Review - Oxford Bricks MC 2000-2 Postman and MC 2000-7 Soldier
Today's review is something a step above (okay, several steps above) most of what I've been reviewing here. Today's review is all about Oxford.
I think the best comparison I can come up with is that they're the South Korean equivalent to Mega Bloks (which I'm well aware means I've probably put some people off them for life). Yes, they're a clone company, but they're a respectable one. They don't make exact clones of Lego minifigures, they don't copy other people's model designs and like Mega Bloks they have Hello Kitty and Disneylicenses.
The two sets I'm reviewing here are £1.99 impulse sets I picked up in Smyths. They can get a lot more pricey than that, but I thought I'd start with something a little smaller.
Now, the reason that I'm posting this without the "Budget Brick Review" title I normally include is because these sets aren't quite as cheap as the ones I normally pick up. To put it in context, this set which I picked up at my local ASDA wasn't much more expensive and is pretty close size wise, so are these sets budget? Only kinda.
Anyway, onto the actual review!
First up is MC 2000-7, simply called Soldier. Well, you can't argue with that.
One thing I like about Oxford, and it's a silly thing, is that their logo is absolutely adorable. They should produce a cuddly toy based on that logo. That's how cute it is.
Anyway, moving on... It's a nice enough box I suppose. There's nothing too funky about it, except...
The instructions are on the back, which is something I haven't seen before. I suppose it saves on paper.
The bottom of the box answers one question, which is “Why have I only ever seen these in one shop?” That would be because they're the importers for the UK and Ireland.
Inside the box is quite a tough little plastic bag, so tough in fact that my attempt to open it resulted in me accidentally firing the contents across the hallway in a pretty spectacular fashion. I'm pretty sure I found all the pieces though.
There were even a couple of spare parts left over. Note that the minifigure is not quite put together right. He was already assembled in the bag and me being an idiot about these things I didn't check to make sure he was clicked together as tightly as he should be. He wasn't and as a result there are a couple of photos in today's review which deomstrate that I am an in fact an idiot.
Now, you've probably seen a some figures that look like this around even if you haven't ever heard of Oxford before. As far as I can tell they are the originators of this style minifigure, but they've been copied a ridiculous amount of times by various other brands. This is most likely due to one of two reasons. 1) The clones were actually designed for the Korean market and they got shipped over to the UK and US anyway or 2) They didn't want to get sued by Lego and because Oxford had no distribution in the UK or the US they thought it would be the safest way to include figures without, you know, designing something themselves.
Personally, I'd go with number two.
Anyway, the set went together well, the instructions were clear and all the parts were free of any moulding issues.
The gun I'm not a fan of. It looks kind of rubbish to me. I have however been informed that the design is actually a real gun and if that's so I can't exactly blame Oxford for that. I blame whoever designed that gun instead. Gun designer, whoever you are, assuming you're still around, your guns are silly looking. Either way it looks like the deranged offspring of a corkscrew, a power drill and a thermometer.
One thing I found odd about this set, and the only thing I can criticise other than the gun, is the fact that the set uses two transparent 1x1 plates instead of one 1x2 plate, which would have surely made more sense. Odd.
MC 2000-2 is the Postman and he's a much happier looking fellow than his military counterpart.
Unsurprisingly the box follows the same format as the Soldier set, complete with the word Instruction over the instructions. I have an urge to write an 's' at the end, though there's this niggling little thought though that they're probably correct.
Inside the box (and another tough plastic bag) were all the parts the box suggests.
It's a nice little set and I like the porter's trolley. That's a neat little design and it will be appearing in the comic at some point. I would have liked the 1x2 flat plate to have had some kind of print on it to make it more envelope like. Likewise the boxes would have been that bit nicer with some printing on as well.
As you can see I still hadn't clicked onto the fact that the soldier wasn't together properly when I photographed one of those. Yeah, I know. I'm an idiot.
You know how I mentioned other people cloning Oxford figures?
I never said they did a good job of it. That odd looking guy at the back is a Best Lock take on an Oxford style figure. He's kind of rubbish.
Anyway, the biggest difference between Oxford figures and Lego ones is the way the legs attach to the body.
Oxford waists are smaller and fit inside the torso instead of just the studs going inside. It creates an interesting look, though I think I prefer the way Lego minifigures look. That might have a lot to do with how used to Lego figures I am. I grew up with them. Maybe if I find someone who grew up playing with Oxford sets they'd find the Lego minifigures odd looking. Who knows?
You can attach Oxford torsos and Lego legs, but the combination looks a little odd from the side.
Lego and Oxford heads and headgear are pretty much interchangeable, which is nice. The hair and headgear isn't perfect. Whilst the neck pin on an Oxford figure is a perfect match with a Lego one the heads appear to be slightly different in size. It doesn't stop you from swapping them around though.
Arms are, obviously, also interchangeable. Hands however...
Nope, no chance of those hands fitting in those arms. They look like they should fit, but they don't, a bit like the issue with some of the Enlighten figures. So, does that mean that Enlighten hands are in fact clones of Oxford ones and not Lego after all?
It certainly looks like it doesn't it? Well, no they're not, or if they are they're very bad clones of Oxford hands (this is entirely possible) because once I managed to put the postman's hand in the drunken exhibitionist pilot's arm I couldn't get it back out again. It's stuck, completely and utterly jammed. The other way round is fine, but it seems that hand is now stuck forever.
Damn you, Enlighten! Damn you!
The grey, two shades of green and dark blue aren't anywhere near to any Lego pieces I own, so we'll concentrate on red, white and yellow. Red and white are perfect matches to Lego colours. The yellow is almost a perfect match. It's easily close enough for me.
Finally, I'd like to draw your attention to the following piece, which I really like.
I like this piece a lot and I hope I get in some other colours at some point, ones that match Lego colours so I can use it in various models.
So, overall impressions? The quality of Oxford pieces are top notch, though I find the figures slightly weird looking and they're only halfway compatible with Lego ones.
In general, I would say they're good value for money and kinda neat. I have every intention of buying more of their stuff if it has parts I want.
The gun still looks like a power tool though.
Now, I'm off to play with some classic space stuff I got on eBay the other day.