be a sneak peak of Terrorsaur (which was on the front of the Boxset box).

Some images and the podcast link can be seen here.

Quote:
Teased the Terrorsaur figure, which was first revealed on the Predacus boxart, and seems to be - at this point - a recolor of Combiner Wars Airraid.
-The torso mode for Predacus at around the 24 minute mark
-Seaclamp can be seen at about the 26 minute mark
-Terrorsaur can be seen at the 1 hour 14 minute mark.

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17th March 2016

Just like recent years, they have left it until the last minute to do a big promotion about joining the club before it's annual cut-off date for the "free" toy, as there put this image out with just two days notice in America (the cut-off date was extended to the 18th), when it should have come out weeks ago, like they used to do about five years ago.
Two years ago ago, I was actually posting the reminder as news on one of the global fansites the day before the cut-off, because Fun Publications seemed to have completely forgotten about it.

They have also noted on their website, to reassure people who have memberships that expire after March 18th, that if they had a valid membership as of the 18th, they will still be able to access Member exclusive toys like the Subscription set later in the year. (the system won't renew any memberships after the 18th)

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18th March 2016

The Botcon attendee figure Terrorsaur has been revealed on the BotCon Facebook page.

..........
I don't like the cheesy grin... it's disturbing. I do like how they've tried to break up the red with some other colours that match the cartoon, but for some reason, it doesn't feel right, as I'm more used to the original toy, which had a lot of blue and green, instead of the grey and yellow of this and the cartoon version.
And he looks a little too buff for Terrorsaur, who was always a skinny, scrawny character and toy.

All these years I've been saying to FunPublications to reveal the at-show toys and only keep a couple secret (the attendee and Custom Class toys - as you get the same effect from 2 or 20 secret toys)... and they go and reveal the one toy that should most be a surprise (to the attendees who travel all the way to BotCon), and still leave the bulk of toys secret.
It's no wonder they struggle to sell the at-show toys, because a lot of non-attending people don't have enough time to organise to get one, or probably would have registered to attend just to make sure they don't miss out (if they are living in America).
I think that this year, since it doesn't really matter how it turns out, they should just reveal most of the at-show toys, and see what difference it will make.

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22nd March 2016

Today in America (it's still the 21st over there) is the last day to register for BotCon, and they only now announce another guest - former designer Aaron Archer... so I wonder why it was so late for him to be announced.

.........

People at TFW are saying that Aaron Archer is back at Hasbro. That's weird.... especially after he was working on developing toys that resembled Pretenders, which wouldn't have looked good to Hasbro.
(maybe they desperately needed him back after the big purge of employees and designers, which now has them short-staffed, to the point of recently advertising for a new toy designer)

I'd really like to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with other various designers who deserve to have that sort of recognition.

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23rd March 2016

FunPub have sent out an email to let people know that they have created a Saturday VIP Judd Nelson Pack for General Admission (walk-in) people... but it costs $60 more than the the cost for pre-registered people.  The General Admission ticket is $25, and even if this VIP ticket includes that, they are still paying an extra $35 for the same things as the registered VIP people.
Either way, they must have really struggled to sell VIP tickets for them to now create a month later, a Saturday VIP pack to get enough money to pay for him.

Quote:
2016 BotCon SATURDAY Judd Nelson VIP General Admission Ticket is now available.

For $189***, the Judd Nelson VIP GA PASS includes:

• One (1) Saturday General Admission**
• One (1) item autographed in person by Judd Nelson
• One (1) professional 5x7 photograph with Judd Nelson (Saturday afternoon)
• Exclusive Hot Rod art print
• Exclusive Hot Rod Cloisonné Pin
• First seating at the Judd Nelson Panel*

Please note that there will be no photography permitted during the autograph session.

Your autograph slot will be on Saturday morning 9:00am-11:30am and your photo slot will be Saturday afternoon 12:30pm-3:00pm. This autograph package for General Admission attendees is limited to 200 slots and can be pre-ordered now through March 30th. After that date, you will need to come to late registration and availability is not guaranteed.

*After Registered Guest Package Judd Nelson VIP Pass holders and Golden Ticket Attendees.
**General Admission Ticket ONLY valid on Saturday
***$189 is the GA Pass price. The registered attendee package price is $129.

Visit BotCon and order your Judd Nelson VIP Pass today. Please post this online so that non-club members will know of this GA pass.
See you in Lousiville in a few short weeks!
Brian

...

