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BotCon is an annual convention for Transformers fans and collectors. The convention has been held, in one form or another, annually since 1994.

The name "BotCon" comes from both "robot convention" and the names "Autobot" and "Decepticon" used in the toyline.

Featured BotCon guests are usually involved in the creation of Transformers media in some respect, whether voice actors from the animated series, artists or writers from the Transformers comic books, or actual Hasbro employees.

BotCon history

The first BotCon was held in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1994. Organized by brothers Jon and Karl Hartman, the convention had 180 attendees. BotCon 1995 was organized by Raksha, a prominent figure in the fan community, and 1996 by Men In Black Productions, headed up by Dennis Barger. In 1997, the Hartmans brought Glen Hallit, a fellow fan, into the fold, forming 3H Enterprises (based upon the first letter of all three organizers' last names). During this era, the BotCon name was also licensed out for several conventions outside of the United States.

At BotCon 2002, it was announced that 3H had secured the official Transformers convention license, as well as licenses to produce comic books and start a fan club. However, the Hartmans were pressured by Hallit out of planning or running the convention, leaving Glen Hallit as the sole organizer. As a result, the BotCon name, which was owned by the Hartmans, ceased to exist for a time, as 3H's convention was called "The Official Transformers Collectors Convention," or OTFCC for short.

In 2004, BotCon made a comeback as an unofficial convention, which was held in Pasadena, California. The history of the BotCon franchise up to that point was covered in great detail in the BotCon Legends magazine. At the end of 2004, 3H lost all its Transformer licenses, which were soon picked up by Fun Publications, owned by Brian Savage. The Hartman brothers were invited onto and accepted places in an advisory board for the new convention, along with other prominent fans Benson Yee and Rik Alvarez, and granted use of the BotCon name once again.

Since that time, BotCon has been held once again as an annual convention, run by Fun Publications.


Special Guests

Over the years, BotCon has featured many individuals who have worked to bring the Transformers multiverse to life, including voice actors, animation staff, and Hasbro design team members. BotCon guests include:

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Exclusive toys

One of BotCon's most popular features is an exclusive toy (sometimes two or more toys) sold to the guests. The toys are different every year, and will not be sold at retail anywhere in the world. The identity and design of the toys were originally kept a close secret until the opening of the convention, although in the later years of the convention the organizers often chose to reveal one or more of the exclusives ahead of time, due to repeated problems with stolen prototypes being sold on eBay.

In the past, the toys were sold individually as part of the convention registration process, however the current convention organizers are only offering the exclusives as part of a package deal, a move that has caused some contention in the fandom.

Although the toys are always unique, financial costs prohibit the creation of entirely new molds. As such, the toys are redecos of previously used toys given new identities, occasionally switching allegiances and even gender. In the last few years, minor remoulds have been made to the exclusives, such as the new heads given the Deathsaurus and Ironhide in 2005. After the convention, exclusive toys usually become valuable collector's items in the community, particularly among fans who missed the convention. Before the convention, many fans complain vociferously because the prices of exclusive, limited-run figures are high. This is particularly true of the 2007 "Games of Deception" set, which many fans still complain about because of its unavailability at a retail level.

BotCon-exclusive toys


  • 1994
    • Breakdown - Turquoise and lavender Transformers: Generation 2 version of the Stunticon Breakdown. This toy was initially intended as a mass-release toy, but was distributed as a convention exclusive instead. A number of these toys were distributed the same year at a convention run by Whiz Bang toys.
  • 1995
    • Nightracer - Black redeco of Go-Bot Bumblebee. Nightracer is the first canonical female Decepticon released in the United States. The toy itself is in the same plastic colors as Go-Bot Bumblebee without the vehicle mode's metallic gold paint deco, but with a silver faceplate in robot mode and engine in vehicle mode. The convention's organizer, Jovanka "Raksha" Kink, hand-applied Decepticon logo stickers and painted blue racing stripes on the toys. A number of these toys turned up for sale by Whiz Bang toys without the decals, painted stripes, or packaging. Possibly for their 1995 convention.
  • 1996
    • Onyx Primal - Black redeco of bat Optimus Primal. Available in regular, dealer, and VIP box variations. This toy was also used as the exclusive for Men In Black's own convention, Transcon II (they consider BotCon 1996 as Transcon I) in 1997 in a fourth package variation.
  • 1997 Japan
    • Super Hybrid Model Galvatron - A non-transforming vinyl action figure. This toy was also available in a translucent orange "Lava Bath" version to the 1st 100 attendees.


