opt1musaber from TFW put together this ID Guide:
1* Compared to the original, the "KO" is a lot sharper whereas the original is more blurred.
2* The lines shown in the original are missing on the "KO"
3* The shadowing is more pronounced on the "KO" than the original.
4* Car reflection on "KO" is missing compared to original.
5* Sideswipe's reflection in robot mode has less contrast in colours than the original, it looks more dull. There's also a section of the car mode in the reflection that is unclear unlike the original. The original you can clearly see the reflection of the car mode
Additionally, look at the positioning of the word "MASTERPIECE" under the TF logo. It's further right on the counterfeit and almost touches the tiny "More than meets the eye" text.
Lastly, in the part labeled "5", there is a small black area that used to have the car mode reflection there. A lot of the differences listed above are just grays turned into black, but this small black area seems totally new, and makes it really easy to spot.
Here's a quick tip for IDing CHMS Classics Rodimus. Look at the back of the figure between the spoiler pieces....
This piece is also visible on the bottom of vehicle mode. Note the KO is lacking some of the details of the original, like the two circles in the middle. Just thought I'd pass the tip along in case anyone is having trouble differentiating them, especially with all the weird test shots currently floating around of this mold, some legit, some not.
If you blinked, you may have missed the KO Smokescreen that came out a couple months ago. Searching around on Taobao and ioffer, I can't find anybody selling it right now, so it seems like they did not produce very many. Scratchdesk bought one when they were available, and made a great ID guide you can check out here:
The Gnaw ID Guide has been updated to add some more differences and better pictures:
It took almost a decade, but someone finally got busted for selling the "replica" KO TFs.
News reports and a video report that two people were caught by Hong Kong authorities selling Transformers knockoffs. The video reportedly shows some counterfeit G1 TFs, and the Chimungmung web page. The news reports indicate that the forged Trademarks ("Transformers", "Hasbro", etc.) is what got them in trouble.
The Chimungmung main site has been taken down temporarily. You can still get to it from another URL, where all the knockoffs have been taken down and a message says they will sell "authentic" products now. More info in this thread here:
After a brief hiatus, it looks like the KOs are back. Computron and Abominus are apparently out right now. Computron uses the same box as the version 2 scam box in the ID Guide linked to below. Abominus comes in an English-language gift set, which never existed before, so it should be easy to spot. Scorponok is slated for July.
Edit--Correction: looks like the two boxed combiners may not be out just yet. Haven't seen any on Taobao so far, at least. Will keep you guys posted.
On closer investigation, there are TWO fake Computron boxes. One was used to scam people into buying "MIB" Computrons, and the other was sold as a reproduction box on its own. More details here:
Here's some surprisingly news. In December 2012, AFA graded a Ravage/Rumble counterfeit as a real vintage Transformers toy. You can see it here:
It's too bad they didn't look at the ID guide on this site before authenticating the item. The last time this happened that we know of was back around 2006, so they've had a pretty good track record up to this point. That said, if you are claiming to be the experts in toy authentication, this should really never happen, ever.
When people emailed AFA to point out the problem, they got this response:
AFA stands behind all graded and authenticated items that later prove to be inauthentic or otherwise should not have been graded. This happens on very rare occasions. We are aware of the latest one on eBay, and that auction was ended.
Our graders conduct lengthy and thorough research, and we make every effort to see that errors do not occur. That said, on the rare occasion that something like that happens, again, we guarantee each and every grading and authentication.
Please let us know if you have further questions. We appreciate your support and trust in our company.
People agree that this response is pretty confusing. They seem to admit they screwed up, but they "stand behind" and "guaruntee" the authentication? Oh well...