Okay, my wownasisters figures arrived! I'll post a pic of the whole lot this evening, meantime here's the basic lowdown and a pic of a few of the Elemental Fusion figures. As I stated before they emailed me and said the original set of 24 I won were not available, but they'd send me a mix of figures.
What they sent was 48 figures (!) instead of the 24, including many dupes. Included in the package were Elemental Fusion, Energheia and Atomic figures (I'll post an exact list when I get home).
The big question: Are they real?
I think so. They all have copyright info on the foot, and it matches the Italian/Euro info (includes year for older figures, Elemental Fusion says copyright Giochi Preziosi and Marathon. The US figures don't have a year listed but have a WST#). The atomic figures have working color change (I got 1 Sea and a few Volcano) Also, the figures look and feel identical to the genuine figures I have. So IMO they are legit.
BUT. Here's the really interesting bit!
THE ELEMENTAL FUSION FIGURES don't have electronic chips! What they do have is a cavity in the foot where the chip would plug it.
These are factory samples/escapees. They were probably coming off the line after assembly and painting but in the case of the EF figures, before the chips were added. This would make sense for sample runs as they would be QCing the figures in terms of assembly and paint, but the chips would likely be made and tested separately and only put together for final assembly.
What I'm sure of is that these are NOT the type of bootlegs that are re-cast from production figures with cheap tooling and produced with shoddy paint and construction.
Whether they are part of a sample run, or factory extras sold locally, or stolen or run at night in the official factories and sold on the street, I can't say.
But I'm certain these are figures made in the same factory that legit Gormiti are made.