Our friends over at Toys R Gus, the internet's best vintage Star Wars collecting site, have let me swipe some of their pics so I can tell you all about a hedonistic, utterly vile phenomenom that's probably gone unnoticed in these parts of the world. You know how when you send a fresh-baked cake to your friends overseas in other nations, by the time it gets there, it's sort of mutated into a completely inedible vile pile of crap? Amazingly enough, the same thing happens to Star Wars figures!
It's true, it's true. Those dirty foreigners used to bootleg their own Star Wars figures - in the most rushed and feeble attempts you've ever seen! You don't have to be a toy fan to appreciate the sheer crime of all this. Before we begin, I want to show you a good example of an overseas translation of a Star Wars toy...
This version of the AT-AT, or what I used to refer to as my 'robot dog', is a good example of a foreign version of the U.S. toy. Why? Because it's the same damn thing! If I was in Canada, I could overlook the language barrier on the box and pick this one up with no problems whatsoever. Let's face it, that's something we do all the time here anyway. Hell it's even smiled upon. You're telling me you don't feel important eating at a restaurant with a name you don't understand? As long as the food tastes good, and as long as the AT-AT still looks cool.
Plus, it's a good way to catch up on your foreign language lessons. You don't have to be a genius or even remotely intelligent to put two and two together, so here's today's lesson in French:
La Guerre: Star
Of course, I'll guarantee you that those are completely incorrect, however I'm confident enough that there's very few people out there who read these articles with such a watchful eye that they're going to slaughter me over mistranslating two French words. Actually, they might not even be French. Who really cares...it's a good translation of the U.S. toy, and one that makes all those foreigners feel Americanized, just like when they steal clothes or throw garbage on their neighbor's lawn.
Unfortunately, the buck stops there. Without further adieu (hey is that French?) ...I present to you, from the backwater communities on Mos Eisley...
THE SHITTIEST FOREIGN
STAR WARS TOYS EVER!
Most of the figures I'm about to show you are like toy representations of people in bad Star Wars Halloween costumes. You've really got to feel bad for the people who got suckered into buying these figures, and I'll show you why.
You're six-years-old. It's bathtime. Bathtime is no fun, any six-year-old totally comprehends that. But the saving grace of bathtime is the ability to bring your toys in with you for a little water adventure. You're six-years-old, and it's 1980. You love Star Wars. You want to bring Luke Skywalker into the tub with you. Unfortunately, you live in Poland. So not only do you have to put up with really bad jokes about your nationalist constantly, the only Luke Skywalker coming into the tub with you is this, 'Shivering Cold' Mutant-Blue Luke!
As a former collector and dealer of these figures, I can't tell you how hard it is to even begin listing the amount of things wrong with this figure. I feel like an English teacher sitting down to grade that retarded kid who sits at the back of class' paper on nuclear physics. Okay, first and foremost, unless this was the special 'Disco Luke' I've heard rumors about (hey...it was the 70s) ....there's just no way to justify the soon-to-be Jedi waltzing around wearing blue. It wouldn't be half as bad if his boots weren't slime green, ultimately making this toy a showcase for the world's worst outfit.
There's a few more problems, too. If you're thinking one of those problems are Luke's lightsaber being red, think again. That's no lightsaber. Ever see what pops out of a dog when it's gets excited? You do the rest of the math there. Course, Luke's also trying to impress and hopefully fuck his sister by dyeing his hair black and showing little regard for facial features. When you compile all those elements in with the fact that his arms and legs don't move, we've got our first nomination for the toy to be given out to bad children if Santa ever runs out of coal.
To prove how wrong this figure is, here's what Luke would look like if it were completely correct:
You're damn straight it's awful, but it's only one of many. This figure, again from Poland, should really tick off you SW geeks. Messing with Luke is one thing...we all found Luke annoying at one point or another. I couldn't stomach the way he told Leia to 'come on!' when fighting on Jabba's sail barge. The guy starts wearing cloaks and all of the sudden he's some hot shit? I don't think so. But while opinions on Luke vary, opinions on another SW character are unanimous: everyone loves him, everyone wants to have his children. Yes, I'm talking about bounty hunter extraordinaire, Boba Fett.
Boba Fett was undeniably the greatest thing to hit mercenaries-for-hire since Emperor Guillotine sent that guy with the beer bottle feet to kill people in Johnny Sokko, and he certainly deserved to have his figure represented with the utmost respect and class. If you're making a Boba Fett figure, that's what has to be done...you've got to make the figure with class, and dignity. Unfortunately, the Polish translation of that must equate to 'bootleg, and shittily', because the end results were almost too horrible to even comment on:
You know, if rival bounty hunter Jodo Kast could effectively fashion a suit on-the-mark enough to even fool Boba's closest associates, you'd think that the entire nation of Poland could come up with something better than this.
