Review: Mega Blocks Plasma Dragons Booster Packs
What are "Plasma Dragons?"
Despite having picked up about eight of these "booster packs" over the last six months or so, I really couldn't tell you. As far as I can tell, they're kind of a dirt cheap alternative to Warhammer, but, to be perfectly honest, I don't really know how accurate that assessment is. The booster packs contain two kinds of figures: knights and orcs. You can also pick up other creatures, most notably dragons.
Each pack contains eight figures, seven of which are "blind packed", while the last appears in the window. I've generally gotten about four knights and four orcs in each pack, though sometimes it's three and five one way or the other. If you need more of one type, just be sure you get packs with the type you want in the window.
By now, you've probably glanced at some of the pictures and wondered why I've bought so many of these little guys.
And here's the answer: if you don't mind the quality, these are by far the cheapest miniatures I seen anywhere. If you need army builders for D&D or, for that matter, any other game with one inch scale figures, these things will save you an arm and a leg.
These are produced by Mega Blocks, and Toys R Us has been trying to unload these at bargain prices for at least six months now.
For the record, I feel bad about this.
But, lets be honest, while these are kind of cool, they're not much to look at. I'm considering these against Lego figures and other very small figures. And, unfortunately, these don't measure up. If anything, I'm being generous by not giving them a three.
The quality of the sculpts varies greatly from figure to figure. There are a few different styles they've used, some better than others. It's hard to tell the knights apart, since the armor pretty much looks the same with minor variation, but there's a wide range with the orcs. To be honest, I wish they'd stuck with their best sculpt and done them all that way: there are some dumb looking orcs here.
There's a little paint that provides texture, but it's really not much to look at. If you can, look for the knights with the gun metal armor: they're about a hundred times better looking than their counterparts.
I should also mention the mages, which (understandably) have a very different look than the knights. Overall, I like the robes, but the lack of faces is a little disappointing. I understand they're going for a "cloaked in shadow" thing here, but that really doesn't work without, you know, shadow. Once again, the lack of paint poses a problem.
Packaging and Extras: +1
Here's where things get a little better. For each figure, you get a weapon, a base, and a shield. The quality here varies even more than from figure to figure, though overall, the weapons are a little better than the figures holding them.
There are many different weapons you can end up with: I've got swords, spears, axes, maces, bows, staves, warhammers, and (my personal favorite) the triceratops skull on a stick. Yeah, I'm not entirely sure about that last one. Maybe there are a lot of orcish paleontologists.
Whatever the rationale, the quality of these is fairly good. The paint work, where present, is fairly clean. My only complaint is with the clear plastic versions of some of these. This is a larger problem with the shields, many of which are bright and translucent. Fortunately, some of the orcs come with hide shields that are nicer.
Oh, did I forget to mention that you need to assemble these yourself. And first, you need to break them out of their plastic prisons.
Sound like fun? Well, it kind of is at first. But by the time you're through your first pack, your fingertips will be sore. After eight packs, you'll start wondering why they were shipped this way.
Ultimately, I'm actually giving these a +2 for accessories then a -1 for packing these in plastic grids. Even when you get them free, you're stuck with pointed bits left over. Yeah, I know that's why they included the file, but how much work do you really want to put into these?
Play and Display: ----
This is an awkward category for these toys. To be fair, I really should be familiar with the rules of the game before making any sort of determination.
But who cares?
Look, if you're thinking about playing the Plasma Dragon wargame and want a review, this isn't where you're going to get it.
I'm treating these as toys, not a game. For all I know, Mega Blocks may have excellent rules for a collectible miniatures game that I've thrown out eight times over. But it isn't why I picked these up, and I suspect very few people buy them for this reason, either (actually, seeing as how they're perpetually on clearance, I guess few people are buying these for ANY reason).
As small figures, you get a little articulation, but not quite enough to justify any kind of bonus. The arms and hips are connected (by you) with ball joints, but they'll pop out if you try to move them too far.
Price Tag and Final Analysis: 5/10
That's certainly not a stellar score, but keep in mind that while these aren't great for display, they do have their uses.
Where these shine is as miniatures. I don't really know what price these started at: I think it was around six bucks a pack. While that's more than I'd have wanted to pay for them, it's actually a pretty good deal when you compare it to the miniatures market. Heck, I've paid six bucks for a single miniature, and that's no where near the high end of the scale.
But, like I said, these have been living on Clearance. The first packs I got last summer ran me three or four bucks. Now, they're down to a buck fifty.
That's less than twenty cents a figure. If you're looking to build an army of fantasy miniatures on a budget, this is the way to do it.
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