As promised here we go on these little Spanish Bootleg fellows of which recently, 6 years after yaggi482 seemed to have found the first one known within the BB community (Spanish Bootleg Bull), a little batch has been revealed in Spain.
Thanks to BattleChick41 the first pics have been shown already and the first discussions and thoughts have been shared in her topic as well (Battle Beasts from Spain). So far it looks like the ones acquired by the two of us are the only ones that have hit the light of day so its pretty uncommon to see they all seem to have made it into our community but it also shows how well informed and how inventive and tenacious some of us can be searching for Battle Beasts all over the world. I already told BattleChick41 she´d done a great find and here´s the story I´m finally able to share.
The first time I spotted these figures was a couple of weeks ago via a local Spanish website that I check one in a while, via that platform I managed to get in touch with the seller and I managed to take down the first set of 5 figures. At that moment my purchase was a complete gamble as I didn´t really know what they were since I´d never heard about Spanish Bootlegs and at that point the seller wasn´t willing to tell me more about them (yet). But based on the pics I was willing to take the gamble especially since somehow they looked familiar.
Soon after I remembered a Keychain bootleg that showed up on the board last year.
This Keychain was shared by french_kiki (original Keychain post) and it was found in France.
It wouldn´t have been to strange if there would be a direct connection between those that showed up in Spain and this French keychain but looking into the quality a bit more the moment I got them in hand it was pretty sure there was not direct link between them. First of all this keychain has fixed arms and the used mold seemed to be a little rougher than the one used for these Spanish fellows.
Back to the story because the moment after I purchased and paid the seller for these first 5 different Beasts a similar set showed up on Ebay. I directly contacted the seller thinking I bumped into a scam not expecting more of these to show up but it soon became clear he had some more. After I told him I was willing to bid on the ones he had listed on Ebay as well he seemed to unfreeze a little bit and slowly started sharing some info about them. But this happened after those Ebay auctions had ended and I still wasn´t willing to take all the risk in the world taking them down so I had relatively low bids in resulting in the fact I only won 3 out of 5 beasts he had listed, expecting the others to be taken down by a Spanish collector. In the end this other buyer was BattleChick41 and since he had more beasts he made here a second chance offer on the 3 I won resulting in the fact she also got a ´complete´ set of the 5 different figures (Blue Deer, Red Lion, Red Deer, Pink Gorilla, Red Gator). So where this conclusion was made just after BattleChick41 shared her pics down here last week I already had quite some communication going with the seller about these as I knew he was the only one able to tell me more about these so if I´d ever had the chance to find out more about them it would´ve been now. Luckily I kept my perseverance at that point because it now is clear we might indeed not be able to know more about them than what I got to hear simply because of the fact they seem to be pretty uncommon in Spain as well.
After I paid the seller for the first 5 I bought he was willing to share the name of the factory who produced these back in the days (probably in the late 80´s (1989)) it was a company named Marbel SL located in Alicante (in the East of Spain). Personally I didn´t knew about this company and since I was unable to find anything about it via internet either I decided to contact some of my connections back in Spain if they knew about these figures or this company. The only thing I got back about the figures where direct offers on them because none knew about these but they were all pretty interested in getting them so this wasn´t the best way to go getting more info about them but luckily some of them were also able to tell me that the company Marbel SL has indeed existed back in the days and it was known for illegally producing bootleg figures. Back in the days the Alicante region of Spain turns out to have been the Mecca of the (illegal) toy industry and it was the birthplace of a lot of Spanish bootleg lines. But at first the Marbel SL company remained Batman and none was able to tell me more about them. At that moment I also got back to the buyer to ask about the origin where he´d found them in order to see if there was a way in from that point knowing that was probably my only sort of direct connection. In the meantime one of my connections got back telling me he had found out that Marbel SL had produced tons of unlicensed knock-offs during the 80´s from MLP, MotU and others but he didn´t find anything about these bootlegs. Not much later the seller came back to me mentioning the owner of Marbel SL was also responsible for the release of bootlegs from lines like Inspector Gadget, Snorkel, The Tiny ones, Visitors, the Diminutes, Smurfs, Lucky Luke and other lines mainly known from TV series back then. So its pretty obvious this company wasn´t really focusing on just one line when it came to producing bootlegs but it contained many lines from that era.
