#1259: Colossus

COLOSSUS

MARVEL BOOTLEGO

Hey, remember when I reviewed those knock-off Lego mini figures last week?  Well, how about one more?  Last week’s mini figures were based on Game of Thrones, which is a property that Lego doesn’t, and never plans to, hold the license for.  Today’s focus, is a slightly different story, hailing from the Marvel side of things.  Of course, it’s still a character that doesn’t yet have an official Lego figure, which is why I’m reviewing a less legitimate version.  Without further ado, here’s that merry metal mutant, Colossus!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

As noted in the intro, this guy’s an unofficial product.  As such, he’s not strictly part of any series or assortment.  Also, unlike the prior BootLegos, he’s not part of a larger set that I can find.  The figure’s about 3 inches tall and has 5 points of articulation (though, there’s not really much movement in the neck, thanks to the hair).  If the height didn’t already cue you in, he’s patterned on the “Big Fig” body that was first introduced for the Avengers mover version of the Hulk.  While Colossus is usually depicted a little slimmer than the Hulk, this is actually how the character was depicted in Lego Marvel Superheroes, which gives him an extra sense of officialness, since any legit Colossus seems likely to be built this way.  What I personally find interesting is the fact that this guy’s a wholly original sculpt.  Every other one of these I’ve picked up has uses stock Lego pieces, but this guy’s totally unique.  I’m honestly curious if there’s actually a Colossus in the works from Lego, since it just seems odd for this one figure to be all-new.  If he really is a unique sculpt, he’s a very good forgery.  The sculpt is pretty solidly done, with all of the proper details outlined.  The only real issue I have is the hair, which has actual texture, which just doesn’t seem right for Colossus; it really should just be smooth.  A closer look at the piece makes it look like it might be an upscaled basic spiky hair piece, modified to fit the body.  That would certainly explain the extra details.  As nice as the sculpt work is, the paint does seem to be a slight step down.  red seems a bit deep in shade, and the edges are all pretty sloppy.  There’s also a splotch of red on his right arm, which is super distracting.  Lego’s well-known for their high standards of quality control, so this guy’s lack of said QC kind of shatters the illusion.  I mean, he’s not terrible, but he could be better.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up this guy at the same time as the GoT mini figures.  The vendor had a special deal for three basic mini figures and one Big Fig, which is what I opted to go for.  Colossus is one of my favorite X-Men, so I was hardly going to turn down the chance to get a Lego version of him.  He’s not quite as good as the other three, but he’s still pretty fun!

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#1253: Game of Thrones “Legos”

TYRION, JAIME, & BRIENNE

GAME OF THRONES BOOTLEGOS

Most of the stuff I review on this site is totally legit, and totally on the up and up.  That being said, most toy collectors will run into at least a few bootleg action figures throughout their collecting career.  I myself have always been pretty fascinated by bootlegs, but I think the most fascinating thing is just how far they’ve come.  Back when I first learned of them, they tended to just be cheap re-molds of official products, with a pure focus on producing the cheapest item possible in the hopes of ensnaring an unsuspecting buyer.  While that sort of Bootleg still exists, there’s been a serious upswing in Bootlegs that can well and truly pass as an official product.  Sometimes it offers collectors a chance at a cheaper version of an expensive figure (as seen with the knock-off Ninja Turtles I looked at last summer), but with increasing frequency, they’ve started expanding collections by offering things you wouldn’t be able to get through legitimate means.  Like, say, if you wanted a set of Legos based on the characters from Game of Thrones

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The three Minifigures presented here are based on Brienne of Tarth and Tyrion & Jaimie Lannister, as seen on HBO’s Game of Thrones.  From what I’ve been able to find online, there’s twelve of these figures out there, with Jon, Joffery, a White Walker, Drogo, Daenerys, Ygritte, Varys, Melisandra, and Arya all also being represented.  I’ve seen a number of different company names attached to them, which is pretty typical with these sorts of lines, since they aren’t strictly legal.  It looks like they’ve just started showing up in the last year or so.

