Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Adventures in Bootleg Lego Mini-Figures

There's something inside of me that makes me very interested in knock-off and bootleg merchandise.  All ethical issues aside, I think it's fascinating that people will even take the time to knock-off other people's IP and items, and to that end, I'm endlessly intrigued with the results.

Many many years ago there was a knock-off action figure column in one of the toy magazines I'd peruse at the newsstands on a monthly basis (remember those?)  Some blogs and toy sites also used to write about them as well.

 I happen to love going on shopping trips, especially to swap meets and well, let's just say gray market goods marketplaces.  There are several of them here in the city of Angels, Santee Alley comes to mind.  It's those types of places where you find these bootleg Lego mini figures.  The quality is usually all over the place, sometimes great but most of the time not.

Enter the internet.

Through Aliexpress, every day shoppers like myself can order all sorts of goods from China, quite a good portion of them are bootleg items.  I recently made a foray into bootleg Lego mini-figs, and here's the first results.

I ordered all of these on September 14.  They started to arrive about three weeks later, and finished arriving about 10 days after that.  See you might place one order but you're aggregating a number of individual vendors into that order.  This one order of how-ever many figures it is came from 6 different vendors.

I'm not sure exactly which brands these actually are, as they don't come with packaging.  I believe they're at least KOPF or another major knock off brand.

Char's Zaku-II and a grunt Zaku-II.  These both come with a
bazooka and a rifle, which will come in handy later.

Thanos was the most expensive single piece at $2.40.  Came with the
Infinity Gauntlet and all the stones.  LEGO doesn't even make a chromed version of the glove.

I really like this Voltron mini-fig, though I wish it had the earlier version's lion hands.

I would like Mazinger Z more if they had included both sides of the chest piece

These are just fun.  80 cents for both.

That's a Minecraft Wolf for my daughter

I was fairly excited about He-Man and Skeletor, and they could be better, but they're not bad to begin with. 
The faces are a little off.

Jack Skellington, The 4th Doctor and Hulk Hogan. 
None of these have ever been made by Lego

RX-178 Gundam Mk II and RX-78-2 Mobile Suit Gundam.
Love these.  Didn't come with guns though, thankfully the Zaku guns worked.

All told I spent about $17 on these pieces.  I enjoyed the experience so much I made a larger order just a couple of weeks ago, most of which just came in, so look for Part 2 of this entry shortly.

Monday, October 22, 2018

On Roman Reigns

Whenever the 'real world' invades my fiction wrestling universe it's usually because something bad has happened. Tonight Joseph Anoi'a who is better known to the world as WWE's Roman Reigns announced that he has to relinquish the WWE Universal Championship because his Leukemia has returned. While on the surface this might appear to be part of the storyline or "a work" as it's known in the industry, it's pretty clear that it's not a work. Anoi'a comes from a very long and proud lineage of Samoa wrestlers, his father was Sika, of the Wild Samoans, he's cousins with virtually every wrestler of Samoan descent in the industry, and he is, from all reports, one of the good guys. His CHARACTER of Roman Reigns is not universally loved by wrestling fans who have tired of him main eventing not one, not two, not three but FOUR Wrestlemanias in a row. Up until tonight the perception had been that Vince McMahon and the WWE Braintrust had been "shoving Roman down our throats" for the last several years despite the fact that a vocal segment of the fanbase can't stand him.

He seems like a pretty private guy behind the scenes, there aren't that many out of character interviews with him, he's not pictured with his family much, and he seems to put it all out there as the character not the man. Perhaps maybe Vince et al knew his time was limited so they pushed him as much as they could to get what they could while he still had time. Maybe not. Who knows.

In any case, I'm sad. I'm sad because while I'm not a huge fan of the character, I didn't mind his title victories and actually got to see him perform live the night before Money in the Bank 2016, which was a cool event where all three of the members of his faction, The Shield, held the WWE Heavyweight Title - Roman entered as the title holder, lost the strap to Seth Rollins in the main event, who then lost it to Dean Ambrose who won Money in the Bank (the winner gets a guaranteed contract shot whenever they desire) earlier in the night.

Watching those three men embrace at the end of Roman's speech tonight brought tears to my eyes. Yes, wrestling is scripted, but that doesn't mean it's not real.

Look at Seth Rollins' face, that's not acting there. Dean Ambrose on the left is BARELY holding it together. These guys are brothers in the ring, and they left it all out there tonight. If that doesn't get you, you have no heart.