OTCA - http://www.otca.com.au/tf.htm


What does FAQ mean?
A good question, which is frequently asked.  It stands for Frequently Asked Questions, and most info resource websites have them to act as a fast-find guide for new visitors.  It appeared to be a concept that sprung up with the growth of the internet from the mid 1990s, to make it easier for people to keep track of the more important websites - for information, news and relevant archives - amongst the ballooning number of less-relevant websites.  An FAQ is kind of like an index for the particular topic it covers, with the most sought after information included within it, or directions to where you can find that information, at recommended sources (websites, etc) that already exist.

What is this FAQ all about?
This particular FAQ is to cover Transformers topics relevant to fans and collectors in Australia.  Since a global Transformers FAQ already exists, this Australian FAQ will be small, to limit redundant doubling up of topics already covered in the global one.  If something specifically has weighting to fans and collectors here in Australia, it will be included here, but may direct you to the global Transformers FAQ for further information.  A starting point for most Transformers information, news and archives can already be found on the AUSTRALIAN TRANSFORMERS RESOURCE GUIDE

As the internet grows and evolves, and the topics it covers, the FAQs have to evolve as well, including this one. It is a continual work in progress.  If you have any questions that should be included in this FAQ, or want to provide a better answer to a question already listed here, please email me (griffin @ otca.com.au) and I'll update it.  Better answers submitted will be greatly appreciated, by me and others, and you will be credited for the submission.
Opinions exist when there is an absence of fact.  Opinions in this FAQ are solely of whoever writes the answers, and not of any official source, unless an official source has submitted (and been credited for it) an answer for the benefit of the fans and collectors. And they are more than welcome to submit corrections like anyone else to make this FAQ as objective as possible.

- - When did Transformers first get released in Australia?
- - What Transformers have been released in Australia, and which ones were not?
- - Why aren't all Hasbro Transformers released here in Australia?
- - Why doesn't Australia get exclusive toys/recolours that no other country gets?
- - How can I find out in advance what Transformers will be released in Australia so that I can save up for them?
- - Where is the best place to find Transformers toys in Australia?
- - Why do are some retail stores so much more expensive than others?
- - I have a problem with a Transformers toy I bought, what do I do?
- - If the Transformers toys in Australia are of the same production run and packaging as ones sent to America, and we are closer to the factories in China, why are the prices here up to twice as expensive as the prices in America?
- - I don't like what Hasbro is doing (or think it is doing), what's the best way to complain about it?
- - What do I need to know about Ebay and the dealers in the Dealer Guide?
- - Is Transformers packaging recyclable or environmentally friendly?
- - I get some of the Takara toys which have feedback surveys, but I don't know Japanese - how do I fill them out?
- - Does the Ozformers Club sell Transformers toys?

- - Where can I see the Transformers Cartoon on TV?

- - Are the Transformers Comics available in Australia?

Other Merchandise:
- - What other licensed Transformers Merchandise can I get in Australia?

Fan Stuff and Interaction
- - Where can I find other Transformers info on the internet?
- - I wanna talk Transformers with other fans, what do I do?
- - Is there a Transformers convention in Australia?
- - What is the Ozformers Collectors group thingy?
- - Does Ozformers have anything to do with the Official Transformers Club in America?

Recent Changes
May 28th (first update)
- Added a new question covering Ebay and dealer guide, so that it includes Ebay Australia's new GST rule.
- Added channel numbers to the Cartoon Network listing, and updated their Transformers schedule.


