Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Brick Miser: Block Tech Fast & Furious Sets

...So... The latest Fast and the Furious movie! ...Is that still a thing? Am I too late to the party to catch that bandwagon? ...Well, anyway, because no brick sets have been made based on it, let's instead talk about the brick sets based on the fourth movie in the series: Fast & Furious. ...Or possibly Fast & Furious 6. It's not really clear. But it is an introduction to Block Tech, so let's hear the engines roll now!

Name: Fast & Furious Street Racer/2Fast 2Furious/Challenge 500/Extreme Chase/Red Shadow/Blue Lightning/Bank Heist
Distributor: Block Tech
Model: 16966101/15220701/15221101
Pcs: 24/25/18/132/108/115/186

Ah, The Fast and the Furious movie series. ...A franchise I again know nothing about... I've seen the first movie, I didn't really care for it, I've heard the series gets better as it goes, but I don't really care. It's basically a collection of stupid dick flicks that all revolve around crime, espionage, and racing, all involving decked-out cars, hot chicks, and Vin Diesel*. If you're into that, that's great. Me, I'll stick with smarter carsploitation franchises like

*Cars? Diesel? ...I just got that...

 ...Well, anyway...

With a franchise that's spanned 16 years and 8 movies, you'd better believe there have been a lot of licensed(and unlicensed) toys produced based on the turbo charged series, mostly, of course, race cars from companies like Hot Wheels.

 And there have been a good number of video games as well.

Yet, despite the financial and audience success of the series, when they finally decided to license their name to a building brick company, they didn't go with Lego or Mega Bloks or another well known producer/distributor, but instead the more obscure Block Tech.

Block Tech is a budget building brick line produced by the British-based RMS International under their Grafix line.

Like Cra-Z-Art, they mostly specialize in cheap art kits and toys. Puzzles, clay, jewelry, small gardens, science projects, etc.

They also have an Erector knock-off called Metal Tech. I get the feeling they like including "tech" for lines that really don't apply.

On their site, they boast a wide range of licenses from Ice Age, The Secret Life of Pets, The Simpsons, etc.

Unfortunately, they don't publicly list specifics, as you need to sign up to view their catalog.

Still, from what I can find, the products are just their typical art supplies with a copyrighted character pasted on the front.

If you've ever been to a Big Lots or Dollar General(or a Poundland if you're British), chances are you've seen their Block Tech sets, which are usually featured quite prominently in the toy aisle(at least in all the stores I've been to.)

It's mostly standard budget brick fare. Generic military, generic police, generic space, generic "girls", etc.

Though they also had a line clearly ripping off Jurassic Park, so that's pretty cool.

From what I can find, Block Tech has acquired the license for two franchises: The Fast and the Furious and a line with the "Animal Planet" name attached to it, which, as you've probably guessed, mostly revolves around buildable animals and smaller figures, mostly carryovers from other sets.

Being a budget brick company that's featured prominently in a lot of variety stores I go to, I have a LOT of Block Tech sets I want to show off. Including these obvious superhero knock-off figurines that have gained a bit of notoriety recently. ...However, we still have an Avengers movie on the way and the Fast and the Furious movie is out now, so I think I'll set these aside and focus on what we have today.

And before we begin, I'd just like to point out that I don't have the full range of this line. The Dollar General I bought these at closed down, I can't find anywhere else that carries these, and the sets go for insane prices online, so what I have with me now is probably all I'll ever be featuring.

Especially since Dollar General appears to be the exclusive distributor for these sets.

Though if you want a full set of Fast & Furious-related models that's still available, there's also the Enlighten knock-off Race Force and the Nanoblock-esque models. ...Why am I NOT featuring those...?

The box art, for the most part, is the same style across all the sets. Front and center is a picture of the finished product in an actiony-type of pose with a LOT of motion blur. In the top-right corner, we have the Block Tech logo and the movie title, while the bottom tells us what's included.

Which is strangely absent from some boxes. I guess they had to make room for the larger logo and title.

The back consists of some slightly altered shots of the front picture with links to the movie and Universal's websites.

The exact same blurb is on each box, which doesn't tell us what we'll be getting nor what scene the set represents.

