Blog #963: Toy Reviews: Botcon 2015 Toys & Merchandise

Toy Reviews: Botcon 2015 Toys & Merchandise

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2015 is possibly the worst year for Botcon toys ever.  There is not a single toy that is not flawed, either in design or concept.  Some of the utter failures are particularly demoralizing as they could have been fantastic, but they are conceptual failures due to completely unconscionable decisions that ruined them.  Fact is, the best toy of the year was four fifths of the Kre-O set.  That’s the best thing I can say.

This is one very long blog, as these toys and their mistakes are so often shared and intertwined, it made more sense to put them all in one place.  Pictured of the merchandise is after the toys.

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The Box Set

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Battletrap

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Battletrap (formerly Duocon, now Triplechanger) is repainted from Generations Voyager Springer with a new head.  His paint job is okay, but he needed some more paint apps, especially on his head.  It’s a really nice head sculpt, but I would have liked to see something other than just his eyes painted.  This is probably the best toy of the year if you ignore the obvious screw up.  Hasbro has said, and thus far kept their promise, to complete teams.  They are doing Mini Cars, Decepticons Jets, and Insecticons in the Legends line, and seem to plan to do them all.  Pity Botcon can not do the same.  While the Generations Voyager Blitzwing mold is not the greatest mold, it is the perfect mold to do Flywheels, the other Duocon.  They should have done that instead of the deplorable General Optimus Prime toy as a souvenir.  While Battletrap is a good toy, the lack of paint apps and Flywheels really takes away from him.

Grade: B

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Megatron

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Megatron’s Arms Micron partners have no names.  I am sure someone will point out that they either put names online or in the comic book.  Who cares?  If a toy name is not included in or on the package, it doesn’t count.  You should not need to go to a second source to get the name of the toy you bought.  Never really liked the ape Micron, and Bulkhead’s Micron is so heavy that Megatron can’t hold it up.  Note in the picture below that his left arm is lower than his right.  He doesn’t have ratcheting joints and the weight is too much.  When picking accessories for a toy they really should make sure the toy is capable of holding it properly.  The mantis was a really nice idea as it can represent The Doctor from Revenge of the Fallen.  Unfortunately, it looks pretty lousy without paint apps.  Now, there is a sticker sheet pictured above that was given out at the Custom Class.  It’s idiotic to give out stickers that a toy needs to a small number of people that went to an event that had NOTHING to do with this toy.  So I don’t consider this sticker sheet in any way an official part of the toy but an aftermarket add on.

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Megatron is supposed to be inspired my Revenge of the Fallen Megatron.  They did a decent job on his paint details making him look rusted.  Unfortunately the head sculpt does not look enough like G1 or movie Megatron, and really isn’t very good at all.  It seems too small for the body, and yes, it needs to be small to fit, but that is a good reason why this toy was a poor choice.  I know they wanted to use the mold since it was not released in the USA.  As it was originally Breakdown, they should have painted it like G1 or G2 Breakdown.  What really irks me is that they went out of their way to make poorly conceived toys that they could name Megatron and Optimus Prime.  As I understand it, and this might only be rumor, they are no longer allowed to do traditional versions of classic characters.  So, they can make a bizarre Megatron out of a toy that has no business being Megatron, but it can’t actually look like Megatron.  Why would they do that?  They are desperate for people to actually want their toys and think that using the big names on lousy toys will make people want them.  Clearly they are mistaken.

Grade: D

Oilmaster

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Oilmaster is a repaint of Generations Legends Swerve & Flanker.  He also has a Pretender Shell of sorts which I will get to in a minute.  This isn’t a bad looking repaint.  Problem is, I feel cheated getting a Legends toy in the box set instead of a Deluxe or Voyager, especially since the price of the set went up again.  Also, they named him Oilmaster because it was used in some obscure Japanese comic.

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Of course, the Legend comes with a third party Pretender Shell.  You might be saying, wait, the company that has spent years pointlessly fighting third party toys with erroneous legal reasoning is now making them?  Well, this year they changed their official terminology of what they are banning to items that violate intellectual property, or words to that affect.  Of course, they still haven’t figured out that until Hasbro files a lawsuit, THERE ARE NO THIRD PARTY ITEMS THAT VIOLATE HASBRO’S IP.  An item does not violate IP simply because you say it does.  A court needs to decide that, or a manufacturer has to acquiesce to threats.  None of that has happened.  Add to that, everyone knows the only reason they care about curbing third parts toys is that people are spending money on them instead of bad Botcon toys.  I mean, this is pure speculation, but their sales must be falling given that they cut production and still have toys left over in the club store that stay there for a long time.

