Just out of curiosity, is there any websites with a guide to lego rip-offs? Like with a list of the various (current and defunct) brands, compatibility, quality, piece selections and when/where they were available.
I remember some of these from the 80's, at that time they tended to have the same brick size as Lego while the studs were slightly different (maybe for legal reasons?).
Polly: I've just seen a few of these, seems to be rather low quality. The bricks had smooth undersides with round holes, while the top had ridges around the (quite large) studs similar to inverted roof bricks.
PB: These had slightly larger (I believe) studs, so they could sit loosely on top of Legos but not the other way around. The bricks had a rather tight fit and were often hard to get apart without hurting your fingers.
Tente: These were of fair quality, but the studs were much larger and wouldn't fit Lego at all. The hole in the studs and a different plate underside design made it possible to make some half-stud combinations without "2-for-1" pieces.
Current brands seems to mostly have standard stud size, and therefore offers better value when used together with Lego.
Megabloks: Seems to currently be the largest off-brand company. Models range from quite nice (like that large space shuttle) to downright stupid (sets that only consists of four large pieces and cars where all visible parts are specially molded). I was curious about ther nano-brick series, but (un)fortuenately it seems like it's only available in the US and Canada.
Coco blocks: I've earlier seen these at "Biltema" (a Scandinavian budget auto supplies chain), but I couldn't find them on their website now. As with MB I haven't seen these "for real", but the models looked very much like the classic town and belville models of the 80's.
Best-lock: An interesting concept, as it exploits an area so far left wide open by Lego: military themes. Doesn't seem to have quite as much detail as similar Lego models.
When going trough some Lego I got from my cousin, I had to weed out some fakes. It was mostly 2-by-x basic bricks in plain colors (white, yellow, red and blue) and some white windows. Some of the bricks were marked with a "B" on the studs, some had no markings. The 4-by-3 windows were similar to the 70's style (that doesn't open), but had one large pane with four small ones on top and no glass. There also was some similar 2-by-3 doors with diagonal paneling and a diamond-shaped window. Anyone that knows anything about these?
There have been a few such websites over the years. One group at www.lugnet.com is devoted to (off-topic) clones and there have been announcements there about webpages. Brickwicki has some information: http://www.brickwiki.org/index.php/Category:Clone_brands
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Some others (later than those) include Tyco, Intelli-blox and (Blockmen?) These were both very good and compatible clones.
There have been discussions here about the wedge shaped pieces from Tyco being useful for some creations. They also had a double-male half height plate in a 2x2 size that was interesting.
The a nice feature of the Intelli-blox were the 'stone' colours. Additionally the figures were more like action figures than mini-figs (not to my taste...).
The Blockmen (not sure about that name) were also military themed and very compatable with Lego. OD green and tan before Lego had tan.
When buying used Lego (garage sale, flea market, thrift store, eBay) you will almost always have to sort out the clones and non-brick items.
It has some interesting info, but is rather incomplete. They mention that the Best-lock sets (similar to the Mega-nano-bloks) uses a cubical scheme (rather than the usual 5/6 one). Has anyone here had any experience with such bricks? On the up side it could open up for many SNOT options, but this may be offset by the thicker plates (as said, I think the Best-lock models are a bit lacking in details).
Architoys.net has (in addition to other toys) a quite comprehensive list of Lego clones. Unfortunately it's only sorted by name and has some broken links.
It's especially interesting to see that Lego didn't invent the studs (but rather the internal tubes), similar systems (made from rubber) were available as early as the 30's.
They also mention another noteworthy clone of the 70's, Exin Castillos. These Spanish-made bricks were slightly larger than legos, with a tan, veined marble look (I suspect it's because of affection from these sets the 375 castle is yellow and not white). AFAIK they've been out of production for a while, but are now back. They seem to be available i Sweden (www.norbeck.nu/exin), but I've not seen any Norwegian retailers.
Are these similar to the new 1x1 wedges?
Were these similar to the Exin colors? I tried to look them up, but I could only find box shots of some LOTR sets.
It seems like parents have an annoying habit of throwing every small plastic item they find into the lego box, so it becomes full of Kinder-egg stuff and bits and pieces of other toys. In this case I was especially annoyed by some race-track clips that looked ALMOST as black 1x2 plates. That could be a new thread: What's the weirdest thing you've found in a Lego collection?
thing you've found in a Lego collection?
I bought a very small Lego collection from a neighborhood girl a couple of years ago. In it were several small animal sculptures she had made from some sort of modeling clay. Very good sculptures.
When I was a child, I used to keep newts in aquariums. They routinely escaped and you could find them dead months later, occasionnally buried in my heap of legos.
Not that I'm proud of that.
My son has found his missing for months geckos in the legos. It happened on Easter, and they were still alive. We joke it is a resurrection.
Elijah ------ alive, but lost a lot of weight