In fact, according to this listing on Amazon, the first part is a word-for-word copy/paste of part of the description for the GreenLight 2002 Honda S2000 model! Apparently, the only difference between licensed and bootleg is that the former asks permission. ...And even that's sketchy.

And at the bottom, we're asked to follow them on Facebook and Instagram @FastandFuriousBlockTech

Both of which are, as of this writing, still up, and both only having 2 posts each made in the same month in 2014, which display sneak peeks of sets in the line that, as far as I can tell, have never been released. ...The buzz is so thick, you could cut it with a toothpick...

Finally, we have this niche, which tells us how many pieces(again), a "Difficulty Rating"(which is totally needed) and a standard age range that tells me I'm too old to own this. To which I say that I paid money for your product, so in your face!

But, for the second week in a row, it's lacking the "0-3" symbol to introduce "Age Purgatory." Where did it go? ...I'll tell you all about it when I see it again. When I see it again.

Alright, we got seven sets to put together this time, so let's burn rubber.


And after the longest instantaneous pause between showing off the boxes and putting the sets together to date, here's one happy reunion of Fast & Furious sets! ...At least, I assume they're happy to be together. I haven't seen most of the series, so I have no idea what the relationship between most of these characters are. ...Heck, I have no idea WHO these characters are! ...Is Vin Diesel one of them? He's just wearing a wig? ...Anyway...

Before we look at the sets proper, let's talk about one of the stranger trademarks of Block Tech(and a few other budget brick systems we'll get to one of these days): Their strange over-reliance on smaller 1-stud bricks.

For reasons beyond my understanding, instead of using longer bricks, Block Tech prefers to take a few dozen button bricks and just stack them on top of each other. ...And as you can see, the result isn't exactly seamless...

This flat area of the police car could have just as easily have been made with a single 1x4 plank, but instead, Block Tech I guess decided "Eh, we have a whole bunch of these little tile bricks, so let's make it harder on our designers, artists, and customers and just flood our sets with the most basic element possible."

At first, I wondered if it was some sort of cost-saving method, that molds are expensive so it's best to use the smallest molds possible to save on plastic and machinery. ...But they DO still use larger and/or longer bricks in their designs, so they clearly have the presses needed to make bigger bricks. And really? Churning out numerous single studs is cheaper and more efficient than creating bigger bricks? I'd assume that not only would 4 studs cost as much as a 1x4 stud* but it's slightly more stressful to count, draw, package, and eventually put together...

*I think I just invented a new housewife porn...

The only other reason I can think of for mainly using single studded(and anti-studded) elements is to artificially inflate the piece count for the box, making customers think they're getting more for their buck(literally, since these went for between $1-$5 apiece.) This seems like the most likely scenario, since paying $5 for a set with 115 pieces sounds more appealing than $5 for one with 60. ...Until you get it home and have to spend twice as long sorting through and piecing the microscopic elements together only to find one missing, in which case, you throw the set against the wall and vow eternal vengeance on Block Tech and anyone remotely similar*.

*And no, that hasn't happened to me. ...Yet...

I wouldn't mind it as much if they at least had some consistency with where and when they use the smaller elements to replace the bigger elements. ...But they seem to just insert smaller pieces during any step they please, even if it results in an asymmetrical look with the other side. Like here, where they replaced a 1x2 with 2 1x1s on one side, then substituted a 1x4 for a 1x1 and 1x3 on the other side. It messes with your mind, since you're looking for two of the same brick, only to be forced into using substitutes that make one side look uneven.

To further the inconsistency, here they've used a 1x4 plank to paste a sticker on, yet then use 4 buttons right underneath it where another plank would go! This is something I do when I buy a used set and I don't have all the pieces to it, so I sort through my brick storage to find the best substitute available! If you're a building brick company operating on MY level of quality, you have serious problems...

Alright, rant over. And since I'm looking at seven sets today, I'm going to skip the rant I had lined up for Block Tech figures until the next time we talk about Block Tech(possibly about one of their minifigure lots) and just focus on the vehicles and characters for this review.

 Starting from the bottom(now we're here), let's look at the micro-vehicle sets, which Dollar General was kindly selling for $1 each. ...I'd just like to go on record that I'm able to get bigger, more intricate brick vehicles from China WITH minifigures for less than $1 each(which I will be showing off in a future post), but I digress.

