Thursday, 22 January 2009

Transformer Knock-Offs - The Best Of Poundland

Like a moth to a flame, I am constantly burnt on the searing, deadly heat of Poundland. Thankfully everything there costs exactly a pound (except for the things that don't) so I won't be sacrificing my wallet on the altar of poverty just yet.

I am however addicted to buying hilariously awful knockoff toys. Most of them go straight in the bin after a few minutes of curious fiddling since they break so easily, but its a nice, inexpensive way to broaden your toy-collecting horizons (to include even more plastic crap).

Anyway I have no willpower, so the last time I was near a cheap shop, I wandered in there to see what I could find. Sometimes they have end-of-line quality official goods. But not this time. This time they had more awful knock-off tat!

So lets see what the latest the bargain bins of the UK can offer...

As a kid, I loved Getaway. He had a cool transformation, looked sleek and unique, was a racecar, and a Powermaster. You name it, he had it. So I was rather excited to get this cheap knockoff to relive past victories.

Unfortunately Getaway is probably the worst knockoff I've seen. He is even worse than Giant Neon Orange Ratchet. This is mostly because he's as floppy as hell. Now, I expect some floppyness but Getaway takes it to the extreme. His chest is supposed to turn round - but it has absolutely no friction at all and just flops back down.

The above picture is the very best I could get him. See how is arm is backwards? That is its natural resting position. I couldn't make this stuff up, it just wants to fail!

The original Getaway had a head that sprang up. The knock-off tries to repeat this gimmick, but as you might imagine it sucks totally, and the very weak spring barely pushes the badly-fitted head to poke out slightly through the hole like a giant robot turtle.

This might sound bad, but the worst is to come. The original Getaway was a Powermaster. This meant that he came with a little figure who turned into his engine. He couldn't transform normally, only when you plugged the engine in.

Yes, you've guessed it. For this knockoff they bothered to keep the actual gimmick of the locked transformation, but didn't include the engine!  The pointlessness of the exercise boggles me - why leave in the fiddly engineering on the locking mechanism on the bonnet, but leave out a simple engine. Even a solid block would have worked!

Police Armada Optimus Prime. 
There's a few awful toys I have to own just for the sake of it, and this guy is one of them. A company has taken the Armada Optimus Prime mold and made him into a whole squad! A whole squad of police trucks!

The only one left on the shelf when I got there was a Police Bucket Lift. I imagine this is for when Optimus Prime wants to catch criminals but they are really far up. Mine also came with a free extra screw which I pretended was a little man! My life is so magical and fun.

The back of the card shows the wild variety of other Police Primes you can get, from a police crane to a police shovel to a police dumptruck. Since none of them are actually police vehicles, you really have to wonder why they bothered to mold on some sirens.

My favourite however is owned by one of my friends, Catechism@2k5. She bought a Police Cement Mixer. Obviously this is for when Prime needs to give a criminal concrete boots.

It begs the question though, what are these knock-off makers thinking? Do they really not know what a cement truck is for? Am I supposed to think that they truly believe that in America the police drive around in huge cement trucks, throwing criminals in the drum to make them dizzy?


Actionmaster Movie Optimus Prime
For just a single pound this figure sprang out at me. Luxuriously lounging in his own box, Optimus Prime tempted me into buying him. But I was tricked!

One of the laziest bootlegs I got this time, the budget seems to have been spent entirely on the boring box, since the figure doesn't actually transform. it seems that someone just slapped a Movie Voyager Prime into a mold and made a crudely articulated toy out of him.

Here's a confession for you - I like Actionmasters (the late G1 line of non-transforming Transformers) but this guy doesn't do it for me. He is a very ugly Prime with all the fun sucked out of him. He barely resembles Prime, instead looking like a freakish Frankenstein of a robot.

He sports a gun, a shield that cleverly says 'Shield' on it for those who might not understand, and an LED in his chest. Pressing the button on his back makes it flare into life in an optic-blinding fashion, before quickly burning out.

Bin (once I regain my eyesight).

Lastly we come to my favourite of the bunch. To be honest I'm not even sure it is a knockoff. Its certainly not a knockoff of a Transformer, but perhaps of another line that I've never heard of.

He's a dinosaur, which is a plus point (dinosaurs are awesome). More awesome though is the card he's on proudly states that you can 'Paly with enhanced intelligence'. You really can't make this stuff up.

Amazingly his name is actually 'Witchcraft' thus proving that all toys are evil and the work of the devil. Also it highlights the longstanding relationship between witches and dinosaurs.

Sadly he isn't perfect. He doesn't have the awesome gun the packaging shows, and his fists are the wrong way round. The plastic is a bit cheap, and...

...and he has a head for his crotch.

His head is a crotch. His lovespuds are a dinosaur head. When he pees he opens his mouth. There is no good way to put this, and I imagine he would run home in shame if ever confronted about this.
Actually, all his friends seem to be Crotchmasters which just makes it that more magical!



  1. beware the dinosaur face cock of doom!

  2. Heh, I've got another version of Witchcraft, but looking less severe and mocking, and more green. Also, an Armada Prime with ditchdigger/backhoe, but I don't think it has the police lights - otherwise, it's the exact same thing.

  3. Ah, when I was a lad the Poundstretcher in York had a knock-off black and pink version of Shockwave that I yearned for but couldn't afford. I saved up, but by the time I went back they'd sold out. It was grim up North.

  4. As an American, I must rebuke you for saying our officers don't use cement trucks.

    I mean, pouring huge volumes of cement is the basis of our criminal justice system!

  5. I have a couple more of those Super Dinosaurs. They all transform the same.

    Great article Blue.

  6. I envy your Bucket Lift Police Prime. Also, Catechism's cement truck Police Prime. All the police Primes were gone from my Big Lots by the time I looked. :(

  7. Witchcraft is awesome! I must own one.

  8. DAMN I need one of those crotchosaur transformers.

  9. How much did the Actionmaster Prime cost?

  10. I'd love to see more of these fabled crotchmaster dinoaurs

  11. Poundland is now the home for Transformers DVD's too. Season 1 of the 80's show and the animted movie turned up in my local.


  12. i have bought five transfomers toys and they are awsome