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Identification Review Guides for Fake, Knock Off and Counterfeit Transformers


Each of my individual tutorials for spotting fakes will start with some general rules about how to spot fakes. So I suggest you read this once then skip down to the individual figure section at the very bottom.  If anyone has anything to add feel free to share it with me.  I have listed these in order of what should be the most helpful to you. Keep in mind some may only have 1-2 things that can help you identify them, but that is all you need, keep in mind these are fakes meant to look real on purpose, it’s not going to be night and day, unless you have the already to compare it to.

General Rules for spotting fakes:

1.  Does the toy look new/mint, if so then it is a red flag.  Few vintage transformers look truly new in fact in my experience somewhere around 1 in 300 will look new when loose.

2.  Is the item listed as a reissue, remake, or third party when it was not reissued by Hasbro or Takara?  Does the seller seem to purposefully not identify it as vintage?  The main reason for this is Ebay doesn’t allow counterfeits, knock off’s, fakes, or bootlegs and the auctions are cancelled.  So the sellers are forced to lie.  In fact, most of the counterfeits as of 2013 being sold on Ebay are sold as vintage because they have had so many policy violations they can not sell them any other way.

3.  One day or three day auctions, with buy it now.  Again the reason is so Ebay can not end the auction before it closes and is paid for. Along these lines BIN with immediate payment required.

4.  The seller you are looking at is only selling items that are on my fake list.  Think about it, if all the items they sell look like new and are on the fake list, not even one item they are selling is not, then they are all going to be fakes. Along these lines have they had multiple Shockwaves, meaning they had 5 MISB Shockwave’s sold this month? Nobody has 5 real MISB Shockwave’s ungraded for sale.

5.  Cheap price.  People do not put $600 gem mint sealed Gnaw’s on Ebay for $50, $100 or $150.  It’s a fake.

6.  Use of private auctions, sellers do that so when they leave feedback for you or you leave it for them after the sale your user id is private so no one can contact you and tell you hey man that was a fake, some other buyers would do this and that is why those sellers made the auctions private. No one needs a private auction on a $50 item.

7.  No returns and as is policy.

8.  Rubsign is lacking, has to be applied, or is upside down or applied incorrectly.  This does not mean if the rubsign is missing on a loose figure it is a fake, in fact many came off through time or play.  It means if say on Weirdwolf in a sealed box that the rubsign is in fact visible through the front of the box, and if it is not there it is a fake.

9.  Stickers not applied, that should be.  Example a Prowl MISB without his sticker on the door is a fake easy to spot.

10.  Stickers that should be applied but are instead printed on like Mirage on the front.


General rules where you really need a real figure to compare it to, but I will include them.

11.  Manual/booklet color is brighter, sunbursts don’t fade properly, paper stock thickness is thicker, and the paper is glossier.  In fact if you pick up 5 dinobot manuals then pick up 5 authentic manuals the fakes are significantly heavier and you in fact can feel the difference.

12.  Sticker sheets paper stock seems thinner and feels smoother on the back. The sticker sheets also seem easier to bend and manipulate.

13.  Figure color is off on the paint, plastic, or both.  In some cases it may only be one color on a multiple color figure is off.

14.  Paint is thinner and chips easily by scraping your nail gently across it, seems the surface was poorly prepped, primed, poor quality paint was used, or all three.

15.  Tech spec backing is too light on reverse (bare in mind this is tricky as the originals are made from recycled paper and they do vary).  Techs are too glossy as well.

16.  The sound of some parts when dropped onto surfaces sound different as the plastics used are different densities.  Similarly, some parts will be too firm or too soft.

17.  The plastics used appear stiff and brittle and they in fact are.  The quality is not as good.

18.  The box colors are wrong, font is wrong, some text is wrong or omitted, typo’s, bursts are wrong, cropping is wrong, grid lines are wrong, too much to generalize as it depends greatly on the figure.  But none of the boxes are identical to the original each has a tell.

Here is the location of all 50+ of my tutorials, the above is the introductions so just skip down to the bottom of each. Link

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