G1 Rotorstorm is a great toy, a toy I discovered late. I'm not a great one for vintage G1 knockoffs, I'm not even a great one for Generation 1 at all these days, but I found these two irresistible. Last year a friend on holiday in China (cheers Pringle!) helped me bag 2 carded bootlegs of G1 Rotorstorm from the same era as the vintage figure's release. These audacious knock-offs come in a G1-like colour scheme and a much more removed white, red and green colour scheme, both with Autobot logos and one of them even having a Takara copyright!
The packaging is suitably garbage quality as you would expect, but it's covered in G1 box artwork of the Turbomasters, G1 Rotorstorm, Hasbro stock images from Rotorstorm's box and the like. The KO comes with six blue missiles (original had yellow), two red turbine launcher things (original was blue with translucent pink), blue rotors (translucent pink originally) and then that's where they diverge with one mimicking G1 Rotorstorm closely but the other doing what bootlegs do best, showering in a rainbow.
The brazen use of the Autobot logo on both the figures and the stickersheet is amusing, and probably something that simply could not fly in this current day and age. The quality of the figures are obviously below that of official Hasbro Takara product, but they are nowhere near as bad as some of the shocking TF Animated and TF Prime bootlegs I've been buying in the last year. They are transformable, usable, displayable and enjoyable. One of the missiles kept falling out of the launcher but on the whole I was pleasantly surprised by how I could handle these Rotorstorm KOs. Folding the helicopter's canopy down and folding up the shoulders were the only hair-raising bits as there was resistance. And resistance on KOs usually equals shattering, but they've both made it through multiple transformations now.
The white Rotorstorm KO doesn't have any sort of copyright on his chest under the canopy, just evidence that it's been mashed out in the mould, but the blue one has a simple "TAKARA 1993" stamp, and the G1 Rotorstorm's stamp isn't like that. Could it be from the Machine Wars Sandstorm mould?
The head sculpt is obviously similar to G1 Rotorstorm, but the colours remind me so much of Road Caesar from Victory.
Buying these bootlegs and placing them next to the original was pretty much my flavour of the year in 2014, I did it with TFPrime Wheeljack and any Animated mould I liked enough. The plan was to score a Machine Wars Sandstorm and Universe Whirl to add to this trio, but for now it remains a Rotorstorm trio. The vintage figure outshines them hugely with its translucent pink highlights, crisp moulding and quality feel, not to mention the best light piping the world has ever seen. But these bootlegs are the kind of KO that I support and love, obviously different from the original to the point of being impossible to mistake for one, charismatic in that they have features that make you smile, and they look terrific next to the original inspiration for their existence. The fact that they can be transformed and enjoyed just elevates them above some of the garbage bootlegs I have had the displeasure of experiencing.
These KO Rotorstorms are for sale, please send inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org should you be interested in giving them a new home!
All the best