That last bit asking people to post it online for them sounds desperate... and shows that they have given up promoting things themselves on fansites.

I feel bad for those who get this VIP pack, as it will mean missing out on most of Saturday's panels, with up to 5 hours of waiting in queues for the two sessions.

Actually, I feel more bad for anyone who thought back in the beginning of March that they had to Register for BotCon (of at least $210) just to see Judd Nelson, who would have just been a much cheaper walk-in if they had known it would be an option later (like people who live in Louisville, or people who would have just flown/driven in for the Saturday).
If FunPub had this walk-in option planned out before pre-registration closed, that would be pretty low, as there was at least one person who lives near Louisville who paid the minimum US$210 protoform package plus the $129 for the Friday VIP ticket (total US$339), when they would have just paid US$189 for the Saturday VIP ticket (which itself was already forcing people to pay an extra $60 over the Registered VIP ticket). It just seems like a desperate cash-grab or recouping of costs, thanks to another drop in attendance, as there was no announcement of boxsets or GTs being sold out this year.

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25th March 2016

Those who Registered to attend BotCon were sent out their emails with details of their package pickup times and location, as well as details of the Custom Class and Tours (if they bought tickets to them).
It mentions that there will be a casino night again this year (I don't think it was in the Brochure, or mentioned anywhere yet).

The main details in the emails...

SOUVENIR STORE will be in the GRAND HALL.
EXHIBITS will be in GRAND BALLROOM. Both are on the 2nd floor of the Suite Tower.
PANELS will be located in the Cochran Ballroom, which is on the 3rd floor, Rivue Tower.

Tours depart from the Galt House Hotel Main Lobby

Wednesday, April 6 @8:00 am – Horses & Kentucky Bourbon Tour
Return 4:30pm; Breakfast Included; Lunch is NOT included. After tour you are welcome to walk back to hotel or stay and shop for gifts and souvenirs.

Thursday, April 7 @8:00 am – Caving & Museum Tour
Return at 5pm; Lunch is Included. Walking distance of 2 miles over the day.

Custom Classes Meet in Nunn or Breathitt Room, 2nd floor, Suite Tower, Galt House Hotel
Check your invoice to see if you are in the Wednesday or Thursday Class.
Time: 8 am – 4pm each day, Late arrival will NOT be seated after 8:15am or be given a refund.

Early Bird Package pickup (For Tour Guest or Class Participants)-
Wednesday 9:30 pm Combs/Chandler, 2nd floor, Suite Tower, Galt House Hotel.
Bring your Invoice & Photo I.D.
By picking up your badge on Wednesday night, you can go directly to the Club Souvenir Store on Thursday night.
Your name badge gains you entry for the store.

Golden Ticket Package Pickup -
Wednesday 8:30 pm Combs/Chandler , 2nd Floor, Suite Tower, Galt House Hotel
or
Thursday 4:00 pm- 5 pm Combs/Chandler , 2nd Floor, Suite Tower, Galt House Hotel

Thursday store hours 6 pm–10 pm. (for the at-show toys and merchandise)

Each Golden Ticket pack will receive - Golden Ticket Cloisonne Pin, GT Surprise Bonus, $2,000 "Casino Money", Souvenir Voucher for “3 Times the Limit” on 2016 BotCon souvenirs, Meet & Greet Reception on Friday evening, Pre-signed autograph print, First entry to Exhibit Hall each day, reserved seating in the front rows of all panels and early Shopping Privileges Thursday from 5:00 pm-5:45 pm.

The "GT Surprise" is said to be a bonus toy... which would be unfortunate if it was related to one of the two guests who are now no longer coming, as the first Golden Ticket year had a bonus Botshots Optimus for each person, signed by Peter Cullen.

It was also noted that if anyone needed to contact FunPub during the first two weeks of April - they won't be answering calls or emails due to being too busy packing up for BotCon, or at the convention.

One thing I only just noticed after all these years of the Golden Ticket concept, is that you don't appear to need to be in a Tour or Custom Class to be able to pickup your boxset/package on Wednesday night (Thursday night is the regular night for those without a Class or Tour added). Not that I wouldn't still try to get into a Class or Tour (or both) to make the trip more fulfilling, but it is good to know for next time....

Waitasec, there's not going to be a next time?

