Mould King Building Blocks - A Review

4/29/20244 min read

I’m fairly new to this corner of the building block industry, having only really become aware of Mould King in the last year or so. My son and I grew up on the leading brand, and spent ages building off the rack as well as custom train and spaceship sets. Looking at the market today, we would have killed for many of the remote controlled kit options that are now available. I remember many sessions ending in frustration when ambition exceeded the practicalities of the pieces and sets available.

But ever since Lego lost it’s patent other building block toy manufacturers have emerged in the last 5 or 10 years, Mould King currently being one of the leading ones. On the surface, they are pretty compelling, offering amazing-looking sets with ridiculous piece counts, all at pretty amazing prices. But, do they live up to their potential? SPOILERS: Obviously they do, otherwise I wouldn’t be selling them.


Starting from when you first get the pieces out of the box, you’ll notice that the build quality of the bricks themselves are very good. I hardly notice a difference between Mould King blocks and those of the ‘other leading brand’. There’s a slight difference in colours, and a tiny difference in the overall sharpness of the edges and 'shininess' of the plates between the two, but there’s very little in it. The pieces all lock together snug and tight, and I get no sense that my Mould King sets won’t stay together once assembled. The Power Functions also work extremely well, and there’s incredible value in these components compared to the other guy. If you were planning on making your own complex builds with moving parts (marble contraptions etc.), you could save a great deal of money in this area. The pieces are all laid out in clearly marked bags, and there are instruction included in all sets. It’s pretty much the same unboxing and initial product experience. For the most part, this extends into the building and completion of the set - everything works the way it’s supposed to and you end up with a really great looking and well designed finished product. If you did a blind test, Mould King’s sets would probably be indistinguishable.


All is not perfect, though, and there are a few issues to consider when embarking on a Mould King set, especially one of their bigger ones (anything over 1000 pieces). The first gripe relates to the quality of the instructions, which although they do a workmanlike job, they sometimes will merge steps together on a single instruction panel, which can confuse things a bit. The other guys do an exceptional job with their instructions - I’ve literally never felt overwhelmed with what was I was being told to do. This comes with decades of refinement and testing, and none of the third party building block manufacturers can duplicate. An area they could improve immediately is that the manuals are often translated poorly, so when there is a bit of English text, it’s a bit clunky. This could be tied very easily, and is likely an issue to work on if global distribution in multiple languages is their goal (which I assume it is). A related issue to this is in the stickers - better translation would be most welcome and very easy to implement. Personally, I prefer not to add stickers onto my sets, but I get that everyone is different.

Another niggle is with use of intellectual property by many third party building block manufacturers, which is to say, is at times pretty dubious. I’ve made it a policy not to sell intellectual property-based sets (Star Wars, for example), but I actually don’t really have an issue with the unlicensed use of vehicles and with producing similar generic vehicle kits. I’ve come to terms with it by choosing to carry only every day real objects and vehicles rather than anything with clearly problematic IP.


However, the slightly less than perfect ‘user experience’ in some of Mould King’s larger sets can actually be a virtue rather than a curse. Taking LONGER, struggling A LITTLE BIT is part of the fun, particularly as you get a bit older. At 8 years old you just want to build it as fast as possible, but at 14 (or say 53), the extra time is actually really appealing. The whole build becomes much more of a project, more akin to doing a puzzle, or making a model. I think this is why there’s been an explosion in all kinds of sets with huge numbers of pieces and with grown up themes - it’s adults who want to capture that longer model-making experience. Basically, if you take one thing away from this review it’s that going the Mould King route requires a CHANGE IN YOUR INTENTIONS. Embrace the scale of it all - again, more challenge, more rewards.


Overall, these negatives are more than compensated for in the overall price savings to be had. Lego can break the bank at Christmas time, and many Mould King sets are 30-50% less than similar leading brand sets. Just the Power Functions alone in some kits is enough to cover the difference. So elaborate sets that would normally be out of reach to many families - Ultimate Collector’s Series I’m looking at you - are now affordable. And it’s often these one or two epic, almost ‘family heirloom’ bigger sets that stand the test of time and and bring up the fondest memories when looking back at that stage of childhood. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward. My son actually spent hundreds of hours building and disassembling his favourite big sets (and building them back again), which frankly was at times a welcome bit of parenting respite. In closing, since we actually build and photograph each set we well, we can honestly say that you won't be disappointed with your non-Lego experience.