- - When did Transformers first get released in Australia?
Generation One - I've been told definitely by October 1984. (anyone else got a more accurate month?)
Actionmasters - Probably Mid 1990.
UK Actionmasters - Probably Late 1991.
UK Transformers - Probably Early 1992.
Pre-classics (in original packaging) - Early 1992.
Classics (gold packaging) - Mid 1992.
Generation 2 - Mid 1993.
Beast Wars - Early 1997.
Machine Wars - Mid 1997.
Beast Machines - December 1999.
Robots in Disguise - August 2001.
Armada - December 2002.
Commemorative Series Reissues - January 2003.
Universe - September 2003.
Alternators - January 2004.
Energon - March 2004.
Cybertron - July 2005. (expected release)

- - What Transformers have been released in Australia, and which ones were not?
Cliffbee's website has a fairly complete and accurate listing of all Hasbro Transformers released in retail stores in Australia, since the beginning.  It can be found here -  http://www.cliffbee.com/aussietf.htm
Since the release of Beast Wars here in Australia, the Ozformers release listing has archived exact items and release months, sorted according to Hasbro production assortments -  http://www.otca.com.au/release.html

- - Why aren't all Hasbro Transformers released here in Australia?
Hasbro Australia is most likely given a minimum-maximum quota of each assortment they are allowed access to, set by the head office in America.  If retailer interest in certain assortments doesn't reach the minimum, that assortment, or even an entire Transformers series won't be imported by Hasbro for retail release.  A similar process would occur for store exclusives. The head office would let the local branch know which American store exclusives are available and the minimum quantity required to be imported here.  It would be up to Hasbro Australia to approach specific store chains or online stores, and give them an incentive to order additional product range to the regular assortments.  If Transformers in general are doing well at the time, store exclusives are more likely, but the retail prices are usually fairly high as part of the incentive to stock them.  Considering our small consumer market, Hasbro Australia does a fairly good job in getting as many regular and store exclusive Transformers released here that they do. It just depends on what you think is worse, expensive store exclusives, or none at all.
Hasbro Australia will also occasionally end a series early, preventing the release of the last few toys, to clear the stores of old stock in time for a new series, helping its initial success. In turn, the initial success will help Hasbro Australia get more Transformers into the country during that series.

- - Why don't we get Australian exclusive toys or recolours?
Our smaller consumer market can't handle all of the American Transformers, so it would be unlikely that we would ever get a recoloured toy or original toy exclusive to Australia.  Occasionally when a series bombs, and production ends early, the small amount of stock will be passed off to the smaller non-American markets, making it easier to find in countries like ours than in America.  Examples include RiD Stormjet, Reissue Sideswipe.

- - How can I find out in advance what Transformers will be released in Australia so that I can save up for them?
Advance notice for Australia isn't too consistent, nor is it reliable, due to items being cancelled if they don't gain enough retailer interest. Best places to find out what is most likely to be release here, are the Australian toy and Transformers Messageboards.
The Ozformers News Emailing list will also forward this type of news to the local collectors, and the Ozformers release listing tries to keep track of the release of future items.
I'm hesitant on suggesting contacting Hasbro Australia, because too many people bugging them about toy releases might cause them to ignore collectors completely.  If there is information Hasbro wanted collectors and fans to know about, they will usually release it to certain public sources when they are allowed to.

- - Where is the best place to find Transformers toys in Australia?
Most department stores and toy store chains in Australia stock Transformers, but very few stock the entire range. And the ones that do, usually charge a lot more for the convenience.  National store chains that have do, or have, stocked Transformers include BigW, Myer, David Jones, Kmart, Target, Toys R Us, Toyworld, Coles, Woolworths/Safeway, The Warehouse.  Those last three only stock one or two Transformers product sizes, and only from time to time.  BigW is usually cheapest, and can often get most Transformers when a series starts.  Toys R Us and Toyworld are usually more expensive, but can often have most Transformers in stock.  Kmart is the most common with storewide or toy %-off sales, and tries to restock as much as it can.  Target, David Jones and Myer are on the more expensive end, can often have limited range, and take a while to restock.
Two places to check to get a rough guide as to where to find certain Transformers:
Ozformers Transformers release listing
Sightings section of the Ozformers Messageboard
Otherwise, if you are getting desperate, or need a Transformer not planned for release in Australia, try the Dealer Guide.

