08 June 2012
A history of Europe's biggest Transformers convention. ...
Despite being introduced in the early 1980s, Transformers is still an exceptionally popular brand thanks in part to the recent live action movies but also the continued introduction of new animated series, comic books and even video games. As such, it should come as no surprise to hear that Transformers has its own annual convention. However, it may come as a surprise that Europe’s biggest convention is actually held here in the UK!
Founded in 2000, Auto Assembly has developed over the years into a huge event that covers everything from rare toys to episodes of the cartoons and even quizzes. It was founded originally as a small-scale event, intended to be an occasional Transformers equivalent to the Star Trek meetings organized by a fan club called Alpha Quadrant. It was seen as a Transformers collector fair - a chance for fans of the toys to get together to discuss their hobby and potentially pick up new models.
However, from those humble beginnings it quickly expanded and in 2003 it was expanded to a full-scale convention which covered all features of the Transformers brand. In 2010 it became the biggest event in Europe after attracting more than 570 fans, including some from as far away as Australia and North America. What’s more, thanks to this continued expansion, organizers have now set up Auto Assembly conventions outside of the UK and the first European show was held in Sweden in November 2011.
With the growing success it means Auto Assembly can now attract a range of stars associated with the Transformers brand. Regular guests include comic writer Simon Furman, artists Andrew Wildman, Lee Sullivan, Geoff Senior and colourist Jason Cardy. There have also been numerous appearances by voice actors from the original cartoon, including Dan Gilvezan who played Bumblebee.
Other notable highlights in Auto Assembly’s history include a display from Hasbro featuring the unveiling of handmade resin versions of Optimus Prime, Megatron and Bulkhead from Transformers: Animated in 2008 and the world premiere of the Transformers: Animated videogame from Activision.
But aside from all this, the event is really meant to be a celebration of everything related to Transformers. There are toys from around the world, free workshops by comic artists, fancy dress competitions, script readings with voice actors and members of the public and even karaoke (surely, everyone must just sing The Touch by Stan Bush?).
So, if all this has your whetted your appetite for Auto Assembly then fear not because this year’s event is due to take place on August 3rd – 5th at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel and there are still tickets available at the website. This year there are 17 guest appearances, the biggest ever line-up of dealers, free gifts for attendees and a new four-star venue! All that remains to be said is: Transformers fans… roll out!