Friday, April 3, 2020

Excuse the Mess! Its Not Lego is being renovated

Hey It's Not Lego fans!  I just wanted to let you know that I've decided to make a few changes to the Its-Not-Lego blog, but don't worry, I'll still be posting new reviews and pictures for you during this process.

What's changing?

Not much really.  I've decided that this blog should focus on set reviews exclusively, so with that my MOCs and minifig reviews  will be migrated over to my other blog called BricksandFigs.   As a result, there will be over 40 posts that will move over, or about 30% of the existing content.  I'd like to see traffic increase at my secondary blog with increased google awareness.

Other minor changes include overall page width and left column adjustments, and an increase in image size. The plan is to standardize the blog post format with all future layouts looking like this:

    - intro image
    - tl/dr section that contains a few lines of basic details
    - main section containing content and images
    - assessment section containing opinion, ratings, verdict
    - aliexpress section containing links to the item or similar sets

Hopefully the consistency between blog posts will increase reader enjoyment.

What's not changing?

I won't be changing the existing layout and colour scheme right now unless I come across something that really catches my eye.

Why the changes now?

Well, currently the city I live in is under stay at home self isolation protocols due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.  So, since I'm housebound, I have plenty of time to kill, so I may as well keep myself busy.  I also wanted to improve the readability of the blog and make the pictures more prominent.

So that's the news about my blog.  Thanks for your continued support and hope you will enjoy all of my future blog posts.   Don't forget to check out my other blogs.

BricksandFigs - my blog that looks at my latest minifigure acquisitions and also my custom built brick sets called MOCs that include modular building or vehicle enhancements.

Aliexpress101 - my blog that let's you know about the latest not Lego sets I find on Aliexpress.

Bye for now!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lari 11342 Harry Potter Knight Bus Set Review

Hey, what's up and welcome back to my blog It's Not Lego!  Today we will be reviewing the 400+ piece Lari Brand Harry Potter Knight Bus, set number 11342.  It's a direct knock-off/bootleg of the Lego Knight Bus set number 75957.

I ordered this set from Aliexpress at the beginning of March, and it arrived in about 3 weeks, which is surprising, given the number of flights that have been cancelled due to COVID-19.  Normally it takes about 6 weeks or double the time for block sets to reach me from China.  This set cost $20 CDN, so probably around $14-15 USD.  In terms of price, it's just meh.  I think a price of $15 CDN would have been better value.

As you can see, this is an average size set, with about 400 pieces, more or less.  The instruction manual gives no indication of the set name and just says Justice Magician.

Here's a shot of the back of the manual. It's probably copied from Lego but with the set numbers altered to match the Lari numbering system.  There appears to be 8 sets in the Justice Magician series.

Removing the items from the shipping bag, we find the instruction booklet, a small sticker sheet, and about 8 or 9 parts bags.  There was a split in one of the bags, so I found some loose parts. Hopefully nothing missing!

So, building the Knights bus is pretty straightforward, instructions are clear, and the brick clutch is acceptable.

 Here are the three minifigures that come with the set.  I'm not really that familiar with the Harry Potter characters, so I'll let you figure out who's who.  Anyways, the face and torso prints on the minifigs are crisp and clear.

The stickers for the bus have been modified to show the Lari set number instead of the Lego set number.  I have no plans to sticker the bus in the immediate future.

With this set you get a few extra parts.  BTW, the head is not a spare part, I just never attached it to the inside of the bus.

And here is the finished product, the Harry Potter Knight bus.   The biggest quality issue this set has is the windows.  There are extrusion dimples on every corner of the glass and they are scuffed as well.   I would say this is the worst part of the set but given the amount of windows it's really apparent.

 Another view.

The swing away side panel reveals an interior that consists of a sliding bed, a chandelier and some seating.  You can see there's no actual second floor.

So technically it's still a double decker.  Not pictured is the driver's seat in front.

The third floor of the bus comes off as designed.   You can also remove the roof.

The top floor carries a newspaper and trunk of small accessories.

Front view.  Don't know why the original design didn't feature a real grille piece instead of a sticker.

The wheels use technic pins as axles and run through the long technic pieces that make up the undercarriage.  The wheels roll well.

Final Thoughts

I think this set has a limited appeal to Harry Potter fans, otherwise it's not really an exciting set.  Personally, I think this bus is too short and feels too small. I think the wheelbase needs to be extended to give the bus a larger feel. It should be resized to increase bus length by 2 to 4 studs.  Someone on the Eurobricks website made a larger MOC version of the Knight bus and it looks so much better.

This was my first Lari brand set and I think it's inferior to other brick brands such as Enlighten or Sembo.  The 3 minifigs were good and brick clutch was ok, but as I mentioned previously, the extrusion dimples on the window glass really ruins the set for me.  I also think this knock-off set could be priced lower overall on Aliexpress.