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The shell is nicely painted with fairly detailed molding.  He has a backpack that flips up to put the robot in rather than splitting in half like most true Pretender Shells do.  I believe only Ultra Pretenders and Mega Pretenders didn’t have splitting shells, and they were kind of their own thing.  Now, I don’t hate this toy, but it’s such poor quality that I can’t like it either.  If you look at the pics above, you can clearly see that one of his legs isn’t glued on right.  One is flush to the body, the other has a gap.  This makes it so he can’t stand flat.  This is inexcusable.  Of course, it could be even worse and be intentional, as in reviews I’ve seen they all seem to have the same defect.  This toy was all hype with little to no payoff.  I think this quote sums up this toy best.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.  It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – Macbeth

To be clear, Oilmaster is Life in the quote.  I’ll leave you to speculate on who the idiot might be.

Grade: F

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Packrat

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First off, did we really need another Packrat?  Are they really that short on ideas?  And how did he end up a criminal?  He’s a Maximal.  This is not my favorite mold.  It’s a bitch to transform.  They did a nice job painting him up like Packrat, but I already have a Packrat and it’s a far superior toy.  While I don’t think they should have made it at all, much like with Battletrap, if they were going to make Packrat, then they should have also made Fractyl.  Made him out of what?  I don’t know.  Perhaps Animated Swoop.  Not sure if Age of Extinction Strafe would have been an option or not.  I can’t think of any other off the top of my head, but not being able to do closely related characters together is a major drawback to me.  It’s not a bad toy, it’s just an unnecessary one.

Grade: B

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Stepper

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So, when they did Shattered Glass Ricochet in 2008, apparently they weren’t happy with him.  So now they’ve done Shattered Glass Stepper.  Talk about running out of ideas.  Now, they did do an amazing job on his paint job.  He looks awesome.  I love the gold and black flames on orange.  The biggest problem with this toy, aside from the fact that they did this before, is that there is no port on the vehicle mode to mount the Targetmaster.  This is not the first time this mold was used for Stepper, and it too was flawed.  Leave it to Fun Pub to take a flawed idea and reuse it.  Too bad when they were making their Oilmaster statue they didn’t add in an accessory for the mold to clip on Stepper’s spoiler so you can mount the gun.  That would have been awesome.  But alas, not awesome.  It only gets as high a grade as it does because of the amazing paintjob.  It’s just not enough to overcome the flaws.

Grade: B

Attendee Toy

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Zaptrap with Beet-Chit and Unnamed Micron

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So, here s where this year’s toys start to get stupid.  First off, We only got a Legend instead of a Deluxe as the Attendee toy.  Talk about cheap.  They keep raising the price and reducing what people get for it.  Typical.  Worse yet, Zaptrap isn’t even a Transformer.  He is supposed to be a Diaclone toy.  You know, I like Transformers repainted in Diaclone colors as Transformers.  I do not like Transformers made into Diaclone toys.  This is crap.  No Autobot or Decepticon symbol and a meaningless Tech Spec.  This is just stupid.  It fails completely as a Transformer because it isn’t one.  If this was Diacon, then this would be fine, but it’s not.  This is unfortunately only the first of a number of horrible toys that aren’t even Transformers.  It’s kind of unfortunate, because it’s not a bad looking.  Just too bad it’s not a Transformer.

Grade: F

Kre-O Set

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Nightbird

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Nightbird is absolutely awesome.  This is literally one of the best toys Fun Pub has ever made and it’s a Kreon.  Do you realize how demoralizing that is?

Autobot Spike

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Not only is this an awesome toy, but they did an amazing job painting him.  I never thought there would ever be any kind of toy of Autobot Spike.

Doctor Arkeville

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Another great looking one.  Dr. Arkeville may not have appeared in a lot of episodes, but he was a very important villain in the ones he was in.

Robot Master

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I’m not as high on this one only because I am much more about the G1 cartoon than the comic books, but this is a very cool figure from the comics.

Sentinel Prime & Headmaster

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Well, there had to be one stinker, right?  We have four classic characters that have never really had toys before (though Nightbird has one incoming in Japan) and they throw in an Animated character.  It’s not a bad figure, but when I think of some of the other Kreons they could do, this one is really disappointing.

Grade: A-

Custom Class Galva-Lio Convoy

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If you read my review of Nova Prime, you might remember that I predicted that we would get Galva-Lio Convoy.  I know, not exactly a bold prediction since he was on the box.  This is a really nice repaint.  Problem is, it’s unpainted.  Fun Pub has some nerve charging $80 for an unfinished toy.  It’s not a bad toy, but it’s a clear case of price gouging.  There is no justification for this toy to be $80.

Grade: D+

Souvenir Toys

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General Optimus Prime

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In case you aren’t aware of where the idea for General Optimus Prime and Sergeant Hound came from, there was supposed to be a second wave of Autorollers back Generation 2.  That wave had repaints of the two Autorollers as General Optimus Prime and Sergeant Hound.  No, the ranks in front of the names make no more sense now than then.  This is an absolutely beautiful toy.  Unfortunately, it makes no sense at all since Prime was supposed to be a dump truck.  What really upsets me is that that they should have done Flywheels from the Blitzwing mold instead.