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26th March 2016

After asking two American friends if I could share with them and was unsuccessful, I emailed a New Zealand fan (Andy) who sent me an email back on March 6th asking some questions about BotCon, since it was his first one.  I asked him if he wanted to share a room at the convention and two days later he replied to accept the offer... so I added his name to the room reservation so that he would be able to get a room key if we arrived at different times.
He then told me that he would be in Louisville from Monday the 4th (I arrive on Wednesday), and that he would be staying elsewhere for the first two nights, and would come to the Galt House hotel on the evening I get there.

This was the first New Zealander that I had ever heard about going to BotCon, but doing some searching, he is not the first.  According to the statistics in the 2004 Program Guide, there were none up until that point, but at least one had been to a BotCon since then (in 2012 in Dallas), and I heard later that there might have been two going this year, for the Final BotCon.

As for the ones I knew were going from Australia, one is on their first BotCon (Sinnertwin), while the other is on their fourth BotCon (Paul), making him equal second most frequent BotCon attendee from Australia with a formers Sydney member called Roady Prime, who had been to four BotCons (and the 2003 Official Convention).

I finally got my maps done up for the trip as well, which I transfered to my phone's image gallery to use if necessary. (I wasn't out much on foot this year, so didn't need them much, other than following where the taxi drivers were going).

This was the greater CBD area, which I only ended up walking south to the Fourth Street Live (on the Friday), and west along Main street to the Louisville Slugger Museum (on the Monday).

TGI Fridays is a family restaurant chain that I've been wanting to try for years, but either never have the time or there isn't one around. This year there is one nearby, so I might finally get to try it out. (I didn't)

I did up several other maps of the various major toy and food sources around Louisville, but there was nothing within walking distance of the Hotel, or even within 10 minutes of public transport.
Ultimately I identified two best concentrations of stores, that I would prioritise if I had the time or money to check out (by taxi).  They were both south of the Airport, so I planned to check out one or both on the day of arrival, on the way to the Hotel from the Airport.  (I didn't end up doing this though, as the taxi had a set fare for the CBD, and I wasn't sure if I would have enough money for the weekend to spare on retail toy shopping)

This one to the south east had a Target and ToysRUs.  (I ended up going to this one on the Thursday afternoon)

This one to the south west had a Kmart and Walmart. (I didn't end up getting to this one, and Sinnertwin's photos showed that it was good that I didn't waste the time and money going there)

I posted up my itinerary as well, but since the Convention schedule wasn't released for another three days, there were a lot of gaps and guesses based on previous years.
I reposted it on the 29th when the schedule was released.

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29th March 2016

The convention schedule has been added to the BotCon website (but not yet emailed though), for those going to now be able to plan out your BotCon days.

The descriptions of the various panels was also added to the BotCon main page.

Hmmm... no IDW panel again this year, which is odd.

Their excuse last year was that they had just moved buildings, so I wonder what their reason is this year. (apparently they were at a comic convention that weekend, but it still doesn't explain why they chose not to send at least one person to promote their products with a panel or slideshow - several of their Transformers artists were at BotCon, surely one of them could have been commissioned to do a presentation panel)

Venus Terzo has two panels while the other Voice Actors only have one... I wonder if that's to get more (male) walk-ins on Saturday.

And I'm a bit worried about the Golden Ticket event being listed at the same time as the Hall of Fame presentations, which I hope is just to give Vince Dicola his trophy (for the award he won a couple years ago) and not the entire HOF awards for 2016, as they should be doing the presentations during the actual "Awards" dinner on Saturday.
Hopefully, the Golden Ticket dinner is at the Fourth Street Live precinct, as the Schedule only notes that we meet up at the Hotel Lobby... it doesn't say where it is going to be held. If it isn't, I'll be leaving after an hour to go see Stan & Vince. (it was located at Fourth Street Live, but overlooking the concert stage, so I still left after an hour to catch the concert up close)

Looking through the Schedule, they've got Sunday with hardly anything on again (like last year, and Sunday was like a ghost town compared to Saturday).
No News or Guest panels on Sunday at all, just fan panels or fans who are now working in official roles but are not presenting a panel on behalf of who they work for (like IDW).

