Posts Tagged ‘Henkei’

Awhile back, I broke the news that Henkei Starscream had been KO’ed and was about to hit the market. I placed an order for it, and it arrived last night.

You may remember me talking earlier about a KO Henkei Thundercracker. I praised this toy very highly, as I felt that it was a very high quality toy–perhaps even higher than the original, and certainly higher than your ordinary KO.

Sadly, I cannot praise Henkei Starscream so highly.

This release is clearly made by the same KO producer. The packaging is very similar, and the subtle “tells” that mark it as a KO are also present on this release.

A closer look at the "tells"

As you can see from the pic, there are several things that can identify this as a KO. First, look at the head, or more specifically, look at the sides of the head. The “vents” on either side of Starscream’s face are unpainted. They are white when they should be black. Also, the notches on the shoulders are too low. I circled an area of concern where the arm connects to the shoulder, because the plastic there has jagged edges and is in really sloppy condition. Also, there are no notches in the kneepads as there should be on an official release. This release also has the same issues as the other two, in which the back and the chest don’t quite fit together in bot mode. Also, Starscream stands with a bit of slump, as he tends to be back-heavy. The paint apps are also a little sloppy in places.

The biggest issue in my mind is the arm blasters. To the best of my recollection, Henkei Starscream did not have loose arm blasters. The KO does. They will fall off if an amoeba farts nearby. This is the deal-breaker between choosing between the KO or the real thing.

Alright, let’s take a look at the packaging. The big tell here is the placement of the collector card, which is squarely in the center, when it should be tucked under the jet. (Thundercracker’s card is to the right. Skywarp’s is also centered.)

Dressed up to fool you!

Here’s the card back.

Am I real or am I not?

Here’s what you see on the side.

Packaging, side view

The worst part about this KO is the jet mode. Because the wings and arms are super floppy, it doesn’t hold together well in this mode. The wings tend to slump, and as mentioned before, the body doesn’t fit together very well.

Make sure you pack your parachute

So the question you’re probably asking is this: should I even bother with it? To answer that, I give you the only reasons you should buy this particular KO:

1.) You already have Henkei Starscream and want to replace him in a display with something that you won’t care if it breaks.
2.) You can get it in a package deal with the other KO Henkei seekers which are much better.
3.) You can’t find the real deal anywhere for a reasonable price and don’t really care about a dip in quality.
4.) You simply have to have every variant of every Seeker that has been, is now being, or ever will be produced.

If that’s not you, then you should probably just stick to the real deal.

In any case, as far as I can tell, no online shops have stocked this KO yet.  

Here’s a short gallery:

Decepticons! Retreat!

Droopy legs and floppy wings, don't fail me now!

No, this is not photoshopped. There is a yin-yang symbol formed by trees on the mountain in the background.

Why does my arm feel so loose? And where did this gash on my knee come from?

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Breaking news in the world of knock-off Transformers:  I’ve recently sighted a KO of Henkei Starscream on Taobao, the Chinese equivalent of eBay.

This appears to have been released by the same folks who recently produced the high quality KO Thundercracker, Skywarp and Ghost Starscream figures.  I have not as yet received this figure, so at the moment I have no in-hand pics, but I should be able to review it within a few days for those of you who are curious.

I will share with you how can you order it as soon as I’m made aware which retailers are carrying it.

Meanwhile, you can view the Taobao auction by clicking here.

(thanks to Seibertron.com for front-paging this news!)

A long time ago, 2007, in a convention center far, far away–well, at least if you don’t live near Providence, RI–events were transpiring that would forever split and destroy the unwashed rabble that is the Transformers fandom.  Of course, if you are a fan of the aforementioned robots in disguise, you’re not all that shaken, because you know that an event like this happens just about every week.  The tears of Trans-fans have washed away many worlds over the years.  This particular instance of “RUINED FOREVER” saw the characters Thundercracker, Dirge, and Thrust released as a convention exclusive for Botcon ’07.

Traditionally, Botcon toys were simply repaints or retools of previous retail-release toys.  The characters might or might not have been easily recognizable names.  Botcon ’07 changed all of this by releasing these three seekers, three core characters, who had not been released previously, and who now, because of exclusivity agreements, would never be released at mass retail.  Or so we thought.