First, we have the generically-named "Street Racer", which, considering the series it's based on, you'd think ALL vehicles would be called.

...In fact, this actually looks the LEAST like something you'd expect in a street race. It looks much more like your standard Formula racer with its oversized back fin and thin, sleek build. Heck, it looks like the offspring of the Italian race car from Cars 2. Let's go ahead and put some eyes on it. See how that looks!

...Looks like that platypus from Phineas & Ferb. ...More terrifying than I thought, I have to admit...

By the way, if these vehicles DO appear in the franchise, I apologize. The boxes don't give any actual names for these cars and, again, I barely paid attention to the first movie and skipped the rest, so I wouldn't know. ...Of course, considering the quality of these sets, I highly doubt anyone involved paid any attention to the movies either.

Further proven by the next vehicle, which they creatively named "2Fast 2Furious"... And if the other racer looked out of place in a Fast & Furious movie, this thing looks like a go-kart.

Maybe they included it just in case CJ from San Andreas makes an appearance in one of these movies.

It's definitely one of the flimsier models in this range, again due to the inconsistency with the pieces. While one part of it is a 1x4 brick that's held in quite nicely

The front part of it has 2 1x2 bricks, which can fall off at the slightest touch. It would have been much sturdier if they used the 1x4 HERE and the two bricks in the middle. ...Or, given the movie's reputation of smashing up extremely flashy and expensive sports cars, maybe they were going for authenticity...

This is a set where one of the bricks also contains a serial number. I don't remember if we covered one like this before, but it's a common staple of cheaper brick sets. I'm guessing it's a signal that the set is complete and ready to be shipped out and/or a way to keep track of how many of each king of set they've produced, but that's just a hypothesis. It sort of reinforces the fact we're not dealing with Lego-quality unfortunately...

And finally, we have the "Challenge 500", and the racer that actually LOOKS like something that belongs in the franchise.

It's a pretty tricked-out little model, with a fin on the back, some sleek red lights on the front and blue lights on either side of a front fin, and a nice contrast between red and blue. It still looks like a kids' toy, but at least it looks like one based on the franchise.

This model all but confirms my suspicion that Block Tech intentionally chose not to use copyrighted names or designs while developing the sets for Fast & Furious.

Because I later found the set on the right at the exact same Dollar General right before it closed for good. As you can see, it's the exact same model with the exact same "Challenge 500" name, but rebranded as "Mean Streets" and released in 2016, the same year as the official sets*.

*At least I ASSUME they were released in 2016. Only one of the Fast & Furious sets I own has a copyright date on it, but as I mentioned earlier, they did post pictures of upcoming sets in 2014, so I have no idea when they acquired then lost the license.

This is what they seem to currently be marketing their Fast & Furious line under, as I've seen a few other models also rebranded with this name(though they changed "2Fast 2Furious" to "Turbo Racer" for obvious reasons) as well as what I assume are newer designs. Of course, since the only Dollar General in range closed down and I've yet to find anywhere else that sells these smaller budget brick sets, I can't confirm it.

And while the box basically has the same design save for a different pattern, it does have different flavor text on the back. It's still maddenly generic, but they didn't copy it from elsewhere at least.

Oh, and they have even less tolerance for older builders.

For these smaller sets, they went the Nanoblock route and just put the instructions all on one sheet. It's only 25 pieces though, so it's not as confusing as Nanoblocks can get.

At least when they rebranded to Mean Streets, they also included a mini poster of the front of the box on the back of the sheet! ...Thanks?

 Moving on, let's talk about the three medium-sized sets, which also include their own figures.

The instructions for these sets are in little book-forms, which also tell you how many pieces and which pieces are used in the construction. ...They're bent out of shape and hard to keep open thanks to that, but they're more than a sheet of paper at least.

And they even tell you how to put together each piece of the minifigure. ...I don't know why, since if you're the type of guy who's confused how to put a minifigure together, I don't think you're the type who would buy a brick set to begin with. ...Or perform most other daily activities come to think of it.

First, we have the "Blue Lightning", a sleek, electric-blue race car, complete with lightning decals on the sides and fin.

I did try searching for "Blue Lightning" in the Fast & Furious series to see if this car actually appeared, but while I did find a few pictures of blue racers, most of the results led me to a "Bugatti Veyron", which looks nothing like this car. So again, I'm assuming they just went with an original design and slapped the Fast & Furious trademark on it so they could use it again later. If I'm wrong and it did appear, please let me know.

