Yet another experience at the usual invincible robot toy show this winter, right before Christmas rolls around. This would be my fourth time stopping by, having come non-stop for the past two years now. I’ll admit it loses its luster a bit with each visit, but there’s no doubt that we snagged the best deals this time around.
Visited with the usual crew of friends for the past two rounds, though this time we were short one of our usual cast. My comrade who’s usually the man behind the camera for these posts was conspicuously absent, so someone else had to take shots instead. Their relative unfamiliarity with my whacky camera resulted in some blurry or misplaced shots, so please forgive those as best you can.
Robots and the pinnacle of geekdom everywhere you turn. The amount of vendors seemed to be consistent with previous conventions, but I didn’t spot as many points of interest this time around. There seemed to be less exclusive, eye-catching jewels and more average rabble.
Brick Boutique was around again as well, with plenty of LEGO merchandise from forgotten franchises and brands.
Mini-figures. Mini-figures everywhere.
Not gonna lie, I had half a mind to actually pick up a set if only for nostalgic value, but I feel like LEGOs have skyrocketed in price from when I built them during my youth. My reasoning was that the money required for a medium-sized set that would probably take me under an hour to build could be better spent on a nice HG kit.
Speaking of HG kits and price, holy crap did we see some incredibly priced models here. $15 for a 00 Raiser + GN Sword III! Last I checked it was going for double online.
The vendor mentioned something offhand about an end-of-the-year clearance sale. That would explain why everything was so well-priced. My comrades and I actually bought a fair amount from this particular stand.
Conversely, there were also some things that were slightly outlandish in price to say the least. I actually came to RTF with the intention of picking up a handful of cheap (>$5) 1/100 kits to refurbish, customize, and add to my 1/100 Customs collection, but unfortunately I didn’t find much within reason.
This old, decrepit 1/100 Airmaster Burst was a perfect candidate, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk it down by much. I wouldn’t pay more than $5 for something this beat up (I couldn’t verify if all the parts were there, but there were definitely broken bits) and I’ve gotten better for less before. To put it in perspective, this thing is the same price as that brand-new HG 1/144 00 Raiser + GN Sword III featured above.
Most of the vendors were very cool with price-matching and working out deals though, which is why I love conventions like these. I hate to pick favorites, but from all my experiences here it seems the main stand in the center closest to the entrance (which seems to be run by the guys who planned RTF itself) is the most reasonable with price.
There was also a good amount of hand-made art and crafts available for sale, like these neat little perler bead magnets. I probably would’ve picked one up myself if they had a Samus available.
This. I died. It’s not even Thomas’ final form.
I should also mention now that this convention was distinctly geared towards Macross/Robotech.
Apparently there were several Robotech voice actors and some well-respected artists at the autograph/meet and greet section, but we were unfamiliar with pretty much all of them, and thus didn’t pay much heed.
We arrived at the ‘con at around 11AM in the morning, managed to stay all the way through to around 4PM. No lunch in between either. I have to give a shout-out to Robo Toy Fest staff for the fantastic goodies in the swag-me-out bags they give out at the door though.
This made us very sad.
Broken, half-pulverized HG kits are one thing, but to see a once-glorious (we hope) Perfect Grade reduced to this pile of rubble was heart-wrenching. The LED workings were all there, though the model itself seemed to be very poorly built, with nubs galore. It was haphazardly thrown into a plastic bag which was in turn thrown into a giant plastic bin full of a bunch of other figures and toys.
What’s left of its wings, head, and a few other scattered parts were in the bag, along with a little tag reading the $25 asking price. It goes for $120 brand new nowadays.
I had half a mind to lower the price a bit and actually purchase it, but after sifting through what was left of its parts, I deduced that it was pretty much beyond salvage, even with my experience at doing so for Gunpla.
On a brighter note for Perfect Grades though, we actually had the privilege of taking a look at the very recently released PG Unicorn Gundam box up close. I didn’t think any vendor would have this kit so soon, but there it was. Too bad no LED set was available, but it’s not like we could’ve afforded either anyways.
When this was first announced, I actually had my heart set on picking it up, but after seeing the build images and reviews, it looks distinctly underwhelming when compared to the PG upgrades suits like the Strike received.
Another kit I actually had my heart set on picking up at this ‘con was the HGBF Build Burning Gundam. I’m kind of sick and tired of waiting for a MG, and the show just keeps getting better every week. Unfortunately, that same vendor who had the PG Unicorn seemed to be the only one who carried the Build Burning, and I only got there in time to see the last one be sold off.
This. Special mention goes to how awesome this is. I want an AT-AT stereo.
Right before we were set and about to leave, my comrade (the same who wore the Operation: Virtue armor and Operation: NT-D armor) mentioned how he felt a distinct lack of something – up until then he had only purchased a single RG Gundam Exia at a $20 steal. Nothing had really appealed to him thus far, so we took to sifting through the MSIA bins as we do every time we come around.
I had sifted through those bins on my own earlier in the day, and came across several neat little Gundam figures that I would personally never shell out the cash for unless they were in 1/100 scale (none of which were, sadly).
At the end of the day, I recommended a little SD-style RX-78-2 MSIA-esque figure to him, and he seemed to take an interest. While I was tossing and churning the bins before, I remembered that I saw several of the RX-78-2’s iconic weapons scattered throughout, loose and without bags. With this in mind, we spent a good 10 or 20 minutes combing multiple bins for the rest of the Gundam’s armory, eventually coming up with a beam rifle, bazooka, shield, beam saber, and Ball (because why not). As we scrounged our haul together, we brought it up to the gentleman running the booth and managed to snag the pile for $10.
And at the very end of the day, our combined loot. A part of me is strangely gleeful that we pretty much got nothing but Gundam-related merch this time around.
The artbooks on the sides belonged to one of my friends who’s more drawing-oriented, while my cosplay buddy picked up the RG Gundam Exia and the RX-78-2/Ball set, as I mentioned above. One of my other compatriots only picked up a HGBF Ez-SR, and the newest addition to our tag team (who happened to be a female; broke our band of brothers) who accompanied us on this trip got herself a HG Full Armor Unicorn and a Bearguy F. As for myself, I came in with the intention to spend less and only go for cheap 1/100 HG models, but at the end of the day I managed to get better deals on higher-quality and more expensive items.
After the incredible introduction to the Metal Build line with my first Metal Build Gundam Exia, I’ve been craving more for quite some time. Unfortunately, these aren’t cheap collectables to come by, and I’ve passed by many out of my price range during Anime Expo and other Robo Toy Fests.
However, that same vendor that was carrying the incredibly priced HG kits I mentioned above also had the much-coveted (so much so that it actually got a re-issue from Bandai) Metal Build Freedom Gundam for $100 flat. Seeing that, I simply couldn’t pass it up. The cheapest I saw it go for online was $150~, so I wasn’t getting a bad deal by any means. I blew most of my budget relatively early, but it was oh so worth it.
I owe our female compatriot $55 now though, since I did literally go over my spending power. I managed to actually pick up the MG Tallgeese I was seeking for a very nice price point of $40 flat, since it’ll end up being my primary project over winter break.
All told, yet another great experience at Robo Toy Fest. Certainly the best for our monies, I think. End of the year clearance sales are the greatest things ever. Looking forward to the next show, presumably in May 2015; I do certainly hope they’ll be able to expand the ‘con to become larger and more plentiful every year.