Sunday, August 18, 2013

Knockoff alert! Insecticon wannabe ROBO-BUGS

I stopped by my favorite toy store QUAKE in Chicago and saw these on his pegboards:

Insecticons? More like Insecti-CRAP.
Three of the four Robo-Bugs (according to the back of the card, at the end of this post) by Tek Toys.

I am finding virtually no information about this toy line. My pal Tim happened to be in the store and said that he had some of these, and these were from the 80's, so I guess these were one of the many Transformers imitators of back in the day. They're also seemingly original designs, as opposed to the Deluxe Insecticons that weren't featured in the cartoon most likely because they were not made by Takara/Tomy at the time. Or at least, I don't think these are bootlegs/KO's of the Deluxe Insecticons because THERE'S NO WAY IN HECK I'M BUYING THESE AND HAVING THEM IN MY HOME. 

Now, I did find something called, and remember that I don't work in marketing, ROBO-KATS. There's some information here claiming that Tek Toys specializes in themed TF KO's but there's no reference to Robo-Bugs. Further search finds THIS page, listing a few more KO's, including Robo-Dinos, again by Tek Toys. But no mention of Robo-Bugs (though there are Robo-INVADERS, which are described as bugs). AM I THE FIRST TO SHOWCASE ROBOBUGS? DO I NEED TO BUY THESE? THESE TACKY CHEAP INSECTICON WANNABES?

No. But if you do have more information, including any links, please share and I'll update this post or do a new post. If you worked for Tek Toys, I'd love for you to fly me out to San Francisco and we'll talk for a half hour and then I'll spend the rest of the weekend exploring the town on my own. (What?)



    I recognize these and I am proud owner of these collectables!
    From the information you've gathered for this mysterious transformer-like toys, you have done very well and I too have visited those website links you've added in your blog. Also from one of your links you've added, I have actually bought 3 of their ROBO-KATS from there shop online and the only one I'm missing the "Wild Cat" If you ever find this one could you please reply back to me and I will give you my contact detials, I would really appreciate it!

    I may be of help to show you more links to these toys.
    Toy company: Mark

    Here is my collection of these series of toys please check them out and let me know what you think!

    You will notice I have different toy packaging of these toys and it shows how many toy companies actually either did their own versions or reused the original molds and resold them with their own company name.

    Here is the list of toy company names I have researched who have made these toys and I believe a lot of them came out in 1992 but could be earlier.

    Leader Shine (AKA Champion Crown)
    Tek Toys
    V World
    Quick Change

    I hope all this information helps!
    I would also like to thank you very much for posting a blog on this topic of toys. This is the first time I've seen or heard "Tek Toys - Bug-Bots" it was only the Robo-Kats.
    I truly love these toys and from that "Quake" store are they still selling them? If so do they sell online products of there's? I'd be very interested to purchase them!

    (P.S) I apologies for the last 2 comments, I made link mistakes and typo's, should be fixed now!


    John Valmeo

  2. Hey John, thanks for chiming in. Don't worry about the previous posts. I was pretty sure your links worked but unless they're really lazy, people can just copy and paste the images.

    These imitators probably couldn't last very long and savvy dollar-store peg-filling manufacturers could recycle these designs on the cheap, super quick, and be done with it until the next fly by night toy company recycled them again.

    I assume these are 80's, I think it's easy to assume that, but the little info I've seen online suggests 90's. It's not like they're not making knock off/imitation figures TODAY. A few years ago before the first live action movie I saw that someone had replicated Constructicons under a different name and different colors. I kind of regret not buying them; I wasn't collecting TFs then, and this was the first time I had ever seen bootleg TFs.

    QUAKE: but he doesn't do any online sales. I know, right? You can drop him a line and ask, but... He's got a partner in Schaumburg who may feel differently. I've seen some Mark figures there (scroll through my archives) but this is the first batch of Tek Toys I've seen there.

    1. Hey kingvermin,

      My pleasure! Thank you for understanding, it was more of the wrong links I added in. The ones I've gave you they are from the official website which is all in Japanese but I sent it translated into English with google translator.

      I understand, they are cheaper in price and quality which either be bought for those reasons or actually be appreciated and I'm one those people who do!

      I agree with you, they really do have that design and simplicity which allows them to feel like they fall into 80s or early 90s Transformer-like robot toys. KO's are very common among all round of Transformers toy lines, whether it be G1 or the later series. Interesting about the Constructicons and I have no doubt that is true because cheap toy companies find a way to duplicate the mold but not 100% just enough to get the design and engineer a certain toy with their own tools.

      I get you! I honestly don't mind KO's or imitations because it does give people a chance who can't afford the originals and I myself grew up with a few KO's and I enjoyed having them with whatever time I had to play with around with them.

      Ok thanks for answering that question for me. Excellent, I'll definitely drop him a message about them! Yes I've checked out your archive and I saw you had one on the Focus from the Convertors: Spies line? That's cool, I've searched a lot online for Tek Toys and it's very rare to find any of people selling them but I will keep searching and it's grea how I gladly stumbled across this blog of yours. I love it now knowing I have seen Tek Toys other series the Robo-Bugs as well as the Robo-Kats!

      Thanks again for your help and reply, really appreciate it!


      John Valmeo

  3. Also, John, neat collection. I'll take a closer look at it; is that one of the later Autobot dino cassettes, and is it real or a bootleg?

    1. Thank you very kindly kingvermin! Sure no problem, please take your time. Yes it is the Autobot Dino-Cassettes and unfortunately it is the bootleg versions. I think there is no way I would purchase the originals for the prices they go for so these KO versions were a good buy to see how they feel and look, so I'm very satisfied with them!

      By the way I have listened to your first podcast and I enjoyed it! I also notice you draw comic strips, that is awesome!
      I too draw, mainly alot of cartoon characters, fan art, Transformers, and have collaborated with people doing fan made Transformer comic stories.

      I wish all the best with all your work!


      John Valmeo

  4. Hello again kingvermin, it's been awhile, I hope all is well?!
    Letting you know this is John Valmeo and I have a blog dedicated to these toys now.
    Please check it out if you got time and let me know what you think! Thank you!