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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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{ 80 comments… read them below or add one }

~Brick January 17, 2014 at 1:50 PM

While it’s an open and never ending argument, I am and forever will be a loyalist to LEGO products. Whenever I see Megabloks, or MegaJunk as I call, I immediately throw them away:)

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Angie July 14, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Don’t throw them away. I’ll take the junk off your hands. The real deal Legos are great but too expensive for my pocketbook.

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admin July 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM

That’s actually a good point… someone can use them. Maybe we should start a LEGO vs. other brands trading platform. :P

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That Random Guy January 17, 2014 at 6:33 PM

I really just bought the HALO sets, well really one. And I didn’t even build the actual set. The instructions were so complicated. I personally like lego more than mega bloks. Lego is more original.

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GALH August 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Is because Lego have the rigths to sell the sets into identified packages. They can group the pieces in some order into the box to be easyly to assembly. So Megablocks can’t do the same, they’re forced to mix all the pieces completly in the package. This change the experience enormously, but, only Lego have the rigths.

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John Brikky January 18, 2014 at 7:15 AM

In all honesty I prefer the LEGO sets. Mega Bloks does have more customization but to me that just limits it’s use. I generally don’t even apply decals to my LEGO sets unless it’s for a model that I’m planning on putting display. I’ve had so many times in my earlier LEGO days when I would apply a decal and a week or so later have to peel off sticky residue because I wanted to use it for something else again.

I do however agree with your ending statement – buy a couple of Mega Bloks sets for a few unique items – make the best of both worlds instead of being an elitist jerk ;-)

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Brian Briggs January 20, 2014 at 11:29 AM

We have three generations of Lego builders and the youngest is quite happy with Megabloks due to the subject matter, otherwise quite happy to use both Megabloks and Lego. There are several parts amongs the Megabloks kit that would be really useful in Lego as well. e.g wing folding hinges. The older two generations are predominantly scratch builders not reliant on instructions. There is a very good website for finding Lego spares so the question is, does a similar site exist for Megablok spares?

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Håkan January 20, 2014 at 4:21 PM

I think you should be able to order Missing spare parts from Mega Bloks if you know the part number, and it’s still in production…

There doesn’t seem to be much of an organized second hand market at the scope of BrickLink, however. Otherwise, I might order a bunch of cheap purple parts, if some seller would ship from Europe…

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Larry Morgan February 11, 2014 at 12:38 AM

I don’t know why people compain about the bricks
Being hard to snap together. So what? Are you guys a bunch of wusses? Plus, Mega Bloks don’t snap, they lock into place rather quietly. If you try to get a snap out of them, then you’re going to break the brick. Anyway, I myself prefer the intricacy and painstaking detail Mega Bloks WoW sets have, thus I side with Mega here.

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Larry Morgan February 11, 2014 at 12:39 AM

Sorry, didn’t mean to disrespect anyone, just had to vent a bit.

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admin February 11, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Larry, it is totally fine to share your own opinion and preferences. That’s what a discussion is about. The trick is to do it without looking down or calling names those who disagree with you. When you master the art of doing that even those who disagree with you will give you their respect. ;)

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Liam Rue April 17, 2014 at 9:24 PM

You problably work for megabloks,you rat!

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haloslayer875 June 2, 2014 at 2:08 PM

Mega Bloks has a deeper development in the addition of new technology and despite the “one way” bricks it is actually just as easy to build and create as with Lego. Their sets though not as well constructed are more of an every man’s set as only recently have their large sets become over $100 and those had over 1000-1400 parts with a much better playablity than any Lego Mini-fig. Personally both mixed give u the best results. I have had nearly fifteen years of experience and mega bloks has been the best evolving brand yet. just in the past five years alone.

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00zau June 11, 2014 at 11:39 AM

Megablocks are okay if you want to build a model, put it on a shelf, and never do anything with it. Most models I’ve seen or had are basically a interior made of generic XxX blocks and plates, with a shell of custom hull panels on the outside. There’s no effort to use a set of existing swept and curved pieces to acheive a desired result, they just print a new part. And the parts are pretty crappy. I don’t think I’ve ever broken a LEGO, but in the 2-5 MegaBloks kits me and my brother ever had, we broke at least 2-3 parts.

