They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If so, then
Hasbro’s Transformers line must be extremely flattered. Ever
line’s inception in 1984, there have been competing lines and products
on the retail landscape.
From legitimate products like Tonka’s Gobots (Machine Robo in Japan), the short-lived Converters line and the myriad Power Rangers toys to the hundreds of knock-off products, Transformers have seen their fair share of competition.
It stands to reason that the toys are making money if somebody is copying them and selling bootlegs (after all, why bother selling such things if the line isn’t profitable enough to copy?) Lax copyright laws in China make it possible to see direct rip-offs of legitimate Transformers products.
Of course, it’s likely that no one TF fan has every KO ever produced, due to the cheapness of many such items and the reluctance to spend money on these items when legitimate releases are more durable and safer in general. But just about every fan as at least a few of these items and this writer would like to take this opportunity to showcase some of the items from my own collection here.
|Minicon knock-offs (from Walmart
They had a purple selection of the Air Defense Team team and a green/purple set of the Land Military Team.
|Back of the card (notice
that these toys are a completely different color scheme to the
|G1 Topspin knock-off (I
at Toys R Us some years ago). The packaging also contained a picture of
a KO TwinTwist but I never saw that in-person. (Unfortunately, I no
longer have the box he came in).
|KO of G1 Blitzwing. I found this
at a dollar store a couple of years ago. The toy is quite cheap in
quality. It's hard to see in this pic but the face molding is abysmal
(almost looks like a child drew it on with a crayon or something). (Of
historical note, I remember back in the day there was at least
another knock-off of Blitzwing with a green and brown color
scheme--although I never owned that one).
|A Sixbuilder knock-off,
apparently from a Big Lots store (according to the blacked out price
tag on it, anyway. :) I picked this guy up at Botcon 05... I haven't
opened it but the toy appears to have fairly good detail (unlike many
other KOs I've seen/owned).
|Not sure who the race car is
exactly, but I picked him up from a dollar store and noticed that he is
a well designed mold (more like an official Transformer then some of
the stuff I've seen). He only cost a dollar and, of course, is made of
very cheap plastic (I broke some small part off transforming him to car
mode for the above pic).
||Interestingly, the face
resembles Optimus Prime in general detail (the picture is bad but there
is a definite resemblance).
|This is a knock-off of the G1
Darkwing toy. It was found in a small Ontario town a few years ago.
Interestingly, this toy is actually about two to three times larger
then the original Darkwing was (I saw some originals at Botcon and
confirmed this). It does come with a small Powermaster partner as well
(unfortunately, it's slid inside the bubble and you can't really see it
in this pic--it's trapped under the toy's right wing). The card has
nothing on the back of it, btw.
|This is one of many Beast Wars
KOs that made the rounds a few years ago. This is an oversized bat
||Back of the card. Most of the
year one BW toys had KO counterparts made.... I personally have seen
one of Razorbeast as well (but didn't buy him).
||The knock-off with original
(he's missing a leg after his run-in with crocodile Megatron ;)
|Size comparison of real toy and KO
|This is a KO of G2 Megatron...
he comes complete with rifle and big generic sword (I've seen the sword
on several other cheap-o robot toys as well).
||The back of the card
- The back card indicates that the tank's front part opens up to form a sharp "jaw" of sorts (visible on the green toy).
- There is another Megatron in the pic that is brown in color. This was also produced and I actually found both originally but due to budget constraints, opted for the green one.
This is probably one of the cheapest knockoffs I own. I have several complaints about this toy. For one it is made of rather brittle plastic. Most of the joints are severely loose.
Here we have the powermaster, let's just say he's so loose that all you have to do is wiggle him some and he falls apart. It is also a bit of a challenge to get his legs to line up so the posts go into his arms for motor mode.
Two other problems I had with this toy were that so much excess plastic was on it that I ended up having to use an exacto knife to cut it off so I could transform him. In the next two pics you can sort of see that there is a large gap in the main toy body. This gap, along with poorly molded clips, cause the arms not to be able to lock properly into place. So they sort of flop around if you move the toy about.
One amazing thing was to find that the transformation lock mechanism does work. This is also one of the other frustrating things about this toy since I have yet to be able to get the Powermaster to lock into place on the toy. Yes this could be just a side effect of the gap on the toy. You can press real hard and then hold it in place to transform the toy.
I have a used G1 Cyclonus toy made in the same type of style/materials too. Perhaps he'll be reviewed next issue.
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