LEGO Vs FLego: T. rex Edition [LEGO Review]
Back in April, I wrote an entry out of curiosity. I went to a comic convention and purchased a fake LEGO Harley Quinn (click here to read my review). I termed this fake LEGO “FLego”. I have since learned that others call it bootlego. Whatever you want to call it, it does raise serious questions for some collectors, while causing a gag-reflex in others. I will freely admit that I was super curious about FLego. I wondered if the Minifigs compared, but more than anything, I was intrigued by the Jurassic World dinosaurs being offered at a fraction of the cost compared to the real thing. Let’s face it, if you want a genuine LEGO T.rex, you are looking at around $80 CAD before shipping.
I feel that now is a good time to examine this scenario again. The LEGO Jurassic World sets are still available, but are starting to hit the clearance racks. They will no doubt be retired soon. If the Dino theme from 2012 is any indication, Jurassic World dinosaurs are only going to become more expensive when the sets are discontinued. So, many collectors will either have to pay exorbitant prices on Ebay, or resort to the FLego counterparts.
I now have both the official LEGO T. rex (click hear to read my review), and its FLego counterpart. I order the FLego T. rex after buying the legit one because I thought there might be many people out there who, like me, are curious and enticed by saving a little money. So, here we go.
On a quick glance, FLego and LEGO T. rex look very similar. The moulds used to make them must have been pretty near identical. The only difference I can see is that the LEGO logos are missing from the FLego mould. The plastic used is very different though. FLego T.rex feels cheap. There is just something about the plastic that doesn’t feel as good as the actual LEGO model. I remember thinking this when I looked at Harley Quinn as well, but I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it or not. It is more obvious on a larger scale. The plastic used in the FLego dinosaur also gives the whole toy a very glossy look, whereas the LEGO version has a more realistic matte finish. This was also the case with Harley.
The paint pattern is again almost identical. There are only a few places where it differs. We are talking just about the pattern here, not the actual paint work, which I will get to in a moment. There is one place on the back where I noticed the pattern is broken in the LEGO version, and continuous in the FLego version. The other major difference is that the end of the tail is two colours on the LEGO T. rex, and only one on the FLego T. rex.
If you read my Harley Quinn post, I complained that the paint was not as thick and the layers not as consistent with FLego Harley. The same is true here. Shining light on FLego T. rex from different angles shows his paint job to be inconsistent and blotchy. The LEGO T. rex’s paint is very evenly layered. Another difference in the paint is that the colours used on the FLego version are darker, and contrast more with each other than in its LEGO counterpart. Finally, the paint job differs when looking at their eyes as well. The LEGO version has a darker eye colour and the brown and black areas don’t blend as much.
When considering the actual paint work. FLego T. rex is a bit sloppy. The paint job is messy in several places, but most notably: his front teeth are not painted, there are small gaps in the paint around the right eye, and his toe and finger nails show excessive bleeding.
Look carefully at the picture of the two T. rex models facing you. You will also notice that the seams between different pieces are in the FLego model are not always as neat as they are in the LEGO model. This happens in various places on the FLego version, not just the head.
The last major topic I will cover in this review is the joints, which allow for mobility. I can’t really show this to you in pictures. but you can watch my video review for a better idea if you need to. FLego T. rex has all the same mobility that LEGO T. rex has. However, much like with FLego Harley Quinn, the joints are almost all looser than in the LEGO version. The only exception is the arms, which are tighter. Unlike with Harley though, many of the joints on the FLego T.rex are too loose. The neck is so loose that trying to open the jaws causes the head to move unless you use your other hand to stabilize it. You can open LEGO T. rex’s jaws by just pulling down on the lower the jaw, and the head won’t move. The LEGO jaw also closes with a satisfying chomp sound. FLego’s jaw clicks weakly by comparison.
Even looser than the jaws are the legs. One of them wobbles a little in place. But, the real kicker is that if you turn FLego T. rex’s legs too much, they actually worm their way right out of the sockets. So, if you have a kid who is simulating walking just a little too robustly, the T. rex will fall apart. Now, I don’t know about you, but I was rough with my toys growing up. This guy would not have lasted long in my toy bin. I supposed he can be put back together easily enough, but I wonder if those joints won’t get looser every time? The joints also screech like fingernails on a chalkboard when you move the legs.
My next point of contention with FLego T. rex is the tail. The tail joint is so loose that it requires little effort to pull it out. It is not so loose that it will just fall off when you pick it up. But, again, any energetic play will cause it to detach.
Finally, the ordering process. I shopped around a lot for this to find the lowest possible price. Interestingly, the price of these is going up. It was much easier to find a cheap source three months ago when I first considered ordering these. I actually had to search to find the same deal that was all over the place in April. Do not pay more than $10 for this. I saw people bidding ridiculous amounts on Ebay for these knock-offs. The whole point of ordering this is to get an inexpensive substitute. What I will tell you though is to be careful who you order from and how they will ship it to you. I got free shipping from China. The package was shipped super fast, and even arrived well before the estimated date. But, the dinosaurs (I ordered more than one, and will review the others later) were all thrown into the same bubble-lined envelope with nothing to separate them. They came out on my end all scratched and scuffed. They look like some little kid’s favorite action figure after a few months of play. You can order these in actual boxes (for some reason they come with Minions), but that seems to be a little more expensive. Definitely ask the seller about how they will be wrapped for shipment. I should note that the seller I purchased from did refund me in full when I sent pictures of the damaged toys.
So, what are my final thoughts? The FLego T. rex is way inferior in quality. The plastic is cheap, the painting is inconsistent and sloppy, and the joints are way too loose. To make matters worse, the shipping conditions were horrendous and resulted in damaged goods. But, you get what you pay for. FLego T. rex cost me $10. LEGO T.rex cost me $75 on liquidation (granted, I also got all of the other bricks and an overall awesome set). LEGO T. rex is probably only going to get more expensive now that the Jurassic World sets are close to retiring. My suggestion is to buy LEGO‘s T. rex Tracker now while it is on clearance. I doubt you will find a genuine T.rex for under $75 very easily. I have seen it lower on EBay once, so it is not impossible right now, but as time progresses that will become rarer. If that is still too steep for you, then I suppose FLego is an alternative. But, again, you get what you pay for. FLego T. rex is not very good quality in my opinion.
Don’t forget to watch my video review on YouTube to see these dinosaurs in action!
You can also download a free LEGO T. rex colouring page by clicking here!
Until next time,
-T. N. B.