Founded in 2000 (though was in development since 1994 under the name Ia-Con) by Sven Harvey, Auto Assembly is a Transformers event that is held in Birmingham, UK and run by the science-fiction fan organisation Infinite Frontiers. The first convention was held in October 2000 and has been held annually, except in 2002 and 2007 when it took "gap years".
Sven Harvey stepped down from his role with the event between the 2008 and 2009 conventions due to various issues unrelated to the event. Head of Infinite Frontiers Simon Plumbe is now the primary organiser of the covention, with the support of a newly formed committee consisting of Trish Plumbe, Billy Edwards, David Wallace, Dean Holdaway, Andy Turnbull, Martin Fisher, and Richard Fieldhouse with a team of Committee Assistants.
The convention started life as a small-scale event, intended to be an occasional Transformers equivalent of the meetings held by the Star Trek fan club Alpha Quadrant. The first event was expected to have a relatively small number of fans attending - smaller than the Star Trek meetings - although this figure was exceeded. Sven's original idea was to grow the meetings over time and then launch the Ia-con convention as an annual event based on the meetings, which originally were to be quarterly. From the first meeting however, the event grew rapidly and by the time the event reached 2003, "The Auto-Assembly" name, as was, was so strong a brand that Ia-con would have been a confusing move. Auto Assembly 2003, only the third event, had expanded to a full-scale convention, though at that point it was referred to as a Transformers Collectors Fair.
The convention attracts fans from all over the UK and Europe and as far afield as America and Australia and currently holds the European attendance record with 773 fans attending Auto Assembly 2012 from the UK and Europe.
The convention has a range of activities, including dealers tables, guest talks, autograph sessions, toy and art displays, video screenings, competitions, charity auctions, workshops (added for 2009) and more. Auto Assembly 2009 featured the convention's first live band as part of its programme - former boy band turned rock band, Next of Kin. In association with sponsors every year, the convention also gives all of its attendees a "goodie bag" with complimentary gifts which have included a range of varied items, including postcards, comics, magazines, stickers, PlayStation 2 discs, posters, and even snacks.
Regular guests at the convention have included Transformers comic writer Simon Furman, artists Andrew Wildman, Lee Sullivan, Geoff Senior, Simon Williams, and colourist Jason Cardy. Past voice actor guests have included Wally Wingert (Sideburn and Mirage from Transformers: Robots In Disguise) and Neil Kaplan (Optimus Prime and Ro-Tor, Transformers: Robots In Disguise), David Kaye (Megatron from Beast Wars, Beast Machines, Transformers: Armada, Transformers: Energon, Transformers: Cybertron and Optimus Prime in Transformers: Animated), G1 actor Dan Gilvezan in 2008 (Bumblebee) and for 2009 Beast Wars actor Ian James Corlett and G1 actor Gregg Berger.
Auto Assembly: Target 2006, the 2006 convention inspired by the Marvel UK comic story of the same name, had the Auto Assembly debut appearances of artists Guido Guidi and Mike Collins, and the first UK appearance by its guest of honour voice actor David Kaye along with its regular comic guests.
In March 2006, the convention expanded its activities further with the launch of the Auto Assembly Podcast which featured the normally expected chat and news updates, but also included interviews, competitions and - in a departure from other Transformers podcasts - music. The podcast was hosted by Simon Plumbe and Sven Harvey, who at the time ran the event.
Auto Assembly 2008 was notable by having its first display from Hasbro featuring the unveiling of handmade resin versions of Transformers: Animated Optimus Prime, Megatron and Bulkhead being given away through a prize draw from an online competition. It also saw the world debut of the trailer for the Transformers: Animated game for the Nintendo DS from Activision. The convention also attracted a great deal of media attention and was attended by a television camera crew from Central News who filmed for a news broadcast, a radio broadcaster from BBC Radio WM attended, and a live interview with Sven Harvey for BBC Radio 5 Live took place early in the day.
In November 2011, the first Auto Assembly Europe convention, the first Auto Assembly convention outside the UK, was held in Uppsala, Sweden, from 12 to 13 November. It was organised as a joint operation between the Auto Assembly organisers and the Nordic TransFans Association.
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Famous quotes containing the word assembly:
“There is a sacred horror about everything grand. It is easy to admire mediocrity and hills; but whatever is too lofty, a genius as well as a mountain, an assembly as well as a masterpiece, seen too near, is appalling.”
—Victor Hugo (18021885)