Where do the various "unofficial" MP toys come from?

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by batfan007, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. batfan007

    batfan007 Double the Dragon

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    I've read a number of diff threads (and theories) in recent months about the various unlicensed MasterPiece Transformers toys that have various boxes, minor differences etc with the box or toy or whatever.

    My Q is where do they come from and who makes them?

    I've seen so many different answers that it is a bit mind boggling, and people seem to argue over which "opinion" is more true for lack of proof.

    Traditional KO's tend to be copies of actual toys, or Knock-Offs, some such as the better quality ones like WeiJiang, KBB etc also have advertising related to them.

    The various MP ones do not have website, nor advertising, just materials that are copies of the regular stuff.

    Some people suggest they are factory defects, other suggest they were made by some unknown company (if so, why does nobody seem to know who they are, and why do they have no PR like some other knock off companies?) and some people suggest that most if not all the MP knock offs came from the same molds /factories as the official ones.

    So I am curious to hear your point of view, and what evidence or reasoning you have to support it. I'm not looking for anything conclusive, just a well informed point of view with sound reasoning.

    *And if they are genuine knock offs, how do you explain situations likes the the MP Shockwaves that turned up at half price on ebay (with clear defects) only weeks after the official release, sold out and have not been seen again since.
    *Also, do some (but not all) of the KO MP's have fixes to defects from the original official toys, and sometimes better paint apps?

    Thanks for all your replies o_O 
     
  2. AnonymousDwell

    AnonymousDwell Well-Known Member

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    Some are stolen (or discarded and "appropriated") molds.

    Some are defectives.

    Some are original designs reverse engineered from existing official designs, but using original molds that try to as closely as possible replicate the official ones (without ever having access to them.) I actually find this method pretty impressive personally.

    Some (though this isn't what you're asking about) are 100% original toy designs with original engineering and molds designed from scratch, but which emulate as closely as possible Hasbro and Takara's character designs. (The awesome 3P masterpiece quality figures.)

    Some are super cheap toys meant to approximate certain characteristics of the real thing, but clearly not ever based on an official design or mold. (When I was growing up, this was the true definition of "knockoff," not a perfect copy or attempt at one. Just a cheap, super generic thing that clearly wasn't the real thing, but sought to associate itself with it somehow, with a really poor effort.)
     
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  3. Crom

    Crom Well-Known Member

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    China?
     
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  4. rapid_fire

    rapid_fire TFW2005 Supporter

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    A person or few people do up a design, packaging, etc and contact suppliers in China or the US that own or work with factories that make your molds, packaging and do it all for you. It's a bit more work then that, but search on Google, and there's tons of businesses that help you make toys as long as you got the money to fork out.

    Here's an interesting article to help you understand more of what goes into it.

    How to Get a Figurine Produced in China and Not Lose Your Shirt

    Ive looked into it before, it's expensive to have molds done up, you really have to have a good product if you want to make any money from it all.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016
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  5. batfan007

    batfan007 Double the Dragon

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    Thanks for your insightful answers.

    I'm familiar with the idea of reverse engineering something (as is anyone who plays videogame and is familiar with their short history) and original designs (mold) that are knocking off something similar in appearance.

    I guess the area I'd like to know more about is stolen, discarded or appropriated molds.

    How does this sort of thing happen? For example, you work in "Factory X" which makes "Official Latest Hot Toy Y", you steal the mold, and then what? You'd have to know someone with time, money and resources to DO something with it?

    I've seen in other threads supposedly some of the perfect replicas that are indistinguishable from actual product, that turn up like a week after the brand new toy, in a new mold has appeared, where in fact made in the same factory, but then were sold through back door channels? Is this just urban myth, as I've seen a number of reputable poeple repeating this story (doesn't make it true any more than saying Bob Kane single handedly created Batman over and over makes it true) - so if anyone knows more about this topic, please share what you know.
     
  6. Hicks_Royel

    Hicks_Royel > Cat Flu

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    Certainly seems the most logical of answers.
     
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  7. Starganderfish

    Starganderfish Well-Known Member

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    Factories in China work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, multiple shifts, multiple crews. I've heard suggestions that once the "official" shift that Takara paid for is over, the next shift may keep the machines running for a little longer to produce some extra figures to assemble and sell on the side. As long as Takara get their order and the next client get's their stuff produced, no-one's the wiser. Even more may be the factory owner or shift manager taking advantage of quiet times or vacancies in the schedule to pump out KO's. If the machines aren't constantly producing something, money is being lost.
    Alternatively I've also seen "analysis" done by people of some of the Takasa Tony KO's suggesting that sprue marks are in different positions and minor details are subtly changed, implying that they are completely new moulds?
     
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  8. rubadubspawn

    rubadubspawn Rubadubspawn deals @ [email protected]

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    Probably never going to get a clear answer. It's always just going to be rumors and best guesses.

