It’s over people. Our long national nightmare is at an end. This must be what Europe felt like when the Black Death stopped wiping out whole towns. Yes, I just compared Fun Publications to a rat borne disease that killed 50 million people. Seems accurate to me. (Too soon?)
There are a few reasons I waited so long to write this, chief among them being, that nobody really cares. Second, it took me forever to track down all of this year’s toys. (Much more on that later). Third, once I did have the toys, I kept putting it off because I had more important stuff going on. Frankly, 2016 has sucked balls in so many ways that bitching about Fun Publications wasn’t super high on my priority list. I’m still going to do it of course. 🙂
Since it is New Years Eve, a brief recap of the year seems in order.
For me personally, 2016 started off with falling and tearing up my leg in January. I spent three months on my ass. (I spent six months off my feet after foot surgery last year, so I was really over that crap before I fell.) The year ended with a root canal two days ago. The bill hurts more than the tooth. In between the Red Sox were swept out of the playoffs. There was lots of other crap, but that hits the lowest points.
2016 at Large
In the larger view of the world, we had a string of celebrity deaths that defies belief. Professor Snape will be remembered…always. Detectives Fish and Harris turned in their badges. (Look it up, I’m old.) The Goblin King sings no more. Senator Stern is gone, “Hail Hydra”. “The Greatest” left us, as did Willy Wonka (the good one). Ensign Chekov was taken far too young. And millions of voices cried out in terror, as we lost Admiral Akbar, R2-D2, and our princess. There were a lot more, but frankly I’m getting depressed, so I’ll leave it at that.
It seemed like every day some terrible thing was happening in the world, and then we got the cherry on top of the diarrhea sundae. We elected a sniveling, racist, sexist, misogynistic, loud mouth, incompetent, pile of dog shit (not that I have anything against dogs) who got rich by going bankrupt and not paying taxes President. As expected the Electoral Cowards failed to do anything about that. (Read my obituary for America if you care. You probably don’t.)
We were well and truly fucked by 2016, and 2017 isn’t going to be better. I know people talk about hope and a better year, but the world is likely to go completely to hell over the next four years. In aircraft lingo, put your head between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye, because 2017 is coming for that last ounce of hope you have.
Think about it. The Cubs won the world series in a year that was so bad, that it’s hard to even care. The Cubs and Trump are clearly the first two signs of the apocalypse. At least I know I’m safe when the looting starts.
Goodbye Fun Pub
But, to bring it back around to the one good thing did happen in 2016, Let’s talk about Fun Publications, Botcon, and Transformers, at least . In the middle of the madness, the deaths, the impending collapse of modern society, and the election of a moron, there was one shining wondrous event. Hasbro pulled the Transformers license from Fun Publications!
It has been pointed out that some people may be sad about this. Just to be clear, I’m sad about the end of Botcon. It’s Fun Publications that I have a problem with, not Botcon. If you don’t understand the difference, I can’t help you.
The above letter is one of my most treasured possessions. It was given out at Botcon by Hasbro, saying in a lot of nice language, that Hasbro has finally rescued us from our twelve year nightmare, as Fun Publications will no longer be annually raping our wallets. In the words of Tiny Tim, God bless us, everyone!
This is the second time Hasbro has rescued us, the first following Pole-Shed Con 2004. In retrospect, we were better off with Glen than Fun Publication. If you’ll excuse me for a moment, I need to violently throw up now.
While it was originally announced that they would also lose the GI Joe license, which would be a fitting punishment for sullying the name of Transformers for the last twelve years, they wormed their way back in and will continue to screw over that fandom. I really don’t give a shit, I just wanted them to suffer. One reason I’m doing this New Years eve was that this day marks the end.
However, whether due to Hasbro not getting the GI Joe crossover toys and last Subscription Service toys done, or Fun Publications incompetence, none of that stuff has shipped, so we will have to continue to deal with these fools for a few more months.
