Monday, 2 January 2012

BotCon 2012 - first toys revealed & hotel rebooked

With today being the day the Hotel would charge deposits for room reservations, I'm thinking people who were now unlikely to be going (or not wanting to be paying anything this early) have been cancelling their reservations... because I was just able to book in for every night I wanted at the cheapest BotCon rate of $129 + tax for up to 2 people and with 2 beds. (it ended up saving me $440 from my original reservation - that's about how much I spend on registration)

I then cancelled my other reservations (hopefully before they were charged to me - if not, they will be credited back later)... but now I can fit up to 4 people in my room if required, to split the costs.

The BotCon registration was said to be up in the first week of January. Let's see if they stick to that.
The first two toys in their boxset for this year aren't too inspiring... but will look nice though.
The Red Tracks is like a cult figure, as a Red Tracks was featured on the back of packaging in 1985, and even saw a limited release in Europe (kinda by accident though), but Tracks only saw a general release in blue. Even the red redeco of the reissue Tracks in Japan about 10 years ago was a limited edition figure. Making this a consistently rare "cult" figure.
I think the fans who are keen on this figure, will still complain about it having a purple Autobot logo - which is necessary for its role in the BotCon story universe.
The other figure, Overlord, or Gigatron in the Hasbro universe... is a nice mould (the recent Voyager Bludgeon), and the colour scheme is a nice one (blue, white, purple)... but is it a suitable homage to that JP Gen1 character?  Perhaps it's the best we can get from a unique toy like Gen1 Overlord (a tank and fighter jet that merges into a robot or a base). It's kinda like the Gen1 Triplechanger Springer character never having a proper homage toy beyond a green helicopter toy or a green vehicle toy.  A redeco of an existing toy will never work on unique gimmick toys, so we sometimes just have to make do with something that is as close as we can get to it... and see how they explain it in the attached story.

I still disapprove of FunPub's hyping of their toys and merchandise (to purchase without any requirement to attend/stay at the convention) instead of the events and guests to encourage people to focus on the "fan elements"... not the materialistic, and often profiteering elements.  Their focus is so much on the mere toys, that the registration packages are usually released and sold out before the guests and schedule are usually released or confirmed.

Now for the nervous wait and regular rechecking of their site for the release of the Registration.
A new feature added this year is a "Premium" or Gold ticket, of twice the price and very limited, that includes exclusive access to certain events and priority seating at the panels.
Very similar to the failed and heavily criticised concept of Glen Hallit's 2004 convention.... and in addition to a very "Men in Black" (organisers of BotCon 1996) concept of prioritising the toys over the events (which was also heavily criticised when MIB did it) - FunPub seem to be doing all the things that previous failed convention organisers were doing that "real fans" didn't like.

(real fans - is not an elitist term that some people like to throw around as a way of making them sound more important within the fandom. It actually relates to those who are dedicated as fans to Transformers as a personal hobby, not as a mere investment - which are those who just buy rare toys, like BotCon toys, only to resell them for profit, preventing "real fans" from getting them first-hand... something that FunPub encourages by hyping the toys instead of the events, and allowing toy dealers who have no plans or interest in the events or the boxset toys, to buy registrations/boxsets. Often multiple sets too, which means more "real fans" miss out on attending because they missed out on a full registration package to make it worth travelling to the event.  I understand them needing to do it in early years, so that they weren't stuck with left-over sets, but FunPub need to find a new balance with this now, because they don't have to worry about not selling-out their registration packages anymore.)

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