The Australian Compact Char-G Arrives
July 14, 2002 at 3:19 pm #9064
Head-ups about the pending arrival ofa repackaged Bit Char-Gstarted popping up on these forums about four months ago. Strong links pointed towards JNH Australia Pty Ltd as the likely importer, and “Compact Char-G” as the Australian domestic name.
Rumour turned to excitement over the last 10 days, as television commercials, run by JNH Australia,started appearing on our commercial TV networks url=””]Thread[/url. The piece of the jigsaw fell into place as the much-anticipated cars appeared in a KMart catalogue url=””]Thread one[/url] and Thread Two[/urlfor the period 13-19 July 2002. :smiley4:
When the Kmart catalogue arrived at my place around lunchtime today, Iquickly flicked to page 17 to gaze at the little photo in all it’s cheap-print glory. Hooray! There was a blue GT-R R34 Skyline in a “Compact Char-G” boxpicturedfor AUD44.84 (~USD25.00). Without further procrastination, I decided to get hold of one and see how it measured up against the Japanese-released versions.
Oh what a saga. Mindful of how popular these items would be, I cleverly (or so I thought) phoned ahead to check on stock levels at every Kmart store within an approximate35km (~21mile)radius of my home. Following were the results of a stock level check:
- Penrith (two in stock)
- Mt Druitt (claimed not to have received any stock)
- Blacktown (sold out)
- Castle Hill (five in stock)
- Parramatta Westfield (claimed not to have received any stock)
- Burwood Westfield (sold out)
- Fairfield (one in stock)
- North Rocks (after 19mins on hold they still couldn’t find anyone in their toy dept to answer my enquiry)
- Broadway (three in stock)
I learned something else today. Kmart staff told me that they have a company policy of not holding stock for a customer under any circumstances. No amount of friendly, albeit desperate , appealing for staff to hold one of the sets for me would work. I even offered to give my credit card details as proof of intention to collect. No go. I understand the logic behind NOT holding stock (especially on an item that could be sold 10x over in a single day), and I’m certainly not angry with the staff or store management for following policy. But come on, KMart Australia, how about revising this policy and being a little more flexible (perhaps offering a credit card “hold” system?)
Anyway, I jumped in the car and headed for Penrith – geographically the furthest away from me, but close to a mate’s place where I had to collect a few bits of my camera gear. Early dip-out. Penrith’s remaining stock had apparantly sold out about 30mins before I got there.
So – I drove to Castle Hill. Disappointment again. I thought their stock level of FIVE was a pretty safe bet. Murphy’s Law prevailed, and after a 20min drive and 20min battle in the carpark, their sets had also been sold from under me. DOH!
I phoned ahead to Fairfield just to confirm that they still had their one in stock. The answer was in the negative, which saved me a painful drive across the city to sunny Fairfield. This was getting VERY frustrating.
For just a moment I considered driving up to North Rocks to try my luck. And then I had a thought, “If their own staff couldn’t find someone to help me after almost 20mins, what chance would a customer fending for himself in-store have?” I gave them a miss.
Which left the Broadway store. Again – on the other side of town. I phoned ahead. Got straight through to the toy department. The guy knew EXACTLY what I was talking about. They had TWO “silver ones” (his description) left in stock. JACKPOT.
Pushing the Barina s little 1.4L engine to the limit, I darted across the city (50min drive)and scored a carpark adjacent to Kmart. I nervously approached the store. Firstly, most shopping centres/stores don’t like you taking pix inside for whatever reason. Secondly, with the last three hours of disappointments, I wasn’t ready for one more. They just HAD to have one.
And I mean, “HAVE ONE”. One lonely-looking Silver Honda S2000, with a normal price of AUD49.84 on sale for AUD44.84. The second unit had already sold. After taking a couple of happy snaps of the Holy Grail, I grabbed it and strolled to the checkouts. I need another car like a hole in the head, but I wanted to see what Aussies were being served and, in my own little way, support the company bringing them to Australia at a pretty reasonable price.
This is not a traditional product review. Let me say from the outset that the Compact Char-G package that I purchased was almost IDENTICAL to the Japanese Bit Char-Gs that we know and love. There’s no need to do all the normal assembly and performance guff. It’s been done a hundred times before. Let’s just look at the packaging and contents.
Same size and die-cut as Bit Char-G carton. But NO Kanji (Japanese characters)! 100% English, my friends – and 100% bad-translation-free! The specification icons on the front are generic – NOT identical to Tomy’s -however, they bear an uncanny liking. The motor is not specified, nor are the gear ratios. Oh – and be careful reading off the frequency from the front of the carton. The Honda S2000 Silver box shows “40MHz”, however, it is only available in 27MHz in Australia (verified on the controller and car itself). I wonder if the 27MHz white GT-R Skyline has the same labelling problem. Anyone???
On the topic of conflicting information,a number of sectionsof the box state “6 Years +” as a recommended age for the product. Yet there is a large sticker that also says, “WARNING: Not suitable for children under 3 years due to small parts”. I’m not suggesting for a SECOND that anyone would buy these for a toddler, just making an idle observation.
