Blog #1302: Hascon: The Good, the Bad, and the VERY UGLY

Hascon: The Good, the Bad, and the VERY UGLY

We finally have some more details on Hascon. Some of this is old info, but I figured I’d be thorough. I am summarizing the details here, and may leave out some bits, so click here for full details on Hascon. The quoted bits below is lifted right from the site. Let’s start with the Good news.

The Good News!

There isn’t any.

Okay, that’s not completely fair. There is some good news. Two evening Transformers events have been announced.

The Transformers Hall of Fame Dinner is Friday night. This includes an “induction ceremony”, a “surprise guest”, a “sit-down dinner”, an “exclusive live performance from Stan Bush”, a “welcome with Peter Cullen and Frank Welker”, a “sneak preview of select 2018 Transformers toys”, a “raffle for special prizes”, and a “special Transformers Super Fan gift bag including a pre-signed autograph from Peter and Frank, Special Comic reprints for HASCON, and a VIP HASCON-exclusive pin set”. That sounds like fun. We will talk about pricing in the “VERY UGLY” section below.

The other event is the Saturday night’s Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Event. This event includes “celebrities and producers, including Brian Goldner and Stephen Davis, from Transformers: The Last Knight”, celebrating “the DVD release and view special Bonus Footage”, “refreshments”, “a special video message from a surprise celebrity”, “a special Transformers gift bag including a pre-signed autograph from Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, Special Comic reprints for HASCON, and a VIP HASCON-exclusive pin set”, a “raffle for special prizes”, and “additional special guests to be announced”. That doesn’t sound quite as much fun as the Hall of Fame Dinner, but pretty cool. As above, we will talk about pricing in the “VEREY UGLY” section below.

The Bad News.

Hasbro announced via Facebook that the rule about only having Hascon merchandise signed had been lifted and any non-bootleg merchandise. I asked on Facebook if art could be signed and was told yes. That’s great and, except for the bit about art, has been changed in the “Autograph Policy” FAQ on the site, but it is still listed as convention merchandise only on both the “About Hascon” and “Convention Policy” FAQ. One would hope we don’t run into a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing and different people trying to enforce different policies.

We have a list of panels and events, and it is underwhelming. There are a few gems, no question, but overall I am not impressed, hence them being in the Bad section. I am not going to talk about all panels, just the Transformers related ones and other ones that interest me. (I don’t even want to talk about Chewbacca Mom.) Also, I am not using all the actual panel names as many are wordy and not descriptive. Click here for full details on Hascon.

Friday – Ballroom A

12:30 IDW Blah Blah Blah – I have no interest in anything IDW related. This is the company that turned Ultra Magnus into a joke.

1:30 Stan Lee Panel – I am going to do my best to be at this panel. Stan Lee created most of my favorite Marvel characters, and I have never had the opportunity to hear him speak in person.

2:30 The History of Transformers Villains – I will probably not bother, but this could be amusing. I’m willing to bet some of the attendees will know more about Transformers villains than the Hasbro brand team. That’s really not a knock on the TF team, but there are so many times that Hasbro gets things wrong, I just don’t know how great their knowledge of Transformers is.

Friday – Room 551S/B

11:30 How Marvel Toys are Made – I might try to get to this one. I am a big Marvel fan.

5:30 More Than Meets the Eye – This is a behind the scenes look at the development process for Transformers. I would like to get to this one. If nothing else, perhaps they will explain the reasons behind some Hasbro’s most boneheaded decisions, like the vehicle paint jobs on Age of Extinction deluxes. Probably not, but I can hope.

Saturday – Ballroom A

12:00 Peter Cullen and Frank Welker Panel – This one is a must.

3:00 Spotlight on James Gunn – James Gunn is the director of both Guardians of the Galaxy movies and will going forward help to run the Marvel Cinematic Cosmic Universe. I am so in on this one.

Saturday – 551A/B

1:00 IDW – Pass.

Saturday – Rotunda

2:00 Peter Cullen and Frank Welker Autograph Session

5:00 More Than Meets The Eye – Repeat

Sunday – Ballroom A

10:00 Marvel Legends – I love the Marvel Legends line. I will definitely try to get to this one if I go down on Sunday. I may not bother go back for the third day.

12:00 Peter Cullen and Frank Welker Panel – Repeat

Sunday – Room 55A/B

11:00 Machinima Prime Wars Trilogy – I might go to this, but Machinima’s Combiner Wars cartoon was horribly disappointing. I was really hoping they would drop this, but apparently, they will continue to sully the name of Transformers.

2:00 More Than Meets The Eye – Repeat

Sunday – Rotunda

2:00 Peter Cullen and Frank Welker Autograph Session

One other reason that I put the Panels under the Bad section. I totally understand not allowing photographs and video during panels. But phones off and put away? I don’t even turn my phone off in church. A lot of people’s phones double as their watch. Are you going to throw people out for checking the time? Not to mention, there are some panels where I might want to take notes for my blog. Fuck you, Hasbro. Get over yourselves.

And the no backpacks thing is just bat-shit crazy.

The VERY UGLY.

