Bootleg Battle Beasts from Indonesia
A Metallic Blue Lion ?
an Orange Fluorescent Bat?
a Golden Elephant and many more…….
No, these aren´t related to the colorful Beasts from Greece the Greek Battle Beasts
These are Animals Robot Master figures which were released in Indonesia during the mid to late 90´s but it only took a ¨couple¨ of years before they´re first discovered and noticed by the Battle Beasts Community.
It was halfway 2014 that the Beastformers Team was confronted with these unique Bootlegs from Indonesia for the first time. At that time these figures were, still, completely unknown within the BB Community so it became a quest to learn more about them and their history. During this quest a couple of updates were shared, as always, via LRG within this topic; Animals Robot Master (Unknown?!) Bootleg BB from Indonesia posted on June 24th 2014. But since that post, including a last update on January 2015, no further info has been shared. This means that even though this Animals Robot Master line was introduced to the BB Community 3 years ago not a lot of additional info has been gathered since, until now…
With the Beastformers Team receiving the last info and items recently it is finally time to share the ¨full¨ story or at least that what´s left, and remembered, from the history of these interesting Indonesian Bootlegs.
ACIP PLASTICK Production
On the packaging (header-card) only two leads can be found in relation to the company who produced these namely the name; ACIP PLASTICK Production. Which was most likely an Indonesian or Hong Kong based toy company back in the days. And secondly the presence of ¨NEW HONGKONG¨ referring to Hong Kong as the assumed production location. Knowing that, based on information from connections within Indonesia, it is highly unlikely that these were actually produced in Indonesia since it was a common given that toys and many other items were imported from Hong Kong.
Back in the days, but still even today, the number of Indonesians migrating to Hong Kong was huge causing them to be one of the biggest ethnic minority groups found in Hong Kong. This shows that the connection and bonds between Indonesia and Hong Kong have been solid for years supporting the connection in regards to the Animals Robot Master line being imported from Hong Kong. But due to the fact that these exact Bootleg figures, so far, don´t seem to have been available within Hong Kong or any other parts of China (the Bootlegs Beasts out there can´t be compared to these) ACIP PLASTICK most have made them exclusively for Indonesia. Despite our effort and the help of connections in Indonesia no further info or details in regards to this company have been found leaving us, as often with most of the Bootlegs found so far, with a lot of questions on that level.
Animals Robot Master
Unlike the original release of the Battle Beasts, outside Japan, in which the name of the line remained the same with the exception of some countries that translated the name into their own language ALL of the Battle Beasts Bootlegs found have unique names. Which was, not in the last place, important to avoid any risk of Takara or Hasbro finding out about these illegally produced figures. In most cases a reference to War/Battle Robots/Transformers and Animals is used in the naming of the Bootlegs and in that case the Indonesian Bootlegs are no exception with the name: Animals Robot Master. Only weird thing here is that the name is in English whereas this is not considered to be a widely spoken language within Indonesia. But with the Hong Kong connection, where English is an official language, things seem to fall in place.
Hong Kong made Bootleg Battle Beasts?
Finding Battle Beasts in Hong Kong is not very weird because Hong Kong was one of the locations within China that held a Takara production facility. But due to the inconsistency of the Beasts found within, and the quality of, this Bootleg series it is highly unlikely original molds or whatsoever have been used for the production of the Animals Robot Master figures. There are a couple of reasons for this because based on our research so far not all 8 molds, of the figures available within this Bootleg series, could have been in Hong Kong and there´s a couple of interesting inconsistencies found within this line that couldn´t have occurred if they were pulled from an original mold.
Main and most remarkable point here is the absence, or removal, of the Takara and Hasbro stamps (see image above) which are found on the backside of the original Series 1 figures and on the feet of the Series 3 figures. And another thing is the randomness of mold letters found on the figures that belonged to Series 1. The Boar found within this Indonesian Bootleg series for example has been copied from an original C mold Boar whereas the Gorilla came from an A mold. And of course there´s the strange and illogic presence of two Series 3 figures, never seen before within any vintage Bootleg line, which makes the plausibility of a connection to the original molds even more unlikely. Mainly because it was impossible for these to be connected or related considering the original mold pairs in which the Flamingo was paired with the Pig and the Pangolin to the Ox. This same argument is valid for the Series 1 Beasts as well despite the fact that the Elephant and the Boar were a mold par but this is, looking at the rest, considered to be a lucky coincidence.