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t holding my breath on this. Fun Publications slithered back into GI Joe, so I will remain cautious about celebrating too much.
One thing we are unlikely to get an answer to is *why*. All my joyous vitriol aside, why did Hasbro pull the license? Were they sick of Fun Publications making their flagship brand look like a joke? Did they decide that it was a poor reflection on Hasbro that the toys were often of poor quality and in many cases actually defective? Could it be more about their shared universe and shared convention?
It is unlikely we will ever know for sure. Personally, I would like to think Hasbro realized what a mistake they made giving Fun Publications the license to begin with, but that’s more wishful thinking than anything else.
It should be said that not everything about Botcon under Fun Publications was bad. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the few times I went. I found this picture of a friend of mine with me and Peter Cullen from 2009. My friend prefers to remain anonymous.
There were some good toys, though all were so overpriced, it’s hard to justify any of them as being worth it, and that is where Fun Publications fails. Their business model is essentially to make as much low quality product as they can as cheaply as they can and sell it at as high a price as they can get people to pay for it. That’s not how you do business.
Botcon under Fun Publications was never as good as it was under other management in 1995, 1997-2002, and 2004, and the future is very uncertain. We have no idea what we will get from Hascon. Personally, the most important thing is the dealer room. The primary reason I go to cons is to look for things for my collection. For all we know the only thing Hascon will give us is a Hasbro store.
I’m hoping it’s not like that. I am planning to go in 2017 as it’s close enough to me to make the trip even if it ends up sucking. We’ll have to see if Hasbro can do this right. I am remaining skeptical.
I had a lot of things I thought about for this blog post. I considered doing a retrospective of every crappy, awful, underhanded thing that Fun Publications has done over the years, and maybe I still will at some point, but if you want to read about all that now, all my reviews and posts about Botcon are listed at the end of this review.
For all he crap they’ve done, I think we sometimes forget those who were hurt the most by Fun Publications, and that’s the Transformers themselves. How embarrassing must it have been for them to be represented by that pathetic company? So, Fun Publications, here are a few messages from some of the Transformers. They truly are from the heart… err… fuel pump.
Reviews of the merchandise are after the toys, and links to all my previous Botcon reviews are after that.
Airazor is repainted from Slipstream who was a remold of Windblade. Windblade is one of the worst toys of the last ten years. Since we already got a Botcon Airazor this toy was completely unnecessary. It does have a pretty great paint job, but the mold is just so awful. You can read my previous reviews linked about for details. It would have made a lot more sense to do a limb for Magnaboss. (More on Magnaboss below.) This toy is all the worse for issues with it’s availability. (More on that in my Megatron review below.)
Flash Sentry & Reflector
Reflector is not the worst idea they ever had. There was apparently a plan to have the three of them combine into a camera, but that is not included in the instructions. Robot mode looks decent. Vehicle mode has nothing to do with Reflector. Flash Sentry might have looked better with some more paint apps. Maybe the silver around his chest like Reflector has would look better. Flash Sentry was an exclusive to people buying the Golden Ticket package, but they were selling them for $240 I think. I made a deal for mine before the con with someone attending with a GT package and paid less. For rarity, I guess it was worth what I paid, but it’s just not a great toy, and certainly not worth $240.
Flash Sentry Grade: C
Reflector Grade: B
Previous Mold Use: Robots in Disguise (2001) Megatron and Galvatron (With a New Head)
I don’t have a review of this mold, so I’ll do that now. It’s crap. I hated this toy when it came out, and I hate it even more now. The new head sculpt is pretty good. His dragon mode is okay as is his robot mode, but the rest of his modes look like you’ve folded up a dragon until it vaguely resembles something else. This version of the toy has five modes, dragon, robot, jet, some vehicle looking thing, and hand. Yes, it turns into a hand. The sixth mode he original had was a bat, but that doesn’t work with this one as his head can’t form the bat head anymore. I did put it in bat mode above for reference. When the original Megatron toy was remolded into Galvatron they gave him a bunch of other stupid looking modes. This one can probably turn into some of those too, but I don’t care. Turning into a hand is possibly the dumbest alternate mode ever. It does have the advantage of being able to do this.
