Mitchell has been saving for the “new” Leader Class Grimlock from the Transformers 4 movie since he saw images of the toy on a blog I was reading way back in January. He’s had the money saved for it since the end of February and hassling me every week (EVERY week) to check whether it is out in the shops yet.
When I saw a special event for Transformers was happening at the local Toys R Us at which Grimlock would finally be released in all his orange (?!?!!) glory… I thought “why not”. I’ve never been to a Toy Launch before. I admit there was a novelty and curiosity I wanted to see for myself.
I’m not sure how early people normally go to these events, but we (Bethany INSISTED on coming along, it was too late in the night for Mitchell) turned up an hour before the events official start time to find the queue was already snaked up to the floor above. By the time the event started it was snaked up at least another floor above us. There were freebies to be had – Bethany scored a Kreo Micro Changer much to her delight.
Unfortunately for me, the entire event was conducted in Cantonese, with perhaps 2 or 3 sentences the whole night in English (one directed to Bethany so she could ‘win’ the aforementioned Kreo figurine and another line directed to the Hasbro Asia-Pacific CEO so he knew he had to draw a prize), so a lot of what was being said was lost on me as the MC spoke a lot faster than many of the Cantonese speakers I am used to and I couldn’t follow a lot of what was said at all.
Those early in the lines got a special ticket to redeem for a limited edition figure (upon purchase of over $1600). To my amazement we were lucky enough to score one of those tickets. I’ll get to the figure in question a bit further down…
Gen 1 Optimus (my favorite!) and Transformers 4 Optimus were seen walking around the event. There were also a variety of displays of both toys (some of which weren’t on sale on the night) and Transformers (Optimus and Grimlock) in general.
Transformers 4 Optimus was intricately designed out of what looked like cardboard with glowing blue LED eyes. He stood considerably higher than Gen 1 Optimus but wasn’t very mobile.
Gen 1 Optimus however was much more pliable and even transformed (but didn’t roll out) much to the surprise of everyone.
As 11 PM struck and people were let through the door into the toy store it became a crush of insanity. Die hard fans/collectors bowled each other (and Bethany at one point) over to get to the items they wanted. With some urgency we found the particular Grimlock Mitchell was after and grabbed it off the shelf as others did the same around us. It was like being in one of those insane toy grabs you see in movies and I was quite shocked (but delighted) to see how passionate Transformers fans are in Hong Kong.
They quickly cleaned the shelves of some of the favourites – Optimus, Grimlock and Bumblebee. Crosshair was also quite a popular purchase it seemed. Some of the collectors spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, splitting their purchases up into multiple bundles to ensure they got multiple copies of the bonus freebies. One guy had a wad of receipts about a cm thick! I shudder to think how much he spent!
We restrained ourselves with Bethany choosing the Spinosaurus Dinobot Scorn for herself, a Leader Class Grimlock each for both herself and Mitchell, an Optimus dress up costume for Mitchell (he also got Bumblebee as there was a special “On the night only” buy one, get one free), the Platinum edition Optimus and Grimlock set as well as Evasion mode Optimus. The latter two were my guilty pleasure to put aside in my personal Optimus collection.
For the purchases we made, we were given a few freebies.
A set of stickers and one Kreo energon Bumblebee figurine were given for spending over HK$500 and using a Toys R Us card.
For spending over HK$600 we got a boxed set of two metal figurines of Optimus Prime. One was Gen 1 Optimus Prime and very nice indeed. The other is Optimus as he will appear at some point during the Transformers: Age of Extinction movie. His detail doesn’t look as good, but then he’s got a lot more detail and complexity that isn’t as easy to die cast. This little treasure (Adult collectable according to Hasbro) will be going into my Optimus collection. I wish we’d been allowed more than one as this set was worth the wait. Reckon I can get Peter Cullen to autograph this one for me?
Finally, for spending over HK$1500 and being one of the first 90 in line we got a limited edition silver Transformers collectable. The choices were Crosshair, Bumblebee, Dinobot Slug (triceratops) or Dinobot Scorn (spinosaurus). By the time we had made our purchases Crosshair was already out of stock (DAMMIT!). I didn’t want Bumblebee as he is so cliche. So then it was a decision of which dinobot. Having a soft spot for Triceratops I ended up choosing Slug.
Ya know, I was quite surprised at the flimsy quality of these particular limited edition toys particularly when compared to the metal die cast Optimus. I know they are collectables and thus won’t be played with per say but the silver plastic used to make them is incredibly lightweight and doesn’t look like it would withstand much at all. I’m a little scared to even take the figure out of the box! I’m not sure if something is missing from the box either as it has an indentation for some kind of weapon, but what you see is what I was given. The bony frill is more of a copper colour than sliver but the box it comes in is pretty cool.
There was also a prize draw on the night. It was won predominantly by hard core collectors, with the grand prize – a Gold Optimus won by one of the guys with a huge wad of receipts. It wasn’t terribly organised, but then again they didn’t have a lot of room to utilise either.
Overall it was a fun event and a great night however I wish the communication had been better. I wasn’t told where the receipt number I needed to use was to know whether I put the right number on the receipt for the prize draw so I felt a little let down by that… but as I am the unluckiest person in the world anyways, I probably wouldn’t have won anything to start with…
One interesting thing to note… I wasn’t the only mum there with their daughter. In striking up conversation another mum had brought both her daughters along… both die hard Optimus Prime fans. There were even a couple of ladies who had dragged their boyfriends/husbands along! See Hasbro? Girls adore Optimus just as much as guys do! Nyer!