Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Pros and Cons of Buying Fake Lego

You may or may not know that Lego is not the only building block company out there, despite it being the largest.  There are other legitimate competitors such as Mega Blocks, Sluban and Oxford brands who make building block sets using their own original designs.

There are also companies that create fake Lego building sets.  They make nearly identical copies or bootlegs of Lego building sets and mini figures.  Unless you inspected the sets closely, you would be hard pressed to tell them apart from the legitimate Lego sets.  What you will notice is the price difference between genuine Lego sets and the fake or bootleg Lego sets.  The knockoff Lego sets will usually cost between 50% to 75% cheaper than the original Lego item.

To make my point, let's take a look at a fairly recent Lego set, the Lego Star Wars Clone Turbo tank. The Lego set number is 75151.  In the United States, this 903 piece set retails for about $110 USD and in Canada, $140 CAD dollars.  Aliexpress.com is possibly the largest source of bootleg Lego on the Internet.

If you bought the fake Lego version off Aliexpress.com, it would only cost you $30 USD and that would come with free shipping to you, with no taxes.   Hard to believe?  Here's a screen shot I took from the actual Alexpress.com website.


The fake Lego set is produced by a brand called Lepin.  The Lepin version of the Star Wars Clone Turbo Tank is model 05031.  If you were to go onto the Aliepress.com website and search for Lepin 05031 you would find several listings identical to this one, all selling fake Lego versions of this building set.

The Lepin brand has virtually copied every successful Lego building set, including the very popular Star Wars and Ninja themes.  Other fake Lego brands include Enlighten, Bela, Sheng Yuan and Decool.   For Lego mini figure knockoffs, the newest bootleg brands are Xinh and Pogo surpassing the lead once held by Sheng Yuan and Decool.

You might be curious to know whether fake Lego brand bricks are identical to Lego and I can say that they are not.  They are very close in quality and clutch, but not 100%.   With the fake Lego sets, they are not always packaged in boxes. You might receive a set in a gray plastic bag with bubble wrapping.  This is how the bootleg manufacturers keep their prices so low.

Another way is that they do not send you the instruction manual and refer you to internet sets where you can view or download the instructions yourself.  Personally, I've always received the instruction manuals, but have heard of incidents where manuals were not included.

When you get the bootleg Legos and take them out of the packaging, you may or may not find that some pieces are damaged or missing.  The quality control of putting these sets together is a bit remiss and I've had situations where I've had some parts that are deformed or broken.  I've also received fake Lego sets with pieces missing.   In the case where this happens, and I'm unable to replace the missing piece, I will raise a dispute within Aliexpress.com.

Usually I will receive a credit to my purchase price to make up for the missing piece.   You could then use that credit to buy the missing part if available, either through Aliexpress or another brick parts source.  For example, I bought the Lepin Green Grocer model and it was missing one of the baseplates.   I raised a dispute with Aliexpress and received a refund of about $30.  I then repurchased the missing baseplate from another Aliexpress vendor for about $5.

Now regarding the bricks that come with the knockoff sets, you will find that many of the parts are scuffed and dirty.  This is pretty consistent with the Lepin brand.  Bela and Enlighten or not so bad.
A good tip is to wash the parts in hot soapy water, if possible.   That to me, is possibly the worst trade-off of buying fake or bootleg Lego over the genuine product.  This would be a major concern if buying these sets for children to play with.

I've been buying these sets for the past few months and I always make it a point to wash my hands after touching fake Legos.  I'm probably a bit anal or neurotic about it, but better safe than sorry.  Despite the aforementioned caveat, I still enjoy buying and building the fake Lego building sets, primarily because they offer an opportunity to acquire the sets at a very low price.  I could not afford to buy as many sets if I was purchasing the genuine Lego sets, even if with their regular discounts of about 20% off.

If you would like to see some of the fake Lego sets I have acquired, please take a look at my reviews on my other blog http://its-not-lego.blogspot.com.  I will mention if the build quality is bad or the bricks are bad.  If I don't mention it, then you can assume that the quality or clutch power of the bricks is satisfactory.

To summarize, you can pretty much find any Lego set in bootleg form, at a very low cost.   The only drawback is that about 10 to 20% of the time, you might run into the problem of missing or deformed pieces.  A further item of note, is that fake Lego pieces tend to be dirty and scuffed, so that would be a definite thing to consider.  Anyways, I hope this little unbiased write up will help you to decide whether or not fake Legos are something you are interested in purchasing.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sluban City Bus M38-B0330 Building Set



I've had a few people inquire about the blue bus that is featured in some of my pictures of NotLego town.  I modified mine, but you can get the original City Bus from Aliexpress.  The set number is M38-B0330 made by Sluban.  If it makes you feel better, this Sluban bus is not a bootleg or clone of a Lego design. It's Sluban's own design as far as I know.



The bus features three non Lego type minifigures and has two opening doors and lots of seating for passengers.  I also really like that the windows have a dark tint, not clear as in the Sluban pictures.  There are 238 pieces in this building set.   It can be found on Aliexpress for $9 USD, which is about what I paid for mine.   For this low price, you could buy two sets like I did and build your own stretch bus.

Here's the link to the set:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Sluban-City-Bus-Assembled-Monolayer-Building-Blocks-DIY-toys-Educational-toys-for-Children-Compatible-with-Lego/32626021618.html


Please remember that I cannot verify whether the seller is good or not. Use your own judgement and research before making any purchases.  I have no affiliation to Aliexpress or the sellers found there.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Xinh X0151 Star Wars Stormtrooper Minifigure



I think prices have gone up on Aliexpress for bootleg Lego bricks and minifigures because it's getting harder and harder to find really good deals.   That being said, I was able to find this little gem hidden amongst the listing of other minifigure listings.  It's a Star Wars Stormtrooper minifigure made by the Xinh brand item X0151.

It's so cheap at only $0.42 cents per figure with free shipping.  Imagine the Lego like Stormtrooper army you could amass for your Star Wars displays.  I bet if you bought a lot of minifigures from the seller, you could negotiate even a cheaper price.  Never hurts to try.

Here's the link to the set:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Newest-and-Classic-Floor-price-Star-Wars-Minifigures-Jedi-Knight-Han-Solo-Clones-The-Force-Awakens/32713129579.html


Please remember that I cannot verify whether the seller is good or not. Use your own judgement and research before making any purchases.  I have no affiliation to Aliexpress or the sellers found there.