Okay, back from Hascon 2017 and man, what a show. Look, before I get into this, let’s be clear, Hascon is NOT Botcon, and was never intended to be so. Botcon is gone, which blows. Hascon is a show Hasbro decided to put on to showcase their brands, including but not limited to Transformers. It was never intended to be a swap meet. It was intended to showcase their products. So as long as we’re clear on that, I think things can move forward without the overwhelming negativity initially uttered by a lot of the fan base.
I arrived in Providence Thursday afternoon and right off the plan, there were Hascon signs set up, which was awesome. Clearly Hasbro put out the welcome mat in any way they could!
It makes sense. It would be a huge draw for the city and a lot of boosted commerce! The show didn’t officially start until Friday so in the meantime I checked into the Providence Hilton Biltmore Hotel just a couple of blocks away from the show and then met up with a buddy to pick up our VIP Badges and get dinner. It was cool to see the Hasbro HQ, right next to the convention center where the show would take place!
After getting some much needed rest, Friday I was up bright and early and ready for the show. We were somewhat surprised by the size of the VIP line, but by later in the day, it would make sense. A LOT of people showed up. A. LOT.
Once we were through security and all checked in, it was time to hit the show. First things first, we got in line for the show exclusives. There were several exclusives for each brand including Transformers, Star Wars, Marvel, Magic The Gathering, and many more. Several of them had cross over themes, for instance, the Magic The Gathering card set featured Grimlock as a playable character. The X-force Deadpool exclusive came with a NERF pistol! We sat in line for a long time, at least an hour and a half, maybe two. But Arcee w/ Daniel (read: Leinad) and Ultra Magnus looks to be totally worth it!
VIP members also received a SWAG bag, which was a nice little bonus.
The show floor was set up divided by brand, with Transformers being the first area you enter.
The first thing that caught my eye were some grey scale toys on display, including some new PoTP Figures (StarScream is on top) and the exceptionally impressive Grey Scale of Metroplex as well as Fort Max, and you can see just how many new parts were used for Fort Max, which is neat to see!
Also in the same shelf were some unreleased figures that unfortunately never saw production. I would have loved that DoTM Blaster!
There were various movie props on display as well, and even the Movie Character Hall of Fame winner, Barricade!
Right near this area Hasbro set up the Titans Return display diorama and The Last Knight display diorama, it’s impressive how much they fit into a small area.
Naturally the main draw for me was the preview display for Power of the Prime Toys and honestly, they look incredible! I’m very excited to get some of these guys in hand and see just how cool they are!
Needless to say, I’m stoked. These all look so neat. The new Optimus Prime looks similar to MP-10 Prime, and Rodimus Prime looks incredible as well. I totally dig StarScreams big ol’ Dreamwave forearms, and that Beachcomber! Woo doggies. So stoke, much excite!
Also on display was the PRIME ONE Studios Statues of Movie Prime, Bee and Megs. They look incredible but I’d have a hard time dropping that kind of money on a statue.
After the Transformers section, was the Marvel Legends area, which also had a TON of stuff on display!
I don’t generally review other brands, but I do collect both Legends and the Star Wars Black stuff here and there. They’re really well designed figures and have really gotten better over the last year.
Wolverine has always been my favorite Marvel character, and while the Brown and Tan version from last year is incredible, my favorite costume will always be the 90’s Yellow and Blue, which we are getting, in BOTH SCALES!
Naturally, a lot of folks are stoked for Pysloke as well. We’re also getting retro packaged Toy Biz versions!
Hasbro also had an amazing display diorama out for Marvel Legends stuff as well. I’d give anything for that to be my job description.
I don’t review Marvel Legends, but if you’re looking for in depth looks, I highly recommend you visit Preternia. They do a great job of breaking down a figures pros and cons.
Along with the figures, Hasbro also had a great deal of costumes and props on display! It was awesome to see Thor’s armor from the upcoming Ragnarok.
Next up was the Star Wars area. I feel like I really skipped over this area and I could have spent a full day here. Along with all the awesome stuff on display, Hasbro had “Jedi Training” for the kids, which looked like it was a ton of fun! I know my nephew would have had a total blast. I didn’t get a lot of closer looks at the toys, but there were some amazing movie props to check out, and even a photo opportunity for the kids to take a picture with Darth Vader!
The floor wrapped around, from the Star Wars section, you then entered the shopping area, where all the brands had merchandise to purchase. There was a separate area for the Exclusives, and I spent plenty of time in that line, and yet, never once took a picture. Because I’m an idiot. Who plays with toys.
Past the shopping area was huge variety of stuff I just generally don’t have an interest in, and like a selfish jerk, totally didn’t take any other pictures. There was a Sesame Street area, the Ponies area (that I avoided for several reasons…) Beyblade, Nerf, it was a myriad of fun activities and displays and a whole lot of kids having a WHOLE lot of fun.
