Friday, January 9, 2009

Friday FAIL: Pirate Raider

Hello and welcome to the first a new weekly feature here at Reasonably Clever:
The Friday FAIL

Every Friday at noon I'll be showcasing 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". Yes, I'm returning to my roots as a Bootleg Toy Reviewer.

The format will be a bit different - all my reviews will be here in the Blog, for example - and for the first few months I'll be focusing on nothing but LEGO knock-offs. Why? Because my good friend Joe over at Bootleg Action Figures set me up with several months worth of mini-sets to review.

First up, though, 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.

That said, let's take a look at our first FAILure...

I thought it'd be appropriate to kick off a Bootleg Theme with a real Pirated Figure. Luckily there was one in among the swag - the PIRATE RAIDER. As the box informs us, he is "vivid and great in style, handsome appearance." Of course, they have "andgreat" as one word. This, as we will shortly see, is the most minor of the shortcomings this set has to offer.

(You can click on the photo of the box front above for a larger than life-sized view)

The Pirate Raider arrives in a box roughly the size of a standard LEGO impulse set - and the box is certainly deceptive. It's nice and shiny - with eye catching graphics and full color printing on all six sides. But right away you can spot that something is wrong...take a look at the Company seems oddly familiar, doesn't it?

Hmmm. You'd almost confuse it with the real LEGO logo...

But I'm sure that's just an innocent mistake... Here. Let's flip the box over to the side without all those troubling logos...

(Click for larger view)

Even without the logo, though, you'll be confronted with a maritime riddle. Just what the heck does this stuff say, anyway?

By cheating and looking at some of the other offerings in this Bootleg Set, I can guess at what this indecipherable font and typo-laden message says. Here's my take on it:

"More New Fashion Style!
Every Style's Fully Wonderful!"

And that was the "easy" batch. If we look on the side of the box, we find another cryptogram:

Here's a closeup of the text, not that it's going to help you any.

My guess?
"Take a ride! Let us take a ride together, It will be a fine recollection! Don't Miss!"

So, by now you're probably a bit concerned about the contents of this mysterious package. Let's go a head and crack her open and see what treasures lurk inside....

Much like a legitimate LEGO set, we find an instruction sheet and a poly-bag full of parts. But let's take a closer look at that instruction sheet.

(Click for larger view)

The instructions are printed on only one side. The BRICK logo is there, and while the colors don't match the packaging, they do match the included parts. The paper is glossy, making this look and feel much like a color xerox. (Which it very well may be.)

But enough with the paper goods - what about the toy itself? Tearing open the plastic bag we find the following assortment of twenty four parts and a sticker. (Nit-picky readers will note only twenty three of the parts are shown - one white cylinder had rolled under the instructions without my noticing it.) Looking back at the box we see that they claim "24 pieces" - so that matches up. But Unlike LEGO they've broken their toy down to an almost molecular level. While LEGO counts a torso assembly as a single part, BRICK counts the arms, hands, and torso components as individual pieces. The same thing occurs with the legs - LEGO as an assembly, while BRICK has a crotch and two legs for a total count of three parts.

At this point I should mention that the plastic used to make these parts is super thin and super brittle. While real LEGO parts have some heft to them, these items are prone to crack if you look at them too harshly. And the few parts that don't feel brittle have that "low grade rubberized" texture to them. Handling this toy is actually physically unpleasant.

But you can't (and shouldn't) experience that first hand, so let me move on to what I can can share- the total evil copyright infringement of the decorated parts. First up, let's take a loot at the large "raft" base:

Instead of the expected "LEGO" name on each dot we have the inexplicable "HOLI" label. What is "HOLI"? (Besides the joyful spring festival of colors in Hinduism, I mean.) A brand name? Shouldn't these dots read "BRICK" per the box? Apparently not.

But we can't stop here. Let's move on to the Pirate Raider himself.

