Review by The Enthusiast
The charm of Bootlegs and Knockoffs lies within their very human origins. Whereas established, licensed toy companies rigorously design, engineer, and manufacture a product, the bootlegger merely seizes the fruits of this process and duplicates it. While most wildcat toy manufacturers are content to churn out ersatz copies of previously released pieces, some choose to differentiate their product with a unique personal touch. More often than not, these personal touches are ridiculous, the arbitrary product of amateur designers. The gold plating, psychedelic stickers, targeted re-sculpting, and kit-bashing all reflect whims which would never see the light of day within the constraints of a legitimate business enterprise, and these touches contribute a unique personal and cultural imprimatur upon the trashy and disposable medium of the bootleg.
Case in point: Transformable Tomas. Some Chinese bootlegger married the Thomas the Tank Engine character with a down-market train gattai. Genius. (A tip of the hat to JoshB, who informs me that this toy is a boot of the Loco Squad).
Tomas comes on your typical Flea Market blister card.
The three trains of the original have been plastered with Thomas faces, each identical. While Loco Squad used multiple paint apps, different materials, and decals, Tomas is austere. No expense was spared to create a quality plaything. Did I say “spared?” I meant “spent”. There are a few silver paint apps, but it’s a very plain toy.
Tomas is a parts-former. The locomotives separate as shown.
Fists and legs flip out, things rotate outwards, the red engine turns into the torso and backpack. Assembly is easy and intuitive. I noticed some of the parts were assembled incorrectly.
The Tomas Bot is underwhelming. The absolute cheapness of materials and construction make a clumsy, slap-dash toy. It’s terrible. It falls over. It’s a brick.
The head sculpt is anonymous and gooey.
But Tomas possesses a lunatic charm all its own.
|Posted 26 June, 2010 - 14:58 by The Enthusiast|