First off, I want to say that I did not attend Botcon 2012. I have been reading all the reviews on various sites and am not intending this to be a news post, but my thoughts on the news coming out of Botcon. I’m skipping over a lot of the new toy info, since it’s all over the web and it’s hard to say much about a toy I’ve only seen in a couple of pictures.
Wheeljack was the 2012 Fan’s Choice Award winner and was inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame along with Grimlock, Jazz, and Shockwave, all worthy choices for induction. Of more importance, in my opinion, is that “The Fan’s Choice Award” is being renamed “The Hartman Award” in honor of Jon and Karl Hartman the brothers who started Botcon in 1994. I suspect that many fans that haven’t been around since the days before Fun Publications and Glen Hallit (or as I like to call them, the good old days that I miss terribly) have no idea of Botcon’s origins. Without Jon and Karl there could be no Botcon, and I think this is a wonderful way of brining attention to their contribution to the Transformers fandom. Well done, Hasbro. (I don’t get to say that very often these days…)
I didn’t see any details about Rescue Bots reported, just that it was mentioned at the Hasbro Panel. The only new toys in the display cases that I saw are the Mobile Headquarters and Police Headquarters. Now, it’s certainly possible that we’ll get other toys that just haven’t been shown, but it does seem odd that these are the only two we know about for a line that is apparently continuing. While the cartoon is clearly meant for young children, it’s pretty well done all things considered, and I must admit I love the traditional non CGI animation. I hope we’ll see some more toys and that some more characters will appear in the show.
We already saw the seven new Kre-O sets at Toy Fair. They will apparently not be available until the fall. I blogged about my thoughts on these a while ago, and I haven’t changed my mind. I don’t see why they are going to wait nearly a year to release the second series, when series one didn’t sell great to begin with. (I’m basing that on how many of these things have been clogging the shelves. Over the Christmas season the shelves were full and they still mostly are. *Maybe* they were emptied and refilled, but I never saw them empty at any stores and I go to toy stores a lot.) It would make more sense to me to get these things out now before what little interest there is vanishes. Series one will probably be on clearance and gone from shelves before we see series two. It’s too bad because some of the new ones look really nice. I’m betting stores aren’t even going to want to order them and they’ll end up canceled.
As far as I could tell, all the Bot Shots shown were already announced, though we hadn’t seen the actual toys yet. I will say that the toys do appear to be selling regardless of the silly concept. (More about that here.) Some of the new sculpts are very nice, and since they are pretty cheap and not hard to find, I don’t mind these as much as I thought I would. There was some new news, as two additional three packs were announced, one with Skyquake, Jetfire, and Powerglide, and one with Brawl, Shockwave, and Super Bot Ironhide. I guess since all they have to do is sculpt the vehicle and robot onto the existing design they can keep pumping these things out indefinitely.
An online version of the Bot Shots game is coming soon. Online rock, paper, scissors, sounds like a blast.
It was announced that the Generations line would return in Spring 2013. Not sure if that includes the first wave of the new mold Optimus Prime, Jazz, and Shockwave (and Bruticus for that matter) or just the new ones. For the first time we will get Legion and Voyager Generations toys. New deluxe toys include Kickback, Sideswipe, and Ultra Magnus among others. The toys look awesome, I’m just not sure why the wait before we get them. It’s not like the shelves are full of product right now. Toys are trickling out, and I’m beginning to wonder if they are intentionally reducing the amount of product available between now and the next movie. I can’t say my wallet minds.
Previously we’ve seen pictures of one of the San Diego Comic Con Transformers and GI Joe exclusive Hiss Tank as Shockwave. We now know the other two Transformers Exclusives will be a Bruticus box set that looks more like the video game than the general release version and Transformers Prime First Edition Terrorcon Cliffjumper. He will be remolded and include an additional accessory or two. Most interestingly the box will be in the shape of the toy’s head made of translucent purple plastic painted (hand painted) red. Seems like a lot of expense for a box. Perhaps they are trying to do things the Fun Publications way (god help us all). The toys look great though.
Hasbro was asked both about the unreleased Animated toys and the Scout class Frenzy and Rumble. Essentially they said they have the molds, but have no plans to release them. Someone will have to explain to me how hard it is to make the toys people actually want to buy. They have a website, it would be nice if they realized that and if the stores don’t want to carry a toy they want to make, they can sell it there. Doesn’t seem like a very difficult concept to me.
