Follow TV Tropes


Off Model / Toys

Go To
"Buzz Lightyear to the rescue! Or more sort of a Herp Lightyear..."

"Starlight though... what the hay? I think that's actually Starlight's weird otherwise-unseen cousin trying to impersonate her and failing, or maybe a Changeling that's having an off day. Other releases of her are downright awesome, so why does this one look so wrong?"
— An internet comment on this Starlight Glimmer toy (note the unicorn on the box, which its colors barely resemble)

With most countries flourishing in the free market, they sell a truckload of toys to tiny tots and toddlers everywhere. However, for every well-modeled Transformer, there will be a few misshapen ones to take its place for a cheaper price. Whether they have flimsy plastic, terrible paint jobs, if they were outsourced from a decrepit factory, or maybe they were apathetic... here are some toys that will ensure your children will have nightmares tonight.



  • The Fall Out Boy talking plushies suffer from this. Ironically, they were made by SOTA Toys, which churned out the on-model action figures only a few years before they made the plushies.
  • Transformers: Generation 1 may have had a reputation of being this trope in both comic and cartoon formats, but it should also go with saying that the figures themselves are not immune due to their heritage of being from different lines, not to mention that all the toys pre-1986 were made before the cartoon:
    • Ironhide and Ratchet, for instance, have proper heads in all non-toy related material, but their original action figures don't. This is because the original figures were made in Japan for a different purpose, before the concept of Transformers ever came into play. Those figures were meant to be "armor" used by human pilots, but the idea was shelved when the toys were re-worked into transforming robots. In fact, there are even Bot-con and fan surrogate modifications that can be applied to these toys to give them actual heads.
    • Some other noticeable ones include Swoop not being the same color as his cartoon model (he was in the predecessor line Diaclone however), many characters (Trailbreaker, Bumblebee, Mixmaster of the Constructicons) having mouthplates instead of proper mouths and Galvatron being grey instead of purple (this was corrected in a (Japan-only) re-release in 2005).
      • Jetfire is an interesting case, going from his VF-1 form to a generic jet between the toy release and show, with also a completely different head. This was actually done on purpose by Hasbro to not potentially upset their Japanese partner Takara, as the toy Jetfire was licensed from belonged to their direct competitors, going as far as to rename him "Skyfire" and scarcing his appearances.
    • Advertisement:
    • Due to the difference in economic realities and lead times - a given 'Deluxe' sized toy will be twice the price and released later in Japan - toys released by Takara will usually have more paint apps and generally be more show accurate compared to their Hasbro counterparts. This can range from car stripes being a slightly different color to a totally new deco.
    • Recently (2010-2012) third party companies have started developing cartoon accurate figures or accessories that fit specific toys or toylines. The "heads" for Ironhide and Ratchet are an example. Some of these companies went even further and released knock offs of the original toys in cartoon accurate colors (KO Diaclone Blue Swoop being an example related below). There's a lot of controversy in the fandom about this, to say the least.
    • Some of the earliest toy commercials (which included animated segments) were off-model in a different way: Technically, they were on-model, but to models completely different from those used in the cartoon. For example, Megatron's early model was based on a prototype of the Micro Change toy that would become Megatron, resulting in it having a black head and some other differences. Jetfire was also based on his toy, rather than the "Skyfire" design seen in the cartoon.
  • Speaking of Transformers toylines, The Beast Machines line was infamous for its lack of show accuracy among most of its characters between the two mediums. Some of its problems include:
    • Scale issues. While the whole franchise never kept scale between characters consistent, let alone knew what such a term meant, this toyline had it the worst. For instance, Tankor, one of the largest characters in the show, was only sold as a not-as-large Mega class toy. Meanwhile, Nightscream, one of the smallest, was given a figure that was in scale with quite literally no one else.
    • The designs, which were often wildly different from the show's interpretations of the same character. Some (like Optimus Primal and Cheetor) would receive several figures that looked nothing like the show made them out to be. Especially guilty was Silverbolt, who not only had a completely different color scheme, but bore no resemblance to a condor in his alternate formnote .
