BotCon 2008 - Hasbro Products Panel Report

Panel includes: Greg Lombardo, Aaron Archer, Forest Lee, and others.
Note: No photos were allowed during this panel report.

FIRST THINGS FIRST

+ 2007 was a great year for Transformers including a $700 million box office on "Transformers" movie, #1 action figure toy brand NPD Data, Movie Deluxe action toy of the year at Toy Fair, and #1 FANS :D.

+ The "Transformers" DVD was #1 in the USA in 2007.

+ The rest of 2008 toys are mostly represented in the cases being put out today.

ANIMATED

+ Toy launch for Animated toys is June 22.

+ Full licensing program will launch in August when stores reset their toy displays.

+ Deluxe Sentinel Prime, Elite Guard Bumblebee, and Swoop are coming in September 2008. Swoop looks really sweet and has a mace weapon.

+ Leader Ultra Magnus is also coming in September 2008. Images shown depict a very cool-looking figure, as described in the Animated panel. The Hammer does not light up but he does have a transformation feature.

UNIVERSE

+ Universe is not a storyline unto itself. It is a compilation of stories.

+ Universe ultra Silverbolt coming August 2008. Will have sounds in robot and jet including the transformation sound. Gun sounds and Jet sounds too.

+ Universe Ultra Storm Cloud coming in September 2008. Redeco of the Powerglide figure.

+ Universe deluxes Ironhide and Sideswipe are coming October 2008.

+ Ironhide's license plate says Oregon and looks like a modern SUV/Van-type vehicle. He will have a mid-level transformers difficulty

+ Sideswipe is the same mold as Sunstreaker with new hands. The image that is shown on the presentation is the wrong head and the chest plate is not turned around.

+ Universe Legends coming August 2008.

+ Robot Heroes Kickback vs. Ironhide, Thrust vs. Blaster, Megatron vs. Silverbolt, and G2 Megatron and Jazz will arrive in October 2008.

FALL 2008 EXCLUSIVES

+ The San Diego ComicCon 2008-Hasbro Toy Shop exclusive Nemesis Prime, was discussed. The Classics Optimus Prime redeco sports blue windows. A Japanese convention exclusive sister figure will have red windows. (Ed Note: Will probably be offered at Wonderfest or C3X Hobby)

+ Another ComicCon-Hasbro Toy Shop is 6" Titanium War Within Skywarp.

+ Some Wal-Mart off-screen deluxes are Breakaway (Cybertron Hot Shot repaint), Fracture (Classics Mirage repaint), and Crankcase (Cybertron Red Alert repaint). These figures will arrive in September 2008.

+ Target Universe comic packs are coming in November 2008 and will be Dirge and Roadbuster (Cybertron Hot Shot 2 repaint / Cybertron Starscream) and Springer and Ratbat (Cybertron Evac vs Cybertron Sideways). These sets are each packaged with a deluxe figures and a voyager figure as well as a comic.

+ A K-Mart store exclusive Mini-Con 12 pack is coming in September 2008.

+ Toys 'R' Us will be receive 6" Titanium War Within Prowl and Grimlock as exclusives in September 2008.

TRANSFORMERS 25th ANNIVERSARY - 1984-2009

+ 25th anniversary culminates with "Transformers 2."

+ The series will be celebrating all eras of Transformers and not just G1 and will feature all updated, modernized sculpts.

+ Animated will also continue.

+ Thanksgiving release to kick off G1 re-issue of original U.S. version of Optimus Prime with silver roller. Also included with the figure will be a reprint of issue 1 from the Marvel-era as well as a DVD that contains the 3-episode "More Than Meets the Eye" digitally re-mastered. The figure will also have a sound box with quotes from Peter Cullen himself. The packaging will have 5 panel windows with a silver foil 25th anniversary logo with Classics-type package.

+ Universe deluxe Hound w/ Ravage will be a G1-type mold. The clips on the back of Hound fit Ravage. Shoulder cannon on Hound comes off.

+ Universe deluxe Cyclonus w/ Nightstick Targetmaster will also be a G1-type mold. Nightstick may be held by Cyclonus. The figure almost looks black and is very nice.

+ Universe deluxe Beast Wars Cheetor and has eyes that turn from green to red. However, that may be changed.

+ Universe Legends Brawn and Beachcomber will be making an appearance.

+ Universe Robot Heroes Cheetor vs Tankor, and Optimus vs Megatron will be making an appearance. Cheetor and Tankor are based on the Beast Machines-era, while Optimus and Megatron are from Robots In Disguise-era.