But this was just the first floor. Yes, the convention center had several levels and the upper area was also fully packed. From Artist Alley, do the VIP D&D lounge where Drizzit watched over the players embarking on epic quests!
At artist alley, I had Ken Christiansen, a buddy and fellow Wisonsinite, commission me a Ravage that I’m absolutely in love with:
There was a lot to see and a lot to do, and after a much needed “sit down” in the VIP Lounge, I moved on to the second part of the day which was hanging out with friends, visiting with the artist, booths and just generally taking everything in.
Saturday the show continued. I made some rounds again, a group of us walked over to the mall which was located right down the street for lunch, and then….I took a nap. Because I’m old. Shut up.
Saturday night was the Transformers VIP event. This was several activities, starting with a question and answer panel that featured the legendary Frank Welker and Peter Cullen, who were the only ones I really cared about, as well as Lorenzo di Bonaventura, producer of the live action movies, Isabella Moner (who for all intents and purposes, could have just been a cut out of her up there) and a somewhat bored and irritated looking Mark Wahlberg.
The Q&A panel was kinda phoned in. I mean, I get it, Peter and Frank can only be asked so many times “what’s so important about Optimus and Megatron blah blah” so they kinda have their answers memorized at this point. Lorenzo was there, I’m guessing, to see the people that bankroll his house(s). He was genuinely outgoing though which is appreciated, even if you could hear the cash registers going off when he spoke. Poor Isabella had no idea why she was there. Here best answer was “um….I guess Squeeks”, which is obviously the only character she knows the name of because of the 10 mins of screen time she had, she says it 90 times. Mark was straight up annoyed at being there. He yawned. He checked his watch. He fidgeted. He told some convoluted story about some kid thinking he’s a transformer, it was all just a waste of his time, and to be honest, I give ZERO shits about Mark Wahlberg’s contributions to the franchise, so it was a waste of my time too.
The important part of this part of the evening was the introduction of Sue Blu into the Transformers Hall of Fame! Peter and Frank came back out after the Q&A and gave a very heartfelt, funny and touching introduction to Sue. She was given a special plaque featuring her Titans Return toy and she was genuinely warm hearted and happy to be up there. She even gave us the UNIVERSAL GREETING!
After Sue’s presentation, Lorenzo was given a similar, but WAY longer, and WAY overly done, and WAY flashier, and WAY less sincere presentation, including a video with a bunch of his movie star buds giving him the ol’ “atta boy”. I hate to be so jaded, but give me a break. I guess it all just comes off phoney, especially after Marky Mark’s irritated presence on stage. If any one of them could tell me one thing about the franchise, I’d be truly amazed.
Anywho, after that was dinner! Which I didn’t eat because large group dinners with buffet settings make me super uneasy. I did run into Sue, and thanked her for all of her hard work, she was very sweet and happy to chit chat a bit, which makes me adore her more. I should have gotten a pic, but I really didn’t want to bug her.
After dinner we made our way back down to the presentation area where the second half of the panel started, and this is where the real meat and potatoes comes in. First of all, it was a panel of the toy designers including John Warden (who’s a friend and great guy), Hasui-san who’s the main man behind Titans Return Trypticon, and the legendary, honerable, FATHER OF TRANFORMERS, Yoke-san! Yoke-san treated us to some wonderful stories of the old days working at Takara during the 80s. He’s a great presence on stage and was funny, thoughtful and genuinely interested in seeing how his work created the corner stones of a wonderful franchise.
After his discussion, Yoke-san treated us to something exceptionally rare – a priceless, wooden prototype of Galvatron from the Takara vault!
This was incredible. These prototypes are so rare and it’s a real honor to have seen one in person. I was even able to take a closer look and picture thanks to my moderately garbage Japanese skills, but at least I remembered how to ask to take a picture! Sugoii! The remainder of the presentation focused on the Power of the Primes line. Hasui-san stated one of the biggest challenges he faced was working on how to incorporate the toyline’s play feature into the Fan Choice winner Optimus Primal.
We were also treated to some sneak peaks at some upcoming characters as well!
So exciting! It was great to see these sneak peaks and hear the designers talk about the challenges and enjoyment the find in designing them! Optimus Primal, while certainly not my choice, does look to be pretty neat for sure! I’m super stoked for the Terrorcons!
After the panel, we were treated to a full on Stan Bush concert! It was a very unique situation, there were only about 20 Transformers VIPs ticket holders there, and I have to give Stan a ton of credit, because he BROUGHT it to the show.
After which I went to the hotel restaurant for some dinner and drinks with the buddies and called it a night.
Unfortunately, my plans changed and I had to leave on Sunday. I would have loved to stay and see the rest of the Transformers Panels as well as the tour of the Hasbro HQ. Overall it was a very fun show, with a ton to see and do. I would absolutely go again next year, however, I’m not sure I’d do the VIP ticket again without a little more improvement in the perks.
I’ll get the reviews of Arcee and Powerbank Optimus up in a bit, so stay tuned for that.