My (very late) BotCon adventure for 2015

Discussion in 'Transformers Conventions and Get Togethers' started by griffin-of-oz, Aug 10, 2015.

  1. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    Yes, I know this is late, but my annual travel to America for BotCon is often full of other things I do, so my write-up of the entire adventure can take a while, because I have other things to do when I get back home.
    It was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I wanted to wait until after the focus on TFCon had passed first.

    Those who attended this year can use my archive of info and images to reflect on and re-live the event, as well as see things you missed.
    And those who haven't yet been to a BotCon, maybe it can inspire you to attend... that is, if you haven't had any issues with FunPub yet. (I'm not a fan of FunPub after they were proven to have defrauded hundreds of dollars in Shipping from me and then two of their senior staff refused to respond to it, but I am still a fan of BotCon after 16 years of attending them, so I ask that people please distinguish between the two entities for this topic, and leave any "FunPub-bashing for fun" to other applicable discussion topics.)

    The main index & intro for this year is here - My archive of past BotCons can be found here.

    The 2015 page has a list of links to the BotCon events and panels for this year, plus significant things I did while I was in America, which is written up to allow you to start on page One and work your way through chronologically to the end (if you really wanted to do that).


    To give people here something to look at without forcing you to go through my 42 pages and 1,891 images, these are some of the interesting bits and pieces to look at and comment on (here).
    Most of the BotCon events were already detailed in the TFW News section by other people, so there shouldn't be any "news" in here.

    (to view an image full-size, right click on it and select View Image)

    For those in America who are curious of how far some people travel, this was my total trip this year from Brisbane to Los Angeles, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and back again. It is worth noting that there was also someone at BotCon this year from Perth, which is even further distance... quite possibly the furthest traveled attendee this year.
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    The Major guests were light this year, with just three Voice Actors and two or three other Major Guests.
    Frank Welker - VA (first BotCon)
    Susan Blu - VA (third BotCon)
    John Moschitta - VA (second BotCon)
    Derrick Wyatt - Animated Writer (fifth BotCon)
    Kojin Ono - Designer (first BotCon)
    Jim Sorenson - Book writer (sixth BotCon as a guest on Panels, but not noted as a guest this year, despite being on more panels than any of the other five Major guests this year).

    Tally of the most frequent American BotCon attendees (ones in brackets don't count as "BotCon", but were guests at a non-American BotCon, or at an Annual American Transformers convention recognized & authorized by Hasbro)

    8 - Peter Cullen - 97, 04, 06, 07, 09, 10, 11, 12
    8 - David Kaye - 97, 98, (03), 07, 08, 09, 11, 12, 14
    7 - Simon Furman - 97, 98, (99e), 01, 02, (02e), (03), (04o), 06, 08, 12
    6 - Jim Sorenson - 08, 09, 10, 12, 13, 15
    5 - Stan Bush - 97, 07, 09, 10, 11
    5 - Vince DiCola - 97, 98, 00, 01, (03), (04o), 09
    5 - Michael McConnohie - 02, 04, (04o), 09, 11, 14
    5 - Scott McNeil - 98, 99, 01, (04o), 06, 10
    5 - Derrick Wyatt - 08, 09, 11, 12, 14, 15
    4 - Marty Isenberg - 08, 09, 11, 14
    3 - Gregg Berger - 01, (03), 09, 11
    3 - Susan Blu - 98, 14, 15
    3 - Steve Blum - 11, 13, 14
    3 - Wally Burr - 04, 05, 13
    3 - Garry Chalk - 98, 01, (03), 12
    3 - Paul Davids - 01, 04, 09
    3 - Flint Dille - 04, 09, 11
    3 - Bob Forward - 97, 98, 02
    3 - Bryce Malek - 98, 04, 09
    3 - Robert Orci - 07, 09, 11
    3 - David Wise - 98, 04, 09


    The Location of the Convention this year.

    A little out of the way...
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    There are three factors to the Location this year that are worth noting...
    Location within America - great, for being "central" and near a major city.
    Proximity to major cities or transportation - bad, for being distant, and difficult to easily get to with public transport (taxi, train, etc)
    Proximity to stores - great, with two major chain stores within 5 minutes which is a first for BotCon, plus a heap of restaurants.