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Tara July 2, 2014 at 7:52 PM

So, I had NO CLUE I bought an ‘off brand’ i just grabbed 2 tubs for my kids today, one bigger size for the 3 yr. old and one for the 6 year old, they fit together so I thought that was cool. I learned my 6 year old daughter LOVES THEM and seriously I’ve never seen her sit so long with a toy. Her favorite movie is even on, Frozen and she isn’t even watching it! Thing is that I saw these really cute ‘barbie sets’ and she wants them of course, before i bought those i wanted to try to see if she’d even take care of the $10 set; SO, im MORE THAN HAPPY i found this article and learned 1. I bought mega bloks and not legos 2. the sets she wants are the brand i bought. we will stick with these. :) thanks for the article!

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Gene July 3, 2014 at 7:35 AM

I have twin sons, both just turned 11. They’ve had 3-different block systems: Lego, Kreo, and MegaBlocks. I’ve been a Lego bldr since I was their age, many, many years ago. I have to say, even though Legos have a wide variety of sets/parts, I’m extremely impressed with the other systems. As others have stated, mix’n’match. My boys have learned to combine the simple Lego sets with their Transformers and Halo sets. I’m not a brand-snob and neither are my kids. We’ve found the variety offered from the various sets give the opportunity to create new “universes”. They’re still trying find a way to combine everything with their Gundam models and Pacific Rim figures, but, they’re having a blast. All the parts have also made them more analytical, i.e., how best to combine the parts for something. Personally, my favorite is Mega Blocks Halo series, simply for the detailed figures. Absolutely cool.

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Heather Tatzer July 7, 2014 at 12:02 AM

Forever debate? Why waste time when there’s no comparison. I bought my first and last Mega Blok set today (Halo). It was uncomfortable in my fingers and difficult to put together. The pieces kept snapping apart as I continued through the instructions, making me backtrack and redo steps I had already completed. It was a very frustrating experience. If I wasn’t doing it for my 5 year old son, I would’ve quit 2 minutes into the project. It’s Lego from here on out. Lego is comfortable in fingers, easy to connect, stays together after assembly and during play. It’s a high quality product that is worth every penny.

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admin July 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Amen to that. ;)

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Junbesu October 20, 2014 at 6:24 PM

I’m also a lego fan and have a huge collection. But have recently added kreo (transformers) and Mega bloks (halo) as my 5 y.o. likes them and who am I to impose my brand rules?

Are you saying you’ll say no if he/she wants a halo set for Christmas and force them down the Lego route?!

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Mr.Wolf July 14, 2014 at 11:54 PM

I don’t like some of the Mega Bloks pieces that are huge and prefabricated, but I like Mega Bloks brick built models such as Air Combat, and just plain bricks bucket.

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Caleb July 29, 2014 at 1:21 PM

I’ve gotten a couple of megabloks sets. First was a Spiderman helicopter. JUNK. Second, NeoShifter. AWESOME. Third, Halo Versus Red Team Weapon Pack. Incredibly Incredible. And cheap. Megabloks I buy, legos, I get as gifts.

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Chuck Norris August 3, 2014 at 2:41 AM

Lego is best for me, though I’ve never had problems concerning lack of money. Just the fact that the bricks can fit together in so many ways. Just one problem. The lego designers are getting lazy, leaving gaps where 3-4 bricks would fill it in. But still, lego FTW.

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Jacob August 19, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Even though this is late, I’ve noticed megabloks has gotten better bricks in the 2014 sets. Sure, I’ve built Legos since I was,like, 2, but megabloks have grown on me (halo). I absolutely love the halo figures and can’t wait to see sets for the master chief collection. I am really liking how many games they are recreating in bricks. (Halo ce, halo 2, halo 3, halo:odst, halo reach, and halo 4.) I also am extremely excited for the spartan tribute pack. Fell free to express your opinions, please, and tell me if you agree.

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admin August 19, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Jacob, thanks for sharing your thoughts. The Megabloks minifigs are certainly interesting. In fact I bought several of them recently just to try them out (Spartans, and Call of Duty). :)

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LEGO not LEGOs August 21, 2014 at 11:31 AM

The real argument is whether it is Lego or Legos.

