Make no mistake. LEGO is an expensive business. You only have to look at the AFOL aimed LEGO sets to see that these weigh in at over £100 at times. Indeed if you are after the UCS models or Hard to Find exclusives, then knock on the door of £200 upwards. It is a wedge.
Now, some Far East companies have a good knack of copying Western products with a strong resemblance of the original. A car company called Landwind made a vehicle called the X7 which has a uncanny resemblance to the Range Rover Evoque.
And they are doing the same for LEGO type products. In the shopping complex I call ‘Asda’ in Weil am Rhein the toy department had a shelf load of these clones right opposite the LEGO stands.
It looks a bit like LEGO, probably compatible with LEGO, tons of weird and wonderful elements that LEGO have not even thought about yet, and more importantly undercutting LEGO by 1/3. So for the price of one large LEGO City set, you could buy 5 or 6 of these clone sets.
But is it worth it?
TBH, no, not really. Whilst it looks good VFM, the quality is not good. I had one of these knock off sets given to the wee one as entertainment on a flight once and whilst it all looked very LEGO-ish, the quality was lacking in every department. It just felt flimsy and a very poor relation. You could tell the difference in plastic superiority by a mile. (Oh, bloody hell, I am now getting into nerd territory……I will going on about the polymers next…..)
However, in Asian markets LEGO is a premium product and so are the prices. So whilst many families don’t have the standard of living as some of us are lucky to have in the UK and Europe, then why not buy these clone products? The function like LEGO and are a fraction of the cost. Affordability is the key here. And in such markets I can fully appreciate this, not blaming those parents at all.
But what puzzles me is this – in Germany who would trade buying proper LEGO for a replica? And a dodgy copy of that.
Whilst the sets look may look somewhat exciting, it just has inferior written all over it. For those that have been given these sets as their first introduction to construction then they will not know any different. But brand loyalty has a lot to do with influencing purchases so where there may be a huge price point difference, I think that the majority will still buy the pukka product LEGO.
It would be interesting to read your thoughts on the matter – are you a firm LEGO stalwart OR will the cheaper pricing and uniqueness of parts/elements make you succumb to the clone product?