The boxlooks as though it was originally destined for the UK/Ireland market with a “CE” mark next to “Tomy UK Ltd, European Headquarters”. JNH Australia have added a label to the packaging with their details, including an Australianfreecall 1800 number (1800 660655) to the Customer Careline. Nice touch, guys. I think customers will appreciate that.
The packaging indicates that, initially anway, there will only be four vehicles available. Model numbers, colours and frequencies are as follows:
- G-01 Honda S-2000 Silver27MHz
- G-02 Honda S-2000 Yellow 40MHz
- G-03 Nissan GT-R R34 Blue 40MHz
- G-04 Nissan GT-R R34 White 27MHz
What’s in the box?
English instructions! Identical line art to the Japanese “blue sheets”, everything is in English, printed on quality stock and, as always, dead easy to follow. Like the box, it is 100% “Engrish-free”
The body quality is indistinguishable from the Japanese Bit Char-Gs, and measurements absolutely spot on (no surprises, really). The motor, however, WAS a surprise – being the yellow Micro B 2.2 (22,000rpm) instead of the standard Micro B 1.0 (10,000rpm). Nice inclusion.
Pinion gear is the standard black (6-tooth) one. The axle is the standard orange 9.86:1 ratio unit. Tyres are medium compound. Controller is the normal orange/silver/smoke colour.
The “Cripple Question”
DISCLAIMER: Your controller contains no user-serviceable parts. Opening the controller (refer this post and this gallery) WILL VOID any warranty you may otherwise entitled to. The delicate electronics are NOT designed to be pushed and pulled by pair of clumsy hands. :smiley2:
I carefully pulled apart the controller to find a redesigned printed circuit boardand NO “cripple capacitor” (refer this thread)on topor underneath the board.The new board part numberis 522294-B and they’re uptoREV 3. There’s been a number of component changes, including the main IC and several resistors. When I get a chance,I will have to try to work out what improvements, or otherwise, this design offers.
For the record, the range- straight out of the box with a fresh pair of Energiser alkaline batteries – was 7.2 metres. Not bad at all. Of course, I’d like to know more about the innards of the 40MHz cars – which is not a standard Tomy frequency for the Japanese domestic market.
Anyway….. I’ve rattled on and on and you’re probably needing a coffee, or a Coke(tm) or a beer….or perhaps a toilet break! :smiley1:
July 14, 2002 at 3:39 pm #14327
great “review” Derek, i sawa tampered-with set in Parramatta Westfields K-Mart today… shame they are so hard to get.
Guess we are finally getting local quality.
July 14, 2002 at 4:11 pm #14328
Umm, I didnt get up to 7 metres with my silver Honda S2000 straight out of the box, I got more like 3-4 metres… Damn…
July 14, 2002 at 5:10 pm #14331
Excellent Derek. Now for the really important question:
Any interference issues with 40MHz and either 35 or 45 MHz?
If not, I’ll have to order one from you guys when you start stocking them. I already have a 40 MHz bullet, but the quality (or lack of) keeps me from playing with it. My plan is to get up to 6 cars racing together. It will take all the Jap freqs, the Aus/UK 40 MHz and the US 49 MHz to pull it off.
Guess I’ll have to add those to the database…already got two data points.
July 14, 2002 at 5:25 pm #14332
Woops, just re-read it and noticed you got a 27 MHz. I guess my question will have to be answered later. :smiley6:
July 14, 2002 at 6:07 pm #14333
Hey ya, Ylexot!
Yeah – no 40MHz cars here but we’re VERY keen to see if they’re going to conflict with “near” frequencies.
ausmicro.com WILL NOT be selling these cars. Traditional (chain) retailers have the best chance of making the hobby work here on a larger scale. We’re happy to keep supplying Japanese import cars and accessoriesfor our members who want them for their collections.
Have a good week. Time for me to catch some ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzs!
July 15, 2002 at 1:05 am #14343
It’s interesting seeing fads like this start, I remember some years ago when the Tamagotchi was the in thing, I managed to get one from the first ever shipment Toys’R’Us got in the UK. I went along one early Saturday morning and queued up to get my Tama, strange experience but quite fun. At that time they were gold dust and I could have sold it for 4-5x (I was narked I got a white one cos I wanted a clear blue one). So anyway the fad just grew and grew till all the clones came out and that just about spelt the end of the craze. I did manage to setup a webpage back in ’97 during the heat of the fad: http://www.ridhughz.demon.co.uk/tamagotchi/ and I still get emails from kids asking where can they get a Tamagotchi from. Strange thing, millions were sold yet they’ve all just about disappeared, probably buried at the bottom of millions of kids toyboxes.
The Tamagotchi’s life was understandably finite, but the Bit Char-G I can only see it getting better, now I have some of these miniature cars I’m now waiting for them to bring out RC cars the size of Micro Machine cars. Only had to wait 20 years for the Bit Char-G, wonder if I’ll have to wait half that time for Micro Machine sized cars :smiley1:
July 15, 2002 at 10:25 am #14356
So whats up with these Compact Char-G’s …
Are they an official TOMY release?
