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Report: BotCon Europe 2002

Written by Big Bot on November 17, 2002 | Features |

Written by protoformX

At 11am on Sunday 3rd of November, I was stood outside the village hall in Chesunt, just north of London. It had been touch and go getting here with a car that was very stubborn about how it would start. But I had finally got here. This was a special day for me for two reasons. Firstly, this was my first TF convention. Secondly, this was part of my 18th birthday present from my parents. Thus I was looking forward to the day immensely. As I stood there with my friend Simon, the doors opened. (Someone actually had the guts to shout, “Their defences are broken, let the slaughter begin”. But I learned later that he got £10 for doing it.) Inside we were issued with a programme and a name badge and then the rest was up to us. In the lobby were boards with concept art for figures from Hasbro including the BM Mirage/RiD Mirage GT figure and plates of the G1 comic from Marvel including pages from the “Headhunt” story. To the left and right were two dedicated dealer rooms. NEVER have I seen so many TFs in one place before and that includes the Internet. Some of the things there just made me want to stand and dribble openly. Things such as Grand Maximus still in box and the Star Saber/Victory Leo gift set. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much money (£55) as I had recently come back from New York (Picking up lots of nice TFs there, too) and checks from my birthday hadn’t yet cleared, but I had enough. First order of the day was to pick up my pre-registrant merchandise. This consisted of an art print from the upcoming Genesis book (Which I have heard is cancelled, but I PRAY isn’t�) of Jazz and Mirage. Also there was a black t-shirt with the G1 Autobot symbol on the front with the date of the convention of it and on the back a picture of Europe with Cryotek printed over it. Also coming was the toy – a silver/grey repaint of Windcharger called Rook with a key-ring chain. Hasbro were only making a small commitment to the toy, as they wanted to see how they sold. Hopefully next year they will be full-size.

Unfortunately, Hasbro UK hadn’t got the toy ready in time. However, there was compensation. Each person who had reserved a Rook received a Tap Out figure. (The green Cliffjumper figure from this year’s US BotCon.) They were also promised that their Rook figures would reach them by Christmas, free of charge.

After picking up my merchandise, it was time to take a proper look around the dealers. As well as the two side rooms full of dealers, two of the corners of the main room were full of them as well. Obviously being unable to afford the Victory Saber gift set, I settled for the Star Saber and Victory Leo Mega SCF figures. At £15 each, this was a bargain, as Forbidden Planets here are selling them for £25 each. The two also combine to make an excellent Victory Saber Mega SCF. I also grabbed the BW Predacon gestalt, Tripredacus for £15. This left me with £10 for lunch.

But first we all took our seats for the Q&A panel with Neil Kaplan (RiD Prime) and Wankus (RiD Prowl). These two are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They fielded all questions with a great deal of friendliness and humour. The nicest factor was the fact that they recognised the fact that without us, the fans, Transformers wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is. Unfortunately, British audiences are never the greatest at asking questions. Neil and Wankus were more than happy, though, to fill in the gaps with their own anecdotes, such as the events of Wankus introducing himself to people at a UK nightclub the night before. After the Qs, they signed programmes and anything they could get their hands on. You know those peel-off collars you get on drinks bottles you have to take off so you can drink ’em? I, having just opened a milkshake, was holding one – Wankus grabbed it and signed it. Considering the thing was less than half a centimetre wide, he did very well.

Lunch was nothing special – a trip to the local supermarket to grab a sandwich and some crisps. Than back to the action!

Upon our return, Simon managed to grab an RiD Scourge, STILL not available in the UK! He was particularly happy, as ever since he saw Car Robots, he has been yearning for Black Convoy. We took some time out to watch some RiD episodes in a video room. This having been the first I’ve seen of RiD, it was better than I thought it was gonna be, especially the voices, but Car Robots is still the King. (I did like “Ruination Awaken!”)

The next panel was with famed TF comics writer Simon Furman, responsible for the final G1 story arc with Primus and Unicron, the last BW episode, “Nemesis Part 2” and the recent TF: The War Within comic from Dreamwave. He was partnered with Glen [?], the organiser of BotCon Europe. He was very pleased about the reception that BotCon Europe had received and discussed future plans for BotCon Europe. Next year he intends to make it the full weekend rather than just the Sunday and when asked about the “Europe” part of the name, he said the for the majority of the time, BotCon Europe would be held in England, but that it would travel abroad. One place he named was Germany (namely because that’s the only European country that he can speak the language of!). He also announced the new “non-attendant package” where European residents can have the US BotCon merchandise shipped to them without having to pay for an airfare to go to the convention, and vice versa. Simon Furman discussed the future of the DW comic series. He pointed out that the Headmaster and Targetmasters would “sort of” feature in The War Within. This could be a reference to the Japanese origins of the Head and Targetmasters, where they were originally smaller robots who fled to a planet called Master Star at the start of the Great War. They built themselves larger bodies and then returned to Cybertron.

After the Q & A panel, Simon signed autographs for a time. It was then announced that the video room was now showing Armada episodes. I managed to see a couple of minutes, but not enough to judge on.

By now all had been seen and done except one thing. One dealer had managed to get his hands on an as-yet-unreleased Armada Blurr figure. Spending £25 or more at his store got you a ticket to enter the raffle for the figure. Certain products, regardless of their price, also got you a ticket. My Tripredacus got me a ticket and as a final event, the raffle was drawn. By a shear stroke of luck, I managed to have the lucky ticket and the Armada Blurr, along with his Minicon, now has pride of place on my desk. This was the perfect end to the day. My only regret was that I forgot my camera, so I couldn’t get any pictures. But if anyone wants to see a few (actually, quite a lot), go to Altered States Magazine’s site at http://www.alteredstatesmag.com. They have pictures of the venue, the pre-registrant merchandise, including the Rook figure. (3H had some on display, but not to give out.)

All in all, the day was a massive success, and a lot more fun than I thought it would be. At first I was wondering if I could spend six hours in a village hall looking at and talking about Transformers. Stupid question!

As a little after note, I’ll see if I can borrow my Dad’s digital camera at get some shots of the Armada Blurr figure.

To anyone who’s thinking of going next year, see ya there!