Competition Has Arrived


I would have to say it is official.  Nanoblocks have become a force to be reckoned with.  Why do I say that?  Surprisingly, it is not because there is a big push on them for the Christmas rush–though I did see them available at a store that had never had them before.  Instead, I give them credit because they have inspired some competition.

Micro Blocks, produce by a company called Loz, are now available.  They don’t seem to be available here in Canadayet.  This might have something to do with a bit of a conflict with the people who brought you Mega Blocks.  This company (based in Canada I believe) uses the name Micro Blocks for the blocks that share the same size with Lego.  Sounds complicated doesn’t it?

They seem to be competing in the same space as Nanoblocks.  They offer lots of architectural themed kits of world famous buildings.  This should appeal to adult builders as well as kids.  It also seems to have a broad international scope, so it should be easy to spread.

I am all for competition.  More tiny blocks equals more fun.  The other thing is that more block producers mean more designs and creative ideas.  It might also mean more interesting pieces.  I wonder if the two sets are compatible.

I don’t know if either Nanoblock, or this new Micro Blocks company will every dominate the space that Lego has, but I am interested nonetheless.  I know as a Canadian I will have to wait a long time before I see them, at least I can think good things about 2014.

2013 The Year of the Nanoblock

Will 2013 be the year of Nanoblocks?  Based on how many people have found my blog because of Nanoblocks, I would have to say  that it is very likely that 2013 will be the breakout year for Nanoblocks.

I really can’t base this idea on my blog alone, because there aren’t so many visitors to it yet–I am not complaining, maybe 2013 will be a breakout year for my blogs to…..

What comes in the package

There is other evidence.  Toys R Us started selling them this year, and anecdotally at least, they seem to be popular sellers.  I asked one of the clerks and he said business has been brisk.  I have seen the stock get low and replenished a couple of times (no I am not spending my hours haunting the local toy store….. hard to believe I know) and it seems like they are telling the truth.  I have also seen more traffic on the internet.  When I first got interested in Nanoblocks there weren’t too many sites, not there are a lot more.  There are also quite a few more YouTube postings about Nanoblocks.  So, the world is poised for a Nanoblock revolution.

the result
As for me, I should update you on my latest kit.  I did the Koala.  As I mentioned when I did the panda kit, I am more interested in the historical buildings than I am in the animals, but until we get more of those (there are more available in Japan, but not here yet…) I will probably do more of the animals.

The Koala was fun to do, and the results are good (I still like the panda more, but maybe it has to do with seeing the real ones at the Washington zoo.).  There are some challenging moments and you will feel a certain sense of accomplishment.  Anybody who has tried Nanoblocks will enjoy it, and at the same time this would be a good kit for new converts.  Considering the price, it is also certainly worth doing.
the leftovers

 Eventually, I will have enough leftovers to make something else.  Any suggestions?

The Panda Kit–a totally biased review

I resisted building some of the smaller Nanoblock kits because….because….actually, I don’t know why.  Maybe I thought I had to build the biggest and most difficult kits there were.  Maybe I just had grand visions.  Maybe I thought they were a little beneath me.

I bought the panda kit because pandas are cute–everybody knows that.

the kit contents
There are only two colours in the Panda kit and the kit is not rated too difficult.  That being said, I think the results were tremendous.  It looks really good, and it catches my eye every time I pass by that shelf.

great results
On a side note, I saw a woman buying ten nanoblock kits at Scholar’s Choice a couple of weeks ago.  She was planning on including them in loot bags given out at a kid’s party.  I was really impressed.  She was spending a fair amount of money on other people’s kids.  Those lucky children were going to get their first taste of nanoblock addiction–and I am sure some of them will be converted for life.


Latest Nanoblocks

My most recent Nanoblock adventure involved the Empire state building kit.  It seems like I am pretty addicted to these things.  I have built quite a few of them now and I am hoping they continue to put out new sets regularly.  Of course, if they gain the same kind of fame that Lego has, with their small size they could put out some amazing things.

At first, I wasn’t attracted to this kit.  I had plans to tackle the Big Ben kit or the Itsukushima Shrine kit first.  Unfortunately, those kits have not appeared in Canada yet. I have seen them for sale on the US Amazon site, but being shipped from Japan they have a heavy price tag.  That being said, I am not sure how long I can resist the urge to buy them.

What’s in the box
Having had a bit of time to think about it, I decided to go back and reconsider this kit.  I like architectural models, and the building is quite iconic….. so after a short deliberation I decided that I would build this kit.  I am glad I did, because it turned out quite nicely.