    Based on your question op, you seem like an educated fellow and probably know the most likely answer to your own questions. Hehe.

    Im guessing that the reason why takasa tony (and the like) don't have a pr Rep or website or whatever is Becuase in most cases they are doing straight up rip off a Takara product vs. Wei Jiang and kbb are upsized or modified versions.

    Someone far smarter than I posted some good info in a thread I started about 3p and how likely they may get sued. The member had some sort of legal background and laid out the thought process regarding why some things are hard to legally enforce but the closer you copy, the easier it is.

    I'm probably remembering it wrong. Heh
     
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  9. plastic therapy

    plastic therapy Banned

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    I have a hunch that in some cases, the KO companies are subsidiaries of official companies and are a way for them to play both ends of the market.

    Because you see the bigger online stores selling both yet the official has one card to play with that scenario- to pull official product from them. But they don't.
     
  10. peddlerofwine

    peddlerofwine Starscream's Robot Gun

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    When an unofficial Transformer makes love to another Transformer (official or not) and has a baby. An unofficial bastard Transformer is born.

    :D 
     
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  11. plastic therapy

    plastic therapy Banned

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    That's what you would call a K.U. or Knock Up Transformer haha
     
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  12. 18inchcombiner

    18inchcombiner Well-Known Member

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    3rd Parties companies are professional sculptors, customizers & other artists who get together having a production source overseas. Example, The Four Horsemen Design crew work for Mattel & Super 7 but on the side have created a 3rd Party company which lines up in scale of the MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE CLASSICS line so they dipped into that market or customer base who buy from them. Seventh Kingdom, Power Lords, Gothitropolis & now Mythic Legions (awesome 3P line).

    Same thing goes for the Robot 3rd parties who found a market amongst the transformer fans (cult following from the 1980's G1 especially).
    But a 3rd Party simulate the characters that are in transformers but do not mess with the IP & that is allowed as long as they are renamed to fit in with their own IP that they make at a spitting image of TT's intellectual property. But you have 3P's like KFC or etc that make comic books out of the character they created even though they resemble the IP of a TT/hasbro character but it's not. And it appeals to us bc we know it is that character & we have the choice to pretend it's not especially if a TT MP version comes out, which makes it fun for me.

    A KO is a blatent knock-off showing no regard for the IP except some minor curtails or details that make it obvious it's not real.
    That is why there are KO's of 3rd Party figures as well. Because KO's rip off IP's & the companies original companies don't seem to care.
    When they do the OVERSIZED stuff, then I am all for KO's. But exact rip offs to me just ruin the hobby.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2016
  13. Tontus314

    Tontus314 Well-Known Member

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    I gotta disagree with exact copies ruining the hobby. What ruins the hobby for me is $230 for Megatron, $200 for Seekers, etc. KOs keep me in the hobby and I'm totally fine with it.
     
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  14. Max Tower

    Max Tower Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes the company paid to store the moulds just uses them when the owner isn't looking - - i.e. G1 Starsaber.
     
  15. batfan007

    batfan007 Double the Dragon

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    Dumb internet time: WTF does "OP" mean?
     
  16. batfan007

    batfan007 Double the Dragon

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    The main two things I was thinking about today regarding why Has/Tak don't sue (and I'm guessing, I really don't know):

    *Cost of legal action vs potential lost sale. If a 3P makes say MP galvatron, and Has/Tak do not, it's not like they have lost any income, as they have not even made this toy.
    *3P / KO steal the basic design / engineering of a toy - I see no reason why Has/Tak don't use 3P as free market research for a toy that sells, and then they make their own MP, and the more loyal fans often flock to it, even if they already have the 3P alternative
    *3P' USUALLY avoid using any official names. Much easier to get copyright/TM etc on words than a physical object such as a toy. Let's say the 3P makes an entirely original mold, based on I don't know.... Optimus prime. Easy to prov (legally) that a toy using the trademarked name "Optimus Prime" is doing something illegal, while making the toy itself, with a different name, or different look, harder to prove, (still illegal in the broadest sense) but where does it end, whay about a fan that scuplt something out of clay (say prime) and then sells it on ebay, do they start going after anything and everything? Very costly and time consuming.
    *Most 3P's make small runs of stuff, that sell for quite a bit, so not direct competition for Has/Tak - other than the MP lines, and even then, some of these toys are like free advertising / market research for Has/Tak to see if fans are hungry for a particular classic character.

    Anyhow, these are just guesses, if anyone wants to add anything on these topics, please do.
     
  17. plastic therapy

    plastic therapy Banned

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    Yeah. Not feasible to spend hoards of cash on these things. At some point a person has to think of the cost of a whole collection. Especially considering all the reissues. The constant reissues makes resale value go down a lot. So it comes down to what's the difference if it's KO or not anymore.
    OP- Original poster