Botcon 2011 Review - The Good & The Bad!

Discussion in 'Transformers Conventions and Get Togethers' started by predaking5, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. predaking5

    predaking5 Master of the Predacons

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    Ok so this is my 8th Botcon - Here is my review of Botcon 2011.

    The Good Stuff:

    - Location -
    This was my first Botcon in Pasadena. I really loved Pasadena. A lot of the places we discovered within a mile of the Sheraton had great food for dinner out and the weather was beautiful. The convention center itself was also big enough to house all of the madness... The panels were able to be enjoyed by everyone that deemed them a priority. The $139 price at the Sheraton was reasonable and worth mentioning. There of couse was also the bad stuff for us... see the bad section for more on that.

    - Fun Pub -
    These guys keep putting on a good show. This years Animated Stunitcon toys and souvenirs were absolutely top notch freaking awesome with a cherry energon cube on top. I enjoyed the script readings. I loved that we got a script reading of the actual animated themed comic this year with some juicy add on scenes! This is something they should do every year if possible. The fact that Fun Pub works with people who have contributed to the TF brand in big ways - Derrick Wyatt for example - just shows they care about the details... The box graphics for the exclusives and the logo for the stunticons were talked about at length by Lanney Lathem and Eric Siebenaler. Also - I loved the autograph cards they did for this year... The cards made it more fun to hunt for everyone while attending. There were tons of voice actors this year and I enjoyed that a lot... not nearly enough time to get all the autographs... I think I got maybe 60% of them? There are tons of other reasons why Fun Pub made it a great year - More Shattered Glass characters to add on to our Expanding Universe of Figures!!! I would say the figures overall this year are some of the best we have ever seen. The TF Prime script reading was also very enjoyable and I'm glad we got to see the exclsuive first airing of the next episode... Next years club toys look amazing already... Shattered Glass Drift! - GREAT REVEAL! Great Job Fun Pub! I have very little to complain about but see the bad section for more on that.

    - Hasbro -
    First of all... The guys who have been there for 6-10 years such as Eric, Aaron, Greg... All of them are the nicest people you will ever meet... I talked to them a few times throughout the weekend and they always make time to discuss the brand. Eric did a sketch of Animated Lockdown for me on the sketch card from the Fun Pub set and he did a bigger TF Prime Arcee drawing for me while talking about his departure from the TF brand for the SW Clone Wars World... I enjoyed Aaron's panel on the mythos of Transformers and how that is all coming along... as well as the news on Transformers The Ride at Universal Studios. The only bad stuff from Hasbro was lack of product reveals - see my bad section for more.

    - Hall of Fame Awards -
    The videos that Hasbro put together were top notch... better than last years? Hmmm... not sure. I loved that they acknowledged Eric and Greg leaving after contributing so much to the brand... I do think it was in good form that Michael Bay showed up... We also got Peanut M & Ms... This is where the good ends for me on this particular item... See the bad section.

    - The Dealer Room and Convention Floor -
    I loved having the majority of the movie vehicles on the floor as you walked in. nice touch. I think the dealer room was one of the best I have seen in the more recent years... There was a little bit of everything for folks this year... Nothing to complain about here.

    The Bad Stuff:

    - Location -
    Pasadena - It cost us about $1500.00 just for flights and a shuttle and baggage to attend... even booking four months out... Needless to say this is crazy, but I managed to make it work somehow.

    - Fun Pub -
    One improvement I would like - I like the option of being able to buy two different event t-shirts. I would have loved to have one graphic type shirt and one illustrative character themed shirt. I do like the idea of one of the shirts having the year on it... it amkes it more of a collectible... just keep the runs down on it and when you run out you run out.

    The only other complaint I have is the fact that I have been to 8 botcons and I have never been able to get into a custom class. Obviously there are quite a few of us who would like to participate in this... but there have been no big changes to this aspect of the convention to accomodate more of us. I have no problem having a non - attending custom class figure kit and instructions... If they want to do the class on youtube and we can watch it when we return home and assemble our figure... That is fine with me... There have to be ways to accomodate more of us hardcore fans into the classes or at least do a figure kit with instructions and we can assemble it for fun on our own time... Minerva was a great figure and character... Abby Collins did a GREAT job in the script reading bringing her to life and it would have been a much better decision to have Toxitron be the custom class figure in my opinion... These are small gripes compared to the overall great job Fun Pub did this year... but I think opinions matter... so I leave it at that.

    - Hall of Fame Awards -
    For $45 I wanted to see the whole movie... Even TF Prime epsiodes or animated epiosdes... something... End of Story... overpriced.

