If you haven't been to Divisoria in Manila yet, it's an insane place where just about everything is available for incredibly low (most of the time anyway) prices. When Marvel Legends and DC Universe Classics were at the peak of their popularity, Divisoria was the place to go to find cheaper, low quality factory over-run and test shot figures you could use for customs. Or if you weren't too picky, could pass off as part of your collection.
Now, with the rise in the costs of plastic and the drop in market interest pretty much killing off the super-articulated action figure, other bootlegs are taking over. We saw a lot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle stuff start popping up, Frozen toys, Megablocks, (always) Transformers, and the big ticket these days, LEGO minifigures.
There are a few "brands" of bootleg minifigures out there, but by far the best is Decool. They are normally the closest to the original Lego toys, and come with relevant accessories, unpainted stands, mostly accurate colors, and (most of the time) the extra face printed on the back of the figures' heads, which most other bootlegs don't bother with. Considering they all cost about Php 50 in most retail stores (cheaper if you buy in bulk at Divisoria), that little extra goes a long way.
Decool already made the Fantastic Four figures available in their classic blue outfits, and a couple of weeks back, we saw sets of the team in their Future Foundation whites. The oversize Thing was already on hand in his own tighty-whities, having been included in a previous set with the blue, red, and the white shorts version. Since there was room in the set for one extra figure, I guess Lego (or Decool?) decided to include FF Spidey!
The one on the left is the Decool version, while the one on the right is the Sheng Yuan version (or maybe Lele, it's hard to keep track). There's a little *%$^@! spot at the top of the Decool version's eye because there was space where the tampograph had either scratched off or the machine missed a spot. I tried coloring it in with marker and got the shakes. *%$^@!
In any case, you can see that the Decool version is much more detailed and Spidey-like. I haven't seen any other versions of the 3 other characters, but the quality of them is about the same as this one.
As accessories go, Spidey and Invisible Woman get the better deals. Spider-Man gets a web rope (which we've seen with several other bootleg figures) while Sue Storm gets a tiny little force field disc. I really wish that this was bigger and she didn't have to raise her hand like that to use it, but it's still pretty great.
Mr. Fantastic gets a tiny gun, which sucks. It would have been nice to see him get some extended arms or extra tall feet. The gun's nice though, and it would be perfect for Black Widow. I'm thinking of getting another for that purpose actually.
Johnny Storm is full flame-on this time around, and comes with a couple of fire effects. They kind of blow, since they are made to stick up like swords instead of out like flame blasts. You can get creative and let him grip them like a clamp, but they aren't that secure that way. It's a nice change from his vanilla look in the Blue Costume though.
The Blue Costume set had a Thing minifigure that was all sorts of unimpressive, which is why I like the fact that the larger hulkish figure set was made available. Having the Thing in the blue or white pants to put next to his teammates is so cool. Almost as cool as getting the Green/Gray/Red Hulk set after that little itty bitty one that came with those first Marvel Superheroes sets.
Again, my favorite feature of the Decool sets are that they usually feature the back faces that original Lego minifigures sometimes have. The ones like Thing or Human Torch with other features don't have them, but the humans with hairpieces often do, and that's true for both Sue and Reed Richards.
All in all, this is a pretty great set to buy, especially if you're only starting with toy collecting, or are on a meager budget but still love superheroes. They've got sets for almost everyone; Transformers, Dragonball Z, Lego Movie, Wrestling, Ninjago, Chima, Ninja Turtles, League of Legends, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, DC, Disney, Sponge Bob, and tons more.
I'm sure that the authorities will eventually stomp them out, but until then, I'm going to enjoy collecting these cheap little buggers.