Tyrion is kind of a lock with any GoT merch, even the illegitimate stuff.  He’s seen here in this season 1/season 2 attire, and his lack of a scar shows he predates the Battle of Blackwater.  His base body is a good mimic of the standard Lego faire, to the point the most people would be unlikely to notice.  There’s a little more give to the plastic than there would be on a real Lego product, but that’s about it.  He uses the smaller leg piece, to help make him shorter than the others, as well as the surfer dude hair, which is actually a pretty good fit.  Like his construction, his paint is a pretty good mock of the actual Lego stuff; you can clearly make out the important details on his vest, and his face is a halfway decent Lego-ization of Dinklage.  His scuff is a bit dark I think, but that’s about it.  Tyrion’s gimmick is drinking and knowing things; knowing things is a bit hard to indicate through accessories, so he has to settle for just the drinking bit, with the included golden goblet.  It’s half as tall as he is, which is more than a little amusing.

Jaimie may not be GoT’s most pivotal character, but he’s one of the more intriguing ones (for me anyway).  He’s had a diverse selection of looks throughout the show’s run, but this figure goes for his Kingsguard look from season 1, just like his Funko figure did.  It’s probably his most distinctive look, even if he didn’t spend a ton of time in it.  He uses the Snape hair, which is a reasonable fit for the character, I suppose.  He’s also got the standard knight’s armor piece, and a cloth cape.  The cape I think is the piece that most gives this away as inauthentic; it’s just not the same quality as the usual Lego capes.  It’s not awful, but it also hangs a bit weird.  Jaime’s paint is decent enough, and I really like the chainmail details on the arms and legs.  That being said, the decision to mold his body in all white feels slightly off to me.  Maybe more of a cream color would have worked better?  He’s packed with a fairly standard broadsword, which suits him well enough.

Brienne is one of my favorite parts of Game of Thrones.  She’s one of the few noble characters to have stuck around, and I continue to enjoy her in every appearance.  Here’s hoping she gets more to do next season!  This figure appears to be based on her early appearances, back when she was lugging Jaime around.  I think.  The cape is throwing me.  She uses the generic hairpiece used for the likes of Cyclops and Hal Jordan, along with the same armor piece used for Jaime, which captures her general look pretty well.  She also gets a cloth cape and skirting under her armor.  The cloth pieces are a little more convincing here, but still a little off.  Her paint isn’t quite as finely detailed as Jaime’s, but it looks like her to me, so I’m satisfied.  In particular, I really like that look of determination on her face; it’s so Brienne!  Like Jaime, she includes a basic broadsword.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked these up from one of the venders at this year’s Farpiont.  I was just wandering through the dealer’s room, and I casually looked over at the Lego table, when a Drogo caught my eye.  They had the whole set of twelve, but I ended up going with the characters that looked the best, which were these three.  It’s so odd to have Legos of this sort of property, but I’m certainly not complaining.  I think Brienne’s my favorite of the set, with Tyrion not far behind.  Jaime’s okay, but seems the most off of the bunch.  Still, all three are solid little figures.  Now, I just need to avoid falling down the bootlego rabbit hole completely.  That would be bad.

#1039: Raphael & Michelangelo

RAPHAEL & MICHELANGELO

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES (NECA…ish)

