The CONS 2010Or how we learned from the first time and did it better the second time
But now it’s the year 2010 and the second CONS was starting to take shape. And as is often the case, everything gets a little bit easier the second time around.
At a time when, 12 months before, we were barely at the brainstorming stage, the preparations for the CONS 2010 were already going full steam. Early on we started looking for a (bigger) location, wrote to dealers, and made plans. The idea of having an exclusive convention figure was discussed, abandoned, reborn and finally made into reality. Hasbro’s German branch was brought onboard early and here, too, it soon became evident: after successfully pulling it off once, everything came together much easier this time. The owner of the Transformers brand was now ready to participate in our event, but more on that later.
A short paragraph on what the year 2010 means for Transformers fans. When the third season of the original Transformers cartoon came around in 1986, the story was set in the (then) far-flung future of 2006. But when that season made its way into Japan, the Japanese took it one step further: they turned it into a new series with a new title, namely "Super-Robot Life-Form Transformers: 2010”. You might have guessed: They pushed the timeline further out into the year 2010, so for many hardcore TF fans this year stands for the adventures of Rodimus Prime, Springer, Arcee, Kup and Blurr, who fought against Galvatron, Cyclonus, Scourge and his Sweeps. Which meant we quickly found a topic for our convention.
As I said, a lot of things went easier this time around. The organization team of the first CONS reassembled with barely any changes, the distribution of jobs went very smoothly, and while it was still a whole lot of work, we were spared quite a few of the personality clashes, detours, and false starts of last year.
Since no plan ever survives contact with the enemy, though, we got a piece of bad news just two days prior to the convention: we had planned to use Saturday for setting everything up, but were no informed that we wouldn’t be able to enter the location on that day, as none of the people running the place (the fan club of the local soccer club Borussia Moenchengladbach) would be present. Which meant that those members of the organization team living close by had to spend many hours on Friday evening, well into the night, to set up as much as possible. Let me take this opportunity to give a heart-felt and honest "well done!” to those courageous men and women.
My beloved wife and myself, living over three hours away by car, arrived on Saturday and, seeing as we wouldn’t be able to do anything on that day, took our time. Originally we had planned to make a short detour to nearby Duisburg, where –as some people might know- the Love Parade was hailed that very same weekend. Probably the last Love Parade ever due to the tragedy that occurred there. Thankfully Daniela and I decided (before reading the news) that we were too tired to go there and instead opted for a nice dinner in the hotel. Which was a fortunate turn of events, as we later learned of the tragedy and how it tied up traffic all around the city. Our sincere condolences go to all the people who lost friends and loved ones at the Love Parade.
But back to happier topics: On Sunday morning, 8am sharp, we were well-rested (as much as the crappy hotel beds allowed) and arrived at the location. Greetings and welcomes were exchanged and then we went to work, because there were several big boxes containing figures for our "Transformers: 2010” exhibit, as well as contestants for our Custom Contest waiting to be unpacked.
Work finished, Daniela and I took the opportunity before the doors were opened to return to our hotel to pack and enjoy the breakfast buffet. When we returned it was almost 11am. Just enough time to make a circuit around the dealer tables undisturbed by other guests and then the doors opened and the first visitors pushed inside.
The general order of events was nearly identical to last year’s CONS, so I’ll just list a few personal highlights:
- One surprise (for most people, but I’d gotten a heads-up via SMS)
was the appearance of my good friend LimeWire. So after knowing each
other online for years, we finally had the chance to meet face to face.
- Same goes for Desastron, whom I also met in person for the very
first time. And many, many thanks and hugs for you, Desastron, you know
why, and have lots of fun with your Botcon Breakdown.
- Other online acquaintances whom I met for the first time at the
CONS were Der_Jack, Optimus-Prime, Predaking77, Tobimus and some others
as well, though I’ve forgotten all the names. Sorry, guys, I have a
horrible memory for names.
- My beloved wife bought me a very nice figure, RID Galvatron, from the stock of NTF-mainstay Cybertroner.
