Field guide to spotting fake Android mini collectibles!

* Update 10/18/10: Looks like they finally got around to bootlegging some of the other designs in the first series. I’ve seen some photos and the paint jobs are pretty lousy. These bootlegs are untested, badly painted and of dubious quality. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. *

Flattering as it may be, some suppliers in China have taken to counterfeiting the Android mini collectibles and passing them off as the real thing to unwitting collectors, a few shops have even picked up the fakes and are redistributing them. But isn’t the Android creative commons you may ask? The original 2D character design is, but the toy designs and packaging that I spent months and thousands of dollars developing, not so much. Also the actual ANDROID logo text that appears on the box and back of the figure is trademarked property of Google, Inc and is not supposed to be used without permission.

Here is a quick guide to spotting some of the fakes that may pop up on eBay or other sites ( also know as a guide to making better fake Androids, but let’s hope that it does more good than harm! ).

First up, almost all the fakes are either “Standard Green” or “Albino”, simply because these are the two simplest versions to copy. It takes some time/money/effort/skill to replicate the complex paint applications found in Series 1 designs, so the fake factories don’t bother.

The packaging on the fakes varies from simple to pretty close to the original. All of the fakes I’ve seen are based off of the smaller boxes from the first run of Series 1, so if yours came inone of the newer, taller boxes you’re probably good!

The fake box above is mostly accurate, except that the colors are all too dark and there is this glaring error, the real Hi-Voltage edition has no green in it.

Ironically some of the fake Androids come with “authenticity seals”, this one even has my URL on it and a unique number! There are no such seals on the authentic boxes.

Another obvious tell is that the fakes are usually packed with the “Android” logo facing front. On the real figures, the Android logo is on the back. Here we also see white foam used to protect the antennae on the fake edition.The real first editions of the figures are in plain foil bags with no foam, while the updated second shipment are in printed foil bags with a black foam square on top.

The real Android minis are painted green, it has a nice solid rich matte finish. Most of the fakes I’ve seen are molded directly in green plastic. The logo on the back is also much less pronounced.

While the real Android figures also have a seam along the arm, it is much more obvious on the fake ones. The arms on the fake ones are also often glossy, not matching the rest of the body. The fake antenna are also longer and more fragile than the real ones.

Here is a product shot from a US company that is re-selling fake editions. You can see the fake box, forward facing logo, shiny arms and overly-long antenna. I’ve gotten a few e-mails from customers who were quite annoyed with the shoddy fakes and unable to secure refunds.


You can see in the above photo of more recent fakes. The hi-voltage is right but the “Worker” is yellowed on one and missing dots next to the word “Worker” on another, there should be four rows of each like the others. Also, the shadows under the icons are black, where they should be grey.

I realize some of you may not care because you just have to have your Android fix, this article obviously isn’t for you. However I know there are a lot of great people out there would rather support a small business and independent artist; people who don’t want to throw money away on an inferior knock-off product. Thanks for your support and hopefully this will help you avoid getting scammed. Remember that more Androids are coming to more stores near you!

Thanks again for your support,

– Andrew

  • Is the gray swirly background pattern all over the box another indicator? Also Andy’s legs folded under the box? Or did you make two different box patterns?

    I’ve seen some that look like what you have pictured with Andy’s legs folding under the box and the gray pattern kind of resembling small ears under the antenna.
    Then I’ve seen some that look like the DIY boxes, but Series 1 style, have the gray filled in, and Andy fully on the box. I’m guessing those are fake too, yes/no?

    Are both correct or only one? Which?

    Thanks

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunatelly I was also a victim of a fake droid seller 🙁 The box is just like this one you show in this post… Please restart doing series 1…

    And thank you so much for creating such beautiful souvenirs.

  • Anonymous

    Android Mini Series 01 is sold out…

    Andrew, please create some more. I’m interested to buy from you and not from unknown sources (like ebay). Please, pretty please, consider this message.

  • Anonymous

    I just bought a set of Series 2 figures from Fugitvetoys.com. Their site said they had only a few left in stock when I bought it and it still says only a few left. Not sure what their definition of a few actually is.

