Bootleg

Troll Force Viking 1

Troll Force
Viking
5 1/2 Inch scale
By: Toys N’ Things
Price Varies

Troll dolls first came to popularity in the 1970s, where a handful of hippies and stoners would place one on their wall. Apparently they were actually invented all the way back in 1959, but for all intents and purposes, Trolls didn’t really exist until sometime in the mid 1990s. You see, up to that point, troll dolls were likely the least popular holdover from the 70s. But sometime in the 90s, some kid found a troll doll and he told another kid it was cool and suddenly we were off to the races!

If you weren’t alive during this period, you might look back on troll dolls and think they were some brief phase that wasn’t a big deal. Of course, you’d be wronger than humanly possible. You see, the troll craze was huge. 1,000 times more popular than He-Man, Beanie Babies and Pokemon combined. I’m not kidding either. Trolls suddenly just appeared overnight EVERYWHERE! And everyone collected them.

Troll

Adults bought them. Kids bought them. Hot teenage girls bought them. EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES (and quite possibly the world) WAS OBSESSED WITH TROLL DOLLS! Why were troll dolls so popular? I can’t say for sure, but I know manufacturers loved them because you could make 100 troll dolls for about a nickel and then resell them for at least three times that. All you had to do was slap some new hair on one and BOOM, new type of troll doll. Even though there were “official” Troll dolls, there was no copyright on the troll design, which meant everyone made trolls. Millions of trolls, of every shape, size and variety.

Eventually they started putting clothes on troll dolls. Then they’d add little gimmicks to them. Even if you didn’t want to collect troll dolls, you were forced to because it was virtually the only toy being sold at the time. I’m not kidding. I cannot understate how much troll dolls just infiltrated every facet of childhood life in the 1990s. This led to Hasbro and Ace Novelty releasing honest to goodness Troll “action” figures with Battle Trolls (“They’re outta conTROLL”) and Stone Protectors. The latter of which ended up with a cartoon, video games and god knows what else.

So naturally, someone would knock those off. At this point troll dolls had reached maximum saturation, with even gumball machines being filled with trolls. This led to the good folks at Toys N’ Things to create Troll Force! The subject of today’s review.

It’s hard to say exactly what Troll Force is. Are they a team? Do they fight each other? Do they all live in one big hippie commune? All I know is that they released 12 different figures in six different themes. Each theme had two figures. Today’s review is of the Viking, from the Medieval Warriors (labeled as just Warriors on the back of the card) theme. His partner in crime (or enemy?) was the Roman figure.  Continue reading

It’s hard to characterize Sungold as distinctly bootleg toys, since the company existed for a long time, marked their product and had many of their toylines legitimately bootlegged. So starting off a new feature on the site about bootleg toys, with a toy that’s not a bootleg in the most direct sense of the term isn’t exactly full of journalistic integrity. But the truth is, Wacky Knockoffs didn’t have the same ring to it and people seem to interchange the terms of knockoff and bootleg pretty freely these days, especially where it comes to Sungold toys.

Skate machine
Sungold produced a ton of Masters of the Universe type knockoffs throughout the 1980’s and into the mid 1990’s with a variety of different concepts. Most were pretty straight forward lines, inspired by the sword and sorcery genre. Naturally it was only a matter of time before wrestlers, mutants and monsters all followed. Today though, we’re taking a look at one of the later releases, which doesn’t really fit into the aforementioned categories very organically. It’s the SKATE MACHINE!

Galaxy Warrior
After years of producing MOTU knockoffs, Sungold freshened up their line with a rather obscure and pretty hard to find late addition to their offerings. A spinoff of the Galaxy Warrior line, it was titled, Galaxy Warrior: End of Time – The Last Battle. The figures were more colorful, reflecting the early 90’s neon craze and offered up a bit more in terms of weapons and armor. Perhaps strangest of all, the line used largely all new sculpts of bizarre creatures that seemed more like Mego Star Trek aliens than He-Man bad guys. Continue reading


Throughout the 80s and into the 90s, many companies produced Masters of the Universe/Wrestling figure knockoffs. These tend to look alike, with some being better than others. Often they sort of resemble a real wrestler or character, but none of them are quite as egregious as this “Hulk Hogan” figure. Bootleg-a-mania is running wild, dude!


The head sculpt here is so blatantly supposed to be Hogan, it’s a wonder that the real Hulkster never sued. The likeness is just as good as the Cocoa Pebbles character that Hogan took to court a few years back. I suppose the real issue would likely be tracking down just who is responsible for making this figure.


