Cheesy Knockoff

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"Action Figure"


Today's Cheesy Knockoff is just one of a series of classy cheesy imitations cranked out by Ja Ru, a Jacksonville Florida-based "rack-jobber" who are one of the country's leading distributors of cheap toys to places that don't normally carry toys at all. This particular example was found at a five-and-dime store (yes there are still such things) on the dank West side of Charleston West Virginia. Other versions of it have been sighted all over the place, from dollar stores to grocery stores and pharmacies.


Our latest cheesy knockoff is called "Action Figure", one of the "Action Figures" line of fine playthings. This is one of several incarnations of the "Action Figures" line. In the past, this generic, if colorful, card design has played host to a number of knockoffs, including imitations of the 3 3/4" GI Joes, Star Wars, and a comically bad rip-off of the ancient Coleco "Rambo" line. They usually range from one to three bucks, all of them on this bright, happy blister card. The example we've chosen for closer examination is the "Space Fighter", a knockoff of the popular Power Rangers action figures.


This fella is notable because he has pretty much the same body as was used on Formative International's short-lived 6-inch Soldiers of the World, and Pocket Soldiers lines. It's not a bad body design, with ten points of articulation. The interesting part is that when Formative used these body molds, they dressed them in cloth outfits. Here, they're buck naked! The clothing is painted on, and the helmets are molded-on and therefore aren't removable. As a Power Ranger knockoff, these aren't bad. They aren't in scale with any of the Ban Dai line, but they have a certain cheap crappy charm to them. Part of the charm is that this futuristic space fighter is toting two revolvers as his weapons.
Note that there are 12 "styles". What this means is that there are 12 different paint schemes on the same figure. Some of them have circles on their chest, while others have squares or triangles. The figures are all the same, although there are reports that there is a second headsculpt featuring a different type of helmet, so all you completists out there...BE ON THE LOOKOUT!


Of course the main selling point of these guys is the wonderfully generic logo. "Action Figures"--well, that sure as heck is what they are! I'm just wondering if Ja Ru will ever release "Fashion Dolls' or "Collectible Little Monsters". The sheer joy with which that generic logo explodes across the blister card almost makes the toy affixed to it seem mundane.


Well, it is pretty mundane, but hey, that's still a killer logo! Call me goofy, but I think it's worth having just for the unadulterated generic splendor that it is.