[Alen Yen's ToyboxDX]

10.16.99: LITAN?

Listen: he's fake!

I've heard the back-forth arguments, the grey-area explanations, and seen the side-by-side pics. I've owned an original and an "alleged" for a month now, and finally have to let it out.

If you think it's unfeasible or cost-ineffective to bootleg gokins, think again. My people -- the Chinese -- have a history of "transcending" the notion of an "original" item. We bootleg Ivory soap to shave twelve cents off the price. We routinely recast the Emperor's thousand year-old clay warriors, hock the new ones side by side with the old, and proudly [and accurately] proclaim "same quality." (ToyboxDX's own Big Science Dave used to "make" Apple II computers from scratch during his stint in Taipei.)

It's not just possible that my people knocked-off a non-functional toy of a beloved child's hero: it's our destiny.

Let me now state that we've confirmed with sources overseas that these toys are originating from Hong Kong.

Meanwhile: the material evidence is obvious to the naked eye. He's RED! The electroplating is unmistakably tinted with a rose hue that's absent from all of the other Popy Litans.

As for the casting: it's cake to remold a cast-metal part to create high-fidelity copies. It's in the nature of the process that even flaws are passed between casts. But machined/fabricated components, molded plastics, and packaging all tell a different story.

See the bowing on the right leg? [that's on YOUR LEFT dummy!] This imperfection in the original sculpt was carried between both "alleged" and actual. Pretty cool!

The screws, however, seem to tell a different story. The alleged Litan has hand-tooling marks all over it. This was assembled by someone with an impatient screw-driver hand. The quality of the screw's material and finish are substandard. The original Litan's are crisp.

Likewise, the riveted knee joints -- fabricated components -- on the alleged Litan suck. They look similar until examined. Then it's clear that the fake was poorly done, again possibly by hand.

Now check out this close-up of the missiles. Tool marks and spruing are prominent on the "alleged" missile. Furthermore -- and this is kindof ephemeral -- the plastics don't feel right. Anybody who's been around a knock-off of ANYTHING can tell you that tactile quality is always a dead give away.

Onto the packaging: it's horrendously bogus. The "alleged" box and stand are poor photo-reproductions of the original.

Crummy overprinting of the silver tone, moire patterns, and inconsistent layout all betray this glossy, but flawed repro. The colors on the chogokin logo are even totally off!

And look at the trademark Litan-styrofoam "hole." Somebody's used a designer's non-repro-blue pencil to trace the circle before manually drilling out the hole.

The accessories bag fails the well-known (and dubious) "Popy-staple" test. The size of the staple is inconsistent with the Japanese staples used on vintage Popy items.

And finally, the instructions carry photocopy marks of creases and wrinkles from an original. (Hey -- anybody remember if photcopying had even been INVENTED at the time?) To top it off, the fake comes with a totally color-photocopied "Popy" catalog that shipped much later than the Litan Hero release.

I know what you're thinking: all of these physical observations could be dismissed with some convenient explanations. There could have been variations in quality control, or repackaged discards. In a way, it really doesn't matter.

To put a positive spin on this, this is some of the best work I've ever seen. The argument can be made that, far from undermining the cause of Gokin World Domination, these Chinese babies are furthering it. In fact, nothing would warm my heart more than for ever kid in the world to have a little Popy. Let's just make sure that they're sold and identified as what they are. I have zero tolerance for fraud, and sincerely hope that dealers and collectors alike don't get taken.

Caveat emptor! But this little trinket's worth owning...


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