    • Supreme Cheetor was hyped up to be the most show-accurate representation of the character to date, but ended up being the least even by the toyline's low standards. The figure was covered with translucent green patches, the proportions were wildly inaccurate, and the paint job was off (the normally purple spots in the show became black). And that's before you get into the nightmare-inducing face he was given. While the Mega sized figure wasn't accurate either, it at least wasn't lying about it.
    • A problem common across many, many figures - The box art renders often have the connected pieces, in particular the ball joints, contorted into positions where the shape of the joint itself would get in the way. For example, a socket for a ball joint turned on its side, which causes the ball joint to collide with the cups for the socket. Examples in the second post on this thread.
    • An issue regarding a discrepancy between what's on the box versus the figure itself: the chest-piece that Hydraxon is shown wearing in just about every piece of promo material simply doesn't exist — it's a slightly remodelled version of the "webbed Piraka foot" piece, but the toy has the regular one.
    • Bizarrely, the instruction booklet for the 2005 Oohnorak set uses a short ball-socket connector to attach the front legs to, but the toy comes with the longer version. So the toy looks a bit different than the picture in the booklet.
    • The instructions and promo pic for the Sea Spider combiner model can't seem to agree whether to use the two orange see-through "eye" pieces as claws on the spider's back legs or as its mandibles. It's uncertain which one is off model, though.
    • In this CGI promotional groupshot of the Piraka sets, Vezok's left upper arm is missing its spine-extension/armor.
    • Krekka's boxart places his eyes into what would probably be his nostrils... the artist either wasn't told that his real eye is supposed to be that red LEGO piece next to his head, or the decision to make it so came after the image was done.
    • Keetongu's left thigh armor is put on upside-down on his boxart.
    • Similarly, the armor piece on Toa Ignika's right upper-arm has the wrong end facing up on the picture on the back of his box.
    • 2007 was when LEGO decided to design each canister-set to be wholly unique instead of being clones of each other. The playsets of that year ("normal" LEGO sets with Bionicle Minifigures) however all used the same basic bodies, and only produced six headsculpts for the eleven characters (the twelfth, Carapar, didn't receive a Minifig at all). Most baffling, some of the sets gave even those characters the wrong head who've actually had their own sculpts. To wit:
      • Nuparu had his own unique headsculpt, but it was never used to represent himself. Nuparu was released as a Hahli Minifig with its torso colored silver and its mask colored black, when it should have been the other way around. As a bonus, his eyes were incorrectly printed onto the mask's forehead slots. This printing error was carried over to the actual Hahli figure.
      • Hewkii was released both as his own figure with a grey/black torso instead of yellow and two hands (his normal toy only had one) and a yellow Nuparu with incorrect blue eyes and the same miscolored torso.
      • Matoro and Kongu were also reuses of the Nuparu mold. The former had a silver torso and white head (should be the opposite) and green eyes instead of orange, and the latter had red instead of green eyes, and a silver torso instead of a green one.
      • Ehlek received an extra eye and lost his characteristic spines because his Minifig was just Kalmah's colored green. Ehlek's eyes also changed from blue to red, despite Lego using blue paint when this print was used for Kalmah.
      • Jaller became a red-colored Hewkii with blue eyes in place of green.
      • Takadox was released both as his own fig and a blue-colored Mantax.
      • Pridak became a white Takadox with blue instead of red color accents, and lost his distinct shark fins and long feet.
    • Two of the Toa Inika figurines, Hahli and Kongu, released as part of a '06 Nestlé cereal promotion looked nothing like their true figures. They don't resemble any character, in fact. Here's "Kongu" and here's Kongu. Images surfacing in 2020 finally revealed these figurines were designed after very, very early prototype concept sketches rather than the finished models. Oddly, they're still off model anyway, since the green figurine was based on the brown figure's concept art.
    • Radiak's CGI promo image has a twisted torso with the limbs and head not even connected to it properly. Looks like someone moved it to the side for the render, but left everything else where it was.