How are they so cheap (compared to the Japanese version)?
Anyone see any difference in quality and performance?
I live in Tassie and will call Kmart now and see if there down here yet (probably not lol)
Well if anyone has any information or has brought one, lets know about it 1
July 15, 2002 at 10:39 am #14357
Barrelll: read Derek’s post :smiley1:
Yes, they are official Tomy releases.
July 15, 2002 at 11:09 am #14360leadhead2001Participant
- Posts: 14
hey, mabie their so hard to get because people keep driving them off tables and come back complaining that they dont work so they get a new one?
July 15, 2002 at 11:23 am #14362
July 15, 2002 at 12:38 pm #14367
July 15, 2002 at 4:40 pm #14375
The JNH website pretty much points to the Tomy website which doesn’t have much about the Char-G’s. Do you think we’ll get any more of the line ?? having 2 frequencies isn’t too broad and it’s taking us ages to complete our ‘first to 5 goal’ Char-G games 😛
I hope they continue releasing them in order if they do expand the range, would that mean we’d be getting the FD RX-7’s and the new Celicas ??
If they do it’d be sweet because they could release them on 2 more frequencies.
I don’t actually own any of the Jap Spec Char-G’s, would they have any interfence with the 40mhz and the 45mhz cars ??
July 15, 2002 at 5:29 pm #14377
Good points, Guyver!
My suggestion to EVERYONE in Australia that would like to see more of these released is as follows:
1. Buy locally for the cars available locally- the pricing is excellent IMHO and we should make some effort to support the Aussie distributor. It’s a big gamble they’ve taken, especially when you look at how much they’ve already tipped into advertising and support.
2. EmailJNH Australiawith details of the models that you’d like to see in the future. Ask about upgrades and spares. Let them know that there are enthusiasts in Australia prepared to buy through their retailers.
Just my 2c worth. Of course – there is NO relationship commercial or otherwise, bewteen JNH Australiaand Aaron or Myself (the ausmicro guys).
July 16, 2002 at 12:30 am #14390
well the way they seem to be selling out, I would say its gonna be quite successful. which is what we all hope.
July 16, 2002 at 4:59 pm #14416
Hey Derek, if it is found that there aren’t any conflicts with the frequencies, any chance of helping out some of us guys in the US by buying and shipping some to us?
July 16, 2002 at 5:23 pm #14418
Goes without saying, Ylexot. :smiley4:Happy to help. As soon as I get my hands on one and so some testing I will post the results.
Cost would be whatever they cost us (around USD27.00ea) plus postage (around USD8.00ea for 7-10day airmail or USD18.00ea for 2-3day EMS). Of course, if you guys can organise yourselves to have one person receive half a dozen at a time (split up and ship within the USA), you’ll save quite a bit on the international postage component.
Stay chooned :smiley2:
July 17, 2002 at 4:00 pm #14455
hey guys i just signed up today and i also just bought a compact bit char-G car today. I bought the yellow honda S2000 and I was wondering if you guys knew weather there will be accesories coming with this aussie release of bit char-G.
July 17, 2002 at 4:43 pm #14458
Welcome aboard, McWizardree!
Haven’t heard any whispers from the local distributor yet regarding upgrade parts and accessories. However, mindful of the investment costs in a new product line, they’re probably taking a “suck it and see” approach to their commitment.
I have no doubt that if the product continues selling at the frantic pace it is at the moment, they’ll expand the product line accordingly (more cars and accessories). Remember, these things can happen slowly – especially when the distributor is dealing with a group-wide buyer like K-Mart or Toyworld.
Fingers crossed! In the meantime, if you need parts (suspension kits, tyre sets, gear sets etc) just drop Aaron a line as he’s holding a number of kits in stock in Canberra.
July 17, 2002 at 6:08 pm #14462
Hey there guys.
Anyone in Australia who is looking for upgrade parts for their bit or compact Char-G’s should contact firstname.lastname@example.org they are new on the scene and are selling all the performance parts fairly chaply. I would reccommend them to everyone. Very competitive prices…
Just thought you may want to know… probly in your best interests 🙂
July 18, 2002 at 5:37 am #14477
sweet i will contact both of these guys thanx!!!:smiley1:
July 18, 2002 at 6:22 am #14479
Hey, there are K-Marts in New Zealand too. I wonder if that means we’ll see a few appearing in our stores? Maybe our frequency rules are different so maybe not, anyway, I’ll keep you posted.
November 6, 2002 at 3:47 pm #16847
i want to no why theirs not a range of all the different cars in wa(perth),
if their was a lot of compact char-g cars so try to get lots
November 9, 2002 at 6:20 am #17194
yer they seem to be out of stock of the char-g’s at the moment.
i picked up one of the last ones at chadstone toys r us and my bro couldnt get one any where a week later, so if they can get a shipment in u would imagine they would sell like crazy.
so that said i guess the mods new engines tracks soforth wont be coming out till after christmas maybe early new year.Does anyone know where to get upgrades in Melbourne?
Thanx in advance
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