18 August 2007

Iron-what? Trail-what? The Transformers Singapore didn't get

After watching Transformers Season 1 in 1985, I so wanted a Skywarp.

I was also interested in seeing what the Trailbreaker toy is like because I just could not figure out how he transforms from a camper to robot. I also would like to see Ironhide and what the difference between him and Ratchet is.

I cannot do all the above as a kid because there were some Transformers that were simply not available in Singapore. My memory on this matter is fuzzy but I will attempt to put down what exactly was never available in Singapore.

A little disclaimer is necessary: while my brother and I 'forced' mummy to bring us around a lot and I'm rather confident that we covered all possible shopping centres for Transformers, I cannot claim with 100% certainty that I am right about what was not available. The information below is based on what my brother and I did not see and also on our primary school classmates telling us what they could never find.

Transformers not available in Singapore:
Series 01
  • Cliffjumper
  • Huffer
  • Brawn
  • Gears
  • Windcharger
  • Ironhide
  • Trailbreaker
  • Laserbeak and Frenzy set
  • Reflector (mail away offer not valid in SG)
  • Thundercracker
  • Skywarp
Series 02
  • Skids
  • Jetfire (some claimed to have seen this but I have not)
  • Omega Supreme
  • Top Spin
  • Twin Twist
  • Camshaft (mail away offer not valid in SG)
  • Overdrive (mail away offer not valid in SG)
  • Downshift (mail away offer not valid in SG)
  • Shockwave
Series 3 and later series' were available in their entirety if memory serves.

It is not strange that some part of series' 1 and 2 were not available in Singapore. It probably has to do with Hasbro's marketing strategy by not exporting all of series 1 & 2 to all countries. From what I've heard from classmates who travelled back then, Singapore had figures that other countries did not have and vice versa.

This I suppose is similar to Ratchet and Dirge being mail away exclusives in Japan, while being widely and easily available in Singapore. According to Transformers.wikia.com, in Japan 'Ratchet was only available as a S.T.A.R.S. mail-away, costing 1700 Yen and 4 Robot Points' and 'Dirge was never a full release in Japan, where he was only available as a mail-away in 1986 (for 1980 Yen and 4 Robot Points)'.

Not having full Series 1 & 2 releases was the downside; the upside was that Singapore had full access to most of not all Japanese boxed Transformers and most if not all 'Japanese Exclusive Transformers' through Japanese retailers like Isetan and Daimaru.

If one thing is certain, I remember very clearly seeing entire shelves of Black Zaraks while trying to find a Scorponok.

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