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Vault Review: Nanoblock:
NBH_010 Neuschwanstein Castle

If you’re familiar with my reviews you know that I’m a big fan of trying out new toys. I love the stuff Hasbro and Matty make, but I also support the small and independent companies out there who bring much needed originality and freedom to the toy aisles. My newest venture into this realm is the Nanoblock.

Nanoblock is a micro-sized brick building system. Their parent company, Kawada, is a Japanese company who has had a few years of success in their home country and now is beginning to make inroads into the US market through distribution with Toys R Us. Unlike LEGO, their sets are based mostly off of real world animals and architectural structures. There are no minifigures or fantastical elements, just tiny sets that could basically be considered models.

When I say Nanoblocks are tiny, I’m definitely not embellishing. The company boasts that their smallest piece is only 4x4x5mm. In toy terms this translates to LEGO type blocks for my action figures to play with, which is definitely one of the reasons I was so excited to check them out. Toys for my toys? Sign me up any day!

I discovered these toys while walking down the LEGO aisle at my local Toys R Us. I almost missed them, but I just happened to glance over to the Mega Bloks and this tiny black and white box caught my eye. The packaging contains a little window that lets you see the bricks, and I couldn’t believe how small they were. Sadly, our TRU only had the Neuschwanstein Castle and the Eiffel Tower to choose from. So I picked the castle because it contained more pieces and looked like a more interesting build.

Something you always have to worry about with a non-LEGO building block is the quality of the product. I was happy to discover these problems are mostly nonexistent here. The plastic is a strong and shiny ABS plastic, similar to LEGO. There are no issues with warping or incompatible pieces. These bricks don’t use the same pipe system on the underside as LEGO, so there were some instances of sliding pieces. But this wasn’t a big deal for the most part.

Construction was a bit challenging at times. Difficulty for me didn’t come from the complexity of the set, but the dexterity needed to work with such tiny pieces. If you’re going to try one of these sets, I suggest you do it over a contained area like a large lid or small box. Some of the smaller round pieces can have a tendency to slip out of your grasp easily, and you definitely don’t want to be scouring the carpet for one of these things. Continue to Page 2…

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11 comments to Vault Review: Nanoblock:
NBH_010 Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Cade

    Okay the shot of he-man building the castle sells the whole thing. That’s adorable!

    • dwaltrip

      I was going to say the exact same thing before I saw your comment. That picture is great.

    • AdventureVault

      Yeah, I really want to buy a whole lot of green bricks so I can make a tiny Castle Grayskull.

      Someone hide my wallet!

      • DO IT! DOOOOO IT!

        Man, that’s some tiny bricks. I ‘get’ the whole ‘toys for my toys’ thing, I gnash my teeth when I think I missed out when Takara in Japan made a set of ‘gashapon’ figures that were, in effect, GI Joe figures for a GI Joe. That is, scaled so that to a 1/6 scale action figure the toys were 1/6 scale.

        My Joes gave me holy hell when they found out.

        …What? Your action figures don’t bug you for things and question your purchases? I see a He-Man playing with little bricks above, don’t judge me. 🙂

  • As soon as I saw these last week I knew you would be doing a review. I picked up the panada. The animals come bagged in a counter dump, usually one shelf down for the boxed architecture. Very nice product and a good, if modest, start in North America

    • AdventureVault

      You read my toy buying mind.

      I wish I could have bought an animal also. I should take a better look around my TRU. Who knows where they might have hidden them.

      I do really like these sets though. They’re like 3D pixel art. Hopefully the company finds a decent following in North America.

  • manekochan

    They go great with the figures! I would so not have the patience to put these together, but He-Man is a better man than I.

  • dayraven

    my wife’s been to neuschwanstein when she was younger, and was very excited to learn of this set, till we ran into it at TRU last weekend… her exact words were “for 5 bucks, this would have come home, for 15, i’d like something a little larger” oh well. i don’t know about the pixel art thing, it’s just not my bag. i don’t get this.

    • manekochan

      I’m a cheapskate and I thought it was a little steep, but it has 500 pieces so, as far as pieces go, it’s probably worth it. Maybe you can pick it up for her as a surprise gift some time. Just tell her you had a coupon. 🙂