  • 2000 Japan
    • Choro-Q Optimus Prime, Generation 2 Megatron, and Mirage. These were non-transforming miniature vehicles redecoed from Takara's Choro-Q line.
  • 2001
    • Arcee - White and pink redeco of Transmetal 2 Blackarachnia. This was the first BotCon exclusive to feature remolded parts, as the figure's chest was modified to look more robotic. A number of these also had a light activated voice chip installed in the package containing dialogue by Susan Blu, the original voice actress for Arcee.
    • Tigatron - Blue and white redeco of the Japanese-exclusive Beast Wars Metals X-9 Ravage figure.
  • 2002 Europe
    • Rook - Grey redeco of Windcharger, originally a European exclusive, later given away in the United States as well.
  • 2004
    • Action Master G2 Breakdown - While OTFCC was held this year, the Hartman Brothers held their own "BotCon" convention, at which this toy was available. An Action Master likeness of the original BotCon exclusive, Generation 2 Breakdown, the figure is a redeco of the previously European-exclusive Action Master Sideswipe (as both Sideswipe and Breakdown transformed into Lamborghinis). This fan-produced toy is not a Hasbro-sanctioned product, and as such is not official per se. In fact, convention organizers had to very carefully check the packaging of this figure to ensure that no Hasbro trademarks were used.
  • 2005
    • "Descent into Evil", a seven-figure box set, including:
      • Deathsaurus - Blue redeco of Robots in Disguise Megatron with a new head sculpt.
      • Buzzclaw and Dirge - Purple, black and yellow redecos (in different schemes for each figure) of Beast Wars Buzzclaw.
      • Fallback - Brown, tan, and silver redeco of Strongarm, intended as a renamed version of the G1 character Outback.
      • Ironhide - Red and grey redeco of Energon Tow-Line with a new head sculpt.
      • Ricochet - Black and red redeco of the Generation 2 Cyberjet Hooligan mold, a new character.
      • Chromia - White and green redeco of Energon Arcee with a new head sculpt. Chromia was one of the female Autobots from the Generation One series. However, many fans have pointed out that Chromia's color scheme, headsculpt, and personality profile all resemble Moonracer, a different character entirely. According to convention representatives, they could not secure the Moonracer name, so they simply dubbed the character Chromia instead.
    • Flamewar - Black redeco of Energon Arcee, given free to pre-registered attendees. Flamewar does not have the new headsculpt found on Chromia and Flareup.
    • Flareup an orange redeco of Chromia, and Ratchet a white redeco of the Energon Tow-Line mold with the new Ironhide headsculpt and a new Energon weapon, sold together in a pack.
    • Virulent Clones - A pack of two blue redecos of Beast Wars Buzzclaw.
    • Legends of Cybertron Ramjet - White and blue redeco of Legends of Cybertron Starscream given away at the Hasbro booth.
  • 2006
    • "Dawn of Futures Past," a five-figure box set showcasing Beast Wars characters in their "original" pre-beast modes. All figures are from Cybertron, and are equipped with a new version of the Planet X Cyber Planet Key, redecoed to resemble the Golden Disk. The set includes:
      • Optimus Primal - A redeco of Crumplezone designed to resemble Primal's original body, with a new headsculpt in his likeness.
      • Rattrap - A redeco of Ransack designed to resemble Rattrap's original body.
      • Dinobot - A redeco of Longrack designed to resemble Dinobot's original body, with the head of Transformers: Armada Hoist, whom Longrack was a remold of. Hoist's head is highly evocative of Dinobot. Also bears a Predacon sigil.
      • Cheetor - A remold of Clocker. Colored to resemble the original Beast Wars Cheetor.
      • Rhinox - A redeco of Landmine. Colored to resemble the original Beast Wars Rhinox.
    • Unit 2 - A redeco of the Cheetor exclusive as pre-BW Tigatron, given free to pre-registered attendees.
    • Megatron and Waspinator - Respectively, a remold of Cybertron Defense Red Alert and a redeco of Machine Wars Skywarp/Thundercracker.
    • Buzzsaw and Laserbeak - Redecos of Energon Divebomb, colored to resemble the G1 cassettes.
  • 2008
    • "Shattered Glass", set in a mirror universe of heroic Decepticons and evil Autobots, this was a five-figure (and bonus Mini-Con) boxed set which includes:
      • Optimus Prime - Redeco of Classics Optimus Prime
      • Grimlock - Redeco of Classics Grimlock
      • Goldbug - Redeco of Cybertron Hot Shot with a new headsculpt
      • Autobot Jazz - Redeco of Cybertron Crosswise with a new headsculpt
      • Starscream - Redeco of Cybertron Voyager Class Starscream
      • Mini-Con Razorclaw - Redeco of Classics Mini-Con Overbite
    • Ricochet - Redeco of the Autobot Jazz exclusive, given free to pre-registered attendees
    • Megatron and Rodimus with Mini-Con Divebomb, respectively redecos of Energon TRU Exclusive Megatron with a new headsculpt, Classics Rodimus, and Classics Mini-Con Dreadwing
    • Blurr and Sideswipe & Whisper with Mini-Con Rampage, respectively redecos of Cybertron Blurr with a new headsculpt, Armada Wheeljack & Windsheer , and Classics Mini-Con Snarl
  • 2009
    • "Wings of Honor", concerning the founding of the Elite Guard, this is a 5-figure boxed set that includes:
      • Kup, a younger version of Kup retooled from Cybertron Red Alert with a new headsculpt.
      • Thunderclash, repainted from Energon Rodimus.
      • Flak, retooled from Cybertron Defense Scattorshot with a new headsculpt.
      • Landshark, repainted from Energon Landmine.
      • Scourge, retooled from Cybertron Sideways with a new headsculpt.
    • Leozack, repainted from Energon Starscream, given free to pre-registered attendees.
    • Sweeps 3-pack, a bagged set of three identical repaints of this year's Scourge, packaged with three different tech specs, making them unique characters.
    • "Wings Of Honor Villains" - A bagged 2 pack of the Decepticons from the Wings Of Honor Comic
    • "Anniversary Pack" - A bagged 2 pack of classic characters

