My Trip to Hascon
It’s all over. The first Hascon, which I hope will be an annual event, has come and gone. I had a fantastic time, a much better time than I thought I would. I admit I was wrong about some things. I was also right about a few. It wasn’t perfect, but it was damn good, and I can’t imagine it didn’t exceed the expectations of most. (With the obvious exceptions of the Fun Pub hangers-on.)
I’ve decided to write this chronologically. It will likely be long and rambling. There are plenty of pictures at the end. Before I get to it, I’ve got a few things I need to say about Hascon overall.
I can’t say enough about the Hasbro convention crew. Everyone was helpful and responsive. I don’t know how many times I was greeted and welcomed. I can’t speak highly enough of them. They were there with one goal, to make sure that every attendee had the best possible experience.
When you go to a con, there are certain things that are to be expected. One is that you will walk until you can’t stand up anymore. That is more difficult for some of us as we get older. I have foot, leg and back problems. There will be some times that I complain about the increased walking distance. I fully recognize that there is nothing Hasbro can do to remedy some of these situations. The design of the facility, and certain realities of life in 2017, make some things unavoidable. However, there were some logistical issues that seemed to make it needlessly difficult at times (that goes for standing in lines also).
I recognize that most con attendees don’t have these kinds of problems. But many of us who have been around this fandom for a long time (like our toys with their splitting rubber tires and yellowing white plastic) are getting older. Some (like myself) have done so less gracefully, like gold plastic. (If you don’t know what that means, you don’t collect vintage Transformers.)
Anyway, I’m just saying that some of my complaining is because five days later it still hurts to walk, and not because I actually expect it to change.
Lastly, there are some things that I really hope Hasbro will do better/different next year. This was their first convention, so some things were bound to not go perfectly. At the same time, for a first effort, they did a hell of a job.
Onward to the dailies!
RICC = Rhode Island Convention Center
DDC = Dunkin Donuts Center
VIP = VIP/Superfan Badge Holder
Since I only live an hour away, I opted to drive each day rather then shell out money for a hotel. Turns out this was good decision. I didn’t go back on Sunday, but if I had, gas and parking would have been about $100 for three days. Way cheaper than a hotel for two nights, and I planned the travel so I missed almost all the traffic.
I got up at 5:00, grabbed some breakfast on the way, and got to the garage at about 7:30. As a VIP, I was going to get in at 10:00 AM, but I wanted to get there early.
I pulled into the garage, pushed the button for a ticket, and was greeted by Optimus Prime, Peter Cullen himself, welcoming me to Hascon. Hasbro actually got the parking garage to reprogram their audio messages and had Peter Cullen record them. Not sure if he did all of them, I used the same gate both days. After picking my jaw up off the floor, I started to realize that Hasbro really went all out for this convention.
I was early enough to get just about the best parking space I could and picked up my convention badge. (Incidentally, I’m looking to buy the other Transformers badges. I know they had a Bumblebee badge and a Movie Optimus Prime badge, so if you’re willing to part with them let me know.)
One of the items that I was supposed to get with a VIP badge was a reserved seat for one panel in the main stage per day. I had not been able to find out how to reserve that. The woman I spoke to at registration did not come out and say it, but I got the impression that finding a seat would not be a problem at the main stage panels. I wasn’t sure at that time whether that meant they didn’t have many attendees, or that they had plenty of seating. (It was the latter, I’m happy to report.)
I headed up the block towards the Dunkin Donuts Center. The bulk of the convention was inside the adjacent Rhode Island Convention Center, but you could only enter via the DDC.
Yes. That is a giant Tonka Truck outside the convention center.
This building is directly across from the DDC. I assume it must be Hasbro’s corporate offices. The tour itself was in the original headquarters, where they actually do the work of making toys. They had banners on the buildings all up and down the street, and decked out the whole front of the building.
I found a low wall on the ramp up to the convention center to sit on and wait. This was not where I needed to line up, but was the only place to sit. Eventually I made my way to the end of the building to the VIP line.
