Bandai’s S.H. Figuarts line is without doubt the most succesful Dragon Ball action figure line to date. Many figures receive limited runs and are marketed as “web exclusives”, which means once they’re sold out there won’t be any more made. With this rarity the figures have a tendency to increase in value over time and enjoy a lucrative third party seller’s market.
Figures within this line that retailed with an MSRP of $39.99 are often sold for more than double this price once they’ve gone out of production and become harder to obtain. While the rarity and exclusivity of these figures is part of its success, it is also this perceived rarity that enables counterfeit manufacturers like Datong and others are able to enjoy great profits by selling illegitimate figures.
Differences in Packaging:
Above you will see two Vegeta figures, on the left is the legitimate SH Figuarts Vegeta and to the right is the fake Datong Vegeta. Many differences with the packaging stand out immediately upon your first glance, a major difference being that the Datong version lacks a “Toei” sticker.
As many collectors know the Toei sticker is an excellent way to tell immediately if you’re looking at a counterfeit figure. While many legitimate figures dont always have the Toei sticker, it is an absolute certainty that any legitimate SH Figuarts figure will have this sticker. Note: The Toei sticker can be gold or silver. Both are okay.
Below I’ve highlighted some of the other differences between the legitimate and counterfeit packagings. While counterfeiters are always improving their goods to appear more legitimate, you may still use some of the clues below to spot a fake.
The Quality of These Bootlegs
It should be noted that many of the Datong counterfeit figures are of a higher quality than your typical, run of the mill boot leg action figure. If the figure is without a box, the differences between a Datong copy and a real figure become very subtle and difficult to spot.
While it may be tempting to seek out a counterfeit figure as opposed to paying a premium for a hard to find original, one should be aware that counterfeit action figures have been known to be made up of unregulated and toxic materials.
The gallery below is composed entirely of close up photos of a Datong scouter Vegeta figure. The purpose is to illustrate how one might have difficulty telling the difference between this and a real figure due to its high quality:
A Gallery of Comparisons:
Below is a gallery of several legitimate and counterfeit SH Figuarts figures, provided by YouTube user ERivera94. Please refer to his channel for videos that review and compare the differences between these counterfeits and their legitimate counterparts.
In each photo below the real figure is on the left and the fake is on the right. You may notice that the biggest differences between the figures are the quality of the paint and details in the sculpting.
- Datong is not the only counterfeiter of the SH Figuarts line. A copy of SH Figuarts Perfect Cell has been spotted with an altered “Bandai” logo that says “Benda”. This figure is substantially lower quality than Datong copies and much easier to spot.
- Though not all of the clues and differences we highlighted above may be present when looking at a bootleg figure, some of them may be. Your best defense is to remain vigilant and purchase from trusted sources.