Like the "Street Racer", it looks a lot more like a Formula 1 racer than what you'd associate with a street racer. However, in this case, it looks like a car they MODIFIED to look like a race car, which I can believe they'd do in the series. The fin looks like it was added on later, and the windows don't even look like they belong on this car with how smooth and bubble-like they look compared to the blocky body. ...Or maybe that's just a cheap design, I don't know.

And yes, the fin is hinged. ...Doesn't make sense for a fin to be hinged in a real world setting, but for a toy, it just makes it look cooler.

And just in case you missed that this was from the Fast & Furious series, they plaster the logo on the car as a low-quality decal.

Twice! But since this appears to be a more generic design, I guess having to remind the customer is necessary.

And yes, these are stickers that have to be precariously applied or they make the design look ugly.

Yet, they didn't apply any to where the license plate would be. ...Do street cars even HAVE license plates? I'd assume that they'd want as few distinguishing features on a car already being used for illegal activities.

And they were too lazy to mirror the stickers, so they just printed the same sticker twice and you apply one of them upside-down, which really throws off the symmetry of the design. I could fix this in MS Paint, and they didn't take the 5 seconds needed to flip one of the stickers...

And here's the figure. ...Whoever he is. The box gives no names and he doesn't look like anyone I've seen, plus his face is similar to other Block Tech figures I've seen, so I'm guessing this is just another generic-upped figure they could use again without royalties.

You may notice that the hair on this guy is different from the model on the box. The box has shorter, less-wavy hair, while the model looks like they popped a wig from one of their girl-centered sets on the guy's head.

In fact, it fits so poorly on him, that the plastic had to stretch to fit over his ears. This was a PAIN to get to fit and point in the right direction. And once it's on, you can forget about taking it off again.

Their decision to use this wig will be all the more baffling later, but we'll get to that when we get to that.

Next, we have my personal favorite of the bunch, the "Red Shadow" a very... bizarre construction that looks even more homemade than the Blue Lightning.

It's very boxy, straight edges abounding on each side and corner of this car. Not very aerodynamic if you ask me.

In fact, the only smooth areas are these roof-shaped pieces on the top, as well as the front "window" that looks more like a row of broken glass more likely to shatter and fly in your face than keep you safe and air resistance down.

This also has a fin, but it's a dinky little thing compared to the Blue Lightning's. It looks like it's covered with solar paneling, so maybe its function is to power the car as opposed to decrease air friction. ...Though with how flimsy it looks, I'm betting it'll fall off the second the car passes 150...

This car also has Fast & Furious decals, though much nicer ones that actually fit the color of the car and don't look like cheap white stickers they stuck on at the last minute. ...They're still cheap, but they look like they actually belong to this car.

And no, I didn't forget a piece. It's actually built like there's a large section missing. Looks like they were originally going to put a window there, but they ran out of time and said "screw it" and just put the glass shards on the front. ...You know, SOMETHING would have looked nice there. A plate? A decal? Another roof piece? Anything that doesn't make it look like it had a close encounter with a flying plate glass window...

Now here's this set's figure. A much angrier-looking guy in a leather jacket that I still can't place. And they gave him the same stupid hair as the last guy.

And to be extra lazy, they forgot to paint his teeth.

At this point, you may have noticed a slight design flaw with these cars and their figures. ...Namely THE FIGURES DON'T FIT IN THE CARS! There's NO way to have the figures drive the cars. No cockpit, no steering wheel, nothing! Which begs the question of why they included figures in the first place?!

Though I guess you could sandwich this guy underneath the plate on the Blue Lightning. ...After removing his arms, so steering will be a little difficult...

This guy can at least sit on his car. Maybe that's why they left a huge chunk of it off. ...Though now he looks like a little kid sitting on the roof of his parents' car, pretending to drive before they scream at him that he's denting the roof.


Finally, we have a set with more than one set piece in the form of "Extreme Chase." ...And this is the lazier of the sets. I mean the idea at least has setup and execution, but the designs are particularly lazy here.

First, there's the motorcycle, which is just the generic model used across brick sets, Block Tech, Lego, and other companies alike.

