Oddities & Commodities: Korean Guyhawk & Hellbat Knock Offs


Time for some more "Vintage Knock Off Love" baby! This time around I just happened to come across plastic-gold... you gotta love how random eBay searches pay off!

I initially came across these figures while doing some very generalized eBay searches. The original listing that I found was from an IMG_00000443Asian seller that wanted way more than I was willing to pay. I stalked that listing for weeks hoping the seller would lower his "Buy It Now" price, but that didn't happen; the auction ended, and the they just released it at the same price. Just when I was on the verge of caving, I mean very seriously thinking IMG_00000444about doing the BIN,  another (seemingly) unrelated search wielded another listing for the same figures. As a bonus this new listing was for a LOT less than the other one, the figures were in better condition, and it was located in the United States (so shipping would cost a lot less, and be quite a bit faster). "Buy It Now"... pfft... try "Bought on site", I couldn't hit the BIN button fast enough!

I hadn't known anything about this set before finding that initial auction. So I was going on my general knowledge of vintage KO's, what information I could gather from the two listing, and hoping IMG_00000446they would be good quality figures. It didn't take long for them to arrive, and all my worries were set to rest. While they weren't made of the same quality plastic as the originals, the quality was still pretty close. The box, despite a small tear in the window, was in pristine condition, and the styrofoam looked to have been untouched. If I didn't know better, I'd almost say that the figures had never been removed from the tray.

The box-art was unique for a vintage Knock Off in that it didn't try to imitate the artwork from the official product like a lot other IMG_00000445well-known KO's did. As a matter of fact, there wasn't much on the box to indicate that these were even Transformers molds. If it weren't for the inclusion of one side panel actually showing the official Liokaiser figures, one would assume that these were just some generic transforming robots from a random Asian market. The lettering on the box is done (I'm assuming) completely in Korean, with the exception of the phrase "Super Babel" printed in English underneath the main banner.

IMG_00000452Since I don't have a Takara Liokaiser for comparison, I used my Metamorphs version for comparison (since they are widely hailed to be almost identical to the official figures). Side-by-side these Korean Knock Offs seemed to be pretty much identical to the Metamorphs figures; the exception IMG_00000451being that they were in different colors, and didn't include their respective Breastmasters. Superficially there was no yellowing on the white parts, and the lines in the molded details were pretty crisp; indicating to me that they may have been made from the original molds, or were early run figures from a backward engineered mold.

Upon closer comparison the transformations, and scale, were identical IMG_00000461to the originals. Where most modern Knock Offs tend to get simplified to decrease production cost, these also had all the molded bits required to combine with the other members of the team to form Liokaiser... which I quickly did.

On their own these would be nothing more than two oddly colored Knock Offs, from a team of six, and be relegated to be nothing more IMG_00000464than two stand-alone figures to serve as conversation pieces. Most people wouldn't take the time, and money, to hunt down four more figures to make a second gestalt to display next to the originals. The one thing that really drove me to make this purchase though, is that the other four figures that are required to form Liokaiser were also re-colored, and released exclusively in Europe as The Autobot Rescue Force, and the only two figures that didn't get the repaint treatment were... you guessed it... Guyhawk, and Hellbat!

IMG_00000462I'd been wanting to get the Rescue Force figures to build (the aptly dubbed) Auto-Kaiser for a long time, but didn't want to use the regular Guyhawk & Hellbat figures to for the arms. With these two firmly in my possession, I'm now free to hunt down the remaining Rescue Force figures, and build my very own "Autobot" Liokaiser.

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