Friday, July 10, 2009

Toybox of FAIL: Ice Car Transformer

First time here? Please take a moment and read the Toybox of FAIL Disclaimer. Thanks!

I still haven't made it out to see Transformers 2 in the theater - from the reviews my friends have given me, I'll probably wait until it hits video before I bother with it.

But what, in the meantime, can I use to fill the void of transforming robots in my life? Well, maybe a bootleg will help.

Sounds impressive and Transformer-y, anyway.

Of course, it's NOT.

To appreciate the FAIL of today's bootleg, let me familiarize you with a LEGO set from 2004. It's from the tail end of the Alpha Team theme, when the Agents-Precursors were chillin' in the arctic.

This is set 4742 - Chill Speeder. Like most of the arctic Alpha Team sets, this small vehicle "transforms" into a walking Mech-Suit for the driver. It's a fairly clever set with some decent engineering and play value.

Do you have the product image locked in your mind. Okay. Let's move on with the FAIL.

Number 504 in the Zephyr Knight "oversized impulse item" line, the Snow Surface Transformer is a more-or-less direct copy of the Chill Speeder. The art focuses more on the "Robot mode" of the speeder, but you can see the vehicle mode clearly in the background on the right. It's even in roughly the same pose as the LEGO box art.

I'm sure you noticed it, but it's worth mentioning the duplication of the Transformers Font in the logo art of this bootleg. The more toy lines they can claim kinship to, the more they're stealing from the advertising budgets of others. It just makes good/illegal sense.

The back of the package has the usual "build other versions" photo montage we've come to know and loathe. What's odd is that they don't show the robot mode of the basic assembly as an "alternate version."

If you look, you'll see two little "T" buttons on the back. One reads "T: Amusement" and the other "T: Intelligence". We've seen these before on other Zephyr Knight bootlegs - but strangely the other toys have had a third "T", as seen from this image from The Equation Races Car...

That's right. Apparently even Zephyr Knight wouldn't label this bootleg "Interesting."

The side of the box has some product shots from "upcoming" Zephyr Knight sets:

Note how the box style will apparently be going back to standard-sized impulse with "Snow Surface Prowl Car."

I can hardly wait.

This is the Mini-Figure that comes with the Ice Car Transformer. He's a clone of various LEGO figures - spanning several themes. (An Adventure torso, a Racer head, and an Alpha Team cap) What's cute is that Zephyr Knight tried to copy the style of the Arctic Alpha Team by giving the figure one black and one colored arm. (The one-color-sleeve look was a standard trait of the Alpha team.)

There's not much to say about the toy itself - the brick is cheap, and lacks the printed-brick appeal of the real model.

It does work, more or less, like the LEGO version. So there's almost some play value to this particular bootleg.

That is, until the brittle plastic snaps and embeds itself in someone's eye.

Just sayin'.

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


pokank said...

thanks for posting another lego bootleg doyle.
vw: greadymb, i'm not gonna comment on this one, you can interpret this however you want.
p.s. doyle, thanks for the review on the brickarms, i'm ordering some on tuesday
p.p.s. see you at brickcon 09

Anonymous said...

I love the Sight Seeing Bus bootleg. The resemblance is uncanny!

Dave said...

@annonymous: r u blind or sacastic

Christopher Doyle said...

I like the fact that anon went to the trouble of finding a photo of what s/he considered a tour bus. I laughed, anyway.

Max said...

The set this fail is based off of was my first and last Alpha Team set. I loved it.

Anonymous said...

This set was also my first and last Alpha Team set, and I too loved it.
I want to make a correction, the head on the minifig is actually a Brickster head from Island Xtreme Stunts theme, not Racing.