It took a while to get in through security. Everyone’s bags needed to be searched and they needed to go through a metal detector. Annoying, but it’s the world we live in.
What really annoyed me is that the Hascon FAQ had all these rules that were just not enforced. For starters, backpacks and bags over some silly arbitrary size were not permitted, which was not enforced at all. Not sure if someone just cut and pasted from the “Idiot’s Guide To Running A Convention”, or they just realized there was no way they could actually tell people they couldn’t bring in bags. This was also true of the ‘no phones during the panels,’ rule which was also largely ignored.
Once inside the DDC, I, like most everyone else, made a mad dash (for me it was more of a lumbering trot) up the ramp into the RICC, into the main convention room, and to the line for exclusives.
I was fairly close to the front of the line (that is to say there was way more line behind me than in front). The crew was doing a great job managing the line while keeping isles clear. It could have devolved into chaos.
The speed of the line is one of the things the need to address for new year. They had two registers at the beginning, and at some point they started using one of the registers in the Hascon Store (I refuse for call it a boutique). I give them credit for trying to do something to alleviate the problem (which later in the day it seemed to) but the line still crawled. I am not exaggerating. Even when I got across the isle into the main part of the line, I stood there without moving for extended periods of time. I don’t know why it was so slow. There weren’t that many different items. I did hear a couple of stories about denied credit cards and people having to make calls to get them cleared, but still, it couldn’t have been everyone.
They really needed to have at least five to ten registers for the opening onslaught. They should have handed out order forms (which I heard they did later). I genuinely wonder if they realized that there would be such a rush for the toys. Maybe that caught them off guard.
They told us initially that the limits were four each on Hascon exclusives, and two each on SDCC exclusives. I was hoping they would have SDCC exclusives, as I had missed out on the black Optimus Prime. I was already picking up exclusives for one friend, but I also had friends coming later in the day who would be further back in line, so I called them and made a list. When I finally got near the front of the line, however, they cut Hascon exclusives from four each to only two. They really should have limited it to two from the start. Not a big deal for me, but maybe if they had started with more of a limit the line wouldn’t have moved so slowly.
I was in line for over an hour, and consequently missed the Transformers panel at 11:30. This panel had originally been scheduled for 5:30, but was rescheduled. Had the line been a little faster, I would have made it. Was this the end of the world? No. Frankly, I went to more panels at Hascon than the last five Botcons I went to combined. (A big part of that is the lack of a dealer room.) All the panel info is online. You really can’t schedule major panels that early on day one. Given the speed people were getting in, you would still have had a lot of non-VIP attendees in line when the panel started.
Of course, if you missed it, the panel is available on YouTube. (I found all of these videos on YouTube, I didn’t take any of them.)
After I finally got exclusives, I went to the Hascon Store. I think the store was managed by HasbroToyShop. I had hoped that they would have new product. I mean, what better place than Hascon to have the new waves of toys no one can find, right?
Not so much.
They did have a few things. They had RID Combiner Galvatronus, which I don’t think anyone has seen in stores yet, and one of the Rescue Bots Flip Racers 3-Packs that I hadn’t been able to find. They did have Last Knight Deluxe Wave 2, which I already had, but I’ve never seen at retail. Pretty sure they sold out of them and replaced them with peg warmer Titans Return Deluxes. Other than that, it was all readily available at retail toys, at least as far as Transformers go. There may have been some other items that were new.
They had a display of Marvel Legends, and I was hoping I could track down a Marvel Legends Jessica Jones, but alas, no. I didn’t think they had any of the wave, but I later realized they had a few Moon Knights. They had to have sold out of those instantly, or before they even opened the doors to attendees. I really was expecting more from the store.
I bought my toys and a bunch of Hascon merchandise, and then sat for a while. Hasbro did something most conventions don’t. They realized that people need places to sit down. Kudos to them. Not sure I would have made it through day two if they hadn’t.
My next stop was the IDW booth. I needed the First Strike #1 Con exclusive and the two Tom Whalen prints from SDCC. I also found some bonuses. They had the pins from SDCC, and they had last year’s SDCC Revolution print that I could never find.