Raph&MikeyNECA

Wait a second!  Didn’t I just say yesterday that I never found the other half of the NECA Ninja Turtles?  Fear not dear reader, this feeling indicates only that you are still sane.  No, I never did find those other two Turtles.  Well, not officially, anyway.  I’ve spoken once or twice about bootlegs, unlicensed action figures, usually produced by chinese factories as a way of making a quick buck.  They tend to be very cheaply made, and rarely can they be mistaken for any official product.  It does happen, though, especially if a factory producing figures for an American toy company decides to make use of some of the molds they have lying around to earn a little extra profit.  That’s what happened to NECA.  In 2013, it had been a fair while since NECA had lost the license to produce TMNT figures, and the main four had all shot up pretty far in price.  Slowly, more and more of these figures began showing on eBay, shipping from China, and selling at lower prices than usual.  As it turned out, these figures were clever forgeries of the real deal, created by one of NECA’s ex-factories.  While the initial bootleg Turtles were just straight recreations of the official NECA figures, the already unlicensed nature of the the figures quickly opened the door to variations of the NECA figures in the usual cartoon colors (which NECA had not legally been able to use).  Needless to say, I came into possession of the remaining two Turtles, which I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

RaphNECA2These two are one half of the set of bootleg Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures, patterned after the NECA releases.  As noted above, the bootlegs were available in both comic and cartoon color schemes (referring to the color of the bandanas).  These two are the cartoon color versions (though the two versions of Raph are the same).  As far as anyone can tell, the bootlegs are only available in the tube style packaging, likely due to them coming from the factory that produced that run of figures for NECA.  Both figures stand 5 ¼ inches tall and have the same 30 points of articulation as the official figures.  One thing I did notice is that these two have a tendency to pop apart at some of the joints, due to the slightly softer plastic that was used.  Like their official counterparts, Raph and Mike use the same body as Don and Leo.  There aren’t any sculptural changes that I can find, apart from some of the native texturing on the skin being a bit smoother.  The official Raph and Mike had unique heads, which is true here as well.  Raph sports one with a squinting, angry scowl, perfect for his more intense nature.  Mike, meanwhile, gets a much lighter expression, wide-eyed and smiling, RaphNECA2encapsulating his role as the team’s resident goofball.  Mike’s head is probably my favorite of the four, just for sheer expressiveness.  The changes between bootleg and official are most evident in the paintwork.  Obviously, Mike gets an orange bandana instead of the usual red.  It’s a minor change, but especially noticeable if you’re like me and the other three have red.  Raph’s bandana is more or less the same shade as the official figures, though it is a bit glossier in finish.  In fact, both figures as a whole are glossier than the originals, no doubt due to cheaper paint.  The greens of their skin are also a bit yellower than the official versions, and brown pads and belts are noticeably darker.  The black details have also been made a bit less striking, especially on the shells, and the accent work on the shading is a little more heavy handed.  As they are emulating the more bare-bones releases, Raph and Mike each get just their basic weapons: a pair of sai for Raph and nunchucks for Mike.   

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When these bootlegs first started showing up, I was tempted to pick up some of them, since, as noted yesterday, my NECA Turtles were incomplete.  However, they tended to only be sold in sets of four, so I never got around to getting them.  Back in June, I was out with my brother, and we stopped by a local retro game store, who had just gotten in a set of the cartoon colored versions.  While I would have prefered the comic ones, just for the sake of matching the two I already have, I figured these two were close enough.  Perhaps one day I’ll paint Mike to match the rest.   but right now I’m happy to have all four, even if it is through questionable means.

NECATurtles

#0754: US Agent

US AGENT
IRON MAN (TOY BIZ)

USAgent1

Who’s up for a history lesson? Well, too bad, cuz I’m giving one anyway.

