It’s been just over a year since I last ventured into the choppy waters of the Cheesy Knockoff Toy Industry, and I have a fresh (mostly) batch of wonderfully cheesy imitations of hit toys, or candy, in one case.
Ghastly Girlfriends and Goth Girls
We started our last look at knockoffs with Midnight Magic, an imitation of Monster High fashion dolls that has actually thrived and expanded to the point where we’ll be covering them in depth in a week or two. Since we wanted something a bit cheesier, we found two new Monster High knockoffs that are not only cheap and cheesy…they’re practically the same doll.
Ghasty Girlfriends and Gothic Girl dolls are both found at Dollar General, both sell for three bucks each and both appear to be repurposed Bratz knockoffs, molded with pale skin. The main difference seems to be the packaging and the fact that the Ghastly Girlfriends seem to have way more hair, as you can see in the photo at the head of this post.
The Gothic Girl dolls have nicer graphics on the box, but the edge has to go to Ghastly Girlfriends, for A) Having a funnier name that might see them used as breakup gifts by jerks and B) Having a delightfully idiotic story behind them printed on the back of the box. See for yourself…
One other lovely little feature of the Ghastly Girlfriends is that one of them appears to be a vampire. There are fangs painted on her lips. Yet, she comes with a mirror. Vampires tend not to use mirrors much because they have no reflection.
Both Ghastly Girlfriends and Goth Girls come in boxes that bear no manufacturer labels. Both are distributed by Dolgencorp, the distribution arm of Dollar General.
Ultra CORPS Tracker
The Outbound Ranger line of Tracker is a throwback to the original Lanard Ultra CORPS figures from the late 1990’s. These are twelve inch figures with decent articulation, good head sculpts, cheaply made uniforms and loads of accessories. Of special note is that some of the accessories have exceptionally well done paint weathering.
There are two figures in this line–Stryker Bowman, who, oddly enough does not wield a bow and Jungle “John” Smith (the quotation marks are theirs. I guess he picked up the nickname “John” because Jungle Smith is so common.) These figures were ten dollars each. I found them at Deals, which is a higher priced version of Dollar Tree and while it’s great to see Lanard back in the twelve inch action figure business, there’s quite a bit of cheesiness on display here.
For one thing, between the two figures you get one complete set of accessories. One figure comes with a belt, the other figure comes with canteens, grenades and pouches to hang on that belt. There’s a couple of really nicely done machine guns and a cool looking, yet non-functional backpack.
The body design looks almost exactly like the original Lanard body, but it bears a 2013 copyright stamp. It may well have been re-tooled, since Lanard abandoned this body design almost ten years ago in favor of figures that have molded on shirts and boots but cloth pants. The head sculpts seem to date back to the original Ultra CORPS era.
While I have referred to these as Ultra CORPS, that name does not appear anywhere on the package. These are billed as Tracker Outbound Ranger, the Ultimate Outdoor Hero. I guess it’s an attempt to veer away from the military settings and into more of an adventure theme, although the desert camo and the 50mm machine gun are not often used when hunting squirrels.
Adding to the cheesiness, Jungle “John” Smith wears a t-shirt which is pre-ripped. One last cheesy feature on these? When I opened Stryker Bowman to photograph him for this post, I discovered that his right foot had snapped off inside his boot and was in fact only being held on by his boot. Despite that, the figure still stood pretty well.
Our adventures with Tracker the Outdoor Hero did not end at Deals. A few weeks later, I popped into Fruth Pharmacy and discovered a different twelve inch action figure (later I discovered that they’re closer to ten inches) by Lanard called Tracker, the Ultimate Outdoor Hero, who had very little in common with his more elaborately packaged counterpart. Held to a piece of cardboard with plastic ties, this figure–actually two figures, Capt’n Outback and Sgt. Survival–is what some of us call an inaction figure. He is a statue. There are three points of articulation. Each arm revolves at the shoulder and the head can twist. Other than that, these figures are like big, blown-up Green Army Men, except that they’re hollow. The bodies are identical, but each sports a previously used Lanard head, one of which is known in collector’s circles as “the Ray Liotta head.”
First up we have a big, bulky Hulk body, molded in red, sporting the head of Marvel Comics’ Daredevil. This figure probably dates back to the time of the Ben Affleck Daredevil movie, and it’s just goofy looking as hell. It’s a big red Daredevil with blue X Men-like trunks. If you ever wondered what Ben Affleck would look like with a steady diet of steroid cocktails, this might be it.
However, while that figure is cheesy and funny as heck on its own, the companion piece is the real winner. I give you…the Incredible Zorro!
Yes, that is a Zorro head slapped on a Hulk body, molded in black (with blue trunks). This is the kind of toy that makes me feel like the Leonard Pinth Carnell of action figures. It’s is so gloriously, remarkably bad that I had to buy it on the spot.
Note that the paint job on ZorroHulk is particularly sloppy. The head is molded in two three pieces that don’t fit together well. The hat falls off, revealing a blocky peg structure.
This…this is what makes the cheesy toy hunt worth it. Our hat goes off to ZorroHulk…as does his.