Nanoblocks at the Dollar Store

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Can you believe it? Nanoblocks at the dollar store?

I was rather sceptical myself, I thought that it might be untrue, but here is the photographic evidence. After getting them, I was curious as to how they ended up at the dollar store.  Maybe they were fake?  Maybe the package had a misprint?  I have checked the package out and everything seems legit….if you spot something let me know?

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That would be pretty cool if I could get a bunch of sets for cheap at the dollar store and build something else. We will have to see.  I checked my Dollarama, but there weren’t any there.  I asked the person who bought them for me, but she said they only had that model and only at that particular Dollarama.

I don’t know what to make of it, but I am curious. I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

What Happened to my Prize


Whatever happened to toys in cereal boxes?  I remember fighting with my siblings over them.  In fact, we had to institute family rules.

  • The toy had to fall into your bowl before you could claim it
  • No manipulating of the box was allowed (we probably said “no shaking the box”).
  • No opening the new box until the old box was finished.
  • No peaking in the box.
  • No reaching into the box with your hand.

These rules were tough, but family rules were important or chaos would ensue.  I remember once when someone took two chocolate Girl Guide Cookies without taking the corresponding amount in vanilla cookies, which was a complete affront to the rules.  Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.

Getting back to cereal prizes, what happened?  I have hear several stories and don’t really know which one is true.  If you know the true story, please leave me a comment.  I would like to know.

I have heard that some of the prizes caused injury because they were ingested by unaware cereal eaters.  This seems rather ludicrous because when it came to prizes, I was pretty hyper vigilant to see whether it came into my bowl or not.  Then again, perhaps it wasn’t children that these injuries happened to.  It very well might have been adults who were eating these sugar laden treats.  If these same parents had previously criticized their children’s eating choices, well the irony is just huge then, isn’t it?

I have also heard that in Canada this kind of marketing has been banned by the government.  That sort of makes sense.  I understand the need to protect children from the evil manipulations of advertisers.  However, there seems to be lots of toys marketed to kids at fast food restaurants.  This doesn’t really appear to be in any way different.  It just changes the nagging factor to a fast food restaurant rather than a supermarket aisle.  Since I find myself in the supermarket more often, I can’t really say I mind.

The last thing I have read is that this kind of marketing doesn’t work on kids today and that digital products or product redemption codes seem to work better.  For a certain age group, I really can’t argue with that.  Pre-teens and teens would be rather happy with downloadable content, or gift cards.  As an adult, I have fallen victim to such forms of advertising.  Thanks to Vector cereal I have a bunch of exercise shirts.  That one was even more devious because I had to go to the store and pick them up.  Thank god it was a running store and not a bike store or hobby shop.  They would have had me in their marketing clutches.

In the past, I have received quite a few computer games from cereal combogglepanies.  I thought this was good because the games weren’t violent first person shooters (or anything to do with zombies). Although they weren’t expressly educational, they were games like boggle, or scrabble.  That is to say, they had some redeeming value.

Perhaps it is nostalgia, or perhaps it is the collector in me. (See these posts if you don’t know what I mean)  I like the idea of getting something while eating my morning breakfast.

So, this is what I propose.  Adult cereal should get more giveaways.  These giveaways could include:

  • tools
  • apps
  • magazines (maybe by giving them away for free we can forestall the demise of print media–or maybe they can give away e-versions)
  • bottle openers (you can never have too many)
  • first aid kits
  • lip balm
  • dental floss
  • music
  • books

I am just thinking off the top of my head.  If you have any ideas, do not hesitate to comment.  I would love to know what you think.

The Statue of Liberty in Nanoblocks

I hadn’t had a chance to put together some nanoblocks for quite a while now.  If you watched my YouTube video, you will know that I opened up the Statue of Liberty kit, but didn’t actually put it together.  Finally the opportunity to put it together came.

A close-up of the base
I hadn’t done one of these for a while, so I was a little surprised at how difficult this one was.  The instructions were pretty solid, but this one was hard.  I guess it had a lot to do with the fact that this one is not symmetrical.  I really had to pay attention to this one, and as any hobbyist will tell you, concentration is taxing.

The Lady is ready
I enjoyed building this one, but don’t think the result was particularly amazing.  I just don’t see a lot of detail in this one that I would like to see.  Perhaps the only way to do that is to either make it twice the size or fabricate a lot of specialty parts.  The former would make the price to high, and the latter would affect production cost and time.

When I first looked at this kit, I thought the blue bricks were quite interesting, but outside the box they didn’t really strike me as different at all.  Ten years from now, if nanoblocks are still growing strong, perhaps my thinking will change.

There were quite a few leftover parts, and my collection of them is growing.  I should start to think about what I would like to build with them.  I am thinking something architectural, but I have no idea yet.

I checked the Japanese homepage of nanoblocks (yes, I know a little Japanese) and have discovered that they have quite a few new releases.  I don’t know when (or if ever) they will come here, but I am hopeful.

The growing collection of leftovers

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

Ghosts of Christmas Past (part three)

Another great educational gift I received came from Radio Shack.  If their service were better, and their prices comparable to my local hobby shop, I would probably have given them quite a few of my hobby dollars.  As it stands, they only got a couple from my Mom and my Grandparents–and I did my best to recoup some of these expenditures where “battery club” was concerned.

The gift was a 75 in one Electronics Kit.  It was pretty cool, well organized and fun to put together.  I completed pretty much all the projects in the kit (there are bound to be a few that just didn’t excite me) and got my full value out of the toy.  I have seen modern versions of the toy, but it just doesn’t fill me with any great warmth–maybe it seems too easy.

Sadly, it did not imbue me with a great love for electronics and that is one thing that holding back my progress on my railroad.  I solder only when I have to, and there isn’t anything overly fancy or complex on my railroad.

As I have written, I received lots of educational toys and enjoyed most of them.  These days I have to go to stores that specialize in this kind of thing.  I find them fun and I encourage all of you parents out there to do the same.  There are lots of great educational toys–but they work best when you get involved in doing/building/experimenting with your children.