I have been attending Transformers conventions for over a decade now. I not only own all of the convention exclusive sets offered over that time, I have experienced the convention and its prevailing atmosphere each year. I wanted to make a list of the five best Botcon exclusive sets, not just based on the toys, but on much more than that. Innovation. Character Selection. Overall theme. Fan Demand. I made this list with all of these things in mind to bring forth the most cohesive and synergistic sets to date. Have a look through each of my selections and let us know what you think in the comments.

5. Roulette & Shadow Striker (2003)
(Images from TFU.info)

There is usually at least one oddball choice in every list. Many will consider this choice to be the oddball in this article. Before Fun Publications took over the Transformers convention in 2005, the event was run by 3H Enterprises. The standard at the time was two convention exclusive toys per year. One was a smaller figure (think deluxe class), while the other was a larger figure (think Ultra or Voyager class) and priced appropriately.

In 2003, the larger exclusive turned out to be a two-pack of figures. Multi-packs were very rare prior to that for exclusive items. Both figures were repaints of the Robots in Disguise Sideburn mold, but with a retooled head. The mold’s robot form was slender and, with the addition of the newly tooled head, made for a convincing female robot. The heads marked the first time any sort of new tooling was made for an exclusive figure. Seeing the new head on the figure was nothing short of extra-ordinary at the time and something that is completely taken for granted in the here and now. These figures also marked the first time a mold using a licensed vehicle (Dodge Viper) was used for a Botcon/OTFCC convention exclusive.



Original RID Sideburn head

Original RID Sideburn head

Shadow Striker

Shadow Striker

Roulette and Silhouette, as they were originally meant to be named before a failed trademark test, were sisters. Roulette and Shadow Striker, as they were officially named, took very different paths after witnessing the death of a third, younger sister. Roulette entered law enforcement with the Autobots, while Shadow Striker delved into a great deal of criminal activity with the Decepticons.


Sharp looking paint applications, a compelling back story, and many groundbreaking firsts including new tooling make this set worth putting in any list of top Botcon/OTFCC exclusives.

4. Shattered Glass (2008) – Optimus Prime, Goldbug, Grimlock, Jazz, Starscream, Razorclaw (mini-con)

SG Optimus Prime

SG Starscream

Shattered Glass is an interesting set. Fun Publications’ fourth year of running the convention, brought us an entirely new alternate universe, in which, to play. Based on the concept of Star Trek: The Original Series’ Mirror Mirror episode, the entire landscape and story is flip-flopped. The Autobots are the bad guys. The Decepticons are the good guys. Optimus Prime is a ruthless tyrant. Megatron is a heroic leader. You get the idea. By pulling the story out of the regular timelines and establishing their own universe, Fun Publications was able to carve out a niche in story-telling that was entirely their own to use and manipulate without fear of contradicting other storylines or using characters that may not, otherwise, be appropriate. Hasbro would soon claim the Fun Pub created character Nexus Prime/Maximus to be used as one the Original Thirteen. This meant that Fun Pub could no longer use the character they had created. The need and ability for artistic freedom would prove extremely useful to the club, in spite of this, when they revisited the Shattered Glass universe in the Botcon 2012 exclusive set.

SG Goldbug

SG Grimlock

SG Jazz

Deriving most of the molds from the Transformers: Cybertron line, the set did manage to pull in two molds from the very popular first wave of the Transformers (Classics) line; Optimus Prime and Grimlock. One of the artistic freedoms the Shattered Glass story allowed was the ability to have some fun with the paint schemes for the new versions of our characters. Starscream received a paint scheme based largely on G1 Jetfire. Grimlock received colors that were based on G1 Trypticon. Goldbug received a paint scheme loosely based on the G1 deluxe insecticons, playing up the ‘bug’ reference in his name. The Optimus Prime figure was clearly the centerpiece of this set, featuring an original, yet menacing color scheme. Jazz’s colors were largely unchanged from his G1 counterpart, leaving many disappointed that he did not receive the same playful changes as the other figures.

SG Razorclaw

SG Razorclaw

As an added bonus, a set of three mini-cons (called MicroMasters) was split up between the set and the two souvenir sets sold at the convention. Razorclaw came with the main set and was a repaint of the Classics Overbite figure that was a part of the Predator Attack mini-con team.

Throwing convention out the window and trying something completely different is what got this set into this list.

