(14/01/14 Updated with thanks to Specimen-17 and Jim for comments)
Right, I have had my hands on this guy for a while and I know a lot of people have bought him unaware that he is a KO. So here is a quick comparison to help you spot if that ebay loose Sunstreaker is original Hasbro\Takara (84 or Classics release) or not. I’m not doing the box as that has been covered by other people who enjoy such things :D. So let’s start with a picture! (click the pic if you want full size)
Out of the box in car mode, the biggest difference with both in front of me is the shade of yellow. Now I know that paint can fade over time but the original SS has good paint condition with consistant colour underneath and for the plastic. The reproduction is simply a brighter yellow. This is a dead giveaway, with the original being far more of a sandy shade and the KO a deeper and on the underside slightly greener shade. The paint application is also far thicker as you can see. The panel lines are less apparent and although it looks good, it comes across as slightly cheap looking. Chrome wise you cannot fault it, looks great, again a slighly different tinge, similar to the Mirage KO but not enough to notice or bother me.
The face is a very very good reproduction, although, the eyes are painted smaller, the paint not as smooth and the area of yellow on the “ears being smaller and with the depth of the lines being different. You should also be able to see the difference in tyres on the above picture, with the silver wheels being smaller on the KO and the tyres being fatter.
On the underside you can see the greenish tinge to the paint on my particular KO. You can see the manufacturer stamps shown above, They differ from my original SS, but I do not know if they are the same as other versions. Showing Hasbro 85, Takara 85 and JAPAN. The bottom black plate seems to be remoulded from scratch, with the detail being slightly different sizes and postion. You can also see the addition of two moulded circles on the underside of the cockpit on the KO which are not present on my original. Now for a nice big giveaway!!
As you can see in the above picture, a totally different colour for the plastic is used on the roof piece. Instead of a smokey plastic it is a fully transparent construct. This should be the easiest way, apart from the colour to tell a KO!
Following information from Specimen-17 and Jim in the comments, the last major difference between my copies are in fact differences between original Takara release molds.
Compare the two black areas, either side of the cockpit. Compared to my original the KOs are totally different, with long nobbly bits in different places, a different amount of small nobbles and some different detail just for fun. Again it seems to be that this not an indicator of being a KO, but an indicator of two different Takara molds with the classics release possibly coming from a Diaclone mold. Any extra input on this would be good.
The final real obvious difference is above, and that is the shoulder joints. On the KO the metal rod is far more visible as the black shoulder pieces again look like they were made from scratch.
I have no particular axe to grind with these KOs and I’m not going to get into the ethical argument, this comparison has been made with my original Sunstreaker. If you have spotted other differences or believe I have marked something on the KO incorrectly (as it is present on your version of the original), please comment.
Thanks, and I hope you found this useful!