Monday, April 13, 2009

Daily Fail: Skeleton Town Treasure

First time here? Please take a moment and read the DAILY FAIL DISCLAIMER. Thanks!

LEGO impulse sets are a prime target for bootlegging. Why? Because LEGO designs them to be small, cheap and fun - just the right mix to tempt someone to drop a couple of bucks without a second thought. Exactly the sort of product that Bootleggers want to copy on the cheap - riding high on LEGO's designs, advertising, and copyrights like Aladdin on a magic carpet. (Aladdin was a thief, if you'll remember.)

But what if you want to make your bootleg seem even better than the real thing? Why - you put it in a bigger box of course. Today's bootleg tries that route - repackaging a small LEGO set into some decidedly dicey packaging.

It's also appropriate that today's set moves away from the usual "figure and a vehicle" nature of LEGO bootlegs and into the creepy realm of low budget horror! Prepare yourself, if you can, for Skeleton Town Treasure!

Skeleton Town Treasure is another offering from Zephyr Knight - a bootleg brand we've seen before. This is a new assortment, however. Six over sized knock-offs, each taken from a licensed LEGO set. I've jumped ahead in the series to stock number 2005 - mainly because I couldn't wait to share this one with you guys.

The front of the package shows us what the set looks like in the ideal world of actual retail product. We know (or at least strongly suspect) that the toy inside is going to be a garishly discolored abomination. Zephyr Knight warns of this with the standard disclaimer, located at the bottom left of the package:

Specifications colours and contents may vary from illustrations

There's more text along the left hand edge - a pledge of sorts from the bootleggers. If only any part of it were true....

To adopt advanced technology
superior materials
superior performance
superior manufacture
modern techniques
luxuriant design

If you don't recognize where this toy was stolen from, let me give you a big hint with this photo:

Yeah. It's a complete copy of LEGO set 7409 - Secret of the Tomb. The photo used on the Zephyr Knight set is slightly different - but the posing is more or less identical.

Moving to the back of the package, we see that Zephyr Knight has continued use of the "Series Transformation" logo from their impulse sets. We see two of the "transformations" here.

Atop the map is an image of the Skeleton standing atop a shrine like build, taunting the top-hatted explorer with his gems.

The second image is much friendlier - the Skeleton has apparently opened a roadside vendor stand and has sold one of his gems to TopHat.

Looking closer at the art, we learn that Skeleton Town must be in Cumberland somewhere - just north of Westmorland. At least, that's the area the map is showing us. I don't know if there are any wooden bridges near waterfalls (the other background imagery) in Cumberland, though. So maybe it's not much of a geographic hint after all.

The side of the package shows another "transformation" of the parts. It's a little hard to make out in the shot above, so here's a closeup:

Is the Skeleton being tortured, or is he just working out? Maybe he just wants to hang around. We may never know the truth.

The top of the package has this shot. At first I thought the Skeleton and Top hat weren't meant to relate to the background. And then I noticed this on another panel:

Apparently the mini-figures are HUGE! Titans among men! The relative size of skyscrapers, crushing mankind and all who get in their way like ants!

Or there's just a lot of bad photoshopping going on. You be the judge.

The instructions are copied direct from the LEGO set. But how close did they come to duplicating the actual bricks?

As we can see here, they failed pretty bad. Instead of the swanky Explorer figure, we get....this guy.

We've seen that torso before in other Zephyr Knight bootlegs - and the face is a blurry copy of a LEGO design. But that bright yellow tophat is new. At least it matches his gun.

And what of the Skeleton. There's not a lot they could do to mess THAT up, is there?

Well. Gloopy plastic overruns, cracked connection points, and a dull red body. I guess if you really work at it, you can ruin anything.

Speaking of things being ruined, you can't even assemble the full model. Zephyr Knight included the wrong type of flag pole - the part they used can't be connected to the base. What a shame that the powder-blue flag won't be aloft for YellowHat to admire.

Here we see the toy "in action". The crappy construction of the RedSkeleton causes the reveal to fail - he flops forward like a rag doll. There's nothing menacing about his appearance. And his "gems" are clearly dull plastic. YellowHat has had enough. He's going home to watch Oprah.

The Skeleton Town Treasure will remain where it belongs - rotting among the bootlegs.
As always, many thanks to Joe from The Undiscovered Playthings for sending me this set to review.


Mr.Acme said...

I (sort of) agree.

Brian said...

I have to politely disagree! I love this feature, and check for updates first thing every day.

I would like to see the bigger sets, though.

I know I'm not supposed to want these bootlegs, but I would like to get ahold of some for a MOC... A scene of real Minifigs beating a group of wretched clones to death in the streets...

Cat said...

Wow, that skeleton sure gets around...the Alps, British moors, Aztec capitals. Lucky sack of bones!

Ben said...

Red skeles... interesting. Stupid, but interesting.

Filip said...

Chris, once the Daily Fail is over, you should have another Brikwar with all the bootlegs!

Great escaper said...

Here, here!

lego dude said...

Woohoo! total anaillation of bootlegs!

Formendacil said...

Did the following bit read like the opening credits of Star Trek to anyone?

To adopt advanced technology
superior materials
superior performance
superior manufacture
modern techniques
luxuriant design

I mean, seriously... that could easily read as:

"These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Our ongoing to mission: to adopt advanced technology, to seek out superior materials, superior performance, and superior manufacturing, to explore modern techniques, to bold go with into luxuriant design no one has used before."

Ben said...

Dude youre right...
wouldnt it be the starship Crappyprise?
get it, its crappy, and could in some convoluted way be considered a prise?

Colchek said...

I'm getting a kick out of these. I used to visit the old Island of Bootleg Toys back in the day so these are a refreshing look at a whole new brand of fail. I think that a whole new Battle Of The Bootlegs with the Lego mini figures would be awesome!

3rd Bob said...

@Geoffrey: Dude. We get it. You don't like the Fails. You say so every time. But note this; you're the only one who's complaining. Meaning that you're basically the only one that doesn't like it.

In fact, since you've been complaining and asking for the Fail to go away, it's increased in frequency. Which means, Geoffrey, that you Fail.

You don't want to see the Fails? Subscribe to the comic RSS feed, or just come to this site every Friday. Either way, please just shut up.

As for this Fail, I own the set its knocked off of. I recognized it from the bootleg cover art. My jaunty Explorer has broken his hook hand, and I've swapped some of the pieces around with other sets I own, but it's the same set.

takua-777 said...

waaaaait a minute... the skeleton face on the package is different as well...

ver. word is cones. first time I've seen one as an actual word.

Martijn said...

I'm sorry to have to mention it, but I don't find the original Lego model alltogether shocking either. They've done way better than that!

On the other hand, that makes the FAIL for the bootleggers even the bigger. We already knew they hardly care about the colors, the design and whatnot, but that they'd even go as far as making a bad copy of an already below-standard Lego model...

Anonymous said...

yes you should do a brikwar where all the bootlegs murder each other when they learn the truth of their foul nature! You could also build some "bootlegger" minifigs to represent the frauders!

DrNightmare said...

I never knew there even were bootleg LEGOs! This is like finding-out there are bootleg Transformers, created identically to the originals, that you can buy at a fraction of the price!

How much are these sets? LEGO charges way too much for their sets, this is an awesome way to build up your minifigure collection if they are dirt cheap.

Isaac said...

Wow. i had the real one of that set and my sister had a plane... I'm off to go and find a plane bootleg...

Epic fail toy! said...

So Mr.PissTopHat has bloody hand from doing it with Mr.RichMulticoloredSkelly and a revolver that shoots piss. And they apperently went foward in time to the Enterprise and stole the opening credits. And then went back in time to travel around the world on a cardboard box!?!?!?!?!?!? Aparently, Mr.PissHat and RichSkelly created a time paradox that everyone calls "The Terrors of Modern Bootlegers!" We should make a BrikWar in stopmotion of legit LEGOs massacreing fakes.