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LEGO vs. Mega Bloks – the forever debate…

by admin on January 16, 2014

in Mega Bloks

(Written by Chi-bacca)

Today I would like to address a subject that often comes up in comments but we haven’t fully explored in an article as of yet. So here it goes; LEGO vs. Mega Bloks. Mega Bloks is a Canadian company, that is basically looked at as a LEGO rip-off and copycat by LEGO fans, with lower quality products and cheaper prices. They use the same studs-and-tubes design as LEGO, package their sets similarly, and their sole purpose seems to be to trick parents and kids into buying a Mega Blocks set instead of a LEGO one.

LEGO vs. Mega Bloks Comparison

However Mega Blocks also has a niche for themselves by owning some unique licenses – something that LEGO fans may find interesting and venture to explore. Mega Bloks have the rights for making Thomas the Tank Engine, Hello Kitty, Need for Speed, Halo, World of Warcraft, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Skylanders Giants, and Call of Duty sets.

LEGO vs. Mega Bloks Toys

Some of you may comment “LEGO is best and all other brands are evil rip-offs that should be burned!” – but hear me through before throwing stones bricks at me, and perhaps you will gain a different perspective. I own both LEGO and Mega Bloks sets and have fairly extensive experience with both. In addition I’m one of those people who are not afraid to mix the two brands for an extended building experience. As this is a LEGO vs. Mega Bloks post, I will compare the two brands in various categories so you might gain a better understanding of the similarities and differences.

LEGO vs. Mega Bloks Sets

:arrow: LEGO VS. MEGA BLOKS FIGURES

Of course we are all familiar with LEGO minifigures; they are cute and chubby with a yellow skin (except for the licenses minifigs). LEGO minifigures are all made up of the same, fully compatible body-parts, so you can mix and match them any way you like. They also fit within the LEGO system with multiple attachment points. In recent years there has been a lot of focus on minifigures due to demand by LEGO fans and collectors, which resulted in a greater variety of facial expressions, better quality and more detailed printing, and even a series of collectible minifigures.

LEGO vs. Mega Bloks Minifigs

Mega Bloks figures are very different from LEGO’s little guys. They have articulated joints for a much wider range of posing. This is their biggest advantage. Most of them have unique moulds – which means they are not as interchangeable and customizable as LEGO minifigs. In fact, trying to pop together the mini ball-joints proves to be quite a challenge and many times impossible. In Mega Bloks sets the figures come fully assembled, whereas in their collectible packets they come in parts and you need to assemble them.

:arrow: LEGO VS. MEGA BLOKS ACCESSORIES

LEGO has been releasing a wide range of accessories for minifigures; tools, weapons, body-armor, backpacks, and more. The details on the accessories tend to be general in nature, so the same design can fit into many different themes, and even serve different purposes. (For example a minifigure-size dinner-plate can serve as a decoration on a building, or a minifigure tool can become part of an engine.)

LEGO vs. Mega Bloks Guns

As far as Mega Bloks, I only own their HALO line of products, so I can mainly compare guns and backpacks, not everyday tools and other weaponry. In general, Mega Bloks accessories are much more detailed and only serve one purpose. They even come with printed highlights to make them as accurate as possible. They are popular with LEGO customizers who are looking for accuracy and detail. (Mega Bloks accessories are compatible with LEGO minifigures as even though LEGO and Mega Bloks figures are quite different, their size is about the same and they both have claw-like hands.)

:arrow: LEGO VS. MEGA BLOKS QUALITY & VALUE

LEGO is known to be an expensive toy. Their mid-priced sets are in the $30-$50 range, which is not pocket-change. And not to speak of the larger sets! The advantage though is that LEGO elements are fully compatible and you can re-use them in an unlimited variety of ways. The same piece can be a brick in a castle-wall, or part of an engine. There are no junk-pieces in LEGO that can only be used for one thing. All pieces are used over and over in many different sets for many years, even decades. They can all interconnect in a variety of ways and be part of the full system. If you have just a medium-ish LEGO collection you can reuse the parts again and again without having to buy more and more sets. This variability, and the fact that LEGO elements are very high quality gives them tremendous long-term value. The downside of this is that it is harder to achieve life-like detailing with LEGO. You would need to build in a fairly large scale and use many small elements if you want to be as realistic as possible.

Mega Bloks, although based on the same studs-and-tubes system as LEGO, doesn’t focus as much on compatibility and connectivity, but more on life-like details. Their sets are more like models or maquettes that are fit together as a jig-saw puzzle, reusability of the elements and fitting into a comprehensive system is not the focus. They make a lot of specialized large pieces that are only available in one set. Making your own custom models and landscapes would be significantly difficult. You can also end up with heaps of pieces that you can only use one way and have little long-term value or play-value in general. Mega Bloks is also known for lesser quality and precision, which is reflected in the cheaper prices. But they make things like camo-bricks with different colors fused together, which is very cool. :P

:arrow: LEGO VS. MEGABLOKS INSTRUCTIONS

Building instructions for LEGO sets are pretty easy to follow. In fact, there has been a lot of improvement in the last few years; colors are easier to differentiate, trickier assemblies have zoomed-in views, and there is a list of parts added in each step. Also, for larger sets bags are numbered so it is easier to build the set in sections instead of dumping all the parts in one big pile and searching endlessly.

Mega Bloks building instructions take a slightly different approach. I found them to be a bit harder to follow – probably because I’m more familiar with LEGO’s instructions. I like the fact that they highlight the studs were a new piece goes. However they do not include numbered bags, even for their larger sets, which makes them very hard to figure out and put together, wasting a lot of time searching for parts.

