The event fetures the only Official Transformers toy to be given away at a UK Transformers convention, Rook. The figure was later sold online, due to the poor turn-out at the event.
Here is our review of the event.
Cheshunt - 3rd November 2003
November 3rd 2003 saw the second BotCon Europe, this time an official BotCon not just BotCon in name. Organised jointly by 3H Productions Inc and Offworld, the event had a lot to live up to (both with Transforce 2002 and BotCon US in recent memory). Mark Wollard, from Offworld, did a pre-convention interview with us letting us know of their hopes and aspirations for the event.
The event was held in Wolsey Halls in Cheshunt (pictured to the right). The event was to run from 11:00 to 6:00, with pre-registrants entering at 11 and non-pre-registrants at 12:00. However on the day everyone entered at the same time.
Paul Hitchen, from The Space Bridge, did two "rock-paper-scissor" games, with Armada toys as prizes. At first people did not realise what as going on, but once the first one ended (and people spotted free toys) they were eager to join in.
Upon entry you were given a program, showing the timetable of events and giving details on the three guests, Simon Furman (Transformers Comic), Neil Kaplan (voice of RID Optimus Prime and Ro-Tor) and Wankus (voice of RID Prowl). Those who pre-registered for the other exclusive goodies, a t-shirt with an Autobot symbol on the front and Cryotek on the back, an exclusive Jazz / Mirage print (taken from 88mph's Genesis Art Book) and Rook (the exclusive toy - a repainted Windcharger keyring, who looks awfully like Tailgate). Unfortunately, do to a problem with Hasbro UK, the toy was not available. Instead of just fobbing people of however, for every Rook toy which you had pre-ordered you were given a fee Tap-Out.
As always we got some of the t-shirts, to add to our TF t-shirts we already had. These were quiet nicely made, though the picture of Cryotek seemed a little pail. The mini-litho was quiet nice, although Mirage still featured a toy like head rather than his cartoon equivalent. The litho was taken from 88mph's up coming Transformers: Genesis Sketch Art book. It was limited to 600 copies, although it was report that not all of these were sold at the end of the convention.
The front of the t-shirt as an Autobot insignia, with the the place and dates of when BotCon Europe 2002 was held. It was quiet a nice shirt, very comfortable. The picture has a rubbery feel, but you cannot notice / feel it when you are wearing it.
After getting the exclusive's it was toy buying time. The pictures above were taken in Dealer Room 1 (the east wing). The first picture is really really blurry, Dave's camera work is shocking. At the back is Fanboy (who owned a nice little Skids like car complete with Autobot symbol. To the right is Hellbat (who later dressed up as Ramjet) and far right is Sven from SKRV, Model Mart and loads of other places.
The second picture has Fanboy's comic section, Maz's table (out of site) a few other dealers who I don't know and Andy Warren's stall on the far left again is not pictured. This pic is a lot clearer though.
The 3rd pic is shocking blurry again, must have been due to the excitement of it all. This is of Andy Warren's stall
Dealer Room 2, west wing, was alot smaller, probably too small. In here there were just two shops, The Space Bridge and Tempting Toys (run by Tony Preto, who flew over especially).
Top left pic is the Space Bridge. Bottom left is part of Paul Hitchin's collection, including a rather odd Jazz car. To the right are picture of Paul's un-released Pretenders and prototypes, along with G1 Blades. Under that pic is Tempting Toys, who has a Black Tracks for sale, £350 mind you. He even had a Silver Beast Wars Metal Convoy for £300 as well. We got our 1/3 sized Fortress Maximus, called Fortress Middlemus from him (£50 loose though).
Tempting Toys had two of the Hong Kong Knock-Off mini Fortress Maximus'. One was loose and one was carded. There was a £50 difference, so we got the carded one. He was way way over priced (£50 loose and £100 carded) but we have never seen him before ad had to get him. he has the same articulation as the normal Fort Max, though he can only form the "spaceship" base mode, as his legs cannot fold fully over. This cockpit (where spike sits) opens up, though his Cerebros is nor a head master - just a normal Nebulan figure. He has the same guns as Fort Max, even his arm guns and leg guns fold out in the same way. Expect loads of photos dedicated to him in the near future. This was our 10th Fort Max toy of some kind!!
