Suggested Age: 3+
Pieces: T-Rex – 54 / Velociraptor – 51 / Pterodactyl – 120
Casual Build Time: T-Rex – 15 mins / Velociraptor – 15 mins / Pterodactyl – 30 mins
Today I’m going to look at something a bit different. For a stocking filler this year, I was given three boxes of knock-off LEGO. The brand is “Blox” from the popular UK department store, Wilko. These kits are supposedly compatible with LEGO for a fraction of the price. I thought it’d be interesting to build my three kits – a T-Rex, a Velociraptor and a Pterodactyl – to see how they compare.
Here’s a look at what came in each box:
First, let’s address that age range. Please don’t give these kits to your three year old, they’re really not suitable. The pieces are actually surprisingly sharp and very hard to clip together. I managed to scrape the skin off my thumb on one of them and my palms were really sore by the time that I’d finished making all three. LEGO never recommend that you give a kit to anyone over the age of five, I really don’t think Blox should be either.
I also want to point out the first glaring error. As you might be able to tell from the photos, each kit states a number of pieces on the box but a different number on the instruction sheet. This lack of care was the first thing to spark warning bells. Immediately, I don’t even know how many pieces the build is supposed to be!
The instructions of these kits are also really hard to follow. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by the clarity of LEGO manuals but 90% of my build time was spent just trying to get my head around these. Sometimes, they even got the block colours wrong! So much time was spent looking for a pale grey piece in the Pterodactyl kit that didn’t actually exist. It should also be noted that only the Pterodactyl came with any spare pieces, so be sure not to lose any!
I guess now we should probably look at each of the finished products in turn:
Of course it’s a T-Rex, use your imagination! As you can tell, my big disappointment with this kit is that its weak hip joints can’t support the weight of its body at all, thus poor Rexy sits at a permanent slump. I rather like his colourful spikes (though pretty sure T-Rexes didn’t have these) and the way his jaw is hinged but everything about this kit is otherwise a bit sad. He’s not the Tyrant Lizard King. He’s just a world-weary frog.
The raptor is slightly better as you can at least get him to sit a bit straighter. Again, I’m not really sure what the design team were going for with this. The most distinctive feature of a Velociraptor is its claw, yet obviously this is what this kit is missing. It is noticeably more dinosaur-like than the T-Rex, though I personally think it looks a bit more like a Gallimimus. It’s not really predatory enough to be a raptor.
Now that’s more like it! The Pterodactyl does at least look the part with its long talons, yellow beak and very poseable wings. While it was a pain to put together, I do think the finished product looks good sitting on my shelf. Yet as a toy, it’s a bit rubbish. It’s not as durable as you would like. Although that tail looks multi-joined, it snaps in half easily if you try to bend it.
The Pterodactyl was also the only kit to come with a prop, in the form of a little square with some grass and boulders. It should be noted that the boulders are slightly weighted, but do not clip down. If you’re intending to display this, take care not to knock them or you’ll never see them again.
So, all in all this has been a lesson in “you get what you pay for”. Blox are very cheap compared to LEGO, but are no where near as high quality. LEGO wins for durability, ease of construction and clear instructions. No contest.