(griffin's 2016 BotCon adventure from Australia)


The panel was started by Lanny and Brian.

Before they started their slide show, they warned us that a number of the slides were not working, similar to yesterday's Club Magazine technical issues.  But the slideshow today will include a couple of hundred slides, as it will include slides of (almost) all of their previous Club and Convention toys... so they will scroll through them quickly.


They started off with this year's Boxset toys.
The box, done in the same style of the current Hasbro retail boxsets.

The boxset toys, as photoshopped mockups.



The combiner, which would be on the convention t-shirt (as artwork, not as a photo of the toy).

As per usual, they then went through the colour charts of this year's BotCon toys.

Note the preliminary name for the Unit-3 toy, confirming that it was indeed based on the 1996 "Under-3" Happy Meal toy.



The translucent green on Airazor is so bright here, but the actual toy is very dull, almost clear.




Now onto the new heads.
FunPub changed to a new company this year for their exclusive heads, called Digital Designs, who create 3-D printed heads from their computer renders, which the factory then use.

The first four shown here were actually from the 4th Subscription set and the Ramjet/Skywarp membership toy, but the slide says BotCon at the top.





Next were the new heads for the BotCon toys.




For the Predacus head, they had to make a separate second piece for the horn on the top.


Now came the part where they would rush through (almost) every BotCon toy done by FunPub, from 2005 to 2015.

I took photos of all the ones they showed (they missed a few), but decided to only do up a collage of the first three years, as it was taking too long, and if you need to remember the other year's toys, go check out my archive pages here.


2005 - their first year, and had the same mould as their final year (Deathsaurus/Megatron).

2006 - Beast Wars (missing Tigatron).

2007 - The Springer toy was noted as being the one toy of theirs that the Factory complained about for having too many paint apps.

2008 - Shattered Glass, a completely new and unique universe they created.  Had a lot of fun creating these toys, to evil out the Autobots, and work out if they had colour swaps or completely new colours.  Or in the case of Jazz, it had similar colours with just minor differences (like the Gen2 toy).

2009 - Wings of Honour.  A special unique box for the toys, that they are really proud of.

2010 - Gen2 Redux.  Tried to give them a really retro look.  The box apparently has flourescnt ink that glows in black-light. (they had a blacklight poster that year as well)

2011 - Animated.  A shout out to Derrick Wyatt for his work on this set.

2012 - Invasion.  A mix of Shattered Glass and normal universe toys.  Lanny commented again on the Octopunch toy, having tenticles painted on the chest that ended up looking like two ducks facing each other. (they showed the wrong SG Optimus in this lot)

2013 - Machine Wars. The fake price tag on the box is still something they are proud of, as it was originally going to just be part of the art printed on the box.

2014 - Pirates Vs Knights.  Noting the Scorponok toy being converted into a headmaster (which was very impressive).

2015 - Cybertron's Most Wanted.

After that, they then tried to show us the various Membership and Club exclusive toys during that time as well, but several slides were blank or had the wrong toy on them.

The first five years of Membership toys.  (my camera was now running out of power, which is why three of them are faded)

My camera then ran out of power at this time, and both of my spare batteries were not working (the recharger had failed to recharge them this morning, so I wasted time rushing up to my room during the Cosplay panel to fetch the spare), so I had to take the rest of the photos with my phone's camera... which isn't very good as a camera.

So I missed all of the Membership toys from 2010, and all of their Club Store toys, plus the Subscription toys... but most of the Subscription slides were blank anyway...

This year's Exclusive toys...

Pete had joined the panel at this point to talk about the Subscription toys.

(Since my phone's camera photos weren't very good I have had to include 2 photos here from another source (Seibertron), and scans from the latest Club Magazine that also reveals the Subscription toys.)

2016 Membership toy Ramjet, and Club store exclusive Skywarp.
Due to an issue with the head's ball joint, the toy had to be retooled and it missed the shipment with BotCon & Subscription toys... so it will be coming out later than planned.

The second Transformers/GIJoe crossover - a Generation 2 comic 5-pack. (their first crossover could be the either the Marissa set or Old Snake set)
With Scarlet, Cobra Commander, Dr Biggles-Jones, Ratbat (from the Masterpiece toy) and Megatron (from the GEN-13 Legends toy).

