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?