LEGO vs. Mega Bloks Details

Overall, I would say that the LEGO system is a better value because of its connectivity, quality, and by giving you the ability to use and reuse the elements in pretty much unlimited ways. However Mega Bloks have much more unique pieces and accessories that you may consider if you are going after accurate detailing. Also the figures are more detailed and poseable. Since LEGO and Mega Bloks are compatible, you could simply add a few Mega Bloks accessories to your LEGO creations to make them more unique. Just a suggestion for your consideration. :cool:

LEGO vs. Megablok Set Details

What do you think? Do you own any Mega Bloks sets or figures? What is your opinion on them? Do you mix LEGO and Mega Bloks in your own creations? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below. Debating about the brands is allowed, as long as the conversation remains civilized. No brick-throwing please. ;)

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Brittany November 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM

I just want to say that I found this post/article very informing since Christmas is quickly approaching and I obviously have some decisions to make. Not only did I learn more about the sets themselves, I learned how enthusiasts can nearly turn it gang war…lol with love, don’t shoot me. Thanks, again. Playmobil would be a good topic of interest, too btw.

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admin November 8, 2014 at 7:15 PM

Brittany, don’t worry, we won’t shoot ya! And yes, Playmobil is a wonderful and very high quality brand. It is a very different scale compared to LEGO, but at some point I might write an article about them as they have been around for a very long time and they cover similar themes as LEGO. Thanks for the idea! ;)

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tom November 10, 2014 at 9:57 PM

I too own both Legos and Mega Bloks.
I really can’t choose one over the other because both contain element unique to both companies.
I guess it really depends on the style you like.

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Christina November 13, 2014 at 9:19 AM

I found this very helpful! I have a 4 year old that LOVES to build. I don’t want to invest in all Legos in case it doesn’t stick. I think testing the waters with Mega Bloks first is the way to go! If it keeps his interest, I will grow his collection, now knowing that they can be used together!

Thank you!

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admin November 13, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Christina, yes, that is an option, although these days MegaBloks is basically just as expensive as LEGO, but it doesn’t have the same resale value as LEGO does. Something to take into consideration. However if you are only getting a few smaller sets it shouldn’t be a big loss. I would also add that if I would have gotten MB as my first sets, I would have never stayed around the hobby.

Also, schools and libraries often have afterschool programs with LEGO. You might want to check out if there is any in your area. This way your son has a chance to check out how he likes the hobby before having to invest money into it. Some kids love building toys, some don’t. ;)

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Kyle Armenta November 27, 2014 at 7:22 AM

One thing I’d like to really point out is the “build from scratch” feel that mega bloks has. To explain, back in 98 or 99 there was a “shift” in Lego. They went from molding bricks (which obviously they still do) to molding more customized parts like full panels, tubes (for the mars set in 2001) and so on. This turned them more into toys than buildable puzzles. The sets are getting easier and easier to build. Where as mega bloks has a challenge to it. Granted when you get the Halo pelican mega bloks offers you get a whole pre-assembled cockpit, but you build around it in 134 not-so-easy steps. Another example is the COD ODIN space station build. The” tungsten flaps” and “solar panels” (if it was lego) would have been pre-molded and put together in 4 mindless steps. One tungsten rod carrier has 43 pieces in it, and was quite a challenge to build. So I would say this (being 25 and still loving this stuff) Lego is 8+ and mega bloks is 14+ for a reason. I now buy my assembly kits as models and collector items and not as toys. LEGO really does make me feel like I’m buying a toy, where as mega bloks allows me to feel challenged, as I piece together a puzzle that will be displayed for years. Right there could be what helps people decide what they get for their children, friends, co workers, etc for christmas if looking into such a thing.

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Kyle Armenta November 27, 2014 at 7:36 AM

Lol sorry for the inconsistent naming of LEGO.

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Cara December 10, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Hello, this article very informational. Quick question, thinking about building our son a Lego table with the Lego tiles you can buy from Amazon. Most of my sons sets are Mega Blox because of the themes they offer, ie: Call of Duty and Halo. You think the Lego tile table would work for all of his Mega Blox sets?

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admin December 10, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Cara, yes, LEGO baseplates work for Megabloks as the studs are the same. I have some Call of Duty sets as well and they fit just fine. The only issue would be those large, pre-moulded MB elements that are not really meant to connect to anything. But if you are just trying to create a play-surface, covering a table with LEGO baseplates is a great idea. You can also buy pre-made playtables with generic studs on the surface that fits both LEGO and Megablocks. I have seen them at Toys’R’Us They are nice, but not too big. Hope this helps! :)

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Darcie December 12, 2014 at 2:13 PM

So I know the regular Megabloks and Legos are compatible, but what about Duplos. Is there a type of Megabloks that is compatible with Duplos? I need to find a Christmas gift ASAP! Thanks!

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admin December 12, 2014 at 4:31 PM

Darcie, as I have mentioned previously, MegaBlok does have a DUPLO-size line called Junior Builders. They are actually pretty nice. And for a change, they also come with genuinely cute figures. I can’t speak for the quality though as I have never played with them.

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James December 18, 2014 at 5:04 AM

Well from the looks Lego is a much friendlier Toy that is target for Toys then the cheaper made in China Megabloks that is more Military orient. Which is not so friendly.

Quality over bad influence, right? Lego!

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