Behold! The Knight Rider Z-Trailer and Z-car!
Looks like the Korean KO manufacturers have done it again to the gestalts, this time with a Christmas-y redeco of Stunticon Motormaster and a beige Protectobot Streetwise, all under the watchful eye of Michael Knight. The title in Korean reads “Jet-Z Car & Lightning-Z Trailer”.
What’s interesting is that the Motormaster bot mode on the box appears to be a totally different robot altogether, and the pics feature different G2-esque colorways that I don’t believe were even offered for sale. WTF?! I don’t have this one in my collection, but boy would it be good for a laugh or two. Or a bonfire.
…and La Piece de Resistance, Trans Dump Man Optimus!
I don’t own this one either so I don’t have pics of the figures inside. But I’m guessing it’s a recolored KO of the Powermaster Optimus cab (bot only), with maybe a Brave series (?) sidekick to sweeten the deal. Another similarly packaged KO helps confirm that it’s most likely a Powermaster Prime. But wow, what a name. I can just imagine kids dreaming of leaving their trash outside their homes for Trans Dump Man to come and take their dumps.
This one is called “BLACK LONG PISTON“. I have no idea where they got the M’s on his chest from, nor the origins of the trailer, weapons and mini buggy bot that are also included.
Most of these early Korean KO’s were released as one-shots, with no character universe or story other than the artwork on the box. It’s a marvel that these toy companies even kept pumping these out, so I assume that they sold fairly well, enough for them to continue making these until Transformer toys were officially licensed in Korea. During the Post-Korean War era, when South Korea began to rapidly develop from a country in shambles to a manufacturing machine, a lot of Korean pop design drew heavily from American culture, borrowing words, graphics and often random letters from the English alphabet. Western culture was trendy and eye-catching, in a country with predominantly Chinese and Japanese influence, in addition to its own culture and alphabet. Hence, you will find a lot of random English words and letters on older toys that do not serve any purpose other than filler design. And this is all before Google Translate!
Korean KO’s are pretty fun indeed for the retro toy collector, to see alternate perspectives and original artwork of Transformers toys. They are interesting takes on our beloved classic designs, albeit in a cheap and fast way, not unlike but still very different from Chinese KO’s. They are, at least, worth a good snicker.