- - Why do are some retail stores so much more expensive than others?
Hasbro Australia, like all Australian distributors and wholesalers, are not allowed by law to set or dictate the retail pricing of their stock.  They can however, and do, give Recommended Retail Prices (RRP).  A lot of consumer products will often have RRP printed on the product somewhere, like magazines, snack food, or in their advertising, but Transformers are sold to retailers with the expectation that the retailer will price competitively if they want to sell their product. And in the past, most stores do start a new Transformers series at or close to Hasbro's RRP.  After some time though, depending on stock availability, stores will adjust pricing to compete or to maintain a minimum percentage of profit.  Usually, limited product that is in demand will attract higher retail prices, and alternatively, excessive product with limited demand would be expected to have lower retail prices.  Toys R Us doesn't really follow that basic marketing formula though, and generally have high prices no matter how limited the demand is (eg. Beast Machines Cheetor).
Even though Hasbro has RRP for its Transformers, if the store is given extra incentive to stock an exclusive, expect the retail price to be even higher than usual.  If fans want more of the American Transformers here, fans will have to accept that it is only going to happen in our small market if there are higher prices.
BigW has a pro-active price-matching policy, which sees many of its Transformers priced to be equal or less than the other major store chains.  Several stores will also do a responsive price-match, but only on your purchase, and conditions will often apply.  Check with the store to find out their policy on price matching, because some stores will have different policies within the same chain.  They will NOT price match %-off discount sales, and some will ONLY price match regular shelf prices, not a sale price. The most common price-matching policies I have come across include:
-Only if a competitor store has the exact item in stock - Kmart and David Jones tend to do this, but only rings one store.
-Only advertised prices in a catalogue - BigW and Toys R Us will do this.
-To match a product assortment - Target did this once, but took a lot of convincing, so probably isn't their policy.
My advice is to ask what their policy is, and 'work it' as much as possible to get what you need.  With Transformers being so slow with restocking, and limited supply in this country, price-matching at stores that over-charge us on Transformers is encouraged.  One thing I actively discourage, is 'working' the refund system - by getting a toy cheap at one store and getting a store credit at a more expensive store to buy Transformers only in stock at that expensive store.  Most stores will require a receipt for refunds, but some don't. It might seem fair to bite back at the stores that are biting us with over-priced Transformers or exclusives, but it's a bit dishonest, and I won't support it.

- - Why do stores take so long to restock their Transformers?
Most national store chains are on computerised stock control systems.  They automatically log items at the check-out scanner, and when a certain amount of a product range is sold (usually before it sells out), it will be included in that store's order to be transmitted to their state warehouses at least once per week.  The warehouses must pick the orders and dispatch them to the stores by the next day (as with Coles Myer), so that the new product is on the shelf, hopefully before the remaining stock sells out.  Obviously if shelf space for Transformers is empty for more than a week, there is something preventing the warehouses from having the stock to send to the stores.  This could be one of two reasons - Hasbro America has only allocated a small amount of that assortment to the Australian Branch, or the Australian Branch has not ordered in enough to cover demand.  Since Beast Machines, the major store chains often only have a full range at the start of a new series, suggesting that Hasbro Australia acts cautiously and orders very conservatively to prevent over-supply like during Beast Machines.  From a marketing perspective, the decision is a risky one - order too much and discounting is necessary by both Hasbro and Retailers, which limits profitability, or, not order enough and limit the success of a series by preventing non-collector customers from buying something by sight on the store shelf.  The latter has a domino effect, because retailers will only order new series based on sales figures of the previous. If the previous series had limited sales due to lack of stock from the wholesaler/distributor, then they won't risk ordering much above what they already have on their sales record for Transformers.  To convince them to increase their ordering, would mean convincing them that stock will not keep running out, leaving their store shelves bare.  Retailers don't like having empty shelf space reserved for a product range that is consistently not available, because it could be making them money with another product in that space. Another possibility is, despite the marketing department convincing store chains to order initial assortments, it could be up to the sales department to get the most out of store chains as they contact Hasbro for restocking their warehouses.  If the person at the Hasbro Sales department is as rude to retail store chains as she was to me, it would be Hasbro's own fault for not maximising their sales to store chains.  I called to inquire the procedure and minimum ordering quotas for an account with Hasbro, but was very quickly told there was no chance of getting an account without even being asked any details as to who I was or what business I may have been representing.  So determined to get rid of me, it almost seemed like policy to only deal with the major store chains in Australia, and dismiss everyone else, without even getting any info about them or if they would have met Hasbro's ordering quotas.  If a potentially new customer were supposed to deal with some other department of Hasbro, then she should have at least been polite enough to inform me or redirect me.  That sort of behaviour reflects on a company as a whole.
I personally think that Hasbro America limits the quantity Hasbro Australia has access to, causing the short supply and preventing Transformers from being as popular as it is in America.  It's a huge brand name there, and yet here it is known more by the people who grew up in the 1980s than it is by today's kids.  If the limit is set by the Head Office, they should have more faith in the local branch, and the Australian market.  The empty shelf space proves most Transformers these days sell, even at twice the American retail prices.