After that, I met up with some friends. After talking with them for a few minutes, they headed to exclusives, while I went to get my VIP bag. This is where I have a few problems with the set up. The only things that were actually in the DDC were the main stage, security screening, and VIP bag pick up. (Concert ticket pickup was also there on Friday, but moved to the RICC on Saturday.)
I realize that space was at a premium in the RICC, but it made very little sense to make people go back to the DDC to pick up a bag and tickets, especially with how you had to get there.
The DDC and RICC are connected by a skyway that for some reason they built way too narrow to be completely useful. Consequently, they were only letting people come in to the RICC that way. You couldn’t use the skyway to get back to the DDC. They made everyone go down to the first floor and out of the RICC to get to the DDC. They made an artificial courtyard between the two buildings with barriers, so you were able to get back to the DDC without going through security again as you were still “inside” the convention. That was a great idea. The only problem for me was that you had to go up stairs into the DDC. Now, admittedly, I really don’t know what other option they would have had. That’s just the design of the facility, but damn, it totally wiped me out every time I made that trip up the stairs, and I ended up doing it a bunch of times.
When I picked up my VIP bag I was immediately disappointed. Maybe I was expecting too much. What I got was a post card sized print signed by Peter Cullen and Frank Welker, a hardcover reprint of a graphic novel (The Best Battles of Optimus Prime and Megatron). There was as set of three pins, Optimus Prime, Megatron, and Windblade, and a few convention items. The bag itself was cool also. I might be forgetting something, I haven’t gone through everything I got at the con, but I think that was it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it just felt like less than I thought it would be. They could have at least done an 8×10 autographed print.
I then headed back to the convention center and grabbed some food from the snack bar. (The macaroni and cheese was expensive, but delicious. I’d order it in a restaurant.) After meeting up with my friends for a while, I headed to the Stan Lee panel, which meant another trip outside and up those freaking stairs to the DDC.
This is when I found out that the main stage was the DDC itself. (If you’ve never been there, it’s a hockey arena.) They had a stage set up at one end of the floor and chairs set up. Of course you had most of the arena seating too. Hence why finding a seat at the panel was not a problem.
They weren’t quite as strict about which entrances into the arena could be used on Friday. They just sent people to the nearest one. On Saturday they were only allowing one entrance to be used. I made the mistake of walking down the narrow steps rather than using the elevator. Not the last time I made that mistake.
I’ve never been to a Stan Lee panel. It was great hearing thoughts on storytelling from one of the greatest storytellers of the twentieth century. Really one of the greatest story tellers ever. That was a lot of fun. I could not find a video of the entire panel, but here is one of the Q&A.
On a related note, Hasbro’s promotion of Hascon talked up their guests and that there would be autograph sessions. Never in any of them was there an asterisk saying that Stan Lee would not be signing autographs. (For that matter, he wasn’t the only one.) I figured that out a couple weeks before the con after I already spent $40 on a copy of Fantastic Four #51 to get signed. When some guests aren’t singing autographs, they really shouldn’t give the impression that they are. To be clear, nowhere did it ever say he was signing autographs, but it should have said he, and the other guests who were not signing, weren’t.
After the panel, I went back to the RICC and walked around the exhibitor areas a while. I found a few Transformers gaming supplies and some more con merchandise for sale. I went back to the IDW booth because I had forgotten to ask them what retailer would have the First Strike #1 exclusive, as it wasn’t noted in the comic. They didn’t know, but said to try back later. I went back to the main convention hall to get the cards that they were giving out stamped by each of the six areas in the Transformers Brand Experience so I could get a set of prints.
This video shows a quick walk around of the Transformers Brand Experience and much of the main convention room, except for the Star Wars area, which can be seen in the second video.
The room was huge, and I was tired. I decided to head home for the day. There weren’t any other panels I was going to on Friday, and I didn’t want to get stuck in Friday evening traffic. Since there was no real dealer room, there was no reason to hang around.
