Review by JoshB
KO or not KO, that is the question. With the rise of the third party, the art of the bootleg has been elevated from not being just crappy dime store knockoffs, to wholly original creations based off of popular intellectual property. And from that there is yet another offshoot, the outright forgery.
And there lies the dilema - when is it not OK? Where do you draw the line? And what makes a bootleg anyway? If the factory runs off extra copies are those actually bootlegs, or are they just unlicensed? Where does our responsibility end? And has the exorbitantly high prices of new and aftermarket toys created this new market?
What we are looking at here may or may not be a copy. It's really, really good, but there are some signs that make me question it's authenticity. Lets go through this and we can draw conclusions at the end.
This sample arrived courtesy of Gearbest.com. Should you want check it out for yourself, you can get one here.
First off lets look at the packaging. When the box arrived I noticed that the cardboard itself was a little thin. Now, to be fair, I have never owned a Play Arts Kai, (yes, even this surprised me) so I don't know if this is standard or not. This is actually a Variant Play Arts Kai, meaning it is a variant on the traditional style of the character. This is why Boba Fett looks a bit different than his appearance in the movies.
There's also the sticker on front - this I believe is part of Gearbest's inventory control system. It's not really great for collectors but it comes off easily.
The cover says closed via magnets on the top and bottom. Inside you get a window that lets you see into the product. It's kind of hard to see but that white swish is supposed to be the Death Star.
When you remove the inside tray, the backer has the parts for the stand sealed on a blister, and on either side are instructions for use with the accessories. These are the only instructions included.
The figure comes in at about 10 inches tall, which is an odd scale. I guess that's one of the things that makes the Play Arts Kai line unique. You can see it here in comparison with a 6" black series and a vintage Kenner figure.
Accessories include variant hands, weapons, and effects parts.
If I had any concerns about the authenticity of the product, the toy itself negates those concerns quickly. This thing is top-notch. There's no sign of inferior workmanship, right down to the remarkable paint job and excellent molding. Each joint is tight, with clicky elbows, shoulders, hips and knees.
Boba Fett has a nicely-sculpted backpack, but it's a solid piece that doesn't do anything. The missile is not removable, nor do the jet nozzles move.
The cloth that drapes over his shoulder is a solid plastic piece that rotates on a joint at the top.
Articulation is great. Boba Fett is solid and holds a pose well. He's more articulated that you'd think he would be based on the sculpt.
There are two knives that can be stored in holders on either leg.
On the back there is a holster that holds his pistol.
One of the cool features this toy has is the ability to swap out the flamethrower part with one with a flame effect. The part without the effect actually is a bit loose and falls out easily. There is also an additional stand to help hold the flame effect part up, but in actuality the connection is strong enough that you don't need it.
Boba Fett's rifle is included, and here's where I had my first and only issue. The hands are swappable with a peg and ball joint in the wrist, but one of the extra hands has a hole that is too small. I ended up widening the hole but I think with the multiple tries I may have loosened the joint by the force. Still, it now works fine and looks good.
The included stand helps Boba Fett accomplish a variety of poses that would otherwise be impossible.
You can plug in blast effect parts to aid in the illusion of flight.
So as you can see, it's a great figure. This was first released in 2015 for about $200 USD. Gearbest has it on sale for about $55 labeled under "Collectible Animation Action Figure Model - 11 inch". I did some research on bootleg Play Arts Kai and they are out there, and some of the tells are present in the packaging, some are not. It's a really tough call.
The best I can say is that it's a good opportunity to check out an otherwise expensive figure for a fraction of the cost and decide for yourself.
Comments2 comments posted
No way this is a legit PAK Boba Fett, not for that price. I'm not opposed to bootlegs on principle. If folks want to spend less for a (likely) inferior version of a product, that's their choice. It does bother me though when bootlegs like these flood the market with no discernible way to tell it apart from the real thing.
About the best advice I can give someone who wants to make sure they're getting the real Play Arts Kai figure is to avoid Hong Kong/Chinese outlets at all costs. As this figure has been long out of stock from Japanese retailers, Mandarake and Yahoo Auctions Japan are likely to be your best bets.
Yeah it's definitely a knockoff. GearBest is a Chinese company, and they have tons of knockoff stuff there. Honestly though, the quality of this guy matches a real PAK.
I bought a batgirl a while back and it had one of the wrist joints installed backwards, with the smaller hand side being inserted into the arm and the larger arm side sticking out. Had to blow dry and wiggle it out, but now it's kind of deformed on one arm.
Also got a big boss armored version. His face paint was really off-base and looked like it was melting downwards. His eye area also had an absurd amount of gloss making him look like he was crying.