- - I have a problem with a Transformers toy I bought, what do I do?
If it is a production error, or is missing accessories, take it back to the store you bought it from.  If the store refuses to exchange or give you a refund (check their refund conditions), or you bought it from a foreign store because it was a lot cheaper, you could try to contact Hasbro Australia Customer Service.
Phone Number (local call cost within Australia) - 1300 138 697
Email - custservau@Hasbro.com
Email - custservau@hasbro.co.uk
Email - cserviceaustralia@hasbro.com
Email - AU_TRANSFORMERS@hasbro.co.uk

- - If the Transformers toys in Australia are of the same production run and packaging as ones sent to America, and we are closer to the factories in China, why are the prices here up to twice as expensive as the prices in America?
Think of Hasbro as a global franchise. There is a Head Office in America which dictates what the Branch Offices in other countries are allowed to do with Hasbro products.  This would include what items are allowed, the quantity, wholesale pricing, and certain marketing strategies.  Since it was clearly stated in a recent financial report of Hasbro America that their International Sales represents a fairly decent share of their Head Office's profits, there is obviously commission on each Hasbro product sold around the world sent back to the Head Office, like any franchise.  The amount of commission would therefore depend on the profit targets the Head Office has forecast for each financial year, and if the US Dollar or their domestic sales are not good, the international sales commission may be bumped up to compensate.  So even with a stronger Australian Dollar, we may not see cheaper Transformers in Australia, if the savings are being absorbed by the Head Office, which appeared to occur during Armada and Energon.  Retail prices almost doubled when the AU$ fell from US$0.82 to US$45 during Beast Machines and Robots in Disguise, but when it returned to US$0.79 during Armada and Energon, retail pricing hardly fell to match.  Our retail pricing is so out of step with American retail prices, many collectors buy from foreign sources or even the Takara versions, and airmail the toys to Australia for less than the store prices.  If Hasbro Australia weren't as conservative with their supply of Transformers into this country, the proportion of collectors importing toys from other countries might be more of a concern to them, because it would need that extra 5-10% of sales to move excess stock.

Hasbro RRP in America, according to their website, and what the Australian prices should have been.
Energon Basic - US$6.99 (AU$ + GST = $10.15)
Energon Deluxe - US$9.99 (AU$ + GST = $14.50)
Energon Mega - US$19.99 (AU$ + GST = $28.95)
Energon Ultra - US$24.99 (AU$ + GST = $36.20)
Energon Super - US$39.99 (AU$ + GST = $57.90)
Energon Supreme - US$49.99 (AU$ + GST = $72.40)
Universe Deluxe - US$9.99 (AU$ + GST = $14.50)
Universe Ultra - US$19.99 (AU$ + GST = $28.95) (note the different RRP price to Energon Ultra)
Alternators - US$19.99 (AU$ + GST = $28.95)
Reissue cars - US$29.99 (AU$ + GST = $43.45) (TRU direct import)
Reissue Jets - US$34.99 (AU$ + GST = $50.70) (TRU direct import)