It wasn’t particularly difficult, and actually since most of the floors are identical it got a little monotonous at times.  However, it was good building fun.

If you haven’t tried Nanoblocks, you should give them a try.  The small parts make it challenging sometimes, and the results are usually quite good.  I also suspect that there are going to be some amazing kits released in the near future.

I included this one because I liked the shadow

Progress Report: Nanoblock Space Shuttle

Just a short break in the list of hobbies I would take up if time and money were no question (but in reality always are) to give you an update on my hobbies.  For this issue, we will be looking at my latest Nanoblock build.

I picked up the space shuttle when I got the drum kit I previously reviewed.  Overall, I am happy that Nanoblocks are more widely available.  I hope that other people find them as much fun as I do.  I did a quick check and found that the price for this particular kit is much more expensive in Japan (the home of Nanoblocks).  I checked it out on Amazon.  I guess things that are not of Japanese interest are more expensive in Japan.  It’s worth checking out.

What happens when you drop a piece

It took quite a lot of time to put this particular model together partly due to the number of pieces and the size of the pieces.  (I was going to invent a word like itsybitsiness, or teenyweeniness–but as an ESL teacher, my colleagues would probably never forgive me for it)  I would suggest not assembling this anywhere near heating vents.  As you can see from some of the pictures I have carpet–it keeps the pieces from flying too far away.

ready for final assembly
The kit came with some unique pieces.  That probably means that some very creative people in Japanhave bought a bunch of these kits and will utilize them in some fun and unique way–I have seen this before on a TV show called TV Champion, Lego edition–the things they could do are amazing.  I will have to check out YouTube. (a quick check shows that there are quite a few Nanoblock videos on YouTube as well.)

the finished product

If you haven’t put together any Nanoblocks yet, this would be a good kit to start with.  It wasn’t my first, and I am sure it won’t be my last.

Nanoblocks to the Rescue

What do you do when you aren’t making any hobby progress?  Most people would preach patience.  That would be fantastic, if I had any.  When I get stuck, I tend to switch my focus.  That is how I became jack of all hobbies, after all.  I don’t box things up and walk away (though that might be the wiser thing to do) but just sort of amble onto other things.  Presently, I have so many projects on the go that it shouldn’t have been a problem.  Unfortunately, I really wasn’t feeling inspired.

Ziploc package of nanoblocks
Nanoblocks to the rescue.

I decided to poke around Toys R Us (if there is a way to make that R like they do at the store on this computer, I don’t know what it is) in search of inspiration.  I probably should have gone to a hobby shop, but the toy store was much easier–it’s in the same building I take the subway home from work in.

I came across some fantastic Lego train sets that I had not seen before.  I was painfully tempted to buy them, but I have an N scale train that needs building, and working on a Lego train set would be like having an affair.  I should remain faithful (at least for now).
When you open the package

While browsing I came across some Nanoblocks.  I love Nanoblocks, but had no idea they were now being sold at Toys R Us.  I had to go to Scholar’s choice, or Amazon to get them before.  They didn’t have too many sets left, but I managed to find a couple of projects for me.
For those of you who don’t know (and haven’t ready my previous posts on the subject) Nanoblocks are a locking brick toy from Japan that is similar to Lego, but much smaller (I guess Japan has a reputation for miniaturizing things, don’t they).  They have quite a few architectural sets, animal sets. and all purpose sets.  They aren’t cheap, but they won’t break the bank.  They are a little challenging for small children (and they are certainly a choking hazard for little ones) those they require nimble fingers.  They usually turn out quite well.

Everything sorted out and ready to go
This morning, after my morning coffee, and before I have to rake the leaves, I tackled the drum set.  This was the first time I purchased a set that didn’t come in a box.  This one came packaged in a zip lock bag.  It wasn’t too difficult, but my fingers are a little large, and not particularly nimble.  I needed tweezers, and some restraint.  I only dropped the pieces onto the carpet 10 or 11 times.  Fortunately, I was able to find them before frustration set in. 

the remaining pieces
I managed to put it together in the length of time it took me to listen to Rod Stewart’s Every Picture Tells A Story. It turned out quite well, and I have a bunch of parts leftover for some future project or some abstract art if I can’t figure out what to do with them.  And to answer your questions, before you ask them, the leftover parts were intended–There are always leftover parts.

I have included a few extra pictures, so that you can get a better idea of what comes in the package and what you have left at the end.