Best Of Botcon: TCC Roundtable Summary
With the initial rush of news over, it’s time we begin to reflect on everything that happened at Botcon 2015. We begin with a look back at the TCC Roundtable, which delivered a tidal wave of information in a short period of time. We’ve got new pics of the entire presentation and offer some thoughts on what to expect moving forward. Read on for the details.
See the panel as it happened live.
The TCC Roundtable for Botcon 2015 featured a presentation by Brian Savage, Pete Sinclair, and Lanny Lanthem. Initial commentary focused on the Botcon 2015 exclusives, offering fans a chance to see the development of the set as well as the original resin head sculpts.
The panel discussed the history behind Oilmaster, originating with the unreleased resin prototype for the Ape Double Pretender last seen at Botcon 1996. The goal for his inclusion was to top the incredible design feat of Scorponok last year. The team was able to budget the entirely new ape mold because of lower production costs for a Pretender shell than those for an entire transforming figure. The plan with the sculpt was to take cues from the original prototype, so as to make the character recognizable, but to bring a modern aesthetic so as not to look out of place on collectors’ shelves.
Still, that’s a lot of new engineering and molds for a single Botcon release. After all, Oilmaster reflects one known deco for the Ape Double Pretender. What about this guy? His release was strongly hinted at in the Q&A.
Lanny walked through the deco creation and submission process, providing the blueprints for the factories overseas. As we’ve seen over the years, this is not a fool-proof process. Things need to be complete, but the more information you give the more potential for error creeps in.
The prototype images for the newly created head sculpts show off the crisp lines from the CAD-style design process now employed by the TCC. Gone are the days of hand-sculpted heads.
The Diaclone homages, Burnout and Lift-Ticket (formerly Salvage), reflect the new theme choices by TCC. The goal is to have a unified team for the boxed set while using the at-convention exclusives to appeal to certain demographic groups within the Transformers fandom. Certainly Diaclone enjoys a strong following.
General Optimus and Sergeant Hound are another pair of releases homaging previously unreleased prototypes. It sounds like the Roadbuster mold, with its unique head sculpt, was considered a ringer for Optimus early on. It was a scramble to find him a partner, but the Scoop mold was an obvious choice for Hound. What, no Jazz?
The next portion of the presentation focused on the shared Transformers/G.I. Joe exclusives for 2015. The G1 episode “Only Human” was the natural inspiration for Transformers-themed redecoes of Joe molds. No specific plans yet for Springer or Magnus. The TCC will just have to see if the fit with future plans.
The crossover items will feature classic G.I. Joe style card backs. The Arcee Figure uses Bombstrike’s head.
Universe Ramjet will be the TCC free membership figure for 2016, featuring a new head sculpt on the New Starscream body. Skywarp will also make use of the new head and is the first TCC exclusive for sale in 2016. It’s great to see Ramjet’s inclusion, as the character featured prominently in Botcon’s “Balancing Act” era of comics as Unicron’s herald.
Next up was a preview of TSS 4.0 for 2016, which explained the “Mayhem” teaser image released before Botcon. The set draws on Combiner Wars molds to recreate the Mayhem Attack Squad from the G1 Marvel comics. The vibrant colors of characters from that era really play nicely on these molds. A sixth figure was pulled from the slideshow late in the game due to necessary changes. There will be a seventh mystery figure, as in previous years. These are a little hard to guess, due to the team’s changing line-up over the years. Might we see Stranglehold? Octopunch? Flywheels?
Windsweeper is a redeco of Skydive. Perhaps a less notable character to include, but then that was kind of the point of both the Wreckers and Mayhem Attack Squad.
Ruckus makes use of the obvious head sculpt of Offroad. It’s not clear which was the chicken and which the egg when it comes to this head sculpt, but it certainly is a logical choice here.
Spinister and Needlenose are redecoes from Alpha Bravo and Firefly, respectively, with Scoop’s Targetmaster partners redecoed as their own partners. The inclusion of the Targetmaster partners is a smart one, delivering the extra value that fans have come to expect from previous releases.
Bludgeon utilizes the Onslaught body with a new head. We’ve had our fair share of Bludgeons in the last few years, which makes focusing on the inner robot a wise move here. Still, perhaps other, less homaged, characters might have been a better choice. The panel explained that being able to use the Onslaught mold comes as a result of closer coordination with Hasbro, allowing them to plan a redeco much earlier in the design process than previously possible.
Then we were on to he Q&A, which is covered in detail in the live feed above, but we thought we’d highlight some of the more interesting responses:
When asked about the potential for future Beast Wars Uprising or DoFP releases, Pete spent a few minutes on the issue, explaining that Beast Wars in one of those known popular demographics, but that it just might not be the right fit at the moment. Sure sounds like things are either planned or have been seriously explored for this area.
That answer may tie in with the general theme of the TCC answers, which was that they have a much closer working relationship with Hasbro, through John Warden, when it comes to design and character selection than ever before. This allows them some unique opportunities, like Bludgeon from Onslaught as discussed above, but seems to preclude the possibility for completely off-the-wall or one-off individual releases that have been the norm in the past.
The first casualty might be a G2 colored Jhaxius, which was described a simply not fitting in currently. No doubt this closer relationship with Hasbro will have its pros and cons for fans moving forward.
We hope you’ve appreciated this in depth look-back on the TCC Roundtable. It certainly offered plenty of news on upcoming exclusives, a glimpse of the design process, and insight as to the thought process and working relationship of the TCC panel themselves. Special thanks to The TF Wiki for the help with sorting out the obscuria involved here.
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