Event: Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique Date: December 16, 2012 Location: Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, California
Event: Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique
Date: December 16, 2012
Location: Pasadena Convention Center, Pasadena, California
Waiting for us at the entrance of the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California, was a welcome sight to our robot crazed eyes. Two “Autobots” guarded the entrance, a yellow Chevy Camaro named “Bumblebee” and an 80’s Toyota Ambulance-Van, called “Ratchet” (along with an amazing nurse). For a robot and mecha aficionado, this was a sign of good things to come.
Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique are twin shows that are held concurrently in the same exhibit hall twice a year. Robo Toy Fest is a gathering of fans and vendors that celebrate –mostly vintage and some new– anime, TV, and manga inspired Japanese robots. Brick Boutique is similar but with Lego and the emerging Lego aftermarket as its focus. If this double duo show sounds amazing, that’s because it is –and get this– entry is free to the public. How cool is that?!
As we ventured into the exhibit hall, we were immediately floored by the rarity and selection of items that were on display and being sold and traded. Even the most hardcore of collectors would enjoy picking through the room’s 48 dealer tables for hours upon hours.
On the robot side of things we saw most every subgenre represented from early Chogokin like Mazinger Z through Tokusatsu like Kamen Rider. 80’s and 90’s mecha based toys were on hand including Transformers items from all generations, Bandai’s not-so-rare Gundam toys and model-kits as well as some very rare Votoms and Macross items. Vendors offered rare toy and box variants of vintage toys as well as a large selection of books, out of print specialist magazines, model-kits, and other oddities.
Brickheads rejoiced at seeing the concentration of Lego specialty vendors all packed into one place. Everything from vintage Lego through the newest aftermarket parts makers were in attendance. We marveled at the level of customization that Lego fans brought to the table. Parts bins were full of rare minifigs and discontinued sets and individual parts. There was a kids Lego play area too.
The show also featured talented artists including renown mecha designer Tsuyoshi Nonaka. Nonaka is the designer for Shin Mazinger Shōgeki! Z-Hen, Kamen Rider, and Super Sentai, Power Rangers, Thundercats among others.
Scott Zillner, the shows’ creator, has had some experience in putting on fan-based shows like this in the past. He created Robots Among Monsters Horror Film Festival in 2006 and held Power Ranger themed cons, Power Morphicon, in 2010 and 2012. Since the first Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique in March of 2012, the show doubled its size and tripled its attendance. This show is held twice a year with the next installment in May of 2013 at the same location.
By melding two childhood favorites together, Zillner, has quite a success on his hands. As soon as we left for the day, we were already looking forward to the next show.