Let’s talk about US Agent. As a member of the West Coast Avengers, he was carried over into the reformation of the team, Force Works. Force Works had the luck of being relevant at the time of the 90s Iron Man cartoon, resulting in the team serving as Tony’s primary supporting cast for the first season of the show. US Agent, while a member in the comics, was never on the show. But, since the cartoon’s toyline was taking just as many cues from the comics as it was the cartoon itself, US Agent was slated to be released in the third series of the line. Unfortunately, he was cut from the line-up at the last minute, due to a change in the case pack-outs. His tooling was shelved, and later re-purposed for the proposed Living Laser figure in Series 5 of the same line. When that figure was also canceled, the body was re-re-purposed into the “Muntant” Armor version of Professor X. Then, in 1997, with no rhyme or reason, a slow trickle of US Agent figures began appearing from overseas. They were dubbed a “Limited Release” courtesy of Elegant Way, and were very quickly discovered to be unsanctioned by Marvel or Toy Biz. Some 10,000 units were produced before Toy Biz could halt production, but they did their best to make sure as few as possible made it to the US, ironically making US Agent exclusive to areas outside of the US, and quite a pricey commodity amongst US-based collectors. What does all this have to do with me? Well, in case you hadn’t figured it out, I got one.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

USAgent2US Agent was, as noted above, supposed to be released as part of Series 3 of the 90s Iron Man line. Ultimately, he ended up being released on his own, as an unsanctioned product, so this is effectively a bootleg. However, unlike most bootlegs, the quality of the figure seems to be about on par with the official figures. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and he has 8 points of articulation. He only has elbow movement on his left arm, due to a spring-loaded feature being implemented on his right. I’ve actually reviewed most of this figure before, when I looked at Astral Projection Professor X. The right arm, upper left arm, and upper legs are identical between the two figures. The torso and lower legs are mostly the same, though the Professor X pieces had ports for armor add-ons, and the US Agent’s torso has an additional sculpted insignia on his torso. The left hand has a tighter grip on this figure, which is odd, since he doesn’t actually have anything to hold, but it looks fine. The end result is a body that is nearly indistinguishable from Professor X’s to the average viewer. The body’s not the greatest sculpt ever; that torso still looks wonky. That said, it does work a lot better for US Agent than it did Xavier, which makes sense, since US Agent was the character for whom it was intended. US Agent does have his own, totally unique head sculpt, which is cool. It’s not exceptional work or anything, but it is pretty nice, and it gives Walker an appropriately sneer-y expression, plus it sits well on the body. US Agent’s paint work is generally pretty good. Unsurprisingly for a guy named “US Agent,” he consists mostly of red, white, and blue. The blue is molded and the rest is painted on; the application is decent enough, though there’s some slop around the edges. The official prototype shots for US Agent showed him with black in place of the blue, but it’s not unlikely that Toy Biz themselves might have made this change before dropping the figure. US Agent included an energy shield (which has trouble staying in place, due to the spring feature), and one of the standard Iron Man line badges, though it does not have the usual character bio, presumably due to Toy Biz never writing one.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the 90s, when I was first getting into toy collecting, the Iron Man and Fantastic Four lines from Toy Biz were my jam. I got every figure I could, and I even saved the backs of the packaging so that I could cut out the small thumbnail images of all the other available figures. US Agent was one of the ones I remember having that little thumbnail for, but never being able to find. In those days, you didn’t have many ways of finding out about cancelled figures, so I just assumed he wasn’t out yet. It wasn’t until a little later, after discovering the awesome Iron Man Achive on Raving Toy Maniac, that I found out he never came to be. Then it was another several years or so before I found out he actually had come to be, but not in an easily attainable for a 10 year old sort of way. So, I was excited beyond belief when I came across a dealer at this year’s Baltimore Comic Con selling this guy loose, and not even for a small fortune. I’m really happy to finally have this guy, and to have finally completed my Series 3 collection!

USAgent3

#0361: Green Alien

GREEN ALIEN

STELLAR FORCE (CHAP MEI)