    Chicago from the air.
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    The Resort.
    I think I would have loved this place as a 10 year old kid, as it was a mass of a maze to explore, but as an adult, it was old, spread out, and smelled bad.
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    Below was a concern when I saw it on the first day, because it was expected to rain all week, and the main convention hall where all the toys were, was not joined to the main Resort. If the heavy rain on the Monday hit during the Convention weekend, people would have to make sure that they wrapped up their items in plastic when heading back to the Resort or the Panel Room.
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    Pre-registration Package (Wednesday)

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    The new Pretender shell fits in well with the aesthetic of the existing Pretenders.
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    An example of in-room trading.
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    Club Store Toys (Thursday)
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    Group shot of this year's BotCon toys.
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  2. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    WED/THU - Custom Class

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    PANELS

    FRI 19/6
    10am - PANEL Club Magazine - Pete Sinclair hosting
    11am - PANEL Filmfest - fan film submissions
    noon - PANEL Behind the Characters - Derrick Wyatt talks about Animated
    1pm - PANEL Birth of Transformers - Kojin Ono's 30+ years designing Transformers in Japan (WARNING - Big page of photos)
    SAT 20/6
    10am - PANEL Gen1 Retrospective - Susan Blu & John Moschitta
    11am - PANEL Online Fandom - hosted by several fans
    noon - PANEL Hasbro Product Preview - Hasbro's new toys (WARNING - Big page of photos)
    1pm - PANEL Cosplay - about fan costuming for Transformers fans (I missed most of this)
    2pm - PANEL The Japanese Perspective - Andrew Hall hosting Transformers art in Japan
    3pm - PANEL Collector Club - by FunPub
    4pm - PANEL Frank Welker

    SUN 21/6
    10am - PANEL Script Reading Auditions - for two fans to be on the Script Reading later.
    11am - PANEL The Art of Transformers - a variety of official (comic) artists talk about their recent works.
    noon - PANEL Script Reading - The Return of Blurr - Sue, John, and others.
    1pm - PANEL MegaToyCast BotCon Podcast - A live broadcast by a group of fans. (not sure if this happened, as I missed it)


    FRI - Golden Ticket Dinner Reception

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    SAT - Awards Dinner and Auction

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    Kids costumes.
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    Adult costumes. (which group looks like the better effort)
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    The Charity Auction had some of the hand-painted samples of this year's BotCon toys.
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    With Blurr hosting the auction.
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    WED - Lake & Mob Tour

    The tour "truck"
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    At Navy Pier - the yellow boat is what we went on.
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    Looking at Chicago, 15 minutes out onto the lake.
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    While on the Mob tour, this was apparently the Fire House that was used in the movie Backdraft.
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    THU - On-Off Bus Tour
    I did this on Tuesday, and have written it up to focus on all the Transformers Movie locations that I came across.

    The main battle scenes in DOTM, where Optimus slices up Decepticons at the end of the Movie, and the tower with the Spacebridge pillars.
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    Trump tower, which is where Mr Gould's apartment was located.
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    On the right is a white & orange building. In DOTM, the mirrored building that the Driller creature destroyed, lands on that building. The ironic thing is that the mirrored building on right of that building in this photo was built after DOTM was filmed, but already under construction for Michael Bay to know roughly what it would look like.
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    Chicago skyline.
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    Looks like Weird Al Yankovic was in town this week.
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  3. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    Dealer Room (WARNING - Big page of photos)

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    Hasbro exhibit - smaller and simpler than recent years.
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    But rather exciting with the unintentional(?) reveal of Titan Wars...
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    Club Store - about as busy as I saw it all weekend.
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    Around the Dealer Room.
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    Custom Painted toys... not mass-produced 3rd Party toys, which were not permitted this year.
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    Some unusual Foreign oddities found in the Dealer Room.
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    The Hartmans' Tables... on Friday...
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    On Saturday...
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    On Sunday...
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    Some concept artwork they were selling. I didn't buy them, but took photos in case the buyer wanted to remain anonymous.
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    An empty master-carton for their 1994 BotCon Breakdown toys for sale.
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    Sunday, several dealers already packing up almost 2 hours before the close of the Convention this year. Something I have never seen before, but with the reduced crowd (thanks to Saturday having all the major Panels), there was no point waiting until 3.30 to start packing up.
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  4. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    Art Contest Display & Costumes

    They looked to have the smallest amount of Art entries this year. That, and the minimal amount of fans in costumes this year, it was a good (objective) indication of the low turnout in general for this year.