It's the same model I use for Brick Miser's motorcycle. ...Except Brick Miser's motorbike is much more tricked out! Embarassingly so, with brick colors that clash horribly, but at least they attempted to make it stand out!

The only thing they added are these two rocket-like pieces, which due to how generic they are, I can't tell if they're tail lights, twin exhaust pipes, or custom rocket boosters! All three are possibilities in this franchise!

They didn't even bother to give it headlights or taillights, which they suggest on the front of the box! With how much this company loves to artificially inflate brick numbers, you'd think they'd at LEAST include a clear or yellow button brick for a headlight!

Oh, but they included decals of a monster truck engine on both sides. They again forgot to mirror them, but there's that pointless detail...

The wheel isn't even secured, the pegs just short enough to not fit in the holes on the sides... $5 everyone...

 And this is the guy who goes with the motorcycle. He has the same hair as the last two, but they were extra inconsistent and also gave him smaller eyes, larger eyebrows, and less defined beard stubble than the box's version. Look like a completely different character... Maybe the last guy couldn't make it, so they grabbed his stunt double...

Now I know what you're thinking. Since this is a more generic vehicle mold and it actually has a place to put a minifigure, maybe THIS is a vehicle that can actually be driven! ...And anyone who's seen the video already knows that answer...

You CAN make him hold onto the handlebars(after popping his arm on and off), but because his feet are so big and his arms lack a bend, it's impossible to get him to sit correctly, so he's always stuck in this pose that looks like he's ready to leap off the front at a moment's notice. Heck, I'm a little surprised that he doesn't upset the cycle's balance and go careening head-over-heels from leaning over so far!

Especially since he has to jump off this ramp. ...Which I had to give an aerial view of to show you everything because this is crowded!

The ramp itself is barely a ramp, unless you count jagged metal shards sitting on a small pile of rocks as a "ramp." It's so uneven, it looks more likely to pop your tires than send you flying!

Even the ramp I built in the skit looked more practical!

I thought if I added some more bricks to certain parts, it would even things out. But instead, it just created a completely different problem. ...There had to be a better way to build a ramp...

Like this one I cobbled together in under a minute!

We're also given a barrel and a rough approximation of a fire hydrant. ...Because hydrants are usually found in back alleyways, or wherever this is taking place.

And yes, you saw correctly, it also comes with one of those Lego air tanks/rocket packs. ...Why? I have no idea.

 It's not even featured on the box.

But it is listed in the parts in the manual, so it's supposed to be here.

Hey, a new character! ...Yeah, right...

So in case you wanted to incorporate a little Commander Cody into your Block Tech, they have you covered.

And then we have the police car and officer. ...As well as someone who doesn't have ill-matching hair.

The car is... Ok. It's small and boxy, but it looks like a police car. Though, as I pointed out earlier, it's made primarily out of smaller pieces, so it's rather flimsy.

And while the Blue Lightning and Red Shadow both have rubber tires wrapped around a plastic rim

Both the motorcycle and police car have solid hard plastic tires, which slide around pretty much any surface. For anyone counting the inconsistencies... Add a point.

This is the first model so far to have actual windows, and the interesting thing about Block Tech(and a few other budget brick companies) vehicles that come with windows is that they're packaged separately in these little plastic baggies. I'm guessing they order the window pieces from another manufacturer and they're packaged like this to avoid scratches during shipping, and Block Tech doesn't bother to take them out of the bags before including them with their sets. ...And now that I've shown you this, I can FINALLY throw them away...

And again, you'd THINK the cockpit is big enough to accommodate a minifigure, especially since it has a steering wheel, but you'd be wrong.

It sort of works if you take off the top of the car, but then he's wedged in so tightly, it can damage the legs. And isn't this just the most dignified image? A policeman driving half a car who can't even reach the steering wheel? And good luck getting him out again...

Anybody who sees this driving down the street is going to want their prescription upped...

Finally, we have this larger set and the last one I own: The "Bank Heist." ...A set so big, I question why I bothered to put the box art behind it.

But speaking of which, the box is quite special. It's the most entertaining of any of the box art, with these two figures running away from just robbing the bank with two cars behind them speeding away, spewing money behind them. Finally something that actually has me hyped! ...If I hadn't had to buy this as a job and already know the contents...

