A few months ago LRG member Coelacanth found some odd looking Beast Saga figures posted for sale in bulk from a Chinese vendor (http://www.hongsontoys.com), and recently member tinkerbee posted some for sale so being the bootleg collector that I am, I picked up one of each. At first there was some speculation regarding whether or not these are KO's, but as vaal had mentioned during his initial reaction to them once you have them in hand it's very obvious that they are.
I've not had much time to dedicate to inspecting them yet, and have only opened the Tiger so far, but since these are relatively scarce within the community at the moment I'll post some photos of each of the ones I have along with some general impressions about the figures.
So far we've seen a total of 10 different sculpts and 12 figures in all in a variety of packaging. Some of the ones listed on Hongson Toys are in 2 , 3, or 6-packs but appear to be the same as the ones packaged into single-boxes. For simplicity I'm going to avoid listing the Japanese character names just mention the animals that are available:
- Dolphin (Blue Skin/ Grey Skin)
- Owl (Dark Grey Feathers, Light Grey Feathers)
First off, I like the fact that they are single-boxed, which felt like a definite nod towards the way the classic BB/LBs were packaged in Japan. I dislike the blister packaging of the official BS figures and wish they had all been packaged like this.
Ok, not exactly like this. For a few reasons:
- the cardboard is cheap and papery (though the printed parts don't look bad)
- the cut-outs for the window looks like they were done by hand with an X-Acto knife and left little slivers of paper here and there
- the plastic bubbles are cheap and situated in the box so that the figure is practically behind the cardboard. Apparently they felt showing the dice was really important
- Most of my boxes had at least one wrinkle or a smushed corner due to the way the boxes were taped shut at awkward angles. tinkerbee packed them securely during shipping so I'm sure this wasn't a result of transport.
It's unclear at this point if the BS-XX numbers are consecutive for these releases, but certainly they don't correspond with the licensed product numbers as the tiger is labeled as BS-08 and his official figure was released later in a 3-pack. Anyway, enough about the box, here's what's inside:
Each figure comes with two dice, weapons, and perhaps most interestingly an English-version of the character's trading card. More on that later.
As vaal mentioned in the Beast Saga Countdown thread (hey, maybe we should change the name of that thread now that the line is dead? ) the most obvious thing about these are that the paint apps are pretty laughable. Not as bad as some I've seen on other KOs, but it looks like they made little effort to put the details where they actually belong. Having said that, I do like the colors for some of them; the tiger probably being the most drastic departure from the looks of the standard figure (though they kept the general color scheme intact).
The materials of the figures appear to be identical to the rubber of the originals, or if not they are very close in firmness. The cyclot/dice launcher apparatus in the chest doesn't work as well as the originals; pushing the die into the character's chest causes the entire part easily slide out the back of the figure, so loading must be done carefully. The clear acrylic used for the plunger is slightly more cloudy in these as opposed to the transparent originals, though the light-piping effect still works well.
Unlike the originals, weapon and shield accessories come attached to the same plastic "tree", and in my opinion something that these bootlegs have over the original figures is that the weapons are made of firmer material and are rigid as opposed to the originals made of flexible rubber. The detailing though is a bit softer by comparison but still looks good.
Finally, one of the most entertaining about these is that we get a little bit of a glimpse into the character information spoken in fantastic Engrish.
More photos to come as I open the packages of the other figures.