- At one dealer table I found a very rare figure, the Beast Wars
II Tako Tank, which was never available outside Japan. I immediately
picked that one up.
- Fellow team-member Jazz delivered the long-awaited Punch / Counterpunch from the Transformers Club.
- And of course I snatched up one of the exclusive CONS convention figures, the Headrobots Cobra.
- Our friends from the Dutch TFConversions, which apparently will
once again be called BOTS starting next year, brought along a box full
of their exclusive foam Bumblebee (and Cliffjumper) figures.
- The newspaper "Rheinische Post” did an interview about the
convention and Transformers in general (see below for a link to the
- The band Rampage did several short sets during the convention, before going all-out at the Aftershow Party.
Of course we once again had a big raffle and two contests for custom Transformers and fan art. In the latter Vibrance from our NTF-Team emerged the winner, while the first prize for the custom contest, a Fansproject Warbot Defender, went to BlackZarak and his figure Pointblank. Sadly BlackZarak could not be there to take his win in person.
(PS: We later learned that BlackZarak was indeed present at the CONS, but only for a very short visit and had to leave well before the award ceremony. Maybe next time.)
As mentioned above Hasbro’s German branch was onboard as well and gave us several items for our big raffle. A representative was also there to take a look at what we were doing, so here’s hoping that next year, when the third movie comes out, our cooperation with Hasbro might extend. But many thanks to Hasbro for what they did for us this year.
As we were approaching the end of the show at 5pm, everyone involved was rather tired, but very happy. At the time I wrote this article I didn’t have the numbers yet, but my gut feeling says that we broke last year’s attendance record. All the dealers with whom I spoke were very happy with the event and EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM has already agreed to return next year. Does anything more need to be said?
(PS the second: We’ve got the numbers now: 19 dealers and 224 visitors. If you include the team, the dealers and everyone, there were 259 people at this year’s convention. Last year we were 153, so I’d call that a tremendous improvement.)
We died a short farewell announcement with many thanks being given to our two main organizers, Marc/Lucy and Alex, who did the brunt of the work. Our band Rampage also got a thank you in the form of a certificate signed by the entire team, as well as a ROTF Rampage figure for their new mascot.
Yeah, and that was all she wrote. Sadly I can’t write much about the Aftershow Party, seeing as Daniela and I left shortly after 5pm, seeing as we had another three hour drive before us and work on Monday. But before we left a lot of people came by, told us (in various languages) that they had lots of fun and fully intend to return next year. Not a single negative voice so far, which is tremendous.
So to sum up the CONS 2010: A little bit bigger than last year, a little bit better than last year, and just a lot of fun for all involved. So keep your fingers crossed that we can maintain this healthy upwards-trend and we’re all looking forward to CONS 2011. Until then, thanks for reading and thank you to everyone who was there in person or followed us on our Live Twitter. We hope you had as much fun as we did.
Alex aka Skywarp was so kind as to write a few words about the Aftershow Party. Starting shortly after 5pm the band Rampage went all-out, full power, and performed pieces from all three of their albums. Fans of the band arrived at this time, seeing as Rampage had announced this event as a concert as well, and they partied together with the remaining CONS visitors.
Highlight of the evening had to be when Lucy asked for two specific songs and was quickly dragged on stage to perform alongside the band. From everything I’ve heard he did a tremendous job, enthusiasm making up for his lacking singing experience. A video of this is linked below.
And just in case anyone thought that this wasn’t enough, the remaining members of the organization team did all the clean-up work on the same evening after the band was done. So by the time the last people fell into bed, the entire location was once again spotless. So once again: "Good Job, people!”
And for everyone who wants not just words, but also pictures and sounds and yet more words:
NTF Gallery 1
NTF Gallery 2
The CONS article in the Rheinische Post newspaper
How did you like the CONS? Feedback thread at NTF Forum (German)
CONS-Thread at shockwave.forumup.nl (Dutch)
CONS-Thread at transfanclub.net (Dutch)
CONS-Thread at TFW2005.com (English)
Video made by our Dutch visitors
Video from the Aftershow-Party (including a singing Lucy)