    - Hasbro -
    This is the first year where I felt the Toy Reveals sucked. Fun Pub outdid Hasbro on toy reveals... Everyone has been saying it since Saturday... I'm just agreeing.

    Anyway - this is my good and bad review of Botcon 2011...

    This year's animated theme and toys, script readings and voice actors kept it overall worth my time... but not quite my money on flight fees... If two simple things had fallen into place it would have been my favorite Botcon... We should have watched a rough cut of the movie... and the custom class should have been open to more fans.

    What did everyone else think about Botcon this year?
     
  2. Swoop Dogg

    Swoop Dogg me King!

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    Great idea but probably won't happen.

    Thanks for the nice review!
     
  3. Protoman

    Protoman The Legendary One Veteran

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    While Pasadena has it's prices, it was WORLDS BETTER then Disney last year. The heat, the hell, the food. Pasadena wins on every level. Hell it was colder there then back home.
     
  4. Greyley

    Greyley Well-Known Member

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    GOOD STUFF:

    Script readings:
    I absolutely LOVED these, both the comic reading and the Prime reading. It's such a treat seeing and hearing the actors do their thing in person. Neil Ross in particular is amazing to hear in person, and Morgan Lofting has a great personality and made everyone laugh and cheer. Vangelus did a fantastic job with his parts too! And Miko's voice actor is adorable.

    Guests:
    It's amazing to me that the actors and Hasbro guys will just walk around the con mingling with the fans all weekend. (Obviously Cullen can't because he would be mobbed, but that's understandable.) Everyone is so friendly and gracious, and seems to appreciate and enjoy the fans. Its so nice to know that even though the online fandom has a reputation for being terrible, the guests don't hold it against the con-goers.

    Prime:
    There was so much fantastic stuff dealing with Transformers Prime. The script reading, making-of panel, a booth in the dealer's room with lots of interesting video, etc. It's obvious that Hasbro is excited about the new show and has a lot of love for it. I was already looking forward to the rest of the series, but some of the things said in the panel bumped up that excitement even more.

    Hall of Fame:
    I did NOT like Erector or his campaign, but I have to say Hasbro knocked it out of the park with his nominee video. It was funny and clever, and had some great new artwork. I'm glad they had a sense of humor (and I'm equally glad they warned not to do anything like that again). It was easily the best part of the HOF. The clips of DOTM were also great, and the sound system in that theater was phenomenal--I love it when you can feel the sound effects as much as hear them. I'm really excited for the movie now.

    Location:
    I have some issues with the location, but there was some good stuff too. There were several affordable places to eat (the Lovebird cafe was awesome), and the con center was roomy but not so big and sprawling to be annoying like Disney last year.

    BAD STUFF:

    Registration/Package pickup:
    Holy crap. What the hell happened with registration on Thursday?? The entire thing was moving at a snail's pace (which is typical), but the G-L line was beyond ridiculous. The lady up there handing out the packages didn't seem to know what she was doing, and the line was at a standstill. People in other lines from 7:00 and 8:00 pickup times were getting their packages before G-L folks from 6:00. They eventually pulled the guy running the M-whatever over to the G-L line to try to get it moving, and I swear he was getting 2-3 people done in the time it took that other lady to do ONE.

    Hall of Fame:
    I loved the HOF event last year, so at first I didn't mind paying $45 for this one. But after it was done, I was disappointed. For that price, we should have been able to see the whole movie, not just a few minutes of clips. The goodie bag wasn't that great (stale popcorn, M&Ms, bottled water, and a baby bottle pop), and there's no way I'm wearing that Cinemask outside of a con!

    Fans:
    Some of the questions asked by fans in the panels were horrible and embarrassing. I really wish they would screen the questions before letting people ask them, and I actually made that suggestion on the survey. I hate seeing guests treated rudely, or hearing people ask questions that should never be asked in a public setting. I walked out of one panel during the questions because I couldn't stand it.

    Location:
    I like Pasadena, but I'm on the east coast and it's an expensive plane ticket to get out there and expensive to ship toys back home. It depressing that they seem to be considering that location as a permanent place for Botcon. I'm lucky to be able to save up and go no matter where it is in the US, but putting it permanently in California will put the con out of reach for a lot of people.

    This is a personal quibble that has nothing to do with the con, but I'm sad that I missed the Autobot cars driving out from the dealer's room. I knew when they were leaving, but I had to wait out front for my shuttle to the airport. In the distance I heard a semi honking and fangirls screaming, so I knew that had to be Optimus Prime going by. :bowdown: 
     
  5. Dark Starscream

    Dark Starscream w/Powermaster Cobra Cmdr.