    • In some of Kopaka's CGI images (made available on promotional disks in 2001), he's missing many of his gray parts, like his gears, his connectors, and his head. His mask is quite visibly floating in the air above his neck. Most early promo art suffered from weird clipping and rigging errors as well, especially with regards to the toys' "joints", seeing as they mostly had rigid limbs with purely decorative "pistons" that never looked right when depicted as bendable arms and legs in CGI (special mention going to Lewa's painfully deforming left arm). These problems were later mostly ironed out with more articulated toy designs and CGI advancements.
    • About half of the 2005 Toa Hordika Minifigures have their arms mirrored (should be oversized right arm and puny left arm for all of them), and Onewa's figure has huge, protruding cheeks. On boxart, many of them also have their eyes misdrawn.
    • The Mask of Life piece, included with the 2008 Toa Ignika and 2009 giant-sized Toa Mata Nui sets, is off model due to the faulty sculpting of its connection port making the mask attach to the heads at a slight angle.
    • The Gukko bird looks different on its boxart than in the building instructions. Four pieces that are meant to lend it a sleeker outline are facing the wrong way in the latter, technically making this awkward looking version the more official one.
    • The Barraki toys were evidently finalized very late in production, because numerous media depict them in various stages of development. Some store displays, online games and character animations feature an abandoned design for their squid launchers and other equipment. Pridak has red eyes and his blades are missing half of their accents on the cover of his manual and on the back of his box. The tail of the squid ammo in his hand is also absent on the former due to a rendering error — these were fixed on his front boxart. Carapar's armor appears solid yellow instead of a blend between yellow and a darker transparent color in some images. And Kalmah is shown with a wrong foot-piece in practically every promo image.
    • The mini promo model "Good Guy" from 2006 has a different blade in promo shots that what's included with it. Since the figure is just a zero-effort freebie item that some Lego worker threw together from spare parts, fans tend to disagree on which blade is the "correct" one.
  • BIONICLE (2015):
    • The Mask of Creation on the Hero Pack's packaging uses an outdated prototype design which looks nothing like the actual mask.
    • In one of the 2015 promo images, depicting Kulta (or "Skull Grinder") clashing with Ekimu and Tahu, Kulta's neck piece is oddly rotated to the side, while his head remains floating in place, attached to nothing.
    • The background of Lava Beast's box-art shows Tahu in his 2015 Master design instead of his 2016 Uniter form. While some have speculated that this might have story significance, like maybe he reverts to his previous look when his mask is taken off and corrupted, no such event happened in the story, nor did his mask get poisoned.
    • The 2016 TV commercial advertised an abandoned design for the Mask of Control.
  • Usually invoked with plush toys due to their chibiness, which is often shown with a lack of or simplified facial features such as eyes or noses.
  • There are many toy lines based on films and video games that feature notoriously bad likenesses to the characters they are supposed to be based on, even after more advanced scanning and sculpting techniques generally made it easier to duplicate the likeness of an actor or computer model in action figure form.
  • The Hawkeye figure from the Avengers Assemble line. Since it's just a repaint of the Jeremy Renner Hawkeye figure from The Avengers, it just looks like movie Hawkeye with some purple paint splashed on his costume, rather than his actual outfit from the show.
  • Neither the plush toy, or doll (which is creepy in its own right) of Vanellope von Schweetz have the exact bits of candy in their hair. The plush toy for instance, actually has less candy, and both have the wrong color mints (white & red, instead of the green & brown in the film proper). The eyes are also wrong on both as well.
  • This page (as well as several pages linked on it) details how various toys and such based off of the Sonic the Hedgehog series have gone wrong, generally in this way. Highlights include various characters inexplicably dressed as everything from pirates to some sort of stereotypical nerd with plaid overalls, the oddly frequent "two mouths" problem, Shadow's left hand being accidentally replaced with a foot, and Amy with unevenly-sized eyes.
  • Until the new series started, toys based on Doctor Who were frequently off-model. In The '60s Louis Marx gave us perfectly conical Daleks, and in The '80s Dapol became notorious for the five-sided TARDIS console, the two-armed Davros, and Mike Gambit dressed as the Fourth Doctor.
  • Some of the second-wave Slizer sets are wearing RoboRiders visors on the promos on the back of the boxes, even the name Onyx is clearly visible on them. Curiously, Onyx and the rest of the RoboRiders weren't even available when these came out. Also, in the mini-comics included with the sets, the artist often interpreted their flip-up visors as the Slizers' mouths.
