If you are a regular around here, you probably know that while I’m a lifelong LEGO fan, I have been also keeping an eye on the Mega Construx (formerly Mega Bloks) sets. I mostly pay attention to their collectors’ series, as I really like the fully articulated and very detailed micro action figures, and also appreciate some of their accessories. So far, I have been collecting some of their Halo, Call of Duty, Destiny, Assassin’s Creed, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and American Girl (including Wellie Wishers) figures, and I’m also very curious about their upcoming World Beyond theme we talked about previously (see here: Mega Construx 2017 Summer Update & More!). 🙂
Many LEGO fans only know Mega Construx as a LEGO competitor, and don’t pay much attention to the company. I don’t know much about them either, besides what they share on their website and what I have learned through JANGBRiCKS reviews, however next week, I have a chance to visit their headquarters in Montreal. I’m actually really looking forward to this little adventure, and have been gathering questions to ask during my field-trip. Below, I’m sharing some of the things I thought to ask.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #1: I will give a little bit of background to my first question, so you know what I’m asking about. The World Beyond display at the New York Toy Fair was one of the highlights of the event, and got a lot of attention and excitement from both Mega Construx fans and the general public. The display featured a futuristic city, space exploration, and underwater exploration in a futuristic environment. Mega Construx fans were hoping that this was a sign of a future theme, which – at least partially – has been confirmed by Mega since then. The new theme is called Probuilder, and includes two known sets so far. The Viking Longship Raid, with an intricately detailed Viking ship and Viking warriors, and the Space Rover Expedition, which is similar to the space exploration section of the World Beyond display (see both sets below).
Mega releasing the Probuilder collection is a big deal. They have been solely focusing on licensed themes, and always shied away from making their own thing. With the two sets revealed so far, it seems that they are planning to release high quality and very detailed historical and futuristic sets that are not tied to any movie, comics, or video-game. During my trip, I would love to hear more about both the World Beyond display and the Probuilder theme.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #2: In the LEGO & Mega Bloks Mini-Dolls Comparison article, I mentioned that while I really like the American Girl Wellie Wishers figures, I found some quality issues with how they fit together. I would like to know more about their design process and quality-control, as it seemed to me that someone dropped the ball when they transitioned the larger American Girl figures to the shorter Wellie Wishers.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #3: I would also like to ask why Mega Construx doesn’t have a direct online shop. They do have a shop section on their website, which lists all the sets currently in production, however you can’t actually buy anything directly through the website. You have to hunt down the sets at Toys’R’Us, Wal-Mart or other retailers either through their local stores or websites. It would be so much easier to just shop with them directly. They could also implement a loyalty program, sign up their fans for newsletter announcements, etc. Related to this question is another question; I have heard that Mega Construx sets are very difficult to find outside of North America. Maybe they can share something to understand their distribution better, and what future plans they have in this regard.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #4: As I mentioned in the Farewell to Mega Bloks Assassin’s Creed article, I’m still upset that Mega discontinued the theme. I don’t really care for the game, but the collection was an excellent source of historical action figures. I was so looking forward to the crusaders sets! Anyway, I wanted to grumble a bit and give Mega a piece of my mind. I’m also secretly hoping that maybe the Probuilder sets will have similar historic figures.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #5: I don’t know if I will be able to confirm this and if they are willing to tell me, but I have heard that Mega actively recruits former LEGO designers. 🙄
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #6: I would like to learn more about what Mega is doing, or plan to do, about their brick quality. Even though I have interest in their micro action figures, I still refuse to buy and build a larger size Mega Construx set. Not even the sets from the collectors’ series measure up to the building experience with LEGO. The bricks are made of a harder, less yielding plastic, which makes putting the pieces together and separating them much more difficult. In addition, Mega Construx doesn’t have a set color-palette. They go with different colors for every theme, which makes building your own thing from the pieces very difficult. They have been, however, much better at having less specialized elements for each set or theme (at least in the collectors’ series), indicating that they would like to provide a better building experience. Mega Construx building pieces are basically copies of LEGO elements, although they also have some useful pieces of their own.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #7: One thing Mega is definitely very good at is that all of their sets that are meant for teen and adult collectors are fully printed. They don’t use stickers at all. In addition, their micro action figures are amazingly detailed with high-quality printing. I’m hoping to learn more about their graphic-design and printing process. Particularly, because I have heard that on their limited-release micro action figures they use a combination of printing and hand-painting.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #8: I would also like to understand better how Mega views themselves in the toy business, and what are their present and future goals. As I mentioned previously, they are mostly known as a LEGO competitor, but they are also doing some of their own things where they are clearly unique (high-quality micro action figures, sets based on games, movies, comics, etc.). Are they trying to cater to LEGO fans, or corner a completely different market? Whom do they see as their target audience? Kids? Adult collectors? Gamers? LEGO fans who are willing to experiment with other brands?