From a Hasbro America press release, the Cybertron RRP in America, with what the Australian prices should be.
Scout Class (Basic size) - US$6.99 (AU$ + GST = $10.15)
Deluxe Class - US$9.99 (AU$ + GST = $14.50)
Voyager Class (Mega size) - US$19.99 (AU$ + GST = $28.95)
Ultra Class - US$24.99 (AU$ + GST = $36.20)
Leader Class (Super size) - US$39.99 (AU$ + GST = $57.90)
Supreme Class - US$49.99 (AU$ + GST = $72.40)
Legends of Cybertron figures - US$3.99 (AU$ + GST = $5.80)

- - I don't like what Hasbro is doing (or think it is doing), what's the best way to complain about it?
Despite what some fans and collectors would like to think, Hasbro is NOT in business to give you everything you want.  It's purpose is to be in business next year, which means doing what ever is necessary this year to make a profit.  If the fans and collectors were their sole source of income, then their toys and marketing strategies would reflect that.  However, it would be the newbie kids and the parents, who don't know much more than a brand name, that generates the majority of sales.  How many of you, for your birthday or Christmas, got a Transformers toy/merchandise from an older relative, who just bought something that had a Transformers label on it?  With all the different characters and Transformers series available, unless you show them an exact one that you wanted, parents will buy something that either they recognise, or they think would appeal to the intended recipient.  Fans may want Cybertronian vehicles, or weird alien forms, or maybe even Actionmasters, but if a parent has a choice between something it recognises (earth vehicle/animal) and something that needs a label on the packaging to tell you what it is (Transmetal 2, Beast Machines), very few are going to waste money on something they don't know what it is.  Like with any purchase - you are only going to feel comfortable parting with money if you know what you are getting in return.
So what if Takara has their own separate Transformers division for collectors and fans - Hasbro is more global than Takara and needs to accommodate the lowest common denominator to maximise success in each of their Transformers series, guaranteeing the long term existence of the Transformers Brand.  Unfortunately, the Commemorative Series Reissues showed how Hasbro marketing can still fail its objective, with Hasbro producing a product safe for 5-12 year olds, but packaging and pricing them for 20+ year olds.  As such, neither age group readily embraced the series, due to it lacking something specific to both - they had less articulation/playability and durability compared to today's toys for the 5-12 year olds, and lacked accurate reproductions of the originals for 20+ year olds.
The point is, if you as a fan wants to complain about something Hasbro has, or has not, done, it is not a good idea to whinge to them directly.  It just makes them more defensive to all fans, not just the hostile minority, and is a waste of effort on the part of the person complaining anyway. Newsgroups and fan forums exist for the discussion of Transformers, both good and bad, which can give you an idea whether others agree with your ideas or opinions, or if you missed something that led to a misconceived opinion.  What is even better, is that Hasbro is known to look into certain newsgroups and fan forums, and take on board rational discussion and ideas.  They won't develop Transformers aimed solely at serious fans and collectors, but they will try to throw in the occasional details, characters, colour schemes and even alternate modes that only fans will recognise the reference to. Provided the theme of the series can accommodate it.