The most likely thing that has happened here is that ACIP PLASTICK Production managed to get a hold of 8 (Elephant, Bat, Boar, Giraffe, Pangolin, Flamingo, Lion and Gorilla) randomly gathered or selected figures from the original Battle Beasts line and used these to create a new mold. This mold was adjusted in such a way that the original brand marks (Takara/Hasbro) on the back of the Series 1 figs were removed while they didn´t seem to bother about the presence of the figure number and mold letter because these are visible on most of them. For both of the Series 3 figures things were a lot easier considering the markings there were found underneath the feet. Once the molds were created and adjusted they were ready for the production. Once this was done they´re exported to Indonesia to be sold out there.
The story that follows underneath this line is related to a unique experience the Beastformers Team was confronted with during the hunt for more of these Bootlegs and their history. Please scroll down, passing the MAROON text, to continue reading about these Bootlegs but haven´t we all been dreaming of finding Beasts in original boxes or within an old storage space….?
Finding new old stock Somewhere in an old Storage space in Indonesia…
It most have been during the beginning of 2016 when the quest was still on searching for more information about, and figures of, these Indonesian Bootleg Beasts that the Beastformers Team bumped into a new connection in Indonesia who was able to offer a decent amount of packaged (!!) Animals Robot Master bags. This in itself was already quite unique knowing that finding any Battle Beasts Bootleg in its original package is a rare event to begin with and all of the previous figures were found loose or in opened bags being unable to verify the exact original content.
But things got even better when this connection mentioned about an old storage space of an old toy shop where he´d found them. Of course this was hard to believe but in time and during our conversations it became clear that he might indeed be that one step away from the storage space. He turned out to be the only one who´s granted access to this space since he knew the owner of it which meant he´s able to return there in order to grab some more bags and shoot some pictures as requested by the Beastformers Team.
Even though the first picture (image left) that was received looked a bit messy it was enough evidence to realize this was a very special occasion being just a single step away from finding Beast related items in an old storage space. The boxes looked a bit destroyed and wet but what´d you expect after being stored away for almost 20 years in the humid Indonesian climate?
Of course not all these boxes contained Beasts since there were various other, most likely 90´s and mainly bootleg, toys (see image below, right) stored here as well so there´s an assortment of old Indonesian toys left in this ¨forgotten¨ storage space.
It´s obvious the Beastformers Team also requested to check for details or information on the main box in which the packs were found but all of these boxes where blank without any details on it.
At first he only found a box with the 1st production run of them (see image below, left), the Metallic colored ones, but after he was confronted with the 2nd production run of these a couple weeks later he mentioned there was a box of those as well. Which meant he had to get back to the storage space although he was always a bit anxious to go there as he referred to it as a spooky place and he believed it was haunted. Who knows, it might have been, but one thing was for sure the outcome was quite colorful.
Eventually he made quite a few trips to that storage space in order to check, confirm and search for more information since having the opportunity to check it all out was a chance that the Beastformers Team couldn´t pass on.
It´s been a process of steps with first getting the actual existence of this storage space confirmed, checking what packs there were, in what numbers and if these Animals Robot Master packs had survived in an acceptable condition. Some of them had gotten wet over time due to rain or moist entering the storage space causing some slight issues but overall it was a more than satisfying journey to experience.
Due to the larger number of packs we´ve also done a check on the composition of packs, color based, but there´s to much randomness to confirm any logic strategy for this. Some packs held all colors found within the specific run while others held multiple duplicates and missed a color.
For those who might´ve wondered where these Indonesian Bootlegs came from this, or a similar location, might´ve been the origin of your figures a story that´s to good to hold back because as collectors don´t we all dream to enter an old storage space like this….
The Beastformers Team would like to end this short story with a special word of thanks to our connection in Indonesia who´s been doing the hard work and the scary job entering this old storage space multiple times searching and rescuing Beasts that survived the test of time even within the harsh Indonesian climate. Credits for these unique pictures also go to him, Thanks Donny!
Available via Street vendors
After the import from Hong Kong these Indonesian Bootlegs were released on the Indonesian market around 1994-1995 but they´re not only available via the toy stores who sold them as packs but also and foremost via the in Indonesia commonly known way, namely via a street vendor. Back in the days, and maybe even today, it was very common for street vendors selling toys near or close to kindergartens or schools but whereas the toy shops were selling complete packs the figures you could purchase at the street vendors stand were free to pick since the bag was opened and they´re selling the figures one by one at a price of 100 IDR a figure. Due to this way of selling the exact composition of the packs and production runs were unknown for quite a while. But for the kids back in the days it was a huge advantage because they could select and even compose the figure they wanted because they´re even allowed to select the arms in case they didn´t match the figure (which happened often). Because unlike the original Beasts, due to the Bootleg quality, the arms of these figures easily pop in and out which made the switching and swapping of the arms possible. The figure on the image left could´ve been a creation made by an Indonesian kid back in the 90´s.