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #9: As I’m mostly coming from the adult LEGO fan perspective, I’m also curious about if Mega has any events, programs, conventions, etc. for their teen and adult fans. I’m aware that they have a semi-active forum via their website, but besides that, I haven’t really seen any dedicated websites, blogs, forums or YouTube channels run by their fans. While there are some reviews on YouTube, most of them are poor quality and unreliable. The only reviewer I know and trust for Mega Construx sets is JANGBRiCKS. If Mega doesn’t cater to their older fans and collectors, they are really missing out in my opinion.
➡ MEGA CONSTRUX QUESTION #10: I read an interesting article recently at the Canadian Plastics website, which talks about how Mega was planning to bring most of their production back to Montreal with the help of a five-year recapitalization plan and government loans. It was also mentioned that the Mega Construx line has been doing exceptionally well, with significant growth in sales both in North America and globally. The article was written just about four years ago (September 2013), so I’m very curious to see how this plan worked out. I hope I will have a chance to ask someone during my visit.
And now, I open up the questions to you; what would you like to ask Mega? Do you have any questions, requests, ideas, or anything else you would like me to bring up while I visit their headquarters next week? Feel free to share in the comment section below, and I will make sure to add them to my list. Also, I have never been to Montreal before, so if you have any tips for me on where to visit and what to see you are welcome to add that as well. 😉
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So, has the hurricane dissipated, or are these updates handled automatically, having been uploaded beforehand?
Unfortunately this is one of the scheduled articles to be released.
Several weeks back the admin was invited to two meet and greets. The first was for Mega Constructs. The second was for LEGO’s US Community team. The Admin chose the Mega Constructs mainly because they are paying for everything. This includes sending a car directly to the house!
LEGO was only offering some food and refreshment once you got there and access to the employee store. So cost wise and given the time frame it was too hard to manage.
Of course with all the outages we’re not sure if the Admin can still make the trip. On the off chance it does happen your questions will be much appreciated.
I am also waiting to hear that you’re OK and not dealing with a lot of damage.
I should mention that the admin asked for me to keep an eye on the site while she’s out of communication. I know as soon as it is possible she’ll be posting here to let us all know.
Currently the storm has been down graded to a tropical storm, but some areas will be without power for quite some time.
Thanks so much for letting us know that much. Sending love and concern to everyone in the storms’ paths.
Same here. I been thinking of you on and off through the night . I am hoping things are o k.
Please keep checking in on the comment sections. I know when the Admin can post you’ll see it.
The admin told me that this wasn’t her first hurricane so she knows what to do.
Due to the hurricane it is uncertain whether the Admin can go on this trip. However, even if it is not possible there is a possibility to ask all these questions via electronic means. Hopefully it won’t come to that but I know the Admin would appreciate your questions.
The article mentions “next week”, so I figured the situation might have calmed until then?…
That is definitely the hope.
It would be good for the Admin to take a trip away if it is possible.
I think the biggest obstacle will be whether or not the airlines are opporational. Just like Houston the tropical storm is now dropping a lot of water which makes flooding a problem.
Plus there is a chance Mega Constructs might reschedule for the Admin personally. Right now it’s a waiting game to see how badly the area was hit. The news has admitted some areas will be out of power for as much as a couple of weeks.
I’d ask about what their plans might be for constraction offerings as compared to the current LEGO Hero Factory releases.
Also, as they are owned by Mattel, and Mattel also owns the He-Man and Thundercats licenses, if and when they plan to dip into the nostalgia market with those two cash cows. Many a grey haired brick builder would pay a large sum for a Castle Greyskull and Masters of the Universe releases.
Good point about those Intellectual Properties. Nastalgia sets are only now being explored with LEGO in things like their Dimensions line. Goonies, Gremlins, Back to the Future, just to name a few. Plus the LEGO Ideas have definitely shown it’s worth while.
Seeing some of Matel’s old licenses in building form would definitely peak the interest of many builders out there. I can imagine even the purists buying the set to see how it is done and recreating it with LEGO parts.
I’m anctiously waiting for admin to check in. Will, keep us updated if you hear something.
Admin’s okay! See post below.
I have questions for mega, but what I really want to hear right now is how Admin is doing. Praying for her and all Floridians. This was a monster hurricane that wiped out most of the state. I read that it was the largest evacuation in the history of the country!
Admin’s okay! See post below.
GREAT NEWS! The Admin is alright!
Here’s what she emailed me with just now.
“UPDATE: We made it through the night. It was very scary, the wind howling
like a maddened demon. Didn’t get much sleep. Our house held up and none of
our trees came down, many others are not so fortunate. Our next door
neighbor’s house was smashed by a giant tree. The wind is still strong, with
occasional very strong gusts, and intermittent rain. Our yard and most of
our neighbors’ yards are flooded with about a foot of water, but the house
inside is dry. We still have no power and we are also trapped because the
downed power lines tangled in the fallen trees go through our driveway. We
do have drinking water, food, and a camping stove to cook. A significant
part of the city is in similar situation.