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    Great reviews, guys! I'd like to give a very brief summary of my experience:

    The GOOD

    The Weather - OMG. It was absolutely perfect. It never rained, and was around 67-69 I'd say everyday. The breeze was perfect, I don't think I have EVER experienced better weather. Coming back to 90-degree weather in Michigan was really sad!

    The Surrounding Shops - This has to be the most romantic destination on Earth. The outdoor mall across from the convention center has everything: fine dining, shopping, movies, ice cream, bars, you name it.

    Vacation stuff - Went to Universal studios and Soak City. Had a great time!

    The Exhibit Hall - AMAZING. Movie cars, giant statues of Optimus from "Prime" and Movie Bumblebee, big graphic cutouts, sections for TF: Universe game, Hasbro, Fun Pub, "Get-your-pic-with-a-TF"... I loved one pic where you actually get to stand in Optimus Prime's hand in front of a life-sized version of his face.

    Casino night and Dinner - Great fun! Free Bingo all night!

    Souvenirs - Loved ACTION MASTER THUNDERCRACKER and SG Galvatron!!!


    THE BAD

    Hall of Fame - $45 for no movie, no dinner, no Stan Bush concert, no toy... it's too much. the shorts were cute but I would have liked to have heard more lines from our nominees in their videos.

    The Distance - I would like to drive to Botcon. East Coast please? It's $100 to check my costume, each way! I had to leave my Headmaster Spike costume at home.

    Animated set - I love the animated show, but I don't collect the toys. I'd like something in the mainstream TF Universe, please.
     
  6. Incepticon

    Incepticon Double Agent

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    Like a lot of others have been saying since the weekend, I too was really let down by this year's BotCon. No real "wow!" news came from it, the reveals were a big disappointment, and all in all it just felt phoned in and thrown together. This close to the 3rd movie, I expected a LOT more. Seemed like Hasbro needed another month or two to really amaze everyone since so much stuff is still under wraps and/or in development.
     
  7. madhatprime

    madhatprime Well-Known Member

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    I loved BotCon, however I don't have anything to compare it to. This was my first. I heard a rumor around that they (the powers that be) want Botcon to stay in Pasadena. I would be for this, but then again I live 5 hours away from Pasadena.

    I liked the animated theme, I would like to see the regular bots return now that animated is over.
    Dinner was good, but I was wondering how they regulated it? No one checked my badge.
    Loved meeting fellow TFWers at the hotel for drinks. Great time Id say. What wasn't there that has been in the past?
     
  8. HulksmashU

    HulksmashU Multiversal-Conqueror

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    So....any news on when the target exclusive ROTF repaint Starscream comes out?
     
  9. HulksmashU

    HulksmashU Multiversal-Conqueror

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    What were the stupid questions the fans asked? it sounds realy intriging to me (is that how you spell it?).
     
  10. Fierceawakening

    Fierceawakening Deceptigeek

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    I really enjoyed BotCon, but I'm totally seconding the WTF about the registration line. They really need to handle that better, and also to have some ways to handle people who may have needs, like people with disabilities who have physical difficulty if they stand for that long.
     
  11. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

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    TFWe will have an entire section devoted to BotCon 2011 with an editorial entitled "BotCon - What Went Wrong" where we showcase all the, in our opinion, fails of this year's show. We don't want to harp too much, but after 6 years, you have to have improvement in some areas and not a total collapse like what was seen this year.

    When "non-official" shows like TFCon blow you out of the water in terms of organization, you need to do better than church volunteers running your stuff.
     
  12. Razerwire

    Razerwire 99 Problems... Super Mod

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    I'm seriously considering going to TFCon from here on out. It's always in Toronto which would be closer for me. Only thing would be the fact that I'd miss out on Botcon's attendee figures.

    Botcon's dealer room prices seem to have hit Mt. Everest levels this year. Granted inflation is taken into account and all that but some of the pricings just seemed ridiculous.

    On a personal note, I actually was more excited about the third party reveals in the dealer room than the Hasbro panel.

    It just didn't seem like we saw much at al in terms of future official products.
     
  13. Protoman

    Protoman The Legendary One Veteran

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    Do it......... DO EEETTT!
     
