Cheesy Toy Knockoff by Rudy Panucci
NEW CENTURY SAFEGUARD PERSON
Once in a while, a cheesy knockoff comes along that has one huge outstanding feature that makes it a classic hunk o' cheese. With some, it might be the sheer brazenness with which they rip off a legitimate toy. With others, it might be a monumental clunkiness of Olympic proportions. But this edition of Cheesy Toy Knockoff is dedicated to a toy that stands out because it sports the most insane packaging of any cheesy knockoff that I can recall.
It's hard to determine the name, manufacturer, or much of anything else about this fella, since the packaging seems like it was assembled out of elements of dozens of totally unrelated items---all put together with the skill of someone whose grasp of the English language is practically non-existent.
I tracked this down at Silver Dollar, a new-to-my-area "everything's a dollar" store that is quickly becoming a favorite source of cheesiness for me. This blazingly bright-orange box called out to me like a cheesy siren, drawing me to the rocks.
It's a twelve-inch GI Joe knockoff, blow-molded with five whole points of articulation. Except for the outfits of some of the guys, he's grossly unremarkable, as knockoffs go. He's available as a soldier, fireman, policeman, or most interestingly, a workman with bib coveralls. I guess they thought that Construction Jack was going to be the next big action figure.
The bib coveralls are the most interesting piece for customizers, by the way. They aren't half bad, and come in light and dark colors. Paper stickers that say "Engineer" and show a tool logo can be easily removed. There's a single pocket on the front, and they just pull up onto the figure, so there are no snaps or Velcro. They fit a tad loose, but the addition of a toolbelt (not included) would cinch things up nicely. The construction guy also comes with either a red or yellow hard hat, and a ringed T shirt in a variety of colors.
The pretty decent hard hat fits GI Joe, as does the T Shirt and the uni-boots. Darned good for customizing and kitbashing, if you ask me. At least for the price. In a cost-cutting move, some of the accessories, like the hardhat, are hot-glued to the backing card. So you'll need to peel off the glue in order to get these to fit correctly.
He also comes with a few comically-oversized tools, like saws, T-squares, wrenches and one that I would swear is supposed to be one of those shoe-sizer things you see in Pay Less. The tools are pretty ugly and out of scale.
The soldier, fireman, and police outfits are as bad as your typical dollar-store stuff--Rayon, Velcro, floppy rifles, you know, the usual. The head gear is not bad, but not worth going out of your way for.
Also of note: There are female versions of this figure, too. So you can pick up really bad camo, fire, or police outfits for your female action figures. Only the bib coveralls seem any good for them, either, though. The female figure is typical of dollar store Barbie Knockoffs. Best used as chew toys for your doggies.
So if you're a kitbasher, these might well be worth the buck, just for the clothes. And if there's anybody left on the planet that doesn't have enough figures, the male figure could make a decent clothes dummy.
However, while these are worth a buck for what's inside the package, the package itself is PRICELESS!
There is something bizarre, inexplicable, or just unintentionally hilarious on every panel of this package! The English language has not seen a mangling of this magnitude since Arnold Schwarzeneggar tried to conduct an auction at the California state fair.
It's as if the poor guy making 42 cents a day who had the job of designing this package was trying to fill up the whole thing so that there wouldn't be any blank spaces. Anything to avoid another beating.
The top panel and the hanger flap both feature a logo which is hard to decipher. It's either "MIMNL SERIES", "MIANL SERIES" or "MINNNL SERIES". Also, there appears to be a brand name, "SUPER", which isn't the only thing that appears to be a brand name on this box. A small grouping of text in the corner informs us that this is one of , "THE TOYS WITH DIFFERENT MODES, COLLECT THEM ALL!"
That's just the top of the box.
On the front, we have a logo for "FORCE SET", an age warning, a logo for "SUPER FORCE FUNNY", a large logo for "SUPER SAFEGUARD", and two tag lines, "HIGH PERFORMANCE" and "NEW CENTURY SAFEGUARD PERSON". There's also a drawing that appears to be C-bolts or plumbing or something.
Let's take a moment to rest, okay?
Have you wrapped your brain around all that, yet? Good.
The side panels, which thankfully are identical, lead off with a logo seems to be for "S POWERED NEW R", whatever that means. Below that, we are told that this is a "SAFE GUARD PLAYER SET". I'm not sure if they meant "PLAYER SET" as in "playset" or as in "Playah set", but my head's hurting a bit too much already to ponder such things.
Right after that, we get the following bulleted points:
SPECIFICATIONS COLORS AND CONTENTS MAY VARY FROM ILLUSTRATIONS
Just to point out, except for logos and those C-bolts with one logo, there are no illustrations on the package.
After that, there's another logo, this one turned on its side to fit: "FENCE AGAINST", surrounding by radiating oval lines. Your guess is as good as mine.
This is followed by a brand name logo, "FUNNY" and a repeat of "THE TOYS WITH DIFFERENT MODES, COLLECT THEM ALL!"
Finally, the bottom of the side panel informs us that this is "T.H.E. PEACE PLAYER". I have no idea what "T.H.E." stands for, or again if the "PLAYER" thing is some ghetto fabulous reference, but at least we're at the end of the side panel.
The back panel repeats a few of the logos from the other parts of the package. We get the "SUPER SAFEGUARD" logo again, along with the "NEW CENTURY SAFEGUARD PERSON", but we're also treated to what appears to be yet another brand name, "YALE TOYS", a logo which incorporates a large "Y" and "L".
So if you're keeping track, that means that this toy could be made by the SUPER Company, The FUNNY Company, or YALE TOYS. Or perhaps it took three toy companies to compile such a monstrosity of a package.
But we're still not finished. We are treated to another odd blurb, "MINI SAFE GUARD PERSON PLAYER SET", and then warnings in six languages that these are not suitable for children under three. These warnings are not particularly amusing, but be patient.
Below the multi-lingual warnings, we are hit, rapid fire, with three logos, in three fonts, "HIGH PERFORMANCE", "SECURITY DEFENCE" and the complex, "COLLECT THEM ALL MINI-S POWERHIGH GRADE".
Thank goodness! For a minute I was afraid I'd have to settle for a low-grade mini-s power.
The we get a repeat of the "different modes" blurb, and direct from the planet DUH, "MADE IN CHINA".
But we're not done yet. At the bottom of the back of the box we find, "SUPER FENCE AGAINST PLAYER SET".
And after all that, we're still not done. The bottom of the box proclaims that this is a "FUNNY MINI PLAYER SET". And finally, all we have left is the standard choking hazard warning.
Or is it?
"(Guardians Should Read)
The toy contains tiny parts. Never put it inside put it inside the mouth to avoid cooking danger.
Never give the toy to children under 3.
Do not coil the rope used in the toy set around the neck to avoid danger. "
It's almost as if a Chinese Samuel Beckett were writing Haiku. And since Haiku is Japanese, he got it all wrong. By the way, none of the figures I saw had anything resembling a rope with them.
What to make of this? Well, it pretty much just speaks for itself. I can only guess that this package was designed so that it could be used for multiple purposes. Maybe this box is floating around out there in cheesyland with die cast cars, or green army men, or Chinese throwing stars or something.
Me, I'm just exhausted with amused glee.
Next time, a knockoff of Gundam, called "SUPER HERO"!