And you gotta love this, as they flipped this guy to run the other way, yet forgot to have the money symbol revert back, so he's carrying a bag of money with a backwards dollar sign!

Oh, but they remembered to fix it on the back of the box. ...Because that's the first thing anyone's going to see when they find it on the shelves! ...Unless they're at Walmart I guess...

I do like that it's a box with a top flap that opens outwards, giving you a nice table to put together and keep your set in and giving you a reason to keep the box(besides if you're a collector like myself who has to keep everything as close to the condition he found it in.) I'm always impressed when brick companies give you things like this. ...And questioning why bigger players like Lego don't do it.

The bank is the most competently designed set out of everything we've seen so far. It's solidly put together, the stickers aren't just squares, and, most impressively, the pieces used actually make sense! There's no piece count manipulation, everything actually look like it would be used in building a larger set! They use 1x4 planks as opposed to 4 1x1 or 2 1x2 pieces for example, and they actually incorporate longer, taller bricks as opposed to stacking smaller pieces. I also own several Block Tech sets where they HAVE made buildings mostly out of smaller pieces, so I'm happy they decided to show some professionalism here.

There are these areas where they use layers of cylinders, but since the taller versions are more uncommon pieces, I'll give them a pass.

And while I've made my disgust of stickers known several times before, I do like this particular sticker that tries to give this block some detail. It gives the building a bit of age and character. ...I would have liked it if there were more of these to paste on other parts of the building or, better yet, it was PAINTED on the bricks, but at least they TRIED here!

The little ATM machines* are cute too.

*How redundant

 Though admittedly, I've yet to see a bank with a country patio-style door as an entrance.

So since the bank is so well put together... The cars have to suck... ...Ok, maybe that's a little extreme, but they've gone right back to the standard non-drivable cars, and the second smallest of the bunch.

These cars aren't even given names, so I'll just refer to them by their colors. This orange car is the flashier of the two, with a flat design for the front and a more slanted look for the back, and has the coolest decal of these sets: A Fast & Furious logo over a speeding orange car with electric bolts coming out of speakers on either side. Not bad at all, but I'm wondering if it was copied from something else.

Though strangely, on the bottom, while they have a square piece securing the back wheels and taillights in, there's nothing on the front, so it's easier for the front wheels to fall off.

The black car has... I have no idea. It looks like the middle is full of radioactive ooze, with a skull and crossbones-wrenches decal to warn us of said waste. Maybe its on its way to Shredder's lair to give him more mutagen to work with. Quite a cool design, even if I don't know how it functions.

This one is mostly secured on the bottom, except for the very front. However, the front pieces are fastened on with both studs, as opposed to one stud each with the "2Fast 2Furious" car, so they don't fall off as easily.

And once again, the tires are hard plastic. I'd love to know why they decided to give some cars rubber tires and others cheap plastic tires that don't even spin correctly...

For our final stop, here are the minifigures. One blond guy and one guy in a stereotypical striped jail shirt. ...Not the smartest outfit to wear during a heist. ...Or any time come to think of it...

 And while I'm sure this is yet another generic character, he does look the most like Paul Walker, which I'm sure they were going for. ...Admittedly, I only made that connection since he and this minifigure are blond, so it could be another character I have no idea who it is.

Could be the motorcyclist from the last set in a blond wig, since they share the exact same face.

The other guy, I'm not even going to try to place. But they once again forgot to paint his mouth. Seeing how half the characters we've seen have sneers, you'd think they'd make that a priority, but I guess they were too busy with other things. ...Like counting the countless single stud squares in their sets.

And look at that! They actually have the correct hair shown on the box! And these wigs actually fit! So they DID have the right hair and the means to mass produce it, but then they managed to somehow screw it up and use hairpieces that really don't match the characters they're used with. ...Wow, guys. Just... Wow.

And that's the lot. All the Fast & Furious sets I own, and most likely the only ones I'll ever own. If I come across some more in the future, maybe I'll do a quickie review, but I think I covered enough to give you an idea of the quality of this series. ...Or maybe not, since I don't even know where the quality stands! We've come a long way from where we began, and I'll tell you more about it when I see you again! ...Or I'll just talk about some other set I have lying around.


