Wednesday, November 15, 2017

MonthCraft: The Brick Miser: Random Bootleg Minecraft Figures



Last review, we looked at a comparison between an official product and the cheaper bootleg variant. Needless to say, the official product is the one you want. ...But from here on out, everything's going to take a decidedly UNofficial turn, since that was the only official bit of Minecraft Lego I have. So before we get to the more "interesting" stuff, let's take a quick stroll through a bunch of bootleg Minecraft figures and accessories I own.

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Name: Various
Distributor: Various
Model: Various
Pcs: Various

Just a heads up, this isn't going to be my traditional style of review. I'm not going to focus on one company or one line, I'm not going to recommend any of the sets I show off, and there isn't going to be a category breakdown or overall rating at the end. These are just a bunch of bootleg Minecraft figures I've collected over the years that aren't really interesting enough to talk about individually. There will be some figures with attributes that stand out from the traditional bootleg, but since there's only one or two gimmicks with each, there's no point in devoting an entire review to them. It's just going to be a quick look at what you can probably expect if you're ever tempted to buy unofficial Minecraft Lego stuff.

That said, you know I suggested in the Lego Minecraft The Cave comparison that I bought a bunch of Minecraft stuff before I knew that it was all fake? ...You want a clearer picture of just how much I bought?













Everything you see here is a bootleg. We have a bunch of Minecraft Steves, some zombies, a handful of skeletons, a herd of livestock, and a few MOCs, amid other things. I bought these things in lots, which all suspiciously seemed cheaper than just one of the official Minecraft figures, but, again, I wasn't aware at the time that fake Lego was a thing. So I needed to buy the entire set to get 1 or 2 figures I didn't already have.













And, as well as the LELE mold copy of The Cave we looked at last time, I also own a bootleg The Ender Dragon set. But, as with The Cave, I'm waiting to come across the official thing before I do an actual in-depth look at it. It's not fair to base a review of a real product on a fake copy.

And yes, looking back, I was a bit of an idiot. ...Of course, I'm a lot of one now, so I sort of miss those days...













This is basically the extent of my Minecraft collecting as well(save for the material for the next two weeks.) While I still have a literal truckload of both official and unofficial Pokemon sets I want to feature that I continue to seek out and collect to this day
















 Minecraft has gotten surprisingly few ventures outside the zeitgeist. Possibly because Lego snatched the Minecraft property up just when it was becoming popular, while Pokemon has only recently gotten an official US release from Mega Bloks*. Bootleggers didn't need to use their imaginations to create original Minecraft sets and figures if there was a set they could simply copy and sell as their own...

*Yes, there were previous official releases from other companies(including a previous Mega Bloks attempt), but the current line is the only one that's been gaining any expansion or popularity.













That means that after this month, there probably won't be a MonthCraft 2, since what I'm featuring for this theme month is all I own and all I care to own. Unless China decides to make "Ultra Turbo Minecraft Mega Enderman Transformer Android"*, the only other times I feature something Minecraft-related will be whenever I come across and schedule a look at an official Minecraft set.

*Model 8675309. 1305 Pcs. Distributed by LELE & SL Toys.













That said, let's take a quick look at the figures we have this week.













Since I bought these figures from a wide array of sellers and manufacturers, and I've long since forgotten from whom and which of the minifigures were from each line, none of the duplicates I own are the exact same. In this line of Steves, you can notice, especially with the real Steve on the far left as a control, quite a variety in the colors, paint jobs, and even molds.













This is especially obvious in the face designs. The one on the left looks almost like a decaying corpse with its much darker and slightly greenish tint to everything. The one on the right has the correct skin tone, but a lighter brown hair color. And with the much wider bar of color at the bottom giving the illusion he has a full beard, it looks much more like a Lego figure of Grizzly Adams than Minecraft Steve!













Strangely, there's a glob of the skin tone paint on the neck visible after you take off the head. ...Maybe these bootleggers were so unfamiliar with the line they were directly copying, that they included color coding for some figures in case they mixed up who gets what body. HOORAY FOR INCOMPETENCE!













And then there's this guy. ...Yeah. It seems these guys decided to go in the opposite direction of how bootlegs are usually colored and made the paint job several shades LIGHTER. And with the soulless blue eyes and the big red nose, it looks a lot more like MineCLOWN Steve!


























