New! Sylvanian Families Courtyard Restaurant

11 Feb

The Sylvanian Families Courtyard Restaurant arrived in the country a few weeks ago, adding to the limited number of SF buildings currently available in the local market. Thanks to a tip from my friend Harriet, I was able to get the Courtyard Restaurant from Kidz Station Rockwell within a week of its arrival.

I’ve had ample opportunity to compare the original Courtyard Restaurant with the replica (aka a knockoff) which was sold last year in toy shops. Original Sylvanian Families buildings, figures, and accessories are distributed by their authorized country distributor, Ban Kee Trading. The Courtyard Restaurant retails for PhP4199.75, which might seem a little steep for a toy, but not when compared to prices from other countries. (HongKong sells it for HKD880 or about PhP5300; it is available in Malaysia for MYR 349.99 or about PhP4800). The replica, on the other hand, is sold under the name “Sweet Home,”  comes at a fraction of the price of the original (roughly 35% of the cost), and does look very similar. I have not seen it in toy stores in a while but it was widely available for a time last year.

At first glance, one sees that the products are packaged very differently. Still, while there is no direct attempt to link the replica with the original product, the similarities are all too obvious. Even the perspective of the photos seen in the front of the boxes are the same.  

Packaging

The weight and the heft of the items, however, are different. The original SF restaurant weighs a bit more than the replica. The replica’s plastic  construction is also less thick and more brittle than the solid heft of the original toy.

Arrows point to differences

Doors are different, even the awning's color is off

There are basic differences in coloring too. As you can see in the pictures above, there are color differences in windows, posts, doors, and even the courtyard flooring.  

The replica comes with a lot of furniture not available in the real Courtyard Restaurant. Unfortunately, they are nowhere near Sylvanian Families standard in looks and construction, with the exception of the tables and chairs which attempt to mimic the original. They look almost the same except for minor details in the design. The replica is also of a deeper shade of yellow than the muted yellow of the original.

If replicas serve any purpose at all, perhaps it’s to drive down the cost of  originals, though this has yet to happen with this particular toy line. We’ve seen it happen with music CDs and DVDs, even with Transformer toys where the older stocks are always on sale.  Competition in the market always benefits the consumer  in the end. Then, too, in this particular case, replicas have the advantage of being easily customizable with paints, something I dare not do with the originals (wallpaper is as far as I will go). 

I don’t recommend buying bootlegs or replicas; there is no arguing that originals are always much better than their copies. Issues of safety, quality control, and manufacturer’s guarantees usually fly out the window when replicas are concerned. You see toys laced with lead, make-up tainted with mercury, and you wonder why people still buy replicas, even when differences in costs are only marginal. If you’re buying for a child, especially a younger child who still mouths or gums things, then it’s always best to stay away from the unknown. Remember that toxic paints leach and brittle plastic gets broken and accidentally swallowed. Moreover, if you’re buying something that is eaten, absorbed, or applied to the body, then why risk it at all?

~0~

My rating: (out of 5 stars)

Sweet Home:

SF Courtyard Restaurant:

Advertisements

13 Responses to “New! Sylvanian Families Courtyard Restaurant”

  1. moodswings February 11, 2010 at 1:25 pm #

    Very good review on the Courtyard restaurant and bootleg version!

    • Kittymama February 11, 2010 at 10:34 pm #

      Thanks, shobe! 🙂 Hugs!

  2. Nancy February 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm #

    I saw it too Mare few minutes ago…I dropped by at TK in Virra Mall..thanks for the review. Good thing I don’t mouth or teethed toys anymore hahaha 🙂

    • Kittymama February 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm #

      Isn’t it lovely? The Courtyard Restaurant is very beautiful and even the bootleg version has its charm. 🙂 Yeah, it’s a good thing we don’t mouth or teeth toys anymore, hehe.

  3. Vivi February 11, 2010 at 4:07 pm #

    I have just bought 2 different furniture sets for my girls last week when I took them out grocery shopping at Puregold (San pablo). It’s the Sweet Home brand, at only 50 bucks a set. 😉 I have yet to check if the store also offers a house to go with the furniture though. I’d rather “train” my girls with the replicas first before making them play with the “be-careful-with-that-expensive-SF-stuff”. heheh. 😉 Good thing they’re both past the teething stage na. 🙂
    Great timing ka talaga sis! 😉 Thanks for the first-hand review. 🙂

    • Kittymama February 11, 2010 at 10:48 pm #

      Hi, Vivi! SF has a small starter home with a few furniture (mini-kitchen, bed, table and two chairs) your girls will surely enjoy. It even has a rabbit sister figure. But I guess you’re right; you really do have to see whether their interest in these toys will be sustained over time. I remember buying Alex a lot of Legos but it turned out to be very short-lived interest. It was just money wasted.

      Hope the girls enjoy their doll furniture. Wish I could play with them one day! 🙂

  4. harriet jara February 13, 2010 at 2:45 am #

    hi kittymama,

    read your review. nice! of course original will always be the best rather than the replica…but at some point even how much you want to have the original, but it will cost you a fortune, why suffer? eh?! =) may SF ka nga gutom ka naman!? right? hehehehe!!! sa pasko na lang ulit! may bonus pa! hehehehe!!!!!

    • Kittymama February 13, 2010 at 9:50 am #

      It actually took a lot of saving before I got my restaurant; fortunately, I had really been saving for any new items that might come out in the new year. Now, I am wiped out again (boohoo!) but with a little more self-control, I might just be able to fill up my Kittybank again. 🙂

      It’s the difference in costs between these two items that really dictate how well replicas are received in this market. Our SFs are comparatively cheaper but we have less choices than our foreign friends. In the end, it’s always a choice. 🙂

  5. Premium White Pro Review March 1, 2010 at 12:20 pm #

    Very good blog post I love your site keep up the great posts

    • Kittymama March 9, 2010 at 9:29 am #

      Thank you!

  6. iceklicky March 7, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi Kittymama,
    Thanks for the review. I am just wondering would Epoch do anything about getting rid of the replica from the market?
    As I think the replica would somehow demaged the brand name…

    • Kittymama March 9, 2010 at 9:34 am #

      Iceklicky, there are many replicas of SFs being sold in the market, all with different names and brands. Some are blatantly upfront about copying the original, others less so. I don’t know if Epoch is considering action on these replica makers but I really would not worry. They do have a solid grasp of the market. As long as new items come in, SF collectors will continue to want their products. The only real benefit I could think of for having these replicas is in the way they affect market prices, but in this case, they seem to have little effect.

  7. iceklicky March 27, 2010 at 11:24 am #

    Hi Kittymama,
    haha, I agree too!!!! 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: