review: Block Tech Girls Island Breeze Beach Club Beach Party (124 Pieces)

island-beach-boxIt’s the middle of July, and temperatures are skyrocketing. It can mean only one thing for those of us who live north of the Equator: the Dog Days of Summer are finally here. Although we just (barely) returned from Dinosaur Island, we’re headed to an island of a different sort. This set is sold at Family Dollar stores under the Block Tech Girls brand, but I don’t see anything in this set that caters to girls in particular. Two of the three included minifigures are male! Block Tech has been our building block whipping boy as of late. Can they shake off the summertime blues with this set?island-beach-contentsThe parts for this set come in two bags. As per usual, a folded instruction sheet is also included. No tray, though. I wonder how they determine which sets receive cardboard trays, and which sets do not.

island-beach-table
Are the chairs color-coded by gender…?

The first build shown in the instructions is this table with chairs. The tabletop is built from no less than five 1×3 plates. I think the various bricks on top of the table are supposed to represent food and beverages, and the transparent yellow-green cone is supposed to be a table lamp. When built according to instructions, the chairs are unusable by minifigures. They actually add structural stability to the plates that make the tabletop, which are otherwise connected by one stud to the rest of the build. It should also be noted that the stem that holds the parasol up does not stay attached to the table very well. The actual parasol piece is not half-bad.

defective-windscreenBefore we get to the second build of the set, I just want to point out the windshield that I received was chipped. It wouldn’t have bugged me that much if the windshield had been damaged in transit from the factory. However, windshields and other large transparent plastic elements come individually packed in small baggies. This one was no different, which means that it was clearly damaged at the factory but still packed into the set. Just terrible.

island-convertible-3shot

The second build is a sporty convertible. The cheap, hollow plastic wheels that come with every Block Tech automobile were expected. The pieces representing the car’s side-view mirrors fit loosely in the yellow clips. They move quite freely and will fall out if the car is tipped over. Still, the model looks almost passable. It’s unfortunate the parts’ quality works against the design.

island-beach-showerThe final build of the set is a beach shower, I guess. Some parts in transparent light blue to represent water would really have helped to sell it as a shower. As it is, it looks like an unstable stack of pieces.

island-3-minifigsAs mentioned earlier, you receive three minifigures in this set. You receive the nakedest Lifeguard, a female figure insultingly referred to on the packaging as a “Beach Babe,” and a character named “Surfer Dude.” Surfer Dude is the very first non-Caucasian minifigure that I have ever received in any Block Tech set. Too bad he doesn’t come with a surfboard to live up to his name. As a matter of fact,  I haven’t reviewed a single Block Tech set that has come with accessories for the minifigures.

2-lifeguards
J.T.: “You got a life preserver tattooed on your chest? That’s hardcore, bro!”
Lifeguard: “Yeah… hardcore. That’s me!”

Even Naked Lifeguard’s life preserver is printed on his torso. While we’re talking about it, what is going on with the Lifeguard’s torso? Does he have a surgical scar? I have to admit that the printing on all three minifigure torsos is quite good, though.

island-beach-complete

Conclusion

Retail price for this set is USD$5. It probably goes without saying at this point, but the poor quality of the parts prevents me from giving this set a recommendation. The parasol piece is decent,  and it was nice of Block Tech to acknowledge that there’s more than one skin tone; but it hardly makes up for the mediocrity of the rest of the set. Yet another swing-and-miss for Block Tech.

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