They're more than meets the eye... Only not quite
and Unofficial Releases
So named as this bootleg copy of the TransFormer Shockwave was commonly found in Radio Shack (Tandy on this side of the Pond). Identical to the original Shockwave in every way - including the phallic trigger which was replaced in the US release - except colour. While many people complain that the rubber sheath for the wires (joining the light on the arm to the battery in the backpack) tended to perish quite badly in the US/Hasbro version... This knockoff is still in perfect condition 20 years after it was made.
It's interesting to note that TransFormers: The Movie seemed to suggest that Cybertronian robots turn grey when completely dead... which, coupled with his single red eye, makes Shackwave an ideal 'Zombie Shockwave'.
One thing that sets this apart from a lot of knockoffs is the quality of the job. The plastic is good quality (having lasted 20 years without a break or scratch, though the clear plastic has yellowed slightly), the joints are good and stiff, and the electronics are still perfectly functional... The only drawback being that they need a whopping 9v brick battery to operate them!
05 Robogun Browning M1920
Follow this if you can: A knock-off of a Diaclone model that never made it into the official TransFormers line... Originally, there where three robots which transformed into guns - the Walther P-38 which became Megatron, the Magnum .45 and this one, the Browning M1910 (so why is the toy called a Browning 1920?). Fairly accurately detailed down to the Fabrique Nationale logo embossed on the grip (it's not quite right, but it's there, and the trigger isn't accurate at all), Browning may well turn into a powerful robot, but his alternate mode is a bit of a handbag weapon.
Much like the original Japanese P-38 (and the more recent Japanese reissue of Megatron), Browning has a spring-loaded firing action operated by the trigger. I'm not sure whether this is true of the original Takara model, but this knock-off has a few weak joints which means that pulling the trigger is as likely to extend the lower arm as it is fire a bullet (or robot fist). Transformation is similar in many ways to Megatron but, again, some loose joints spoil the effect somewhat. The upper legs are much firmer than Megatron's, but there are no pegs to join the lower halves properly, so they don't quite fit perfectly.
This thing came in (essentially) mint condition in its box, but the fact that it's a knock-off means it's not perfect to begin with. The hand-held/shoulder mounted weapons aren't chromed (even though they are in the pictures on the packaging), but there are two sets of hands, the bullets are still in their frame, and it was made with some die-cast metal parts. While I haven't applied the stickers yet, they will probably go on eventually...
Not so much a reissue as a clear case of bootlegging. If the violent lime green plastic wasn't a giveaway, then the poor quality labels and their haphazard application would be. Oh, and the complete lack of Takara copyright information stamped on any of the Constructicons.
Nevertheless, for the common man, this is about the only way one can own Devastator these days. Takara have, after all, stated that they do not intend to reissue the real Constructicon set because they'd never be able to match the price or production runs of the bootleggers.
This is a real shame, as the one thing Takara should be able
which the bootleggers clearly can't (or won't) is quality control.
While the plastic seems sturdy enough, the joints are loose and mold
degradation means some parts just don't fit the way they should. Add to
that, Devastator was never a terribly impressive model, with very
limited articulation as a gestalt and its component parts. Devastator's
main problem (aside from having no leg movement) is that his arms are
dealt with so differently. One attaches with a tab and the shoulder
movement comes from the digger's rotation; the other attaches with a
very thin peg to a very stiff joint. The elbows aren't consistent
either - the right works fine, the left is hindered by the bulldozer's
tracks. Worse still, three of the Constructicons are missing their
guns, and there are no chromed parts at all!
Some work with a knife and file, and a lick of paint, and this might turn out to be a decent statue... Then again, there are kitbashers out there who are giving him proper legs.
Picked up on Ebay, I didn't actually realise this was a knockoff until I had it in my hands, and compared it to photos of Reflector on the internet. The most obvious giveaway was the connections on Viewfinder's arms: On this bootleg, they're small, metal pins. On the genuine article, they're bulkier and more secure.
Most of the joints are loose, meaning they don't stand well -
needed to rest on those two guns to stand, and Viewfinder is a fine
balancing act. Only Spyglass has reasonably stiff leg joints. They all
seem to have authentic stickers, but each has a different style of
Decepticon logo- Spyglass has purple outline on silver, Spectro has
solid purple on silver, Viewfinder's is the thermal type.
Had I known this was a bootleg, I probably wouldn't have bothered with it... But the bootleg is still available, boxed, in Continental Europe.