BotCon 2013 – A Recap of this Awesome Weekend

It’s Monday morning. You’ve been driving all night or walking through more airport security checkpoints than you care for … and you’re now back in your cubicle at work having the most difficult time focusing. After spending the last several days nerding it out with new and old friends, transforming dozens of newly acquired robot toys, and probably letting out a squeal or two over Hasbro’s Masterpiece display case, you’re suddenly back to the old routine. This is called the BotCon Blues: the hardest form of recovery after you’ve completed indulged on everything Transformers.

BotCon 2013 in San Diego California, what an amazing trip. For those that missed the awesome weekend that was BotCon 2013 I want to recap what you may have missed; from the Machine Wars box set, the RainMakers show exclusive 3-pack, the new Generations reveals from Hasbro, and much more!

For me personally, the past 3 months have been some of the most hectic and trying times for my family and I am just thrilled to have been able to take my wife and daughter to BotCon 2013 for a dose of reality, Transformers and nerdy reality that is. I was very skeptic of this year’s BotCon and not sure if it was going to be completely worth it, but turns out I was wrong. Here’s why BotCon 2013 was an awesome weekend that is sure to be even better next year.

Photo courtesy of www.botcon.com

The Machine Wars: Termination box set

I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this since I know this year’s box set was not the most praised, but when you get the box set in hand, transform those figures, and display the cast together, they pull it off! The mashup of Movie, Prime, and Generations aesthetics may not work perfectly and are certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but it portrays this extension of Machine Wars very well. You’re not looking at a top 3 BotCon set, but this box set is staying in my collection and I wouldn’t fault collectors for tracking it down, especially if you’re a fan of Machine Wars. The throwback to KB Toys, the Machine Wars original box art, and the way this set of figures comes together when in-hand makes this set a success.

Photo courtesy of www.botcon.com

Photo courtesy of www.botcon.com

One of the best details from this year’s BotCon – it’s an actual sticker! 

Additionally, if you attended BotCon you also received the show freebie and man was it solid: Machine Wars Starscream! Made from the Hunt for the Decepticons Terradive mold, BotCon delivered with Starscream. It’s hard to go wrong with this mold (troop builder set please BotCon?) and lending it to the Starscream character really works. Being the freebie may have hurt the box set though, I imagine if this figure was in the set there may have been a more positive reaction overall. Regardless, I’d highly suggest seeking the figure out on the aftermarket!

Hotel room pics … aren’t we all REALLY impatient to play with our toys? 

BotCon show exclusives

Every year it’s always fun to try and figure out what the at show exclusives will be. I don’t believe the Fandom ever gets tired of picking apart rumored lists and deciphering BotCon PR. Do you trust your inside sources? Is the BotCon Twitter feed throwing us off the trail? He tell me? When the show exclusives were revealed there was both cheers and head scratching. The obvious winner and soon to be hot aftermarket figures were the Rainmakers! BotCon put a twist on these figures given us the not so traditional “Rainmakers” characters: Sunstorm, Hotlink, and Bitstream. No one is tired of this mold yet, right?

“Look! They’re using the Seeker mold again … shoot, they sold out already?!” The Rainmakers – the only BotCon show exclusive to sell out. 

Machine Wars Mirage from the Classics Mirage mold was easily one of the best exclusives at the show in my opinion. A beautiful light jade deco really makes this figure explode with detail and it doesn’t hurt the Mirage mold itself is near perfect. Although Mirage is beautiful, I would have LOVED to have also seen a Machine Wars Prowl with this mold. His case buddy was Machine Wars Thundercracker from the Revenge of the Fallen Dirge mold. You have to be a Movie mold fan to really like or appreciate this figure, it’s not for everyone. The deco on Thundercracker was interesting and was the most discussed part of the figure when I spoke with friends. One collector I spoke to said Thundercracker was so ugly you couldn’t help but like him. That’s one form of appreciation! A little disappointed not to see Thundercracker light up in the dark as first promised …

Photo courtesy of the Transformers Collectors Club Online Store 

The final pairing of show exclusives were Machine Wars Sandstorm and Generation 2 Autobot Electrons – better know as Electro. From my conversations with fellow fans, Sandstorm seems to have been the one most likely to be sold off. Poor Sandstorm. Possibly another victim of “Movie molds aren’t for everyone,” this figure is still very fun to fiddle with and looks great in chopper mode. Similar to Thundercracker, Sandstorm’s deco is somewhat of a “this might be so ugly so I love it.” If not Sandstorm, perhaps BotCon could have done Machine Wars Soundwave? A very popular choice among fans, but ultimately he didn’t get in. His package buddy was Autobot Electrons from the Generations Kup mold. “Electro” was treated to an amazing new head sculpt and a deco very reminiscent to his original G2 coloring (he also was without that horrible GPS by the way). Where the heck is his sword though? ;-)

Photo courtesy of the Transformers Collectors Club Online Store 

Other show exclusives included a pre-assembled custom class figure, “Blastcharge Strika,” a 5-pack of BotCon exclusive Kreon figures, and a special carded version of the TFCC incentive figure Depthcharge. These were all first time exclusives done at this year’s BotCon, a tradition hopefully meant to continue.

Photo courtesy of the Transformers Collectors Club Online Store 

Photo courtesy of the Transformers Collectors Club Online Store 

My new AWESOME Depthcharge display! 