Proposed/Unreleased Exclusives

A number of toys were planned over the years but never produced, for various reasons. Note that some of these entries are essentially jokes from the organizers' brainstorming sessions, which they then later mentioned to other fans:

  • Cataclysm, a green and purple redeco of Transmetal Cheetor. This character actually appeared in the convention storyline and was thought to be the lower priced exclusive in 2000 until Apelinq was revealed instead. It is unclear whether or not Cataclysm was ever truly intended to be released, however.
  • Optimal Rodimus Primal, mentioned by the Hartmans at the organizer's panel at Botcon 2000, this would have been an updated version of Rodimus Prime made from the Optimal Optimus mold. Plans were nixed very early on as Primal Prime was going into its limited production run and Hasbro didn't give licensees the leeway they now enjoy. Optimal Rodimus Primal's events in the Wreckers storyline were revised for Primal Prime and Rodimus instead
  • Lickme, a redeco of Spittor as a Poison Arrow Frog. Function: Psychological Warfare. Mentioned at the BotCon '99 Organizers Panel.
  • Jai-Alai, a black redeco of Manterror. Function: Ninja. Mentioned at the BotCon '99 Organizers Panel.
  • Hot Spot, a blue redeco of Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime as a new Autobot leader modelled after the Generation One character. The toy would have featured a new headsculpt for the robot's larger "Defensor" mode. This toy was originally solicited for OTFCC 2004, then pushed back for OTFCC 2005. When the license was removed from Hallit, this figure was cancelled.
  • Megatron, a red redeco of Robots in Disguise Megatron as an upgraded (and resurrected) Beast Wars Megatron. This toy would have featured a new headsculpt. Designs of this toy were part of 3H's OTFCC 2005 proposal, which never happened.
  • Devcon, a blue redeco of Energon Slugslinger as the Generation One character. This toy would have featured a new headsculpt. Designs of this toy were part of 3H's OTFCC 2005 proposal, which never happened.
  • Brawn, a green redeco of Energon Strongarm as the Generation One character. This toy would have featured a new headsculpt and snap on Energon gauntlets. Designs of this toy were part of 3H's OTFCC 2005 proposal, which never happened.
  • Roadbuster, an orange and green redeco of Energon Strongarm as the Generation One character. This toy would have featured a new headsculpt and Energon rifle. Designs of this toy were part of 3H's OTFCC 2005 proposal, which never happened.
  • Blue Balls Attack Team, from an anecdote shared by Karl Hartman on the now defunct Botcon Beyond message board, a planning session for Botcon had run much later than anticipated and an exhausted Hartman proposed a pair of blue repaints of Beast Wars Retrax. Obviously not a serious proposal.
  • Sentinel Prime, originally conceived as the Cybertron Defense Hot Shot redeco for 2007. He was dropped in favor of Springer, who fit the mold and the story/theme better.

Exclusive fiction

  • 1997
  • 1998
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • Tales from the Beast Wars: Reaching the Omega Point - Comic book
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007

External links

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