Botcon/Transformers Collectors’ Club
They announced next year’s free membership figure is Transformers Revenge of the Fallen Terradive repainted into Beast Wars Depth Charge. It’s a good mold choice, as his weapon is a trident. While Depth Charge never had a trident, it’s still a good connection. I like the paint job.
There was no announcement of next year’s club exclusive figures. I am assuming they are being replaced by the subscription service that was announced (but it may be they just haven’t announced them yet). What this will essentially be is that you pay up front (or in three installments) for all six figures and then they will arrive either one or two per month. The toys will not have elaborate boxes (HOORAY!). They are planning enrollment for summer and the figures to start shipping in November.
I have a few issues with this. While I give the club credit for getting this year’s toys out closer to on time, I have my doubts that they can actually get these toys sent out on schedule. That isn’t a huge deal, but I don’t understand the logic. Just sell the damn things all at once. All this really means is higher shipping costs.
We know that Brian Savage practically has a license to print money, but now he’s just being greedy. Even I have my limits. Botcon had 14 different toys. If we assume that’s the average, they would now be making more than twenty toys per year. The price gouging (more on that later) is already extreme with the convention set and souvenir toys. This is getting ridiculous.
As to which figures will be part of the subscription service, they are doing Animated Jazz as Jackpot, Prime First Edition Starscream as Slipstream, Botcon G2 Breakdown as G1 Breakdown, Revenge of the Fallen Lockdown as Circuit, 2010 Optimus Prime as Scourge, and finally, Beast Wars Neo Big Convoy as Ultra Mammoth. (No, I’m not kidding.) Jackpot looks nice, but I’m getting sick of Animated toys. The series is over. Just let it die. I do love the colors on Slipstream. Breakdown is awesome as is Scourge, and much to my surprise the Ultra Mammoth actually looks great. All the red parts are on the inside of the mammoth, so he’s in blue and white which isn’t a bad color scheme for an animal that lived during the ice age (I believe). Circuit is a nice idea, based on the UK Action Master, but that Lockdown mold isn’t great. A racecar like Classics Mirage would have been better for it, but I do like the color scheme.
If the costs are kept reasonable without those awful board game boxes, then it might not be so bad. I’m just thinking about pricing on the club toys and even without the boxes, you could be looking at $200-$300 for all six toys (of course I could be way off in either direction). Apparently they did say they understood the cost concerns and are making an effort to keep the cost down. That seems like a good place to go into the Souvenir toys.
This year’s free attendee figure is a repaint of Generations Darkmount as Shattered Glass “The Bard of Darkmount.” The name sounds ridiculous. Plus they keep calling him Straxus. Tech spec doesn’t say that, it’s not his name. I don’t have a problem with the name change silly as the one the chose is) but don’t pretend the name on the card means nothing.
There were three Souvenir sets.
The Shattered Glass Junkion 3-pack included Wreck-Gar, Scrap Iron, and Junkheap. They used all three head molds, which I must give them credit for. They are done in Insecticon colors. My only complaint is the hefty $99 price tag (and they cost me a lot more on ebay). A few years ago, the Scourge 3-pack was $59. Last year’s stupid Autorooper set was ridiculously overpriced at $90 (as I recall). Since this one includes three different toys it’s going to be a little more, but they’re just price gouging now.
There was a set of Shattered Glass Octopunch made from the Seaspray mold and Classicverse Spinister made from the 2010 Tomahawk mold. This was one $89. I can’t wait to get this set. I love these two molds and the paint jobs are great. This is the only set that didn’t sell out, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why.
The third set was 2010 Optimus Prime as Shattered Glass Optimus Prime and 2010 Jazz as Classicverse Kick-Out. Kick-Out is based on Action Master Kickoff. Like The Bard of Darkmount, they keep referring to him by the wrong name. I find it annoying. Kick-Out certainly looks nice, but they had to have more options than the Prime. This one was $95.
Lastly, it seems no one attempted to sell third party toys in the dealer room. However, there were some on display. I had said in a previous blog that third party toys could not be displayed. That was apparently incorrect. Seems kind of stupid that they would allow them to be displayed but not sold. Makes me wonder if they just lost their nerve to actually do anything about it.
Thanks for reading!