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A tiny look at the world.
Nanoblocks are a tiny building block, much like its more famous Danish counterpart. They were developed in Japan in 2008 and are made by a company called Kawada. The main difference between Nanoblocks and Lego is, apart from size, is that where Lego is hollow underneath; Nanoblocks are solid and have a groove at the bottom. This allows you to place blocks on angles and to slide them along the bumps on top of other blocks to create a much wider variety of shape adding to the detail of the model. Also Nanoblocks are built using a layer process so the shape you are building is solid.
To give you some idea of just how small these models are, think of a £1 coin standing on its edge and then imagine a grand piano that could almost hide behind it, a grand piano made up of 150 pieces, yes the smallest pieces are 4x4x5 millimetres.
Due to the size of the individual blocks it is possible to make fantastically detailed models, much more so than with larger blocks. The models you make are immediately obvious what they are and are very eye-catching.
What can I make?
The product they have put up here is the grand piano but that is just one of a large range of kits that are available. At the moment, in this country, there are three ranges, the mini series, the sights to see range and the advanced hobby range. There are many more models available worldwide but unfortunately not yet here, hopefully a more expanded range will come to this country over time. The mini range is made up of animals, birds and musical instruments. The sights to see range is what it says, being a range of famous buildings and sights from around the world. There is just one model available in the hobby range at the moment, more on that later.
The mini range Fantastically detailed models of many of the world’s flora and fauna feature in this range such as the giant panda, the koala and meerkat whilst representing the birds are favourites such as penguins and budgies. For those favouring music there’s an electric guitar and a drum set. I’ll list all 24 available models at the end of the review. This range comprises models from 90 to 180 pieces and has a skill level of one to two. All packs show both number of pieces and sill level. This range is packaged in plastic pouches.
Sights to see. Build yourself a collection of the world’s most famous buildings and sights, The Taj Mahal, The Eiffel Tower or maybe even the space shuttle, ready for lift off. This range has between 230 and 580 pieces and of course the finished models are larger than the mini range, roughly twice as big. Skill level for this range is between one and four This range is packaged in attractive cardboard boxes.
The advanced hobby range. Just one model is available in this country in this range as yet. Hopefully more will be allowed into the country soon. This is Schloss Neuschwanstien, the fairy, Bavarian Castle. It has 5800 pieces and is fully LED Lit, it does look fantastic. The whole thing would fit on top of your laptop. Skill level for this one is nine so you can see that it would take quite a while to finish that one.
The pieces are so small, I’m going to lose them.
Kawada have even thought of that possibility. In each set you are supplied with spare pieces of all 11 types of block, if used in that kit. The added bonus is that if you are collecting you will soon have enough spare pieces to build things from your imagination.
Instead of the usual petroleum product dyes usually used in this type of toy, Nanoblocks are dyed with environmentally friendly soy ink that produces a really vibrant colour.
Am I old enough?
The minimum age is 8 years due to the obvious choking hazard of such small pieces. The recommended age is 12 although my nine year old got on fairly well with it although did need some help. Of course there is no upper age limit and I certainly enjoyed making the ones I have done so far. I am itching to have a go at the big one and don’t know how much longer I will be able to resist.
What’s it going to cost me and where can I get one?
As yet Nanoblocks aren’t a mass market toy and as such aren’t available in mainstream toy shops as far as I am able to discover. There are some on eBay and Amazon, while some of them sell at around the RRP, beware as some of them are very overpriced. I have seen the big one at as much as £100 over the RRP Some other websites stock them but again the price seems to vary wildly. I stock them at occasioncraft.co.uk at a little under the RRP which is as follows Mini series £7.99 Sights to see £15.99 Advanced hobby range £149.99
If you have any question about Nanoblocks feel free to contact me.
The ranges Mini range Animals Alpaca Cat (American shorthair) (French)Bulldog Giant Panda Giraffe (Hockaido) Dog Japanese Tree Frog Koala Meerkat Polar Bear Pig Rabbit Red Eared Slider Turtle
Birds Budgerigar Cockatiel Duck Emporer Penguin Red and Green Macaw
Musical Instruments Drum Kit Electic Guitar Grand Piano Violin
Seasonal Santa and Snowman
Sights to see range
Easter Island Moai Statues Eiffel Tower Kaminarion Thundergate Kinkaku-Ji Mont San Michel Sagrada Familia Schloss Neuschanstien Space Centre Space Station Taj Mahal Tokyo Tower
Advanced hobby range Schloss Neuschanstien
I think they are a great idea and as such I award them a full five stars.