Apart from toy dealers there was also a video room at the convention, showing Armada on a projector, as well as the first appearance of the Trans-tech designs in the UK (left). There was also several pieces of original artwork on display in the entrance (right), which some people may have missed.
There was also come Beast Machines concept art, though we did not really spend much time looking at these. The Main hall had Offworld (left) and three other dealers, including Epic Heroes (I'm not sure of the names of the other two). The main stage was nicely accessible, and next to the video room. Wankus and Neil had to warm the crowd up a bit, who were a little hesitant at first. With many UK fans not ever seen RID, and many who just plain hate it, it was interest to see, and read about their reactions. They seemed to go down quiet well, though we could not help noticing how Simon Furman's autograph que was twice as long.
Pictured to the left is Glen Hallit of 3H Productions, under that picture is one of Simon Furman talking to Geen. Beolw that Glen introduces Wankus (left) and Neil (right). Simon answered a lot of questions regarding the Dreamwave comics and upcoming Armada UK comic as best he could. Not able to reveil too many secrets he did mention that the Headmasters and Targetmasters will feature in some way in issue 5 of War Within. He also admitted, as did Glen Hallit, of never seeing the Japanese Transformers cartoons.
Wankus and Neil spoke about how they got their rolls in RID, their past experiences and opinions on Armada. It was really nice that they mixed with the crowd after signing their autographs, rather then just leaving or sitting out of the way. Their repertoire during the Charity auction was fantastic. Someone else who came over very well was Jason Joiner (not Jamie, who was behind the Offworld stall, and works in their Luton shop, whom many Transfans believe is Jason). He was very relaxed and got into the swing of things during the charity auction, which started very slowly with no-one wanting the Beast Machines Supreme Cheetor poster. By the end there were bids for £10 for a piece of paper with Neil Kaplan and Wankus' names on them. We won two auctions, Sideways and Smokescreen (who came with the Air Defense Team). After the auction we left with a few people for a quick drink before heading home, exhausted and thoroughly entertained.
Slightly before the auction started Hellbat, from TMUK, dressed up in a familiar costume, reminiscent of the Ramjet eats toast website, although supposedly a different custume - we think it was the same one. There are a couple of pictures left and right of him in all his glory.
We are un-sure how many people turned up, we thought only 250 people, but have heard report of over 500. it certainly did not seem that many, but there were fans from all over the world there, which was really nice. We met several people from our board as well as other Transformer fan sites, which was great to put faces to names.
Congratulations must go to 3H and Offworld for organising the event, it was much better then we had hoped, although not perfect, is was a great start. Next year they hope to have 2 exclusive toys, have the event over 2 days and have booked Vince Dicola for an exclusive concert as well, his first at a TF convention outside of America
Tempting toys had a lot of knock-offs, this white Cyclonus as just one of them. We're not too sure about the green eyeliner and lipstick though?
Apart from knock-offs, Tempting had some very rare items, the Silver Beast Wars Metals Optimus Primal for one and this Japanese competition exclusive Black Tracks, for £350.00. Boy do I wish I'd bought him now.
Tony kindly let Dave take these photos of Tracks, though he did not want him taken out of the box for obvious reasons. He also informed us that he should soon be getting 30 to 50 of these rare toys from Taiwan, where they are made, which he will have for sale.
Another rare toy was Armada Blurr (seen below), who was raffled off. The winner was ProtoformX, from Transformers.net
Maz has a boxed Twincast for sale for £450, £150 cheaper then at Transforce. Maz kindly let me photograph him in. Steejaw is the stickered version.
BotCon Japan 200 toys were for sale from Offworld. These were some of loads of toys they had for sale.
£100 for a knock-off Omega Supreme. I'm not sure on the dealers name who had these. We have the knock-off on the left but not the right.
Lunch. saw Minion , Starscream, Skywarp, Great Destroyer, Steve and myself eating and comparing buys.