In an article posted by Ngee Khiong, Bandai has finally made a legal move against TT Hongli which is argued to be the *best* in terms of knocking off the Bandai brand and another company camed Huang. TT Hongli has gained a strong support over the years from "collectors" and "modelers" who purchase Gunpla knock offs mainly for economic reasons. Hence, the rule at BAKUC for boxes to be brought as proof of purchase, rightly so because I've had a few people who have brandished that they have been able to enter knock offs at competitions in the past (not necessarily BAKUC).
TT Hongli, for one, has reproduced certain kits within months of Bandai's own, and have produced somewhat a comparable quality to that of Bandai's.
It's always been my theory that TTH is a Bandai subcompany mainly because of the *quality* and speed to which the former releases its kits, and might have been a move by Bandai itself to corner the bootleg market and earn from that revenue stream; that, or TTH has an insider at Bandai. Rumors(? at least that's how I regard them) have been circulating that there was a lax at Bandai's head office and several CAD files were stolen, but that was a couple of years ago, and the knock offs have only become better, as people who buy them have intimated. And It has taken a while for Bandai to bare its teeth with this lawsuit.
Certain forums avoid discussing bootlegs altogether, and some are liberal enough to discuss and compare. I have seen people signing up at a forum and did nothing but defend their "reasons" for buying knock offs.
Knock offs are knock offs no matter how good you think they are. They're cheap because the company who produced them did not spend millions in research and development, and bootlegers are making profit from STOLEN ideas and copyrighted material.
I'm not defending Bandai, not with its penchant for milking a product line like the uber ugly RX 78 series, which is understandable since that monstrosity is an ICON in itself and is basically what made Gundams a household name amongst fanatics. Now, it's milking the UC line by bombarding the fanboys with a multitude of Unicorn variations, and painfully killing the collectibility of the "LIMITED" Unicorn Stands that only supposedly came with the January Issue of Dengeki by issuing "LIMITED" HGUC Unicorns with the same stands (I have two of those stands, hence two magazines, and two MG Unicorns, one still unbuilt bought two years earlier). The thing is, I DON'T REALLY LIKE THE UNICORN. I friggin' like the Sinanju better.
I'm not defending Bandai, especially with its tenacity to re-issue certain kits, and remake version nth, yet only after 15 years or so have decided to release an MG WIng (which I happen to predict out of wishful thinking last year). I'm not defending Bandai at all, especially since it managed to dampen my appreciation for the color RED when it released the MG Red Frame Astray with those thin shins and small feet, one wonders how the thing can stand with that huge back pack.
But, bootlegs are bootlegs, and I won't support them, even if Bandai's an ass for