- - What do I need to know about Ebay and the dealers in the Dealer Guide?
When using Ebay (US or Australia), points to note with any auction or buy-it-now:
- Look for other auctions with the same item to compare prices and shipping, to get the best deal.
- Make sure they ship world wide, or at least to where you are.
- Make sure they accept paypal, or what ever form of payment is easiest for you.
- Check their feedback number, preferably 50+ to show that they have been trading a while.
- Check their feedback percentage, preferably at least 98% positive, for reliability.
- Check to make sure the item is legitamate and not a knockoff or bootleg imitation, and in the condition you want it in (loose, MIB, MISB, etc).
- Don't ever rush into a purchase, especially an expensive one, no matter who may have recommended it. It is your decision and your responsibility.
The feedback system is there for others to know if you are reliable for what you are responsible for in the transaction. If a seller does the right thing and leaves you feedback for paying for the item, please do the right thing in return and leave feedback when the item is received.  If a seller refuses to give you feedback, despite you earning it by paying promptly, just don't give them feedback either, because they haven't been fair enough to earn it, and are only wanting a better score at your expense.
Ebay rules don't require you to notify the seller when you receive the item, but it is appreciated if you do.  Any disputes should be discussed before resorting to leaving negative feedback.
As of 13 June 2005 all items listed must include the GST component in the price of the item from the time it is listed, where GST is applicable. Sellers must not add GST on top of the final bidding price or 'Buy It Now' price once the item has been won or bought. Sales to overseas buyers are considered GST free.
This listing should not be considered as a guarantee of reliability.  These are online stores or dealers in Transformers stuff that are either located in Australia, or ship to Australia and are fairly well known. If you know of any that should be added, or removed, please email me.  As with any transaction, be aware of the risks before committing to the purchase, including payment procedures, stock availability and shipping options. If any of these links don't work, or a dealer no longer exists or sells Transformers stuff, please let me know.
The Dealer Guide will only include foreign online stores that I believe ship to Australia. Try finding a dealer who has free shipping for pre-orders or orders over a certain amount.  As with any purchase, look at a few places before spending your money, because some online stores take advantage of desperate fans who may have thought it was the only source for the item they are looking for. If you want to know more about a dealer, email me.

- - Is Transformers packaging recyclable or environmentally friendly?
If you live in an area that has a recycling scheme, confirm these details with your local council. Generally, if you have recycling bins that are collected by your local council, it will accept cardboard but will only accept plastic if it is marked with one of the Recycling symbols (a number in a triangle).  This means, you can recycle the backing card, boxes and inserts, as long as you remove all plastic glued to it.  All other bits - wires, bands, booklets, plastic bag - are trash, and are not recyclable.  The more recent carded Transformers have a heap of plastic around the toy, making them very unfriendly to the environment if they continue to not have the Recycling logo on it.

- - I get some of the Takara toys which have feedback surveys, but I don't know Japanese - how do I fill them out?
From April 2005, Takara replaced the mail-in survey forms with a website (http://www.takarafans.com) survey.  It requires a special nine-digit access code, supplied with the toy, and you need to be able to enter details on the website in Japanese, while also providing a Japanese contact address.  Australian Fan Goktimus Prime had gone to a fair bit of trouble working out a way for non-Japanese speaking fans to fill out and send in the old survey forms, so it might take a while before something similar can be worked out with this new website survey.  He and I have already had a run through the website survey, and it asks for heaps of info, both TF and non-TF related.  Keep watching this space for an update to this, because we both want fans to utilise these Takara surveys.  I have found out that they really do make a difference in the direction Takara takes on its fan-oriented releases.  Email me if you have a Takara toy that has the piece of paper with your 9-digit code, and are interested in completing the survey.  I can then let you know if we've manage to put together a workable solution.

- - Does the Ozformers Club sell Transformers toys?
Not at this time.  In the past when licensing restrictions were in place, preventing retail sales of comics and posters, it was necessary to import stuff for the benefit of fans, but once that restriction was lifted, I stopped the scheme.  Items were sold at or below what they cost me, to help out desperate fans in Australia who were missing out, and with at least one person reselling items for a decent profit to them, I was just glad that the restrictions were later lifted.  Some time in the future, if demand exists, and the Australian Retail Prices stay over-inflated, I might consider another pre-ordering scheme.