Naturally, I headed to the RICC exit into the garage. I mean, where else would you go to get to the garage but the exit into the garage. Someone made the bonehead decision not to allow people to leave that way. That really pissed me off. It made no sense at all.
I get not letting people in that way, as the metal detectors are in the DDC, but there is no justification for making people heading to the garage, (and the hotel which is also accessible that way) go all the way around and out on the opposite side of the convention center!.
I headed home. Day one, the issues aside, had exceeded all my expectations.
The doors were opening at 8:00 on Saturday. I planned to get up at 5:00, but forgot that my alarm was only set for Monday to Friday. I overslept but fortunately I got there about 7:30, and the VIP line was almost non-existent. It started to get a little longer right before they opened, but most VIPs had bought their exclusives on Friday, so it wasn’t as crazy on Saturday.
Saturday I had a very specific plan. First, check to see if they had put out any new toys in the Hascon store. They hadn’t, but I picked up some gifts for my niece and nephews. (My niece recently informed me that she’s not so much into My Little Pony any more. She’s in to Wonder Woman and Spider-Man.) I picked up a few Hascon items for a friend, and then on to the IDW booth, where I found out that the exclusive cover to First Strike #1 will be at NYCC. I probably should have assumed that.
After that I walked around a bit. I intended to go check out the Transformers, Marvel, and Star Wars Brand Experiences, but I hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep, and my legs were already screaming at me. I decided to check out the Transformers VIP lounge instead. They had several staff members in there to see if anyone needed anything, a cooler with complementary soda. (Pepsi products, but no Mountain Dew) and snacks. I was pretty much expecting an empty room with some chairs, so that was a pleasant surprise.
Then it was time for the Hasbro Headquarters tour. Remember I mentioned logistical issues making things needlessly difficult? Well, this was one of those. I had to walk all the way back to the garage to get the bus, which wouldn’t have been so bad if I could have exited through the garage. It would have made more sense to have the pick up in front of the DDC. I and four others got on the bus and at 9:30 we left for Hasbro. Then the driver got a call and we went back to the garage. Apparently, they had people meeting somewhere other than where the sign for the tour pickup was on Saturday. Why, I have no idea. We had to go back and get a bunch more people.
The tour was very much like the tour from Botcon 2007. Not quite as much Transformers stuff as we saw then, but we got a cool demo of the software they use for digitally sculpt action figures, and saw some really cool artifacts. To me the most amazing was the box art for Reflector. The art was never used on a box, but was used on the order form. The original art has readable text around the lens of the camera, while on the actual order form it just looks like white lines. It was pretty incredible. None of the stuff on the tour could be photographed. I’m not sure if this is because they don’t want photos out in the world, or because they want to maintain the exclusivity of the tour. I did take a picture of this on the way out of the tour. (With permission of course.)
I would kill to have that display.
After the tour we headed back to the convention center. Again, they went all the way back to the garage, instead of dropping us off at the DDC. Just not well planned. I mean, what sense does it make to take your attendees further from the con just so they can walk back? (And yes, I know, a bigger issue for me than most.)
When I got back to the convention center, I tried to get in the autograph line for David Ortiz and Jackie Bradley, Jr. The line was insane, so I didn’t bother. I have their autographs anyway.
Now, I didn’t have an autograph voucher, because they gave them out at the help desk an hour before the autograph session. I was on the tour so I couldn’t get one, and they told me to just go over when I got back to get in line. This voucher system makes no sense. You go line up so that an hour before the session you can go through a line to get a voucher to get in another line. Seems like you let people line up at a specific time and cap the line at a certain point. It was needlessly complicated. When you go to any con, events are going to be concurrent, and you have to choose, but the vouchers just seemed to increase time standing in line.
I think it was on my way back to the VIP room to rest that I took this picture.
This helmet seems sized for someone who would name a convention after himself. Just saying.