The packaging is the real glory mark of this piece - apparently colored in hand with magic marker. But that's not to say Bootleg Boba isn't without his charm. Actually, the figure makes perfect sense. Boba Fett's a bounty hunter. Naturally, sucka's got a lot of enemies. What better way to hide from them than to discolor yourself to the point where, even if one of them could recognize you, they wouldn't be able to look at you for more than five seconds without going blind. It's possible that this figure was Boba Fett in Holiday Fatigues, but more than likely the company just chose to paint him using one of those Swirl-Art machines.
I don't have much to say about this one, other than the fact that I can NOT believe someone actually went through the trouble to bootleg the 'highly sought' Prune Face figure!
Hey, even the U.S. has had it's fair share of tomfoolery in the bootleg department. This one presents a pretty depressing thought...are there really people out there so poor that they need to buy belts with cheap knock-offs of their favorite Sci-fi characters because they can't afford the real ones? Makes me want to donate a dollar somewhere. Or at least punch whomever dreamt up this brilliant scheme in the stomach...
To whomever created this: We know it's a bootleg. We know it's an illegal representation of Star Wars characters. It's quite clear. You're not fooling anyone. So, why not try to...I don't know, make the characters look even remotely like they should? If you're going to rip off Lucas, fine, guy's got enough money. If you're going to rip us off, fine. If we're stupid enough to buy this, we deserve it. But...for Christ's sake...R2-D2 doesn't have normal legs, you idiots!
Sweet Jesus this is bad...the rest of the belt is so bad, I'll completely let the fact that C-3P0's head is blue slide. There's much graver circumstances at play here. First off, R2-D2 comes out ultimately looking like a mechanical pidgeon. But even that's not as bad as the updated and totally legal and patent-lawsuit free slogan - Let The Force Be With You.
Come on, Luke! Let it! Let the Force be with you!!! Please? Luke, you don't know what you're missing! Just let the fucking Force be with you!
Other popular bastardized slogans and trademarks from the company include: 'Do, or don't. There is no why.', 'The Empire Hits Again', and of course, 'Duke Skywalker'. As if those slogans aren't bad enough, also consider that they're usually just brandished onto regular Ivory soap with a pencil and sold as special 'Stars War Soaps'. It's a vicious cycle.
Now, continuing, the nation of Turkey really only has two true contributions to global pop-culture. The first being Bald Bull from Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!, which proves the general feeling that Turkey is populated by nothing but bald, fat retards who like to dance around in boxing rings as if Ol' Susanna' was playing over the loudspeakers. If his infamous 'Bull Charge' wasn't enough to make you steer clear from Turkey as a whole, check out their bootleg contribution...
'Uzay' was a pretty popular line of Star Wars ripoffs. The reason they aren't regarded as piles of crap by the general, collecting public is because of an obvious effort to not just steal the copyrighted characters, but at least present them well. In this case, Chewbacca doesn't look too far off from the original.
The reason this is so noteworthy is because of the packaging. Unless you've been living under a rock, you definitely know that Chewbacca hails from the forest world of Kashyyyk. Not the bottom of someone's fish tank. Honestly, what's the deal with the coral? And, I really can't tell but it's too funny not to pretend it's true - I'm swearing that in parenthesis under Chewbacca's name, it clearly says 'Asian Adam'. So now this one's ranked right up there with the Green Bamboo Peanut in terms of the sheer esoteric, ridiculousness of it all. The most amazing part? Earlier in this article I made fun of a bootleg use of the term 'Stars War'. Here, they're actually using it! Turkey fucking rocks!
Our final journey into the world of odd Star Wars toys for the day takes us away from bootlegs for a moment...this particular item isn't a bootleg, but I think it's cool enough to throw in here in a fit of kiddie nostalgia glory. Over in the UK, the official SW toys were sold by the Palitoy company. Generally, they were the same toys in different boxes, or even the same toys in basically the same boxes, with one pretty neat exception.
The Palitoy Death Star! I featured the American version, which somehow I still own, in a much earlier article...but this one's completely different that the Death Star Playset most of us wished we had. You knew a toy was cool if you couldn't play with the whole thing without running around in circles. On the unfortunate side, most of the playset was made of cardboard, leaving the thousand options of how you would destroy it completely up to you. I like to believe I would've inevitably chewed mine, but I'm not ruling out spilling soda on it either. Really limitless potential in the destruction department.
Oh, one other note, Palitoy was famous for it's cross-promotion, so it should come as no big surprise that Dr. Zaius of Planet of the Apes fame is featured on the box art.
Well, that ends today's trip onto the Star Wars black market. I hope you had as much fun reading it as I did eating Doritos while writing it. Again, huge thanks to Ron Salvadore and the guys over at Toys R Gus for the pics!
Yildiz Savaslari indeed. If I was going to bootleg and market a Star Wars board game, I think I'd review my choices a little more before throwing such popular characters as Nien Nunb on there. But, like Nien always says, Eh blehbleh bleh eh bleh.