TSS Review: Sonic Pixel Bricks by Paladone

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Paladone has recently released the two items I was the most excited for when they announced their range of Sonic the Hedgehog goodies: The Sonic and Tails Pixel Bricks sets! So no sooner than they were released we got our hands on them.

The premise is simple: Get bricks: Make Sonic and Tails! Due to the natural blocky-ness behind this kind of toy, it almost seemed a natural idea to make something pixellated out of them! And that’s what Paladone did. Two small figures built out of lego-styled bricks.

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The boxes were a LOT smaller than I was expecting for the pair of these. These tiny boxes contain an instruction sheet and a lot of sonic-y coloured building bricks.

The bricks used in this set are of the ‘Nanoblock’ flavour, and are about a quarter of the size of the typical Lego brick. This means that even though each of these models are made up of nearly 400 pieces between them, the finished models stand not much higher than 4 inches tall.

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I’ll admit this right away. I was more of a K’nex child when I was growing up, so to me, this build went on a little… longer than I was anticipating.

Just how long you ask..? Well, just check out this little video I created below.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM2-WjAlTl8

Yep. That’s nearly an hour and 20 minutes to finish just ONE of these little suckers. Granted my time was likely impeded with me building over the top of my camera, but yeah: If you’re not adept at building Lego style constructions, I just pray that you’re patient enough to see the construction of one of these through from start to finish.

With small models of this complexity, a set of good and comprehensive instructions are essential, and I’m sad to say that this long build time wasn’t helped by the instructions. I found following them very confusing at times. The instructions follow the typical Lego formula of building one part shown from an isometric view, then adding further pieces on to it as you progress further through the build. The isometric views given were good, but unlike normal Lego instructions, each step greys out the pieces built in the previous step. Some people may go ‘so what?’ but it get’s very difficult to position certain pieces accurately when you only have the shape of what was built in the last step as a guide. Simply colouring in the diagram would have made this build a LOT easier, and would have taken out a bunch of the guesswork. I appreciate that the construction of these things are probably meant to be savored, but I feel that building one of these should be a fun activity, and not a test of patience and skill.

But yet, after all that though, the finished results I think are lovely little things. They’re awkwardly cute in a way, and pack in a curious amount of detail for something made up of nothing but bricks. Of the pair, I’d say that Sonic is the more impressive of the two, especially when you look at him from behind and take in the shape of his spines. It all looks grand!

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Display wise, these make for great little conversation starters, and are certainly something more ‘out there’ than your typical Sonic action figure. One important word though… these are very much display pieces, so don’t move them around too much. Some of the parts (namely the arms) are held together with nothing more than a single stud, and handling them too much will ultimately end in disintegration. I can probably count at least 3 times when I’ve held Sonic wrong, and he literally came apart in my hands, meaning lots of rebuilds. If you don’t glue them together (which I honestly considered doing at times), just hope they don’t take a shelf dive. You’ll be searching for the pieces for weeks.

Thankfully, these models do come with a few spare pieces, so don’t despair too much if you find yourself losing one of the two (yes… that’s seriously how many there are in the finished model) minuscule yellow bricks that make the buckles on each of Sonic’s shoes.

Overall, I do love these little things. They really are quite unlike anything else, and possibly one of the most unique Sonic collectibles to come along in a while. But… I have to say that the experience building them was a lot more trying than I was expecting it to be. If you’re amazing with Lego, then I think you’ll have a blast putting these together. For the rest of us though… The challenging build and the constant falling apart may get on your nerves.

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Second Opinion by TSS Staffer Hogfather

I’ll get the bad points out of the way first.

1: The instructions for both Sonic & Tails can get very confusing, angles on where the pieces should connect are not user friendly and in some cases your eyeline is draw to begin construction on an area which will be impossible to connect since it requires another part to be constructed.

2: The photos provided for the finished model on Tails are not what the instructions state, on more than one occasion the instructions clearly differ in design to the photographic reference model, this makes one particular tricky section harder to complete than it should.

3: The pieces do not connect very well along the Z axis, unlike lego, when connected the pieces are free to move along their Z axis, this means sometimes parts of the model would move out of place and for pieces which are connected by a single point, they WILL fall off on the slightest touch, huge problems are found with Sonic’s arms and Tails’ whiskers.

4: The models ‘cheat’ with perspective, parts of it are not a fully solid object, you’ll be convinced that some additional pieces should go in certain places, but nope, it’s their way to save construction costs since you won’t see them, even though they would aid to stability.

5: Parts of the model are VERY fragile when finished.

Now for the good points.

It takes somewhere in the region of 1:30 – 2:00 to create just one of these figures, so if you were afraid that these would be simple things aimed at kids, think again, it takes time to construct these.

However, when you get started and you see the models take shape, there is a strong sense of enjoyment as you see these things come to life. Suddenly it goes from “Why does this body look like a blue sheep” to “Hey it’s Sonic!”

There is something very unique and charming about both the idea and the execution of the product, it really does look like a pixelated representation of Sonic & Tails. There really is nothing official which looks or behaves like these products do. Very unique and a very welcome addition to all the recent Sonic products of late.

Packaging is also very attractive and very well designed, small and portable, yet quite nice to look at despite the use of stock art, even if it is odd how the Tails box has Sonic stock art all over it.

Another huge bonus is that several of the pieces include additional parts, so if you lose one during construction, odds are there’s a spare.

Overall, this is a really well made unique piece of merch, certainly recommend it, however I would advise kids to get a parent to help build since it can become tricky at times to complete certain segments, step 1 on Tails for instance will get you very confused since part of it isn’t possible to attach until the end of step 2.

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You’ll Love:

  • Totally unique and quite unlike anything in your collection
  • Very well detailed given the nature of the set
  • Attractive price
  • Nicely presented

You’ll Hate:

  • The confusing instructions
  • Instructions sometimes differ to the reference photographs
  • The long build time if you’re not a Lego expert
  • VERY fragile when finished

Published by

JonoD

Documentary filmmaker, contributing commentator on The Sonic Show and self-confessed merch addict. If he's not making films or polishing his collection, he's probably at a theme park.

6 Comments

  1. I pre ordered both of these from Forbidden Planet but I’ve only received Tails so far. I’m hoping that Sonic arrives soon. The build was enjoyable, but the instructions were confusing.

  2. Thanks for the reminder that they were out! Got them on ebay.

    A heads up, this ebay store has a “buy any 3 items, save 15%” offer on. And they have a lot of Paladone Sonic stuff. So you can get a good deal on the Sonic and Tails Pixelbricks set, and one other thing. Copied a link to their special offer with a search for “Sonic”.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/sme/thegreatgearstore/Extra-15-off-when-you-buy-3/so.html?_nkw=sonic&_soffid=5001564500&_seedid=271524810347&_sid=2048038&_sacat=0

  3. Just finished building these, and I agree completely with Hogfather. Every issue he had, I had with them. It’s hard to tell if I have built them perfectly because the instructions are so confusing and the photos contradict them. I’d say Tails is harder due to that contradiction, and his stupid whiskers which kept falling off until I realised that I had to build around them first (which the instructions don’t point out) to stabilise the area they were going on. Then they were much more secure.

    But now that I’ve built them… they are very nice! And I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Not very many pieces of merch you have to build yourself!

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