BotCon 2002

(Starring the all-new Botcon Van, Mark II :-)

Yes, it's true...the old Botcon van was replaced. BCV Mark 1 is still running, however: he's being used in-town by a kid who lives ablock away. So fear not, gentle readers, it's still alive and kicking. We got this new one in the original color as a reminder. :-)

As always, I had to pick up Frank on the way. And as always, he dozed off waiting for me to arrive. I usually throw rocks thru his second-story window in an attempt to hit him with one to wake him up. But he got smart this year, and shut his blinds (there's been no glass in his window for a couple of years). So I left him behind, hooked up with Joebot and his wife, and drove to Indiana. Kidding! Frank did finally wake up. We put him in the trunk for the ride down as punishment.

The trip to Indiana was uneventful. We got there. We stopped at a Walmart along the way so Joebot and I could get a Starscream toy. Frank was pounding on the trunk lid, mumbling something about needing oxygen. So we did the only thing we could; turned the radio volume up.

As with every Botcon, sleep is not an option. This year was no different. I got 4 hours per night from Tuesday thru Monday. Just the way it is, with Botcon. If you blink, you might miss something. And I don't mean just at the dealer's room. I mean at the organizer's panels, the video room, the hotel itself...if you started on the 9th floor of the hotel, and made a sweep all the way to the lobby, you'd find at least a dozen open doors where parties, parts trading, and general mayhem were taking place. And I made sure to soak it all up. :-) 'The Hunt' as girlfriend calls it. This doesn't even include the bar, the strip club, and the resturants. The entirearea is alive with people. Nerdvanna. The Woodstock of transfans. That's what Botcon means.

Supreme Toiletbot made his appearance at my booth, singing and dancing for the fans. At least, he did for the first day. I recieved word that an unruly mob consisting of the people across from my booth were going to hang me if they heard TB sing 'the toilet song' one more time. So I put his little electronic butt in the van for safety's sake.

There were deals to be had in the dealer room, if you know where to look. The three Fumi's, as we like to call them, were here from Japan to sell their wares. A nice selection, including a number of prototypes, were for sale. Actual protos, not testshots. We're talking wood, paint, and glue here, folks. Some wares were pricy, some were an incredible deal. Since I am built like a sumo-wrestler (a highly respected profession where they come from) and because someone was kind enough to help me translate, I scored a toy for myself at a nice price. I did a LOT better than the one fellow who argued with the fumi's and ended up with nothing. Ironically, it was the guy who brought all the other good japanese stuff to sell...

For those of you that want a few tidbits on the black tracks...well, (name removed) says that based on the manufacturer-stamping, it was for a toy that was to be released in Italy. However, from the source itself, it was given to Fumi as a gift from the manufacturer. Consider it a testshot, similar to that Hot Rod testshot that showed up on ebay a while back. More on this later.

Off-World was there. Nice people to talk to, but it's impossible to buy from them, as their prices are insane. A $200 MOC Action Master for $750. The Battle Convoy for $1000. My theory is that they bring the toys here, and take them back home, year after year, until the items get lost or damaged, so they can collect the insurance money. I had a little fun with them. I had a 12-inch Battle Droid MIB (price: 9 bucks at walmart) that I put a $750 price tag on. I snuck over to their table, and when they weren't looking, I put it in with their items. :-) It took them a while to find it. When they did, well...let's just say I had a good time while they struggled with the confusion. The item was eventually donated to the charity auction, where local Dairylander Phil won it. :-) So that cheap toy left our state, almost made it to the UK, but insead came home with a different local chap. The toy traveled 700 miles to end up an hour away from where it was bought. :-)

I forgot the name of the fellow, but the Japanese had some competition this year on toys. This guy brought Goodbye sets, VS sets, 5 Liokaiser giftsets, several Metrotitans and Greatshots...the list goes on. Reasonably priced, too. Long-haired chunky-dude was there too, with his over-priced toys. He took them all home. I guess he was pissed. :-) But nobody feels sorry for him. He refused to lower his prices when asked. Preto was there, selling knockoff toys. The other UK guy was there...forgot his name. Seperate from off-world. I traded him all of my Soundwaves, Cassettes, Blasters, etc to get a few choice acc bits.

Yea, I want to know about the toys. You can read that stuff somewhere else in-detail. We got a recolored Bumblebee and Cliffjumper called Glyph and Tap-Out. We got the Cyclonus (recolored Jetstorm). We got Catscan (recolored Cheetor). They were nice. I got a t-shirt with the eveloution of Prime and Megatron on the back (toy evolution). It was nice. I got a plate with RiD Prime strangling Megatron as he attempts to 'twin dragon breath' his opponent. I got a program that gave the location of next year's convention. Depending on what number you called, you either got told that the rooms were already sold out, or that there were some least, the first day. By the second day, the rooms were all sold out period. Why? Because of the hotel-exclusive toys you can get. With the new license 3H has with Hasbro, they can plan these things farther in advance. Weee!

I met a number of autocon folks there, some of which do not wish to be identified. :-) I also spoke with the Hartmans. I cannot stress enough that the Hartmans do NOT make money off of this convention. The money goes into operating expenses. It's a labor of love, folks. And the numbers jive. So I'm satisfied...the artroom was great. Got to see Esteban's Cybertonain Jazz. Man, if you decide tomake another one...please, please let me have your first one! That thing rocks!

I had fun. I came home. The Workshop is in chaos. I'll fix it tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. I'm in no hurry. I will simply bask in the after-glow of this wonderful convention. They get better every year. And yes, I have a ton of new variations to upload. :-) They'll be up soon enough. Yea, that's the end of this report. There's more, but others will talk about that. In the meantime, enjoy some pics. :-)

In our hotel room. Joebot, Northern, and myself going through parts, and talking variations. And having a grand time at it. Amy snuck a few pics of us while we were engrossed in our fun.


Dairylanders Defensis and Sylverwynde. Yes, she exists! We thought he made her up. Turns out we were wrong :-) Fellow Dairylander Northern, playing for the Decepticon hockey team...


The three variant Amigos! Tacos, sunflower seeds, and cheeseburgers all-around. Yum! Fred and Crazy posing with Sucal Von Smeerlap, famous voice actor for the chinese-to-german dub of the Masterforce series. :-)


Joebot, Wilson, and me, posing with our most patriotic toys for the day...Mark, looking like Spock. "Fascinating. A transfan in his native enviornment."


Particle Man, lost amid the chaos, yet trimphantly holding his Tom Wyner, writer and voice of Grimlock for the RID series.


Rose, the organizer of our 20 mad dealers and helpers...and Shawn, someone only Matt will recognise. :-)


Me and Spencer-for-Hire, a shot of Von Smeerlap, and everybody's favorite House of Wang.

And how fitting to end this report with a pic with me of those who started it all. We love you guys. Hey, got room in the organization for a fourth? :-) Oh wait, 4H is already taken...

More pics from Northern!