I then got some food and headed back to the DDC, outside and up those damn stairs again, for the Peter Cullen and Frank Welker panel. The panel was a blast. It always is. Those two play off each other so well. During the panel, Peter Cullen let it slip that Sue Blu (voice of Arcee) was being inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame. They also did a panel on Sunday. I couldn’t find a video of the Saturday panel, but here is Sunday’s.
After that was the James Gunn panel, so I stayed for that. Very interesting guy. I think Marvel made a good decision putting him in charge of the cosmic universe.
I’m not sure exactly what I did next. Details get a little fuzzy when you walk down the same halls over and over. I think that’s when I took a few pictures of some GI Joe props.
After resting in the VIP lounge, I made another trek back outside and up the stairs to the DDC for the Transformer The Last Knight panel. That was great. Isabela Moner and Lorenzo di Bonaventura were there. Mark Wahlberg was there, but arrived late. That was the most heavily attended panel I went to.
After that, I finally got to head into the Transformers Brand Experience to take some pictures. I had previously just made a whirlwind visit to collect stamps to get the prints. With phone in hand I took tons of photos (see the end of the post). I also made it over to the Marvel Brand Experience. I wanted to see the Star Wars Brand Experience too, but I was really running out of steam, and my phone was almost dead.
I made one more shopping stop at the Enterplay booth to grab some Transformers gaming binders that I had missed earlier. I then spent an hour or so resting in the VIP lounge and charging my phone, and then headed to the dinner.
Now, if there was one event at the con that I thought was most fumbled, it was the Transformers dinner. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t what I expected for a $200 dinner event.
I remember the Botcon dinners of the good old days. (Before the dark times, before…Fun Pub.) That is what I was expecting. A room with tables and a stage, you eat and see whatever presentation or concert, or whatever they are having. It didn’t exactly work out that way.
The first part of the “dinner” was in the DDC at the main stage. It started with a panel that included Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Isabela Moner, and Mark Wahlberg. Lorenzo di Bonaventura said that Michael Bay wanted to be there, but that he was evacuating his dogs from Miami before the hurricane. That was a fun panel.
After that, Peter Cullen and Frank Welker inducted Sue Blu into the Transformers Hall of Fame, and then Lorenzo di Bonaventura was then inducted in to the Transformers Hall of Fame by the head of Hasbro, whose name and title escapes me.
That’s when things went down hill. They led us up and out of the arena. I figured I could handle one trip up the stairs to the main concourse. Silly me, I didn’t realize that when we got to the main concourse we would then loop back around and go up further to the very top of the arena. Thought I was going to pass out by the time I got to the top. My own fault. I should have taken the elevator.
They handed everyone two tickets good for one drink at the bar each. Dinner was a buffet, which was fine. I’m sure most people don’t have a problem sitting in pub height chairs. I do. It’s not good for my legs and back. I can’t imagine the thought process that led to that. For $200 I expected a function room and got a bar.
I got my food and put it at one of the tables, then went to get a soda at the bar. I stood there for at least ten minutes, more I think, and the line wasn’t that long. There was a lot of confusion about the tickets, and the bartender made a phone call trying to figure it out. I think it annoyed a lot of people that if you wanted water you had to use one of your tickets for it. $200 for a dinner, and they can’t even put water on the table. I could even argue they should have included soda. It took a while for me to get my Mountain Dew. I could only get one as I needed to keep the other ticket for the collection. It had Optimus Prime on it. Priorities.
I very nearly fell getting on that damn chair. I’m not exaggerating. I lost my balance and actually knocked the chair over, but managed to stay on my feet. Might have been a more interesting evening if I had fallen. On second thought, maybe not.
I ate my now cold food. It wasn’t bad. They had Ziti and chicken and a couple of other things that I couldn’t immediately identify, so I passed on them. Then I sat uncomfortably until the waiter started clearing dishes and I asked him for a regular chair, which he brought me back a short time later.
Apparently, some people had sat in another room, probably because they didn’t want to sit in those damn chairs. They herded everyone in and said that everyone needed to take a seat.
I wasn’t entirely sure why they needed everyone sitting.