+ There will be another 25th revealed tomorrow that Archer said fans will be very happy about.

+ Hasbro is making a statement on G1 counterfeit knockoffs. Basically, they do not condone it and hint at legal issues. More on this later we're sure.

Q&A

+ MP Thundercracker is on their shortlist, they are looking to do as an exclusive in 2009 for the 25th anniversary line. While not confirmed they are definitely looking at it.

+ Not many off screen characters will be in the toy line for Animated. Oil Slick was an exception to the rule.

+ Attackix are pushed to the side for now.

+ Fans wants 6" Titanium Cliffjumper and Bumblebee but there are no plans right now.

+ As for the chances of a Sari toy, they want to find a way to bring human characters to the market, but it is not in the cards right now.

+ Fan wants to see those prototype Titaniums that were shown during last year's BotCon. Hasbro says they are looking to just use molds that have already been made, but tools cost a lot of money. The Titanium line was popular with the collector market, but was not so beyond that, so its hard to justify making new tools. However, they recognize the characters are important.

+ No plans for a Voyager Soundwave for Classics because they just did the re-issue.

+ When asked plans for a G1 Arcee for Alternators, they responded that just because there hasn't been any rumblings about the figure doesn't mean it is not being worked. Although they acknowledged that Alternators are still on the back burner for Hasbro.

+ There are currently still no plans for G1 Dinobot reissues.

+ We will see variation on the standard size of Robot Heroes in the future. Much like with larger scale figures in the Marvel Superhero Squad line.

+ Might see some combiners worked into 25th Anniversary.

+ All the 25th anniversary figures shown comes in as wave 3 of 4 of Universe, so with the exception of 25th G1 Prime coming out in November, the rest won't be seem until at the end of Dec 2008 or Jan 2009.

+ The GM-exclusive Aveo was created specifically as a promotional give-away in Europe for GM and was never meant to be sold. They chose that type of car due the vehicle's popularity in Europe. They didn't have a toy already made that they could give GM to be given away so GM paid to have that one made.

+ Universe will expand and contract as other things happen. So basically during the "Transformers" movie years, the movie stuff will have priority, but Universe won't go away.

+ No plans for G.I.Joe / Transformers crossover toys right now. Archer jokingly suggests to just put your G.I. Joe and Transformer toys on the same shelf right now.

+ Will there be a Wheeljack, Sunstorm or Trailbreaker figure in the future? Hasbro said there is a possibility. Pencil in Headmasters on that list, too.

+ There are no plans in the next year or two for G1 DVDs as far as they know.

+ The topic of whether Megatron will appear in TF2 has arisen many times, according to Archer.

+ Archer says he had to buy the USA MP Starscream on eBay because he couldn't find it at the store.

+ Acid Storm is a generic Seeker. Archer came up with the idea and it was supposed to be "Rainmaker" or "Acid Rainmaker," but couldn't get the name so it ended up as Acid Storm.

+ Music Label TFs are for Takara and Hasbro doesn't really do that format.

+ The companies respect each other exclusives, so if Takara re-released any seekers that were exclusive here, they would be different in some way so that they weren't exact.

+ Might see a figure based off of Dispensor, the Mountain Dew machine figure from "Transformers."

+ Hasbro took a poll with a raise of hands for accessory packs. About half the room raised their hand.

+ Even Hasbro was surprised at just how successful the movie was and had not planned for the demand on "Transformers" stuff to last that long. They acknowledged that the amount of repaints is due to this popularity.

+ For TF 2 they will be better prepared. There will be more new molds and less repaints as they get into the spring period.

+ Any chance for a larger Bonecrusher? He's one they would like to do in a better way if he is in the sequel.

+ Any character that was in TF1 as is in TF2, they will try to improve the mold and not just re-release the TF1 versions.

+ Is there any chance for an Animated Prime trailer? Since he has had several different trailers they are trying to figure out the best way to make that happen.

+ No plans for Hasbro re-issue of all of Soundwave's cassettes.

+ Is there any chance of revisiting Go-Bots molds? Hasbro owns the names and owns the name of Go-Bots, but not the Bandai molds so there is not much of a chance of paying homage to the original Go-Bots.

+ When asked about the lack of Sludge and Snarl in Animated, Hasbro said they hope to have Sludge somewhere down the road while at the same time saying that Snarl is coming.

+ Hasbro says they are currently discussing the possibility of holding Q&A sessions with Transformers fan sites like they do now with Star Wars and other lines.

+ Finally, the Alternators are not dead, just sleeping.

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End of Panel - Take a look at all of the discussed figures in this gallery!






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