remembering Toys “R” Us

Source: Unknown Toys “R” Us Kid

I wanted to briefly interrupt the blog hiatus to mark the passing of a true American institution. Continue reading


update: A Look Back, A (Long) Look Ahead


Happy New Year to all my readers! 2018 is underway, but I wanted to take a moment to chat about the past year before it begins to fade from memory and to let you in on some developments in my life. January 8 actually marked the third anniversary of Building Up to Something (although my first actual post wouldn’t appear until a few months later), and for the most part I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and impressions on a variety of building block sets and brands with youThank you for reading, and I hope to receive your continued support in the years to come!  Now let’s have one last look at 2017 before setting our sites on the future. Continue reading

review: Cobi Santa Claus (28018)


Well, it’s that time of year again: Christmas time. The songs stylings of Bing Crosby, Andy Williams and Nat King Cole seem to waft through the air. I can see snow falling outside my window as I write this. It’s a Wonderful Life will soon air on television along with a dozen other perennial holiday favorites. Then it seems only fitting that we close out the year with a look at this set from Cobi. Why, it’s none other than the jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus! Let’s unwrap this gift to see if it’s naughty or nice. Continue reading

review: Cobi Monsters vs. Zombies Wolfman’s Lair (24142)


We return to the bizarre world where famous monsters do battle with the undead, and not a single mortal human is to be found! It’s “Monsters vs. Zombies,” a theme that I thought I would never come across again. However, a discount online retailer apparently uncovered a handful of these sets in a warehouse somewhere and put them up for sale. Even though the thematic concept puzzled me, I was reasonably satisfied with the set that I had previously reviewed. How will this one fare? Continue reading

review: Cobi Action Town Dairy Farm (1873)


When I reviewed my first Cobi set a couple of years ago, I lamented the fact that it would probably be my last Cobi review as the hobby store where I purchased the set was going out of business, and importing the sets from Europe was not an option. Finding online bargains on Cobi sets was something of a rarity, but I finally stumbled across an online retailer which had some deeply discounted Cobi sets.  This particular set is part of Cobi’s “Action Town” theme, although I fail to see how a dairy farm fits in with the “action” part of the theme. Continue reading

review: Enlighten The War of Glory – Defend Barrack (2303)


Source: Enlighten

Like Lego’s Nexo Knights, The War of Glory is Enlighten’s update of their medieval Castle theme. Unlike the hybrid sci-fi/fantasy universe of Nexo Knights, The War of Glory takes place in a more traditional fantasy world filled with human knights, elven warriors, noble dwarves, and all manner of mythical beasts. I understand that it’s more than a little inspired by a popular MMORPG, but I’ll have to take other peoples’ word for that. Continue reading

review: C3 Construction Shopkins Kinstructions Checkout Lane (37330)


Last holiday season, I asked one of my coworkers what he was getting his children for Christmas. He listed off the usual “evergreen” toy properties (Lego, Barbie, etc). Then he asked me, “Do you know what Shopkins are?” I told him that I didn’t. “They’re the dumbest thing ever,” he said rolling his eyes. He then proceeded to explain to me what Shopkins were, and I was inclined to agree with him.  A short time later, I was out shopping for gifts for my own family, and I happened to see these C3 Construction “Kinstructions” (a horrible neologism) in the store. Continue reading