Sunday only has four panels, and none are going to be newsworthy for people to flock to them...
- PANEL - 10am - The Art of Transformers with various Artists
- PANEL - 11am - Transformers Japan with Hayato Sakamoto & Andrew Hall
- PANEL - Noon - Cybercast Podcast
- PANEL - 1pm - BotCon Over the Years

Compared to Saturday, which has seven panels, almost double... and includes the feature guests, Hasbro and the Collector Club (who will be revealing the rest of their exclusive toys for this year).
- PANEL - 10am - Venus Terzo Q&A
- PANEL - 11am - Hasbro Product preview
- PANEL - Noon - Gregg Berger Q&A
- PANEL - 1pm - Transformers Cosplay with Rosemary Ward
- PANEL - 2pm - Aaron Archer Q&A
- PANEL - 3pm - Transformers Collectors’ Club Roundtable
- PANEL - 4pm - Judd Nelson Q&A

If they didn't already do this last year, I would say that FunPub were just giving up, as this BotCon isn't going out with a bang... it's going to wind down and fizzle out like it did last year (which they should have learned not to do it again). The only difference will be, people won't be sitting around the walls of the Dealer Room for the last couple of hours of Sunday waiting for the prize drawing at 3pm. They are going to just leave after the first few hours of dealer room shopping (if they aren't a comic fan to want to sit in on the first two panels of fan-artists)... if they show up at all on the Sunday.
(if you are a walk-in or local, who's going to choose Sunday over Saturday... or even waste another $25 to come back to Sunday if they aren't a hardcore fanboy - where's the incentive when both days are the same cost of $25, when one day gets you the Hasbro presentation and all but David Kaye of the feature guests... while the other gets you fan-artists, a recording of a podcast and a "reflections" panel of an event that the majority of walkins wouldn't have been to before to care much about its history)

This was one reason why I wasn't planning to go this year (last year was so disappointing with the way it was planned out - the only thing that saved it was having Welker there), and I only changed my mind for this year when it looked like it might be the last one... so I figured it would be worthwhile seeing off this Annual Convention, as well as various people that I might not see again (if it doesn't continue next year, or comes back with a different focus that isn't aimed at the long-time fans).

So this year (like in 2004) I'm actually more interested in spending as much time as I can with some long time friends for what might be the last time (which I thought was the case in 2004, so you never know I guess)... and I think I may be a little sad on Sunday afternoon as I try to process whatever I am likely to be feeling after the last panel (of the history of BotCon), and the subsequent winding down of the remaining 90 minutes (which I think will have a very empty Dealer Room).
As it is, the two weeks leading up to my departure have had moments of eyes welling up with tears at the thought of this being the end, and possibly the last I will see of people whom I have known or seen for 10 or more years now.

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My updated itinerary that I posted on the messageboard for others to find me, or follow my activities during the weekend.

April 6th - Wednesday
Bris - LA flight (10.00am - 6.00am)
LA - DTX flight (8.35am - 1.40pm) (+2 hours)
DTX - LKY flight (2.40pm - 5.38pm) (+1 hour)
Taxi to hotel via some stores
Check-in at Hotel by 7.30pm
.....
8.30pm GT package pickup (Combs/Chandler , 2nd Floor, Suite Tower, Galt House Hotel)
9.30pm - Back to room
(I might go back at 9.30pm if I know of any non-GT people doing the early Bird pickup or check out room trading)
Night 1 at Louisville

April 7th - Thursday
7.30am - leave room
8am - Custom Class (Nunn or Breathitt Room, 2nd floor, Suite Tower, Galt House Hotel)
(2-4pm - finish at Custom Class, back to room)
.....
5pm - GT access to Club Store (GRAND HALL)
(I won't go too early, as FunPub stopped stocking retail toys, but will go by 4.50pm to get in first with the GT holders)
6pm/Evening - can meet up with others or check out the room trading.
Night 2 at Louisville

April 8th - Friday
8.30am - leave room
9am-2pm - Panel room (Cochran/Addition, Rivue Tower)
- PANEL - 9am - TCC Magazine/Comic Panel with Pete Sinclair & John-Paul Bove
(10am-Noon - Club Store opens for all Registered Guests - Exhibit Hall)
- 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)
(8pm - Hall of Fame presentation - Fourth Street Live)
8.20pm - walk to Fourth Street Live
8.30pm - Stan & Vince Concert (Fourth Street Live)
10-11pm - back to the room for the night when finished)
Night 3 at Louisville