Grade: F

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Scoop

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This really pisses me off.  The Targetmasters that come with Hound are meant to be the pilots for the other 2-pack.  You might be wondering how it makes sense that they need pilots.  More on that below.  Perhaps you’re confused as to why someone thought it was okay to sell this toy with parts that belong to another one.  I don’t have any idea.  This is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen.

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Hound is really great.  They got his alt mode right and did a nice job painting him.  If it wasn’t for him coming with another toy’s parts, and being packaged with the incredibly nonsensical Optimus Prime, I would really love this toy.  Unfortunately, that’s a whole lot of crap to overcome.

Grade: B-

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Burn Out

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So, like Zaptrap, Burn Out is not a Transformer.  He is a Diaclone toy.  How they managed to bungle this I don’t know.  All they had to do was stick purple Autobot logos on him and call him Shattered Glass Skids.  It was that easy.  It would have been a great toy.  As is, he’s crap.  Also of note, mine had two right feet.  My guess is a lot of people have this but didn’t notice.  I got the foot replaced.  After spending so much money on crap, I at least wanted the right parts to the crap.  As I previously mentioned one of Scoop’s Targetmasters is meant to serve as Burn Out’s pilot.  His name is Dia.  The other one’s name is Cline.  Dia-Cline, get it?  The lack of creativity is astounding.

Grade: F

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Lift-Ticket

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I hate it when they reuse GI Joe names.  This is even a better looking toy than Burn Out.  Unfortunately, he too is not a Transformer.  Again, all he needed was a purple Autobot symbol and he could have been Shattered Glass Hoist.

Grade: F

Troop Builder Waruders

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These Waspinator repaints are supposed to be based on Beast Wars Fox Kids Deluxe Transmetal Waspinator, unreleased Beast Wars Halloween Horrocon Waspinator (not sure if that was Transmetal or regular), Bug Bite, and I still don’t know what the last one is.  The reason they have the little partners is that they are supposed to be their riders.  These are also Diaclone toys, but are even worse than the ones above.  They are not robots.  They are supposed to be real insects.  What were they thinking?  Not only aren’t they Transformers, but they aren’t even robots!

Grade: F, F, F, F

Certificate of Authenticity

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Toys Overall: This year was one of the worst years ever for Botcon toys.  Some of these toys should have been really good but were so conceptually flawed that they are complete garbage.  They tried to make toys that were not Transformers exclusives for a Transformers convention and then wonder why they don’t sell.  They tried the old, “if you can’t beat them, join them,” with their own third party toy and that is a complete flop.  The average grade I gave their toys was a D, and I’m surprised it ended up that high.

Autographs Cards

Uncut sheets are pictured.  I didn’t bother scan the individual cards.  The last card is the exclusive version of the Mayhem Returns card that was given out at a panel.

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Cap

So, I preordered the cap and shirt with my Iacon package as I always do.  Then when I got my order, there was a note saying that the cap and shirt preorders were not available.  I bought another shirt of a different size and several weeks later, I was sent the cap.  They apparently found one.  Of course, before I was told I wouldn’t get the cap they sold them in the club store.  In the end, I got a shirt in a different size and a cap, but I’m really annoyed that I spent weeks looking for a cap with no luck.  Had they asked me about a different size shirt, I would have said that was fine, but they didn’t bother doing that.  There is no excuse for offering a preorder on something like this and then not making good on it.  This isn’t like toy that Hasbro cancels.  These are their own product.  Anyway, I wrote a really angry post when I first found out I didn’t get the cap, but never got around to posting it before they sent me the hat.  Kind of wish I’d posted it immediately.  Oh well.

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Lithograph

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Pins

The first pin is the box set pin.  The second one is the Welker package pin, and the third is the first day pin.  I think the Megatron pin is the best pin they have ever made by far.

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Prints

The fourth one below was part of the Welker package.

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T-Shirt

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Thanks for reading!

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About lmb3

I’m 36 years old, and I work in network tech support for a public school system. I am a huge fan of Star Trek, Transformers, Harry Potter, and Marvel Comics as well as numerous other fandoms. I’m a big sports fan, especially the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots. I collect toys (mostly Transformers but other stuff too), comic books, and Red Sox baseball cards. I watch an obscene amount of television and love going to the movies. I am hopelessly addicted to Wizard Rock and I write Harry Potter Fanfiction, though these days I am working on a couple of different original YA novels.
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2 Responses to Blog #963: Toy Reviews: Botcon 2015 Toys & Merchandise

  1. Pingback: Blog #1259: Toy Review: Botcon 2016 Club Subscription Service 5.0 Shipment 2 (Pretender Megatron and Pretender Optimus Prime) | lmb3.net

  2. Pingback: Blog #1221: Toy Review: Botcon 2016 Club Subscription Service 5.0 Shipment 1 (Deluxe Fractyl, Deluxe Lifeline, Mini-Con Quickslinger, Legends Scorponok) | lmb3.net

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