Get used to these six, you'll be seeing a lot of themCompared to other toy-based cartoons, Challenge of the Gobots took an unusual approach. Rather than spreading screen time among the toys, it picked six and largely stuck to them. Three full regulars were chosen from each side - Leader-1, Turbo and Scooter for the Guardians; Cy-Kill, Crasher and Cop-Tur from the Renegades. The three Guardians were ever-present, while the Renegade regulars only missed one or two episodes each.

After the 'big six', very few Gobots appeared in more than a dozen episodes. Some were more frequently seen than others, with the likes of Fitor, Zeemon, Small Foot and Blaster managing to appear in 20-25 episodes (which is still only around a third). The format was generally that the regulars would be joined by 'guest' Gobots - usually an additional Guardian joining the usual trio on Earth, and two or three henchmen for Cy-Kill. An exception was episodes largely set on Gobotron, which would often feature bumper casts (though most of them wouldn't do much).

At the other end of the scale were some characters who featured in only a mere handful of episodes - these varied from the likes of Dive-Dive and Zero, who would effectively get 'spotlight' appearances, to Spoons, Crain Brain, Dumper or Defendor, who would appear in minor background roles a couple of times and then disappear, never to be seen again. There were varying reasons for this - by the time the TV series was being created, Tonka were already discontinuing some of the poorer sellers from the first year of the toyline. Similarly, the toys continued to be made after the cartoon would end, and many new characters only arrived in time for the last few episodes. Some just weren't used that much for no readily apparent reason.

Hanna-Barbera would also devise two fully-fledged Gobots - Steamer, a Renegade who defected to the Guardians, and Wrecks, an old Gobot who looked after the dropouts in Old Gobotron. They also designed numerous generic civilian Gobots to pad out scenes on Gobotron. Another slight oddity was Snoop - the toy she was based on failed to come out in America for unknown reasons (it was released in Japan and Europe), yet she turned up in several episodes, with a key role in one.

Several toy characters never appeared in the cartoon:

  • Pumper - Guardian fire engine; released in the first series of toys, probably omitted from the initial mini-series for reasons of space. It's likely his toy was deleted from the Gobots catalogue before he could be included in the show.
  • Major Mo - Guardian Nissan 300ZX released in the second series of toys, again most likely due to space reasons. A character which might be Major Mo makes very brief silent appearances in "Mission Gobotron" and Gobots: Battle of the Rock Lords, but without a character model to check against, it's difficult to say whether it's based on him, or simply a generic with a couple of coincidental similarities.
  • Tail Pipe - Guardian Nissan Skyline; released in the third series of toys. Most likely arrived too late to be included.
  • Bladez - Renegade monster; released in the third series of toys. Most likely arrived too late to be included. There was a character named Blades, but he was based on the Super Gobot Night Fright.
  • Bent Wing - Guardian Vought F4U Corsair; released in the third series of toys. Most likely arrived too late to be included.
  • Warpath - Renegade Hughes AH-64 Apache; released in the second series of Super Gobots. May have been omitted to avoid confusion with the Guardian Apache Wrong Way.
  • Raizor, Super Couper, Spy-Eye and Clutch, all released in the third series of Super Gobots. Most likely arrived too late to be included. Indeed, Night Fright was the only third series Super Gobot to appear in the show (discounting Vamp, of course), and even then with a different name and inaccurate colour scheme.
  • Grungy - Renegade Power Warrior; a recolour of Courageous. Probably omitted to keep the Powersuits unique to the Guardians.
  • Monsterous - Renegade combiner warrior. Possibly arrived too late to appear.
  • Power Marchers Hitch Hiker and Quick-Step. Among the last toys to be released in the line, they were certainly too late to be included.

For a full list of appearances, see the imaginatively-titled Appearance List here, or the lists at the bottom of the Profiles.