I can’t be online much as all of my devices are running out of power.
Recharging from the car whenever the wind is a bit better.”
Sounds like the Admin had it better than some of the neighbors.
Thanks for the update Will, good to hear she’s okay. Hoping the power is back up soon and things can get back to normal. I’m sure it will be quite a project to clean everything up!
Glad to hear admin is all right! Scary times, these.
Where can I get that Viking Longship? It’s gorgeous! I need one or two! Are they available yet?
From my understanding it is still not out just yet.
Sadly, Mega Constructs doesn’t have an online site store so you can try a couple of things.
First, check your local stores that carry MEGa Constructs products. Toys’R’Us and Target along with places like Wal-Mart is your best bet.
Second, search online for Mega Constructs Pro Builder. You might find out more.
I know the ship was supposed to be a summer release so chances are good that we will see them any time now.
Okay, I did a follow up search.
I can’t put the link here since it would be blocked for moderation and since the Admin can’t see it here’s what you can do.
1. search either the Mega Constructs shop page or do a search on google for Mega Constructs Viking Longship Raid.
2. On their page just to the right of the price ($79.95) is a link saying “Where to Buy.”
3. Put in your postal code and they’ll tell you who in your area will have the set!
What’s up with Kubros Series 4?!?
I do not seem to be able to find any of these actually for sale anywhere? Is it discontinued with Series 4 never planning to be introduced for sale to the public?
Tim, I just got back from my trip an hour ago. I will write a report on it soon, and will also answer questions, or find out answers for you. 🙂
Being in Europe and reading your comments, I felt unease. Here I am safely and you guys are praying you still have a house the following day. Glad the admin in doing well.
I really enjoy this appreciation of Mega Construx / Bloks. I have a daughter and love the American Girl/ Monster High sets. I have been able to secure some of the former from relatives your side of the pond, and the later from amazon germany. Gorgeous. I would really love to hear the answer to #3, why not make the sets more widely available. I am sure the European market of parents of girls would embrace these sets. I am also a girl and would willingly buy some for *cough* myself. I love the tiny details of the AG girl, that they are way cheaper than the actual AG, the look of the Monster High sets and how some fit together to make a bigger set. In my humble opinion Mega Construx would be a suitable rival for Lego in the more pink / purple market.
Looking forward to your report.
Alexanda, I did ask the question about distribution during my visit, and I was told that they are working on it. Now that Mattel owns Mega, they have a much further reach, but it will take some time until the brand is fully integrated into Mattel’s distribution channels. Finding the sets is actually pretty hard here too. They don’t have an online shop, and they are hard to find locally. I get most of the sets I want via eBay. But again, the good news is that they are working on it, and they definitely have plans to expand to other regions. Hopefully it won’t take too long. And yes, I agree; American Girl is awesome. I had a chance to chat with their lead designer. 🙂
I have been curious to read your posts on Mega Bloks. Are you posting them soon? Thanks.
Alexanda, yes, I’m planning to start writing up some reports on my visit soon. Sorry about the delay. We have been distracted by the aftermath of the hurricane that hit us right before I left. But things are pretty much back to normal now, so I can start writing more detailed articles. Stay tuned. 🙂
Hi, have you abandoned the plans to talk about Mega? I am still really interested, in particular to hear about their export strategy to Europe.
Alexandra, so sorry about all this delay. I actually have thought of you, and felt guilty that I haven’t put together a report yet. I definitely want to do it, but it’s a big article that takes up a lot of time to write, and life just got in the way. I have been thinking I might do it in chunks, so it doesn’t feel like having to “eat an entire elephant” all at once.
Even though I haven’t written a report yet, I have been paying close attention to any updates on Mega, especially once I knew that Toys’R’Us was going out of business. This has been a big blow to Mattel and all other toy manufacturers. As far as your question, I would say that the whole toy industry is reeling right now, and it will take a while before it becomes clear who will survive and who will fold. For several years in a row, Mattel reported Mega as an underperformer. They are making some changes this year, none of which are very good in my opinion. I would not be surprised if Mattel drops Mega, or turns it into something completely different. The bottom line is that putting money and effort behind Mega doesn’t seem to be a priority right now, and I doubt that distribution will improve any time in the near future. Even here in the US, it’s very difficult to find Mega products now that TRU is gone. Adding to this all the stuff that’s happening with trade wars, these are difficult times to run international businesses.
It’s very sad, as I love Mega, and I have fond memories visiting them. I do wish them the best, and I hope Mattel will be able to recover and put some effort into fixing their distribution issues. The fanbase is there, but if fans can’t buy products, it looks like Mega is not performing well. However, based on everything I have seen and heard, there is great demand, and fans are practically begging to get some Mega sets in North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. Hope this helps a little. If you have any other questions/comments, feel free to write.