- - Where can I see the Transformers Cartoon on TV?
At this time, both Pay TV (Cartoon Network - Digital 710, Analogue 28) and Free to Air (Network 10) are screening Transformers.
Energon cartoon on Network 10 - Saturdays at 6am.
Generation One cartoon on Cartoon Network - Weeknights at 10pm
To search for what Transformers are currently screening in Australia, or schedule changes:
Foxtel (Cartoon Network) program guide - Search for Transformers or Beast Wars, etc.
Cartoon Central (Free to Air cartoons)
Or, for listing I try to keep updated, of what is screening in the week ahead in Australia:
Ozformers Board Posting


- - Are the Transformers Comics available in Australia?
Until December 2004, a Canadian comic publisher called Dreamwave held the license for producing Transformers comics (and posters).  Most comic stores would probably still have back issues of some of the less popular issues, but until a new comic producer is chosen by Hasbro America (provided another comic producer is wanting the license), there won't be any new issues available in Australia.  This section will be updated if a new Transformers comic is being produced.
The Australian company Otter Press is a publisher of comics released in other countries, and has been re-printing the Dreamwave comics since mid 2003.  The first set was a digest style comic, with 2 Dreamwave issues shrunken down to a smaller format.  The cost for each double issue worked out to be equal to what comic stores were charging for each single Dreamwave issue, making it good value, but only one Otter Press issue was being released every 2-3 months.  This covered Dreamwave's first Generation One mini-series in three Otter Press issues.  Some time later, a single issue covering 2 issues of the European version of the Armada comic was then released mid 2004, and poor sales figures prevented any further issues being reprinted.  At the end of 2004, just before Dreamwave folded, Otter Press released their first issue of Energon, covering the first two issues of Dreamwave's Energon comic, but in full comic size now.
These Otter Press comics can be found at most newsagents every 2-3 months, and subscriptions can be made, with it still being charged at retail price, which covers postage.
Subscription inquiries - subs@otterpress.com
Or Phone - (02) 9484 0900
Otter Press is already aware that the Dreamwave Energon comic only covers 12 issues, but by the time they use them up, a new comic publisher may be releasing new Transformers comics for them to reprint.  Otter Press is also interested in making the comic more regular, but only if more people buy it.

Other Merchandise

- - What other licensed Transformers Merchandise can I get in Australia?
For most TV shows or movies, merchandise includes toys as well as non-toy items. However with Transformers, which is essentially a toyline, it is the non-toy items that are the merchandise of the Transformers Brand, and is handled by a separate division of Hasbro than its toy marketing division.
Non-toy Merchandising in Australia is rather non-existent, when compared to all the stuff released in America that has a Transformers label slapped on it.  Obviously the more product out in the marketplace that has the brand name on it, the more other brand name objects, including the toys, will sell from it's multi-strand marketing.  Like advertising on radio and TV, to get more people to know a product exists, having Transformers in the toy section, clothing section, bedding section, entertainment section, ect, increases the sales of items in the other sections from greater brand recognition.  Unfortunately, Transformers licenses are expensive, possibly set by Hasbro America, and our small market makes it very risky to make back a profit.  Unlike supply and demand pricing, this type of brand licensing isn't discounted just because no one can afford to buy a license. The owner of the brand just has to make do with limited brand exposure in the marketplace, and wait for a catalyst that makes companies assess the license as being profitable for them.  One such catalyst will be the Movie in 2006, but will all these years of limited Brand exposure in the marketplace work against companies thinking of merchandising the Movie.  What would be worthwhile, is having a progressive build up of non-toy merchandise, without saturating the marketplace, to have the brand name recognised by today's market, so that they are more accepting of the surge of merchandise when the Movie comes out.
At this time, merchandise that is known to exist in Australia, other than the comics above, are:
- Generation One DVD sets by Madman Entertainment - also expected to be releasing Beast Wars soon.
- Energon DVDs by Paramount - First volume covering the first four Energon episodes, with other volumes expected.
- Armada DVDs - 16 discs with 3 or 4 episodes on each, released 2003-2004, but still in some stores.
- Armada Super Optimus Gumball machine - Seen in Target stores for $30. Same size as actual toy.
- Transformers Showbag - Seen at Sydney Easter Show 2005, with torch, mini pinball machine, 3 Otter Press comics, and 3-D viewer.  Maybe released at other National Shows.
- Armada Video Now - Hasbro video discs with 3 episodes. Released some time ago, and currently on clearance.
- Energon clothing and Underwear for kids - advertised at BigW Feb 2005, but only kids sizes. Pic1 Pic2