If you want to check out this set for yourself, here's the search link where you can find all the Aliexpress stores that carry this set. 

Anyways, that's a wrap and thanks for visiting!  What did you think of this set?  Do you already have it?  How do you like it?  Let me know in the comment box below!  Bye! Product - Movie Harri Castle Hall Hogwartse Express 75951 75953 75954 75955 75948 Model Building Block Bricks Toys

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Let's look at some Not Lego Japanese Shops by Sembo

Sembo Japanese Shops

Hey what's up everyone!  Welcome back to Its Not Lego, where I show you my latest haul of alternate and knock-off brick sets.  A couple of months ago, I saw these little Japanese shops on Aliexpress and had to get them.  Well this week, they finally arrived and I've had a blast building them.

There are four different Japanese shops in the series, made by Sembo.  

Each set comes with a double sided instruction sheet, stickers and 4 bags of parts.  They also come with 2 minifigures, one male and one female.

Here's something interesting, you have to assemble this guy's feet below the knee joint separately.  This was the only minifigure in the entire series that I had to do this for.

All of the minifigures are nicely detailed with back and arm printing.

Each set gets an individually wrapped fabric banner and a sticker sheet.   At the time of these pictures, I still hadn't applied any of the stickers yet.

Here's another oddity, this 5 stud tile piece.

 Here's the artwork for for the four sembo shops.  Clockwise from top left, there is a takoyaki shop, a sushi stand, a shaved ice shop, and a ramen stand. Let's now take a closer look at each set.

Sembo 601065 Takoyaki shop

The box art indicates that the takoyaki set is set 601065 and has about 177 pieces.

 Here's the assembled set without stickers.  The takoyaki set comes with an two fabric banners.  On one side there is a lantern and on the other is a free standing sign.  There are 24 takoyakis being made, four sauce bottles and two gray mugs.  There's also a yellow bowl, which the minifigure is not balancing on her head, it just looks that way in the picture.  Each banner has convenient holes cut-out of them.  You then attach the shop banner via small bricks.

 Here's set 601065 from the back.  Each shop is mounted on a gray 16x10 stud plate, however not every shop uses that much space. The shopkeeper has to stand on a platform to oversee his wares.

The minifigs.

The sticker sheet  for the takoyaki shop.

Sembo 601066 Sushi shop

Next up is the sushi shop.  Box art says it's set 601066 with 178 pieces.

The sushi shop doesn't get a roof but does have four different signs, none of which I stickered.  This sushi chef must not be very good at his craft because instead of using a sharp knife, he's got a giant cleaver.

This shop only has room for three customers, which isn't unusual in Japan because there shops are sooo small there.  Luckily there are three stools so you get to sit down at this shop.  Some sushi shops in Japan make you stand up while eating, true fact!

Around the back of the sushi shop we see that the shopkeeper also has to stand on a platform.  And here I thought that the Japanese people were taller.

The minifigs.

The sushi shop stickers.

Sembo 601067 Shaved Ice shop

The shaved ice shop is Sembo set 601067 with 168 pieces.

This bright blue shop really stands out next to the other shops. The blue banner wraps all the way around the roof. On the counter there's a giant ice machine and three servings of shaved ice.  I don't know what the two red urns are supposed to be.

The back is fully enclosed, but luckily the roof hinges upward so you can put the minifigure inside the shop. Although you can't see it, the shopkeeper stands on a platform.

The minifigs.

The sticker sheet for the shaved ice shop.

Sembo 601068 Ramen shop

The last set is the ramen shop, set number 601068 and 169 pieces.

This ramen shop has a red lantern and free standing sign.  Two stools and two bowls.  Bonus accessory is is bicycle which is used to deliver the ramen.

 Around back we see thatramen seller has to get a lift.

The sticker sheet for the Ramen shop.

Street View

 I took one of my 32x32 stud baseplates and put all four shops on it to give it a Japanese street feel.  I also added some extra minifigures to make the scene look a bit more lively.

Final thoughts

They are all very unique looking and the build quality is great.  I would have preferred printed pieces instead of all the stickers.

The minifigures were excellent, each printed nicely in their kimonos, which I'm pretty sure hasn't been done in any Lego minifigures.  If you know of any, please let me know.

What bothered me about each of these sets is that they are too tall.  I didn't like the fact that each shopkeeper had to stand on a platform.  The counter heights were way too high, like over the minifigures head in some cases.

 I encountered this same problem in the Sembo french fries stand set.   The Sembo designer needs to make these stands and shops more in line with minifigure heights.   But that's just me, I guess. What do you think of these sets?  Do you think they look ok?  Let me know!

Get them here

So I got my sets off Aliexpress and they currently sell for about $10 USD each or a bit lower if you buy all four sets.  Here's the link to the Aliexpress seller where I got my set from:  But you can also search for them by looking for Japan shops in the block toys category:

Thanks for looking and see you next time!  Bye!