  • Some official amiibos had bad paint jobs or modeling. Most infamously, a Princess Peach amiibo was sold without her legs.
  • Most toys and other merchandise of Apple Dumplin' from the 2003 Strawberry Shortcake line had the character with yellow hair, despite her hair being the same ginger color as her big sister Strawberry on the television series. This may have been done to try to distinguish her in merchandise from her similar-looking sister, but ultimately it annoyed quite a few fans of the series.
  • Tamagotchi: For a long time, Mametchi was depicted in LCD form with Black Bead Eyes instead of the larger, almond-shaped eyes he has in official art. This was eventually fixed in later models.
  • General Grievous from the LEGO Star Wars Buildable Figure line has a pair of extra toes.
  • This sometimes happens with My Little Pony, most often the Generation 4 toys. The most infamous is probably Pink Celestia (Princess Celestia is supposed to be whitenote , but that's not what the toy stores wanted). Princess Luna is pretty much never accurately depicted in standard brushable form. Daisy (known as Flower Wishes in the toy line) is an Earth pony in every depiction... except her Cutie Mark Magic brushable, which is a pegasus. Factory errors can also be rather interesting, attaching one pony's head to another pony's body or giving them the wrong Cutie Mark. The small "blind bag" figures sometimes have rather noticeable paint errors, and the "Favorites Collection" release of Lyra Heartstrings frequently has uneven eyes.
  • A lot of Disney Princess, or just plain Frozen period, merchandise uses a stock image of Elsa using an earlier, unpolished model. The model is notably off model compared to the finalized Elsa. That stock image was actually the first leaked image of Elsa's final design, which caused fan outrage due to how "ugly" Elsa looked. Elsa was received much better when her final model was shown off. Nowadays people probably don't wince at the image however it does still look off, especially her eyes.
  • This Super-Deformed plush toy of Charizard from Pokémon resembles a Palette Swap of Bulbasaur, a completely unrelated Pokémon, rather than the creature it's supposed to represent.
  • The Nightmare Bonnie figure from Funko's Five Nights at Freddy's line of 5'' figures has white eyes with light blue pupils rather than the black/dark blue eyes with light blue pupils of his video game counterpart.
  • Due to the turn around time required for toy production, the MCU figures from Hasbro's Marvel Legends line are usually based on preliminary concept art. This sometimes leads to inaccuracies, such as the Spider-Man figure from Captain America: Civil War having sculpted webs and the wrong chest emblem, or War Machine from Avengers: Endgame having the completely wrong color scheme.
  • There's a talking Rugrats toy of Tommy that has a red shirt (instead of his signature blue). Tommy wore a red shirt in the two pilot episodes so you'd think this would be a piece of Early Draft Tie-In, except the toy is from 1999.
  • The Kellytoy Super Mario Bros are memetically known for having the bare minimal quality control, resulting in toys that look different from one another. This is because they were designed to be carnival toys. Until 2002, Mario had black eyes instead of blue eyes. Wario also has an oddly shaped face with a huge smile and Donkey Kong's mouth and eye-ridge are frequently poorly stuffed.
  • Play-By-Play has very off model plushes from franchises such as Sonic The Hedgehog and Super Mario Bros. They're so off that they look like bootlegs. For example, one of their Mario plushes has absurdly large and fluffy eyebrows and their Funky Kong plush has a huge, gaping mouth.
  • On the Giga Pets digital pet toy based on Rugrats, the design of the Chuckie sprite is simplified from his actual appearance in the cartoon (probably on purpose due to the device's technical limitations), and it shows pretty blatantly. For starters, his clothes are completely featureless apart from a little spot on one of the corners, and his nose is missing.
  • There was a tabletop game of Super Mario Bros. whose artwork of the characters were not quite right. Peach's dress is green instead of pink, Bowser's skin was completely green instead of yellow/orange, and a Koopa Troopa on one of the cards has green skin on its legs and its head is a peach color when both should actually be yellow. The Koopa example stands out since the box itself has a Koopa Paratroopa (Koopa Troopas with wings) whose skin is colored correctly.