Monday, May 11, 2009

TFCon 2009

It is a busy year for Transformers fans, and we're no exception. Having received many inquiries from fans wondering if we would be in attendance to offer our Accessory Set #6, we figured it was a good time to finally make the trip to TFCon, Canada's largest Transformers celebration.

The show was well organized, attended and staffed. Getting through lines for convention exclusives did not take terribly long and I was surprised at the volume and variety of dealers and the merchandise that was being offered. Top row right are pictures from the "parts trading party" held the night before the dealer floor opened. We also spotted a Diclone Optimus Prime! The rest of the images shown here are the sights of the dealer floor, before and after it opened!

Another nice treat for us, (see picture at the bottom right of the gallery) was the number of young kids in attendance. While the majority of fans who purchase our sets are typically older/adult Transformers collectors, we had several young TF:Animated fans who we heard telling their parents, they, "just have to have one! PLEEEEEEASE!" :)





The Hasbro booth was considerably smaller than that of Botcon USA, but still the Hasbro personnel were friendly and approachable, plus you could get right up to the toys on display (not behind glass). We got a good look at the movie preview Bumblebee and Leader Optimus. I was even able to position the silver sun visors at an angle on his shoulders, a feature this toy was designed to allow, as seen in the film.




There was a good collection of fan made alterations and custom toys too. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to take as many photographs as I would've liked, but still a decent sized sampling seen in the gallery below. I particularly liked how someone there made an Animated "Wasp" and a very nice set of posable, cel animated G1 Dinobots! Awesome! We also saw a large number of costumes including Unicron, Sari and more! Very cool!





The next gallery is a random assortment of fun moments we enjoyed at the convention. Following his Transformers Animated panel, Derrick Wyatt, Art Director and Lead Character Designer for the show was nice enough to hang out with us at our booth. While there, he autographed whatever fans brought by, including our set. The picture to the left shows Derrick and I (hamming it up!) demonstrating the amazing play value of each item! :)

On our way out one evening, we also had to take some pictures of an amazing replica of G1 Ironhide. Accurate right down to the yellow and orange stripes on the side, you have to take special notice of the Ontario license plates that gave away his true identity! Too cool!:)




I'm not sure if it was a tie in with TFCon or just a great coincidence, but the last half of Sunday there appeared to be a Star Wars theme, going on in adjacent meeting halls. While there, we caught up with Lord Vader's 501st Legion. Or rather, they caught up to me!!! That's me, wearing the U of Michigan sweatshirt, about to get my butt kicked by a squadron of Storm Troopers! Yikes. At one point, the guy dressed as Darth Vader walked up to me, robo-breathing and all, asked if I'd take a picture for him with some other fans. I looked at him and said, "I know you're just another fanboy in a costume and everything, but I have to admit, I'm about to crap my pants about now! You dudes are intimidating!!!" No joke their costumes looked amazing!

There was one other special treat for us! Although, it was *not* an official convention event, while Derrick Wyatt sat at our booth signing autographs, his friend Eric Bauza stopped by. Eric, a talented voice actor who plays the voice of a tooth filling on the "Ripping Friends" and Stimpy of the very popular Ren and Stimpy cartoons. Check out this video where I asked if we could hear a little of the grotesque feline! HAPPY HAPPY, JOY JOY!!! Very cool indeed. video

The convention also featured an amazing convention exclusive toy Powered Commander, a fantastic panel on Japanese Transformers, a fun "family feud" style Transformers Trivia game and a small panel on ROTF. (Nothing new here, a lot of recap of things that have been leaked and rumors floating around about the film.) Good for fans who don't check the 'net 6 times a day soaking up every news bit that comes out! :)

Last but not least, you can read through the notes I took at the Hasbro: Canada presentation/panel. While there were no shocking revelations announced, there were a few interesting tidbits. Hope you enjoyed our recap of TFCon 2009!
-Lukis Bros.


