Today I want to introduce you to the most unusual and by far biggest dinosaur figure in my collection. You may be familiar with the great Lego reviews by Bella Bricking and Beth Buildit (powered by Suspy) though the most popular of Lego`s dinosaur offerings are full mold dinosaurs rather than brick build ones. Following the inspiration of a lot of MOC (“my own creation”) build dinosaurs, Lego released a big brick build T. rex in 2019 as part of the JW franchise. If you liked that one, you may love this new behemoth – or not?
First of all, this is no Lego, even if it looks like! Already decades ago Lego lost the patent rights to be the sole producer of the famous brick (which they did not invent in the first place by the way) but while they long time kept their market position for producing the best quality bricks and models, the last few years saw the uprise of a lot of companies that produce bricks of the same (or even better) quality, a great variety of very good models and often for a much lower price. Given, quite some of these companies make their money at least in parts by producing bootlegs of Lego models, most popular of licensed themes as Star Wars or Marvel. However, a lot of them publish own models or incorporate MOC builders.
Forange is a new Chinese company and I am not sure how their name is pronounced. They offer a variety of models, amongst them six dinosaur models of which at least three are heavily inspired by the JP/JW franchise. Their T. rex in fact looks like a direct copy (or rip off) of the Lego version.
The Brachiosaurus however is not a bootleg and I am unaware of any existing MOC design that could have been stolen. So I dare say it is a genuine product of Forange – and what a product it is. The model comes with 2250 pieces and while that is not particular low brick count it is also not a very big. The final model however is a giant! Forange`s Brachiosaurus stands roughly 60 cm high and is 50 cm long (around 75 cm along the spine). While the model includes a number of small pieces and studs, there are also a number of bigger bricks and plates, parts that become increasingly rare in the original Lego sets. The build is very straight forward and the dinosaur comparably light built. A very pleasing thing for people who do not only want to build after instructions but also may use their bricks to create their own models is, that no “stupid” colors are used for this dinosaur. The colors you see are the ones being used. Why do I tell you that? If you are unfamiliar with recent events in the brick community, be told that the Danish market leader lately uses its full color palette on the inside of their models, even if it is a fully gray Star Destroyer. If you want to reuse the bricks for other models you have to deal with a lot of bricks in colors you have no use for. Not so here. So if you`d like to take the Brachiosaurus apart and build it to an Diplodocus or anything else, fear not to lay open its guts.
The question would be though, why would you take it apart? It just looks great. For a brick build dinosaur the only thing you could bemoan in terms of accuracy may be the toe nails in the front feet, but being brick build, this is naturally most easily to be changed. Other than that the model is probaby as good as it gets with a reasonable number of bricks. The countless slopes used give the model a very organic and muscular look. Legs, neck and tail are articulated, but the range of possible movement is quite limited, it can be easily increased though with the repositioning or removement of a few small bricks. The model stands stable even on three legs and while it is sure too big to be heavily played with, it is reasonably stable and no bricks fall off easily.
The model includes several parts that are not part of the Lego portfolio as of yet but are originally developed and used by companies as Cobi or MegaConstrux (Mattel) for years. The bricks themselves are of very good quality in terms of accuracy of fit. Their surface finish however varies. While some bricks are as new from the press and shine like polished, others look as if they have already been used for a while. None had serious marks though and overall the model looks totally good. The model comes with high quality printed instructions. They are different from Lego`s but also clear and easily enough to follow, already built areas are faded. Bricks come in numbered bags, but I ordered my model without box.
Forange`s Brachiosaurus originally comes with a sound module, mine did not include this though, so I cannot tell you what the Chinese think a sauropod sounded like 150 million years ago. It sure is a nice addition though and is controlled by a brick built switch on the back of the dinosaur with a two part print. The model also comes with a small “museum” stand which includes a pedestal with a bit of Jurassic plants and a small Brachiosaurus that has shorter front legs than hind legs. Well, they reused a design that was developed years ago by some Chinese company for their JP/JW inspired dinosaur hunter series. Luckily the bigger model does not suffer this mistake and while I would have liked it more if they had invested the brick count for a small brickbuild skeleton or a Jurassic plant, the small dinosaur is a great toy and addition to your Lego JP/JW. The printed slope with the Chinese/English inscription is not free of mistakes, but nevertheless a nice addition if you`d really like to use it in a brick build museum.
Now, if you like that model, another question arises….would you dare to mix your “Legos” with alien bricks? I do and I highly recommend you at least give it a try, not only because this is a great model, but also for the experience of working with bricks by other companies. Last but not least, the “financial opportunity” may be tempting…. I paid 40 € on Aliexpress including shipping from China to Germany. Even if you don`t like the model (but why wouldn`t you?), you hardly find a better price per brick ratio.