3. Games of Deception (2007) – Thrust, Thundercracker, Dirge, Dreadwind, Bugbite

In 2007, Hasbro and Paramount Pictures were on the verge of releasing the first live action full length feature for the Transformers. It was both an exciting and anxious time to be a fan. Many of the movie character designs were not sitting well with long time fans. Additionally, a small line that was only meant to fill in the gap between Transformers: Cybertron and the first movie’s toyline had done incredibly well and was widely embraced by the larger collecting community. This line was the adjective-less Transformers line. It was almost immediately dubbed Transformers Classics because it featured modern updates of classic Generation 1 characters. The problem was the line was never meant to last beyond its second wave. Once the movie toys rolled in, everything else would be stopped. This left fans wanting more.


Fun Publications stepped up to the plate and attempted to help fans to at least fill in a few of the small gaps left by the line. For instance, the Classics line came out with Starscream, Skywarp and Ramjet. As part of the convention set, the remaining three seekers were produced; Thrust, Thundercracker and Dirge. Each of the seekers had their uniquely styled wings. Further, the voyager Jetfire mold was given a retooled head to become Dreadwind, a modern update to the G1 Decepticon Powermaster. The final figure was an interesting piece. Using the Bumblebee mold and extensive paint apps, BugBite was brought about. This is a character that originates from an E-Hobby exclusive set of mini-bot repaints that, in turn, paid homage to the Go-Bots (confused? TFWiki has your back. Go here). Bugbite provided that one extra twist to keep things interesting and new, but still allowing the rest of the set to serve the purpose of meeting fan demand.


Listening to the fans and helping them fill a perceived need is what made this set popular and added to this list.

2. Dawn of Futures’ Past (2006) – Optimus Primal, Cheetor, Rattrap, Rhinox, Dinobot

Coming off of a pretty luke-warm reception to the 2005 box set, Fun Pub put together a top notch theme to get fans excited about the convention and the exclusives once again. Going back to the roots for one of the most beloved iterations of the franchise, the convention’s theme in 2006 centered around Beast Wars. The story focused on the events that led up to the first episode of the series, the Predacon flight from Cybertron and the subsequent Maximal pursuit. The story allowed us a glimpse into the characters before they reached Earth and took on their well known beast forms.

The set featured each of the five main Maximals from the series including Dinobot, who had not yet turned on Megatron to join the Maximals. Each of the figures’ molds came from the Transformers Cybertron line, with the exception of Darksyde Dinobot, who used the Armada Hoist mold. Optimus Primal used the Crumplezone body. Cheetor used the Clocker mold. Rhinox got the Landmine body. Finally, Rattrap made use of the Ransack mold. The body choice and color schemes were very appropriate and on target for each of the characters.

Having what would become the whole Maximal team on Earth as a part of this set brought a sense of unity and completeness that was lacking in the prior year’s toys. The popularity of Beast Wars made it that much more desirable. The exclusive set still commands a hefty price on the after market today.

1. The Stunti-Con Job (2011) – Motormaster, Breakdown, Dead End, Wildrider, Dragstrip

By 2010 it was well established that Transformers Animated had come to a close. This created a rare opportunity for the convention to, once again, revisit a wildly popular iteration of Transformers and attempt to eke out a little more story and a few more toys for the fans. In 2011, Fun Publications did just that.


In the way the Beast Wars set of 2006 was able to revisit a popular Transformers series, so too, did the Animated set of 2011. The story took place shortly after the final events of the show. Megatron is in prison, while Sentinel is still acting-Magnus. A group of Decepticon infiltrators are charged with the task of an attempted breakout for Megatron. Those Decepticon soldiers are none other than the Stunticons, a very popular team of combiners from G1, finally brought to Animated continuity. As in 2006, the 2011 set managed to form a full team under a unified theme.


The Stunti-Con Job was also able to do something that the 2007 Games of Deception set had best exemplified before it. If you fill in gaps in fan’s collections, you will be rewarded. The reward was a quick sell out of the set. It not only filled in the gap of the Stunticons in the Animated Universe, but it also added another female in the form of Dragstrip. In addition, it gave Breakdown his fourth Botcon iteration.

Excellence in coordination, a cohesive theme and meeting fan demand propelled this set to the top of the list.

How would you rank the Botcon exclusive sets? Share your thoughts in the comments!