The 3rd crossover exclusive should be Arcee & Rodimus as humans (revealed at last year's BotCon), but will depend on timings with the factory.
The other pair (Springer and Ultra Magnus) are not likely to happen now because they weren't on the approved production schedule for this year, and there isn't much time left to add them now.
(my photo from last year's Club panel, because they didn't show it or mention it this year)

Finally, the fifth subscription set were shown to us.

Counterpunch - apparently using an alternate head that Hasbro had created for a retail release of Counterpunch, but didn't end up using it (like Ratchet).

Scorponok & Fractyl. The Scorponok was probably done to complete the set of FunPub pre-Beast Wars toys, but I think Scamper was a poor choice just to complete the set before they run out of time to do one. That doesn't make me think of Scorponok, nor is such a tiny toy worthy of being a homage to the Voyager class toy from Beast Wars.

Toxitron, again (We still don't have the original Toxitron done in the original mould (the Gen2 Laser Rod Optimus toy), but keep getting substitutes from FunPub.)
It comes with a new head (not sure why, as it still looks like Optimus).  The Combiner with Toxitron as the core will be called Wreckage, and will be a Wrecker, made up of Wreckers.

The coup of the set, is the original Japanese Gen1 pretender shell from Grand Maximus, which was released way back in 1988. This is a Megatron double pretender to go up against the Optimus double pretender that had already been revealed.  The targetmaster gun is based on the unreleased Spacewarp toy (the redeco Armada Jetfire toy coloured like Astrotrain, and then released with a slightly altered colour scheme by FunPub in 2006).

A Paradron Medic, called Lifeline, with a targetmaster gun called Quickslinger.

And the previously revealed Optimus double pretender, reusing the BotCon 2015 pretender shell that FunPub had created, based on an unreleased prototype shell.

Plus noting the secret incentive 7th figure, to keep people paying all three instalment payments (if not paying all at once at the beginning).

Pre-orders were meant to begin in two weeks, but they were late... and it starts, it should be open for about 4 weeks.


Q&A from the audience.

The obvious question - the club ending, including the GIJoe club which looks to have nothing happening for it after this year... can FunPublications say anything about the situation or reassure fans?
Everything has to be sent out by December 31st, as that's when their license ends.  Everything stops on that date, and there is nothing they can do about it.... it's something that the fans need to talk to Hasbro about.
They don't know anything about the future of Official Transformers Conventions... maybe Hasbro are just looking for a company that can do something bigger or different to what FunPublications can offer.
(I actually feel bad for them on the GIJoe side of things, as next year was apparently their 20th anniversary doing the JoeCon, and they would have been planning major things for it since a year or two ago... and are probably unable to get them done this year, as it would have been too late to add things to the production schedules or get approved for the convention this year.)

Terrorsaur missing it's giant foot/fist/gun? - the factory failed to produce it, so they just had to give out the toy without one.
They expand on this further, about the troubles they get from the factory when it comes to samples, because they are on the other side of the world (and timezone) which takes time to deal with each problem, and often they just have to trust that the toys will arrive like the samples (or like they were originally intended if the samples were wrong).
Just about every toy they've ever done has had a problem or needed adjusting during the production process, and sometimes they just have to work with what they are given.

How will people order the 5th Subscription set or 2016 Club toys if they can't register to the Club anymore?
Membership renewals were not permitted after March 31st, so they will try to alter the system to allow past members to access anything being sold later this year (Subscription set, Skywarp, and the 5-pack).
They will try to have the system changed to allow anyone who was a past member to have access to the Club Store and Subscription set.

The BotCon name stays with Fun Publications, but they don't have any plans to use it at this time.
FunPublications will still exist as a business beyond this year, and are already exploring other ventures.

Near the end they got a standing ovation from the crowd, for their 12 years of doing BotCon.  It prompted Lanny to tell how he was hired by Brian when his company got the Transformers License in 2005, and moved his whole family to Texas. He got a bit teary with the story, and so was Brian when he was telling us that no matter what is the next chapter for Transformers Conventions, we should support it and go to it, as it is the people and friends that make it special, not the toys.

Go to the next panel - 4pm - Judd Nelson

Or - Return to Saturday 9th April

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***All pictures in this convention report are mine unless noted. Any that are borrowed, have the source credited/noted.  If you want to use/borrow any of my photos, please credit the source as well. I try to take as many of my own photos as possible, and usually only resort to using others if I failed to get something, or my photo wasn't clear enough.

OZFORMERS - The 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