April 9th - Saturday
8.20am - leave room
8.30am - Dealer Room & Club Store (GRAND BALLROOM)
10-5pm - Panel Room (Cochran/Addition, Rivue Tower)
- PANEL - 10am - Venus Terzo Q&A
- PANEL - 11am - Hasbro Product preview
- PANEL - Noon - Gregg Berger Q&A
- PANEL - 1pm - Transformers Cosplay with Rosemary Ward
- PANEL - 2pm - Aaron Archer Q&A
- PANEL - 3pm - Transformers Collectors’ Club Roundtable
- PANEL - 4pm - Judd Nelson Q&A
4.50pm - last minutes in the Dealer Room before it closes at 5pm.
.....
Return to room
7pm - leave for Casino Night, Awards Dinner & Auction
7.30pm - Casino night starts (KICC Cascade Ballroom)
(10/11pm - return to room when Auction ends)
Night 4 at Louisville

April 10th - Sunday
9am - leave room
9.30am - Dealer Room (GRAND BALLROOM)
10am-2pm - Panel Room (Cochran/Addition, Rivue Tower)
- PANEL - 10am - The Art of Transformers with various Artists
- PANEL - 11am - Transformers Japan with Hayato Sakamoto & Andrew Hall
- PANEL - Noon - Panel: Cybercast Podcast
- PANEL - 1pm - BotCon Over the Years
2pm - Dealer Room
3.30pm - Show ends, return to room.
Afternoon/Evening - Packing, can meet up with others when finished
Night 5 at Louisville

April 11th - Monday
Check-out of Hotel as late as possible.
Make way to LKY Airport, to be there by 1pm.
LKY - DTX flight (3.35pm - 4.58pm) (-1 hour)
DTX - LA flight (5.55pm - 7.17pm) (-2 hours)
LA to Brisbane flight (11.20pm)

April 12th - Tuesday
(flight over dateline)

April 13th - Wednesday
Arrive Brisbane (6.10am)

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30th March 2016

Voting is now open for the 2016 Hall of Fame awards on the official Transformers FB page.

The finalists for fans to vote on...

Favourite Character - Gen1 Galvatron, BW Optimus Primal, Gen1 Omega Supreme.
Underrated Character - BW Inferno, BW Tarantulas, Gen1 Cosmos.
Musical Act - Steve Jablonsky (live movie music), Weird Al Yankovic (song in the 1986 Movie), Lion (song in the 1986 Movie).

I would have thought a key character in an entire series (Tarantulas) would end up in the Favourite character category instead of Omega Supreme, who wasn't in too many episodes/comics and when he was, he was just a transport ship or to end a battle.

With Omega Supreme in Favourite character, and Tarantulas ending up in Underated character, it looks like we are finally running out of the premium, most iconic characters for the Hall of Fame.

I'm also a bit disappointed that the Gen1 music people didn't end up shortlisted in the Music category, and yet Lion made it for just one song for the 1986 movie.  Granted, it was the title song, but we don't here it much, or since 1986.

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31st March 2016

Within a day later, Hasbro released an updated image to clarify which Inferno it was, as some were thinking it was the original Gen1 Inferno character.

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4th April 2016

I think this promo image for the BotCon Comic was tweeted by the person who wrote it, or one of the people who worked on it, saying that the story this year is set in 2035.

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6th April 2016

A very last minute email from the club about rooms available at the hotel, which I would be surprised if too many people took up the offer if they are already in Louisville or need 24-48 hours to cancel their existing reservation with someone else.
I would't be surprised if there were a lot of people who booked a room back in September but then didn't register for BotCon so later cancelled their room reservations... and it has left the Hotel with a lot of rooms unused this weekend that they could have sold to non-convention people.  Often the tenders to Hotels & Convention Centers are conditional of selling a certain amount of rooms, so that the Hotel doesn't end up with too many empty rooms that weekend that were set aside for BotCon attendees.

Quote:
Hello members!
This just in from the hotel: They had another group release hotel rooms so if you are not staying at the host hotel, you can change your reservations, so give them a call:
800-The-Galt (800-843-4258) or 502-589-5200!
See you this week in Louisville!
Brian

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April 6th - day of departure to BotCon in America.
Click on the link below to follow my adventure, from the eve of the departure from Australia to America.


Go to next day - Wednesday April 6th

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 Transformers Fansite for News and Interaction in Australia (OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY IN 2016)
-
BotCon website - The official Collector Club and Convention website
-
To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au