Friday, January 30, 2009

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.


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) 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.


Tometheus said...

Good catch on the Anvil of Stars cover! I knew I'd seen it somewhere. I not sure if I would call it one of my favorite books, but Forge of God definitely is in there. (and Eon is probably the top of the heap.) Last time I read Forge/Anvil was right after I read the collection Wind from a Burning Woman, and one of the stories ("Hardfought" I think it was called) was clearly the origin for the Anvil story, and at the time I preferred the short story to the long form. (Although the Anvil story / ethical dilemma, has definitely stuck with me ever since, so maybe it is one of my favorites after all.)

Crazy Ray said...

@chris i found out about the alien u featured
his name is Altair
here's the rest of his "family"

Cat said...

This is probably the worst bootleg yet!

WV = "bactshet", which, said quickly enough, is something that's likely more pleasant than today's BRICK offering.

Ray-The-Sun said...

That looks... Interesting. Maybe someone could make it in real Lego?

Anonymous said...

I would like to share a story of my horid bootleg experience. I was on holiday in wales(as usual), when i came across a shop that seemed to scream "I am a local shop for local people!". I walked in and saw a bootleg of lego. It was a policeman/SWAT/CSI. I got back to the cottage and opened the contents. It was as bad as BRICK.
The van he came with didn't have the capacity to hold the minifig. The minifig had guns that seemed to have sticky out bits when it didn't even come with an assembly net. It was then i realised that this was not a bootleg of lego. It was a bootleg of mega bloks. Oh dear. To whoever made that bootleg i sympathise and feel disgusted at the same time. I hope you get a job and girlfriend soon.

Geoffrey said...

The instruction sheet is so badly printed, they even recolored the right-hand gun (a cheap knock-off of Wild West guns no doubt) in Step 5!

Whoever printed this must have used a T-shirt screen printer, I've never seen anything of such hideous quality before!

Chris, when you get a sufficient quantity of knock-offs why don't you get the plastic bits from these hideous things (I wouldn't call them real sets, they're only imitations anyway) and visit some custom minifig maker's place? I'm sure they'd appreciate the plastic raw materials and we'd certainly appreciate the guided tour of their setup.

C-shorey said...

First of all, I noticed the tie fighters, As fast as cold water, and I noticed the Enterprizes as fast as Hot water. I couldnt tell what the "concoction" was untill it was built and I bit my tongue as I saw it was a manualy piloted destroyer droid...
Maby since the alien didnt have legs, The ship was the rest of the body, but that is a complete guess.

Great escaper said...

I was trying to work out where they got the Enterprise from, First contact? Or somewhere else?

Geoffrey said...

@Great Escaper: To me, it looks as if they ripped part of it from this image here with a bit of recoloring thrown in as if vainly trying to stave off potential lawsuits:

As for the unidentified vessel they ripped from somewhere, it looks an awful lot like the Reliant:

Capt Straw said...

Sorry, I'm a bit of a Trekkie so I have to point out that the other ship is a Nebula Class ship. It's an offshoot of the Galaxy class (Enterprise D) and shares the same saucer section and engineering section, but without the standard neck between the two.
As for BRIK sets, I have my own story about those. I was in my local dollar store when I spied a very familiar set, the #4 Octan race car. The box even had the original LEGO artwork for that set. As I had always been a collector of the race sets I bought it without hesitation only to discover the sad truth. It was cheap plastic, and looked nothing like the box art. I was quite upset, but knew there was nothing I could do. There were other similar sets there too I believe they had the shuttle firetruck, and maybe an ambulance or something like that. I'm just glad I only bought the one. I wish I could have stopped other people from wasting their money on it too but when I went back the next week all the sets had sold. Poor unfortunate souls.

Anonymous said...

I had also bought a Brick set. It was a wzard. Pretty standard. Blue clotes, white beard, pointy hat. The I open the set...
the shirt is now yellow, with the correct screen print fortunatley. The pristine white beard was now brown. a neat piece especially because of the construction. It had a square Hole! the head was of course round. the only thing that matched box art was the blue hat.

Ragnar said...

Actually, this looks like an Official Lego Droidka with an alien stuck on it's head. The legs, body, and side guns are a dead giveaway.

Dinosaur50 said...

yeah i agree Cat.

lego leia lover said...

this looks alot like the star wars destroyer droid (type it in on google)

Anonymous said...

Oh ya well when I got my first lego Mars mission set (which was the space buggy) well the box said the mini-figure has a pepper face (or what was it?). Well it turned out to be a mask face.. I think they switch it with some dino attack set by accident or maybe they just but any kindof random face in the sets.

Captain yoda said...

I'm getting a real LEGO Life on Mars alien off of eBay in the mail as we speak. Hope its bette rthan this :)

Anonymous said...

Those parts have Lego on them! FAIL!

Tux said...

It's a cross between a LEGO Destroyer droid ( ) and a STAP ( ), albeit with some sheer nonsense thrown in. But least they got that much consistency within Star Wars.

Anonymous said...

This, this, THING isn't even CLOSE to Star Wars. It's more like a pile of random crap crapped together. AND this IS TRULY bootleg Lego. I think the person who made this should at least TRY to make a decent looking item! I mean, seriouly! WHAT IS THIS??!?!?!?!??!?!