Fresh from whipping up the crowds at the 2016 Olympics, Brick Fanatics catches up with Rio mascots Vinicius and Tom.
Price: £32 (approx) Pieces: 197 Available: August 2016 (limited availability)
Limited editions. For some people they’re the reward for a long and arduous hunt (or simply for being in the right place at the right time). For others they’re intensely frustrating, creating a gap in their LEGO set collection because they can’t get hold of them, or aren’t prepared to pay the inflated resale market prices. Finding myself (as you do) in Rio de Janiero for the 2016 Olympics, it seemed only sensible to pick up the LEGO replicas of the two mascots, Tom and Vinicius while I had the chance. They are named after two of Brazil’s most famous musical sons, Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. Vinicius, the Olympic mascot, is the yellow cat-like creature that represents the wildlife of Brazil while Tom is the green Paralympic mascot and springs from the Brazilian plant life. Only available in a select few official retail outlets in Brazil at a price of R$130 (a Brazilian Real is around 25p, making this set approximately £32), is it worth trying to track them down?
On the face of it… no, not really. At over £30 for 197 pieces, none of which are anything unusual, it cannot be described as value for money by any stretch of the imagination. But the ‘value’ of a LEGO set is often determined by far more than the ‘price-per-piece’. So if we accept that the rarity justifies the price, then what exactly are we getting?
It’s a straightforward box – none of your fancy re-closable Architecture-style boxes here – and it contains four numbered bags, a small sticker sheet and two manuals, one for each character. The builds are simple. The models are effectively glorified Mixels, with ball-and-socket articulated limbs (and in the case of Vinicius, a tail). This does give plenty of posability, and thanks to both figures having pretty substantial feet, they are pretty stable. The stickers give each figure a face, plus a ‘Rio 2016’ logo for their chest. They stand around 12cm tall and the faces, combined with bright colour schemes, gives each figure some real personality. The grey ball and socket connectors in the arms, legs and tail are a little disappointing given the yellow, orange, blue and green that make up most of the models. It’s a minor niggle though, and probably the only criticism of the set.
So what’s the verdict? There will be completists for who these are an essential purchase, whatever the price. Others will look at them as two models that could probably be built from a visit to the Pick-A-Brick wall if it wasn’t for the stickers. As Olympic mascots go (and there have been some strange ones over the years), these two are fun models that will look good on a desk or shelf. It’s difficult to recommend them at the price, but if the collector in you has an Olympic itch that’s got to be scratched, then should you be able to track a set down, you’re likely to be very pleased with Vinicius and Tom.