Material, Colors and Size
As with most Bootlegs the quality of the figures can´t be compared to the originals but to give you an idea of the material used it´s a rubbery type of plastic which is less flexible than the original Gumball Beasts but more flexible in comparison to the Greek Beasts.
Color wise there´s a huge variety of colors available but it´s important to make a division here knowing the Metallic colored figures were a first production run (Series 1) whereas all the other figures with monotone colors, including the fluorescent ones, come from a later release (Series 2). More about this later on int this article. Looking at the colors themselves there is mainly amongst the first production run with the Metallic colored Beasts quite a high level of consistency in color. While amongst the later production run there are more color differences and inconsistencies found.
For the Metallic figures, mainly the Orange and Gold colored ones, it is not completely clear whether they´re casted in this color or whether they´ve been painted via some kind of coating since some of them seem to be more transparent at places where the color has faded. Some figures, most likely those who´ve been wet or moist during their longterm storage or life in Indonesia, still transfer some color which makes the option of some kind of coating or paint used over a certain base color most likely. For the monotone colored figures from the later production runs this definitely ain´t the case since those are clearly casted in their own colors. But the fact that these figures have been exposed to pretty extreme, warm and humid, conditions also caused that colors have been transfered from one fig onto the next. Especially figures found inside the original bags can show signs of color transferring meaning a Yellow figure that´s been placed besides a Red colored figure might´ve some Orange spots and coloring on it. (see image above)
Amongst both releases 6 main colors can be found knowing (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange and Pink) (see image above, left) but as mentioned there are some inconsistencies in these colors looking at the 2nd production run, the monotone colored Beasts. (see image left) Where also a light Blue, a lighter Green, a more skin tone color and various almost fluorescent colors (Pink, Green, Yellow, Orange) and probably many more variations are found.
It is unclear whether, like the GBB, each figure could be found in each color which would mean there´d be a total of 8 (different sculpts) x 6 (main colors) 48 figures to collect, for each production run!
Size wise the figures are, as explained earlier in the part were the mold was discussed, slightly smaller than the original Battle Beasts. The reason for that is most likely due to a combination of the used material and the production process because as we´ve seen with other BB Bootlegs it often happened that the temperatures used in combination with the plastics used caused figures to slightly shrink a little.
Well this is a returning subject when it comes to Battle Beasts Bootlegs it seems because just as most of the other Bootleg lines discussed by the Beastformers Team so far also these Indonesian Bootlegs come in most cases with the incorrect arms, according to the original Beast composition. Also here goes that the figures were composed based on their color. Unlike the GBB where the pamphlet was providing incorrect information most of the Indonesian kids did knew about the correct composition since the Beasts were properly shown on the art found on the header card. (see image left)
What this line didn´t have in common with other Bootleg lines are weapons because although some Beasts are shown with a weapon on the header card there are NO weapons found within this line, only figures.
But not all the figures where common and it might even have been the case that not all figures were available for both production runs… The Pangolin for example is a bit of a story on its own within this line and not only because it´s pictured as a lizard on the header card, it is rarely found, so far hasn´t shown up in a first production run color (metallic) but it also has another remarkable oddity.
The ¨long snout¨ Pangolin
Apart from the fact that it is pretty uncommon to find a Series 3 Beast within a Bootleg line there is something else that´s strange about some of the Animals Robot Master Pangolin´s found.
Not ALL of the Pangolin figures found within this line seemed to have it but a few can be referred to as the so called ¨long snout¨ Pangolin having a longer, extended, snout in comparison to the original figure. Looks like this issue was caused by the fact that the Pangolin cast wasn´t properly cleaned coming out of the mold. In some cases they tried to fix this issue by burning the extended part of resulting in some Pangolin showing up with a black burn, or melting, spot on their nose. (see image below)
Due to this issue the Pangolin within the Animals Robot Master line can be considered as pretty unique and this even goes for the Pangolin´s found without the extended snout. Since in general it seems that, based on experiences of collectors within Indonesia, the Pangolin is a harder to find figure.
