I recently bought two of the three starter Pokémon from Loz Diamond Blocks and when I saw the original Nanoblocks version of Bulbasaur on the Plaza Japan site I had to add him to my order. I’ve wondered what the difference would be between the two brands and it seemed like the perfect chance to compare the two. As far as I know Nanoblocks are the originals and a lot of their designs have been made in the Loz range.
The main difference between the two, in the past anyway, was the price and how hard it is to get a lot of the Nanoblocks sets here in the UK from a trusted seller. The Plaza Japan prices aren’t all that different to the Loz blocks here in the UK but then you will probably get hit by customs so that’s something to consider if you wanted to order any of their Nanoblocks range, they do have a lot of them to choose from though.
If you don’t know what Nanoblocks are, they’re basically like very small versions of Lego and they can create very detailed models. They’re also great for smaller models, like these Pokémon ones, and as far as I can tell they’re mainly display pieces. You do get the odd playset with play features like in Lego but the majority are simple figures or designs that you put together and display.
These smaller sets from Nanoblocks come in a resealable bag. It’s an easy way to store any spares as it does have a great seal and it means there’s no box to have to fold flat to store or find space for. However, I do like that my larger Nanoblocks set has a box as it means the Tower of Pisa can be left as one piece and laid down in it, I’d have to take this one apart to store it back in the bag.
The pieces themselves can be pretty fiddly to work with. Apart from the fact that they’re so small, especially when it’s the single stud pieces, they only have a single line down the middle of a two wide piece, this means they do tend to slip and can need some manoeuvring if you have to have a longer piece attached to a single stud as it can slide from one side to the other, making it harder to attach the layers on top.
I have to say I’m not a huge fan of the way they do the instructions. It’s a couple of layers at a time and they do have arrows that show where things connect but they aren’t all that clear to me in a lot of them. You end up with half the steps you’d probably get in a Lego set but each one can be hard to understand. I do like how they include the list of everything needed in each step and that the current step is the one that has colour, the rest is more muted.
Overall I like the final Bulbasaur, not as much as the other two starter Pokémon but that’s not a specific Nanoblocks thing, I just don’t think this design works as well in this scale. It also seems very dark to me for a Bulbasaur, I’d expect a brighter green for the body so it stood out more. I think the main thing that is a bit annoying for me with this finished model is the fact that the feet have already fallen off a few times. I’d say that’s the main difference between the two brands. The Nanoblocks definitely has a looser connection, it feels slightly wobbly and would definitely benefit from a base plate for me. It balances fine but having that extra support to hold the legs set in place would reduce the chances of them falling off and getting lost when you pick the model up to move it.
I think that, as much as I wish I didn’t, I prefer the Loz Diamond Blocks models. I have nothing against the company but when it’s a copy of the exact design another company has done then I don’t really want to support them as much. If they’re original designs that have the same theme then it’s less of an issue for me, but this Bulbasaur is obviously the same as the Loz one looking at all the photos and their Charmander and Squirtle are copies of the Nanoblocks versions too.
If you can get them at a reasonable price and don’t mind the slightly loose bricks then I would say go for the Nanoblocks version if there’s a choice between identical designs, or whichever created it actually. However, if you can’t get them or the price or wobbliness would be an issue (I can see that happening with some designs a lot more than with this one) then go for the Loz versions. Either way the models are cute and it was fun to make them. They’re definitely a quick little project and they’re small enough that they’re easy to store if you want to without taking them apart.
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