As a kid back in the 1980’s, I have seen so many trends in the world of toys unfold before my eyes… from action figures, the Rubik’s Cube to those first generation handheld games called Game & Watch (popularized by LCD games forerunner Nintendo) plus other thingamajigs that became so popular that kids like me then wished to have on their birthday or even writing to Santa asking and begging to have that toy for Christmas. But there was this one toy line that became a huge phenomenon across the globe that boys and girls alike were pestering their moms and dads to give them as soon as they hit the toy shelves… and the rest is history. I’m talking about that four-letter toy product that has become synonymous for assembling their miniature brick-like pieces together to form something… and you’ve guessed it right… who doesn’t know LEGO?
LEGO has been with us for decades and with so many toys selling in the market right now LEGO continues to fair in terms of sales with their extensive line of new product concepts. I too had owned several classic LEGO toys in the past and I am proud to say that I was just as lucky as those from my generation to have witnessed the birth of LEGO as is skyrocketed to worldwide fame. Since it’s been a habit of mine to visit every toy shop I see and check out their stuff whenever I get out of the house to take a breather, I somehow get to monitor their prices as well, and honestly in the case of LEGO, I admit that their prices today are way too high. (even for their one-piece LEGO miniature figure sold in blister packs selling at PHP 200 each or $4.50) Product line: excellent, Price: a little heavy on the wallet… nuff said.
I was at Toys R’ Us in Robinson’s Galleria one time as I did my usual rounds in hunting for other bargain toys that caught my fancy and it was in this quiet portion of the store where amongst the row of toys I’ve eventually struck a goldmine! A goldmine in a sense that it was unheard of, it almost resembled its original counterpart and lastly it is very, very affordable. And I’m talking about China‘s Wange Toys and their product line Pirates Raid (Sea Hunt). I am quite aware that there are other bootleg versions of LEGO circulating out there but I got so excited with this Wange toy since it looked like the real deal from the outside, and selling at PHP 50?! ($1.00 something) I just got to have it! Aside from this one on the photo, there are three other versions available from the Pirates Raid series to choose from and since this is my first time to purchase, I decided to pick this one first and come back later for the other three when I get to visit Robinson’s Galleria sometime soon. I was even informed by one of the sales clerks that there are people who actually buy these Wange Toys just for the figures since it looked like an exact replica of the original LEGO figs. True enough as I got home and unboxed it, the pirate figure looks just the same as its original counterpart but when it came to the brick pieces that you assembled, you can tell it right away that there’s a huge difference… the size, the built, the feel, very different from LEGO.
But for me as a toy collector who cared less about the price, the make, its origins, etc. the Pirates Raid series from Wange Toys isn’t that bad at all. Though your choices are just limited to their existing line-up, they are enough for you to enjoy them and starting your own collection would be very easy. Price wise: way too far from the costly amount you’ll be spending for an original LEGO set. To sum it all up, here’s my assessment: If you have that extra cash to spare or if you’re just a die-hard LEGO fan, then go for the real thing. But if you’re just a random toy collector who wants to have that LEGO look-a-like displaying in your room or if you are on a tight budget, then the Pirates Raid series from Wange Toys just hits the spot big time and the feeling of satisfaction of spending that PHP 50 for it gives the best bang for your buck.