Amongst Bootleg lines often various imperfections, wrong arms, strange names, mistakes and other issues are found and as shown so far this was also the case with these Indonesian Bootlegs. Bootleg lines just didn´t have the quality check like the original line and for the Animals Robot Master line this even goes for the header cards. Looks like at some point they´ve been printing the wrong side of the card resulting in the fact the art was printed on the side that´s supposed to be the inside. Where a mistake like this would´ve never left the Takara or Hasbro factory it is no big deal for the Bootlegs so they just flipped them around in order to have the correct side printed. A few of these double sided printed header cards have been found so far, a nice example of how imperfections are ignored or accepted within a Bootleg line.
Now after discussing most of the general information about this line it is finally time to take a better look at the two production runs and the way they´re packed.
Different production runs
As explained before within this Indonesian Bootleg line two different production runs can be found;
1st Production run (Metallic Colors) 1994/1995 – ……
2nd Production run (Monotone Colors) ….. – 1999/2000
As you can see there is quite a gap in between the first release year and the year these Bootlegs were last sold in Indonesia. It is not completely clear whether they lasted from the mid 90´s until the late 90´s without a break or whether there was one of a couple of years in between the release of the first and second production run. This is one of the questions that remains.
What is clear though is that the aging of the mold used was visible and that the quality of the 2nd Production run figures was, in general, a bit less than the 1st Production run. Which means imperfections become more visible the Lion for instance can be found amongst, both, of the production runs with a bump on its forehead and a little dent in its face. The choice to switch from the Metallic colored ones, which were most likely more costly to produce, to the Monotone colored ones also showed that every opportunity was used to save a Rupiah this will also get clear once the packaging gets discussed further on.
And when you think the molds, at some point would retire, there´s something else weird showing up last year which was the main reason for this article to be delayed that long because it looks like there might have been 3rd Production run!!!
3rd Production run (Monotone colors Odd Figures) 2004 (?)
In 2016 suddenly some Animals Robot Master packages showed up with a very weird content of none BB like figures. They seemed and looked a bit more like Muscle Men also being static, with none rotating arms like the Indonesian Bootleg Beasts, but they had similar colors. The material used is also different because they´re made out of a less flexible material compared to the two previous production runs. And some even showed signs of the previous Bootleg Beasts as clear references to the Bat, Elephant and Giraffe were found (most likely the others were used for this run as well). During our research into the Greek Battle Beasts where Exogini were found inside the original packaging and this seems to be a comparable situation although looking at the poor quality of these figures its more a Bootleg from a Bootleg. Not sure if they adjusted, or used parts, of the old molds for the creation of these figures but it is very weird to see these show up especially since the packaging is identical to the Animals Robot Master release during the mid 90´s. Only one connection in Indonesia was able to remember these and he mentioned them being available a couple of years after the last (2nd run) of Animals Robot Master had ended, probably around 2004.
It is probably related to the whole Bootleg accepted culture back in Indonesia at that time that such creations where accepted and lasted so long, returning multiple times over a time frame of 10 years or more. And that they were accepted and appreciated as such was clear but more about that later on.
First let´s have a look at the packaging in which these figures were released because there is something interesting happening as well.
Packaging and content
The Animals Robot Master figures were packed inside a thick plastic, see through, bag which was sealed by a header card with two staples in it. This also explains why the color transferring between figures happened since the bag was not fully air sealed meaning the content was more vulnerable to the conditions it was exposed to. Within the packaging no difference was made between the 1st and 2nd, and even 3rd, production run since the bag as well as the header card stayed the same for all releases but there was a change in content!
During the first confrontation with these figures back in 2014 when opened bags were found it was believed that the content of the bags held a mixture of Metallic and Monotone colors and that it held 8 figures. But after the find of the sealed bags in the old Indonesian storage space this assumption was busted. As it turned out that for some reason the number of Beasts inside the package had been decreased with two meaning that the package holding the Metallic colored figures held 10 beast whereas the Monotone colored beasts only came with 8 inside a bag. Maybe this was done due to the success of the line in Indonesia knowing they´d be sold anyway and it´s a smart move to make more profit. Either way due to this change in content you could say that apart from the two production runs there´s also a difference in packaging knowing there´s the 10-pack holding the Metallic colored figures and the 8-pack holding the Monotone colored figures. The only slight difference in the packaging was the fact that the bag for the 10 pack was stapled to the header card a bit lower than the 8 pack, probably to make the 8 pack look a bit more full.
Indonesian Animals Robot Master (10 Pack)
Contained: 10 Random figures from the 1st Production run (Metallic colors)
Colors: A Random assortment of 6 Metallic colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, Gold)
Price: 1000* IDR (Indonesian Rupiah)
Other info: The bags contained doubles and not all colors and different figures were included. Arms and bodies didn´t match in most of the cases. Pangolin is a rare figure to find in this pack! All in all a very random content in most cases.