Quality: The quality is quite good. The bricks feel relatively high quality, though with a slight "cheapy" plastic touch, and everything snaps together just fine. Nothing was warped and there were no major mistakes in the molding process. However, the wheels on the motorcycle have difficulty staying in since the pegs are slightly shorter than they should be, and the solid plastic wheels on the other cars can wiggle on their axles, making it difficult to make the wheels turn. I don't like stickers, but they feel like they'll stick for quite some time without falling off at the slightest touch, and the printing was relatively high resolution(though I could see individual ink blots on each.) I guess the major problem in quality are the hairpieces for three of the minifigures, as not only do they look silly, they barely fit and take a great amount of effort to get them on and off. Still, the plastic quality is fine and the builds are mostly sturdy, with a few minor hiccups.

Design: The design is where most of the sets fall flat. I shouldn't expect much from a budget building brick company, but since these are sets based on a license, I'd expect something relating more to what they're referencing. The smaller sets are basically just generic race cars anyone could put together with some random bricks lying around and 2 of them don't look like cars you'd see in a street race. The Red Shadow has the most body to it and looks the most like a car you'd see in the Fast & Furious series as a regular car that's been altered and pimped out for street racing, but the midsection looks unfinished. The Blue Lightning is probably the best of the bunch, again looking like a car that's been altered to look more like a racer, but much flashier and less like something that would be in a street race. The motorcycle is just a generic motorcycle model with barely any additions, the ramp makes no sense, and the police car again looks like something you could make with random bricks. The car designs for the Bank Heist are just baffling and I have no idea what I'm looking at, though the bank itself is solid and I'm happy that they used larger bricks and not stacks of smaller button bricks. And then there's the most glaring problem of everything: None of the figures can drive the cars!

Creativity: Again, there were just no craps given in making these tie into the franchise they had the license to. It was just a rush to churn out some generic sets that they could brand with the Fast & Furious name, then change over to something more generic when their license expired. I don't recognize any of the characters, facial designs are repeated, the cars are generic, the decals are more about promoting the series you'd already have to be familiar with, objects like the fire hydrant and ATM only slightly resemble what they're supposed to, and there aren't any gimmicks(projectile launcher, accessories, sound/light brick, etc.) to help immerse us into this world. It's all just boring and generic, which if these were standard racing cars, I probably would have less of a problem with. But since these are supposed to be based on a high-octane, over the top racing series of films, they shouldn't put me to sleep. Still, one bonus point for including a jetpack.

Readability: The instructions were clear cut and easy to follow. I don't like when they print everything on one side of the paper, but for sets that only have abut 2 dozen pieces, it's a very minor nitpick and there's no problem following along. I always find instructions that detail every step of putting together a minifigure slightly humorous, especially when most of it is already put together in the package and it's obvious where each piece goes.What can I say besides they're instructions?

Packaging: The colors are nice, the material is smooth cardboard, and the pictures are high resolution. ...But these boxes that are trying to be exciting just come across as bland. It's just a picture of the models contained with some motion blur to make them look like they're going fast. And the back is just the exact same picture, only divided up into several smaller windows. I don't feel like any action is taking place, since it's clear that these cars that are supposedly going fast are just standing still. I at least put some trees behind the cars I used in the skit to simulate movement. They just needed some more things happening in the background to really get you hyped. Also, the copy/pasted flavor text and the lack of any useful data, like names and backstory of the characters and cars, really doesn't make it any more appealing.

Compatibility: Everything's made with standard building bricks, so there's nothing that wouldn't be incompatible with Lego or most other bricks. The figures are oversized and not made out of the same parts as Lego minifigures, so there are a few compatibility issues with interchangeability, accessories, and posing in a brick world, but I'll get more into that when I feature Block Tech again.


They're not bad cars nor bad figures, but there's just nothing to them. I don't know much about the series and these sets didn't help with that at all. They're just generic figures with generic cars that they slapped the franchise name on to make you think they have something to do with the series, then replaced it with an alternate name for when their license expired. Still, for their prices and high plastic quality, these would make good gifts for kids or sources for replacement parts you can use to build more interesting models. If you're a hardcore fan of Fast & Furious or someone looking for Lego-level creativity, you probably wouldn't be interested. If you're just looking for some cheap sets to tinker around with for a while or use as props in a project, these would probably suit you just fine.