Taikongzhans: Knock-off Transformers

So, recently, I made an eBay purchase that seemed a little bit too good to be true; Transformers Age of Extinction Dinobot Scorn. Now, regular readers will know that the “Bayformers” franchise-within-a-franchise is far from in-favour with us here at AddAltMode – aside from a few interesting figures, we don’t feel it has a lot to offer us. Seriously, it would be fair to say we like almost everything else Transformers-related except the Michael Bay movies (and Kiss Players… Kiss Players is an abomination.).

"トランスフォーム" is a phonetic rendering or "transform" in katakana, the actual Japanese word that makes the closest analogue to "transform" is 変換, "henkan".

トランスフォーム です!
“Transfooorm, desu!”. We even like the only-released-in-Japan Headmasters cartoons.

Note that in the last paragraph, I did mention that there were a few interesting figures: The character Scorn is one of them. Firstly, his Spinosaurus alt-mode is surprisingly in-line with the (then)current understanding of the real animal’s appearance (since then, better fossils have been found). What’s that? Real Science in a Transformers franchise *mild heart attack*. Also, though both modes display bilateral symmetry, they have different axes of symmetry; that’s quite a rare feature, yeeessss. It reminds my of another dinosaur-transformer for whom I have some fondness, yeessss.

Anyway, the eBay deal that looked too good to be true was, of course, too good to be true. The product that was mailed to me was a knock-off…. Now, what I mean by knock-off, to be clear is this: a product marketed as being a branded product that is actually made by someone other than that brand’s owner or licensees, and is marketed as being the real thing: so it’s a fake, a counterfeit. Note that this differs from a third-party product in that the third party fully admit their products are not made by licensees: for example Fansproject Revolver Core (which I reviewed a while back) is designed to call to mind the Transformer Roadbuster, but any allusions to the original character are made in a roundabout manner. Fansproject and their ilk aim for collectors, looking to produce a shorter run of a high-quality product to fill a market niche that Takara/Hasbro have chosen to ignore (which is why all their stuff costs so much, because the primary cost is tooling the molds, not the actual material from which each toy is made, and also why some third-party companies appear to be addicted to black repaints and slight re-tools). Knock-offs, in contrast, aim to pretend to be an official product whilst being made much more cheaply. The goal is to trick people into spending money on something that they’re actually not going to get. So basically, I got stung.

When the package arrived, I unzipped the glittery pink bag and realized that the toy I had purchased was not really a Transformer… but was, in fact, a Taikongzhan:

I didn't make this text wonky on purpose; I scanned from the straight edge of the paper instructions.

Taikongzhans – not as advertised!
Taikongzhans – marketed with lies!

However, seeing as I paid literally small-change, I can’t be too annoyed. So, let’s have a look at this knock-off product, and see what I’m getting for my money. So, here he is:

My knock-off transformer in robot mode. According to his instructions, his name is "Kubrian". I wouldn't be shocked if that translates to "Dinosaur".

My knock-off transformer in robot mode. According to his instructions, his name is “KUBIAN”. I wouldn’t be shocked if that translates to “Dinosaur”. Googling it tells me that all Taikongzhans are apparently named “KUBIAN”, or at least they have “KUBIAN” printed on their mock-Takara packaging where the character’s name should go.

Kubrian's Head is slightly too big the niche it folds into in his body, so it scratches against the sides of the niche.

Kubian’s Head is slightly too big the niche it folds into in his body, so it scratches against the sides of the niche.

So, yeah… his head is a little big bigger than it should be, so the sides of it are all scratched up, and his sword-wielding right arm falls off very easily, but all in all transforming him wasn’t too hard. In both modes, there are a couple of pegs that don’t quite stick together properly. The only really annoying one is the one which holds his crotch in place, which has a tendency to come loose and lean forward inappropriately.

It took an embarassingly long time to get him to stand up like this.

It appears that his hips don’t peg in properly to the base of his tail, and I don’t want to break the plastic forcing it into place. His fin slips out of its pegged position very easily, too and his ‘bot-mode sword falls out of his tail. His fins and tail are made of soft plastic, for safety reasons, but it seems that the soft plastic wouldn’t take metallic paint, so they’re just grey, contrasting strangely with the gunmetal metallic plastic from which his jaws, neck, belly and knees are made.

Kubrian's Sword as an odd lobster-claw appearance to it. To store it in dinosaur mode, you can shove it handle-first up his arse.

Kubian’s Sword as an odd lobster-claw appearance to it. Partially, this is due to its curved shape, but I suspect the mottled pink veins in the red plastic contribute to the impression. It can be stored away when he’s in dinosaur mode by pushing it handle-first up… erm… under his tail.

This sword is actually pretty nice, It’s such a shame that its handle is 5.30mm in diameter, making it just too thick for Transformers with 5mm-post-hole hands to wield. It plugs up under his tail for dinosaur-mode stowage, but falls out pretty easily.

The included flyer and instructions contain some Glorious Ultimate Engrish, possibly produced by using Google Translate on a Chinese text. It appears that capitalisation isn’t handled by this software. (Let’s be charitable and assume it’s software, right?)

Get of a load of the text to the left.

The flyer/instructions included with the Taikongzhan is a pretty blatant rip-off of official Transformers merchandise. What else would one expect?

Thankfully, gan4 doesn’t make an appearance anywhere.

The makers of Taikongzhans are desperate for you to mistake this for a Hasbro logo. I almost feel sorry for them.

The makers of Taikongzhans are desperate for you to mistake this for a Hasbro logo. I almost feel sorry for them.

Is this supposed to be an Autobrand?

Is this supposed to be an Autobrand?

Conclusion: Exiled!

It’s highly possible that this figure was made by taking a cast of a Scorn toy, and making a mold from that cast. There are a lot of quite severe mold-lines, and large lumps of loose-hanging material in many places where the parts were removed from a sprue. I had to clean a number of these off before he could be transformed, and I fully intend to gently clean the rest away with a knife before placing him on the shelf with the oddities and Go-bots, away from the Transformers display cabinet. It’s not that I like him less for being a knock-off, it’s just that he’s slightly rubbish, and tends to fall over a lot.

4 thoughts on “Taikongzhans: Knock-off Transformers

    • Yeah, they are pretty terrible. I think you’ve been wise to avoid them.
      The over-sized knock-offs fetch top dollar with certain American collectors, though, since they’re easy for customizers to work with.


    • Thanks, it was quite fun to do. Although he’s basically a piece of junk, I only paid a fiver for him including postage, so I think I’ve had my money’s worth in entertainment.


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