Henkei / KO Version 1 / KO Version 2 CHSM Seeker Comparison

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When you're this good, you're bound to have copies

Since 2006, Takara and Hasbro has been releasing modern re-makes of Transformers Generation 1 (G1) figures in different toy lines such as Classics, Classics 2.0, Universe, Generations, and the recent Reveal the Shields for the United States (US) market and the Henkei and United toys lines for the Japanese market.  Toy collectors refer to the US re-makes generally as "Classics".  The Henkei line of figures are generally more sought after than their Classics counterparts due to their more show accurate colors like grey Henkei Starscream rather than the bright white Universe Starscream and the addition of chrome - we all love shiny things, right?

The popularity of the Classics toys among toy collectors eager to obtain more show accurate, affordable, and transformable toys has compelled Hasbro/Takara to continue re-making almost the entire G1 cast of characters using modern toy technology.  Collectors late to the Classics toys have bid up the price of older no longer available at retail figures like Ramjet and Ratchet.

Being the main troops of the Decepticons throughout season 1, Starscream, Skywarp, and Thundercracker (seekers) are a must to any Classics collector.  Luckily for Starscream fans, Hasbro issued Starscream twice with different paint applications and Takara did two batches.  Unfortunately Hasbro and Takara didn't make it easy for the rest of the seekers as Hasbro had never released Thundercracker to the general public prior to 2011 but only as a limited BotCon release and Skywarp was packed with Ultra Magnus, who had now become ridiculously expensive due to a 3rd party add-on kit for Ultra Magnus (that's for another blog post).  Takara didn't help by releasing limited quantities of Skywarp and Thundercracker.  Prices for Henkei Thundercracker hit upwards of $80 while the BotCon version commanded over $100.

With prices so high for Thundercracker and Skywarp, it was only time until some companies came in to fill the void by releasing counterfeit or knockoff (KO) versions.  Interestingly, there are two different molds in the market today - the earlier mold is commonly known as "Version 1" while the later mold, version 2, is commonly known by its manufacturer's name, CHSM. Since I have all 3 molds, I'll show the differences between CHSM, version 1, and Henkei.

Fighter Jet mode (Alternate mode):

Henkei Starscream:

Version 1 - KO Thundercracker:

CHSM - KO Skywarp:

Henkei Bottom:

Version 1 Bottom:

CHSM Bottom:


Since the seekers are boxed in alt mode with only the top visible, one of the few ways to spot a fake is by looking at the Decepticon logo. The eyes on the KOs are smaller.

Wing Tips:

Once again, the eyes on the Decepticon logos on KOs are smaller.

Henkei Cockpit:

Version 1 Cockpit:

Skywarp Cockpit:

Under Henkei:

Paint problems do exist on the henkei version even right out of the box.

Under Thundercracker:

Paint problems exist on the version 1 too.

Under Skywarp:

CHSM version has less paint chipping problems

Henkei Under Wing Screws:

Version 1 Under Wing Screws:

CHSM Under Wing Screws:

Sloppy glue application

Henkei inside screws:

Small screws on the inside ensure the cockpit can sit flush so the chest piece doesn't stick out in bot mode.

Version 1 inside screws:

Wider flat screws don't negatively affect bot mode as much.

CHSM inside screws:

Big wide screws that stick out from the plastic cause the chest piece cockpit in bot mode to stick out.

Henkei Shoulder Pin:

Version 1 Shoulder Pin:

CHSM Shoulder Pin:

Robot Mode


The knees and arms bend and stop at specific points giving you minimal posability.  Moving the arms causes the cannons to push the wing back.  Most collectors only have their seekers posed standing around like I did in the photo above.



The nose of the plane looks odd hanging at the back like that.


That white paint issue on the pelvic area was right out of the box.  The left wing was floppy.  The elevator that folds up to the side of the foot was tight.  Legs slide out smoothly.  Chest closes tight.  The left arm peg hole is slightly too big so the cannon usually holds but a hard hit will cause it to fall out.

Version 1:

Just a few problems with the paint such as version 1's left foot missing silver paint and left knee having extra black paint.  Right wing is very floppy while left wing was just floppy.  The elevators that fold up along the foot are VERY tight.


Unlike the henkei and version 1, the CHSM doesn't have as much paint chipping problem but has a problem with paint overspraying in bot mode causing the area around the paint to be fuzzy.  The large inside screw is causing the cockpit not to sit flush to the silver pelvic piece.

Henkei Face:

Version 1 Face:

A good face but under close inspection, the version 1 eyes are more round and larger, mouth doesn't have a downward slant at the ends, and cheek indents are smaller.

CHSM Face:

The eyes are not grooved inward and are just painted on. Like the rest of the bot mode, the paint isn't sharp.

Henkei knees:

Version 1 knees:

One of the telltale signs of version 1, notches on the outside leg beside the colored knees are missing.

CHSM knees:

You get the henkei "notch" but at the cost of paint over spraying.

Copyrights on the Right Leg

Henkei Right Leg

Version 1 Right Leg:

CHMS v2 Right Leg:

The giveaway that this is a KO. Sadly it's not visible through the packaging

Copyrights on the Left Leg

Henkei Left Leg

Version 1 Left Leg:

CHMS v2 Left Leg:

Missing Chrome

One of the version 1 cannons isn't properly chromed.

Loose Hand

CHSM's hand doesn't lock into the place in bot mode.

Version 1 Big Holes

The peg holes for the arm cannons are way too big on the version 1 so the cannons don't even stay on. I put pieces of paper to reduce the size of the peg hole.

Plastics Chips

A sizable amount of black plastic chips came off my CHSM when I transformed it between bot and alt modes. This didn't happen on either my henkei or version 1.

In Summary:

While in the box, one of the few ways to tell a KO apart from the real henkei version is the Decepticon logo on the wings and nose of the plane.
  • loose left wing
  • numerous chipped paint problems
  • tight fold up elevator
  • smooth sliding legs
  • chest closes tight
  • slight loose left arm hole
KO Version 1
  • really loose right wing, loose left wing
  • Some chipped paint issues
  • VERY tight fold up elevator
  • ok sliding legs
  • screw sticks out so chest slight sticks out
  • both loose arm holds. guns fall out
  • chrome problem on one gun
  • tight wings
  • numerous overspraying of paint
  • legs do not hold position
  • hands do not lock
  • tight sliding legs
  • screw severely sticks out so check is visibly sticking out
  • arm cannon peg holes are tight
  • eyes are not grooved and eyes are oversprayed

The KO molds are very close to the real Henkei but the slight mold differences and poor quality paint jobs make a big perception difference.  The real Henkei is definitely better than both KOs and you feel it while transforming and looking closely at it.  Between the two KO molds, I personally prefer the version 1 mold over the CHSM mold due to the better head mold and sharper paint job.

Luckily for collectors who missed out on the original Thundercracker, Hasbro has listened to you and re-issued Classics Thundercracker in 2011 with a slightly different color scheme.  Unfortunately for collectors needing Skywarp, you're still out of luck.  At least there is the option of purchasing a Skywarp KO if you prefer not to pay the high prices of the secondary market.

Eric Toy Score: 3.5 out of 5 (Henkei), 3 out of 5 (Version 1), 2.5 out of 5 (CHSM)

Publisher: Takara (Henkei), Unknown (Version 1), CHSM (CHSM)
Year: 2008, 2010, 2010
Price: $24.99 (approx), $18.69, $21.49


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