This one also has the same hollow legs Unstable Bubba Emerald had from the KAZI Spider-Man sets. ...Is this actually a thing with some other mainstream building brick company's minifigures that a bootlegger copied and they(as well as whatever other knockoff company that copied the mold) just reuse the same leg molds for any brick figure they produce to avoid having to make a more accurate mold? Or are they under the impression that they can't be sued for their creations since the bootleg figures aren't COMPLETELY like Lego's? Take your pick. It's insanely stupid either way...













Some of the Steve figures they actually bothered to include with Iron Armor! ...Or at least one of them, since all n00b Steve on the right was able to find and retain enough iron for was a helmet. That was probably as far as he got as well, before he quit the game altogether and instead decided to waste his time and intelligence with the latest MMOFPS craze...













And with a helmet on, it just calls more attention to how off the paint job on the face can be with these figures...













As with the bootleg pick-axe from last time, the plastic for most of the accessories(especially the iron-colored ones), is really low quality and warped, leaving quite obvious streaks in the molding.













The plastic on the other helmet is of pretty good quality, though. ...But they still decided to leave a very large and noticeable sprue hole in the middle...













But anyone who's played Minecraft knows that Iron Armor won't get you far in the game, so these Steves knew to deck themselves out in Diamond Armor. And while the one on the left actually looks really good, almost official, the one on the right ...Yeesh...













This is probably the cheapest molding of the entire pile right here, with obvious flaw lines, uneven edges, and even a bit of runoff. And the paint job... Did they just give little Timmy a cheap paint-by-numbers brush and some white paint and told him to paint random smudges on the armor? Because that's what it looks like!


















I admit it's inventive of them to try to mimic the paint job of the game, instead of just going with the solid-blue, undetailed coloring of the official thing, but in this case, they REALLY didn't need to make the effort... Or lack thereof.













They were SO lazy molding this, that the sleeves are open, the front and back openings are too wide, and they just molded each side of the helmet to match the front! The armor also doesn't line up with the bottom of the head, so it jiggles around, and the helmet is so tightly put on, it took me a good long while to take it off! ...I really didn't plan on featuring the worst figure of the lot so soon, but here it is! I don't think we can top this in terms of UNquality!













The zombies are much more standard, with two of them having close to the same colors as the official one. Though the facial features on all of them are printed at different heights...













However, the one on the end has a much lighter green and the neckline is much wider and white, not gelling up with the neck or skin color at all.













 I thought this might have been from the same company that brought us the lighter colored Steve and Flawed-Diamond Armor Steve, but the legs on this one are standard Lego legs. So either it's a different manufacturer, or they were even more needlessly inconsistent with their figure molding...













But that's not even the funniest miscoloring, as when we return to Steve and his Pumpkin Mask, we can see that they actually switched the shirt/pants colors on the one on the left! The mask is the right color scheme and very close to the official thing(especially compared to the one on the right, whose neckline has the least convincing paint job yet...), but they somehow gave him a purple shirt and blue pants!













...I know I keep asking this question I'll never get an answer to, but HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT?! You make a BLUE shirt and PURPLE pants. Even a colorblind person could tell the difference in the hues! ...Or is this parallel universe Steve? ...Let's call him "Evets" from now on.













Now we're getting into the REALLY weird variations, as I present to you some bootleg Skeleton figures. And by glancing at them. ...Yeah...













I mean, you have this one, which is pretty close to the real thing, save for the normal bootleg tells of cheaper plastic and sprue holes


























Then you have this one, which has apparently been firing its bow so often, its arm bones have decided to replicate muscle mass and grow some freakin' huge biceps


























 Then a much more obvious copy, with a completely different face(that includes purple eyes I could only see through the camera), hands they put on sideways so it can't hold ANYTHING properly, and some bone fragments lodged in its rib-cage he should probably get looked at(seriously, that can't be healthy even for the undead)













And finally... They didn't even care. It's the right head, but the body's just the standard minifigure getup molded in white with a lousy skeletal pattern on the chest.













A pattern they didn't bother to continue on the back.













Heck, they cared so little, the hands are still flesh colored!













...This is Steve in a dollar-store Halloween costume, isn't it? That's the ONLY explanation they could give for how poorly they tried to copy the Minecraft skeleton...













And while I was setting that up, I accidentally took the skeleton apart to reveal that the torso is completely hollow, the legs barely attached by some thin bumps on either side held in via pressure! ...There were seriously no cares given with this figure, were there?!