Of course it is lego. Only stupid Americans would say Legos

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admin August 21, 2014 at 11:51 AM

Please note that we are a community here. It is perfectly fine to share your own opinion, but name-calling is not welcome. Someone can use perfect spelling and grammar, but if they have to put others down to make themselves feel better, and hide behind fake user-names and email addresses, they are pretty much garanteed to loose all respect. Play well!

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Hatfield August 26, 2014 at 8:43 PM

I agree for the most part with this article, only I don’t think Mega bloks is of cheaper quality. So far my experience is if anything Mega bloks pieces click together and will stay together after an atomic bomb has been dropped on them… and not just because of the plastic fusing together. The only part I found where they don’t fit properly is 1×1 pieces. They tend to want to snap out of place on their own. That being said it sure is a pain, literally, to try and take apart 2 places on top of each other.

I was a staunch lego fanatic for many years and I would never look too much at the Mega bloks sets even when they started coming out with Halo lines. Then one day my brother actually bought a small pack with a few Mega bloks figures and I was able to examine them in detail. Since then I started buying more Mega bloks than lego. I am getting steadily more impressed with Mega bloks yet I am getting continually disappointed with lego. I still have to admit that lego is better because of it’s interchangeability, but Mega bloks has me watching their every move.
I’ll give you an example. I could go spend 20$ CAD on a lego battle pack with 4 minifigures and a handful of accessories. Or I could go to Mega bloks buy a set for 15$ CAD, 5 micro-action figures and get a ton of accessories and weapons and usually even some small terrain elements. It’s hard to justify sticking with lego, it’s only that Mega bloks has no medieval themed sets that I keep purchasing lego. If Mega bloks ever introduced a GOOD medieval or classical roman era line that might be the end of lego for me.
Now of course I don’t really mean that, I will always buy lego for the bricks themselves because I do like making my own creations, but Mega bloks might just become my favorite.

One thing I have noticed though, and this is just between different lego lines, with exception to super heroes and star wars, lego does a HORRIBLE job with themed sets. I always like original lego lines more than their theme based cash-ins. The opposite is true of Mega Bloks, only not as extreme.

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Hatfield August 26, 2014 at 8:49 PM

When I say theme based, I mean sets based on other IP franchises. Lego does a better job with their sets when they use their own IP

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super lego lover September 10, 2014 at 6:47 PM

lego wins

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rajiv September 15, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Started out with lego but i find myself gravutating to mega. Mega take its lines seriously such as cod whereas lego is more cutesy. Too bad the the adult collectors dont follow suit instead of being so anti evrything elese. Surely plenty of playing room for all brands and we the cosumers are the lucky ones withbmore than one choice. Cod line rules!

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Clumsybumsy October 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

I once got a mega bloks figure for free with a purchase of LEGO at my local Bart Smit. I trew the mega blok figure in the trash as soon as i saw a dumpster. I just hate mega blocks

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admin October 6, 2014 at 12:15 PM

LOL! That’s funny they would give you a MB figure with a LEGO purchase! I would suggest not to through them away though – you can trade them. I know a lot of kids who prefer MB figures because of the amount of detail and articulation, so they may have a LEGO figure you want,and they will be happy with your MB figure. Win-win. :)

Also, consider that there are children who are not so fortunate and would be lucky to get any kind of tosy. You can donate sets and figures you don’t want to charity, to your local library, or give them directly to a child who would be happy to receive them. There is no need to ever throw away anything new and just clog landfills. Give them to someone who would appreciate them and use them.

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Austin October 7, 2014 at 3:15 PM

“Mega bloks halo is more awesome then lego star wars!” :) :)

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spider October 20, 2014 at 6:37 PM

My sons and I have kilos and kilos of Lego. Until recently I would weed the non Lego bricks and figures out of second hand purchases. Recently though I made the decision to allow our pristine Lego collection to be ‘polluted’ by kreo and Mega bloks as the kids love transformers and halo. Although I draw the line at super cheap unbranded garbage.

I actually think its better to mix and not fair to impose rules on the kids’ play. I guarantee most kids don’t care what the brand is as long as they can have fun. I think its the parents’ job to encourage them to break down barriers and be imaginitive, and not anal freaks like most AFOLs (I include myself in that!)

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