They told everyone to look under their chairs, as 75 people (I think that was the number, I might have misheard it) would have a ticket for various prizes. I was not even sitting in a chair that could have had a ticket on it. Now I did notice that the seat I had been in didn’t have a ticket on it, so it wasn’t like I’d really lost anything, but I did point out to one of the organizers that I could not have gotten a prize. A couple moments later, someone brought me a ticket for a Mark Wahlberg poster that they said was on the one unoccupied seat.
So, this worked great for me, as I had everything else they were giving away anyway. What really sucks is that this is no way to do a raffle. Honestly, other than the 25 signed posters, the prizes weren’t great. It was mostly The Last Knight toys. Kind of cheap, really. They could have at least had enough to give everyone something, even if it was a crappy movie One Step Changer.
What is really stupid is that you can only do this once. Next year, everyone is going to start turning over chairs. Why you would do it at all is beyond me. Part of the fun of a raffle is actually doing the raffle and seeing if you won something.
Honestly the best part of the dinner itself was the drink ticket with Optimus Prime on it to add to my collection. The poster was good too.
It should also be noted, that the dinner was advertised as having Peter Cullen and Frank Welker in attendance. I think a few people were less than happy they weren’t there. Sue Blu was though. I can’t fault Cullen and Welker. They had a long day, and aren’t as young as they used to be, but that should never have been the expectation if it wasn’t going to happen.
Then it was back down to the main stage (I took the elevator) for the rest of the presentations. By then a lot of people had left. Then the toy panel portion of the evening began. We got a few reveals, a Combiner Wars-compatible Deluxe Moonracer and confirmation of Terrorcons with Rippersnapper and Hun-Grrr. The picture of the Hun-Grr prototype had a Decepticon logo over his face. I heard later that was because it wasn’t the final version. Then they revealed Optimus Primal/Optimal Optimus. That looks like a really cool toy. Of course, we already knew about all of these from photos leaked online, but I think this was the first time we actually saw the toys.
After that it was announced that Galvatron was being inducted into the Transformers Hall of Fame. Hideyaki Yoke (Yoke san) brought the gray prototype, which is cream colored, of G1 Galvatron for the occasion. I’ve never seen that in person before. That was cool. What was even cooler was this.
That is the original wooden prototype for G1 Galvatron. That was awesome to see. So much of the early Transformers design history is lost to time, it’s great to see some bits have survived.
Barricade was then rather unceremoniously inducted into the Hall of fame. They didn’t even bother show a video. Trypticon was announced as toy of the year. Hideyaki Yoke gave a presentation and talked about how toys were made in the old days. Then IDW announced that they were going to have Unicron in the comics next year. (I can hardly contain my excitement. That was sarcasm.)
Then it was time for the Stan Bush concert. By then I think half the people at the dinner had left. I love Stan Bush’s music, and it was a great show. I need to download his new album. But there were maybe forty people there I think. It’s sad they couldn’t have had a real concert.
I couldn’t find any video of the concert, but this video has all the other presentations from the dinner.
And after that it was unceremoniously over. There wasn’t even a goodbye and thank you for coming. Stan stopped playing and people left. For me that was the end of Hascon. There was no point driving back just for the couple of panels I would have gone to on Sunday. Had there been a dealers room, I would have gone back.
If you’re interested here are some other panel videos.
Transformers Brand Panel Q&A
Transformers Prime Wars Trilogy
The Wrap-Up: Final Thoughts
My main reason for going to cons is to add to my collection. There wasn’t much in the way of vintage toys or memorabilia at Hascon (though there was one dealer with a few items). There was some cool free stuff. The convention exclusives were almost amazingly reasonably priced. They were essentially retail prices, and lots of the con merch had Optimus Prime on it.
The reality is that if Hasbro doesn’t have a real dealer room with tables that are reasonably priced for smaller dealers, they are going to have a lot of trouble selling collectors on Hascon. (Could be that it wasn’t the pricing, but the uncertainty of a new convention that kept a lot of dealers away. $350 would be too much for me, though.) If they don’t care about that, then leave it as is. Expanding the store with more new product would also be a big draw for collectors, but will never replace a real dealer room.
