Nanoblocks VS Microblocks: Tokyo SkyTree

I finally finished the Nanoblock version of the Tokyo SkyTree.  In doing so, I thought a comparison between the Microblock version and the Nanoblock version would make a good post.  My only question was how should I organize it.  I also decided to put together a rough video so you could see them both side by side.

The Video

nanoblocks and books 016

This fragile part took a very long time.

What took me so long…..

Well, the basic truth is that it was hard.  There were some fiddly pieces that proved rather frustrating.  The creators (Kawada) indicated that the difficulty level on this build was a 5.  I thought that they were joking….but they weren’t.  A couple of times, I just had to get up and walk away.  I even considered crazy gluing the thing together.

Size and Shape

skytree 004

The Microblock version is much bigger than the Nanoblock version.  The Microblock Skytree is much mroe symmetrical and relies on more standard pieces.  The Nanoblock Skytree is not linearly symmetrical and relies on incorporating a couple of really tough pieces.  These include a round, slightly angled piece that must have originally been used in their Leaning Tower of Pisa model and another piece whose shape I am unable to describe–luckily I am including a photograph.

skytree 014


skytree 010

Difficult lower sections

Both had their difficulty when constructing the lower portion of the tower.  The Nanoblock version was a bit more fragile and required more than one sitting to get it done.  At one point, I finally got the base together and decided to leave it for a month, hoping that the pieces would somehow meld together strongly in my absence.  Somehow it worked…or else I might have gone for the crazy glue.


I can’t really comment on this because the Nanoblock version was bought in Japan for about $30 and brought to me whereas the Microblock version was a birthday present.  I suspect that on those terms the Microblock version costs more.  However, considering their availability in Canada, Nanoblocks cost more.  I am not even sure you can get this one in Canada.  I will have to check.


skytree 009

The blue interior of the Microblock version

The Microblock version has the nice interior blue effect–achieved by stacking a large number of clear blue square tiles together.  The Nanoblock version seems to be somewhat closer to the original–but you can be the judge of that.  I base that on its use of round tube like structures to replicate the original.

Other thoughts

Both look good and are interesting builds.  In Japan, you can buy a base that lights up and will produce a different effect.  Additionally, there is a deluxe version (read expensive) available which seems really cool.

skytree 5

This looks awesome–and expensive.


I would love to hear your comments or questions.

New Deluxe SKY TREE by Nanoblocks

I was checking out the nanoblocks website and I came across something cool, and decided to share it with you guys.  I have done built the deluxe Himeji Castlekit and it was fantastic.  I really want to do their German Castle kit (I am too lazy to look up how to spell it correctly).  What I saw today has made me change the order I want to do things in.  Now I want to do their deluxe SkyTree kit.  It looks fantastic, lights up in many colours and has more than 3800 pieces.  I want it, and I want it now.



Of course, I am going to have to search high and low all over the web to find it….but I will.

Hobbies I would take up: The Bottom Five (part 5–vlogging)

I am a big fan of YouTube.  I have subscribed to more than 15 people, and I check it daily.  Mostly, I watch jvloggers (as we call the people who make video blogs from Japan).  Having lived in Japan, most of what they show me isn’t really new.  I’ve eaten most of the foods they talk about, purchased beer and other drinks at vending machines they talk about, been to apartments much like the ones they show, and shopped at quite a few of the stores they tour around.  However, Japanis a country full of surprises, so sometimes they surprise me.  Sometimes, they really surprise me.  That is what makes wading through some of it worthwhile.

I started blogging because some of these jvloggers have blogs that are companions to their jvlogs, or are done in the same tone as their vlogs.  It got me interested, and now I have my own blog (2 in fact, and maybe someday soon 3).  Without having stumbled across these jvloggers, I wouldn’t be writing this today.

I guess why I haven’t vlogged comes down to several reasons.  I don’t have a digital video camera (or iPhone).  I could buy one, of course, but it just doesn’t seem like a priority, mainly because of the other two reasons.  I would like to put my voice on these vlogs, but probably not my face.   I don’t know if I would be self-conscious, or nervous or what, but the prospect of appearing on camera (and not acting–because if you gave me the lines, I think I could do it) and adlibbing seems hard.  Lastly, Japan is interesting, exotic, and full of surprises.  South-western Ontarioseems less so.  If you’ve never been here, there might be something that really wakes you up (when my students see snow falling for the first time they get pretty excited, and when they see the fast hard pace of hockey they get excited), but I am not sure I could really get behind that.  My students could make Canada vlogs and that would be cool.  Me….. not sure.

Maybe someday I will find the impetus for this, but I don’t think it will be anytime soon.

If you want to see some of the jvloggers I mentioned, please go to YouTube and check out the following:
(Most of them have entertained me greatly, and even infomred me.  I appreciate their work and have no reservation recommending them whatsoever)










Through these jvloggers, you can find many others (if this is your thing).


Cars, A Passion, Even in Miniature.

I was visiting  a friend for a bit of beer and movie fest kind of night.  I noted that his children had quite the collection of toys.  In fact, his son had a huge toy car case–it probably held 100 cars.  I checked out his collection of cars, and was impressed by the size and choice of his cars.  The fact that he still played with them, despite his love of his iTouch games was also commendable.
I think toy cars are cool.  I had a fun collection when I was a kid.  Most adults with a love of cars would tend to aim for the pricier, highly collectible large scale die cast cars that are ubiquitous these days.  I am not one of them.  I might like to build car models, but I only have one large scale die cast car–I got a Shelby Cobra as a gift one year.  I do love it, but I would rather have a Pocher kit of it to build.  When I think of it, I am sure part of the attraction is that most of us will never get to drive their “dream car.”
cool subjects and box art
I enjoyed Hot Wheels and Dinky cars as a child, but I am not really into them as an adult.  I check them out from time to time when I am in a toy store, or a department store.  Nothing seems to grab me.  However, when I am visiting Japan, I always check out the Tomy brand of miniature die cast cars.  Of course, anyone who has read some of these blogs before knows I am a real mark for things Japanese.  However, I am not sure it is the Japaneseness of these products that really appeals to me, or just the overall exotic nature of them.
I love everything about them. 
Maybe it’s the packaging.  I mean the box is cool.  I am not really a fan of the North American blister package.  The Tomy box has either a cool picture, or an artistic drawing.  If I were a collector ( by which I mean, looking to make a buck) the boxes themselves would be collector’s items. I think it is much cooler opening that box than tearing the blister pack apart.
Maybe it is the subject matter.  Despite the widespread embrace of public transportation, there are a lot of cars in Japan.  Among them, there are a lot of cars which will not be seen outside of Japan.  That kind of uniqueness appeals to me.  Some of the subjects re odd,  but there is also a blade runneresque quality to some of these cars–science fiction come to life, that makes them cool.
a box, stickers, and a cool Lapin
Maybe it is my connection to Japan.  My collection is small.  I bought most of them at a Don Quixote discount store in Chiba.  The price was probably around 125 Yen–which means that these cars probably didn’t appeal to Otaku culture in Japan.
a limited edition
A funny thing is that I have never heard of a group of people collecting these cars.  Maybe they do, but maybe this is one of those things that seems so much cooler by an outsider than someone in Japan.
this one is pretty cool, but the packaging?
I have seen some of these cars available at the Pacific Mall in Markham.  The price was a whopping $10 each.  Needless to say I didn’t buy any of them.  I would love to expand my collection–I know a purchase service in Japanif I really want something, but I will probably wait until I visit Japan again to augment my collection.  Besides, as anyone can see, I have enough hobbies to tide me over until that vacation.