It should be noted that Botcon exclusives are not like exclusives to other conventions, such as the San Diego Comic Con.  SDCC “exclusives” can almost always be ordered for a reasonably sane price via the internet the day after the convention closes.  No, Botcon exclusives are almost always a very limited production and the prices are without fail sky-high, which placed these characters well out of the reach of the pocketbook of the average fan.

Naturally, a lot of this happened:

The more stoic Transformers fans trudged on, grim in their acceptance that their cast of Decepticon jets would always fall three short, the inclusion of Acid Storm in the line-up be darned.

And then, as if a gift from Mt. Toylympus, an announcement was made that these three characters were going to be released. There was much rejoicing in the land. Until we found out where the toys would be exclusive to:

Oh Japan, how you tease us.

Still, the price was far too much to pay for many collectors.  So they went on again, consigned to the fact that though they could have any number of Starscream decoes, they would never have the blue sidekick and coneheads that they desperately desired.

Until…

2010 saw the release of Thrust and Dirge under the banner of Transformers Generations.  Finally, the seekers we desired at retail price!

Well, except of course for Thundercracker, the most desired of the three.

That’s where our friendly neighborhood makers of Chinese knockoffs FINALLY stepped to the plate, and this time they did so with a retail quality Thundercracker.

What follows is a review of the toy, and a way to tell whether or not you’ve purchased a KO Henkei Thundercracker. NOTE: I am told that there are two molds that are being used to produce this toy. The mold reviewed here is for the Thundercracker being sold MOSC (mint on sealed card). The version of Thundercracker that is being sold loose differs somewhat from this mold.

This is the knock-off–or KO, if you will–on the left standing next to the legit original Henkei Thundercracker (right). As you can see, there aren’t a lot of differences between the two. The differences are mostly very very subtle. As you can see, though, the actual Henkei figure has its launchers held onto its arms by rubber bands, whereas the KO is actually able to support its own launchers. Your mileage may vary, though, as the launcher port on the KO’s right arm (your left) is a little loose, but nowhere near as loose as the actual product.

To be perfectly frank, this KO is perhaps the best KO I have ever seen. It is sturdy, the transformation process is fluid, and the plastic quality feels like the real deal. I had no issues in transforming it, and it’s actually a bit less floppy than the Henkei version. The only joints I thought were too stiff were on the bottom right tailfin, which took a little more pressure to fold up than I was comfortable with. Otherwise, the figure fits together in both modes quite comfortably. All in all, the KO has BETTER paint apps than the original, and holds its launchers better.

The only real problem was that one of the launchers was broken and the missile won’t fit in correctly. A simple fix, really.

Simply put, if you want Thundercracker and can’t afford the Botcon or Henkei versions, this guy is the one for you, and the price is unbeatable.

Now…I imagine a lot of you are wondering how you can avoid being taken in and buying the KO thinking you are getting the real deal. Well, I’m glad you asked, because I’m about to tell you how you can tell the difference between the two:

The real Henkei version has a notch in the “knee pad” of TC’s leg. The KO is perfectly squared.

As you can see from the back of the two TCs’ wings, the red on the Henkei version is a much lighter color. This is most noticeable on the wing backs, but is true for the whole figure. The KO figure’s red is a much deeper red. Also, I feel like the blue on the KO is a tad deeper blue, and I’m quite sure that the cockpit is a MUCH deeper amber color.

As you can see, the alignment of the Decepticon sigil on the front of the wing is a bit off. That’s only true on one wing of my KO, so I’m not certain that this is common to each figure. However, it is one of the few differences that can be detected BEFORE opening the packaging.

This one is a dead giveaway. It’s so small, it’s almost unnoticeable, but there is a notch on each seeker’s shoulder. On the real deal, the notch compromises the silver swatch. It’s this way on every seeker that I have, including other KOs. But on this KO, the notch is significantly lower on the shoulder and doesn’t cross into the silver swatch at all.

All things considered, I recommend this KO to people who don’t have Thundercracker and can’t afford him. And I hope this review helps those of you who want to know the difference.