The First of its Kind – BotCon 1994

BotCon. For many collectors and fans, BotCon is the time of year to gather together to bring the internet fan forums to life. It’s a time for vacations, a chance to meet special Transformers stars, and to see Hasbro’s plan for everything Transformers that upcoming year. Most importantly though, it’s a time to get your hands on BotCon’s exclusive Transformers toys!

As a ramp up to BotCon 2013 in San Diego, TFSource will take a look at some of BotCon’s most memorable figures from years past as a start towards compiling a complete and comprehensive guide to all the convention exclusives right here on the Source.

To kick off TFSource’s BotCon toy guide I asked for a little help from a fellow collector and big time fan of Transformers, my good friend Shannon from Arizona; proud owner of over 4,000 Transformers! We’re taking a look at none other than the convention exclusive that started it all: BotCon 1994’s Generation 2 Breakdown!

Photos courtesy of www.botcon.com

Held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the first official BotCon was organized by brothers Jon and Karl Hartman to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Transformers. A very, very modest BotCon compared to today’s standards, the convention had roughly 180 registered attendees (the pre-registration period was so low the show was almost cancelled – could you imagine no BotCon today?). Just two Hasbro employees were present as guests, Tom Bowman and Carl Fritz, and only one convention exclusive toy was offered: Generation 2 Breakdown from the Stunticon team.

During Hasbro’s Generation 2 toy line, the Stunticons were originally intended for retail release, but ultimately were cancelled along with many other figures. Fate would have it though that at least one Stunticon would see the light of day as a BotCon exclusive. Along with the Hartmans, it was Hasbro’s Product Manager at the time, Carl Fritz, who suggested the exclusive be a smaller figure from the Generation 2 Protectobots or Stunticons teams. The two front runners were Autobot Blades and of course the eventual chosen one, Breakdown. Oh what could have been though:

Photo courtesy of Ras – original photo here Is It Conceivable – Part 5 by TFSource’s Maz

There were only 300 Breakdowns produced for the show and roughly 200 Breakdowns offered for sale at the show to its 180 guests; the non-sold Breakdowns made their way into storage. The other 100 or so Breakdowns had been offered at an additional toy show later in 1995 and the leftover extras were sent back to Hasbro to end up in unknown hands. If you could travel back in time you probably would have bought multiple Breakdowns at the show, or even shortly after as they were still available after the
convention. Although Transformers collector Shannon purchased his single Breakdown over a decade ago, these figures still were available years after the convention!

“Back in 2004 when the Hartman brothers split with Hasbro and kept the BotCon name, I went to the supposed “very LAST BotCon” (the last convention to fall under the BotCon name) in Pasadena, CA. We were at a dealer table and one of the BotCon reps pulled out a box that they said they found in storage. The box had about 10 or 12 G2 Breakdowns, case fresh! They were selling them there for $250 each. I passed because I already had one…but, it was definitely a sight to see. Looking back I wish I would have bought a couple.” – Shannon

Obviously Breakdown is but one member of the 5 member team, the Stunticons. What was the fate of Breakdown’s teammates? There was literally a handful of each figure made for prototype purposes and a few even made it into the personal collections of BotCon founders Jon and Karl Hartman. They eventually purged their collections and offered up their Stunticon figures for sale. It’s hard enough to find in-hand images of these figures, actually having these figures in your collection is near impossible! If you have this exclusive Breakdown and you’re a collecting completionist … I admire you if you’ve completed this line!

Photos courtesy of www.tfw2005.com Resource section.

Today the chances of finding a G2 Breakdown are a little better than his teammates; SLIGHTLY. In recent memory, a few Breakdowns have been put on auction sites or offered up for sale by a collector on fan sites, but the opportunities are extremely limited. What are the chances you’ll find one now? Never say never, but G2 Breakdown will command a high price in today’s secondary market from the collector who would be willing to let this historic piece of Transformers history go. You can dive into internet search
engines to find the most recent auction price for this guy or the aged forum threads discussing a fair market price for the exclusive… but it’s been years since he’s been spotted for sale. Start saving now if you need this figure to complete your collection.

“Oh man….to be honest with you, I haven’t looked on [eBay] to see what is and what isn’t available. I checked a year or so ago, saw one sell for $1400…not sure how often they show up on eBay. If I had to guess, I would say it would be close to near impossible. Let’s just say I am glad I started collecting Transformers before all the movie hype.” – Shannon

“Breakdown … Historic? For sure, he started the legacy of owning BotCon Figures! It was a simpler time then, when BotCon offered up only one figure for sale…not 13+. It definitely all started with Breakdown.”– Shannon

Besides being the first, it really is perhaps the most historic convention exclusive to exist; it very well could be the holy grail of BotCon exclusives. For those collectors who have him, your collection is envied by many. Although there’s always a chance you might be in the right place at the right time to acquire this prized figure, those chances are slim and you might be better off enjoying the few pictures of him floating around the internet, for the sake of your wallet that is. Here’s the good news: BotCon knows the demand for G2 Breakdown and they delivered for the fans in 2010 with another release of G2 Breakdown!!! … well, kind of …

It’s something of a replacement … right?

Big thank you to Shannon for lending me not only his Breakdown figure, but his amazing insight as well – I have a feeling with over 4,000 other Transformers I might be asking for more favors soon! This is the first of many articles cataloging BotCon’s exclusive toys! Thanks for reading, but get ready for more!

Til all are One,

- Matt

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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