Before we move on to the most... Unique figures, let's quickly take a look at the livestock that some of the minifigures came with. Being mostly made with standard bricks, they're all in the same shape as the real things, but the facial features, as with the minifigure heads, are slightly off.













You can end up with a face that still has detail lines, or one that's basically a smudge.













You can get rectangle snouts with brown nostrils, or square snouts with red nostrils.













You can get brown cows or brownish-red cows.













And you can get Mooshrooms with either pink or gray spots.













It's even a crap shoot what the back pattern is and if the mushrooms have tops... Whatever options get these out the door before Lego notices, I guess...













I also have a Creeper and a Spider, but only one of each, so I can't compare them. Still, they're basically the same as the real thing, just, again, with varying plastic and paint quality.













So at the end of our loose minifigure tour, we have an Enderman ...Yes, really...













I mean, I'm surprised that I have to explain it. The resemblance is so uncanny!













In all seriousness, this is actually a cool design. It looks like a fan-made texture pack for a player skin, something that resembles Enderman, but still clearly Steve. I especially like the purple hands and highlighting around the waist, and that they bothered to give it any color as opposed to all black. ...Though the neck line being brown is out of place...













But if you thought a Steve-sized Enderman was out of place, for our final stop, we have ...This thing... ...Yes...













I have honestly no idea what they were going for with this guy. It has a Creeper head(with solid black features unlike the different patterns for the real thing), green hands, a green neckline, ...and a white body. These are the mishmashes I LIVE for on this blog!






















My only guess is it's a Creeper that's achieved enlightenment. It has realized that we are all equal in the eyes of Notch. From the Seed, everything was spawned, and back to the Seed everything will go...


















 You can read more in the Holy Bible for Minecrafters. ...Yes, this exists!


















Fits right next to The Brick Bible on your shelf of uncouth Bible adaptations!













Before we move on, I might as well show you the rest of the stuff. Some of the minifigures came with either livestock or an accessory from a random Minecraft set. The accessories are just ores, webs, TNT, crafting tables, etc, and since they're made of the same bricks as the real thing, there's nothing to really comment on.













And for most lines, they also include a tool with every minifigure. Most of them just mold copies of the typical Minecraftian tools.













But, if you're lucky, you might find a tool set with some more unusual colors and shapes...













 And while none of these figures came in boxes, plenty did come with instructions. ...Because, as Ionix taught us, we're too stupid to put together minifigures...













So let's talk about a set that DOES come in a box. What you see in front of you are the FIRST bootleg/knockoff bits of Lego I ever bought! I found these in a swap meet several years ago for $2 apiece*, and these introduced me to the world of knockoff Lego I'm more than happy to share with you today. ...Or maybe I should say it EVENTUALLY introduced me, once I finally found some real Minecraft Lego and realized these were actually bootlegs and not repackagings.

*Which I've learned is a stupid price to pay for bootlegs, as you can find these things for less than $1 each if you know where to look. Like AliExpress...













I mean, I knew the boxes weren't the real thing. ...That you'd have to be stupid not to notice... I highly doubted that Lego would package individual minifigures in very low quality boxes with Engrish and unofficial accessories galore...













But it said "Minecraft"  on the front, so there had to be something official about these, right?













I'm impressed that they designed each box with a different Minecraft texture and color scheme. ...Mostly because I'm amazed they knew what Minecraft was back when I got these.













Strangely, the box has TWO different logos on it. On the front, replacing the Lego logo, is "21". ...And as you can guess by that logo, it was unGoogleable...













On the back, they have the letters "GS", which also didn't bring up any results from a search. ...Maybe these were originally going to be Generation 2 Pokémon bootlegs?













 Each of the boxes feature the included minifigure standing in front of obviously stolen promotional material backgrounds. ...Very low-res backgrounds, as the print job on these boxes is terrible...













They include an additional shot of the actual thing you'll get in the box in the upper right-hand corner. ...At least they're upfront about how badly they've tried to hide the fact these are obviously bootlegs...













And they also let you know that these are "Completely new to come in to the market." ...Well, let's hope that certain phrase doesn't get OLD.



























We're also told to "Build Your Own Creatins." ...I have to deal with so many cretins already, I don't need any more assembled...













Also, "Cool Brick Contains More Room For Imagination." Good. They certainly didn't add their own...