    Color Hand-Drawn winner
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    Black & White hand-drawn art winner - "Targetmaster" on the right won.
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    Computer Drawn art winner - "War Stories" on the left won.
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    Diorama winner
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    Custom Figure winner
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    The only robot costume I ended up seeing this year outside of the Costume panel and Awards dinner.
    There were two others on the BotCon website's photo gallery that I didn't see, but considering the last couple years had 20-30 mostly-robot costumes, this was really noticeable.
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    My Frank Welker photo... well, Dispensor's photo, who likes to hog all the attention.
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  5. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    And now for the non-BotCon part of my adventure to BotCon... with some of the bits that were Transformers related.

    Indianapolis

    You know you've landed in Indianapolis when there is a race-car near your arrival gate...
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    In the city center.
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    Transformers Exhibit at the Children's Museum.

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    The Hot Wheels Exhibit.
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    The Dinosaur Exhibit.
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    The Movie Props Exhibit.
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    Indianapolis Speedway Museum

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    Cars that are like Transformers, or close to it in my mind...
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    Milwaukee

    A building, painted on the side of a building...
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    Harley Davidson Museum

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    The orange/white one is a little like Cybertron Lugnutz.
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    And the black one is a little like Gen2 Roadpig.
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    Terminator 2 motorcycle.
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    Hope some of that was worth scrolling through. :) 
     
  6. Wingnut

    Wingnut Stayin' Alive!

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    Very cool! Thanks for sharing. :) 
     
  7. Swoop Dogg

    Swoop Dogg Hi Yukio!

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    I really enjoyed looking at this - nice work!
     
  8. Matty

    Matty @StayingInTheBox Veteran

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    Thanks for sharing, pretty cool to see this. This was my first BotCon I did not attend in six years. Unfortunately I'm having an increasingly difficult time distinguishing BotCon from the people who run it, so seeing your images and experience was something I could enjoy. Thanks again!
     
  9. allew

    allew Well-Known Member

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    A very interesting, informative and comprehensive read, thanks for posting this griffin-of-oz! Great pictures!
     
  10. Star Sabre James

    Star Sabre James The JUICE

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    I've read some of your previous Botcon journals, and have enjoyed them.

    I do have one bit of advice that may help you avoid wasted retail stops when you're at a Botcon. The advice is ask the locals where you're going what's in stores.
    Let's say Botcon 2016 is in Minneapolis, MN. Go to the Minnesota Sightings forum, and ask questions on what stores are around where you're staying. What's in those stores. Any things a tourist should see.

    Doing this might help you avoid wasted cab trips and wasted money.
     
  11. griffin-of-oz

    griffin-of-oz Ozformers site-owner

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    Thanks for that.

    I do keep an eye out for sightings and potential sources, which is why I checked out a number of store chains this year that I've never looked at before. If it wasn't for TFW's toy discussion section I wouldn't have even thought to look at certain small-chain stores for a number of hard-to-find items... and I'll be keeping them in mind in future years.

    From experience though, even if a store had a recent sighting postedn that said there was nothing, you just never know when a re-stock has happened, and I'd feel like an idiot if I didn't take the chance and then missed out on something.
    For example, in 2014 I checked out a ToysRUs store in LA on the last day of my trip, after checking it on my first day, and during that week they had a big restock, so I ended up getting several items, including items that were not released in Australia.

    It is annoying when it is a wasted trip to a store, but it's not a complete waste, as it gives me something to do and see (often finding unusual foods to sample)... and sometimes the gamble pays off, which adds to the excitement of the trip. The odds may be slim, but its better odds than not checking at all and finding out later that I missed something I wanted.

    I just found it odd this year that all stores were light on Transformers toys, not just one chain or one city. Every store in every city that I visited had a lot of empty pegs and shelves as if they hadn't restocked for months.