* Estimated value based upon the confirmed selling price for 1 figure of 100 IDR/each.
During our research the presence of this very random content was more than confirmed looking at sealed packages containing various doubles and even triples of certain colors while some colors where completely absent. In some cases only 4 or 5 of the actual 8 different figures were found inside the package.
Indonesian Animals Robot Master (8 Pack)
Contained: 8 Random figures from the 2nd Production run (Monotone colors)
Colors: A Random assortment of 6 Monotone (main) colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, Gold)
Price: 800* IDR (Indonesian Rupiah)
Other info: The bags contained doubles and not all colors and different figures were included. Arms and bodies didn´t match in most of the cases. As mentioned before the consistency in color was less for this 2nd production run so there´s a wider assortment of colors to be found inside this 8 pack including some fluorescent colored ones. The Pangolin was, compared to the 10 Pack, a bit more commonly found in this packaging type but it was still a rare figure. All in all a very random content in most cases.
* Estimated value based upon the confirmed selling price for 1 figure of 100 IDR/each.
During our research the presence of this very random content was more than confirmed looking at sealed packages containing various doubles and even triples of certain colors while some colors where completely absent. In some cases only 4 or 5 of the actual 8 different figures were found inside the package.The Fluorescent colors, apart from Pink, seemed to be less present.
Indonesian Animals Robot Master (10 Pack) ODD CONTENT
Contained: 10 Random figures from the 3nd Production run (Monotone colors (ODD Content))
Colors: A Random assortment of 6 Monotone (main) colors (Red, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green, Gold)
Other info: The bags held a completely odd mixture of figures and just like the two previous runs it also held doubles but whereas the other bags could hold loose (popped out arms) these figures had solid arms which meant they couldn´t pop out but they also couldn´t be swapped for the ¨correct¨ arms for as far as that was possible with these odd creations. Also here fluorescent colors could be found. All in all a completely random content with odd creations.
* Due to the fact these were released at a later moment and the content and quality of the packs can´t be compared to the Animals Robot Master figures it is unclear whether it is fair to compare the prices of those packs with these Odd ones.
Here are some close ups of the content of this Odd Content pack in which you can clearly find some elements or details of the original Animals Robot Master figures but all in all the majority of the figures are hard to relate to the figures seen in the earlier two production runs.
Why were they discovered so late…?
This is one of the main things the Beastformers Team had wondered about because their connection or relation to the original Battle Beasts is hard to ignore which means that if they had been found earlier they´d definitely have been known within the BB community but as mentioned in the beginning the first encounter lasted until 2014. And to be honest it was even a ¨lucky¨ find since who´d expect to find Battle Beasts in Indonesia to begin with? As most of you know the Beastformers Team has lines and connections out there all over the world in various countries, with CONFIRMED BB releases, which means that until this find there were no connections with Indonesia at all. But over the past few years, since 2014, that has changed and thanks to all the connections a lot has become clear about this line.
One of those things is the fact that within Indonesia there are nowadays a lot of collectors of these Bootleg lines or as they call it ¨Cheap Toys¨ which makes that figures and sealed packages like these are often already sold at pretty serious prices within Indonesia meaning they rarely make it to other countries. This is one thing the Beastformers Team experienced multiple times during their search since the number of available packages kept dropping even during negotiations simply because they could easily sell them within Indonesia not having to worry about international shipping etc. While this competitive market is a bit annoying for us as foreign collectors it is also a pleasure to see a Bootleg line that´s still so loved and appreciated by themselves that this is one of the main reasons why it took so long for them to get on the radar of the international BB Community. But now they finally are and the Beastformers Team has brought them into the light they can be enjoyed by collectors all over the world!
Even though there are still some questions that remain due to the fact that our connections in Indonesia weren´t able to verify all of the subjects discussed and there was no unambiguous outcome on the various independent stories gathered by the Beastformers Team the article should hold enough solid information to give you a good insight in the world of the Animals Robot Master line, Indonesia.
A big word of thanks goes to all the connections in Indonesia that have been very helpful and solid on the level of offering figures and information because without their help this article couldn´t have been composed. In particular the Beastformers Team would like to thank Donny the man of the old storage space and Andy for his helpful information and trades, terima kasih!
This was it, a long read, hopefully it was worth it.
Another country can be added to the word map of Bootleg Battle Beasts.
Enjoy the Animals Robot Master line from Indonesia!
The Beastformers Team