review: Mega Bloks SpongeBob SquarePants – Patrick Racer (CNF30)

cnf30-canister-3x
Using a cardboard canister to package your product is sort of a novel concept, but doesn’t it severely limit the retailers’ display options?

Continuing the nautical theme of the previous review, we take a look at this set from Mega Bloks based on the long-running SpongeBob SquarePants cartoon. I have the double disadvantage for this review of having grown up in a household that viewed cable television as an extravagance and of being just on the outside of the program’s age demographic when it debuted. To be honest, I probably would not have bought this set if I didn’t have this blog (and if it hadn’t been discounted to clearance prices).

It’s funny how licensed intellectual properties tend to migrate back and forth between Lego and Mega Bloks. For instance, Lego had initially acquired the rights to produce sets based on SpongeBob SquarePants. After several years, Lego had apparently decided they had done all they could with the license and chose not to renew their agreement with Nickelodeon. That naturally allowed Mega Bloks to jump aboard, and here we are. Let’s get into it.

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Inside the can, you’ll find three bags of parts and an instruction manual.

cnf30-racer

The racer is a solid, if somewhat lackluster, build. I don’t know if it was inspired by any particular episode or other related media, but it sort-of looks as though it was constructed from one of those model shipwrecks that you find in aquariums. The ship’s cartoonish figurehead is passable. The printed shields are the standout parts of the set and have the most potential for usage elsewhere. In stark contrast, the bland, featureless plastic wheels are utterly disappointing.

cnf30-patrick

Here’s the star of the set, SpongeBob’s best friend Patrick (appropriately dressed as a Viking). Patrick’s construction is quite different from anything I’ve encountered. The ball-jointed arms allow for a range of motion slightly greater than found on Lego minifigures. The unusual construction of Patrick’s legs do not allow him to bend at the waist. It’s not too much of a problem with this set, as the racer’s cabin is sufficiently deep that Patrick can stand in it.

cnf30-complete

Conclusion

The suggested retail for the Patrick Racer is about USD$10. At 91 pieces, I suppose that’s a fair price. At the same time, I don’t know if I could recommend purchasing this set at full price. I guess my main point of contention is that the racer’s build lacks a certain amount of creativity. If Mega Bloks had somehow found a way to make wheels out of the shields, for example, it would have caused the set to go up several marks in my opinion. I also kind-of wish that it resembled a Viking longboat just a bit more. While the shields are decidedly nifty parts, they aren’t enough to justify buying the set at full retail. Its value ultimately depends on how much of a fan you are of the cartoon (which I am not at all). I have no specific regrets about buying the set, but I’m perhaps doubly glad that I didn’t pay much for it.

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