“We found him!” – BotCon’s Special Guests

I’ll be the first to admit, this year’s list of guests were … eh. It felt like the “heavy hitters” were not going to be present. I can’t speak for everyone, but if you attended the show and met with these special guests, I’m betting you had a blast! I was proven so wrong and the list of guests were an honor to meet. Never underestimate just how much fun it is to see these actors “work” in person. The Rescue Bots voice actor panel was downright hilarious (still kicking myself for missing most of it). Glenn Morshower had some of the funniest moments the whole weekend interacting with fans, especially during the “movie on the lawn” event. The live script reading with David Sobolov, James Horan, Wally Burr, and Jason Jansen was very well written and performed with plenty of humorous outtakes. Wait … Jason Jansen? Who? Oh, the kid? … Tommy Kennedy?! WE FOUND HIM!

Pete, why must you photo bomb me?!

Who seriously didn’t see this coming? After “Tommy Kennedy” (Tommy Kennedy was the partner to Optimus Prime in G1 season 5) was found earlier this year, BotCon grabbed him as a special guest. I know this isn’t the type of guest most Transformers fans will run to for an autograph, let alone base their decision on going to BotCon, but boy was he fun to talk to and hang out with. An absolutely cool, funny, and humble guy, Mr. Jansen was very thankful just to be a part of BotCon and see the world of Transformers. Now, somebody make a fan film with Mr. Jansen reprising his Tommy Kennedy role!

From left to right: Glenn Morshower, Wally Burr, StayingInTheBox, Mrs. StayingInTheBox, and Jason Jansen.

From left to right: David Sobolov (Beast Wars Depthcharge, Prime Shockwave) and two really giddy nerds.

Hasbro and TFCC Reveals

“You can’t take pictures during this panel … unless it’s of us.”

Hold on tight … NEW TRANSFORMERS REVEALED! Easily the fan favorite panels of the BotCon show are the Hasbro showcase where they show fans some sneak peaks of upcoming products as well as the TFCC panel, where again we see new club figures and learn how Fun Publications chooses their color scheme for that year’s BotCon toys (okay, the TFCC panel can be a little repetitive from year to year). Although Hasbro’s panels have been somewhat disappointing in recent years by saving many reveals for SDCC, we still get plenty of gems thrown our way. Revealed this year (among many others) include “Classics” styled figures: Beast Wars Waspinator and Rhynox, Armada Starscream, Double Dealer, and IDW Swerve … wow! Plenty to look forward to in the fall of 2013 and 2014. In my opinion this was one of the better Hasbro panels in recent years. One big gripe I had was Hasbro’s choice to reveal the “fan made” figure at SDCC. Oh well, can’t win them all!

The TFCC also revealed their new freebie figure for being a Club member and their new Club exclusives! To go along with this year’s TFCC incentive figure Depthcharge, TFCC will be making his arch nemesis: Protoform X/Rampage from the TF Prime First Edition Megatron deluxe mold. Beast Wars fans, we have been heard! To go along with Rampage, available for purchase as a TFCC exclusive will be a very interesting choice of a figure (borderline risky I’d say), Beast Wars Transmutate from the TF Prime First Edition Arcee mold. This will be the Club’s take on “what could have been” if Transmutate was given a chance … Very exciting reveals from the TFCC crew to say the least!

Photos courtesy of the Transformers Collectors Club Round table - BotCon 2013

In Closing …

The toys, the guests, the panels … these only scratch the surface of what BotCon 2013 was all about, or any BotCon for that matter, and I can write pages about the memories created. Let’s also not forgot the dealer room: you tend to come home with some souvenirs:

My BotCon 2013 haul.

Every year I travel to new cities for this show and meet up with my friends from all over the world. We geek out in the dealer room during the day and go out at night to catch up on the entire year we’ve all been apart. It’s a family.

Now, no BotCon will be perfect and BotCon 2013 wasn’t without its flaws (we all have our lists of complaints) … it’s up to you to really make the memories. Some panels will be boring, the dealer room won’t always be booming, but friends and events you do partake in will be remembered for a lifetime! For me, BotCon 2013 will be remembered for the TFW2005 Friday night get together, seeing all of my friends and meeting so many new friends, meeting Depthcharge himself  (David Sobolov) and that one kid from season 5, Jason Jansen … among so much more.

My daughter’s first BotCon. You can’t beat moments like this.

If I were to give one piece of BotCon advice: start saving now. If you missed out on BotCon 2013 or are looking to attend your first BotCon, you definitely don’t want to miss BotCon 2014. With it being the 30th anniversary of Transformers NEXT YEAR, I’m willing to bet BotCon is going to be huge with hopefully a whole world of surprises. Next year may be the show to attend (I have to find a way to save up for TFcon as well!) Only question is where will it be? Pasadena? Chicago? Rhode Island? St. Louis?

Special thanks to everyone involved with BotCon: the BotCon staff, Hasro, The Transformers Collector’s Club, the attending fans, the vendors … you helped make BotCon 2013 an amazing weekend.

Till All Are One,

Matty (StayingInTheBox)

(If you missed out on any of the BotCon exclusives, be sure to check out what TFsource has on hand - http://tfsource.com/botcon/botcon2013/)

About Matt

A kid at heart that loves to collect and write about Transformers. Enjoying the journey every step of the way!
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