Here’s an alternate model I built from the Oxford Sherman set. It’s a futuristic drone tank.
It’s been a while since I last reviewed a set from Five Below. Too long, in fact. It’s time to come back with a vengeance. I’ve got a review of not one, but two sets to make up for the absence!
First up, we’ve got a set from the Brix Dino Park theme.
If you keep tabs on cheapo building toys, this box art might look familiar. That’s because it’s identical to the box art for one of the Block Tech dino sets! Here’s a video review of the set in question. I’m guessing these “Brix” sets are Block Tech sets re-badged for Five Below. The bottom of this box says the set is made by RMS International, just like the Block Tech set I reviewed. The back of the box re-uses the box art and advertises the “unique multifunctional characters!” All that’s in the box is a bag of parts and the instruction leaflet.
I usually don’t say anything about a set’s instructions, but this set’s instructions were tiny. The small instructions made building this simple set harder that it should have been.
The figure is almost identical to the Block Tech figures I reviewed. This one has a bit less molded detail since he’s a regular human instead of a superhero though. The “Dino Park” emblem on the torso is a nice detail. All the parts are decent quality. It’s a decent figure.
The dino doesn’t even get close to decency. While the part quality isn’t that bad, the parts are used to build a flimsy & dopey dinosaur.
Even if the dino wasn’t ugly, it has a major design flaw that keeps it from being a good toy. The two halves of he body are connected by a single plate. The connection is far too loose. The front of the dino wants to separate from the rear half. There should have been a 1×2 plate under the spikes on the dino’s back to keep this from happening.
To make matters worse, neither the figure nor the dinosaur are anything like what’s pictured on the box. The legal doesn’t include the usual “styles and colors may vary” boilerplate, so someone could probably sue about this. At least there are 73 parts in the set. (I checked!)
I wouldn’t recommend this set, even if the part quality isn’t that bad. The other sets in this range might be better, but this one is garbage.
Hopefully the other set I picked up is better.
AF-3 D-33 Bomber
This box looks more exciting, but there are some signs it could be bad. Some of the parts are loose in the box photo, and the photo is reversed.
The back of the box gives us some details on the D-33 bomber. I’m not an expert on military aircraft, so I looked the plane up. If my cursory web search is to be believed, the D-33 bomber doesn’t exist. No idea where they’re getting it’s history if that’s true. The legal information on the bottom of the box just says that the set is manufactured by Five Below. No information on the manufacturer. Here’s what’s in the box.
When I started building the set, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the parts were high quality! They weren’t on par with Lego, but they were close. The studs show the source of the quality. The set was manufactured by Kazi, one of the best Chinese brick bootleggers. For some reason, only about half of the parts have the Kazi logo on them. They all have the same level of quality, though.
The set doesn’t have any stickers, just printed parts!
The design of the “pilot” figure is awkward, even if the parts are high quality. The figure’s torso and legs connect via a single stud like a Kreon. The helmet seems to be a bootleg of the Minifig.cat BK1X helmet. The helmet is compatible with Lego figures, and vice-versa.
There isn’t any compatibility between the figure and the jet, but it’s still a good build. It’s fairly detailed, even if it doesn’t have a cockpit. (Maybe that’s what the radome style structure on the top is supposed to be?) There are 4 “machine guns” mounted on click hinges on the plane.
I like this set a lot, and I might return to pick up the other sets in the military series.
MB has made most of the drones from Call of Duty: Black Ops II into sets, with the exception of the Escort Drone. I decided to try my hand at making one.
I don’t have any Mega Bloks propellers small enough to work as a tail rotor, so this drone is out of control.
(Just like all the US drones at the end of the game.)
Ready for deployment!
I have more pictures in my Mediafire gallery: Link.
Recently I went to Target and saw some cheap boxes of Block Tech minifigures. I didn’t have any experience with the brand, so I bought a couple boxes to try them out. I picked up a set with Avengers knockoffs and a set with soldiers, but there were a couple other varieties. The City Heroes set had the usual cops, a fireman, a construction worker, and a doctor. The other superheroes set had knockoffs of Nightwing, Human Torch, Storm Shadow, and Iceman. (As well as a generic pink heroine.)
Superheroes & Combat Heroes
The each box has a window to show off the figures inside and a render of the figures printed on the front. Unfortunately, the render on the superheroes box looks better than the actual product.
The render of the combat heroes figures shows them wearing helmets with chin straps. The actual figures don’t have those. Whoops.
Inside each box is a plastic tray to hold the figures and a cardboard backer. There aren’t any extras like instructions or accessories, just the figures. Since the figures are the only things in these sets, they must be pretty good, right?
The figures’ build quality is surprisingly good. The molding, printing, and feel of the plastic is decent all around. However, the figures have plenty of flaws. For one, the articulation is limited. While the figures have the same number of articulation points as a Lego figure, their elbow joints don’t lend themselves to dynamic posing. The shape of the hands limits compatibility with accessories, since they have to slot in from the top, not clip in from the front.
The sculpt of the figures isn’t that good either. The most obnoxious part is the head, which has a sculpted nose and ears that keep headgear from attaching properly. The Oxford Special Forces style helmets have grooves cut out for the ears to fit into, but the hair and motorcycle helmet don’t have any such modifications. The heads have a hollow top, like many cheap minifigures.
The superhero figures are a bad knockoff of the Avengers. According to the back of the box, the team consists of (left to right) “Lighting Bolt” (Thor), Metalman (Iron Man), Falconman (Captain America), “Smasher” (Hulk), and “Revenge” (Black Widow). Interestingly, the render shows “Falconman” as black, making him a ripoff of the new Sam Wilson (AKA The Falcon) Captain America, rather than the usual Steve Rodgers Captain America. I’m also not sure why Not-Black-Widow is named Revenge. Why not go with something that has to do with her motivations and character, like, uh…. I don’t know…
This group of figures is hit or miss. Not-Hulk looks great. Not-Captain America looks pretty good, but the falcon design on his torso is almost invisible and the stud on his head is goofy. Not-Iron Man could be acceptable if he didn’t have a flesh colored head. Not-Black Widow is bad, but could be worse. Not-Thor is the bottom of the barrel. Not only does the figure have only the slightest resemblance to the source material, but he shares his head with Not-Black Widow. (He’s got a unique head in the render, so this might be an issue with my copy.)
Separated at birth?
The Combat Heroes figures are much better, possibly because they don’t have to dodge copyright law like the others. Each figure looks good, except for the “special ops” soldier, who is ruined by his helmet. The helmet is a rubber bootleg of the Lego motorcycle helmet. It barely fits on his head, thanks to his ears and nose, and looks absurd once its on.
Amusingly, he’s the only one of the soldiers in combat gear with a unique head print, even though it’s covered up by the helmet.
While I can only recommend the superheroes set as an oddity, the combat heroes set is actually pretty good. $3 for five figures of this quality isn’t a bad deal at all.
(Note: I’m going to try enabling comments on this post. If I get an actual comment before a spambot comment, I’ll leave them open.)
Majhost hasn’t been working for several months. The front page only says “Down for Maintenance.” However, I think that it’s down permanently. As such, I’ve added Mediafire mirror links to the photo galleries of each review, as well as instruction pictures.