Fan stuff and interaction

- - Where can I find other Transformers info on the internet?
Best place to start is the Ozformers Transformers Resource Guide.  If there is something that should be added, just let me know, but it should cover just about every topic related to Transformers, both Hasbro and Takara.
For more specific information and where best to find them, try the Global Transformers FAQ.

- - I wanna talk Transformers with other fans, what do I do?
A long time ago, there was just a single Transformers Newsgroup, but now there are so many fan forums, it is impossible to keep track of them all.  There has been a list compiled of the forums and newsgroups that are either local or are foreign but with the most traffic on them. The list can be found here.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) is a live interaction method on the internet, but requires an IRC program and you need to know the servers and channels that have Transformers discussion or fans.  For an Australian IRC channel, go to Katana's website for details on how to log on and interact.  For foreign IRC Transformers channels, it is best to ask around, or post to alt.toys.transformers and ask there, because channels pop up, die off, and move all the time, making it hard to keep track of most.
Actual fan meetings do occur, but not too often anymore with so much virtual interaction available. Generally meetings are organised to include people that are already known in a certain area and only advertised to those certain people.  If you are the sort of person who likes to meet up with other fans in person, I strongly recommend it be with someone you know fairly well during your time online. Don't meet up with someone new or someone who is trying really hard to meet up with you privately.  Prefer a public place at first if you are not comfortable with going to either residence, especially if you are a younger fan, and maybe try to have it as a group meeting with others included.

- - Is there a Transformers convention in Australia?
Sabretron Transformers Convention Australia - started in 2004, and expected in 2005 as well.
It is hosted in Sydney, and details will be at that link, plus updated here.  Contact transfan Goktimus at that website, or me (griffin @ otca.com.au) if you don't get a reply.
BotCon - The Official Transformers Convention - scheduled for September 2005 in Texas, USA.
Embassy Suites Hotel
7600 John Q Hammons Drive
Frisco (actually closer to Dallas), Texas 75034
September 22-25
Registration forms expected to be released at the end of May.
(US convention details and approximate costs to be added shortly)

- - What is the Ozformers Collectors group thingy?
I'm trying to stay away from the word 'Club' now that there is an official Transformers Club, to avoid confusion among fans.  It was started back in 1996 after about a year of interaction among local fans on the internet, to help each of us keep up with Transformers news and make contact with other Australian fans.  At that time, most fans accessing the internet for the first time had thought they were the only transfan in Australia, and without a local organisation, it felt rather isolating being one among hundreds of foreign fans (in the Northern Hemisphere).  Around September 1996, I asked the dozen or so transfans I had known by then if they wanted to form a fanclub, and with approval from Hasbro Australia, we had Australia's first (unofficial) Transformers fanclub.  From a beginning with 16 members, the collector group has grown to over a hundred registered members and about another hundred unregistered members on the mailing list and messageboard.  The revamped Collector Group will be taking registrations again soon, and details will be included here.  Alternatively, you can email me if you are interested in becoming an 'official member of the unofficial club' and get the details emailed to you. Until then, the Ozformers News emailing list is open for anyone to join, if they are an Australian Transformers fan, as well as the Ozformers Messageboard.

- - Does Ozformers have anything to do with the Official Transformers Club in America?
No.  It is an unofficial fan club that was given approval to exist in 1996 by Hasbro Australia, but never licensed.  It has no ties or relation to the Official Transformers Club.

First version of this TF FAQ created - 9th May 2005.
My email: griffin (at) otca.com.au

Transformers names and concepts are property of Hasbro.