Can’t tell what that is supposed to be? Perhaps this will help.
He turns into a bird…of a sort. A flipped bird you might say. That’s really appropriate as this toy was Fun Publications ultimate fuck you to the fandom. At Botcon only 850 Megatrons and 750 Airazors were made available. They then sold out and started selling for insane prices on eBay. Problem is, this limit was artificial. A portion, I’m not sure exactly how many, of these toys were sold by Roll Out Roll Call in England. That’s how I got mine through a friend of a friend at a pretty big markup, though less than the eBay insanity. Essentially Fun Publications fucked over everyone who buys their crap on their site after the con. (“Con” being the operative word.) Airazor was the toy nobody wanted, so they were able to pawn off a ton of them with the Megatron that some people actually wanted. I’m sure this was done because they didn’t want to get stuck with the Airazors. Seems like they shouldn’t be producing toys they don’t think they will sell, but that would be logical and Fun Publications doesn’t really do logic.
This toy sucks so badly that it doesn’t even deserve an F, so I’m making up a new grade, the worst grade possible.
Grade: BS (No, it’s not “Bull Shit”. It’s “Brian Savage”.)
Previous Mold Reviews: Generations Off Road, Generations First Aid, Generations Ironhide, Unite Warriors First Aid, Generations Trailbreaker, Botcon Grabuge, Unite Warriors Zombie War Breakdown, Unite Warriors Trailbreaker, Unite Warriors Ratchet
Ratchet was this years custom class toy. What am I going to say about an unpainted toy? They apparently had a bunch of rare sticker sheets for him, probably in an attempt to get people to buy a bunch of them. They only reason I bought Unite Warriors Lynxmaster was to get an actual Ratchet. This was, technically, the first release of the Ratchet head sculpt. It was not new for Botcon, but included in the original mold.
Terrorsaur is one of the really great toys we got this year. He has an amazing head sculpt and I love the paintjob. He was this year’s freebie toy and is well worth picking up. They should have included him in the box set and scraped Tarantulas. (More on that below.) For some unknown reason, Terrorsaur did not include a combiner accessory.
Cicadacon is nicely painted in vehicle mode. I love the art on his wings. In robot mode he is mainly red and silver with a little black. He could have used a few more paint apps. Not a terrible toy, but the whole concept of putting two random characters with the three members of Tripredacus to make a combiner is a bit silly. That said, this toy isn’t bad in and of itself.
The intended vehicle mode, which is Brawl turned backwards sucks. It looks a little better turned around, but that’s not the official mode. Ramhorn’s paint apps are okay. Head sculpt looks a little small. It’s not a great toy.
General Sea Clamp
Previous Mold Reviews: Generations Silverbolt, Generations Cyclonus, Generations Scattershot (1), Generations G2 Silverbolt, Unite Warriors Cyclonus, Generations Scattershot (2), Unite Warriors Scattershot
Sea Clamp highlights a major problem with this year’s toys. The instruction books suck. One reason is that they printed them on cheap paper. More importantly, you need to turn Sea Clamp’s enormous head just so to transform him, but the instructions just use Silverbolt’s instructions. They didn’t alter any of them for the new toy molding. Jet mode is pretty nicely painted, robot mode is really plain. I don’t like the knew head sculpt at all.
Did we really need another Tarantulas? No, we didn’t. The paint job is wonderful, and the new head sculpt is perfect. Buy why? Really, why? Terrorsaur should have been in the box set and replaced Tarantulas. It does look nice, so I can’t grade it too harshly.
Ravage and Tigatron
Ravage and Tigatron are based on a mold that I never really liked. The hips suck. Both the robot and car modes are really well painted. There is only one little problem, the head sculpt. Or should I say the face sculpt, as he really has no head, just a face.
