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Robots, Power Rangers and Lego Bricks, Oh My!

Written by: Elliott S. Thomas

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On a beautiful Sunday morning I made my way to Pasadena for a very fun and unique convention. Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique are a dual convention held twice a year in the Pasadena Convention Center. This gathering of robot and building block fans brought out people of alll ages. There was something for everyone on the show floor. It was a paradise for collectors of Transformers, Power Rangers, Macross and more. And the selection of fantastic Lego items on display was truly a sight to behold.

General admission tickets to the show were just $5. Early bird tickets were $10, and that gave you access to the show an hour before everyone else. That was a real bargain. The first 100 fans were given treat bags filled with all sorts of cool swag! There was a big turnout at the opening of the show and the freebies went very quickly. The show was well organized and admission was quick and painless. When you paid for your ticket you got a wristband and a raffle ticket which gave you the chance to win some really neat stuff. After a brief wait in line they finally turned me loose inside the show.

Robots, Transformers, Power Rangers and More:

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Upon entering the show floor I was immediately greeted by an amazing selection of robot toys spanning the past several decades. I saw everything you could imagine from every possible franchise. All the big names were present including Transformers, Shogun Warriors, Macross, Power Rangers and so much more. Pricing was very reasonable. There was something for every budget, from the smallest items to the high end, luxury collectibles.

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I was especially delighted by the large selection of rare import toys. This was a real treat for anyone who has never seen some of this cool stuff up close. For me, it brought back great memories of visting Japanese import toy stores in Little Tokyo over 20 years ago. It was like revisiting my childhood.

Building Bricks:

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Of course this show wasn't just about robots, it was also a fantastic convention for fans of Lego, Mega Bloks and other building blocks. The vendors on the show floor had a nice assortment of loose figures, custom toys and mint in box collectibles. There were also tables offering a wide selection of loose bricks for all your custom creations. This included standard bricks, vehicle parts, minifigures and minifigure accessories.

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The convention also included a children's play area. Parents could leave their kids to play in a huge pile of Lego bricks while they went off and did some shopping on the show floor. However most of the parents got down on the floor with the kids and joined in on the fun! The children were well supervised by a team of adults who kept an eagle eye on the play area at all times. The kids had a blast and a fun time was had by all. It was great to see the organizers providing a safe and fun play area for their youngest attendees.

Original Art:

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Of course no convention would be complete with out original artwork. This show was no exception. I found some especially cool items including the custom made stickers you see above. One vendor also had a collection of hand crafted bows, each of which had a s different theme from video games to animation. They were certainly the most unique item on the show floor.

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Worlds collide in this original Lego creation called "The U.S.S. Falcon." It's a combination of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek and the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars. It was just one of many custom Lego creations for sale on the show floor. Several different vendors offered their own unique Lego creations, and all of them were fantastic, but this one was my personal favorite.

Contests and Prizes:

As I mentioned earlier when you purchased a ticket to the show you were also given a raffle ticket. The raffle was held several times during the day, which means you had more than one chance to win. Every few hours a man would appear on the exhibit hall floor and announce the winning numbers. An excited fan would always rush up to the announcer to claim their prize. It was great fun!

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One of the most exciting parts of the Robo Toy Fest was the Gundam Building Contest. I have been a huge fan of Gundam models for many, many years. It was great to see so many outstanding creations made by some extremely talented artists. The contest had three tiers, each for a different skill level. They were Pro, Amateur and Young Blood, the latter of which was for the kids. The winners received a gift certificate from Robots 4 Less. The contest was organized by the fine folks at ThoseGundamGuys.org. Be sure to check out their website to learn more about creating Gundam models and to stay informed about their next great contest.

http://thosegundamguys.org/

Celebrity Sightings:

The real topper of the show was getting the chance to meet some great celebrity guests. With all the fun stuff to do and see at this convention it was neat to be able to rub elbows with some famous names from the entertainment industry. Fans could pose for pictures with their favorite celeb, as well as purchase autographed pictures and memorabilia.

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Here's our friend Dino Andrade. Dino is a talented voice actor who has worked in video games, animation, TV shows, and movies. Gaming fans will know him best as the voice of the Scarecrow in Batman: Arkham Asylum. He has also provided voice work for the game Brutal Legend as well as appearing in the World of Warcraft franchise. Dino is also the creator and owner of SoulGeek.com, a geek dating and community website. http://www.soulgeek.com

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Next up is Rikki Simons and his lovely wife Tavisha. Rikki is a voice actor, artist, and a graphic novelist. He is best known for his work as GIR on the TV show Invader ZIM. Being a big fan of Robotech it was cool to learn that Rikki co-created and wrote the Robotech: Clone comic book series. Tavisha Wolfgarth-Simons is an extremely gifted illustrator and artist. She had a nice assortment of her work on display and for sale. I had a great time talking to this celebrity couple. They were as friendly as they are talented. You can check out more of their work on their website. http://www.tavicat.com

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Here is our friend Romy J. Sharf. Romy is best known for her work as Alpha 5 on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series. The Power Rangers franchise had a big presence at this show. It was an honor to meet someone directly involved with the production of this classic show. Romy was down to earth and extremely gracious to her many fans. She even brought along some original scripts from the show. How cool is that?!

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Power Rangers fans will immediately recognize Christopher Khayman Lee. He is a three time veteran from the franchise having appeared in Power Rangers Space, Lost Galaxy and Wild Force. His character Andros is well known among Ranger fans everywhere. And speaking of fans, Christopher had a large turnout at this booth with tons of people showing up to get autographs and take pictures with the Power Rangers legend. Be sure to check out his website to learn more about his new comic L.A. Crazy Town. http://www.westcoastcomics.net

Until Next Time...

This was my first visit to Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique but it certainly won't be my last. I truly had a great time at this show. I met a bunch of nice people, had a lot of fun playing with Lego bricks, scored a few autographs and came home with a large bag full of goodies! What more could anyone want from a convention? I truly encourage everyone to check out the next show which is tentatively scheduled for early December. Until next time...

Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique Image Gallery (LINK)

Check out over 80 exclusive photos from the Robo Toy Fest and Brick Boutique dual convention in Pasadena, CA. See the great assortment of cool toys, unique artwork and custom creations on display on the show floor.

http://robotoyfest.com

About The Author: Elliott S. Thomas is our resident roving reporter. If there's a fan convention in town you can bet that he's somewhere on the show floor. He shows up early, stays late, and always comes home with a bag full of goodies!