Wednesday, April 23, 2008

It Has Begun: BotCon 2008

Once again, I find myself having to enjoy the annual Transformers convention from the window of Internet access. I'll have a more complete update on Monday, after the dust has settled a bit, and I can provide links to pictures from the official site. I'm sure a few folks wonder why I bother. After all, this isn't really a TF news site. There are other sites out there with far better direct access to news, and who can post that news in a far more timely fashion.

But I never really set out to be a TF news source. In fact, I don't consider Transformers fans to be my primary audience. My primary audience is the group of my friends and acquaintances (both real-life and "virtual") who know me and think well enough of me to check out this blog and see what I'm thinking about. And, as often as not, I'm thinking about what goes on in the world of Transformers. I'd like to think that there are reasons for this beyond some deep-seated oddity in my psyche. For example, I've actually developed a couple of connections in the past year or two whereby I'm actually making significant contributions to the fandom at large, and so have good reason to be spending my time on those endeavors (of course, those connections have only happened because I was interested in that stuff anyway, so the deep-seated psyche stuff remains...). In any event, it is my hope that I can communicate some of that interest in ways that people who may not necessarily share it can nonetheless understand.

For the sake of these friends who won't already know, I should be clear that the only part of the convention that's already started as of today is one of the customizing classes. These classes are a popular event each year, but only a small handful of people are able to attend. These lucky few are given access to a toy (often unpainted and occasionally still on the sprues on which they were originally molded), and access to tools and paints under the guidance of an experienced customizer (this past few years, that's been Shawn Tessmann, a pretty all-around-decent guy). Members of the class are given instructions on how to turn these elements into an all-new character, but are given freedom to deviate from these instructions and do something all their own, should they so choose.

In the past, the identity of the mold to be customized has been announced in advance, but Shawn chose to keep that a secret this time around. Now that the class has begun, the secret is out: class members are customizing an early release of Nightbeat, the upcoming club exclusive, in order to make an "evil" version in keeping with the exclusive toys coming out this weekend at BotCon.

Truth be told, I really should have figured this out already. As part of the "connections" I've made, I was given some information related to this custom that no one else knew about, but I didn't put the pieces together properly. It's just as well that I didn't, though. I'm under a non-disclosure agreement not to divulge information that's not yet been made public, and so I couldn't have shared the information early, anyway. I only hope that my confession that I still didn't figure out the implications of that information ahead of time offsets any bragging that saying "I had information other people didn't get" indicates.

More to come....

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