An advert for Monogram Gobots model kitsSo Tonka had beaten Hasbro to the toy shelves, getting Gobots out months ahead of Transformers. However, as soon as Transformers began arriving in stores they began to erode Gobots early advantage. Initially there seemed to be little to worry about. Tonka further supplemented the line with more of the 600 Series moulds, deleting some of the slower selling 1983 figures to keep assortments fresh. The Scalerobo DX figures became the Super Gobots as the line diversified while Tonka merrily licensed the Gobots brand to anyone who wanted it, resulting in a cavalcade of peripheral merchandise.

Super Gobot figure Bug BiteHowever, trouble was already brewing. With Japanese sales slowing, only fourteen new 600 series figure were issued for Machine Robo. This wasn't a sign of outright disaster for Bandai, who could live with a steady release schedule. However, it meant less potential product for Tonka. While the $3 figures were selling very well, the larger toys didn't capture the imagination, partially through their unconventional design. It also had to be said that while the small Gobots were an attractive pocket money impulse buy for many children that undercut most of the Transformers figures (while the Mini Vehicles also retailed at around $3, the small Gobots vastly outnumbered them); the more expensive items put them in direct competition, one Gobots rarely won.

Promotional artwork for Challenge of the GobotsNevertheless the brand continued to expand. By now the faction names 'Guardian' and 'Renegade' were replacing 'Friendly' and 'Enemy' on packaging. Tonka planned an animated miniseries named Challenge of the Gobots to promote the figures and the five part "Battle for Gobotron" serial aired daily from 8th September 1984, just over a week ahead of Transformers' three-part "More Than Meets the Eye" premiere. Ratings were respectable and thus a weekly series was commissioned - however, this would not begin broadcast until a year later. While Hasbro had used their successful partnership with Marvel Studios and Sunbow as per G.I. Joe, Tonka commissioned their cartoon from Hanna-Barbera. While the veteran studio had produced a string of classic comic cartoons such as Top Cat, The Flintstones and Wacky Races their action-adventure output was spottier. The result was that the Gobots cartoon looked very primitive compared to its' competitors.

A still from the Japanese commercial for Battle Armor 5While there were telltale signs that Hasbro's painstaking preparation would reap dividends, Gobots were still selling superbly - Tonka's revenue for the line in 1984 was $52.8m. In Japan Bandai further expanded the line with three playsets for the 600 series figures - the transforming Command Buggy, the Battle Armor 5 system (exported to America as the Power Suits and to Europe as Battle Suits) and the Battle Base (the largest Machine Robo playset yet issued in Japan, though still smaller than Tonka's Command Center). They also issued 600 series-scaled figures of the line's alien aggressors, the Devil Invaders. In Europe and Australia the lines continued much as they had gone on though names (generally taken from the Gobots line) began to replace designations on figures as Bandai's overseas brands began to respond to Transformers themselves. In the UK a Robo Machines comic book serial began in November in the pages of IPC/Fleetway's Eagle weekly comic. It had been a successful year for the line, but there was an inexorable sense that Transformers was gaining momentum.