The mock up for this head sculpt looked great, so great in fact that Fun Publications kept using it when this toy went into the online store so people buying it wouldn’t know what crap they were getting. This is truly awful.
Predacus, renamed from Tripredacus since that would be stupid or a five member combiner isn’t horrible. The color scheme isn’t bad with the three red generals and Ravage and Tarantulas both in dark colors. The head sculpt looks okay. However, a friend of mine noticed something I didn’t about the head sculpt. I don’t have a picture, but it’s really poorly molded. The back of the head looks slightly misshapen. It just screams cheap crap, which I’m sure it was. I bet They made the cheapest mold possible and it shows.
Previous Mold Reviews: Generations Dead End, Generations Brake-Neck, Generations Streetwise, Generations Prowl, Unite Warriors Streetwise, Generations Smokescreen, Generations G2 Dead End, Generations G2 Brake-Neck, Generations Dust Up, Botcon Bluestreak, Generations Lightspeed
No one is more shocked than me, but Unit-3, who is based on the McDonald’s Under 3 toy, is the best toy from Botcon 2016. He is beautiful. The paint apps look amazing. But of course, there was a problem, greed. At Botcon, the four souvenirs were available singly for the first time and Tigatron and Unit-3 were $49 each. A sticker set was available with one of the trading card sets (for $5) to make “Magnaboss” (more on him below). However, when they went on the website, the two toys were now a set with the sticker sheets for $120. At this point they aren’t even trying to hide their price gouging. What a fucking joke. $22 for twenty-five cents worth of stickers that you also get when you buy the trading cards. I fucking hate Fun Publications so much. They suck all the fun out of collecting Transformers. What a dick move. I would give this toy an A+ if not for that.
So, as I said above, Tigatron and Unit-3 are meant to be part of Magnaboss. The stickers they sold are to put on retail Combiner Wars Prowl, Ironhide, and Silverbolt (the three members in name of Magnaboss). Pics are below, but they look like crap. Here is, in my opinion, what they should have done if they wanted to do Magnaboss, which they should have. First, eliminate Tarantulas and replace him with Terrorsaur in the box set. I’d also change Predacus’s colors to look like the toys since he would look kind of silly in all red with one black toy, but whatever. In place of Terrorsaur, you can do the same jet painted like as an eagle as Silverbolt for the freebie. You can even reuse the beak art on the jet nose. Keep Tigatron. Rename Unit-3 to Prowl. It’s the right mold and he’s painted as a lion. Keep him as an homage to the McDonald’s Under 3 toy. That’s fine. He may not look perfectly like Prowl, but he looks great. Then you eliminate the stupid Megatron and Airazor and replace them with Ironhide, a red and gray repaint of Motormaster, and another deluxe. Who could that be? Any Maximal. Transmetal Rattrap would be my pick, but maybe you go to someone from the toy line that didn’t have a toy at all. Razorbeast maybe. If they wanted, they could even repaint Off Road in red and gray as Ironhide and paint Motormaster as Rhinox. That would work too. They had lots of options. But alas, this is what we got. Anyway, here are the pics, they aren’t even worth giving a grade.
Jumbo Autograph Card
Uncut Trading Card Sheets
Transformers: Animated Storybook
Comic General Admission Cover
Comic Primus Cover
I give them credit. It was a dumb idea to skip number the book, but they got a printed version of #9 out. Better late than never.
Flashlight Key Chain
Box Set Pin
First Day Pin
Golden Ticket Pin
I still need one of these. Last year’s too.
Hot Rod Pin
Golden Ticket Print
Hot Rod Print (Unsigned and Signed)
Megatron’s Rubber Ducky (Convention and Online Store Versions)
Well, that about does it for my last (yay!) Botcon review. There will still be some reviews to come as they have another subscription service and those GI Joe crossover toys coming out. Her are links to all my previous Botcon reviews:
Thanks for reading!