Budget Brick Review - Sluban Mini Motorcycle
My last review was of two Oxford sets and how actually quite nice they are, so today's review is of leading Oxford bootleggers Sluban. Lets see how well they compare.
I have a couple of Sluban sets kicking around in the review box (actually the big brick box I reviewed way back for the second blog entry), but this is the one I decided to do first. It's a happy man on a motorbike. Other than the interesting colours on the bike the whole thing looks pretty nice.
There's no box for this one, because boxes mean shipping costs and I'm a cheapskate, though the instructions are in the bag with the pieces, which is useful because I always get them muddled up otherwise.
The contents of the bag look pretty much like they should do. The minifigure's arm seems to have fallen off, but other than that everything seems about right.
The instructions are clear enough. Compressed down to the bare minimum, but still clear enough. They really didn't want to waste any money when it came to ink and paper.
And here's where it all starts to go wrong:
I found out why the arm came off in the bag. It had a fracture in it. Poking the fracture made a bit fall off. The arm is broken. It's a write off, a gonna, a dud, a failure, a useless piece of shattered plastic. It will never attach to a minifigure. It is buggered beyond repair.
And of course, that's not our little guy's only problem. His face bares more than a passing resemblance to the Oxford postman I previously reviewed, only not done very well. The print on his shirt, not that I particularly would want to use a shirt with the name of a clone company on, is strangely distorted. Neither of these pieces live up to the picture on the instruction sheet, and I assume the box. I'm disappointed.
The above pieces are funky at least, I like the fact the lever piece goes three ways instead of two and I like the idea of curved 1x2 plates. They're neat. Of course I'm under no illusion that they're not nicked from another company. Still, it's worth mentioning that whoever did design those pieces (someone at Oxford is my guess) came up with something pretty cool. Hopefully I can pick up some more at some point. Preferably not bundled in with such a shoddily made minifigure though.
Anyway, here's the whole thing put together, minus of course the crummy minifigure.
I still don't like the colour choices for the bike, but at least it is in the same colours the artwork suggests it's in. The traffic lights don't even get that. I'm pretty sure that traffic lights are supposed to be red, yellow/orange and green, not light blue.
The traffic cone is another nice piece. I like the idea of a specialised traffic cone piece. It's a common enough object to have in City sets that it makes sense to have one and the design itself is nice and unlike some other parts in this set it's not at all jagged around the edges, which is nice.
It's a clone of an Oxford piece of course. I've seen it in Oxford sets in plain yellow, red and with a yellow and black stripe, though never used as part of a traffic light. That would be weird.
The bike itself is sharp. The plastic it's made from feels a little odd to the touch. Don't ask me to explain how it feels odd though. It's just not quite right.
The single stud round pieces have this odd little effect around the edges, which make them look like either cogs or flowers with eight small petals. I'm not sure which. Either way, this is another clone of an Oxford piece, though it is a well done clone piece at least. Most of the non-rounded off plates are warped out of shape and have horrid sharp edges. They really aren't nice and they don't fit to the bike very well. I'm not sure if that's the bike's fault or their fault.
I'm going to take a wild guess and suggest that this set uses pieces from at least two different factories, at least one that makes reasonably nice pieces and one that makes horrid ones. Either that or they have the most variable quality control imaginable.
On closer examination our little biker here is actually a worse clone of an Oxford figure than I thought. Everything about him is not quite right. The legs aren't quite right, the remaining arm is pretty horrid in comparison and the shaping on the torso appears to be a little off, less defined than the original. Hair and headgear is fully compatible though, which of course means it won't be quite right with Lego heads. It'll work, just not as well as an actual lego piece.
Of course the hair piece looks exactly the same as one that's appeared in Oxford sets. Is anybody surprised about that one? Anyone?
Well, he might not be a great copy, but maybe I'll keep him with the two proper Oxford figures I have already anyway. I don't think they'd mind all that much.
Oh... Maybe not then.