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Just like every year sees Santa Clause and a dozen new Bumblebees coming round, so did 2011 once again feature the annual German Transformers Fan Convention C.O.N.S. and to put the most important thing first: we managed to continue our trend of growth from last year, once again increasing our visitor number by over a 100 when compared to the previous year. If we continue this trend, we'll overtake Botcon in... but let's not go there quite yet. And to give you an impression of what it was like: my friend James, who came all the way from the United States to attend this event, said the following words to me directly afterwards:

„I liked it. It was more fun than Botcon!“

Now that's what I call a compliment, right? Especially seeing as there were lots of bad omens preceding the event. So it was but a week before the C.O.N.S. that its speaker (Yours Truly) had absolutely no voice thanks to a cold. My beloved wife had to stay home and couldn't attend due to a severe ear infection. The summer was conspicuous by its absence and it was raining nearly non-stop. The flight of this year's guest of honor, Simon Furman, was nearly seven hours late. And if all that wasn't enough, the culinary side of the event was a near total failure because our rather non-cooperative hosts at the Kaisersaal, where the event took place, first cancelled the barbecue with no explanation and then didn't have enough other food handy to keep the masses fed during the whole day.

But as famous German showmaster Thomas Gottschalk once said: if the director doesn't break down crying, then it wasn't a good show. And so it was that Alex (aka Skywarp), our beloved boss lady, finished the day completely exhausted and crying, but only out of relief and happiness because it had turned out to be a great event despite all the obstacles in our way. Everyone had fun, we were all able to happily indulge our inner Transformers nerds, friendships were renewed or freshly funded, and of course there was lots of robot-shaped plastic being bought and sold as well.

As I mentioned above we had a guest of honor this year, Simon Furman. If you don't know who that man is, then what are you doing here? Apart from the honor of getting to know the grand master and vast, predatory bird of Transformers comics, it was also very nice to discover that he isn't just a great writer, but also an extremely likeable chap, who didn't grumble over his delay for too long and took the various jibes against his famous "Furmanisms" with humor. A great guy is Simon Furman, who made us all very happy campers by saying he'd like to come back next year.

Once again present this year, the rockband Rampage, along with their specially created song "Let's go Transform!" and lots of bass. C.O.N.S. creator and spiritual guide Lucy even joined them on stage for a few songs to prove his vocal talent, earning him lots of applause. Supplementing the music with dance moves were our resident cosplayers, among them Animated Soundwave, two Sari Sumdacs, Blurr, and a very sinister-looking Bumblebee (oh, come on, Rumble! You know it was a Bumblebee!)

And speaking of Bumblebees... oh yes, the Bumblebees. This year's raffle, bigger than ever thanks to our various sponsors, seemed to contain hundreds of them. Did anyone notice the speaker's growing irritation with this figure and character after the 20th time this figure came up? Nah, can't be, we're all pros here after all.

Apart from the fan art and custom contests, which have been a stable at C.O.N.S. since the start, we had two brand-new contests this year, one for cosplayers and a Transformers quiz. The former was owned by Saskia (aka "To Punish and Enslave") in her Animated Sounwave outfit, while only one of all the people present managed to correctly answer all 20 questions on the quiz sheet, namely Patrick (aka "Scourge"). And once again for everyone who hasn't gotten it yet: yes, the G1 cartoon first debuted in 1984. In AMERICA! The question was, when did it debut in GERMANY! But enough of that. Congratulations to all the winners, apart from those I already mentioned there were Tarminator who took the Fan Art contest and Pyps who won the best custom figure.

So, what else is there to report? We learned that Simon Furman actually killed Optimus Prime only one time. We also learned that it's not a good idea to dance in heavy-duty cosplay outfits (those were huge sweat stains I saw there, Rumble!). We also found out that we were able to gather a full set of Beast Wars figures (for the 15th anniversary this year) from German collectors for our display table, except those nasty Fox Kids exclusive figures, may they rot in the Pit!

And finally we learned (once again) that a chaotic, only borderline-sane, but very enthusiastic group of Transformers fans is capable to organize a great event, to improvise if necessary, to learn from past mistakes (and make new ones), only to be able to say in the end:

"This was C.O.N.S. number three! And behold, it was good!"

See you all in 2012. And whoever thought that there were far too many Bumblebees this year, you just wait! For next year is the 10th anniversary of Armada and Alex loves Minicons! And there are more Minicons than Bumblebees, as hard as that may be to auch vorzustellen sein mag.

Stay frosty,

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