Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Fail: 3 Wheel Motorcycles

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.

Continuing our run of Impulse-set sized knock offs, today we uncover another bootleg brand. Criminals to the core, these guys advocate carjacking - right on the package.

This knock-off has packaging that looks quite a bit like a legitimate LEGO brand offering. The set is titled "3 Wheel Motorcycles". The box is printed in full color on all six sides, has a stock number (1002) and child safety warnings. No part count this time, though. The item pictured is pure LEGO-goodness - the Director from the Movie theme wears a helmet from the Racers line, and sits atop a red three-wheeler. The background is a blurred cityscape of unknown origin.

The company logo is proudly displayed - whoever the heck "Zephyr Knight" is.

The humor really starts with the back of the box. The title of "SERIES Transformation" would suggest the interchangeability of LEGO products - but there's not a lot of Transformation you can do with the parts that make up the 3-Wheeler.

No, instead Zephyr suggests a very sad play scenario. The addition of a pistol to the mix allows two mini-figures to endlessly carjack each other - each taking the 3-wheeler and helmet for an illegal spin - before being forced off at gunpoint so the other guy can take a turn. I can come up with no other explanation for the clear storyline shown by the arrows, anyway.

One side of the package shows the gun-toting director speeding away from the city.

The other side shows the cameraman (also from the LEGO Movie theme) claiming the 3-Wheeler after disposing of the Director's body off-screen.

The top of the box shows three other sets in the Zephyr Knight series - we'll be reviewing all of these in the coming weeks.

The bottom of the box has some fairly standard child-safety warnings. Note the change from "For ages 6 and up" to "not for children under 3".

Inside the package is the usual mix - and instruction sheet and poly-bag of parts.

The parts, of course, bear faint resemblance to the packaging. The red 3-wheeler is now orange, the printed helmet and gun now lemon-yellow confections, and the mini-figure a mix of poorly painted and strangely hued brittle plastic.

The instructions (above) are printed on heavy glossy-stock paper, and show yet a third mini-figure - the Stuntman from the Movie theme.

Assembly went okay except for the front tire. The back two wheels were each cast as a single piece, but the front tire needed the yellow hub to be inserted into the hard plastic tire. Had the tire been soft plastic, or, say, rubber, it would have worked. As it was, I ended up snapping off one of the connection pins while trying to force the parts together. Yet another example of the CRAP that is a bootleg toy.

Here's a shot (courtesy of Bricklink) of the LEGO face that was almost copied for this toy.Why "almost"? Well, take a look...

Here's a final shot of the 3 Wheel and driver. I don't think I need to go into any more detail about how sucky this knock-off is...but, if you're still not convinced that you need to pass this fellow by- look at those powder blue legs. That should put you over the top.

I mean, really, who would want to pay money for this? Maybe Zephyr had it right on the package - the only folks desperate enough to own one are idiotic criminals.

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


Great escaper said...

I quite like the bike in that orange colour the bootleggers did, however, it is obviously inferior plastic and such, also, I wonder what "cameracar" is going to be like, the genuine deal by LEGO was meant as an accsessory set to the Movies theme, to make your sets more realistic instead of just the ugly camera (and on a minifig scale, huge, itd be like a camera that is the size of a van), they cant get away with it on its own surely, I mean, outside of a studio context, why would you need a camera on a motorised cart?

Wrathkid said...

I liked the red horse

Blue-Thunder said...

The orange is kinda nice, but the set is not OK LEGO should make orange 3-Wheelers...

Anonymous said...

the dutch flag on the 3 Wheel Motorcycles box is upside down!
It's supposed to be red-white-blue...

Rui said...

where do you buy this set?

Please answer


Christopher Doyle said...


Read the review - it was sent to me by a friend. But even if I knew where he bought it I wouldn't be sharing that info - I'm not promoting the sale of bootleg merchandise.

Anonymous said...

@ panka1:

Not just the dutch flag is upside down. The same is true for the italian, the french, and the german flag.
It's hard to say with the union jack and the spain flag, but I'm sure they're upside down too ;)

Gunnar said...

The minimalist design of the minifig head reminds me of the early 90s, when every new minifig face design was exciting.

DrNightmare said...

All my life I've wanted an orange 3-wheeler...and now you're telling me I'll be an idiotic criminal if I get one...why must life be full of such hard decisions? :(

Darth_Jake said...

On the 'next sets' picture, there are some saftey warnings. In english, it tells you that the toy is not for childred under 6 years. However, in spanish and the third language, italian, it reads 72 months. Why 72 months instead of 6 years? And why Italian? Just another example of bootlegger idiocy. I want to buy one of these sets so I can hurt myself and sue them. It would be a great day for the world.