You see this toy has no identifying marks. Even if you find one in package, this same sculpt including the Hogan head, has been used on dozens of figures through the years. Wrestling Champions, Sun Gold, Muscle Warriors and various others all seemed to “borrow” the same sculpts from one another. This guy probably comes from the Super Champs or Wrestling Champs line. There were several versions of him.


Unfortunately this Hogan isn’t as good as some of the rest. Phony Hulkster lacks leg articulation. I sort of hate these bootlegs/knockoffs without the leg articulation. It makes them less poseable and it just shows corner cutting. I know, I know, it’s a bootleg. Still I prefer a bootleg with a little pride, ya know?


He’s also considerably smaller than some of the better knockoffs and he’s dwarfed by Remco’s AWA figures. Still I have a place in my heart for little bootleg Hogan figures. I wish they still made these.


Today’s bootlegs tend to be of the Mexican wrestler variety, such as these guys. I’d say around 1996 or so was the last time I saw this type of figure on the market. I’m not sure why they stopped showing up, but I would buy a ton of them if they showed back up in my local dollar stores… Of course, they’d need the leg articulation. A Hulkster that can’t do the leg drop is a deal breaker for me. This Hogan knockoff isn’t too hard to track down in some form or another if you’re in the market for one.


There is nothing wrong with your computer. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are now controlling the transmission. We control the horizontal and the vertical. We can deluge you with a thousand channels or expand one single image to crystal clarity and beyond. We can shape your vision to anything our imagination can conceive. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the deepest inner mind to the farthest corner of Big Lots, it’s time for… TALES FROM THE TOY AISLE!

So this TFTA will be completely themed. I was out this past weekend and hit up some new stores where I noticed a lot of different stuff than I usually cover here at Infinite Hollywood. Which led to me decide that this TFTA would be TRANSFORMERS THEMED! I rarely give Transformers much coverage here, but these knock offs at Big Lots had me quite interested.


First up, check out the Monster King! He’s got several smaller robots that form together to make his larger form. It also looks like he has some arm attachments or something. Of course, I really liked his face.


Yup, not only is he being marketed as a Transformer knock off, but he’s some sort of Mazinger Z Machine Robo Mugenbine bootleg. The Mazinger-esque face is so cool and that really almost made me buy this guy. He was a huge figure on an even bigger card for $10. Eventually his lack of paint aps and my general shrewdness made me decide against it. Anyone know if this based off an actual Mazinger Japanese product, or is a Japanese knockoff as well? Josh B over at CollectionDX was kind enough to point out that this is a bootleg of Machine Robo Mugenbine. Thanks to him and them. That said, I don’t feel too bad not knowing that off hand as apparently even he had to consider it homework when he did his review of one of this guy’s mates… Monster King Review!

Continue reading


Wrestling Action Playset
Unnamed Luchador (Mistico Bootleg)
5 Inch Scale
By: Greenbrier International
$1.00

Today’s review is definitely a little something different. This figure was purchased for a dollar, at a dollar store and is a bootleg knockoff of a wrestling figure. Normally, that would be cause for instant ridicule. Bootleg figures rarely have high quality, nor do dollar figures usually have much bang for the proverbial buck. Today’s figure up for examination, however, may have more going for it than normal.

On the surface this figure is unnamed. Even the title of the brand doesn’t make sense. “Wrestling Action Playset”? Wouldn’t a playset typically entail more than just a single figure and accessory? As always knockoff toys don’t care one way or the other. Thankfully, back when I wrote for 411Mania.com I was the Lucha Libre expert and reviewed dozens if not hundreds of Lucha Libre wrestling events. Which ultimately means, I very well know who this wrestler is supposed to be and even what figure this is a bootleg of.

Místico is Spanish for “Mystic”, a religious ring character who is the storyline protege of the wrestling priest Fray Tormenta. Not only is Mistico the top tecnico (good guy) in CMLL, he’s one of their biggest attractions. Mistico’s in-ring presence is nearly unrivaled in Mexico as he has incredible athletic ability and perfect timing.


Mistico was still up and coming when I first spotted him on CMLL and I was really one of the first people here in the states to bring attention to his incredible aerial feats. He’s come a long way from his early lucha shows and has evolved into the one of the biggest draws and complete packages in Mexican wrestling. So much so, that he’s getting knockoffs here in the US.

Packaging:
If a figure has a retail price of an item off the Wendy’s value menu, you can’t expect much in the way of packaging. These aren’t aimed at collectors. They’re designed for kids… Poor kids, at that.


The front is nice enough with the curious labeling of the product. There is no attempt at naming the character, which certainly ruins the charm a bit. That said, by not mentioning any name they definitely further the illusion that this is supposed to be Mistico.