GreenAlienIn the collecting world, and in any promising business for that matter, there are always bound to be imitators. A common form is a straight rip off, something like the bootleg LEGOs I looked at a few months ago. However, the imitator isn’t always that blatant. Sometimes, they’ll just make a product that, while easily confused with the real thing, is a completely different item from a legal standpoint. No molds are stolen, no copyrights infringed. Such is the case with Stellar Force, a toyline from the early 90s, made by Chap Mei. The line had a few different components, but one of them was a bunch of monsters that could easily be mistaken for one of the Xenomorphs from Kenner’s popular Aliens line.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GreenAlienWilsonI don’t know much about this figure, other than the fact that it was part of the Stellar Force line by Chap Mei. The only name I’ve been able to find for it is “Green Alien,” but that’s probably more of a descriptive term than an official figure name. The figure is about 4 ½ inches tall and it’s only articulation is a ball jointed neck. From what I’ve been able to find, the figure was part of a selection of similar aliens, all using the same sculpt. The sculpt is actually not bad. It seems to ape the Kenner aesthetic from the 90s, and it does it pretty well. It’s not anything revolutionary, but for a figure that was most likely a dollar store figure, it’s quite good. It doesn’t have the softer features usually seen with such figures, so that’s pretty good. The figure’s paintwork continues the theme of being better than expected. It’s actually pretty clean, and there are even some areas of dry brushing to accent the sculpt. The figure also has a vac metalized spine and ribs, which are actually pretty cool. As far as I know, this figure didn’t include any accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

So, you know how these figures were designed to confuse people into buying them instead of something else? Yeah, that’s what happened to me with this figure. While I was on vacation this summer, I visited Yesterday’s Fun, a really cool used toy store in Delaware. They had a selection of Kenner Aliens figures for low prices, so I pretty much just grabbed the lot, assuming this figure was one of the authentic Aliens. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized what he actually was. Seems Chap Mei fooled me! Honestly, it’s actually a pretty good substitute for the real deal, so I’m not disappointed.

#0254: Cyclops

CYCLOPS

S-WORLD MINIFIGURES

Cyclops1Lego

Okay, one last look into the dark back alley of toy collecting that is bootleg toys! I’ve looked at Black Lantern and Captain America, now I move on to the franchise that actually introduced me to the world of bootlegs, X-Men! See, back in the 90s, I so loved X-Men figures that I actually ended up with at least one knock off, but that’s a story for another review. Today, let’s take a look at Cyclops.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Cyclops is yet another Bootlego from the very generically named “S-World Minifigures” line. As with Cap, I haven’t been able to tie him to any particular set. Cyclops is about 2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation. He’s on the same Bootlego body seen before, which is an impressive mock of the original. He looks to be based on Cyclops’s 90s look, which is also the main look he sports in the Lego Marvel video game. His one add-on piece is a hairpiece, which is the same as the one used on Black Lantern, which is in turn a copy of one of Lego’s basic hairpieces. Cyclops’s paint is perhaps the least impressive of the three bootlegs I picked up, but it’s still surprisingly good for a bootleg. The only real issue is that the yellow used is a bit too thinly applied, which allows the colors under it to bleed through. Cyclops is accessorized with two Lego antennae cast in translucent red plastic and a black display stand. I assume that the antennae are meant to simulate Cyclops’s optic blasts, but they just end up looking goofy. Also, the stand is notably not the new piece seen on the other two, but rather a copy of Lego’s own minifigure stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like the previous two Bootlegos, Cyclops was purchased from a dealer at Mego Meet, prior to my knowledge of their sketchy nature. I’m actually quite fascinated by how close to the real thing all three of these were. I’m also impressed by the fact that these have such a large selection of lesser characters and looks. Obviously someone involved with S-World Minifigures is a comics fan who wanted more characters.