Its not really clear what happened to the company because there´s no sign or traces left which might´ve something to do with the unlicensed way these figures were produced. There´s also the rumor which I´ve been unable to get verified that the owner of Marbel SL was prosecuted in 1989 for producing unlicensed figures. If this is indeed the case, which might be a possibility because of the fact that a lot of these companies were located in the Alicante area and more of these were revealed during that period, the actual period in which these BDC Bootlegs were produced and or distributed might´ve been very limited. And this could be the reason why these are not well known in the biggest part of Spain either.
The seller came from Malaga so they´ve at least been spread/distributed over the South-East of Spain and its assumable that this distribution was only very locally because my connections in the bigger larger cities and from other parts of Spain never seen or knew about these bootlegs either.
After I received the first figures from the seller I asked him to look out for more info and maybe other beasts if he´d ever be able to find them. He got back to me telling me he had actually found these in a store selling vintage toys and he´d contacted the owner which was actually the person who he got all the information about the Marbel SL company from and he was able to get a few more.
Turns out this other batch were the only ones remaining and it also included mainly duplicates of the 5 already known BUT there was another Gorilla figure in it as well, a yellow one! It already was clear that there probably are more than these 5 knowing the one from Yaggi showed up as well but I didn´t knew that by the moment I got the picture of the yellow gorilla. So there are probably more made back in the days (all 28?) but there´s also some variety among a couple of them knowing the Gorilla as well as the Deer both come in two different colors.
So far the story I was able to trace, I still have a few questions out in the hope to get some info on the packaging of these figs but to be honest I don´t think there´s much more we´ll find due to the possible very local and temporary release of these in Spain and the mystery around the Marbel SL company and what happened to it.
Now let´s take a better look at the quality of the figures, as mentioned I thought at first there were only 5 of them but right know there are 7 different ones known because apart from the 5 mentioned previously there´s a yellow gorilla as well as the red buffalo to be added.
The fact that makes them for sure BDC bootlegs and not BB bootlegs is the fact that they´ve been molded from BDC based figures because if you look at the back of some of them you´re still able to see the small number of the figure which is also present on the actual BDC figures and its from a different size and sometimes position than the normal BB. Its not very strange to see different weapons with these figures either since this is in line with the release of the BDC as well since these came with randomly inserted weapons too.
If we look at the way how the original BDC were packed with 2 on a card its not to strange we see the Lion, Deer, Buffalo and Gator show up since these were actually known to be packaged together as can be seen HERE. Based on this there´s a chance there might at least be a Boar out there somewhere as well since that one was packaged with the Gorilla......
Here are some detailed pics of the figures;
With this closer look at the figures there are a few things that jump into the eye directly. First of all obviously are their colors, no idea why they´re the way they´re but Red is a pretty favorite color in Spain so its not very strange to see most of them turn up in Red. The paint applied to the figures seems to be very quickly done but its pretty accurate for it being bootlegs especially knowing that the paint apps on the original BDC were already quite messy compared to the highly controlled original BB.
Here and there some of the sculpts have been redesigned a little because we can clearly notice some extra thorns and spines on some of the figures which didn´t belong there initially. The detailed shot of the Lion head also shows an interesting sculpt idea since its head/hair seems to have been remodeled a little bit as its been provided with some sort of mohawk or something. Another thing you can miss is the fact that the Gator suddenly got ears (!) it looks like this might´ve been a left over from the casting process and its been an overlooked detail while cleaning the figures since all these gators still have these two pieces attached to them, it gives the figures a completely different look.
These bootleg have movable arms based on the same principle as the original BB with the PEG-hole but its not that well executed since they´re not really popping in and out as tight as the original BB lines but this also has the advantage of the fact that the arms rather come out instead of breaking.
When it comes to the material used they´re made from rubber and quite flexible. In one of the topics I referred to above these were already named as the Spanish Gumballs and when it comes to their flexibility that´s certain the case. The black weapons are made of a completely different material as they´re much more sturdy than the figures and I´d say its a hard plastic used or a very sturdy rubber. By the way also the weapons are showing the original numbers.
Some of the figures are able to stand on their own while some of them seem to have a hard time balancing as their feet are not that flat so this is a minor disadvantage.
So far the story about these Spanish Bootlegs. I think I´ve discussed most of the issues and things I bumped into but please join in on the conversation to see if we can figure out more about these.
Based on the story and info so far and knowing the first one showed up 6 years ago with a complete silence in the meantime I wouldn´t be surprised to see there´ll be a long period of silence around these bootlegs again after the storm around this batch has disappeared. Well at least we´ve added/documented another piece of BB bootlegs history now.
Edited by Beastformers, 09 July 2014 - 04:02 AM.