Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Fail Extra!



EXTRA

Let's shed some extra light on the murkiness that is WARRIOR.



(Click the pick to jump to the FAIL Review!)

In my review of that set I asked....
...if anyone can translate the non-English part of this package, drop me a line at bat_hero@hotmail.com. I'd love to include that information here.

And here, faithful readers, is a response to that request!

-----

Alright first things first, I'm NOT from China. Nothing to do with that place. I'm from Singapore -- that's nowhere near China.

ANYWAY, you may put this on your post about the warrior...

金刚勇士。
Pronounced, jin gang yong shi (jean gah-ng your-ng sh)

gang as in government.
yong as in your.
shi as in shhhhh

Breaking it up,

金 basically means golden.

刚 means "just now" -- this doesn't even make sense!
I think they actually intended to type 钢, which means armour.
Gosh, I'm no Chinese intellectual, and yet I could point out a mistake those bootleg toy-makers made in their own tongue.

勇 means brave.

士 means soldier, or warrior, if you prefer.

So basically ~

Brave warrior in golden armour.

Oh, PLEASE.

Also,

Design is not stand for original product.

It could go two ways:
1) Box art does not represent actual product.
2) Our design is not a copy of [does not stand for] the original LEGO brick. (YEAH, right...)

Yeah, hope all that helps!

Yours sincerely,
Siango Lee.
---

Heh. I guess the "golden armor" partof the translated title explains away the yellow life vest. Sort of.

Thank you, Siango Lee!

Friday Fail: Star Wars



Every Friday at noon I showcase a real failure of a toy. And by "Failure" I mean "a cheap, crappy knockoff toy that should be destroyed before it infects humanity with some sort of degenerative disease".

But first: A reminder of some basic info. These posts are meant to showcase FAILURE, not to act as a catalog. I'm not selling these bootlegs, nor should you go out and look for them on your own. These are posts about what to AVOID buying. Go spend your money on real LEGO parts. You'll be glad you did.

--

Today we have another impulse-set sized bootleg, but this one has a whole host of copyright infringements to look at. Starting with the name. I mean...who hasn't heard of...



Okay, so maybe "Star Wars: Super Bricks Series" is a bit obscure, but the big title sure sounds like a brand name that carries more copyrights than any sane person would shake a stick at.

And if you doubt the link...well, look at the TIE fighter that appears just under the logo!

Ah, but the FRIDAY FAIL is all about LEGO Knock-offs, so let's flip the box over and take a look at the front of the box....


(Click for a larger view)

Ah, yes. Star Wars. Or, more LEGO-thematically, a revisit of the 2001 "Life on Mars" theme. The martian is a bit deformed (more on that in a bit), but there's no mistaking the aqua-blue limbs and ant-like head. But lets hold off on looking at the parts until we get done ripping the packaging apart.

For starters, this set is from the Bootleg-Vendor BRICK - as shown by their nearly-LEGO Logo. The "Super Brick Series" is in the same assortment that previous FAILS Pirate Raider and Motive Train have hailed from.

Looking closer at the artwork on the front of the package, you can see where BRICK decided that aping Star Wars and LEGO weren't enough to ensure a sale...they had to bring in Star Trek vehicles as well.


Just under the logo is the Enterprise-E....


And also shown is a random Starfleet vessel from one of the movies.

Now that in itself is pretty sad - but here's something even sadder. Take a look at the inset in the close-up below.



Now, I don't expect anyone else to recognize it, but that's a part of the cover art to one of my favorite Science Fiction books of all time:




Yes, the graphic designers at BRICK stole the cover to Greg Bear's Anvil of Stars for use as their background. Did they like the book, too? Or was this just an early result on a google image search for "Star Background"?

We may never know.

For now, flip the box over to the back and you'll get even more space action...


(Click for a larger view.)

Note the standard BRICK copy, along with the standard "andgreat" one-word-typo.

Vivid Andgreat In Style
Handsome Appearance

The logo was covered above, but there's another TIE on the left...



Amazing. Moving on, here are some shots of the other sides of the box. The art is just cropped versions of the front and back images.



The Motive Train Non-Haiku returns:
chariots without rival
many colr a lot.
selected freely by you.


This side has some new text:
  • Most new catena
  • completely new to come in to the market
  • more new items available
Sad, really.



Again, nothing too new here, just failure after epic failure.



Here's the child-safety warning - although suggesting this is safe for any age is a lie.

Okay. Time to move beyond the packaging and into...Star Wars.



As usual from BRICK we get a poly-bag of parts, a cheaply printed instruction sheet, and a feeling of impending doom.



Here's the parts spread out for our inspection. As usual, BRICK has broken small assemblies down to their component parts. This time the gear-shift/antenna thingies are broken into a base and a handle. The box claims 38 pieces - I'm counting 37. Maybe the instruction sheet is meant to count as a part this time. As usual the colors vary from the box art.


(Click for larger view)

The instruction sheet is cheaply printed - the color separations aren't very good, and well...the instructions themselves suck. Take a close look. Steps 2 and 3 show the arms being attached twice. The assembly that the Alien stands on never gets broken down, but there's an entire step dedicated to putting the big gun into his hands. Trying to follow along and build this was actually a bit of a headache for me. Aren't you glad you don't have to?



For the first time on the Friday Fail I also ran into an assembly that just didn't work. These parts would NOT click together. The problem seemed to be a poorly cast black base part. The other problem is that these are just CRAP.



Speaking of CRAP, here's the bootlegger's idea of an alien. The tan brick is just used as a stand...otherwise this figure just sort of lies there.



For comparison, here's the actual LEGO toy that is being duplicated. Note the better paint job on the face, the parts that fit together, and, oh yeah....LEGS.