As I have said in previous blogs, I do not think $165 isn’t terribly unreasonable for a three day convention (more on that below). $600 for the VIP package is too much, but what is even worse, that only includes ONE of the evening events. For your $600 you don’t even get to go to both the Transformers events. You have to pay $200 for the second one. That’s $800. If $600 included both, it wouldn’t be so bad. The rest of what you get for the $600 VIP package is not exactly great either.

For $600, in addition to three days admission and one of the two evening events, you get the following:

VIP Panel Access – This sounds great, but it’s only for the first 50 VIP’s to arrive at least 40 minutes before the panel. So it’s great, but only if you can get there early enough, and if you don’t, this is useless.

Reserved Seating For One Hascon Theater Event Per Day – I don’t know what this is. I assume they will have a movie theater? Maybe? I’m just guessing. I don’t recall seeing anything else about the Hascon Theater on the site. Depending on what is being shown, this might be worth it, but its only for one event. If there are multiple, you’re out of luck.

Goodie Bag – Okay, there must be something TF related in there. Will it be something exclusive, or something I already have? Who knows? Could be some non TF items I’d want. Time will tell.

Green Screen – I guess you get your picture taken on a green screen for some reason.

Hascon Early Access – This gets you into the exhibit hall an hour early. Okay, if only to get in line for exclusives this is worth it, but not at this price.

Hasbro Headquarters Tour – I went on the Botcon Hasbro Tour in 2007, and this one won’t be all about Transformers. Doesn’t mean it might not be fun to see, but I don’t know how worth it this would be for me.

VIP Lounge – I suppose this could be worth it for some. I can’t stay on my feet for long periods of time anymore, so a friend is going to be pushing me in a wheelchair, so what good is a lounge when I have my own seat?

$800 is pretty ridiculous. Those goodie bags better incredible.

Now, as I said, $165 isn’t unreasonable for a three days convention, but, that is dependant on what the convention includes. I’ve said all along that we really can’t pre-judge this. When all is said and done, $165 may be ridiculous, but I think we have to experience it once to be sure. Unfortunately, its not looking good.

Currently Hasbro has 13 Exhibitors listed on their site.

Barrington Books – It’s a book store. I don’t get it.

Discovery Family Channel – They air (or aired, I’m unclear if there is another season) Rescue Bots and Transformer: Prime. I would expect maybe some TF swag, posters, etc. I doubt anything terribly exciting.

D3Go! – Gaming.

Enterplay, LLC – They make mainly trading cards, including Transformers. They have also made Transformers Dog Tags. Probably not much to see here, though there are a couple of older items I’m still looking for. They probably won’t have them, but I can hope.

IDW Publishing – Ugh. Maybe some TF swag and exclusive covers of terrible comics.

Legion Supplies – Collectible and gaming supplies.

TJ Collectibles – Gaming.

Troll and Toad – Gaming.

UltraPro – Collectible and gaming supplies.

USAopoly – They make board games and other collectibles, but nothing Transformers related.

We Love Fine – They sell a lot of fandom related, including Transformers, clothing and some other stuff. Not terribly exciting.

Winning Solutions Inc. – This is the company that makes the $600 Transformers Monopoly game. I mean…no.

Wyrmwood, Inc. – Gaming.

So…yeah…that’s…garbage. Now, I am hoping that they haven’t updated the site in a while and have some more exhibitors. If that’s all they got this con will be a joke.

I almost forgot. Hasbro will have a store also with exclusives. Now, perhaps at some point they will let us in on what those exclusives are. I think we can guess we are getting a Trypticon as they have not announced it for SDCC yet. There has not been a GI Joe/TF Crossover set announced for SDCC, so we may see that too. If history holds they will take three random toys, give them pointless paint jobs, and stick them in a box that is totally illogical.

Having said all that, I am going to Hascon, and I am going in for the full boat registration, VIP plus the second event.

Why would I do that? There are a number of reasons.

First of all, it’s not a Fun Pub Convention. That’s reason enough to go for it. Each Botcon costs me way more than $800 for all the toys and merchandise. Even with the Hascon exclusives it will still be cheaper.

Second of all, it’s only an hour away from me, so it’s not like I have to travel. I’m not even getting a hotel, I’m just driving up and back each day. Not having to pay for a hotel helps offset the insane cost.

Third, there will be a few things in the goodie bag I can sell, and I am assuming both TF events will have mainly the same items, so that’s more I can sell to defray the cost.

Fourth, I think we need to give Hasbro a chance. As much as I complain about them, they ended Fun Pub having the Transformers license, and I will be forever grateful for that. They probably didn’t do it for the right reasons, but they did it. Hopefully if this year is as bad as it is currently looking, Hasbro will regroup and fix their mistakes next year.

There is one final reason I am going. There are still 69 days until Hascon. There is always the chance that they could fix it this year. They could still set up a real dealer room with reasonably priced tables in that time, and fix some of their bad policies. I mean, they are at least paying attention. They have to know people are unhappy. They have the power to, if not fix it, then at least make it better. I don’t think they will, but I can hope. I mean, they had to be expecting more exhibitors than this to sign up, right? The only sold out events are one of the Magic (or it might have been D&D) ones. If they won’t fix it for the fans, maybe they will fix it for the bottom line.

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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