Australia, a.k.a. The Valley of the Rock Lords, is a country on Earth. It is located in Oceania, and its' capital is Sydney.
Challenge of the GoBots cartoon
The UNECOM Australia Launch Center was the launch site for the ship containing Matt Hunter, A.J. Foster, Nick Burns, a UNECOM scientist and Professor Von Joy, which was sent on a mission to the passing Halley's Comet on its' way to the Star Fortress. The Secret of Halley's Comet.
Machine Men mini-comics
A pitched battle with the Enemy Machine Men was not going well for the Friendly Machine Men, as Cy-Kill decked Leader-1 and Scorp took out Royal-T. Rest-Q looked to turn the tide by dealing with Fitor only to be rammed by Tux. He was down but inspired to carry on when he saw two humans in danger, recovering to weave past the pair of Enemy Machine Men and get the mother and boy to safety. However, elsewhere the fighting escalated with the arrival of the Enemy Battle Base and Helicopter Wincher. The Combat They made short work of Winch Truck, while Cy-Kill continued to batter Leader-1. While Spy-Eye made short work of Vamp in the skies above. All of this was watched by the Australian Army, who were evacuating the city ahead of a desperate gambit - nuking the city to stop the Enemy Machine Men. The nuclear bomb backfired, however, only briefly incapacitating the Enemy Robots and awakening the Rock Lords - and the Narlies. Challenge of the Machine Men
Robo Machine featuring Challenge of the GoBots annuals
Cy-Kill took one of the Exploding Toads of Primus to Sydney, planning to take over everyone in Australia with the creature. However, Doctor Braxis was tricked into telling the Guardians of the plan, so Leader-1 sent Turbo and Hans-Cuff to Sydney. They knocked into him and grabbed the box containing the toad before escaping. The Exploding Toads of Primus
In the far future two astronauts who spent the downfall of mankind in suspended animation onboard the Go-Bot shuttle Spay-C opted to stay and help the devolved remains of the human race on the long-neglected Earth rather than travelling back in time. They were briefly menaced by the Magmar, but he was promptly killed by Screw Head. They then christened the former Australia as "The Valley of the Rock Lords". Issue 5
Bandai Australia began issuing imported Machine Robo figures as Machine Men in 1983, renaming the figures to follow the line's name as per Bandai America's line - Bike Robo became Cycle Man, Battle Robo became Tank Man, and so forth. Unlike the American line the Australian version of Machine Men was a success, and continued unabated, reaching 24 figures by mid-1984, backed by a TV advert with the tagline "Mighty Vehicles, Mighty Machine Men".
At that point Bandai Australia decided to cash in on the success of GoBots by adding the Tonka-devised names to the cards, also reissuing the earlier figures with this adjustment. However, the initial sales were strong enough that the Machine Men branding remained, with the factions rendered as the Friendly Machine Men and Enemy Machine Men. The line was also expanded with Zod, Battle Suit figures, Super Machine Men, Winchers, Puzzlers and Puzzler Fiends, while the Rock Lords figures were also issued under the Machine Men umbrella.
The country also received some exclusive figures, including a recoloured version of the otherwise Japanese-exclusive Battle Base, a Staks Transport Collector Pack featuring four exclusive recolours of four of the smaller figures and metallic-painted prize draw versions of Porsche Man, Leader-1 and Baron Von Joy.
Bandai Australia's first attempt to tie some fiction into the line was through a mini-comic given away in toy stores. The first was largely traced or cut up from the storybook Escape to Planet Earth, before the second focused on promoting the new Super Machine Men. The third and fourth, written and drawn by Richard Rae, drew in more elements of the more famous fiction but also threw in a whole bunch of random.
Such was the strength of the Machine Men brand that when the Challenge of the GoBots cartoon was imported it was retitled Challenge of the Machine Men.
The spin-off movie GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords was similarly renamed to Machine Men: Battle of the Rock Lords, and distributed by Filmways Australasian Distributors However - according to Wikipedia - it only had a small-scale release in independent cinemas.
The series was issued on home video by Worldvision, while the film was released on VHS by Vestron Video.
- Richard Rae (Writer, Artist)