We haven’t been seeing a lot of Lego knockoffs recently. XINH, one of the biggest Minifigure brands, has stopped copying Lego designs, for example. I think this is great in general because it’ll encourage collectors to go for original Lego Minifigures for the original designs and then just have the Lego-compatible brands like XINH, Kopf, WM, etc. as supplementary Minifigures for their collections.
In this mini-review though, we’re gonna look at a brand that still makes Lego knockoffs or fake Minifigures. This brand is Ming Ge, also known as Ming Grid, and not to be confused with Megao because they’re both known as MG. Before reading the paragraphs below, can you tell which side is MG and which is Lego?
If you don’t have the originals by your side (and assuming their images aren’t imprinted on your mind yet), you might not be able to tell the MG Minifigures apart from the original Lego Minifigures. However, if you had them on hand, it would still be obvious that the higher quality Minifigures, in terms of print and plastic, are the ones from Lego. Ming Ge’s Iron Man helmets also had some “face prints” that were sometimes a bit too small or not as centered as Lego’s.
Note that, based on my own experience, Ming Ge is one of the better knockoff brands out there in terms of print and plastic quality. (I might also review the new POGO knockoffs alongside their counterpart official Lego Marvel Collectible Minifigures.)
These Ming Ge Minifigures, if you can find them online, are worth around ~USD1.00 each, if not lower. The Lego Minifigure counterparts are worth much more and in reality, you would have to buy the boxed sets they’re included in. However, you can still buy them as individual Minifigures from sellers all over the internet. For other countries though, this really isn’t a viable option because there might not be many sellers and/or shipping costs will inflate the price of the Minifigures.
With just one Rescue Armor Minifigure, you could already get the 5 MG Minifigures we compared, with around 2 more “fake” Minifigures to purchase.
Am I saying that you should get MG over Lego? Not necessarily. If you can afford Lego Minifigures, get those instead. The quality is much better and you’ll be supporting the people who worked on the designs more directly. Additionally, Lego Minifigures will hold their value in case you ever feel like selling your collection. It’s also best to buy these specific designs now, while they’re at peak supply because that will mean lower prices. (Unless they get re-released in the future, then their prices will definitely lower, but I doubt that for these specific characters as they’re not “mainstream” designs.)
However, it’s great to know that there are cheaper options out there for collectors who prefer “Lego designs” over third-party custom Minifigure designs. It’s also worth noting that these brands’ target markets aren’t really western or 1st-world countries but are instead targeting lower-income nations. For lots of people, especially in 3rd-world countries, having knockoffs is still a blessing for collectors on a budget. For example, in the Philippines, Lego Collectible Minifigures (in blind bags) are around PHP300 (~USD5.75) each and the daily minimum wage is around PHP500 (~USD9.60). Of course, others will argue that if you’re on the minimum wage (or lower), you shouldn’t be looking at collecting Lego in the first place; while this does make sense, isn’t that a bit low-spirited to say? As a collector who enjoys collecting, I want others to feel the same joy I do, no matter what income bracket they’re in.
On a personal note, I tend to purchase Lego Minifigures over fake Minifigures [when I spot good deals from fellow collectors or when I have e-commerce vouchers] in addition to the new and unique designs we’ve been getting from Lego-compatible or Lego-alternative Minifigure brands.
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