Anyways...



Here's the final Star Wars toy assembled. It's sort of a hybrid between the LEGO destroyer-droid from the legit Star Wars sets (the gun/binocular assembly in particular is a clue to this) and...an airplane? I dunno.



I guess BRICK gets a couple of points for creating a truly alien looking construction. Too bad it's unstable, breakable, fragile, and...a bootleg. In other words: STAR CRAP.

--
Once again, many thanks to Joe from The Undiscovered Playthings for sending me this set to review.



Episode 622

Read the comic here.

Yes, I realize if Wash died L'il Whiskey wouldn't automatically change to some other name. The implication is that Fox would remarry and L'il W would be adopted by the new father. Trust me, Fox knew what he meant.

IN BEFORE Names don't work liek that

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Episode 619

Read the comic here.

So now our cast is up to speed on things...well, all the adult cast, anyway. Except Old Whiskey. maybe. There's still the question of how much he knows about things...and he's not talking right now.

The similarities of this strip to BTTF:2 have been remarked on before.

Oh, and the reason that Wash and Fox naming their child Whiskey is ironic? Yet to be revealed.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fail: Motive Train



Every Friday at noon I showcase a real failure of a toy. And by "Failure" I mean "a cheap, crappy knockoff toy that should be destroyed before it infects humanity with some sort of degenerative disease".

But first: A reminder of some basic info. These posts are meant to showcase FAILURE, not to act as a catalog. I'm not selling these bootlegs, nor should you go out and look for them on your own. These are posts about what to AVOID buying. Go spend your money on real LEGO parts. You'll be glad you did.

--

Today we continue with our run of Impulse-Sized Bootlegs. This time there's no mini-figure to scowl at, instead we have a mini-model of dubious quality....MOTIVE TRAIN.



As you can see from the box front above, this is another offering from our Bootleg-Buddies at "Brick". Like the Pirate Raider set, the logo is a near-match for the official LEGO branding. The box is full color, with glossy-stock printing on all sides.

I'm not sure if the "Motive Train" logo is a copy of someone else's work (although I wouldn't be surprised), but the name itself needs a bit of scrutiny. Motive train? As in "the reason something was done"?

Maybe they meant the lesser knowing "causing motion" secondary meaning. Or perhaps it's just short for "Locomotive". Although a better abbreviation would have been "LOCO".



The back of the box is pretty much the same as the front, minus the BRICK logo and part counts. Instead, we get a clip-art shot of a train (perhaps to help make sure you know what the toy is supposed to be) and some standard BRICK promotional copy:

Vivid Andgreat In Style, Handsome Appearance

The clip-art background is once again too fuzzed out to be sure where it was lifted from. The train does seem to be moving along at a quick pace, though, judging from those motion-blur lines.



This side of the box again has the Motive Train logo and the BRICK-Text. Note how "andgreat" continues to be one word.



This side panel offers some new text to decode:

chariots without rival
many colr a lot
selected freely by you

It's almost a haiku. But not. Note the missing "o" in "color". And notice the "selected freely by you" reminder. That means if you buy this piece of crap it's really only your own fault. You really should know better.



Speaking of knowing better, here's the safety warnings on the bottom of the package. Note the spelling on "color" this time - that's international English. So it seems they left out "ou" in on the side panel, not just the "o".



Opening the box we find a poly-bag of parts and a one-sided color print of assembly instructions.



Spreading out the parts, we find 17 of them. This matches the part count on the box front. For a change the colors almost match the box - except for the two round 2x2s changed from brown to black.



Once again the "LEGO" brand name has been removed from the parts and replaced with "HOLI".



Here's an interesting change. Rather than spring for the more expensive rubber tire and hub construction offered by LEGO, the people at BRICK recast the part into a single blob of plastic. (LEGO parts are on the right for comparison)


The instructions are fairly straight forward. Actually, it's not a bad bit of building - the use of the angle brackets is clever, anyway. Eh. There's probably a legit LEGO mini-kit somewhere with this design.





Finally, here's a side by-side of the BRICK bootleg on the right, and the same parts from my LEGO collection on the left. (No, I didn't bother to find the right color LEGO to match BRICK's choices. I picked colors that might actually look decent.)

While both models look very similar, you just need to pick them up to feel the lightweight construction of the BRICK knock-off. The parts are thin and brittle in places, thick and gloppy in others. And while the LEGO version rolls smoothly across the desk, the BRICK version sits there like...well....a brick.

All in all, this is a good example of why you need to be vigilant in avoiding knock-off brands. While they might fool the untrained eye, you really don't want this sort of crap to sneak into your collection.
--
Once again, many thanks to Joe from The Undiscovered Playthings for sending me this set to review.

Episode 617

Read the comic here.

Nothing like a little Paradox to start your day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Episode 616

Read the comic here.

I know some of you are ahead of the strip on this twist already - it wasn't meant to be a real puzzle. Just sit back and watch the fun as the characters figure things out...

Tomorrow: The much demanded return of Zombie Wash.

Episode 615

Read the comic here.

Learn More: Corn Syrup

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Episode 614

Read the comic here.

No, I'm not sure what the giant squid has to do with Whiskey's condition. The piece is from set 7775, Aquabase Invasion, and looked "science-y" enough to use as a data read-out.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Episode 613

Read the comic here.

Yeah, I'm a day behind. Things will get caught up sometime this week.

Fox's signature on the note is supposed to have a cute little "couples only" thing in it. Signing a note "XXOO" is shorthand for "hugs and kisses". So Fox has adapted that into something uniquely her own.

Not sure if it really came across in the strip, but that's what I was thinking, anyway.