  14. Razerwire

    Razerwire 99 Problems... Super Mod

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    I was supposed to go this year. But they just had to make the Botcon exclusives Animated. I couldn't say no to that. :p 
     
  15. PurdueAV2003

    PurdueAV2003 Engineer

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    This was my first BotCon, so my basis of comparison is pretty limited. Still, here are my thoughts:

    I loved the script readings! It's really cool to be able to put a face to the voices I've heard for years, but more than that, they were just plain fun! Everyone on stage seemed to really be enjoying themselves. My favorite moment, though, came for me as a Grimlock fan when Gregg Berger and David Kaye performed "Anything You Can Do" as Grimlock and Grimlock!

    The dealer room was also pretty awesome. I couldn't figure out which direction to go when I got in there. Too much shiny plastic to take in all at once!

    As much as people complain about the more "aromatic" members of the fandom (yes, I did stand by one of them in one of the panel lines), I did get to meet some cool people there, too.

    Of course, the lines for registration/exclusives have to be the most disappointing. Really, how much would it cost to invest in a laptop with Excel at each of the stations? This may be my first BotCon, but I've been to other large gatherings that MUCH quicker! And with an "Exclusives Only" line at the Club Store, you would think that line would have moved through pretty quickly. Nope. I was up towards the front of the 6:00 line, and I didn't get out of there with my exclusives until around 9:15. My buddy from Pittsburgh that came along was in the 7:00 line and JUST made it in time to purchase his exclusives before they had the infamous "Wrist Banding" (he made the cutoff by 5-10 people).

    Hopefully, FunPub can learn from their mistakes and improve the process for next year.
     
  16. Omnius

    Omnius Well-Known Member

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    It was a great experience, and while I'm glad I went I have to say... I prefer Auto Assembly in terms of how the convention is managed and organised.
     
  17. uruseiranma

    uruseiranma Well-Known Member

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    When you mentioned Dealer Room prices, my first thought was to the guy who had an entire tables-worth of TF-Animateds, that were running at a minimum of $15. I remember that Sunday, he was pushing a buy 2, get one free offer.
     
  18. rework

    rework The Voice of Experience

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    It's a shame about all the taxes Canada has. When the show is on the west coast, it would be nice to have a show we could still drive to. But I've heard it's a complete nightmare for an amateur US dealer to do a show in Canada.

    Maybe the next NJ con...
     
  19. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Ebay:
    Pros
    1) Other fans. Great as always. Finally got to meet Locustreign who I've been wheeling and dealing with for almost four years now. My roommates were great too although this was my first time meeting them.
    2) Weather
    3) Toys. Hells yeah, Actionmaster, I mean Shattered Glass Thundercracker. Reuses of good mold will prevent us from having to do what they did in 2009. *shudder*

    Cons
    1) Line. We were applauding Botcon for how well last year's line went. What happened?
    2) HOF dinner. I kinda figured this is all that we would get but couldn't risk not attending. $25-$30 would have been a fairer price but I maybe lugging around 3-D equipment isn't cheap.
    3) Location. Been there, done that. For repeat Botcon attenders having it in different places is nice. The main argument for keeping it in Pasadena is that the general attendance is so good but my counter to that is they should choose bigger cities. Chicago? New York? Atlanta?
    4) Toy reveal. We got spoiled with the toy reveal last year but even by 09 and 08 standards this year was weak it seemed.

    From what I hear Shawn say, he had only fifteen hours to decide on the figure and only three molds to choose from, all deluxes. Why do you think Toxitron would be a better choice then Minerva? Toxitron had a bigger role in the comic allowing OP to masquerade. We've heard all the arguments from last year though and there hasn't been any scenario that jumps out as a clear better alternative. Also, I get the vibe that the allow the figure to be available outside the class is something Hasbro does not want.

    Same guy was there last year. Some great deals on the last day only.
     
  20. Easterling Capt

    Easterling Capt I am Vern Schillinger

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    Well I went there just to have been to one. might do another one in the future. I am a G1 collecctor only and the prices there were sick. I managd to find 2 boxed items but that was it.

    Good:
    To finally meet tfw staff and mods and other members, hopefully this will be done more times.
    Seeing the con for the first time
    Weather was just perfect
    Toys

    Bad:
    Luckely we avoided most of the lines but sheesh.
    Vintage prices...dear lord
    Other prices....dear lord again.

    BUt for me the best part was still to meet the ppl and put faces on the screen names. Wish I could meet more.

    But like Omnius the atmospher on AA is extremly better, everybody talks to everyone, comic guys sits with ous ion the bar, drinking with Scott McNeil to 4 am is always fun :) 
     

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