Botcon 2014: Hasbro Panel Write-Up

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During Botcon 2014’s second day, Saturday, June 21st, the Hasbro Transformers brand hosted an outstanding panel showing off new products. This year’s slideshow images are already available in a gallery, here are the details given on each release mentioned during the slideshow for Generations, Age of Extinction, and more Transformers brands.

On the panel were Ben Montano, brand development; Lenny Panzica, senior product designer; Mark Maher, paint; Bill Paukert and John Warden, product design managers; and Mark Weber, global brand development manager.

Hasbro wanted to congratulate the Generations line for finding a strong enough audience to stick around during a movie year and thus “not getting pushed around by Michael Bay.” While there were just 9 collector figures in 2012, 2013 brought 54 and 2014 will bring 73.

Where Hasbro’s past was making a line that was 1 product for 2 consumers – younger fans and older collectors – the products had gotten very complex until the brand had gone off the rails, so now there will be slightly less steps in a collector line, and there will be a younger-child 1-step line. There will also be more work on growing the brand beyond just toys into the digital realm, lifestlye – shirts and hats and such – and entertainment.

Hero Mashers, the modular non-transforming action hero-style figures with swappable limbs and weapons, showed Rodimus and Jetfire, and Soundwave, Slug, Strafe, and Bumblebee are also in the line.

Kre-O brings Custom Kreons – Strafe, Slug, Grimlock, Scorn. The line will have a Dinobot Ride give-away exclusive to Toys R Us on June 28th. Universal Studios gets more support for its Transformers attraction with an Evac Kreon 4-pack, Optimus, Bumblebee, Megatron, and the exclusive Evac Kreon, coming this fall.

Power Battlers wave 3 through the end of the year includes Grimlock, Galvatron with rotating chest cannon, Slug, Snarl (who is an “off-screen hero” which means not appearing in the film), Lockdown who fires missiles from his shoulder launchers one set at a time. Wave 4 includes the Vehicon (another off-screen character), High Octane Bumblebee (aka ’60s Camaro BB), and Junkheap who is an off-screen Decepticon garbage truck. They jokingly considered making Junkheap with smelly plastic, but that proved expensive; his chest-chomping action feature works in both modes.

One-Step wave 3 includes Galvatron, Slug, Steeljaw (the beast from the trailer), and High Octane Bumblebee. Wave 4 is Strafe, Rollbar (an off-screen rally car), a G1-styled Prowl, and Revenge of the Fallen-styled Megatron.

Age of Extinction Generations adds a deluxe Lockdown, “now with 100% more gunface”, his weapon accessory can also attach to his head to give him the gun-face look seen in the movie’s trailer. Also in AOE Generations deluxe is Bumblebee (new Camaro), Snarl whose fins separate and combine with his tail to make a weapon, and Hot Shot who is a repaint of Crosshairs and clearly wants to grow up to be Tracks.

AOE also gets a 2-pack exclusive Optimus and Grimlock; the Autobots United 5-pack with unique decos and even “stripes on both sides of Crosshairs”; and the Breakout Battle scene 3-pack with the trailer’s rusty Optimus Prime deco, Rollbar, and Crankcase who is a repaint of the Dark of the Moon figure – they wanted to call it the “Farmaggedon” pack (the scene takes place with Optimus bursting out of a farmhouse, and is also a reference to Michael Bay’s previous film, Armaggedon) but couldn’t, though they did get the phrase onto the back of the package.

San Diego Comic Con gets a set that’s an homage to the G1 Dinobots with 4 of the 5 dinos from AOE repainted as their G1 counterparts, the question of where Sludge was came up and Hasbro is aware of this, are working on getting a Slog/Sludge version out later this year. The package is an example of what they’d like to continue doing, making it a display environment. The box literally transforms, pop-up book style.

Also coming to SDCC this summer is the “Till All Are One” tour pack, reimagining the Cybertronian war launching with Cybertron’s greatest metal band broke up. 2 heroes – Optimus and Smooth Jazz – and 2 villains – Megatron and Soundwave – repainted and restyled as 1980s-era hair-metal musicians. The box comes with a ton of stuff to complete the theme, even a Bumblebee and the Hive band sticker (that band broke up when the lead singer lost his voice).

Generations continues with Legends wave 4: Nemesis Prime with Spinster, and Cliffjumper with Suppressor.

Deluxe wave 4 includes Chromia, and with much fanfare comes the figure waiting 28 years to get released, and winning this year’s Hall of Fame: G1 Arcee.

Voyager wave 4 is Brainstorm, he’s the last of the year. Transforming cannon, plugging the Headmaster into the cockpit seat flips down sensors, and Brainstorm is very poseable. At the con, 9-year-old fan Ethan asked them to do more Headmaster figures, and was there at the panel to take applause for calling this piece.

A look at Generations in 2015 included a sneak peek at an all-new packaging style, it’ll stand out enough to be recognizable yet also work within the existing new package look. Voyagers, Legends, and Leader-class figures will come with a collector card, while Deluxes will continue to come with comics.

2015 Legends wave 1 includes Powerglide, Thundercracker (the team will try to do all the Seekers if they do one, so this could lead to Skywarp), Windcharger, and Bombshell who will be using that name again.

2015 Voyager wave 1 has a new Optimus Prime.

2015 Leader wave 1 will have Megatron that has a tank alt mode but will look very G1 (the team found that while the gun was too difficult to get that G1 look nice, a tank worked well); and will be followed weeks later by a remold of Armada Megatron.

2015 Masterpiece Sideswipe was previewed, as was Bluestreak in the cartoon’s colors.

Not shown were 16 more deluxes, 5 more voyagers, and “?” leader-class.

And finally, a peek at 2015’s theme showed a silhouette that looked suspiciously like a combiner.

That’s it for Hasbro’s Botcon 2014 panel!

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