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Report on TFcon 2015

There’s a lot of Transformers fans who need a convention and aren’t satisfied by the official convention, Botcon, so to sate the fandom hunger there’s TFcon. This year’s TFcon was held July 17-19, at the Delta Meadowvale conference center and a league of fans had their annual reunion for the sake of the favorite toy-line.

Making his first ever appearance at the convention was Peter Cullen (unpictured), the legendary voice of Optimus Prime. It’s amazing it took this long for him to appear at TFcon considering he was born in Canada, but it was worth the wait so the VIP members could get the chance to meet him and as many people possible fit into the main event room to hear his Q&A, which could have been twice as long and he wouldn’t have run out of interesting tales to regale us with. Stores about working with Frank Welker on Mighty Man and Yuk.

Other guests were voice actors Richard Newman (a convention first-timer), Michael McCornohie, and John Moschitta selling out Autographs and giving out free conversations. For comic fans the big guest was James Roberts telling about who he planned to kill off in the “More Than Meets The Eye” comic series coming out from IDW, and James Raiz doing his first appearance at TFcon despite being involved with the brand since 2002. But even without these guest stars, the TFcon regulars would make a point to show up just to see each other for the kind of muppety hijinx you can’t get anywhere else. Chris Potenza wishes he were TFcon’s Notorious Goob.

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TFcon is a distinctly unofficial convention, having eschewed the license in favor of the community of “third party” goods – Transformers produced by companies other than Hasbro, potentially violating intellectual property laws. Botcon bans them (theoretically), and TFcon gives them a home to reveal the new products which will be released over the next year.

Thanks to connections to the Third Party groups, TFcon was able to get it’s own exclusive, “Evila Star” from Toyworld. While the regular release has real-life accurate colours for his(?) alternate modes, the TFcon exclusive has show accurate colours (and was sold for a comparable price to Evila’s regular release). The triple-former is a huge step above last year’s Masterpiece Errector Shafter. For bonus points, the exclusive Evila comes with a couple of pieces of track to improve the display of its train mode.

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Aside from 3rd Party Goods, the dealer’s room still have bundles of new Transformers, old lose Transformers, mint condition Transformers, toys which resemble Transformers, and toys which don’t resemble Transformers. (Shaq Count +1) and miscellaneous items from decades past offered at competitive prices (and haggling is sometimes an option). Mint in box rarities to lose leftover toys missing a few pieces and sold at discount.

John Moschita hosting the charity auction on Friday wasn’t as hilarious as past year’s video-game tournaments, but it was still fun to see the price of a custom “Blurr” toy go up to $220. Over $10,000 was raised for the Make A Wish foundation, a lot of the final prices on items were under the retail value of the items, so it’s a mix of good deals, good karma, and good watching.

Other events include a script reading where fans auditions for the chance to hold roles in a live (audio) performance with the three voice guests Richard Newman, John Moschitta, and Michael McCornohie. And there was also an art contest and the “Fandom Fued” trivia contest . There were also contests for the big fan art, the best 3D artworks (typically customized figures), and it wouldn’t be a convention without a chance for the cosplayers to show off their costume power.

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There’s weren’t any major operational issues this year. The bar’s “Quest” restaurant’s staff were able to keep up with the demand and the serving staff presented were in good moods the whole weekend. One unfortunate situation is the Delta Meadowvale Hotel hosting TFcon had allocated many of their rooms for people involved in the Pan Am games, and one bat who made a lot of noise flying around the hotel lobby for a bit.

While in past years, comparing TFcon and Botcon was comparing apples to oranges, one a cultural experience and the other bowing to corporate control, but this year’s with Botcon missing so many elements that are usually expected and TFcon having one great exclusive instead of ten alright ones, it’s like comparing a delicious pristine organic apple to a week old orange off the floor. For most nerds and geeks, maybe Atomic Lollipop has more of a pulse, but for fans of Transformers, it’s clear why thanks to a lot of effort, TFcon has outlived other fan conventions like Auto Assembly and Dairycon.

-Michael Ryan, Wednesday July 22nd 2016

I didn’t pack enough food, what a newbie mistake I made!

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