Monday, November 21, 2011

Nanoblock Maneki Neko

For a little bit of extra good luck

A totally different review to deviate from the otherwise MG Force Impulse Gundam-centric coverage on my blog at the moment. ^^ Mentioned last Saturday that I recently acquired three sets of Nanoblock. This review will be on the smallest set of the three - Maneki Neko. ^^

Maneki Neko (招き猫) is a very popular and common cat sculpture in the Japanese society. It's associated with beckoning prosperity for businesses, and good luck and health for common households. When I was young, I didn't know that this cat originated from Japan, since its Chinese name of 招财猫 (literally wealth beckoning cat) was what I've come to know instead. My family had a grocery store before we moved to the city five years ago, and I remembered we did have a 招财猫 in the store. ^^ It's very common to have one for stores or businesses in general, but the cat was such a good company for us we brought it to our living room for display when we moved, even though we're not longer running a store right now. ^^

While there are fixed sculptures of Maneki Neko, most are designed with waving left/right paw via batteries. The one in my home has that electronic function, but we chose to turn it off instead, since it can be a bit annoying to look at after a while. ^^;

Anyway, back to this Nanoblock set:

A rough comparison of the different bricks inside the package with a Malaysian 10-cent coin.
The bricks are indeed very small. ^^

Just two bricks for the difficulty level, so this should be a very easy build then? ^^

Introduction of Nanoblock in English can be found on the back of the package.

Comparison of the package with HCM-Pro 00 Gundam.

Package open.
It's a zip lock plastic bag that can seal the content very securely.

Package content.

All the bricks.

Much like Lego sets, the bricks are packed in separate packages (roughly) according to their sizes.

The sticker sheet for the plate has four types of messages to choose from: (from left to right) 合格 (pass - in exams), 千万両 (ten million Yen - wealth), 招福 (beckoning for happiness) and 開運 (better fortune).

The largest brick - the pedestal for the cat to sit on is exactly 4cm by 4cm in area, with an amazing total of 100 studs on it. ^^

Since the number of bricks is still pretty small, and all of them can be seen clearly when placed as a group, I didn't bother having separate boxes to store them for the assembly.
I did take good care pouring out the pieces slowly to avoid any of them going AWOL. ^^

A much closer comparison of the bricks with a 10-cent coin. ^^

Comparison of a few bricks with their much larger Lego "counterpart" (if you can call it so ^^) from No. 5529 Basic Brick Set.

A one-page manual for the entire assembly.

It's totally crazy when comparing this instruction "sheet" with the usual thick booklet from Lego sets.

(Left) Some bricks are big enough to be assembled using fingers, but I use tweezers for the smallest single-stud pieces to be more precise. ^^
(Right) The assembly is indeed very simple, since it's just placing layers of bricks on top of each other till the entire model is done.

I chose 招福 (beckoning for happiness) for the message on my Maneki Neko. ^^

The body is done.

Assembly of the head.
It's somewhat like a cat I suppose, with its pointy ears being the biggest hint. Without those, it could very well be a Maneki Inu instead XD

Leftover bricks.
Looks like every single type and color has one or two spare pieces depending on its size.

Nanoblock Maneki Neko is completed. ^^

The closeups make it look big, but ...

... it's small enough to sit right in the middle of my palm. ^^

Smaller than an average BB Senshi Gunpla kit. ^^

The difficulty level indicated on the package is pretty accurate really - it was a very simple assembly. ^^ The puny size of the bricks is not an issue at all, given that the types and colors are pretty limited. As a result of that, they are pretty easy to identify and pick out even when all of them are grouped as a pile. On top of that, the steps to completing the model is repetitive actually. As mentioned above, it's all about placement and arrangement of different bricks into layers until you reach the top. ^^

It was a very refreshing experience nonetheless. ^^ Very true to one of the lines from the introduction, the details of the completed model are pretty clear thanks to the small size of the bricks - less severe Pixelize damage you could say. XD It's indeed very small, but very cute at the same time, since before completing this model, I don't think I could associate the size with something one assembles using standard building blocks. ^^

How is the assembly compared to Lego sets then? Strangely, I don't think I can make such comparison now. ^^; Lego sets normally come with not just much larger pieces (as shown at the beginning of this posting), but wider range of shapes and forms as well. Even for rather simple model, the assembly may not be easy, since half of time might have to be spent on finding the parts according to the manual, which is part of the fun with Lego really. ^^ The assembly is pretty different as well, since for Lego models, there are still some forms of separation of them into components for you to work through and combine in the end for the final completion. Furthermore, Lego models normally come with some gimmicks or functions, no matter how small they are. For Nanoblocks, from the various models I've seen so far, all of them are fixed display types. ^^

As it turns out, there's no similarity between Nanoblock and Lego sets other than both being building block toys it seems. ^^

For me, there are good things to enjoy from either series, so there's absolutely no need to pick one out of the two for those who are interested in building blocks. ^^

Done with Maneki Neko, I think the next Nanoblock I want to work on is Kinkaku-ji. ^^

View full gallery:
Nanoblock Maneki Neko


Nano Block said...

I love Nano blocks. I have built about 8 of the kits and found them fun, challenging, and pretty cool when they are finished, I Collected my Nano Block from at PIJ. This is really cool for toys and for other cool hobby stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ngee!

Thank you for this review. I am especially appreciative of your tell what the stickers mean. I didn't know which sticker to choose, and with your help made an informed decision!

You're awesome! BTW the pics, directions, comments are all wonderful!

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Grrrrreat!! :)