Last weekend, Zeon and I had the opportunity to visit the BotCon, a Transformers convention held by the Transformers Collectors' Club. This year, it happened to take place in our hometown of San Diego, so we dropped by and documented some of the action on the floor for those of you who couldn't make it (and those who didn't even know this convention exists).
While cosplayers tend to travel the floor at most conventions, the handful of well-costumed guests were forced to stay in the front corner of the floor because the convention was so small and the costumes tended to be so big.
In fact, when these cosplayers visited a booth in full costume, the crowding got so out of hand that the security guards had to ask them to go back to the front of the floor.
The cosplayers politely agreed and for the most part, when I saw them walk around through the booths later on, it was as quickly as possible in the cumbersome costumes or with pieces like the helmets removed so people wouldn't stop the flow of traffic by taking pictures.
Of course, not all of the cosplay was quite so difficult to navigate in. This lovely gal got around just fine despite her massive mallet.
While it was a Transformers convention, there was a surprising amount of GI Joe toys and references as well, including these two Cobra henchmen.
This was my favorite cosplayer at the event, and not just because he was a dinosaur that was walking himself through the floor -he also refused to speak while in the costume and instead used a squeaky toy like you'd give to a dog to communicate.
I was also quite a fan of this costume because it had such a delightfully cartoonish quality about it, while most of the other costumes looked so serious.
Here is another cartoonish costume, though it still features more detailing than the last.
On the other hand, sometimes detailing is precisely what makes an amazing costume. The glowing eyes and skeleton hands take this undead Cliffjumper cosplay to the next level.
While some people have a tendency to assume cosplayers, particularly those in elaborate and encumbering costumes, are the biggest fans, that's often not the case. In fact, it would be very easy to make the case that this gentleman was the biggest fan at the convention.
If his entire backpiece wasn't enough to convince you of his dedication, perhaps on of his sleeves would, or maybe his entire chestpiece. It really does take some serious dedication to tattoo everything from your neck to your waist with transformers.
Of course, he wasn't the only person there with Transformer tattoos and while this chap may not have two full sleeves, the one he does have is pretty impressive.
For those who weren't dedicated enough to get a whole sleeve of Bots, there were always tee shirts featuring the characters and while I saw plenty of fun Transformers shirts, this one was by far the funniest -especially since it managed to merge the Bots and the Ninja Turtles together for one anti-Bay message.
Not everyone stopped with just a tee shirt either. These gents had some seriously great hats featuring Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee. The one on the right also had some pretty sweet Transformers bling.
No one had a non-cosplay outfit that showed more love for the Bots than this gal, who not only had a custom Transformers dress, but also custom-made jewelry.
I regret that as a child, I the only Transformers I owned were these two McDonald's toys. (My apologies about my limited knowledge of the subject.) I actually almost bought these just for nostalgia's sake, but then I realized I still have them in some box at my parent's house.
Naturally, there were many more impressive Transformers for sale than the cheesy ones that used to come with Happy Meals. Fortunately, most of them weren't so harsh about people playing with them at the booths.
I was particularly drawn to this huge one that turned into a pyramid.
As you may have guessed, Bots weren't the only vintage toys being sold at the convention. There were a lot of Japanese toys, Star Wars action figures, GI Joes and these Ninja Turtles as well.
Many of the Japanese Transformers proved to be far more exciting than the ones we have here in the US. They had Transformers that turned into Mickey, Goofy and Pluto and this utterly bizarre popsicle toy that could turn into a boy holding a popsicle.
So how much can vintage Transformers in the box go for these days? Well, here were the two most expensive figures I spotted at the convention. As Zeon pointed out, you could buy a car for the money this seller wanted for this toy. Personally, I'd rather have the popsicle boy.
Aside from the many vintage and Japanese toys for sale, there were also a few new models, including convention exclusives like this Bumblebee.
These new and exclusive toys were on display in glass cases in the back so everyone could see them and get excited.
While the toys on display in the back area were cool, they weren't super exciting for those of us who weren't die-hard Transformers fans. That beings said, this massive 7 foot by 4 foot display featuring toys in action, and even a working plasma light, was a totally different story. I was particularly into this part of the display that featured creatures escaping glass captivity areas.
While the big display in the back was the only one put up by the organizers of the convention, there were a number of displays in the front of the hall that were created by event-goers as part of a contest.
Aside from dioramas, there were also a variety of other Transformers art in the contest, including paintings.
This Perler Beads display was part of a "Special Children's Exhibit" in the contest.
I was particularly impressed by this adorable Optimus Prime amigurumi in the contest.
If you think bigger is better though, you probably would have preferred this giant Bot plush that stood about three feet tall.
There were quite a few fun posters available for sale at the event, some supporting the Deceptacons...
Some supporting the Autobots (and My Little Ponies)...
Some were just cool looking...
And some featured practically the entire cast in an epic battle for supremacy.
One of the biggest art attractions to fans though were customized Transformers like this massive one standing outside of one of the booths.
The big guys in this picture were also customs made by the same booth vendor.
All in all, the event was amazing for those looking to buy or trade Transformers figures or get autographs from people who designed the toys or worked on the show. But even for those of us with an unfortunately limited knowledge of the Bots, the convention was still a fun opportunity to enjoy cosplay, fashion, toys and art.