But that's not all, because on the back, we're told that "The more you play with me, the happier I will be!" Well, it's never too early to teach kids hedonism, is it?













 "All New!" ...Except they aren't...













"In Hot Sales!" Yes, the real Minecraft is. You, on the other hand, will probably be "In Hot Water With Mojang & Lego!"













And, of course, "Specifications, Colours & Contents May Vary From Illustrationas." Well, we all need more variety in our lives, so I'm glad they're suggesting we may get some.













Besides the text, the back is just comprised of the line of figures. Of which I own 5 out of 6, since I couldn't find the Diamond Armor Steve. A huge disappointment looking back, I assure you...













The line is repeated on the side of the box with headshots of the figures. ...And they actually translated "Skeleton" into other languages! Methinks that if people from any part of the world were looking for Minecraft merch, they'd know to look for the actual names and not literal translations...













And even on these hideously low quality boxes, they still included the "0-3" warning













 But a 5-12 recommendation.













Anyone between those ages is turned into a bootleg Minecraft figure. ...A fate more horrible than any other...













Now, unfortunately, since these are the first bootlegs I ever picked up, and I didn't consider myself a "collector" just yet, the stands and bricks have long since disappeared into my miscellaneous brick buckets. And since the place I bought these from doesn't exist anymore, all I have left are the minifigures. These are just more of the same we've seen so far, so there's no point in looking too closely at any of them. This was just to show off the box artwork.













I am, however, impressed with the super shiny paint jobs for their gold bow and shovel and the silver hoe. ...Not colors actually used in the game, but they're some of the best paint jobs we've seen so far.














Also impressed that they gave Steve's Skeleton costume fitting color hands and the fake Enderman a purple neckline. ...You know you're scraping the bottom of the barrel when you're congratulating someone for the bare minimum...













 The sets also feature what's a common staple with bootleg and knockoff fake Lego minifigures: Fake trading cards! And unlike the headshot pictures the Inside Out minifigures included, this is the more common fake card insert where they take some stolen promotional art, slap some random stats at the bottom, and print everything out on an inkjet printer at the Draft setting...













I originally thought that the bar system at the bottom was made up for a quick semi-official look, but I recently found out that it's actually ripped from the Lego Ninjago Spinjitzu Trading Card Game, just with a palette swap and any icons removed or replaced. The major difference between the two? You can actually PLAY the Spinjitzu game...













But these sets weren't enough for me, so I eventually went back and bought some more. ...Except by this time, the company pushing these out was going under the name "FG", which I again can't find any results for. And the box art had surprisingly gotten even plainer, darker, and lower resolution!













Yeesh. And I thought MY logo was pixelly...













There's literally nothing else on this box besides their updated figure lineup, all different than the previous line. ...I think, since the artwork is so dark and muddy, it's nearly impossible to tell what anything is. I would KILL for that weird Creeper minifigure in the upper right, though!













So this is Alex, a Snow Golem, and a Zombie Pigman, all minifigures I don't already own and ones I don't have any duplicates for, so I can't really compare them. They're just your standard bootleg figures, with questionable artwork, random tools, and poor joint quality...













I did remember to keep the base plates for these, though. Now we can see that these figures come to us from LEBQ, the same guys that brought us the bootleg Guardians of the Galaxy minifigs packaged with the Racing II sets. And that this is part of the "Herd Series."






















I don't quite remember seeing these in Cowboys of Moo Mesa...













Now even though these figures are molded the same as most of the other bootleg figures we've looked at, there is one slight gimmick to them compared with the real thing.













While most other official and bootleg Minecraft heads are hollow and molded as one piece, these LEBQ figures accomplish this with TWO pieces!













You can actually end up taking the head apart, leaving just this weird neck piece still attached to the minifigure! And yes, this neck piece slides into the head, making it possible to attach it to a minifigure neck. ...WHY NOT JUST HAVE IT ALL ONE PIECE?! This is possibly the dumbest design flaw I've ever seen for a minifigure, even for a bootleg! I'm sure it would have been cheaper and easier to just mold it as one piece with a neck hole on the bottom, so why make it like this? You don't need to reinvent the wheel, guys. Especially since you seem to have made it square...













This is how I know that both lines are from the same distributor. Or at least the same manufacturer.













And no, you can't combine the neck piece with any other brick, nor can you slip the head portion over another minifigure head. ...So an all around pointless venture, I'd say...