Cyclops2Lego

#0253: Captain America – Rescue Version

CAPTAIN AMERICA – RESCUE VERSION

S-WORLD MINIFIGURES

CapRescue

Today continues my first real look into the seedy underbelly of toys: Bootlegs! Yesterday, I took a look at Black Lantern Hal Jordan, who provided me a chance to acquire one of my favorite characters, albeit in a slightly less default look, in the Lego style. Today, I’ll be jumping over to the Marvel side, with a one of my favorite non-default looks of a character.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Captain America is just as much a bootleg as yesterday’s Black Lantern, which means he’s not officially tied to any series, outside of the vague “S-World Minfigures” printed on his display stand. Unlike Hal, I haven’t even been able to tie this one to a larger set. He’s just here. Cap stands about 2 inches tall and has 7 points of articulation. He’s built on the bootlego body, which is a near perfect replica of the real Lego body. The figure is based on Cap’s “Rescue” look from Captain America: The First Avenger, which is a look I quite like. He features one add-on, a helmet, which seems to be a bootleg of the piece used on Lego’s green army men from Toy Story. The figure’s paint is once again impressive for such a back alley figure. The eyes are perhaps a bit soulless, and the helmet has been incorrectly adorned with a star instead of the proper A, but otherwise, everything looks pretty great. The figure is accessorized with a shield (based on his pre-circular one), a machine gun and a display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

As with Black Lantern, I picked Cap up from a dealer at Mego Meet, before fully knowing the details of his creation. Cap is actually still more of a mystery to me than the other two I picked up, as I have yet to find any evidence of other people having this one. Nevertheless, I’m a big fan of this particular design for the character, and I was thrilled to be able to acquire in yet another style, even if he is less than official.

#0252: Hal Jordan – Black Lantern

HAL JORDAN – BLACK LANTERN

S-WORLD MINIFIGURES

BlackLanternLego

Yesterday, I spoke of the somewhat complicated nature of knowing just who Green Lantern is at any given time. Well, today, I’m adding yet another layer to that. Not only is it possible for Green Lantern to be any number of individuals, but thanks to writer Geoff Johns, it’s also possible that they may not be Green Lantern, but instead they might be a whole other color of lantern for the day. During the event Blackest Night, Nekron and Black Hand (who both have figures reviewed on this site; check them out!) created their own brand of lantern, called the Black Lantern. Essentially, they were zombies, reanimated various dead heroes. However, given the number of heroes who have died and returned through other means, they figured it would be a good idea to grab those guys too. Which is where today’s figure hails from.

Also of note, there’s another new concept for this review: bootlegs. Bootlegs are unauthorized reproductions or imitations of existing characters or toys, usually done on the cheap, and meant to nab the casual buyer who doesn’t really know any better. Today, I’ll be looking at the first of a few bootleg Legos, or Bootlegos if you will.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Black Lantern Hal Jordan, being a bootleg, has no official series he is tied to. Near as I can tell from the research I’ve done, he’s from a larger set of Green Lantern themed Bootlegos, produced under the name “S-World”. Mine was purchased on his own, so I can’t really speak to the others. The figure stands about 2 inches tall, and has 7 points of articulation. The quality of the plastic used is a little different, but for all intents and purposes, this guy was built on a standard Lego Minifigure body. His sole add-on is a hair piece, which also appears to be an almost exact replica of one of Lego’s generic male hair pieces. The rest of the figure’s details are handled via paint. The painted work is quite surprising for a bootleg. It rivals official Lego work, and is a step above the work being put out currently by some of the bigger toy companies. The details are applied exquisitely, and capture the Black Lantern design very well. The figure includes a light sabre hilt and two clear blue blasters, which I believe are meant to be some sort of makeshift lantern, and a display stand with the S-World logo on it. Interestingly, the stand is different from Lego’s own Minifigure stand, making it the only unique piece present!

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I picked up Black Lantern Hal Jordan and two other “Bootlegos” from a dealer at Mego Meet. They were simply labeled “Lego Figures” so I didn’t know their exact origin when I bought them. They came in small sealed bags, like you would find inside the box of a real Lego product, so I wasn’t sure if they were some kind of promotional item or something. Some research later clued me in to their bootleg nature, but I must say, I’m really quite impressed with these figures. The quality is almost exactly that of real Lego product, and they’ve actually gone a lot deeper with their character choices than the real Lego stuff has. I’m curious to see if they stick around much longer, though…