Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday Fail: Mining Car

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.

Zephyr Knight put out a full line of impulse-set sized LEGO knock-offs. They were even brazen enough to number the sets to create a bootleg assortment. I've already covered one of them - set No. 1002 - 3 Wheel Motorcycle. Today we take a step backward to the first of the "Series Transformation" set - No. 1001 - Mining Car. Or maybe "Car Mining". I'm not sure. Here - take a look at the logo and decide for yourself.

The gears and floating mini-figure head really add a touch of class, don't they? Well, maybe if they hadn't picked a face with such a goofy expression on it...

Here's the full front of the box. Note the logo in the upper left - apparently it's a restricted trade mark! I wonder if they filled out paperwork somewhere. I'm sure LEGO corporate would love to have their mailing address...

The toy shown is a mix of a couple of LEGO products. The vehicle is from 2002's Alpha Team: Mission Deep Sea set 1427 - Ogel Marine Slizer (shown below in a pic lifted from Bricklink.)

The Mining Car's wheels are new, lifted from a Racer set most likely. The figure shown is a helmeted version of the Brickster Henchman #2 from the Island Xtreme Stunts line.

What sort of drugs do you have to be on to create a mix like this? I mean, really - if you're putting together a set to try and sell to unsuspecting children...why choose these parts? Maybe I'm putting too much thought into it. They probably just wandered over to where LEGO toys were being produced, stole what molds and parts they could, then just drew random bits out of a bag until they had thirty of them or so.

The back of the box identifies this set as the first in the "Series Transformation" line. Three wacky assembly options are shown floating above an out-of-focus martian landscape.

Yes, you to can make portable fan....and a....I dunno...giant chainsaw?

The sides of the box showcase the versatility of the various builds - here the Mining Car is converted to mobile fan mode, yet still shoved under water as evidenced by the bubbles. Makes perfect sense to me.

And here's "giant chainsaw" in the desert. Is the mini figure chasing the toy, or is he being backed into a corner by an aggressive robotic bootleg? I like to think the later - and that Mr. Bootleg is mere moments from a messy end.

The top of the box has product shots from some of the other sets in the Series Transformation, along with a "Not Suitable for Children Under 6 Years" warning.

Speaking of warnings, the bottom of the box continues the "gear" motif along with a bunch of international cautions. Not the change from the "not for under 6" on the rest of the box to the "Not for under 3" on this panel.

Opening the box we find the usual mix...

The Zephyr instruction sheets are printed on a heavier paper stock compared to the BRICK line. This higher quality paper leads to a strange downturn in product quality - apparently the instructions are hand-folded - and whoever got stuck with that crap job did...a crappy job.

Speaking of instructions, here they are. Note the use of the original LEGO Ogel mini-figure rather than the henchman shown on the box.

The box doesn't offer a part count, so I can't complain about that aspect for a change. The parts have the usual mix of "HOLI" and "YIHE" stamps on them. The wheels are the standard bootleg hard-plastic recast of the two part LEGO tire and hub. The color choices again suggest a blind monkey was in charge of quality control.

The mini-fig head design is the same partial-LEGO match that we last saw in the 3-Wheel Motorcycles set, only this time in a albino-white version. The torso decoration is new to me - and shockingly printed in two colors! Of course, this figure looks nothing like Ogel OR the box-Henchman. In fact, he sort of looks like John Oates from the '80 band Hall and Oates.

See what I mean?

The assembled toy shows off the usual color deviations from the packaging - and reveals a shocking extra part not used in the instructions. I later added the plate as an extra spacer between the wheels and the yellow handles - it allowed the toy to roll a little easier.

Then I crammed everything back into the box and tried to forget I ever had to deal with this garbage.

Bet I still have nightmares, though.

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


anonymous said...

i think thats the best one yet because its a direct knock-off of lego.and why before noon chris

anonymous said...

i saw it at 10:00

Christopher Doyle said...


Things auto-publish at noon where I live - Eastern Standard Time. Sounds like you're a zone or two west of that.

Cat said...

The more of these you do, the angrier you sound. I love it.

Great escaper said...

I loved the alpha team sets! Why did they stop making those, I remeber reading the LEGO magazine and finding out that Ogel was Lego spelt backwards and then feeling so stupid for not realising that before! My first thought when I saw the bootleg minifig was he looks like an albino version of the construction worker from the Village People!

Danny said...

I agree with Great escaper i loved the Alpha team sets also and i liked the lego island series as well which is why i hate bootleggers more and more when i read these.

Vrij said...

I think the minifig is actually a (possibly) megablocks or other clone brand.

Anonymous said...

i think it is stupid! why, even the packet looks different to what is inside!!! said...

The Face would be cool for a mime minifigure, or maybey freddy krueger.