review: Mega Bloks Kubros Terminator: Genisys T-800 Guardian (25)

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Collectible vinyl toys have gained greater visibility in recent years, Funko Pop! being one of the most pervasive brands. One may argue that the apparent popularity of Funko Pop! is mostly due to the rise of “-Box” monthly subscription services which seem to have access to an inexhaustible supply of them. Personally, I don’t see the appeal to these toys. They don’t seem all that fun, and I never hear about anybody actually playing with them. They only serve as signifiers to others that the owner is aware of some facet of pop culture. Of the two major building block brands, Mega Bloks was the first to attempt to horn in on this trend with their Kubros line. The greatest advantage that Kubros has over any collectible vinyl toy is that the component parts can be used to build something else if the builder doesn’t enjoy it or grows tired of it.

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Mega Bloks has pulled all the stops when it comes to the packaging design. The moment you open the box, you are greeted by a close-up of the Kubros’ cartoony visage.  The box’s interior is printed with a pattern that suggests street art or graffiti. It’s all done to impress upon the builder the idea that this is not your standard building block set. It’s a product for the hip, pop culture savvy  toy consumer.

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In spite of Mega Bloks’ appeals for hipster cred, it’s still ultimately a building block set. The parts come in five bags printed with the same pattern found inside the box. You also receive the standard instruction booklet.

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The resultant figure is a bit smaller than expected. It’s simplistic by design, doing the minimum to represent its source material. While the figure is supposed to be based on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from the most recent Terminator film, it could easily pass for the T-800 from the second or third movies in the series.

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The Terminator’s robotic arm is rather cleverly built…

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… As is his firearm.

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Although the design is simplistic, what little detail the figure does have is decent.

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Each Kubros incorporates a “coin” (basically a specialized 1×1 round tile) in its construction.

Conclusion

The suggested retail price is about USD$15, and you do get your money’s worth for the most part. The assembly went quickly and never got repetitive. The finished product is simplistic, but the few details on the figure are done in a clever way. In fact, my one major complaint about the set is that it’s almost too featureless. I understand that Mega Bloks is trying to emulate Funko Pop! and their bland, minimalist aesthetic. However, even giving the Kubros something as simple as a nose would have greatly increased the character of the figures.

All my other gripes are pretty minor. I would have preferred a transparent red 1×1 round plate instead of the solid red round plate used for the eye. It would have been cool of Mega Bloks to include additional parts to build an undamaged T-800, maybe with brick-built sunglasses. Finally, I don’t particularly care for how the instructions call for the damaged parts of the T-800 to be located on only the right side of the figure. It gives the figure a sort of lopsided appearance, but this can be easily remedied by swapping limbs from one side to the other.

In fact, all my complaints are theoretically addressable due to the fact that these Kubros are still building block sets. There’s nothing to stop a builder from modifying them or completely redesigning them from the brick up. With a little more added value, this set would have been a great bargain. As it stands, it’s pretty good. I’m not sure if I’ll pick up any other sets for my desk, but a good sale or a small price drop would definitely make me reconsider.

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