As a collector who's had quite a few figures pass though his hands over the years, I've come to appreciate some of the oddities that come out of the knock off community. In the day and age of the Internet there are very few figures that are not readily available as long as you're willing to pay for them. With price being the real segregator among collectors, there's really not much keeping your collection from looking just like the next guy's.
There are a lot of figures that are considered "grails" by many collectors, but to be honest there are very few of them that are actually "rare"; most of them are just expensive. You can go to eBay any day of the week and find figures like Liokaiser, Raiden, and even Galaxy Shuttle shows up pretty regularly, it's just a matter of wanting (or being able) to pay the prices they go for.
When I first started collecting I was making almost daily trips to Big Lots, and the Family Dollar, buying every transforming robot I could get my hands on. Admittedly the knock offs that they sell are not the greatest quality, and are by no means rare at all. What I did notice though, is that no matter how many hard to find figures I added to my collection, the figures that seemed to get the most attention from other collectors were the oddly repainted KO's I'd have mixed in with them. Most notably were some of the Binaltech knock offs, and a black repaint of Beast Wars Megatron. Even though I didn't consider these to be anything special (I just looked at them as "filler" or "place holders"), a lot of collectors would comment on them thinking that they were some kind of rare exclusives or customs.
I never tried to pass any of them off as real, and was always honest about what they were and where they came from, but it did instill an appreciation for such oddities. Over the years I have definitely drifted away from buying such low quality figures, but the appreciation for such things soon blossomed into an appreciation for a lot of Vintage Knock Offs (and some higher quality modern KO's); I love variation! While vintage knock offs are still knock offs, they don't often share the same quality issues that modern knock offs are known for. Most vintage knock offs tend to be made with the same quality plastic and engineering as their official counterparts, but often with very unique variations; that's just the way it was in the 80's.
While KO's may have a certain stigma about them there's no denying that a lot of these different variations are really cool, and in some cases even rarer and more expensive than their official counterparts. The Four Star Seeker knock offs still command a respectable price, the Pre-History Dinobots are definitely cool as a penguin turd (because they poop on the ice... get it lol), and in the case of the Overlord knock off by Acadamy Toys... extremely rare, with something like only five examples known to exist.
I have my share of "grails" which have cost me a pretty penny over the years, and I'm sure I'll make posts about them as time goes on. But what I'd like to do with this section is highlight some of the more obscure figures I've come across over the years; both official... and unofficial. So stay tuned, and keep an eye out, because I'm sure I'm going to send more than a few of you out on "The Hunt" to find some of these goofy things.