Altered States Magazine - June 2002


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    3H Enterprises at Wizard World East
    Overview

    By Jennifer Ulm and David Willis

    It was an 8-hour drive, but it was worth it just to see the look on Glen Hallit's face. This guy's pants were nearly exploding in anticipation for what BotCon has in store for the fandom in the next few years. He's so excited, and he just can't hide it.

    He and Dan Khanna (and Robert Yee, who built the very cool display for Cyclonus) had a small booth next to a few independent comics booths and across from Palisades toys. There was a nice "Transformers Official Convention" banner behind them, and a table covered with one of those dorky new lamp-shaped Apples playing the Primeval Dawn preview, application forms for both BotCon 2002 and the Unicron statue, a pile of free Beast Wars-themed postcards, Cycloni (Wrecker and original) in an elaborate display to the left, and the Unicron statue itself.

    The first thing Glen pointed out to us was the little stand-up board on the table with BotCon's announced "news about BotCon's future." Well, whee -- England's getting a BotCon now! Early November, they'll get Neil Kaplan, Wally Wingert, Vince DiCola and some people from the UK comic - most notably Geoff Senior, who has never appeared at a BotCon before - and their own exclusive toys. Limited to just a few hundred each, these guys should be .... fun to get.

    Well, what about Transforce? Mr. Glen said that while he has the exclusive convention contract with Hasbro UK, he doesn't see any reason to shake around his contract at them unprovoked. In fact, he went out of his way in his discussions with Hasbro to ensure Transforce would still exist and BotCon Europe would not conflict with their plans. That's why it is held in November this year and not during the summer.

    Speaking of BotCon MMII (to distinguish it from BC02 nominally and financially, he's using Roman numerals for the European conventions) and its exclusives' small numbers, he said he also plans to cut back on the production numbers of American exclusives. In fact, future pre- registration might allow only one of each toy per convention goer. He cites the need to draw people to the convention as his reason, so there aren't hundreds of scalped toys on the Internet for sale to just anyone. There's also the matter of the toys being called "BotCon Exclusives" for a reason, not because only BotCon can sell them, but because the idea is that they're for BotCon attendees. Any random person on the street being able to get them for a hundred bucks takes away some of that specialness, and 3H is interested in fixing that.

    The "Primeval Dawn" preview looked really sharp. The Flash animation was far more fluid than is generally associated with the medium. Most of the preview highlighted the characters who would be appearing: Primal Prime, Airazor, Tigatron, Packrat, and Tarantulas surrounded by spooky Vok heads. Vince DiCola's score for the opener was nicely reminicent of Beast Wars without sounding knockoffy, and we got to hear it regularly as we talked to Glen and Dan. It should be done by the end of the month, with more installments later this year.

    The Beast Wars postcard sheets were excerpts from a complete set of them, available at BotCon this year. As the day went on, they put out newer sheets of different characters. By the time we left on Friday, he'd put out about 3 sets of 3 or 4 cards each. Each card has a different Beast Wars CGI character model on it plus their name, (show-based) function, and a paragraph-long bio. Most of the CGI art seemed to be the same as used in the dinner-exclusive posters from last year.

    Now, Unicron: This is one bad mother. He's kinda static in previous photos we've had of him, but in person, he's much better than we thought possible. The version we saw there was painted, but not the exact final product, by which we mean he's still not all one piece. For instance, his head can unpeg, his wings can detach, and he's removable from his Cybertron base. We had a brief moment of fun making his head float around. The wings are made of softer material so they aren't the fragile nightmare they could be. And he's huge. Everybody was stopping by the booth and asking about him.

    Cyclonus is beautiful. No, really, he is. The purples and greys really work well. He's so... pretty. So very very pretty. Mr. Glen was so excited about him, he had Dan Khanna transform him for us so we could see the robot mode. Dan had a little trouble remembering how the mold went, so we teased him a little about it. Honestly, this thing is gorgeous. It's funny, looking at him next to the original Cyclonus -- it's this astounding gap of 20 years bridged. Progress, man. Progress. Mr. Glen told us a lot of guys had stopped by, asking if it was Armada Cyclonus.

    We spent a long time talking with Dan Khanna about Wreckers #2. There were the first seven pages on display there, pre-ink and inked. The art seems improved over last year, due both to Dan's improvement and the fact that he can spend more time on the line art now that Dreamwave is coloring the book. The stuff looked so great that we asked them if Dreamwave were also drawing in the backgrounds, like Pat Lee has done for him. Nope, it's all Dan's work. True to the history of Wreckers there are... quite a number of casualties this year. Mr. Glen cited the fact that the cast was just too huge, plus gruesome mass extinction is what the Wreckers are all about. There'll be lots of focus on Rodimus (Major), Arcee, Primal Prime, Ramulus, and assumingly Cyclonus since he's one of the exclusives. Also, the other three exclusives are all new good guys, not previous characters. No Devcon for us, apparently. Oh, and Tengu's writing it.

    Why is Botcon in Fort Wayne this year? 3H had other locations in consideration, but they didn't work out. They also already have the locations for both BotCon 03 and 04(!) reserved. 2004 should be the biggest year ever, as it's both BotCon's tenth anniversary and Transformers' twentieth. Mr. Glen mused that he'd like to have every guest that's ever been at at BotCon ever to attend that year. Plus new guests. He's also planning that to be the year it's extended to a 3 or 4-day event, which is kinda good with all those guests there. 2004 will be a truly massive undertaking, both for 3H and for the convention-going public.

    Mr. Glen emphasized that all of his announcements and plans for future conventions are still in progress and they could fall through or be replaced by different plans before the conventions occur. There are West Coast locations he's looking into, but they weren't specifically attempting to make a West Coast location happen.

    He also noted that while Hasbro officially recognizes the Con more these days and lets them do near anything, they don't receive any extra financial backing. If the exclusives cost less, it's because 3H is absorbing more of the costs. Also, repainted toys like the RiD Vehicon 3-pack and the new Obsidian don't get in the way of 3H exclusives based on those molds, mostly because 3H works on an earlier timeframe, in general. So the exclusives aren't entirely dependent on what's currently being released. And they said the mold choices will be a total surprise. No one will be able to guess what we're getting.

    (We'd like to add that they emphasized that the "official convention" tagline that's been stressed lately isn't any really new thing. It's not a change, it's just emphasized more this year.)

    We also got hot dogs.

    See also Facts, Hints and Miscellanea

    Altered States Magazine would like to thank Jennifer, David, and Graham for their reports. Also, we'd like to extend our appreciation to Glen Hallit of 3H Enterprises for providing us the opportunity to clarify some of the details here. Visit the official BotCon site at http://www.botcon.com/



      Copyright © 2002 Altered States Magazine
    A SkyJammer Enterprises Publication