    I received the box and the figures look to be real versions. Tall box, silver foil with black foam and Android logo on the back. So I assume since this site is linked from deadzebra then they would sell legit mini figures. At least that is what I am hoping

  • Has anyone heard of fakes coming from Digitalgamer he is a seller on the Amazon Marketplace

  • Anonymous

    Hi Andrew and everyone else:

    Any fakes / counterfeits of the SDCC 2011 Android series going around? Thanks

    • Yeah I just got my Creature from Hyoonline because it was the only place i found that still had Creature in stock. Deff don’t get from them they are all fake. 🙁 guess i’ll deal with this one until i can find a genuine one.

  • I received a full set of Series 1 fakes this week *under the guise they were genuine).

    Would you like me to document/photograph them for you and send you the information?

  • Anonymous

    I found a website that sells face series collectible figures called, hyoonline.com. The website claims to sell every type from series 1, including the rare ones, for only $12.99. I ordered an individual droid (reactor) and received it in the mail, seeing that the worker droid logo only had sets of two dots instead of four. It came directly from china so I should have thought that one through.

  • Anonymous

    I have been buying the figures for a while now and I just read this article today, and go figure my original green figure is indeed fake. I can’t remember if it came with the android logo in the front, but I did notice the logo was less pronounced, the seems on the arms were very noticeable, and there are only two sets of dots by the worker’s name on the box. I have several series two and I don’t believe they are fake, they seem to qualify and the boxes have the authenticity label on the bottom. What I’m worried about now is the possibility of of a knock-off do it yourself. I bought one from Forbidden Planet in Manhattan but I threw away the box, but I did notice the logo on the back was a little less pronounced. Are there fake blank androids?

    • Please send the photos to here: ganer77@hotmail.com (or upload it somewhere). If you can send photos from the one of the cases (a couple or three) and then some others from rusty, worker, creature, octopoid…if you can. Please your help will be welcome as I am trying to make a guide to spot fake series 1 androids. I can also help you telling you if your androids are or not fake.

      Thanks for your time and for your help.

  • I bought a big box (16 figures) but find out that they were all fake. I went back to the shop and I could get my money back. And the staff removed all their stock from the shelf.

  • Just got a box of fakes in today-

    Mine were the missing dots on the box fake, it was listed as a lot of 12 blind boxes from series 1, but when I got 1 of each of the designs from series 1 including the 3 “rare” designs I knew it was too good to be true, check back and it was for sure fake.

    Also- Most of the designs were backwards, with the design above the android engraving and face on the engraved side.

  • Well bought two of these today from Forbidden Planet (UK), the green one and also one that’s a part of series 2. At the bottom of series 2 boxes, you’ll see a hologram (probably added the hologram sticker for authenticity on the bottom of the box).

  • i AM ASSUMING THAT IF ITEMS ARE BOUGHT FROM THE STORES THE YOU GUYS HAVE POSTED THEY SHOULD BE REAL?

  • yeah if there are only two row of dots it is a fake.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, you were saying about the last picture, “the hi-voltage is right but the “Worker” is missing dots next to the word “Worker”, there should be four rows of each like the others”. So definitely this is determined as a fake version? I’m really confused, because the ones I bought look genuine, except the dots you were talking about. Mine only had two rows of dots.

  • Anonymous

    I also bought 2 green ones from Rivet today based on the site directing me to a store that has them.

  • Anonymous

    androids are awesome! bought areal one.

  • I just picked up what seems to be a real figure for $8.00 at a collectors show in Los Angeles. I lucked out and had no idea they’re going collectors value. Thank you for the detailed description and identity differences.

  • Thanks for the guide! Someone on Planet Android mentioned a company selling the cheap knockoff figures, and I bought one before reading where someone else mentioned that they were bootleg.

    I followed a link from your site to Rivet and bought one of the official ones, then came back here to make sure that it was authentic. Many thanks!

  • Nathan

    apparently i bought one of these, for $25 on ebay as well. Only reason why i even went there is because all i’ve wanted is the regular green one. I can’t afford the $130 box and i don’t want all the other designs. Now don’t get me wrong i think the designs are really cool but i rather pay $10-$15 for just the one that i want.

    Honestly i love what you guys are doing but i know that these fakes are selling like wildfire on ebay.

    There are tons of people like me who just want the regular green one, and unless you guys start getting it out, more and more people are going to buy these fakes, without even caring since they don’t think they’re ever going to get it from you.

  • is there a place to see all “the real” androids?

  • I had been interested to see your comments on the FAKES. I know you mentioned a while back you bought some. See you on the next DROP!