This is the most boring back of a package I’ve reviewed on this site to date. Not much more than a barcode. You’d think they’d show the other figures in the series, given that there were at least 4 or 5 other figures available, but I guess they needed to save ink.


Once Mistico was free from his simple blister card, I did notice that the background logo is pretty neat. It’s an eagle clasping two brass knuckles. It’s not very indicative of Lucha Libre as a whole, but it’s not bad all things considered. Which is sort of a theme for this review.

Sculpt:
I suspect that most people who see this figure would just make fun of it. It is a bootleg, after all, but since I am a fan of the wrestler it’s depicting, I can appreciate it more than most.


The first thing that drew me in was the mask. It’s a pretty great sculpt, even if it is a knockoff. CMLL had some pretty good figures released a couple of years ago and it’s obvious that this head sculpt was copied or stolen from that release.


The paint work isn’t complete, as none of Mistico’s side and back designs are painted. Still, the front of the mask is painted surprisingly well. He’s missing Mistico’s trademark white eyes, but I don’t know if that would have been included anyway. The molds on the mask, though, are really pretty fantastic.


One look at this guy and any Mistico fan would immediately recognize this figure as who he’s supposed to be. The body sculpt that is shared by all the wrestlers in the line, seems as if it was specifically chosen for Mistico. It definitely reflects his real life physique.


Unfortunately when you turn the figure to it’s back, you reveal some pretty ghastly screw holes. No attempt was made to hide these. The plastic is also pretty hard and when I moved two of the joints, an arm and leg, respectively, felt like they were going to break. Once I cracked that “seal” though, they moved freely without any issue. I suspect the screws may have been too tightly wound, at parts.


As a result there is some minor creases in the separation between plastics. Scale wise he’s too small for most WWE collections, but he’d probably fit into a WCW or TNA ToyBiz scale with a little fudging. His paint applications are scarce to the point of almost non-existence.

A shame too, since a little paint on the wrist tape and the rest of the mask would definitely make him pop. His feet are cast in gold plastic, but unfortunately the mold runs to the knee so it doesn’t quite work. Again, this probably should have been painted, but given how poorly the paint covers the flesh tone I don’t know if it could have countered the harsher gold anyway.

Credit should be given though to the usage of a pearlescent white plastic, which is very reflective of the tights often wore by Mistico.

Articulation:
When it comes to articulation, a lot of dollar store figures rarely have more than a few points. Bootleg Mistico does better than most, but still isn’t amazing. This guy IS like Spider-man, so a super multi-jointed figure would be perfect.


He ends up with a cut neck, cut shoulders, cut legs and hinges at the knees and elbows. It’s enough to get him in a few trademark headscissor takedown poses, but leaves a fair amount to be desired. Of course he has more articulation than many more costly figures in the mainstream market, like Mattel’s Batman Brave & The Bold line and is comparable to stuff like Ben 10 (which also has screw holes), so the quality isn’t terrible.


It’s been documented before that I played a lot of wrestling with toys in my youth and I can say without a doubt that this guy had enough articulation that he could have been a star in those childhood wrestling feds. He’s better articulated than my last dollar store He-Manish wrestling figures, that’s for sure.

Accessories:
He comes with a single accessory and apparently these are often interchangable. Which means your Mistico may be packed with something different. Mine however, came with a chainsaw. It’s terribly uncharacteristic for the character (or CMLL’s brand of Lucha in general really) but it’s not a bad sculpt.


Actually the sculpt is much better than the chainsaw that came with Jakks Chainsaw Charlie figure. At least until you flip it on the back.


The back side is left hollow. A simple flat piece of plastic covering would have fixed this, but I suppose it was just easier to do this because of the molding process.


On the set of Wrestlemaniac 2?

Value:
This is a really hard figure to place a value on. I mean, it literally cost $1 dollar. How can I possibly hold that up to the standard that I would say, a $40 import toy? Ultimately, I can’t. Instead I had to compare it to the other misfits and bootlegs available in the store. Which means, for $1, this is a fantastic value.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 2
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 5
Accessories – Chainsaw
Value – 9
Overall – 5 out of 10

This guy scores a 5, which is really about the most he could possibly score. I can’t stress enough that this guy cost less than most bags of chips. To have as good of a likeness as he does, decent articulation and a accessory, he’s definitely worth it. He’s still a cheap, bootleg at the end of the day but this one is definitely better than most.


He’s also not only the most cost efficient way to get a Mistico figure in the United States, he’s pretty much the only way. His plastic is cheap and hard, but didn’t seem particularly brittle. I could see a kid having fun with this toy. As much as I bought him as an experiment to see how shitty he was, I was in the end, surprised at how good he was for the price.