After several posts of LEGO knockoffs, it's time to look at the real thing. This set is from the LEGO Movie 2 line, and I had some of the original Space sets with minifigs that looked like Benny, except my helmets weren't cracked.
This set nails the aesthetics of late-80s and early-90s LEGO, and I am already excited before opening the box. This is going to be fun!
The box is better sealed than the lazy cardboard flap and strip of tape of the imitators. Inside are two cellophane bags with the assorted parts necessry, and the typical LEGO instruction booklet with several pages of clear, simple instructions. These bags open much more easily than the counterfeits. Much more kid-friendly than the frustrating packaging from the cheaper versions. For those, I resorted to using a knife myself to avoid launching parts into low-earth orbit when they eventually gave way to brute force. Even as a kid, I was able to open real LEGO bags with little trouble
Unlike the part count inflation of the knockoff sets, the real LEGO minifigures come with the legs and torsos as preassembled components. The joints are also much more secure. The pink space suit is a new color, but it fits with the look of the classic suits.
This also offers a prime opportunity to compare real LEGO with knockoffs. The wrench and saucer on the left are the genuine article. Those on the right are Dollar Tree knockoffs. The wrench is not bad, but the saucer piece is plainly thinner plastic and has some flashing on the edge. I also noticed some bricks that are newer than the sets that inspired this kit, and here are a couple of them.
The LEGO wheels have a recessed groove around the edge, and the tires have a ridge that interlocks for very secure tire and wheel connections. These won't fall off easily. In fact, all of these LEGO pieces have a fit that is hard to describe, but aesthetically very pleasing. They click together firmly, but release with little effort. The plastic formula is that Goldilocks level of just right. LEGO is king because no one else can truly match their tolerances, specifications, and quality control.
I do have a few minor complaints. I would have liked to see more re-releases of the original bricks. The rocket cone, metal detector, etc. are fine, but not quite proper nostalgia fuel with the redesigns. The space ship should have used the antenna handles instead of a steering wheel. But I am more than willing to overlook those faults.
If you want a quality toy, don't cheap out. There is no substitute. But if your kids are disrespectful little monsters unworthy of real LEGO due to their destructive tendencies, go ahead and buy them the knockoffs until they can earn a promotion to the LEGO club.