I hope they are planning to have it earlier next year. The beginning of September is tough, especially for families. The con was a little empty looking at times on Friday, and a big part of that was kids being in school. I would hope it would be in August next year. They could go earlier if they don’t mind dropping the SDCC exclusives early.
I can’t imagine anyone really complaining about the ticket prices. $165 for three days, or $60 for one seems very reasonable for what you got. My friend Zabgoth said, “I had more fun in one day than the entire weekend at Botcon 2010.” Of course he also said, “If Fun Pub had beer on site I may have been more forgiving,” so make of that what you will.
As to the VIP ticket, $600 seems a little high unless they significantly improve the dinner. Frankly I am pissed that a coupon was later available. Those of us who signed up early really got the shaft on that. It just wasn’t right. Everyone who paid $600 deserves a partial refund. Or toys. Toys are good too. I guess they sort of did that with the $100 gift card, but all VIPs got that, so it doesn’t really count. Between the gift card, an existing sale on HasbroToyShop and a 20% HTS discount code, I managed to get the TLK Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet and Radio Control Sqweeks for $23. Not bad.
I think they should allow some space for fan panels next year. There are a lot of knowledgeable fans in this fandom (the others too, I’m sure) who can do great panels. That would also go a long way to giving collectors who didn’t find Hascon worth it some more activities.
Another fan favorite is the art contest. There are a lot of talented artists in the fandom. It would seem a simple enough thing for Hasbro to have an art contest.
I think my biggest suggestion (not that anyone asked) is to be more conscious of the differing interests of attendees. They made up a nice looking guidebook to the convention. Unfortunately, I found it very difficult to actually use. I think they need separate guides for the major brands. Why? Well, when I go to a Transformers convention, I know I need to look at every inch of everything, as it all (or mostly all) will be something that might interest me.
At Hascon, that’s impossible to do that. I never made it farther into the main room than the store. The Transformers area was right in front and the Marvel area right behind it.
I picked up a Hascon “Passport” from a friend. I hadn’t seen them when I registered. It has places to be stamped in 30 different locations in the con. The last page said it could be turned in for a “Memento”. After the con I found out that somewhere in the con they were giving out Transformers greeting cards. I am pretty sure that was one of the things you could get for getting all the stamps in your passport. I paid $12 for them on eBay, which was a better deal than running around to 30 places, most of which I had zero interest in. It would make more sense if there was a passport that took you to all the Transformers related places to get a Transformers item.
I also hear that at the Cullen/Welker autograph signing they were signing cards with the G1 Year 1 box back art (I believe that’s what it was). I’d have made time to get an autograph had I known that there was something exclusive to be had. Just this morning, I saw a promo postcard on eBay that was available at Stan Bush’s table. That’s the kind of thing that should be in a convention guide for Transformers fans.
It really pisses me off that I have to try to track down items on eBay that were available at a con I attended.
If I were twenty years younger, I could have just run around to 30 different places just to see if there was something at the end that would interest me, but alas, gold plastic.
Of course, this might all be academic. It is entirely possible that Hascon ended up being exactly what Hasbro wanted it to be. They may not want to make changes for the fans and collectors. I mean, there is an argument to be made that they we can always go to TF Con. I guess only time will tell.
In the near future I will do a haul blog with pics of all the stuff I picked up at Hascon, as well as reviews of the exclusives. I may not have gotten anything vintage at Hascon, but I think maybe the great vibes stayed with me. In the last five days I’ve found Cyber Battalion toys at Walgreens and a Marvel Legends Jessica Jones at Walmart. I also finally snagged a Loyal Subjects Red Bumblebee and a Beast Wars II Lio Junior. Then there is the big one. I picked up a complete G1 IGA Hoist. All told, not a bad week.
Well, that about does it, I think. I took over 120 pictures. (Or should I say over 120 good pictures. I actually took almost five times that). See them below. Until Hascon 2018.
Thanks for reading!