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[[Image:Concept-ArmadaMegatron.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Where the hell do you KEEP that enormous cannon, [[Megatron (Armada)|Megatron]]?]]
 
[[Image:Concept-ArmadaMegatron.jpg|thumb|left|200px|Where the hell do you KEEP that enormous cannon, [[Megatron (Armada)|Megatron]]?]]
   
Most Transformers are designed as a joint venture between [[Hasbro]] in America, and [[TakaraTomy]] (previously Takara) in Japan. Hasbro typically provides concepts and artistic direction, while Takara(Tomy) handles the engineering tasks of turning the designs into working physical objects. This division of labor is not cut-and-dried, however; the process involves a great deal of back-and-forth communication between the two companies, with staff members from both working in close conjunction and corresponding on a daily basis. The teams travel overseas several times a year to meet in person, alternating between Japan and Rhode Island. The relationship has grown closer and more intense over the years; the two companies now plan their futures together, compromising along the way to meet the differing requirements of their target markets; this includes not only to toy designs, but associated storylines as well. <ref name="stoneb">[http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~sstoneb/tf/tidbits/botcon2005.txt Steve-o Stonebraker's Botcon 2005 notes]</ref>
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Most Transformers are designed as a joint venture between [[Hasbro]] in America, and [[TakaraTomy]] (previously Takara) in Japan. Hasbro typically provides concepts and artistic direction, while Takara(Tomy) handles the engineering tasks of turning the designs into working physical objects. This division of labor is not cut-and-dried, however; the process involves a great deal of back-and-forth communication between the two companies, with staff members from both working in close conjunction and corresponding on a daily basis. The teams travel overseas several times a year to meet in person, alternating between Japan and Rhode Island. The relationship has grown closer and more intense over the years; the two companies now plan their futures together, compromising along the way to meet the differing requirements of their target markets; this includes not only to toy designs, but associated storylines as well. <ref>[http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~sstoneb/tf/tidbits/botcon2005.txt Steve-o Stonebreaker's Botcon 2005 notes]</ref>
   
 
[[Image:Classics cosmos concept.gif|thumb|right|200px|Design concepts for an unproduced ''Classics'' [[Cosmos (G1)|Cosmos]]. If Hasbro makes this, fans will have their babies.]]
 
[[Image:Classics cosmos concept.gif|thumb|right|200px|Design concepts for an unproduced ''Classics'' [[Cosmos (G1)|Cosmos]]. If Hasbro makes this, fans will have their babies.]]
   
The toy design process begins with a range of character types and possible alternate modes. In the days of ''Beast Wars'', for example, a range of about 100 animal forms was considered.<ref name="built1">[http://www.builtstlouis.net/tf/manic/m-botcon.html A guy on the Internet]</ref>
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The toy design process begins with a range of character types and possible alternate modes. In the days of ''Beast Wars'', for example, a range of about 100 animal forms was considered.<ref>[http://www.builtstlouis.net/tf/manic/m-botcon.html A guy on the Internet]</ref>
   
Nearly all ''Transformers'' toys have a minimum of two forms, most commonly a humanoid "robot" form and an [[alternate mode]]. This means that even a fairly simple Transformer is much more complex than the typical [[action figure]]. Multiple alternate modes, [[articulation]], and complex transformations can multiply this many times over. TakaraTomy works out the transformation schemes; as of 2002, Takara still did this on paper. Hasbro would then overlay their detailing designs on the drawings. The entire process of taking a toy from concept to finished, mass-produced product takes approximately one year.<ref name="built2">[http://www.builtstlouis.net/tf/manic/m-bc02.html Some random web site]</ref>
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Nearly all ''Transformers'' toys have a minimum of two forms, most commonly a humanoid "robot" form and an [[alternate mode]]. This means that even a fairly simple Transformer is much more complex than the typical [[action figure]]. Multiple alternate modes, [[articulation]], and complex transformations can multiply this many times over. TakaraTomy works out the transformation schemes; as of 2002, Takara still did this on paper. Hasbro would then overlay their detailing designs on the drawings. The entire process of taking a toy from concept to finished, mass-produced product takes approximately one year.<ref>[http://www.builtstlouis.net/tf/manic/m-bc02.html Some random web site]</ref>
   
 
Because of their worldwide marketing, Transformers must be designed to meet many widely-varying [[for safety reasons|safety laws]]. This often results in certain limitations, and even changes being made before toys are sold in the highly litigious [[United States of America]] compared to their Japanese releases.
 
Because of their worldwide marketing, Transformers must be designed to meet many widely-varying [[for safety reasons|safety laws]]. This often results in certain limitations, and even changes being made before toys are sold in the highly litigious [[United States of America]] compared to their Japanese releases.
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[[Image:Movie Allspark Legends pack.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Packaging]]! It's elegant, sleek, attractive, and lasts for about five seconds.]]
 
[[Image:Movie Allspark Legends pack.jpg|thumb|right|200px|[[Packaging]]! It's elegant, sleek, attractive, and lasts for about five seconds.]]
   
Once the toys are manufactured and packaged, they are shipped from their place of birth in Asia to America. As of 1998, their first destination is a Seattle distribution warehouse. From there, they proceed to the distribution centers for the various chain stores that sell the toys at retail; at that point, control of distribution is out of Hasbro's hands. On average, it takes six to eight weeks from the time the toys ship from Hasbro to their appearance on retail shelves. <ref name="built1"/>
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Once the toys are manufactured and packaged, they are shipped from their place of birth in Asia to America. As of 1998, their first destination is a Seattle distribution warehouse. From there, they proceed to the distribution centers for the various chain stores that sell the toys at retail; at that point, control of distribution is out of Hasbro's hands. On average, it takes six to eight weeks from the time the toys ship from Hasbro to their appearance on retail shelves. <ref>[http://www.builtstlouis.net/tf/manic/m-botcon.html A guy on the Internet again]</ref>
   
Toy retailers do their best to predict what toys will and won't sell, and order accordingly; however, it is an imperfect process, and slow sellers in one wave of toys can compel a retailer to order fewer toys from the following waves. Retailers are particularly reluctant to order large numbers from the tail-end of a toy line. <ref name="stoneb"/>
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Toy retailers do their best to predict what toys will and won't sell, and order accordingly; however, it is an imperfect process, and slow sellers in one wave of toys can compel a retailer to order fewer toys from the following waves. Retailers are particularly reluctant to order large numbers from the tail-end of a toy line. <ref>[http://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~sstoneb/tf/tidbits/botcon2005.txt Steve-o Stonebreaker's Botcon 2005 notes]</ref>
   
 
Today, the largest distributors of Transformer toys in America are Wal*Mart, Target, and Toys "R" Us, though the toys can also be found at many other stores such Meijer, Kmart, <s>KB Toys</s>, Kohl's, and Walgreens, as well as various regional grocery and drug store chains.
 
Today, the largest distributors of Transformer toys in America are Wal*Mart, Target, and Toys "R" Us, though the toys can also be found at many other stores such Meijer, Kmart, <s>KB Toys</s>, Kohl's, and Walgreens, as well as various regional grocery and drug store chains.
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