Oh, Korea...

Korea...is a problem. Pieces from there fall into several catagories: >

1) Cheap knockoffs of Transformers.
2) Good knockoffs of Transformers.
3) Hasbro International Transformers.
4) Takara-molds of Transformers, but in the Brave line.
5) Actual Transformers, in Korean TF packaging.
6) Actual Transformers, but *NOT* in Korean TF packaging.

The only good reason I could see for starting this page is to make a listing of legitimate Korean TFs...problem is, then we have to go into the explanation of real vs knockoff, which leads us into the gray areas of...well, you get the idea. :-) Enjoy. And please contribute! Because quite frankly, left to my devices...

Cheap Knockoffs of Transformers

Most of the time, not really even a likeness of a TF...merely a toy that transforms. Thousands of these out there. :-) Like a gobot-looking tank with the head of a Gundam, and the feet of a Powermaster Darkwing. That sort of thing. :-) You've seen them out here. No reason to go into the definition further. Nothing to see here, move along...

Good Knockoffs of Transformers

Relatively good plastic quality, usually the wrong colors...same mold as a TF, but NOT a TF. A knockoff. Yes, we have them in America, too. But this is the Korean section. ;-) There's no way I could list them all. :-) But have a peek at Skorbia for a feel for the number of 'good' Korean stuff out there. Not quite as many KOs made in Korea as there were in China, but still a few. ;-) And frankly, the Korean stuff is better-documented.

Hasbro International Transformers

These items can be divided into two catagories. :-) Many are pretty much considered to be in the same catagory as knockoffs and bootlegs. However, there are some who would argue that a few of them are, in-fact, 'legitimate'. The oversized high-quality KOs of Prime, and the oversize G1 and G2 Combaticons are some of the most recognisable Korean outputs. People really love these guys. The quality (of the G1 Combaticons, anyways) is comparable to TFs in other countries, and they *have* a copyright stamp (Hasbro International, natch)...only time will tell if these are eventually accepted into the 'official' toy-dom. The biggest hurdle for folks is trying to decide whether or not Takara/Hasbro gave the Korean companies permission/free reign to use the name/likeness, or if it's made up/stolen. :-) That *would* be the linchpin, eh? (Hint: ask Sonokong. More below)

Then there's this Prime-looking thing, which is a totally modified mold, but *is* stamped Hasbro International as well. (At least, on one version...another version turns up that's completely fake, from Taiwan, no less.) (Pic) Sigh...nothing like confusing the issue. Oh well. I call them knockoffs, but who am I to have an opinion about anything. More...

Takara Molds of Transformers, In the Brave Line

Just that. :-) Other sites go into the Brave line better than this section will. Essentially, another animated series, with a number of new, and recycled Takara-TFs in the line. Pieces of Big-Powered and Sky Garry, for example, found their way into this series (as did Sixshot and some of the Micromaster bases as well!).

Note: Brave is actually a Japanese series, but most of the toys (the bulk of which people buy these days) come from Korea. See this listing for more Brave info.

Actual Transformers; In Korean TF Packaging

Quite a few of them, actually, especially in the later series. For example: A number of folks who couldn't get a reissue Brave Max toy from Japan (and didn't see an original Fortress Maximus or Grand Maximus release) could get an identical toy in Korean TF packaging. In terms of Car Robots etc, the Korean and Japanese toys are identical in each series; the only noticable difference is the packaging. (One glaring exception is the Korean Valdigus, which is actually the RiD Ruination mold, despite being the Car Robots colors.) (Pic 1 | Pic 2)

Note: Initially, the Korean manufacture was essentially identical to the Japanese; ie, they simply imported the toys. Later, they switched to stickers, and then finally to their own packaging. There is precedent for this; initially, Korea recieved *American* toys, but with Korean stickers over them. (Pic) More...

I've started a list here, but it might be incomplete...please contribute if you have any additions!

Actual Transformers; But NOT In Korean TF Packaging

Here's a prickly situation. Remember Sonokong? From Brave? Well, they're at it again...actual Takara-stamped TFs, but this time in a generic package line. The first one up is called 'Jungle Robots', and is a 4-pk of beast-robots (Stampy, Longrack, etc) that only saw release in Japan.

To quote Fightbird: "I think it is important to stress, that Sonokong has the official rights to produce Transformers (as well as other Takara licenses, including Braves). A fun note regarding Sonokong is, that on their Brave toys they actually stamp the production date on the boxes, and since Sonokong still has the license to make Braves, they are still readily available after more than 10 years since their original release." More...

It's annoying, really...Takara TFs in Brave, Takara TFs that are Transformers, Takara Transformers that aren't in TF packaging...sigh. But we'll document it all. Or at least, we'll try. :-) But just don't get me started on Young toys, or the others. Sigh...

(See Also: Knockoffs)