For the final stop on this tour of unofficialness, we have possibly the most distinctive set of the lot: Dargo Crystal Minecraft Minifigures.













I previously mentioned Dargo when I talked about their set of fake Pokémon figures last year. Suffice it to say that those were probably their only original products, as they're primarily just another mold copy company, churning out fakes of existing minifigures.














However, I briefly mentioned that they also make "crystal" variations of some of their figures, where they're molded with transparent plastic. Why? ...Not a clue. But I guess they're pretty enough to catch peoples' attention.


















Besides Minecraft, I've also seen crystal versions of Marvel and DC Super Heroes. ...And from what I can tell, that's pretty much the extent of it. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they also made Star Wars characters with this technique.


















 Probably the only way we'll ever get a ghost Obi-Wan figure.

















Apparently, the Minecraft figures originally came in boxes shaped like each minifig's head. Pretty clever and I wish I could get hold of them. ...However, I've never been able to find a site that sells the figures with the boxes included...













They do, however, come with base plates, all also transparent and proudly stamped with the Dargo and Minecraft logos. ...One of which, I'm pretty sure they don't have the rights to...













And in text that's almost impossible to focus on because the plate is transparent, we're told again that these are Minecraft figures and we're invited to "Collect The Mall".













...Yeah, mall collecting is too tricky a hobby for me to get into. Besides the obvious expense associated with acquiring each mall, the monthly storage costs would be enough to make Bill Gates faint... Might I instead recommend CVS Pharmacy collecting? There's a good number of them scattered around to start off with.













Besides the transparency, these are still the same molds and colors as the real thing, hence why they're in this tour and not their own spot. ...But there are a few differences.













 Like the atrocious and bright paint job they gave to Steve's face! I mean, wow. The eyes are just floating out of the sockets, the nose is trying to run left, and there are paint splotches and holes everywhere! There's no shading or depth, they're just basic colors of red, white, and blue, set against a slightly flesh-colored face and hair that's just part of the transparent head... And why is the smile white?













Almost makes me regret calling the other guy a clown...













Gotta admit to liking the transparent pick-axe though. ...Invisible Tools Mode. ...Get on that, Mojang!













They also included Steve in Diamond Armor, also transparent. And they didn't cheap out by just making another of the previous Steve and putting the chestplate and helmet on him, so I have to give them praise for actually recreating the Diamond Armor Steve minifigure.













They also attempted a much more game-faithful pattern. A MUCH better job than the earlier attempt, I must say. ...Though it looks a little awkward to have thin white stripes painted on a transparent blue chestplate.
















But White Stripes on a Blue Orchid is something I can Get Behind*!

*Get it? Because the album is called Get Behind Me Satan? ...Listen to real music, you Philistines with your Meghan Trainors and Ariana Grandes!













Most of the other minifigures are pretty standard. Pumpkin Head Steve and the Zombie look the same as the non-transparent variety.













And they even have the custom Skeleton and Enderman minifigs, again with the same paint job and design as the regular figures.













Though the Skeleton is a good example of the lack of quality control in packing minifigures you put together yourself...













But then you have... These guys. ...Yeah, your guess is as good as mine.













I guess they decided to be a little more "original" and copied some custom skin textures for these figures, but I have NO idea what they're supposed to be! I can't even make any comparisons, the designs are so alien to me!













So first you have this yellow guy with no face save for two eyes. ...A Blaze, maybe? ...Though even that's stretching it...













Then you have this red guy with three eyes. ...I think. Is the one in the middle supposed to be a mouth? Then why does it also have a black pixel in the middle of a white bar as with the eyes?! WHAT IS THIS THING?!













Even the weapons I can't quite make out! The yellow guy is holding either a pitchfork or a trident, while the red guy has... A hammer? An ice pick? A blunt axe? ...It looks like nothing I've ever seen in Minecraft! If these things are from a mod or some other PC-exclusive content I with my limited Xbox 360 version do not have access to, I'm begging you...






















 And with that, our tour of bootleg Minecraft figures has come to an end. Please leave all your valuables under your seats and proceed in single file out the doors to your right.

...However, that doesn't mean we've finished looking at ALL knockoff Minecraft figures I own. We've seen the regular stuff, the obvious copy jobs that are nearly the same as what they're bootlegging. ...But I've saved the best for last. Next week, we'll tackle the final Minecraft minifigure set I own, and BOY, is it going to be a DOOZY!

See you then!