Hasbro Canada:
...Thanks to the fans, very exciting year ahead. Product showing, is much of what has been leaked, even though it isn’t supposed to be.

Transformers, Revenge of the Fallen, learned a lot of lessons from the production of toys from the first movie, lots of great stuff coming out, eh! (imagine your best Canadian accent :) Even more than meets the eye.


Legends Class:
wave 1: Bumblebee, Optimus, Springer, Jetfire,
Wave 2: Sideswipe, Starscream, Ratchet, (saw pictures of toys we had not seen before)

Scout Class:
wave 1: Rollbar, Dirtboss, Knockout, Deadend
wave 2: Jetfire, Ransack
wave 3: Scalpel

May 15 shelf date for Soundwave and Bumblebee
Wave 1 of everything else May 30, shelf date, may be slightly sooner.

Wave 2: Smokescreen, Desert Brawl, Autobot Skids and Mudflap
Wave 3: interrogator Barricade,

Voyater:
Wave 1: Demolisher, Starscream, OP, Ironhide
Wave 2: more will be unveiled at Botcon,

Leader Class: Optimus Prime,
Ultimate: redeco Ultimate Bumblebee, will be available in Canada.
Mr. Potato Head, Bumble Spud

Fast Action Battlers: more basic, but popular, sold well
Gravity Bots: If in robot mode, stand him up, force of gravity, will affect complete transformation. Basic, but really fun.
Powerbots, formerly named Cyberslammers.

Bumblebee Helmet, voice mixer helmet, when you talk in microphone, it’ll mix in music, so it sounds more like the movie.
Works well with plasma cannon, great for dress-ups
Robot heroes, continuing.
Robot replicas, continuing

Fall: Supreme Class Devastator. 6 constructicons, join to form Devasastator.
Scale is very cool:
1 vehicle is leader class size
1 Ultra scale
2 voyager scale
2 deluxe scale
Individual vehicles don’t transform but, Devastator has an additional ALTERNATE mode as well. More information on this to come!

RPM’s “robot powered machines” 28 vehicles planned for fall, then a LOT more coming. These toys will be found in the ‘vehicle toy isle’ not Action Figure isle. All go with size/scale to other car toys such as matchbox, and designed to work with Devastator showdown playset.

Exclusives:
TRU: probably the week before the the movie comes out, Whirl and Bludgeon, recolors of Cybertron Evac (I think, not positive about this) and Movie Wreckage.

Walmart: Voyager seekers assortment Skywarp and Ramjet

Zellers: Combiner Superion. A little later

Teletoon Retro, Monday May 18 they’ll air first episode of Transformers, then the first 48 episodes of G1 series in a Transformers cartoon marathon.

Q&A: Questions submitted on Cybertron.ca

Who writes character bios?
Forrest Lee Hasbro’s copyrighter extrordinarre… much research through Transformers history… this process really begins at the beginning of a toys development. That the toy becomes more refined as it is developed.

A question about the research to determine what characters get remolded or redone in new molds; in answer Hasbro speaker eluded to what toys sell, and apparently Movie Frenzy did not sell as well nor TFA Blackarachnia. Both of these toys getting mentioned surprised me.

How best to communicate to Hasbro?
 “Vote with your wallet!”  But often difficult to discern because what sells well to collector
 feed back to quarterly Q&A… Continue posting your comments on various sites and message boards, we are listening!

When will Hasbrotoyshop begin shipping to Canada?
No definitive answer yet, but soon. Should be before the end of the summer.

Will Hasbro consider breaking the North American license into US and Canada so two separate official Cons. Answer, sounds like Hasbro US will continue to put it’s efforts into (only) the US con (Botcon) but will show its support to conventions, in other countries in not-official sorts of ways.

Question about how the popularity of fan sites. Answer basically was to state how appreciative they are about the enthusiasm generated by message boards and fan sites. However, constant leak of info has led to numerous problems behind the scenes…

Thanks to all the fans for all the support and contributions to Transformers success in Canada!

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