Unlike the version pictured on the box, the included figure (once assembled) shows the cost-cutting nature of most bootlegs. The complex and colorful LEGO spray-ops have been replaced with a single color outline pass on both the face and torso. How can I compare them to LEGO? Because, dear reader, the designs are lifted directly from licensed LEGO parts!

Like this head...

And this torso...


There's obvious stealing going on (I admit it! I lifted the LEGO images from Bricklink!) to decorate the parts on the Raider. Also be sure to note the goofy blue Fedora and stylish tan pistols on the bootleg. Also note the excess plastic left over from the mold on the bootleg's legs and hands.

Speaking of "excess", let's take a quick gander at the Pirate Flag Sticker included with this set. The shot above shows it fully assembled, as shown in the instruction sheet. Not a bad graphic - the image they picked didn't come from LEGO's Pirate line, anyway.

Of course, the sticker doesn't fit on the LEGO-scaled flag piece. If you turn things around you can see the fringed end of the sticker flapping in the breeze. There's some great quality control. The fun part is that you can see this odd design choice in the instructions as well. A good example of how bootleg toy makers "Just don't care."

I'll finish up this first Friday FAIL with a shot of the completed Pirate Raider kit. It wasn't easy to assemble - the yellow bricks would only snap together with the white bricks from one side, and only after a fair amount of force was applied. And the figure doesn't snap onto the raft's surface at all. But I think you get the idea.

But in case you missed it, here's the idea spelled out for you:

And just think. I have nearly a dozen more sets similar to this one to share with you! Aren't you excited?

Hopefully so. In any case, check back next Friday at noon for another episode of


Great escaper said...

Awsome! Although its kinda cheap how they consider the arms and crotch as seperate parts you have to assemble yourself and why dosnt lego sue "Brick/Holi"? Anyone with eyes can see its a blatant copyright infringment.

Christopher Doyle said...

The trick is *finding* "Brick/Holi" to serve papers to. It's not like bootleggers set up storefronts of their own...

If they can track them down they do...

Kadzar said...

I looked at my Chinese bootleg "Brick" (another spelling that uses a cursive font with a 2x4 brick in place of the dot on the i. Sound familiar?) sets again. One of the pieces had writing on it's studs, "KAZI".

Cat said...

So maybe they're really Japanese suicide bricks.

Mr. Meep said...

I'm loving this new feature. It's quite amusing how desperate some companies are to make a buck...

TK1420 said...

This would be great on icanhascheezburger's Enrish Funny site:

Louise said...

I feel unclean just looking at these bootlegs!

I hope you showered afterwards, Chris?

Anonymous said...

you should put this guy in your comic, Chris, and everybody will mock him!!!

Andy Boal said...

How did it get its CE certification?

Crazy Ray said...

I dont think its that bad. i'd buy it, buy its a complete rip off to LEGO

TK1420 said...

To alleviate the nausea induced by this impostor set, I went out and picked up a genuine Lego Pirates "Loot Island" kit this weekend.

Pretty good kit, lots of neato pieces. I especially like the spring-loaded cannon.

I also picked up a couple of "Power Miners" sets. Good fun there. I like the little rock critters.

Crazy Ray said...

i'd do the "star wars" set next

(my previos comment typo buy(2)=But)

matt said...

Thats the cheapest stupidest lego fake ive ever seen!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other "Anonymous" (who i am not) feature this knock-off cheapo fake dude in the comics have them all mock him! >=D

Anonymous said...

It is realy a copy but I would buy it but I would want to get this.How and where does he get the liquid olastic, decal colors, and the hat and guns!!!!????

Anonymous said...

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!Copy!I would want the set and the guy is cool!!!!so its not to bad.

DonaldHelloStudio said...

well the second cryptogramm is saying "Take A RISK" and "Don´t MISS". haha, such a pour bootleg! very aces!

Anonymous said...

stands for
really stupid
and I couldn't think of any thing beginning with K post me on twitter
my name is MR CHEEKEY CHOPS and cheeky is spelt that way.

legosgalore said...

The hat is blue even on the picture of the box! What idiot makes a blue fedora unless their making a Vegas model!